Monthly Archives: August 2008

Who is Palin?


The first thing I thought when I heard McCain’s running choice is that it was completely strategic.  He is hoping to get some of the voters who continue to be heartbroken that Clinton wasn’t chosen.  But, let me be clear, this choice should not be about body parts!!! Just because she is a woman does not mean that she stands for women’s rights. The idea that I would vote for her because she is a woman frankly is offensive and flatly wrong. Here is a bit of information on who Palin is (sent out by Moveon)

Who is Sarah Palin? Here’s some basic background:

  • She was elected Alaska’s governor a little over a year and a half ago. Her previous office was mayor of Wasilla, a small town outside Anchorage. She has no foreign policy experience.1
  • Palin is strongly anti-choice, opposing abortion even in the case of rape or incest.2
  • She supported right-wing extremist Pat Buchanan for president in 2000. 3
  • Palin thinks creationism should be taught in public schools.4
  • She’s doesn’t think humans are the cause of climate change.5
  • She’s solidly in line with John McCain’s “Big Oil first” energy policy. She’s pushed hard for more oil drilling and says renewables won’t be ready for years. She also sued the Bush administration for listing polar bears as an endangered species—she was worried it would interfere with more oil drilling in Alaska.6
  • How closely did John McCain vet this choice? He met Sarah Palin once at a meeting. They spoke a second time, last Sunday, when he called her about being vice-president. Then he offered her the position.7


1. “Sarah Palin,” Wikipedia, Accessed August 29, 2008

2. “McCain Selects Anti-Choice Sarah Palin as Running Mate,” NARAL Pro-Choice America, August 29, 2008

3. “Sarah Palin, Buchananite,” The Nation, August 29, 2008

4. “‘Creation science’ enters the race,” Anchorage Daily News, October 27, 2006

5. “Palin buys climate denial PR spin—ignores science,” Huffington Post, August 29, 2008

6. “McCain VP Pick Completes Shift to Bush Energy Policy,” Sierra Club, August 29, 2008

“Choice of Palin Promises Failed Energy Policies of the Past,” League of Conservation Voters, August 29, 2008

“Protecting polar bears gets in way of drilling for oil, says governor,” The Times of London, May 23, 2008

7 “McCain met Palin once before yesterday,” MSNBC, August 29, 2008

Chile Group: Chilean men


Slowly I have been meeting Chilean bloggers that I really like, people who have something in common with me. These meetings started with Kyle and talking to her online via our blogs for about 10 months before meeting in person. Once I did meet her, I also met others as she seems to be the queen bee of Gringas married to Chileans online. Anyway, this week Kyle decided, via a suggestion from Heather, that we should all do posts on the same topic on the same day. This will be our first, the topic is Chilean men.

To tell the truth, I am not sure what to say about this topic. I have known many over the years in a variety of ways: boyfriends, host fathers, host family (brother, cousins, uncles), friends, teachers, strangers, and drunk men in bars. I guess the first thing I am wary of is making generalizations. For example, I would say generally that Chilean men are very sexist. For example, I have a (host) uncle who has a habit of telling me that I really need a macho man in my life. The implication is that this way I would learn my place in the world. I always respond that I would like to see someone try to put me in my place that way!

Several months ago I went to a dance club with some friends. I was the only one not in a couple there. Dancing with the group, another man came up to ask me to dance. I told him in no unclear terms that I really wasn’t interested and that I was happily dating someone else. He said he didn’t care, that he too was dating someone, and he just wanted to dance. He danced with me for the rest of the night at a respectful distance; we barely spoke. At the end of the night, he did ask for my number. I reminded him that I was dating someone and uninterested in a relationship or romance, but I did give him my real number. It seemed the right thing to do as he had been a gentleman. He called twice. Both times I was on the phone or out with friends and told him I couldn’t speak. Admittedly, the first time he called I didn’t even remember his name– his name is Cristian. After the second time, he sent the following text (or something very similar):

You a very pretty, but very mean. I am not going to waste anymore time on you!

The sense of entitlement was infuriating. I had done nothing to lead him on and yet he oozed a macho attitude that claimed I owed him something.

