dangerously promotin'

holy crap i really do have other things to talk and think about than the damn website project, but i'm totally flabbergasted by the fact that we had our highest number of hits yesterday (one friggin' thousand) thanks in huge part to jesse d talking it up on stumbleupon, prompting hundreds of people i don't know within a web-community i don't know to crush over for a visit. i was already going to come and watch you rap this friday at the urban well, mr. dangerously, but now you are so getting hoots and hollahs and hugs to boot. and so too will audra when i see her for co-designing the COOLEST back-page ad that we got offered from shameless mag. yessy, this week we make important additions to statusreport.ca, but for now things seem to be going so swimmingly. even though it's TOTALLY PRO-BONO, therefore financially frustrating, audra and i are enjoying so much the vibe of this venture.

hard to image there is other shit than the website going on, but there is so. miss v's campaign rolls on: nancy p hosted a >$1000-raising fundraiser last night (thanks schmance!) plus we're in the midst of rolling out the tough talk about the primary opponent. the band is gearing up for R&B festival. i've agreed to do another newsletter for match. am still conteplating that upcoming npd provincial council meeting. the tv gods totally screwed with my being by not airing sorkin's studio 60 last night. there is a growing pile of broken down stairs in my back yard thanks to karl's renovation fiesta in my basement.

am digging these schedules though, because they do a tremendous job of distracting me from all sorts of pains in the heart, head, upper back, and right foot. (seriously, my body is pretty much always hurting on account of my seeming commitment to not ever buying a decent office chair and i sleep in a position massage therapists refer to as saturday night palsy).

while mental health professionals would likely question the efficacy of work addiction as a PFD to prevent drowning in pools of funk and ambiguity, i say thank you, bustle, for keeping me from reverting to couch camping and nutella. for now.


snap a shot

at the risk of sounding like a one-track album, a quick update on the new website. after 2.5 weeks live, 5000 hits, some buzz in the blogosphere, a few media interviews, and dozens of emailed congrats, we are expanding the site and will be adding new content at regular intervals:

mondays - a new action goes up to activate people to act out
wednesdays - new info content like analysis, research articles, and links to cool stuff
fridays - a bloggy blurb by me and audra to do the week's recap on what's happening on this issue in general, in the news, on the Hill, and in the streets
also on fridays - question of the week, posed to the internet to stimulate dialogue

ain't all this a fucking blast?

if anyone actually reads this blog, and if you have the means and minutes and if you actually give a shit about equality, then s'il vous plait grab a sharpie and some paper and doodle your message to harper and/or oda. then put your digi-cam on timer or get a lover to photograph you holding it. then send it to us. we expect big and fun things out of this photo campaign. get in it.

inspiration, by polly jones:


no need to make nice

last night's dixie chicks concert was TOTALLY AWESOME (many thanks to nancy for waiting it out at the salvaide fundraiser to bid successfully on the tickets). the chicks strolled onto the stage to 'hail to the chief' and spent the night demonstrating their Fine Form - vocal harmonies were totally tight, as was the full band. look, i'm For Sure no fan of country music, but i've always thought of these chicks as less twang than sass. they write great songs. and they each play a zillion instruments and their voices are hot.

let's face it, my fan-o-meter was really triggered after What Natalie Said and watching how gracefully they've endured the nastiness and bullshit ever since. last night, political commentary was light, even though the entire stadium was ripe for some lefty preachin'. they did show a trailer for their documentary - shut up and sing. they also played a video encouraging us to get involved with conservation.org. natalie mentioned that they'd learned that very morning of nbc's decision to not carry the ads for the film. apparently, the fox network ain't too lonely on that side of the proverbial fence.

may i also say, i'm not ready to make nice is a fantastic track. not only is that string riff aggressive, it's beautiful. and lyrically? well howdee pardner, it don't get any more feisty - a damn fine anthem for uppity women everywhere who dare step out of line to speak their truth.


dear madonna

just because i have all your albums and still can't stop loving "hung up" doesn't mean i don't think this adoption mess is stupid. yesterday you were on oprah, all sanctimonious and defensive about adopting "david", the 13 month old baby from malawi. this, after the already ridiculous media shitstorm reached epic proportions when the supposedly orphaned boy's father was quoted as saying he didn't understand that he was signing away his offspring. via satellite, you got all uppity about how he Did So Understand and that he's only crying foul now because the media has been harassing him so hard.

WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU THINK WOULD HAPPEN? duh, OF COURSE the paparazzi has been all up in his face. and now you blame the media for his sudden confusion? that's just naive. your spin is gross - claiming the frenzied media has played with his mind and that you are a victim of backlash. madonna puh-leez, you are not a saint for wanting to 'save' his baby.

but golly, thanks for bending over backwards to mention 1700 times your foundation in malawi and your godly charity work there. thank you for dropping sachs' name something like 80 times - hooray for you for being affiliated with a couple of the most prominent anti-poverty activists on earth, people who convince celebrities like you to INVEST in community development in africa by empowering the people, not taking them home.

your intentions may well be good. but that's not good enough. don't wave your sanctimony and privilege in our faces, proclaiming proper adoption procedure makes Everything Fair. the whole thing feels gross, and it's sad that you don't get why. that david's father is in the picture now should make you stop and revisit your noble plan, even if he has been nowhere to be found since 'david' arrived at the orphanage at the age of two weeks. that situation is for none of us to pass judgment because we couldn't possibly understand what it's like to be ravaged by poverty, aids, death, and Total Fear.

to even mildly compare this story to those of deadbeat dads from springer and povich is shallow and misleading. you use your uber-exposure to shame david's dad and elevate your own ego, instead of enlightening people about how the cycle of poverty is a complex thing and that situations like david's and his fathers do not require our judgment but our support. beak off all you want about how right you have been through all of this. but who better than madonna herself could understand OPTICS? if you are so right, it might have occured to you to halt your african baby project and provide whatever financial assistance could have allowed the baby to be reunited with his father.

just stick to philanthropy that helps lift up africa. david, like all babies of africa, are not cute or quaint souvenirs for the affluent to take home. shame on you for imploring westerners to adopt children from poor countries. shame on you for not using your remarkable platform to encourage us to use our wealth in more respectful ways.

regardless of whether or not the adoption is legit, regardless of whatever grandiose intentions you have of keeping 'david' linked with his homeland, regardless of your plans to raise him as a future leader for malawi or whatever the fuck, it STINKS that you would rather take him home to give him a designer upbringing instead of lavishing african communities with designer poverty-eradication projects. madonna, use your amazing fortune to strengthen african families and communities, not exploit them.


stats on statusreport.ca

i cannot believe our wee website project yields an average of 250 or so hits a day over its first 2 weeks of life. makes us all the more scrambly as we harness all the volunteer power available to beef up the content. the workshop is all a-sweaty, crafting more analysis and more action ideas. the site is also in the process of migrating to a swank new host. busy times.

it's all very exciting.
the site's 2 mommies are mighty proud. we are simultaneously pleased and sheepish about the attention our kid is getting, let alone how relevant it might be. co-parenting with audra is a tremendous joy. but we are hard on our feisty tyke - we want it to grow big and strong and make a valuable contribution to the world. it takes a village, people. we want villagers. so for CHRISSAKES internet, if you know of anyone who wants to help (especially technically inclined types), send 'em our way - STAT.


big shocker

don't know how i missed this new york times op-ed by bob herbert. an excerpt:

... we have become so accustomed to living in a society saturated with misogyny that violence against females is more or less to be expected. Stories about the rape, murder and mutilation of women and girls are staples of the news, as familiar to us as weather forecasts. The startling aspect of the Pennsylvania attack was that this terrible thing happened at a school in Amish country, not that it happened to girls.

The disrespectful, degrading, contemptuous treatment of women is so pervasive and so mainstream that it has just about lost its ability to shock. Guys at sporting events and other public venues have shown no qualms about raising an insistent chant to nearby women to show their breasts. An ad for a major long-distance telephone carrier shows three apparently naked women holding a billing statement from a competitor. The text asks, "When was the last time you got screwed?"

An ad for Clinique moisturizing lotion shows a woman's face with the lotion spattered across it to simulate the climactic shot of a porn video.

We have a problem.


happy *ahem* diwali

today is diwali and i am sick at home. have spent 7 days fighting back this cough and cold. one week ago tonight, i returned from an ndp meeting in montreal with a heartful of sorrow and a head full of ache. that meeting may well have been our last as this executive - it was a strange belly punch after nearly two years of struggle, with the wrong people yet again mishandling misinformation with wrong intentions. those of us with a clue sat around like shells of our former energetic selves. elections will occur at our provincial convention next month, perhaps none too soon. the energy to teach, let alone persuade, seems gone from us. as i fled montreal that night, i contemplated not running for any seat on the next executive. i floated in a bittersweet anticipation that must precede the liberation of someone with stockholm syndrome.

