Planned Parenthood: First Impressions

I went to my first Planned Parenthood event on Thursday, and I am about to go to my second tomorrow. I guess I had heard of the organization. Barack had made a speech under the organization's banner when he wanted to come across as big on gender, so I guess the organization is a leading one in what it does. When I learned just the NYC chapter had 300 staffers, my jaw dropped. This is huge.

It was a great event. I wonder why I had to be in the city two and a half years before I came across an event called A Night Out With Women In Politics. I got a clear picture of how many women elected officials there might be. I think they stand at about 20% of the total right now at the city and state levels. That is more than zero, but it is a poor proportion for a state that would like to believe is progressive. It should be more like 40%. If it is 20% in NY, I wonder what it is like in Texas or Alabama.

I got to meet Bidya Bhandari, a leading woman leader from Nepal, a few months back in NYC when she was visiting. After Nepal's April Revolution 2006, she pushed through a resolution that women must be one third of the next legislature. I like that style. You make reservations.

At the event, there were like 50 women at the peak, or maybe 40, and perhaps five men. One of them was Phillip, a Florida transplant, in his 40s perhaps. He has a marketing company. I said I had a startup myself. He gave me his card. I said thanks, and kept it. That was before the evening started. Then he bought a huge bottle of beer. "Come to a women's event, got to go extra macho on the beer," he said teasingly. I did not share the sentiment but got the same beer. After the event was over, he came over and said that was the last card he had been carrying, can he please have it back to give it to a more regular client of his? I think the guy got offended I did not give him my card when he gave me his. He does not realize he might have been more offended if I had given him my card that is highly misleading. The name on it is correct, the rest is a circus. The point being, find me and friend me on Facebook. I gave him his card back. It was all in good taste. He gave it to the last Libertarian candidate for Governor.

Another guy was there with his wife, to be there for her. But he had a hard time lingering around. He would go off away from the gathering to some other part of the bar.

Women flip the whole porn notion. Looks like they do want to talk about their bodies. Why does that not get men excited? Instead men get queasy. That is interesting. Race and gender are Calculus 301, keep them away from me. That is the attitude. But that won't work. Men are going to have to join the conversation or women will still be ironing men's shirts a generation from now. Gender equality should be part of the high school curriculum, part of the sex education package.

I think what makes race and gender tricky is we all know the idea is to co-exist. Would it not be so much easier if we could send off all sexist men to Siberia? But since the idea is to co-exist, the relationship has to be reimagined and reimagined again. But that can not happen unless women talk gender and men talk gender. The conversation is key. That is where the action is. That is why I got so excited about this: 2.0 Penetrates DL21C. But so far it has not taken off. But the basic template is there. Here's the beauty of the suggestion. Groups of 10-20 women anywhere could take off on their own. There is no central organization, there is no hierarchy, no leader.

Progressive Political Religion: No Place For Superpowers
The Spectrum On Gender

The idea is to help women and men identify where they are on the spectrum, and to help them get educated and try and move them on to a higher level. Online video would be powerful. And I can guess privacy and safety concerns. But I don't see how we can skip the online video part.

During Nepal's April Revolution 2006, tens died, hundreds got injured, for democracy. Women themselves have a brave history in this country of having fought for the right to vote, for example. It was not easy. Being willing to put photos and videos online is what the women's movement asks for today.

When I go to wonderful events in the city, it pains me to see none of them are being videoblogged. What a waste. You put so much effort to seek publicity. And you don't take that one step that would magnify publicity. Most politically active women in the city are okay themselves. They have access to contraception, hopefully they are in egalitarian, healthy relationships. I think the whole push has to be to reach out to women in small town America. And there online video can be a big help. Women got to step out. But I am not sure about the men in NYC. They are not all that different. I mean, you meet racist white guys left and right in this city. Sexist attitudes are there aplenty.

One thing struck me though. Why is contraception being talked about like it were a women's issue? Unless this is contraception that helps people masturbate. Not even breast feeding is a women's issue alone. The social space for it is also of concern to men.

Somebody brought up breastfeeding. And I was amused. Because I grew up in one of the 10 poorest countries on the planet, and I grew up seeing breastfeeding all over the place. You would be in a crowded public bus from the village to the town, and there would almost always be some woman in some part of the bus who is breastfeeding. Granted she has covered it up with her sari, but the action was on.

