Monday, December 22, 2008

books and reading other folks' books

why i'm at the office infecting everyone with my germs, i don't know.
but while i ponder that, here's a list of books that caught my eye and maybe you can stun your holiday list with the gift of learnin':

Honour Killing: Stories of Men Who Killed by Ayse Onal
Falling for Science: Objects in Mind edited by Sherry Turkie (scientists write about when they first fell in love with science)
Nerve: The First Ten Years by editors (especially if you remember when was really good and had a print magazine)

(thanks, bookslut, though i wish y'all would read more people of color. but whatever. it's your blog.)

did you also know December is Buy a Book Written by a Black Author and Give it to Someone Not Black Month? (not really, but it's a good idea. i have to confess, i should probably read more black authors, too.)

here are some totally random suggestions of titles that have caught my eye or oldies and goodies (and, no, i'm not listing anything by Zane):
Ida: A Sword Among Lions: Ida B. Wells and the Campaign Against Lynching by Paula Giddings (Wells has always been one of my feminist heroines and the book is also big enough to concuss someone in a black feminist rage, if that is your wont.)
I am Your Sister: Collected and Unpublished Writings of Audre Lord by Rudolph P. Byrd
Best African American Essays edited by Debra Dickerson and Gerald Early (but not avail until jan)
Brother, I'm Dying by Edwidge Danticat (who doesn't love Danticat?)
On the Courthouse Lawn: Confronting the Legacy of Lynching in the 21st Century by Sherrilyn A. Ifill
Through the Ivory Gate by Rita Dove (an old one but I still love this book)
Incognegro by Mat Johnson (a graphic novel - and a word me and my friends would use to make fun of one really really straight-laced black dude in grad school. i know. hello, pot; i'm kettle.)
He's Got the Whole World in His Hands by Kadir Nelson (for a kid you might know)
Getting Mother's Body by Suzan-Lori Parks (don't let the opening line throw you)

i am heavily indebted to these two blogs - here and here - for their suggestions (some of which are already on my library wish list.)

update: more on this topic here, as well.

what she said: the freakily accurate tarot lady

Scene: friday late afternoon - dimly lit nightclub - office party - tarot reader's table

TarotLady: love your glasses!
Ding: thanks!

TL: so this will be a brief reading for the next 6 months or 1 year; we can talk about relationships, work, health, family. whatever you want.
Ding: i've been dealing with work all week so how about relationships.

TL: think about what you want to know and shuffle these.
(Ding thinks and shuffles)
TL: (slapping down cards) hm. are a relationship?

Ding: it's (sigh) complicated.
TL: i'll say. (looks at all the upside down cards) is he married? involved? somehow not available? i'm getting that someone is really wrapped up in their career.

Ding: uh, that would be me. and no, he's just as single as i am. though he could be seeing someone else, i don't really know. (shrug)
TL: huh. this has been happening for a long time now, hasn't it? like a merry-go-round. but there's something there. intensity.

Ding: yeah. you could say that. it's been...7, 8 years? we actually have a lot in common and works. it's like having a long distance relationship but in the same city.
TL: i see. (slaps another card down) well. not for long. you two have an old soul thing going on but it's more habit than anything else. and 2009 is when you break the habit.

Ding: really?
TL: oh, yes. you break the habit. (another card) you move on. you learn what you can, and you're very sefl-aware, you know what's happening, and what you've been practising for happens in 2009. this guy is gone by march or april. march.

Ding: huh. wow. and there's someone else?
TL: yes. (slaps a card down) the one you actually want. the one you don't have to hide from your friends.
Ding: whoa.

TL: yes. he actually wants to be in your life, meet your family, friends, talk with you, spend time with you and will make the effort for you. but you know that you don't get married, right?
Ding: really?

TL: oh, yes. (slaps another card down) you don't get married. you'll be committed, but you're not the marrying kind. so if that was what you were hoping for, it's not in the cards.
Ding: no worries. (actually feeling some kind of relief)

TL: it'll be something that you and he understand. very unconventional and non traditional because that's who you are.
Ding: wow. thanks.
TL: you're not really surprised by this, are you?
Ding: no, i kinda knew. except for meeting someone new.

TL: 2009. it'll be a new year and you'll have a serious change.
Ding: good to know. do you have a card?

Friday, December 19, 2008

and just to emphasize all the gayness, here's your year in entertainment, seen through the gay:

MSN Year in Review: The Gayest Year Ever?

it matters: the rick warren decision

Obama’s Selection of Evangelical Pastor Rick Warren for Inauguration Sparks Gay Outrage - US News and World Report

i have to admit, i'm puzzled over this one.
(who would i have picked? Peter Gomes. he's black AND gay!)

rick warren's disgust with the 'gay lifestyle' (like it's picking a tea cozy or deciding where to vacation) is just code for 'i am a raging homophobe.' and that's why it matters.

choosing someone like rick warren is exactly like inviting a friendly, raging racist to stand up there and give the prayer.

when are we going to see that civil rights are civil rights, no matter who's asking for them?

if the larger society is to accept the basic humanity of gays and lesbians then certain lines need to be drawn in the sand. one of those lines is recognizing that homosexuality is not a lifestyle choice but a life, like yours and mine and, therefore, it should be recognized as such and reap the same benefits of lives like yours and mine.

in the same way you cannot choose your skin color or your gender, you cannot choose your sexual orientation.

(a lesson that Ted Haggard is still learning, clearly.)

this is not a point to debate or cavil over but the basic, fundamental dividing line between those supporting gay civil rights and those who are against it. there is no point in conversing, negotiating or symbolically linking these two camps when the two camps are so fundamentally opposed.

i can understand only some of the thinking behind this pick. rick warren symbolizes a so-called 'post-denominational' church (an idea which would make my dad spit.) but i think we can probably think of pastors on the religious left who better symbolize this spirit of moving away from tired fundamentalism and its culture wars: brian mclaren? peter gomes? my pastor? jim wallis? father michael pfleger? an ordained woman from any of the mainline churches, perhaps?

a friend made me realize that Power is Power, no matter who wears it, even the affable, tall, skinny, black guy we're going to call President. and Power, no matter who wears it, never willingly cedes ground.

and so, those of us who are demanding something from Power, neither can we.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008

intimacy = epic fail

what a weird day: shoes thrown at Shrub, a good friend let go from my office, massive project about to descend on my shoulders and having weird, sudden, totally bizarre and *couple-like* thoughts about giving a christmas token (ok, gift, whatever) to LTF (Long Term Frolic) who would probably freak if he knew what i was thinking.

exchanging gifts is what couples do.*
LTF and i are not a couple. but i'd like to acknowledge the years (count 'em) we've known each other, show that i'm fond of him and to wish him a good holiday.

or is this guilt?**

what do you get someone who's been your lover for the past 7-8 years but who you've put in a tiny little box and never invited to meet your friends, family, spend a night at your place or read a single piece of your writing? (all 5 of my readers see more of my life than he does.)

a poinsettia? an ornament? an itunes gift card? a set of plushy bath towels***?
* Not that i'd expect anything in return. geez, no.
** Which is what my old coach, Dr. C-, would ask me to explore. But I won't.
*** Or is that too girl-friendy, even though he really really needs them?

Friday, December 12, 2008

the blagonian mind

she has a point.

in all this week's craziness surrounding our (crazy) governor's (crazy) attempt to turn his administration into a mirror image of the 18th century french court, the words crazy, delusional, insane, psychotic, sociopathic, unhinged, unbalanced, etc., have been thrown around with glee to describe g-rod's possible motivation.