Another aspect of Chilean culture and Chilean men is the difficulty of creating and maintaining relationships between males and females. I have been told repeatedly by Chileans (both male and female) that friendships between men and women are impossible because there is always sexual tension and that the basis of any friendship is always one side wanting more. Heather also has touched on this here in her blog, although she also focuses on the difficulties of female-female friendships in Chile. While I have successfully maintained multiple friendships with men in the US, I have definitely struggled more with this in Chile. The male friendships that I have in Chile are always described as “sister-like”. My ex-roommate, Lu, who is one of my best friends, always refers to me as a sister figure. This is sweet and we have a great, playful, honest relationship. But, the terming, also demonstrates how there is little space for female-male friendship between the non-related.

That being said, I have many examples of men in Chile who do not fill this code. S is possibly more feminist then I am. He is outspoken and friendly. He maintains multiple, longterm friendships with women. He doesn’t see women or wives as property. Lu recognizes and articulates many of the ways in which he is macho in his outlook. How he is jealous and sometimes controlling. He also articulates the need for women to have sexual freedom and control over their lives. M, a friend I have through Lu, wants to go to the States and become a sex therapist– a profession he sees a sorely lacking in Chile. He talks freely about how Chilean society teaches girls and boys that they can’t be friends, that friendship is impossible. He complains at how both sexes are shuffled off into their own boxes and not free to explore specific themes. Girls are not supposed to play sports or ask boys out. Boys are not supposed to explore their emotions. Both genders are crippled by this.

Other blogs that are participating (I will update to the specific link as the show up and list the title of the post, ones without title are just blogs that promised to participate):

Kyle: Chilean Men

Heather: Chilean Men

Emily: Group post: Chilean Men

Tamsin (Chilean men’s complete devotion to the female species)

Tyffanie: Chilean Men

Katina (style and male sex symbols)

Mandy (Chilean men compared to U.S. men)

Leigh (having friendships with Chilean men)

Shannon (Chilean male drivers)

Meredith (Chilean men’s intense need to be in a relationship)

Lydia (a completely spot on list of generalizations about Chileans)

Jessica (guy love in the Chilean form)

Rita, aka Kyle’s mom (her impression of S. as a son in law, his friends, and a few male tour guides)

Renee (gay Chilean men)

Photo Wednesday: All packed and ready to go


Leaving Chile, originally uploaded by coming2cambodia.

Taken: July 27th, 2008 at S’s house.
This was our parting shot before loading up the car to go to the bus station to take a bus to Santiago to be picked up and brought to Grandma’s for dinner to be taken to the airport to get on a plane and come home to Wisconsin. Harley, the pup, was ready to go.

Things I like about the US


I travel a lot– some people ask if it is because I don’t like the US, or alternatively, they ask what I miss. When people ask me this question, I usually stumble for an answer– mostly I am living in the present and not really thinking about the past/ comparing things. That said, Heather just did a 100 things I like about Chile post and it, coupled with being recently back in the States and remembering all the things I missed, got me thinking. Therefore, I give you my list of 35 things I miss/like about the states.