The American workplace has to be reimagined. The same design got carried over from the industrial age over to the service age. An information age workplace necessarily has to be 100% gender egalitarian and also egalitarian in all other ways. First and foremost that is a productivity issue. Companies that will not do it will get mowed down by the market forces.

All aspects of conception, childbirth and raising children has to be a fluid proposition. Men have to be part of all. Men can learn to raise children. Children are so much fun.

The trick just like on race is to not make it identity politics only, although there is no escaping identity politics. The trick is to make it issue politics. Have a clear agenda and build and grow a coalition around it.

But ultimately you just have to have many more elected women officials. Ultimately all the hot gender topics of today should become wallpaper. You should be able to take it for granted.

So in a way it was a rich experience just to be there. But I was kind of disappointed these are women's issues and not just plain issues for everyone.

And I am naturally eager about the global dimensions of all of the issues.

My summary statement would be, let's go 2.0 on gender.

I am so glad to have found this organization, but it is not hard core political enough for me.

Maybe the group I am looking for is Women For Obama! Ha.

That is why my style of not joining organizations, only showing up for events of choice works for me. I am a digital democrat. People often scratch their heads trying to figure me out. What do you do?

The idea is to have impact.


She was there. We both lingered around for two and a half hours after the formal event was over. Okay, so you are not uncomfortable. Then I left.

That made me think.

Justin Krebs turned our first meeting into a disaster. I was not ready for his behavior. Because I had always been nice to the guy. And he gave the impression it was mutual respect. More than that. He made it sound like the smile on his face depended on me or something. But then he went berserk.

First he is like, oh, so Caputo thinks she beat that Jewish guy in Kentucky in a student election, I also waved at many people out of my dorm window. First he is competing with Caputo for my attention. As opposed to thinking he does not belong in the conversation.

That first contact was amazing. That is how I felt before 1989. That is how I felt my first year in Kentucky. That is how I felt my first NYC weekend in 1999. It was one of those feelings to me. It was special.

Then we all stepped out to leave. Caputo and a woman friend a few steps ahead, Krebs and I lumbering a few steps behind.

She is doing this walk thing to walk you off to the train station, then she will take the cab, that kind of suggestion from Krebs. As in, make no mistake, she is not trying to pick you up, take you home or anything. The guy felt a strong urge to tell me what to think. Then he suggested I was reacting the way I was reacting to Caputo because I was some desperate Brooklyn guy.

Then once near the train station, a few blocks from the bar, I halted. Caputo looked back.

"We just met," she said.

She walked to me and gave me a big hug.

"You just met me!" Krebs interjected from a few feet away. Caputo was just about to embrace me in a hug.

First, Krebs competed for my attention. Then, he tried to explain away Caputo's reaction to me. Then, he disrespected my reaction to Caputo. Finally, he is like, why not me, why this guy? Why not me?

The motherfucker so totally thoroughly spoilt it for me.

Well, for one, you are one ugly dumbass. How about that? 20 years from now you might run for City Council if you are lucky.

I felt the feeling. I participated in the conversation. And Krebs killed it with gusto. And the white woman and the brown guy explained it away in the aftermath. I said Indiana. It was nothing to do with Indiana. I said weak social muscles from 2.0 work. That is an excuse. It was this insecure white guy. He messed up.

Caputo probably explained it away by saying, oh, I just overreacted to him being a homeboy, a guy who knew KY and IN. Indiana, weak social muscles, homeboy. We are both strong and so very political, but this dumbass white guy pulled one off on us. How does that work? We are both stronger, smarter, way more political, so it is not like we don't get race and gender.

It never kind of went away but Caputo went cynical on me. Oh, you found out online I ran Wes Clark's northeast operation? Here, meet Wes Clark.

I quietened down. I was fearless about going for the person. But if it instead feels like a socio-economic ladder climb, no thank you, not worth it.

I asked her for her number over email. She did not give it to me but she did plan for a Republican debate watch party that then she canceled. I showed up. She showed up. In retrospect it feels like, you can't have my number, but you can talk to me. But at the time her parting comment was, "I don't give out my number."