(i'll admit it. i'm one of the gleeful ones.)

but last night, at a little cocktail party with some non profit chief execs, the ceo of a children's aid agency said, 'what if he is mentally ill? is it still funny?'

and we stopped laughing.
because, in all reality, mental illness isn't funny.

which is why, from now on, i'm no longer going to refer to the governor as crazy. not just because it's not funny to make fun of the mentally ill but because i really don't believe he is.

he's just crass, corrupt, venal, dishonest and overwhelmingly stupid.

which begs the question: is it ok to make fun of the stupid?
and i say, of course.

holding up the stupid to ridicule is permissable when the formula follows thusly: stupid + power + (crippling pride - impulse control) = target.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

back to teh gay: stewart grills huckabee

last night, after a funny bit on our governor, jon stewart had probably the most thoughtful and firm interview with mike huckabee wrt his stance on gay marriage.

stewart was like a boxer, cornering huckabee, not letting anything get past him. the whole thing was very very skillful (and respectful) and finally got the conversation around to the crux of anti-gay rights folks' thinking: they honestly still think being gay is a 'choice' and, therefore, civil rights for what is clearly something they don't have to choose to be is moot.

there was one point in the conversation where huckabee said that he wants to make it clear that folks who are against gay marriage aren't homophobic, don't hate gay people. but clearly, if you don't think gay people are exactly like you and deserve what the rest of us have, and you think it's ok to force them to live fake lives because you don't 'believe in homosexuality' then whatever your intent, the impact is hatred and homophobia.

the link from Think Progress has the video clip:

Think Progress » Stewart Grills Huckabee On Gay Marriage: ‘At What Age Did You Choose Not To Be Gay?’

Blagonian Venality

there is a pile of work on my desk and a list of to-dos at least 10 items deep but i'm still repelled/fascinated by the scandal whirling around our governor.

everyone was talking about it yesterday. my two cabbies, my LTF (Long Term Frolic), my Roomie, my friends (even those from out of state), everyone on cable tv (including jon stewart who also had a righteous conversation with mike huckabee about gay rights and marriage) and, this morning, it's still everywhere.

i was trying to figure out why this scandal disgusts me so. after all, we're all old hands at political scandals. spitzer, stevenson, mcgreevey, senator 'wide stance', clinton, old man daley, etc. the mental image i had of our governor, who's supposed to enforce the state constitution (an article of which is the elimination of poverty for those who live in this state) putting price tags on every aspect of his office made me angry. i actually felt like spitting in this man's face.

there is about this scandal a tackiness, a grasping, idiotic greediness that disgusts me. but i realized it's not just the greed, it's the venality.

it is 'the prostitution of talents or principles for mercenary considerations.' (thank you, OED.)

i'm trying to remember my dante and figure out where our governor would be: in the eighth circle of hell with the corrupt politicians? or with the hypocrites? the thieves? or in purgatory, trying to work off his sins of pride, wrath or avarice?

Blagonian Saga, pt 3: impeachment?

if you don't know, the Capitol Fax Blog is the place folks go to keep a pulse on Springfield. it is awesome.

and from them comes this little tip that there is movement to begin impeachment proceedings against the G-Rod, his resignation notwithstanding: The Capitol Fax Blog » MADIGAN: HOUSE TO CONVENE MONDAY ON SENATE ELECTION BILL - MJM “PREPARED TO DISCUSS” IMPEACHMENT

let's not forget all the other things the state has to deal with:
$5 billion in unpaid bills
a growing deficit budget that has no hope of being balanced anytime soon
a hobbled general assembly that has new leadership
a crumbling and ineffective infrastructure without any guiding priority list
an economic meltdown that will surely affect every county in the state
an unstable unemployment trust fund
growing unemployment
a housing crisis

all of this on top of a corrupt and mordantly stupid governor under investigation.

december is going to be an exciting month.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

the blagojeviches: they're like hillbilly macbeths

Chicagoist: Quoting the Blagojevich Complaint

the Chicagoist has pulled choice quotes from the Blago complaint and it's like reading excerpts from a badly redacted Cliffs Notes version of MacBeth. i mean, you have patty blagojevich in the background of a phone call screeching about a piece of the pie, egging him on, and you have Blago putting a price tag on everything/everyone and thinking his dumb ass actually has a chance to run for president in some alternate universe where no one can read or Google search his name. really, Governor?! really??

this arrest is like a gift to the IL GOP.
they could run a high school valedictorian for governor and win.

you can read the whole complaint here. they're not lying; it really is a good read.

holy crap

so...Gov. Rod has been arrested. i'm listening to the press conference now. (and, can i say that patrick fitzgerald is awesome?)

i was in an early morning meeting, standing in line for coffee when the guy next to me looked down at his blackberry and said, 'huh. the governor was just taken into custody by the feds.'

a white-haired woman said, 'get out.'
i said, 'you're kidding.'

he said, 'no lie. the trib just sent an alert.'

all of us whipped out our blackberries and checked. we gasped and hurried to sit down and read the news. the trib updated about every 20 minutes or so and when 2 state senators referenced it from our panel later in the meeting, the majority of the audience gasped.

dude. this is huge.
this dumb, awful, incompetent man was trying to sell Obama's old senate seat, among other things.

you have to read the trib story. appalling.

the thing is, until he's convicted of conspiracy to commit a crime, he's still governor! technically, he could still appoint obama's successor!


consider this your place to mull all things corrupt and shameful.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

good lord. what is this??

WHY, sweet jesus, why??

i'm serious. why?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

sexism ruins everything: Transporter 3

what is not to love about jason stathan? he's big, bald, english and built like a Hummer. in his movies, he always looks good, cars go fast and shit blows up. but, sometimes, you really wish his movies made some little effort to have a woman in it who didn't make you wish she was strapped to dynamite, no matter how cutely freckled she is.

(or, more appropriately, burn with the desire to see luc besson strapped to dynamite. the female characters he writes seem to be perpetually adolescent, burdened with a number of developmental challenges, and who respond in ways that are completely unattached to what is actually taking place around them.)

i can appreciate a well-choreographed car chase like any other but Transporter 3 was stupidly, lamely, idiotically and typically sexist.

though i have dwindling faith in male scriptwriters to write female characters with actual brains anytime soon, perhaps someone will pay attention:

1. if a female character was the adult daughter of a high ranking government official, mightn't she have a much better education than the average Ibiza party girl and not be so evidently vacuous?

2. in times of life-threatening stress, a believable woman would not get coy and refuse to offer important, relevant information that might help keep her and a companion alive.

3. knowing that her life depends on surving a treacherous road trip, an interesting and believable woman would not choose a random moment to waste time and drop ecstasy, swig vodka and demand her driver perform a strip tease for her.

4. somewhat related, during a kidnapping, it is not at all probable that a woman would demand a pit stop to seduce and have sex with her fellow kidnap victim/driver.

5. and if a pit stop was necessary, it would be to change from the high heels and party dress to more appropriate action gear that would allow one to, you know, run or something.

6. unless she has undergone brain damage, a more believable and less annoying female character would be a lot more interested in crisis resolution and not let the big guy do all the heavy lifting. for instance, instead of ineffectually screaming in the backseat while being re-kidnapped, perhaps one would be a little bit more focused on stopping the car.

geez, i hate sexism.

dork love: BSG!!

well, this got my attention.
Battlestar Galactica 4.5 Promo Clips!!

aargh. the finale can't come soon enough! why must you make us wait until april? why??