  1. The diversity.
  2. Kopps ice cream– really this is a Milwaukee specific thing but Kopps frozen custard is the best ice cream type treat in the world and well worth a visit.
  3. National Public Radio. With shows like All things considered and A prairie home companion, I really couldn’t ask for more.
  4. My friends
  5. and my family
  6. Lesbian bars and community in general.
  7. Driving.
  8. Tree lined streets.
  9. Diversity in food. After this past year in Chile, Indian food and Thai have been particularly wonderful (and different).
  10. Non-stop coverage of the olympics (granted this only holds true for the Olympic season– the rest of the year I can get annoyed at some of the things that are granted non-stop coverage).
  11. Free nights and weekends minutes on my cell phone. In Chile the phone was so expensive that people only had very short conversations. While I appreciate this sometimes, in does make it hard on long distance relationships.
  12. Significantly less whistling men and men making inappropriate comments on the street (although, admittedly, Cambodia was even better in this respect).
  13. The weather– again a seasonal thing… but I came to a wonderful summer from a cold winter so it had to make the list.
  14. Dogs. Dogs. Dogs. Everywhere. And treated well!
  15. Parks with lots of things to do. Over the weekend I spent several hours in Forest Park in St. Louis– they have two museums, a zoo, row boat rentals, paddle boat rentals, several restaurants, a bike path, a jogging path, soccer fields, baseball fields, and much more.
  16. Little league. I don’t actually like to play. Or to go. I just like that it is there. That communities have organized sports leagues for children and not just pick up games. When I was little, I was never picked up for pick up games, so I hold a grudge. I did, however, love my local swim team. Well, I loved it until I didn’t anymore but that is a longer story.
  17. Doggie parks. Although, most of the time Harley can’t go. She is just not a friendly dog to strangers or to strange dogs.
  18. The West Allis Farmer’s Market in Milwaukee– yes, there are bigger and better farmers markets in other places I have lived, but I also have a special place in my heart for this one.
  19. Independent bookstores like Left Bank Books in St. Louis.
  20. Also, second hand book stores like Half Price Books.
  21. My parents condo. It may not feel like home because I lived here, but it does because it is so familiar. Also, friends and I can walk to the bars and then walk home, thus making the designated driver a thing of other cities for us.
  22. Megabus. I am going to Chicago next week and I got my tickets there and back really cheap because I bought early. The way it works, the first tickets are cheap– as cheap as 1 dollar– and then each subsequent one goes up in price. Not really sure how this works as an economic model, but it sure does as a marketing model!
  23. Back to school sales.  Now, I am not a bigger shopper and I do wear clothing until it has literally disintegrated on my body, but I do like a good deal. I especially like a good deal when I am down to one wearable pair of shorts and in dire need of some work cloths.
  24. Coffee shops that sell Alterra coffee.
  25. Mini-golf.
  26. Roller skating rinks.  Side note: when I was little, I had my birthday party every year at one.
  27. Salad dressing, preferably a wide variety. (Chile was just lemon, oil and salt.)
  28. My bank is here and I can get money out of it, or an ATM, without paying exorbitant overseas rates.
  29. Knowing that health care is good– although very expensive.  Please keep in mind that it was not great in Moldova (except at the Peace Corps office), or in Cambodia, and while it was fine in Chile I had a few problems with ambulances leaving me stranded with a cracked head and being admitted for “being difficult” when I “refused” to stand up for x-rays.  They failed to mention I fainted every time I stood up.
  30. Free refills on drinks (tea, coffee, lemonade, ice tea)
  31. Microbrewery and a HUGE variety of beer.
  32. The schooling system.  I really appreciate liberal arts educations.  Not just mine, but also that of those around me.
  33. Montessori schools that actually teach in the Montessori tradition.
  34. Meals large enough for me to get a doggy bag and have dinner the next night at home.
  35. Many options for spice both at the store and in peoples houses.

Human Trafficking News from around the globe


Because this site has not had trafficking information recently and because I am too tired from all my site and friend seeing to write about it, today we will do a short run down of a few of the recent news stories on human trafficking:

  • From Canada Human Trafficking charges added to prior charges of child prostitution and pimping for Canadian couple.  More here.
  • According to the Times of Malta, human traffickers are more organized this year. This article looks a little at the trends and also highlights some recent tragedies. More here.
  • In Australia, legislation has been sent to parliment that would extend the current law that allows for prosecution for sex trafficking to include prosecution for labor trafficking as well.  More here.
  • IOM has started to work with Russian pop star Valeriya  as a goodwill ambassador to teach people about human trafficking. She says she is drawing on her past as a battered wife to help people break free. More here.
  • Ireland’s Department of Justice is planning a campaign on human trafficking for the country. Their main message is that it can happen anywhere. More here.
  • Bangladesh meeting underscores need for more concerted effort to confront human trafficking especially in rural areas. More here.
  • President of Nigeria pledges to fight human trafficking in his country. More here.
  • 20 young Filipino girls were rescued from human trafficking in the capitol of Manila.  This is a case of domestic trafficking. More here.
  • Belize police who were charged of human trafficking in February of 2007 had their case thrown out of court when police failed to produce a file.  The commissioner was so convinced of their guilt though that he had them re-arrested. More here.