i've thought a lot this week about that ndp meeting. it wasn't our worst, nor our best. but it seemed to have left me and the people i respect feeling strange. as we crawl towards the end of our term, i hope we were able to accomplish things that stick. and holy god how i desperately hope Certain People appreciate just how much good they've created, even if it seems impossible to acknowledge. me, i'm back to feeling sad and indifferent about the party, and about my involvement in it. more than the small politics of the quebec ndp has me clutching my coffee and ambivalence today. it's the general left. sometimes i really can't answer the questions What Are We Doing and Why?

whether rinky-dink ndp stuff, or big ticket campaigning, i suppose politics are fun as much as fucked. that's why people like me are glued for life. it's a twisted sort of intellectual s & m - we get off on the pain, i guess. but i don't know that ultra-right and liberal hacks endure the same kind of torture as us. we have to be willing to find a thrill in small victories, and be sustained by them. will we ever be up against shit that isn't way bigger than us? the stakes have never seemed higher, making the game extra dire, extra exhausting. which is why to endure the Petty Bullshit of internal politics is to feel like a glutton for pain. i mean, progressives face political fights all the fuck around, perpetual and substantial. as tiny peons, you're constantly wondering where you can do the most good while suffering the least grief. those options seems too few, really. they say Pick Your Battles. i say, WTF? and How?

being sick this week caused me to miss things - crucial work time, sure, but also meetings and campaign office openings and person's day events. illness is fuzziness. my regular feelings of lost were doused in shit-tasting syrop, while calendars and goals became clouded in the cough. things don't feel quite right, and not quite wrong either. just not quite. it's as if everything around me is made gravelly by phlegm, like maybe one big cosmic cough would clear things up and allow some kind of truth to hum through. for clarity.


amateur with camera

apologies to the 252 people who have 'viewed' my extremely modest flickr page. first of all, who the hell are you, and 2) hope you weren't looking for any photographic genius. anyhoo, since my brother gave me a digital camera this summer, i've gone ahead and attempted to learn how to point and click. for what it's worth, i stuck up some new pics onto flickr today. my freebie account only allows a certain number of uploads per month (and apparently does not take into any account the zillion months of zero uploading), so i ran out of room before mounting a couple of shots from eric and scott's wedding, the sap-fest that it was. and so i shall do so here, at least until they find out and force me to take it down. which i doubt they would because their wedding was beautiful, heartwarming, inspiring, and also just a regular old wedding of two people who are ridiculously in love and stunningly well-suited to spend the rest of their lives in union, holy or otherwise.

outta site

holy shit, internet, in just three days since it launched, you have logged over 1000 hits to statusreport.ca. aww, go on with your bad self! we are totally excited and humbled. word is spreading like wildfire, and so too is the activism.

of course, our opponents were quick to notice our wee project, and in all their cuteness, are seizing onto our every word. an oct 11 post at bluewavecanada-at-blogspot-com rants about how we don't speak for her, nor for 16 million women. As If We Claim To. encouraging women to speak is NOT the same as doing it for them. maybe it's offensive to some that we'd have the audacity to assert that women would or could speak up, especially those who believe in that crazy thing called equality. it must really worry some people that one gigantic roll call would actually reveal the majority of women in canada DO support equality values.

and at the risk of turning the project into one big math tutorial, we are obviously going to have to break things down for those opponents who insist on insisting that the majority of canadians voted for the harper conservatives when actually, a Much Larger number voted for someone the hell else. then again, if some keener wanted to create flashcards to help people learn this, that might be neat.

anyways, feedback on the website project has been overwhelmingly positive. wish i could name the growing number of amazing women who are donating gobs of spare time to help with the site - that'll likely happen over there anyways. i have been moved also by so many random emails from my network after i notified hundreds of personal contacts about the launch. just goes to show that in this virtual world of colleagships, time and distance don't seem to exist. ah, community.


hark, our site is live

my friend and fellow agitator, audra, and i have been plotting a wee side project. enough content is up there to constitute a respectable launch for statusreport.ca. we're mighty excited and proud.

doing their part to prove the theory 'build it and they will come', a good number of talented women have already knocked on the door of the virtual office to help with the project (by good number, i mean
enough for a perfect dinner party, not so many that we're tripping all over each other). baby step by baby step, more cool content will be added, more energy will be channeled, more light bulbs will be turned on. please spread the word about this. buy a vowel. phone a friend. make the deal. work for change. get people going.