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Vote for the YWCA!

Click here and vote for the YWCA Metropolitan Chicago; the organization with the most votes wins $15,000. We help women, girls, children and rape victims, for jeebus' sake! We help eliminate racism!

What to do:
1- Pick Chicago, IL
2- Click on YWCA Metropolitan Chicago
And that's it but you can only vote 1/day - so vote every day until December 10!

Frakking kids. We were kicking their butts until yesterday!

(yeah, conflict of interest. whatever. it's my blog and i can do what i want.)

(link fixed! thanks, Orange!)

Monday, November 24, 2008

frak home for the holidays

I was actually going to write something heartwarming and very Hallmark-ish about how much I like Thanksgiving and how I'll miss my dead mother's recipe for stuffing but I just got off a conference call at the office that just about made my head explode. I have *no* patience for inefficiently run conference calls where nothing is clear and folks wouldn't know an action item if it bit them on the ass. I especially have no patience for consultants without a good project management bone to share between them. We are paying you goo-gobs of cash! Work faster!!

So work has destroyed my soft, gooey mood and made me cranky. I'm so cranky I'm glad I'm going to be staying home by myself for the holiday. Me, in loungey pants, with a pint of gelato, some chili that I'll make on Wednesday night, and a stack of creepy, guilty pleasure DVDs and maybe some nekkid action with a boy. Or two.

I haven't decided how cranky I am and how much stress relief I'll need, yet.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Prop 8: the legal challenge begins

And so it begins, the legal arguments and decisions that will impact the everyday lives of gay and lesbian Californians.

A brief digression: in my day job, I'm the government relations officer for a non profit and I basically see that role as one that explains to interested (or apathetic) parties why my organization matters and why the work we do is meaningful and how others can contribute to that meaning. I was reading a messaging document about the way to frame a particularly complicated campaign we're about to launch in coalition with other orgs in the state and it presented a novel (to me) idea - that when advocating for a social cause, it might be better to promote materialist thinking, rather than mentalist thinking.

Using a materialist approach in social justice communications concentrates on the concrete advantages of better policy decisions rather than factors that are outside the public sphere of interest, like character, choices or individual motivation.

It's kind of confusing but it works like this: you have to give folks a reason to discard their binary thinking, largely based in fear or ignorance. "Gay marriage will mean the end of heterosexual marriage" or "Gay marriage is unnatural" (because being gay is unnatural)

A mentalist approach (something I do all the time because I get so easily pissed off) says that 'Gay marriage is good because gays are people too and it's just fair to legally recognize their relationships, too! You're such a bigoted asshole!'

This is one effective way of communicating the issue.

Might there be a more effective way to communicate the issue?

Perhaps. (And I'm working this out as I'm writing here, so bear with me.)

A materialist approach says this:
"The right to form a family without the interference of state or federal government is a core American value, along with fairness, equality and freedom. To deny gay marriage, or other legal arrangements that replicate (though aren't the same as) marriage rights, is to deny them the right to form a family and separates them from a national identity that is rightfully theirs."

Or something like that.

The advantage of this kind of framing:
It neutralizes the kerfuffle about 'protecting' families and maintaining the importance of families to an intact social fabric. In fact, it buys into it. You are correct, sir. Families are the foundation of society and gays and lesbians would like to have families of our own.
It allows a conversation about how gay families support society. Gay families provide parenting, support children, are invested in and contribute to the various supports that are involved in raising a family.
It connects the narrative of gay and lesbian equality to a national narrative of liberation. It's not just about one community, it's about the connection to a big ol' community. The struggle of other people and other communities to live lives of independence and freedom, away from social and religious oppression, is no different from this struggle.
It erases the binary Us/Them. Family is family, no matter who's in it.
And it doesn't waste time pleading for reluctant hetero acceptance of a gay 'lifestyle.' Homophobia will probably never go away; but with family, there's strength.

Ok, I really should get on the phone now and do some work.

CA Court Case Challenges Prop 8, Anti-Gay Rights Measure |

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

well, that's one album i don't need

just the other day i was listening to a prince song and thinking, 'he is so cool; i need to download his latest.' but that was before i readthis.

so i guess i can download something else now.

the view from the other side: why civil unions aren't enough

From an Andrew Sullivan post:

We are so often told by opponents of marriage equality that they do not oppose our right to have basic legal protections. What they do not understand, because they have never had to understand, is that without legal marriage, gay couples are always subject to the veto of family members who have more say over our spouses under the law than we do.

and this:

Until you have been treated as sub-human, it's hard to appreciate how it feels. We will not give up. And we will win in part for the sake of those who never made it to see this day.

This is what my faith teaches me, whatever the Vatican insists. Our love really is stronger than their fear.

so to bridget, chris and others who offer the mealy-mouthed 'i'm ok with their civil unions but, euww, i don't want them to be married because marriage is meant to be straight' i say that this is a civil rights issue.

you're either for equal rights because you truly believe in liberty for ALL and that all men were created equal, and thus how the world works for one set of the citizenry is how it should work for ALL - or you don't and think that our Constitution is only for straight people.

pick one.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

no apology

"If gays are granted rights, next we'll have to give rights to prostitutes and to people who sleep with St. Bernards and to nailbiters." Anita Bryant

while it's snowing in chicago let me share why i was rude to commenter bridget, down below.

(no one may be asking, but i'll tell you anyway because - one, i'm sure i'm going to be rude a few more times as i keep writing about gay rights and, two, i don't want to keep explaining myself.)

i have no patience for the apologists of bigotry, no matter how harmless they try to make themselves seem.
i have no interest in engaging in some bullshit, trollish 'conversation,' or 'dialogue,' about 'both sides' of the issue because there are no two sides of denying american citizens basic equal rights because you don't like who they sleep with.

if you don't believe basic humanity and decency, as well as the foundation of our Constitution, dictates that the same liberty that you and i experience should be extended to everyone, as part of their national birthright, then you have nothing to say to me.

that's it. those are the parameters, the guidelines of the issue with which i'm willing to engage - not about religion and not about morality because our rights as citizens have nothing to do with either religion or morality.

it's pathetic that the shite spewed by anita bryant back in the 70s still has currency today. i guess that's the laziness of bigotry for you.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

oh, rahm, pt. 2

Wonkette : Take Intern Juli’s Advanced Emanuel Brothers Personality Test From Hell

So, if one really wants to be thorough about one's Obama Administration stalking, knowing one's target is absolutely crucial.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

it's about love

[h/t Wade and LeBlanc on Bitch, Ph.D.]

Friday, November 07, 2008

party over: a primer on equality and Prop 8 - from a brown straight girl!

We'll take a brief break from the longest post-election party ever to turn a quiet, sober eye to California, my home state. There, among the raisins, peaches and lettuce, the people of California voted overwhelmingly to deny their fellow Californians basic equal rights while, at the same time, making it possible for Barack Obama to become President. Ironic, isn't it?

Basically, Prop 8 tells every gay person in California to suck it up and accept it: you will never have the same right or access to the same things to which I, my straight sister and straight brother in law have rights and access.

There. That's the Proposition in a nutshell.
(Come at me with your counter arguments trying to explain to the 'danger' of gay rights and not only will I call bullshit on all of it, I will ask you what made you hate gay people.)