"That's okay," I said.

My attitude at the time was, if you are not giving me your number, I know all I need to know.

But it is never that neat and clean. Touching at the summer bash, brushing against at the Holiday party. If you feel this way today, you must have felt this yesterday, you must feel it tomorrow. Can we talk? Can you email me your number? That is where I would get stuck.

Krebs on his part went on a tangent. He had by insinuation tried to hook me up with a few mediocre white women, the kind that are his lifestyle. Here is your station, where my station is. At one DL21C event, he was with a girl, and I approached him to say hi, he totally ignored me, like go away, can't you see I am with a woman?

Your ass belongs in New Jersey. New York City belongs to me, all of it. I owned this city the day I moved in. I just now have to work and make it official. This city is custom made for me.

Twice he felt the need to "rescue" from me a Russian wife to a friend of his at Drinking Liberally. She is all enamored I know so much about Russian history and politics and that I have read War And Peace and also Crime And Punishment, while her guy is talking baseball and such inane shit. Krebs has to step in and right the ship. He has to draw the line. He has to do it for his friend. The woman belongs to his friend.

Another day I am talking happily to this young woman. Krebs asks her when was the last time she talked to her own brother! He had to intervene and desex the conversation, just to make sure, to be on the safe side. If you ask me, it is called hitting the glass ceiling at an early age.

Once I was talking tech with a programmer high school friend of his. I briefly mention how I plan on hiring people in India. It is like his face became devoid of blood. Krebs walked over to "rescue" the friend. To the friend it probably sounded like I were saying I will outsource your job to India.

Right now I don't have the slightest clue for sure if Caputo and I are upto anything at all, but that is not the point. Justin Krebs, hereby I kill our acquaintance. You don't mean shit to me as a human being going forward. I guess you get to focus on your work, I get to focus on mine. But then I will be seeking over the years ways to translate nonviolent militancy to New York City's realities. Just make sure you don't end up target practice.

Berger: "I am hot!" NYU. That was another Krebs-like moment. Small minds think alike.

It has not been weak social muscles, it has been dumbass white guys. This is not a race issue, this is a personal space issue assholes. If you are on my good side, that means my privacy is important to me. If you are on my bad side, that means there are big chunks of New York City where you don't belong.

My political eyes saw a French Revolution in Nepal months before it happened. Those same political eyes see this.

The day I touched a Senator is the day a president hugged me.

Bill Perkins is the next Mayor of New York City, but it is Elizabeth Caputo who is the top political story in this town. (Bill Perkins: Next Mayor Of New York City)

Visits on previous 'day': 713.

In The News

Obama sweeps Saturday contests; Huckabee takes 2 USA Today completing the best night of his campaign and securing a burst of momentum for upcoming races on Sunday, and beyond ..... Obama also notched a victory in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The first-term senator's winning margins were substantial, ranging from more than two-thirds of the vote in Washington and Nebraska to nearly 90% in the Virgin Islands. ...... "He has made the decision to embrace the failed policies of George Bush's Washington," Obama said of McCain. "He speaks of a 100-year war in Iraq and sees another on the horizon with Iran." ......... Clinton had 1,095 delegates to 1,070 for Obama, counting so-called superdelegates.
Obama seeks more wins over Clinton in 'Potomac Primary' AFP
Hillary's toast: Obama unstoppable National Post The only winning ticket for Democrats is Barack Obama for President with Hillary as his running mate. Obama swept the weekend caucus and primaries and will continue to do so. He wins everywhere. His momentum is growing. ........ The fact that Bill Clinton has been forced to disappear from the campaign in order to keep his foot out of his mouth is an admission that the couples' two-for-one candidacy is now a negative. Nobody wants a President with a First Lady (Bill Clinton) who does his own thing, socially and financially, or is invited to cabinet meetings. .... He thinks out of the box. He is collaborative not polarizing. He is brilliant not cunning. He is optimistic not angry. ..... Hillary just hasn't got the right stuff. Never did. Or the right husband.
Women Could Give Clinton the Edge In Maine's Caucuses Washington Post Maine should be friendly territory for Obama. Its voters are staunchly antiwa ...... You have a lot of women working two jobs, working on their feet, with their hands.