For Immediate Release

ODA AND HARPER TO GET A REAL-ITY CHECK: Website to combat inaccuracies and indifference towards Status Of Women Canada

HALIFAX/OTTAWA, October 11, 2006 – A new website launches today to rally support for Status of Women Canada (SWC) and related issues.

Statusreport.ca will house objective information about the federal agency, along with tools and motivation for people to lobby the federal government to revisit changes made to the agency's funding and objectives.

Nine months after committing to take concrete and immediate steps to increase women's equality in Canada, the Harper administration has slashed 40 per cent of SWC’s administrative budget, removed all references to “equality” from SWC’s mandate, and changed rules in order to disallow groups from doing advocacy or lobbying with federal funds.

"The Harper Conservatives are clearly out of touch with reality,” stated site co-founder Audra Williams, "Oda and Harper have 16 million female constituents whose equality and rights they are obligated to ensure."

“They try to paint women’s groups who speak out on this issue as victimized or partisan,” said Pam Kapoor, site co-founder, “To counter that kind of ludicrous spin, we’ve set up this independent space where anyone who cares about women’s equality can participate in the project to protect SWC.”

Williams and Kapoor condemn Conservative messaging that labels advocates of women’s equality as focused on women’s weaknesses: “Enough with their convenient dismissals,” said Williams, “Sustained commitment to women’s equality requires tremendous strength – especially nowadays, given the onslaught of inaccurate rhetoric from the right.”

Statusreport.ca is non-partisan, unaffiliated with any women’s organization or political party. Williams and Kapoor, with an ad-hoc group of creative women, are dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of SWC and the role it should continue to play in the struggle for women’s full equality in Canada.

– 30 –

Audra Williams and Pam Kapoor are communications consultants based in Halifax and Gatineau, respectively.

For information: contact (at) statusreport (dot) ca; statusreport.ca


people will see me and cry

the geniuses at muchmoremusic decided to air old episodes of fame and yes, i have partaken in a few. the show has not become any less terrible, but omigod how i loved it. let us all agree that the movie whooped the series' ass, that leroy was super gay hot (may he RIP), and that bruno was the epitome of yummy music geek. i think i still love him.

speaking of guilty pleasures, i went supine yesterday and helped myself to parts of the survivor 1 marathon. i have to say that no installment of survivor has been the same since that one. i guess everything is innocent and
untainted and inoffensive when it's new. i was reminded of how beautiful that show was - calm pace, artful footage, raw contestants - before the burnett machine injected it with botox and silicone, shellacked it, and over-formula-ized it. loved watching susan's outrageous rat/snake speech again. i still wish miss wiglesworth had won the thing.


down with oda

we may not have been able, during quick strategy talks, to determine whether groups and individuals should call for oda's resignation. thankfully, today irene stepped up and led the ndp to call for it. the liberals didn't go that far, but at least are seizing the moment. good. oda is so disturbingly out of touch with reality, it makes zero sense for her to head the status of women portfolio. it's like the minister of finance not believing in money, or the minister of justice not believing in the legal system. goddammit, it's like oprah not believing in the New Age. does the pope believe in god?

minna just shouted right now in the house that this "conservative government is anti-women". holy jesus ... oda's appearance at this morning's meeting of the parliamentary committee on the status of women sure has revived the shitstorm.

these are moments when my sick fascination with QP is justified. so there.

done with equality

thank you, jennifer ditchburn, you dogged reporter you, for the ongoing attention to bev oda's mission of mockery . your article filed today quite nicely covers the newest of the ministerial bullshit. just when we thought it was safe to apply for future funding from the so far un-slashed women's program, oda banned the use of federal funds for domestic lobbying or advocacy. and thus brings to an end the era of what came close to democratic engagement for civil society.

i've been itching to shout from the rooftops what happened at a rocking meeting in ottawa on tuesday. oda gobsmacked key women's movement reps who were finally granted her audience. it's no wonder she's so comfortable following the harper plan to dismantle the women's movement - oda believes we already have full equality in canada and that reactions to cuts/changes to swc have been 'hysterical'. she believes the private sector has a bigger role to play, government a lesser one, and that all women have equal access to the law. oh, and here's the kicker: oda believes systemic discrimination in canada doesn't exist [while even an hysterical statscan report from last year would suggest otherwise].

our release from last week is still up on the cnw board, but the one issued this morning about the ban on lobbying and oda's stunning absence from reality isn't up on any site yet. i won't post it here either, because, well frankly, how it turned out after another painful media-by-committee process just wasn't so shit hot. so instead, some highlights:

a meeting this morning with beverley oda, minister responsible for the status of women, deepened the concerns of national women's groups regarding the federal government's commitmen to women's equality.

the gutting of status of women signaled the intent of this government to undermine long-standing efforts to promote equality. now, the prohibition of advocacy or lobbying with federal dollars is just plain anti-democratic - and punitive to those with the least resources.

astonished by what they see as a failure of a standing minister to support the values of the very portfolio she is expected to steer, women's groups have immediately requested a meeting with prime minister harper... [they] will ask harper to justify the recent actions of his government and declarations of minister oda in light of his election commitments.