Now there's been some talk about who's to blame for this vote. Was it black people? Was it Latinos? Was it black and/or Latino church folk? (We'll come back to that.)

Let's cut to the chase: it was straight people who tanked equal rights for gays in California. (Let that sink in a bit. We'll come back to that, too.)

Here's the thing about equal rights - they actually supercede religion and race and they do so because the idea behind equality and civil rights is quite simple:


I will repeat this often and loudly at whoever is puffing themselves into a self-righteous ball about why they voted for Prop 8:

Religion: you voted for Prop 8 because the Bible said so. Well, so what? We don't live in a theocracy and it's wrong for a portion of the population to be subjected to your narrow interpretation of the bible which should actually have no bearing on civic life. God will not send you to hell because you voted for something that gives Tony and Miguel the right to spousal healthcare benefits or visit one another in the hospital should Tony get hit by the RTD.

The 'Ick' Factor: you voted for Prop 8 because the idea of two women loving one another and exchanging vows in front of a judge skeeves you out. Again, so the frak what? Your personal, outdated and irrelevant homophobia just legally stripped an entire community of their basic civil rights which they should have because they're, you know - basic frakking human beings living in America.

The Race Thing: you're quite willing to vote for Obama but, lawd, that gay thing is what white folks do. Are you kidding me?? You are surrounded by gay people.

You sit in church, look up into the choir and know that Donny the pianist has been 'that way' for years. (Quiet as kept, you know big ol' flashy, stentorian Bishop So-And-So has been having liaisons with black men for years.)
You have a cousin who has brought her slightly butchy 'roommate' to every family reunion and you know they're not just sharing an apartment to save on rent.
You have heard stories of folks in your family who've never married or remarried after a spouse has died, but are suddenly quite comfortable moving in with their life-long same sex best friend - and you know it's not just about companionship.
You go to all the fests in Leimert Park and you see the all the gay men with their babies and their 'girlfriends' and you KNOW those men aren't straight.

And you know what? Luther - gay! Langston - gay! Snoop (on The Wire) - gay! My aunt Diane - totally gay (which I just found out about last year from my dad who was also caught by surprise)!

What the hell, my people?!
Y'all had best get off your high horses about civil rights and demanding to hear bullshit arguments to 'convince' you that gay people need the same rights as you. Who do we think we are? We do not own the patent on civil rights. Ol' Miss Sally mighta marched with Dr. King but Ol' Miss Sally has NO right to use Dr. King's fight to emancipate black folk to justify keeping gay people in a cage built by her cultural misunderstanding of what 'the gays' do, are like or really want.

You know what gay people want? What you and I have. Freedom. Autonomy. Dignity. The privilege to introduce the person they love to a room full of people as their spouse. They want to fulfill a human desire to create a family and have that family be protected just as your family is protected. They want what we have and we should give it to them.

Why? Because we took it away from them!

This brings me back to STRAIGHT PEOPLE tanking this thing for the gays. White, black, latino or asian - a majority of the heteros in California voted for this shit. Why? Because we are drowning in our straight privilege and are, deep down, unrepentant homophobes. We don't like gay people. Apparently, we mustt hate them, despite working with gay people, socializing with gay people and having gay people in our family. We might as well have just pinned a great big pink triangle on them.

And until we share some of this burden and hold our fellow straight breeders accountable for their homophobia, gay people will never get what they deserve - what we have.

(Why I'm using 'we:' we, even as self-identified friends to the gays, are implicated in this travesty. Clearly, if we straight people who support gay rights because we know and love gay friends and family or because we know it's the right thing to do or because we are (gag) 'tolerant' - clearly we didn't do enough. Our gay-hating friends, acquaintances, neighbors and family voted for this shit because we didn't call them out on this crap long before this stupid Proposition even got on the ballot.

The burden to change the paradigm of hatred and bigotry shouldn't fall entirely on the community that's oppressed by it; it should be shared equally by the privileged who must sacrifice something in order to see the promised land of equal rights for all.)

So go on. Celebrate voting for Obama and 'change.'
Deep down we straight folks are oozing with the same old bullshit tar of hypocrisy.

[A Private Note to Richard:
Yes, I do think anal sex is healthy, especially when done with respect, with someone you trust and/or love, with plenty of lube, as well as a condom.

In fact, Lawrence v. Texas pretty much guarantees that any and all enjoyment of butt sex is private and outside of the reach of the law. In fact, beyond butt sex, Lawrence v. Texas also upholds that the liberty given to us in the Constitution pretty much covers gay folks' freedom to enter into relationships without fear of reprisal or criminal prosecution, whether or not such a relationship has legal recognition. You know - like STRAIGHT PEOPLE. Thanks for asking.]

Thursday, November 06, 2008

oh, rahm.

The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan (November 06, 2008) - Getting To Know Obama's New Chief Of Staff

i have just added one more name to my Crazy Jewish Dudes I Like (A LOT) list:

And there’s the story of how, the night after Clinton was elected, Emanuel was so angry at the president’s enemies that he stood up at a celebratory dinner with colleagues from the campaign, grabbed a steak knife and began rattling off a list of betrayers, shouting "Dead! . . . Dead! . . . Dead!" and plunging the knife into the table after every name. "When he was done, the table looked like a lunar landscape," one campaign veteran recalls. "It was like something out of The Godfather. But that’s Rahm for you."


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

We Won!

Oh my god.
We did it.

Thank jesus.


I cannot say this with enough emphasis: Get in gear and go vote.

Stand in line for a long time; wear comfortable shoes; pee in a can or wear Depends.

Double check your polling location.

Bring two forms of ID (one with a photo and one that verifies your current mailing address)

Bring along the number of the ACLU voter protection hotline and email:
1-877-523-2792/email at

Vote all the way down the ballot (a filibuster-proof majority is our goal!)

Read directions carefully and take your time with the new electronic system.

[This is a special note to members of the youth vote:

I've already had to tell someone's undergraduate sister living in Mississippi, but wanting to vote absentee in Texas, that she can't vote today because she waited too long and missed her deadline for sending in her application as well as her ballot. Are you freaking kidding me??

If you guys blow this for us (as you did back in 2000 with your Nader vote) I will be seriously pissed.

This goes for all the little old people down in Florida, too.]

Saturday, November 01, 2008

in memory of dana ferguson

yesterday, i went to my pastor's funeral.

the church was coldly austere and beautiful; the service emotional and wrenching. somberly dressed, clearly fighting tears, members of the church streamed in from all over the city, forming a line that rivaled one on Easter Sunday. a letter from the Mayor's office was read.

i held it together through Barber's 'Adagio', through the opening prayers but then came Psalm 121, which has always been a favorite of mine.

I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
2 My help comes from the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.

3 He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The LORD is your keeper;
The LORD is your shade at your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day,
Nor the moon by night.

7 The LORD shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.
8 The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore.

it made me think of her evident dedication to her calling, the joy and discipline she showed but also the brave perseverance she showed during her illness. it was almost too much to think about.

but there were moments of joy, too. laughter through the eulogy, the comfort of seeing a packed congregation rise as one to sing the doxology, to recite the Apostles Creed, all of us praying together and reciting the 23rd Psalm (another of my favorites.)

and finally, after the wrenching recessional as her casket was slowly wheeled down the long, straight center aisle led by a bagpiper and followed by the pastoral staff and her surviving family, the Tower Brass doing a boozy, ragtime arrangement of 'Just A Closer Walk With Thee' that made us all erupt in bursts of giggles and clapping. it was her final joke.

the lesson here? in the shadow of death and sadness there is joy and grace. this is the gift that Christ has given us and for which, despite my personal failings and struggles, i am eternally grateful.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

let the dorky stalking begin

apparently, Nate Silver from Electoral Projections Done Right lives in my 'hood.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

oh my nappy hair

A reconstructed conversation from the office this morning:

BA, a young black woman: I'm just saying that this country isn't ready for it. A black family in the White House?? Y'all thought I was joking but the first time Michelle or the girls are in a photo with a 'do rag, or with their hair in twists there's gonna be a whole lotta 'What?!?'

