Nelson, women and the health insurance bill

I am not a woman.  I wouldn't dare speak for women.  But my life and activism are intricately tangled with that of women and that of women's rights.  I worked hard - phone-banking night after night - in 2006 - to defeat Proposition 73, the first of three consecutive parental notification measures on the California ballot in as many years since.  We defeated 73.  We defeated every one of them since.  But the bastards keep coming back.  I took away my dad's pen when he was filling out his mail-in ballot last year and was about to vote for Prop 4, last year's parental notification measure on the California ballot.  I took away his pen and had a half-hour conversation with him until I convinced him to vote 'No.'

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Writing about politics does not make me a man

At Talk Left I saw a reference to the Gender Analyzer, which uses artificial intelligence to "determine if a homepage is written by a man or a woman." You enter the address, and in an instant it scans the text, giving you a prediction. When I checked my blog home, Bleeding Heartland, I got this:

We think is written by a man (79%).

How about the home page of frequent MyDD diarist canadian gal?

We think is written by a man (88%).

The computer program hedged its bets with Iowa blogger Lynda Waddington's Essential Estrogen:

We guess is written by a man (59%), however it's quite gender neutral.

I admit I assumed Digby was a man for years, but that was mainly because of the illustration of a man shouting on the front page of Hullaballoo. Without scanning images, the Gender Analyzer makes the same false assumption:

We think is written by a man (74%).

Hilzoy's place, Obsidian Wings, yields a similar result:

We think wings/ is written by a man (84%).

In fact, I've been unable to find any political blog by a woman that the analyzer can recognize as such:

We think is written by a man (81%).
We think is written by a man (60%).

We have strong indicators that is written by a man (91%).

BlogHer does register as being written by a woman, probably because of the posts about shopping, food and fashion.

Bleeding Heartland commenter ragbrai08 looked up the details and assumptions underlying the Gender Analyzer. You can find the pdf link to the paper "Effects of Age and Gender on Blogging"at the bottom of her comment.

The analyzer mostly ignores the content of blog posts, except for certain key words. Computer programming and gaming words, along with some words relating to politics and the economy, are tagged as "male." Female words include "shopping,""cute,""pink,""freaked," and "husband." The analyzer also looks at elements such as sentence structure ("male bloggers use more articles and prepositions") and the number of hyperlinks (male bloggers use more).

So, just about any blog with a bunch of hyperlinks and political words will be deemed a man's blog by the Gender Analyzer. I have to agree with ragbrai08's assessment:

The only thing this algorithm is telling you is that the political blogosphere is dominated by male authors.

It would be interesting for some researcher to study a large sample of political blogs only, to see if politically-oriented male and female bloggers write differently or use hyperlinks differently. I suspect that a content analysis of political blogs would reveal a lot of overlap but also significant differences in the subjects covered by men and women.

Please share any relevant thoughts and opinions in the comments.

Speaking of gender issues, if you missed this in Natasha Chart's linkfest yesterday, go read about life as a female reporter.

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McCain Has a Strange Way of Wooing Clinton Supporters

John McCain has a really strange approach to wooing Clinton supporters.

In his recent "townhall" organized to do just that, he pretty much highlighted all of the reasons why his positions are anathema to many women (and Democrats in general).

Here is the HuffPo article with McCain's own words below:

McCain on Roe v. Wade:

"Roe v. Wade, we obviously will have a disagreement. I think it was a bad decision."

McCain on abortion rights:

"[W]e have to change the culture of America. We have to convince people of our view that the rights of the unborn are as important as the rights of the born."

McCain on medically necessary late-term abortions:

"I am unalterably opposed to partial birth abortion."

McCain on the two or more Supreme Court appointments the next president is likely to make:

"I would find people along the lines of Justice Roberts."
"I wouldn't have selected Justice Ginsberg or Justice Breyer."
"I believe that interpretation of the Constitution, and only that, should be the criteria for Supreme Court justices."

McCain on gay rights and "don't ask, don't tell":

"Don't ask, don't tell: I want to rely on the advice and counsel of our military leaders. As president ... I will ask the Joint Chiefs of Staff to go back and review that and other policies to see whether those policies are appropriate, and I do rely on them to a large degree because they're the ones we entrust the leadership of the lives of our young men and women in our military. And I'm sure you may have a disagreement with that policy."

McCain on his own intelligence:

"You don't have to be real smart. I stood fifth from the bottom of my class at the naval academy, which shows in America anything is possible."

McCain's on what makes America great:

"We're the only country in the world that has over time sent our young Americans to shed our most precious asset -- American blood -- in defense of someone else's freedom."

Why would a Clinton supporter want to vote for this guy again?

NOW is the Time to Press Obama on Feminist Issues

All over the country, pundits, politicians, and probably even Barack Obama himself are asking the same question:

What do Hillary Clinton supporters want?

Now is the time to contact the Obama campaign or surrogates directly and give them the answer to that question.

Of course the Clinton supporters will have to decide how to answer that question, and for many the only answer will have to do with giving Clinton the veep spot or another high level post. but i would respectfully suggest that it is time to move beyond support for a single candidate and ask Obama to address ALL feminist issues.

And there will NEVER be a better time to do it than right now.

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Petition to address women's issues and sexism in the media at debates

There is a petition to address women's issues and sexism in the media in the presidential debates. From a comment on Taylor Marshes blog:

It was inevitable that race and gender would collide in the Democratic primaries. MSNBC has bent over backward not to do or say anything with any hint of racism, which can't be said about their treatment of Hillary Clinton and gender. I would not have believed the open misogyny displayed by MSNBC commentators such as Chris Matthews and Tucker Carlson, and tolerated by NBC leadership, without seeing it on display nightly. Apparently it's not race trumping gender for the media, but male trumping female. I am a 66 year old male, and I am appalled and disgusted.

Please take a moment to read about this important issue, and join me in signing the petition. It takes just 30 seconds, but can truly make a difference. We are trying to reach 1000 signatures - please sign here: ntial-debate---womens-issues-and-sexism- in-the-media-coverage-of-the-2008-electi on

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