- 30 -

meanwhile, we'll see what more oda reveals to us about her enlightened understanding matters pertaining to gender equality when she finally shows up to a fewo meeting tomorrow (the parliamentary standing committee on the status of women).


5 things feminism has done for me

way to go, internet: you've responded in impressive numbers to proclaim to the world your feelings for and about feminism. this collective action was launched in light of all the political hoopla of recent weeks. we'd bounced some ideas around for awhile about how the blog community could demonstrate support for swc. then Last Week happened. by now, over 60 posts have gone up under the heading "5 things feminism has done for me". and hopefully more will follow suit.

i suppose i'm late to the meme party partly because it's bloody hard to distill the vastness of the thing down to 5 tidy points. and anyone who has followed this virtual part of my journey has witnessed the sparring match that is my feminism. feminism, like my own self, is full of contradictions. feminists know how much our politic is a struggle. but i have proudly paid hommage to feminism before, as i will now.

5 things feminism has done for me

1. words. by the time i had wandered into the teen years, my brain and heart were already contending with some heavy shit. feminism became the language for my instincts. whatever i was too young or unsure to get a handle on, feminism slowly began to give description. the stuff we grapple with can be big and unwieldy, so all those light bulbs were mighty relieving to a prairie kid without the foggiest idea of what to call her disquieting sense of justice. over the years, feminist theory and practice have allowed me to turn my insides out, confidently, and with bona fide vocabulary.

2. strength. as i began to learn the language for my guts, i figured out there are others who think and feel similarly. strength of integrity, strength of self - those come from the inside and are necessarily safe there. but the strength of the collective is an indomitable force that in turn, feeds you back. it's a dance that is not ironic so much as poetic - my feminism strengthens Feminism, and Feminism strengthens me.

3. wisdom. my feminism nourishes a wisdom in me about the self, and who i am and want to become. it also has embedded in its core an insistance that Woman is important and powerful. feminists see wonder in Woman. it's like we all share a secret of some kind, but it's a secret that is totally exposed - one we want Everyone to be in on. feminism is more than just a way of seeing or understanding the world. it's a way of being. that i get that makes me wise. that i continue to explore it makes me wiser.

4. politics. different entry points lead each of us to our ideology, our values. mine is an evolving politic, one based on the understanding that everything is interrelated. feminism allows for a deeper and more empathetic understanding of oppression, in all its forms. struggles for equality of any kind - gender, racial, cultural, economic - are rooted in the same place. it's about power. getting that makes me political. issues of power are at play in every single aspect of women's lives - however seemingly neutral or de-politicized. and yes, i do believe the personal is political.

5. freedom. feminism gave me a feisty mother who came from a country that people think still has no feminism. she was raised to be educated and opinionated, so she raised me to be loud and independent. those second wavers seized a lot of freedom that was never theirs in the first place, then graciously turned around and handed it to us. i never take that freedom for granted. my right to ask hard questions came from the women before me. sometimes it makes me sad, other times mad, but mostly it worries me that so many of my cohorts (never mind the younger generation) have no fucking idea what freedoms they enjoy thanks to feminism. as if we've always had maternity leave, let alone jobs. we can go to university or own property or access contraception legally or vote. but it's about more than that. feminism has gifted us with the freedom to CHOOSE, to EXPRESS, to RESIST. we have the freedom to BE. when girls are told they can BE whatever they want, thank feminism.

so that's that - my untidy attempt at the list of 5. encouraging each other to do this exercise is cool, though i still have trouble with Why. i will never comprehend the backlash against feminism. to me, it's like opposing Woman. convenient to write off feminists as anti-men (in the same narrow manner in which they write off abortion advocates as anti-life) when in fact, if feminism is anti anything, it's oppression. and not being against oppression is just too fucked for my head to understand.

what are your 5, audra and jenn?
consider yourselves tagged.