ES, a Boomer white man: Really? You don't think folks will be ok with them?

BA: I'm just saying that most people in this country have never thought about it and so they're going to experience mild freakage.

Ding: You have a point. It's going to be like bringing your first black friend home. Or you visiting your first black friend's house.

ES: But I think that people are generally ok with it. (he pauses) However, when I was dating an African American woman and brought her home I know that it was a strain for my mother.

BA: Exactly. How many people really live integrated lives? Like Ding said, it's like a big sleepover with your first black friend - for four years. For the whole country. And you know anything we do with our hair, our bodies - hell, anything - codes political.

JD, another young black woman: It codes angry.

Ding: Yeah, I don't really have a lot of faith in the American people to avoid falling back on the 'wow, black people are so different' discourse.

JD: In college, my white friends were generally very polite about it. It takes some time.

Ding: You're from Canada.

JD: We're not that polite.

Ding: On the other hand, remember when Cherie Blair was photographed answering the door in a nightgown, no makeup, just out of bed? She was totally totally hit. Britain didn't exactly crumble from the realization that the Prime Minister's wife looked like everyone else in the morning.

BA: But that's white privilege.

ES: But we've seen Oprah looking like a disaster. America didn't seem that startled.

BA: But that's class privilege.

ES: Well, there I agree with you. But don't you think the Obamas would also be considered privileged by class?

Ding: Not on the same level as Oprah.

ES: I don't know. I give people more credit.

BA, JD and Ding: Hm.

BA: I swear, if people are going to start asking to touch my hair again...

JD and Ding: Girl...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

a shameless plug: i'm Twittering under PrincessDing on Twitter.
if you're Tweeting, too, drop on by.

i'm sure all 4 of my readers (apparently, i lost one) are breathless to track my every trivial movement.
i haven't written about sex for a while so here goes: meh.

Friday, October 24, 2008

privacy and punishment: how much time should i do?

Let's say I'm with my partner and, despite our best efforts, one of his swimmers gets through; let's also say that my right to control my fertility (either through consistent and regular access to birth control and/or abortion services) has been rendered illegal. The right to medical privacy, as well as the right to a safe and legal abortion, has been taken away from me and millions of other women in my state.

How much time should I do for getting an illegal abortion?

Watch the video, read about the campaign here and share your thoughts.

What I noticed? The unwillingness to follow a line of thought all the way to its logical conclusion and, therefore, be confronted with the consequences of what you're really advocating.

To anti-reproductive justice activists, women really are just afterthoughts.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

me, bitter? noooo.

am experiencing some frustration at resumes from academics who want to make a switch from research into non profit work. people! a CV is NOT a resume! no one outside of your university cares about how many papers you've presented. grrr. i read these academic resumes and they go immediately into the NO pile.

harsh, but so's the market.

other tips for the non-academic job search:
format your resume correctly
create your 'sizzle'
you only really need 1 page
your education can be scary and so you should try to make it blend (no one wants to know the name of your dissertation; save it for the interview - but only if they ask and only if it's witty, charming and/or blisteringly funny.)

Monday, October 20, 2008

eeny meeny miny...tired.

I used to have a fantasy about dating a steady rotation of 3-4 guys who met different needs: the 'meet me at ComicCon' guy, the intense 'good lord, you make me break into a sweat' guy, the 'let's talk about politics and deep thoughts' guy, and the 'you look good in a suit/tux and know how to do cocktail chatter' guy.

In reality, bifurcating desires, chopping needs into little bundles, and then distributing to the appropriate person, is exhausting.

It's like being the understudy for everyone in a play and then, one night, most of the cast gets sick.

Matt Nathanson, a sensitive singer boy whose songs make me want to stab my eyes out, has a line about wanting to drown in his girl's love after getting all woozy about the swivel of her hips. Every time my girl friend plays his CD in her car I groan.

How about just pouring a little cup of love and I'll sip from it at will?

(On the other hand, I will get all dewy and soft for a Ray LaMontagne panty-dropping ditty. Go figure.)

This is not to say that I would change the way I'm organizing my social life. (This one gets the naughty, those ones get the chaste. It actually relieves me to separate them this way.)

But scheduling is getting to be a little bit of a bitch.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

this debate

is giving me a headache.

so far, apparently, economic issues trump every other domestic policy that matters to a significant portion of this population? 45 minutes of taxes, negative campaigning nonsense (where McCain thinks criticism of policy = personal attacks), vice presidential suitability and nothing about reproductive justice, women's particular vulnerability in this economic time, equal pay or the right to privacy; also nothing (so far) on their differing views on the SCOTUS and what their legacy would be.

meanwhile, mccain thinks that winning a debate translates into cross talking, bitter sneering and stubborn faith in inaccuracy.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

apple picking

Saturday morning, during the WLF breakfast, I said that I never thought I'd see the day a black man would be president. The woman next to me scrunched her nose and said, 'Really?'

Uh, yeah, lady. Really. Are you kidding? With this country's history?

I'm reading a book called The Color of Wealth which covers the racial disparities in wealth acquisition in this country. In detail, it shows how our country's history of systematic racial oppression is sprinkled with documented government supported acts of land theft, displacement and economic cock-blocking (for lack of a better word.)

I've just finished the chapter on Native Americans and it was depressing as hell - and infuriating.

It was depressing to think of this people systematically deprived of the assets that rightfully belong to them (it goes SO much farther than just land theft - it's about billions and billions of dollars cheated from tribes because private enterprise and our US govt colluded to strip them of rights to natural resources and revenue, as well as mismanaged the funds that were supposed to be held in 'trust' for them.) These are dollars that could, right now, make a material impact on generations of Native Americans who currently hit the lowest indicators for economic sustainability, employment, education, and health.

Our country basically committed genocide against a whole population and built a nation on top of their bodies and land. Sickening.

But it was also depressing to think about how racism has crippled us, as a whole. We are diminished, when we don't know our whole history. When they teach us about the Homestead Act but don't mention the little details that expose it for a racist (only white men got land that was stolen or misappropriated from Native populations)government policy, then how can we truly know who we really are and what it means to benefit from that kind of legacy?

Why do we really rely so much on our myths? Are we really that childlike and feeble?

I wrote an earlier post about chickens coming home to roost for the GOP but I think that I could say the same thing about our country as a whole. There is karmic payback for the blood and death we've caused. I don't care if folks think what I'm saying is unpatriotic - it's true. You can't pick and choose which parts of our history are worthy of mythmaking and then hope no one remembers or knows about the other; it's all part of the same.

When someone wins a battle, someone else dies; when you build a city, you've destroyed someone's home; when you're on top, there's somone suffocating on the bottom. We've been winning for a few centuries now and I'm guessing that the pendulum is about to swing the other way.

That's the way the world works; it's the balance of the universe. One could even call it justice.

(Ding's process: This was supposed to be a funny post about apple picking in Wisconsin this weekend, but it became something a little bit more sobering. Sometimes I write with a plan and sometimes the writing abruptly veers off my self-imposed topic. Apple picking reminded me of 'cherry picking' which made me think of selectively reading history, this weekend's conference, the Obama candidacy as a way for history to come full circle but also how it prompts the idea of payback and triggers the fears of those racists at recent McCain/Palin rallies who are expressing, IMO, fear of karmic payback. Funny how writing works.)

Friday, October 10, 2008

WLIF conference, Friday, pt 2: Massage is another word for engagement

5.38 - Gayle King is going to introduce Michelle Obama; aww, not as big a standing ovation as Oprah's. What do we learn from Gayle? Maria Pinto dresses Michelle Obama, she's never been disappointed by Barack and that Gayle's ex cheated on her! Thanks, Gayle.

5.50-Michelle Obama walks onstage; wow, her suit rocks. It's lean, black and velvety and very urban chic. She looks so good! Meanwhile, I'm a little bloated. For an event that's meant to massage the big donors, this whole day is working for me; it's personal, personable, intimate. It really feels like a tent revival meeting. She gives a version of her convention speech but I don't think anyone minds. What I like about her is her no nonsense, smart, straight up, a little stern but also funny manner - she's the cool mom, the cool older sister who will tell you the hard stuff, shrug and then say 'You know what you have to do.' I totally respect her!

And just like that, the first day's session is over! I can't believe I have to be here tomorrow morning at 7. Dude.

Final thoughts: took a while to get to the mixer but I've sucked down several gin/tonics 95 stories above the city. I'm excited about tomorrow: the policy workshops! Especially excited about the SCOTUS and economy workshops.

Some folks might look at this like an event for privileged, rich donors. Well, yeah. It is (though it's certainly not a pleasure junket.) Fundraising 101: big donors like to be massaged. To be clear, though, these women aren't merely donors. These women spend a lot of time volunteering for the campaign, so it's not just about money.

I liked seeing the energy of the campaign from the other side. I was saying to my roommate that the Obama campaign has been faulted for being aloof, cool, slow to react, whatever. But listening to Ploufe I saw his intensity and I can only assume that everyone involved in this campaign is just as intense. This campaign is anything but aloof. They are angry at the latest smears, they're indignant at our political landscape, they are hungry to win, they believe in their ideas and they truly believe that you change things by leading by example. (So, no. Don't expect the Obama campaign to whip the gloves off and call McCain a Race Baiting Geezer. Ain't gonna happen.) The volunteers are fired up; every woman who stood up there was almost vibrating with their burning desire to win this election. This kind of engagement was amazing to see and feel.

What the hell am I going to wear tomorrow?

WLIF Conference, Friday: Ding is giddy!

2.30- checked in with a great deal of ease; yes, I forgot my feminaries so now I have whole box of tampons hanging out of my purse from hotel shop - tampons and mints; women of all ages are here and just got invited to a mixer at the hancock tonight by the Black Women for Obama folks; she laughed when I asked if it was ok to bring my white roommate-i didn't know! It could be a militant thing!

2.37-the music is very 'praise'-like. (Folks who've grown up in church will know what I'm talking about.) I wonder if slightly vanilla gospel translates into 'hope.' I could really do with a water...

2-something: it's more crwded now and I'm apparently sitting with the tony women from california. Lots of Bulgari. I really want water. Or a drink. Like a gin/tonic. Mmmm.

3.02 - it's not Bulgari; it's like Anais or Tresor. Hm, Tresor. And the praise/hope music really needs to stop. Are women supposed to respond to sappy slow music? It's so bad I want to kill my ears.

3.11 - Sigh. Program running late. Session begins in 20 min. I bet it's Oprah making everything late. Diva!

The women who've come here have brought their mothers, daughters and gay male friends. Very next gen. Very supportive sisterhood montage-like. Hm. That's exactly what the music sounds like: a Lifetime tv show for women.

And don't think I haven't noticed the power ladies from some state that gets a lot of sun.

3.43 - opens with great video narrated by Obamas with images of female volunteers. I'm actually choking up. Pledge of allegiance led by adorable little African American girl. I actually remembered it! You can tell we're all panicking that we'll blank out.

Valeri Jarrett- very cute in a very cute suit (in fact, there are tons of chic women here in very very chic suits. Thank GOD I brought my cute suit to the office); brief roll call - a lot of women here from battleground states and even Alaska! (big laugh) There are Republican and independent women here, too!

Oprah- every cell phone has just gone ballistic. Flashes everywhere! She looks really great. She says: 'That's what women do: we know things and we do things' Big theme is how women have mothered this country. Shout out to Hilary Clinton - very messianic speech about obama being the One. I get it but it's a little creepy. What about managing expectations?

Huge standing ovation when she said we are here to help him cross the finish line. Very intense, the way she repeated it.

Great line: 'We are not in the mood to be fooled again!' Oprah is giving a really great speech. Kinda weird, the messianic overtones. Just slammed on the McCain 'that one' dig. Huge applause. She asked what were going to do now and, very slowly and intensely, she says 'Oh, yes. We are going to elect Barack Obama' She says this is 'An amazing hour' where we can make things right. 'Yes we will.'

4.05 - Howard Dean is next; the WLIF is the hugest fundraising body in the party. Wow, they've been doing this for 15 yrs; a video greeting from HRC who has a great line about this election being a corrective, bringing America back 'from the ashes of the Bushes.' It's a funny line.

Ok, Dean is pretty cute, in a very vintage, clean cut, log cabin way. I am so hormonal and need to get laid after this conference. So weird to see him like this! He was a candidate! He plays up the 50 state strategy, talking about the new battleground states as a product of it; says we're set to make gains in crucial senate races, including the K. Hagan race which gained momentum in September. Brief rundown: 229K new registered voters in NC, OH seat is going to be in play with female candidates and Dean goes down the roll, listing female candidates who are positioned to run very competitively in states that the party hadn't thought about before; a crucial point about how Obama has transformed the race and is energizing other candidates, while the new crop of candidates are also lending support to the Obama campaign - it makes total sense from a communications POV. At last, synergy!!

Very very important: Dean stresses that we need to VOTE EARLY!! Their strategy depends on strong showing in all our crucial states.

Private moments from the convention video: totally sweet; yes, I am tearing up. How hormonal am I? Apparently the Obama girls love the Jonas bros. Who are they?

4.38 - David Ploufe is next; Obama campaign has registered over 1.5 million new voters-ooh! A map! Be prepared. The notes are going to get a little choppy about progress on the ground:

MI firmly on obama map- giving strong electoral base-'lean Obama' states include NM, VA(leans obama and campaign fighting hard for it), IA, MN, NH, WI(comfortable lead here and critical of McCain for campaigning badly which is ultimately turning folks off); PA is a tough state and the campaign needs ads there; PA is ground zero for nasty smears; electorally, the 207 from strong Obama states and 70 from the 'leans Obama' states gives electoral lead firmly to Obama. But now he stuns me: they're going after leaning mccain states! It's so aggressive, I love it.

Battleground states: 101 electoral votes up for grabs; NV is favorable but a scrappy fight anticipated; MT is still a dead heat; CO is like VA; MO and IN also in play with dead heats giving Obama a chance to drain McCain campaign's resources; OH is a surprise with a close lead for Obama. Ploufe estimates that McCain needs to turnout vote at Bush levels and surpass it by 10 pts, which he won't be able to do; NC very close and now leans Obama; FL is troublesome for McCain and will be close, with a slim Obama lead perhaps; Ploufe emphasizes that without FL McCain can't win presidency! We need to keep it from him!

The many paths strategy to Nov 4 is working! Mccain has just one path. Boots on the ground are absolutely crucial. Encourages aggressive pushback for McCain and keep attention on the economy! McCain negatives are rising! Pleased at how aggressive Ploufe sounds about the campaign's progress and attitude: they want to 'lay the wood' to McCain. He says, based on their behavior over the last two weeks, McCain and Palin don't deserve the presidency. Love. It. God, I love smart guys!

5.04 - jill biden is very sweet but not very dynamic. Then again, it's been a loong afternoon. My hormones are making me googly eyed for Joe Biden. Huge standing ovatn for his role in creating VAWA. Jeez, he's telling a dating story!! My lord, he is really chatty and goes from a mom story to how great the Obama family is and the SCOTUS and now to Palin and the 'debate.' All in one sentence.

Re: Palin, Biden says 'being a woman is not the same as being there for women.' Huge applause. Great line but I'm thinking about how a line like that would play in the media. Generally, good stump speech stuff. The crowd is like putty. It's hushed in here; he goes after the Values crap and posits progressive policies are our expression of values. Hey, hello, hot secret service guys. Very tall, very still, very 'I will tackle your ass.'

5.32 - so need a drink. Parched! Sen Amy Klobuchar from MN does the rah rah rah for getting a filibuster proof Senate. Big picture, folks - it's not just the White House we need to fight for!

More in part 2.

dear jesus: don't let me pass out if I meet the Obamas

Sometimes, unexpected opportunities just fall into your lap.

It's been a stressful week at Large Metropolitan Non Profit, as well as with my other non profit board obligation, but all of that will have been worth it because of what's going to happen in a few hours. A colleague (a very generous woman) is giving me her credentials for the National Women's Leadership Issues conference, being held in Chicago today and tomorrow.

Barack & Michelle Obama, high-level policy makers, and campaign advisors will all be there and I, little ol' me, will be soaking it all in. To hear about issues directly from the policy wonks I've only read about - for two days! This kind of access is unbelievable. I'm giddy! Thank goodness I brought a cute suit and shoes to work and have an eyebrow appt at lunch.

Yes, I am a sucker for political celebrity.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

my lord that debate was boring.

and no questions about women's issues? i'm disappointed by Tom Brokaw for not picking any.

Monday, October 06, 2008

a collection of yays and boos.

Yay - Thanks, Plan B! 'Nuff said. (dodging baby-shaped bullet.)

Yay - To the LiBros I know: happy birthday to JP, Dr. Lee, and Cake of Pan! I'm a little late with the birthday wishes but you knew that about me already.

Boo - Work. Ugh. But so exciting! But, ugh. Stress.

And, yay! Pap smear. Can't wait. Hm. I think I should talk to my OB GYN about more permanent birth control that won't necessitate cutting into me again. Like an IUD or something.

Boo - Ugh. More stress: planning to get new apartment next spring. Budget wrangling sucks.

But yay! More autonomy. Decorating. I don't think I'll get a tv.

And ending with a boo - post fibroid surgery kangaroo pouch is NOT attractive.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

i heart joe biden

I'm at a friend's house and we are swooning. Biden did fabulously! Sure, Palin was less incoherent than usual but who cares about that? She still had no idea what she was talking about and sure did a good job avoiding questions.

But Joe! Oh, Joe - you nearly cried manly, patriotic tears! You were firm and humorous and smart and stood by your guy Obama - and you nailed McCain!!

This was a good one, folks. A really good debate that only added to the Obama/Biden lead.

hello, chickens. like your roost?

Speak correctly, or build a big bunker --

Poor conservative Kathleen Parker. She's shocked - absolutely shocked - that today's political discourse has devolved so much. Oh, the invective hurled at her for suggesting Palin isn't fit for the Republican ticket. Goodness! The insults. The ire! The death threats!

Such extreme partisanship has a crippling effect on government, which may be desirable at times, but not now. More important in the long term is the less-tangible effect of stifling free speech. My mail paints an ugly picture and a bleak future if we do not soon correct ourselves.

The picture is this: Anyone who dares express an opinion that runs counter to the party line will be silenced. That doesn't sound American to me, but Stalin would approve. Readers have every right to reject my opinion. But when we decide that a person is a traitor and should die for having an opinion different than one's own, then we cross into territory that puts all freedoms at risk. (I hear you, Dixie Chicks.)

I'm sorry folks said her parents should have aborted her, but the disingenuity here is a little hard to swallow.

Where has Ms. Parker been for the past 8 years? Where was she last month, during the GOP convention, and Amy Goodman was pitched in jail for covering it? Where was she decrying the national trashing of our political discourse when non-Republicans were called appeasers, traitors, terrorist collaborators and folks on the Hill were forced to eat those silly Freedom Fries; where was she when folks who objected to the unconstitutional reach of the Patriot Act, who correctly thought the Iraq war was full of bullshit, who said Guantanamo was a blight to our democratic legacy were called un-American; where has she been as American Muslims continute to suffer racial profiling, terrorist attacks on U.S. soil and have had their loyalties called into question because of their religion or heritage; where was she for the last two elections when two pretty smart presidential candidates lost their races because her party accused them of being soft on defense while backing a mediocre guy whose sole act of mental agility was cooking up ways to get out of military service; and where has she been for the last 18 months as her party, and its lapdog punditocracy, made a point of racially Othering the Obamas?

And, yes, where has Kathleen Parker been for the last 20 years as her party got all comfy in its bed next to the Christian Right, who have no problem wearing the robes of a Pharisee.

Spare me the concern, Ms. Parker. Spare me your disappointment at how the nation's political discourse has become vile, limited, intellectually bankrupt and savage. Your party built this roost and I'd say it's about time you saw exactly what your chickens look like.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

It's the stupidity, not the skirt.

'It is going to be so good,' I said.
'I know. I cannot wait,' Roomie said.
'Utter trainwreck.'
'Disaster,' Roomie agreed.

I cannot help but thrill at the upcoming debacle that will be the VP debate. I'm heady with it. I shiver when I think of it. If this was a Roman arena, I'd be one of those barbaric spectators, with my thumb turned down.

It's unseemly, isn't it? Unlike other feminists who've been writing about their conflicted feelings toward Palin and how her running for the 2nd in Command makes them feel bad about their feminism, I have never felt bad about wanting to see this woman get shoved off the political stage, never to be seen again. But until today, I had no idea why I was getting more and more ginned up to see Palin destroyed so publicly.

I saw a glimmer of a reason yesterday when I watched one unbearable minute of the Couric interview. I tried, I really did. I tried to sit through them but the incoherence, the plain cluelessness, the vacuity - it all did me in! Aargh! I couldn't take it and stopped the video. I still haven't seen the whole thing. I can only read it in transcripts, in short spurts.

I couldn't bring myself to watch the Gibson interview, either.

But today, when I was talking to Roomie, I realized that watching Palin get plucked out of nowhere like a modern day Courtney Cox in a Bruce Springsteen video has made me suffer a high school flashback, back to a time when I hated seeing charming mediocrity succeed. There's no good way to explain it without sounding like a bitch so I'll just shrug and admit it: smart people make me swoon, stupid people make me angry. Especially deliberately stupid people.

And Sarah Palin is deliberately stupid.

I count her among the people who refuse to learn; people who refuse to research (or at least do a little digging); people who refuse to think critically or ask good questions; people who refuse to explain things in clean, elegant ways; people who refuse to speak without using jargon, cliches or sentimental shorthand - ugh! I cannot stand seeing these people in positions of authority!

For the last 8 years, such a person has been our President and it has triggered every single one of my snobby, brainiac issues. It infuriates me to see such a person leading our country and if someone like Sarah Palin, a woman several degrees dumber than Shrub, gets into the White House, I might as well lose eternal faith in the benefit of higher education.

LeBlanc at Bitch Ph.D. says it a bit more elegantly than I but the point stands: I can't stand Sarah Palin because she epitomizes everything I don't respect.

And I can't WAIT until Biden wipes the floor with her.

our fiscal mess explained

Bitch Ph.D. has a good post up from her BritFriend, explaining our current fiscal crisis. I'd write about this more but, lately, my reaction has been to confusedly pray I don't lose my non profit job, begin brainstorming a move back to corporate for a bigger paycheck and more stability (yeah, right), begin looking for a sweet but not too bright Sugar Person.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Update: Bailout a No Go!

...And, stocks plunge.


[House Rejects Bailout -]

shorter bailout blame: The Brown People Did It! and what i'm reading this morning

It is a truth universally acknowledged (among Republicans) that when the economic shit hits the fan the one holding the shovel is most likely a low-income person of color.

So it is with this bailout mess. Now that the package has been approved, all eyes are looking for a scapegoat. Surprise, surprise, the luminaries on the Right have lit upon their various whipping persons: people of color, poor people, affirmative action, immigrants and even the nice fuzziness of multiculturalism.

You can catch reaction to this line of spin at Feministe and Ta-Nehisi Coates, whose thread includes a very good parsing of CRA lending policy.

(No, I'm not going to link to Malkin, Coulter or Sailer. You can Google them yourself and gag in the privacy of your own desk.)

Of note is Tim Wise's essay that not only takes this line of thinking to task, it also pokes some holes in the 'personal responsibility' canard the Right is so fond of trotting out:

So there you have it: white conservatives who simply cannot bring themselves to blame rich white people for anything, and who consistently fall back into old patterns, blaming the poor for poverty, black and brown folks for racism, anybody but themselves and those like them. That anyone takes them seriously anymore when they prattle on about "personal responsibility" is a stunning testament to how racism and classism continue to pay dividends in a nation whose soil has been fertilized with these twin poisons for generations. Unless the rest of us insist that the truth be told--and unless we tell it ourselves, by bombarding the folks who send us their hateful e-mails with our own correctives, thereby putting them on notice that we won't be silent (and that they cannot rely on our complicity any longer)--it is doubtful that much will change.

When conservatives say things like 'Oh, if only those darkies hadn't whined about equal access and equal opportunity, we wouldn't be in this mess!' I realize that there is a huge gulf between us that will never be bridged.

Conservative anger always seems to float downward, blaming people who always get the shorter end of the privilege stick; my anger floats up. I'm not going to blame the folks who use pay day loans to make their tiny paychecks last a little longer; I'm gonna look fish eye at the greedy white-collared sonofabitch who calculated that he could fleece more sheep by putting a pay day loan office on every corner in the south side.

I know, very noblesse oblige of me. But it's not, really. It's called freaking compassion!


I'm working on a complicated piece I've been wanting to write about intentional motherhood so I've been snapping up essays on motherhood, birthing and contraception. This is one linking increase demand for food and family planning.

This is also one about black midwives fighting the AMA for the opportunity to provide black maternal care.

And, of course, the asshat from Louisiana who thought it was a good idea in a brainstorming session to throw out 'sterilize black women' as a way to combat poverty. Uh-huh. No, that's not racist or problematic as shit at all.

Oh, and then there's this - it only took one month for the bloom to be permanently rubbed off the rose. (Yeah, there are huge problems if Parker thinks Palin is a picture of modern feminism but to get a huge, horking female conservative to admit Palin was a bad pick? I'll gloat.)

And here - a third party (who??) solution to the economic crisis at hand from Cynthia McKinney (via Alas, a Blog.)

Get to reading!

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Debate: Finally!

I'm sitting here, with my girls and amid a fab spread of cheeses, pate and chips/dips (as well as a hell of a lot of beer), watching the debate. And we're taking a drink everytime we hear the words: war, POW, Main Street, and hope. We won't get as plowed as watching the Orientalizing opening cermonies of the Olympics, but maybe we'll get a nice buzz on.

Consider this your space to share your thoughts, reactions, funny asides and observations during this debate.

Carry on!

[I've also opened a thread at Bitch, PhD if you wanna take part over there.]

Thursday, September 25, 2008

happy (39th) birthday to me

Birthday resolutions:

Birthday resolutions:
Stop smoking. I had no idea the cigarette I had when I got home on Tuesday night, exhausted, would be my last. Now I know.
Exercise more. Yes, I've internalized our culture's messages about age and beauty and I refuse to be the dumpy, cute, near-40 year old.
Stop procrastinating. Feh, maybe tomorrow.
Be mindful.
Go to church more. (see Procrastinating)
Get more sleep.
Eat more salads - or at least alternate them with the bags of Doritos I love.
Find a tailor. (see Salads and Doritos)
Be open.
Make an effort.
Call the family more often, for god's sake!
Get regular Paps. And get on the mammogram tip, too.
Finish Worst Romance Novel Draft #1 by New Year's. Then sell it and begin to stalk Eloisa James because she is my hero.
Write more. Write better.

(And, because I'm creepy like that, remember Agatha the Fibroid? She who was untimely ripped from my woman parts last fall? You can take a gander at what that looks like over here. Neat!)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

shorter McCain: 'the dog ate my homework'

McCain calls for debates to be delayed -

Really?! Better yet, let's suspend the election altogether until this whole icky mess blows over.

It's just too good, so I'm posting the whole thing:
McCain called for Friday's first presidential debate to be postponed, according to prepared remarks released by the campaign. The dates for the debates were set more than 10 months ago by the Commission on Presidential Debates, on Nov. 19, 2007.

From a Senior McCain source:
-- McCain called Obama before he made the statement and told him he was going to suspend his campaign and move back to DC until the economic crisis has been figured out.
-- McCain wants to create "a political free zone" until a deal is reached between now and Monday.
-- McCain also spoke with Bush and urged him to get both sides to work together

The Obama campaign's Bill Burton said in a statement: "At 8:30 this morning, Senator Obama called Senator McCain to ask him if he would join in issuing a joint statement outlining their shared principles and conditions for the Treasury proposal and urging Congress and the White House to act in a bipartisan manner to pass such a proposal. At 2:30 this afternoon, Senator McCain returned Senator Obama's call and agreed to join him in issuing such a statement. The two campaigns are currently working together on the details."

Here's part of what McCain said, in part:

"Tomorrow morning, I will suspend my campaign and return to Washington after speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative. I have spoken to Senator Obama and informed him of my decision and have asked him to join me. ...

"We must meet as Americans, not as Democrats or Republicans, and we must meet until this crisis is resolved. I am directing my campaign to work with the Obama campaign and the commission on presidential debates to delay Friday night's debate until we have taken action to address this crisis.

"I am confident that before the markets open on Monday we can achieve consensus on legislation that will stabilize our financial markets, protect taxpayers and homeowners, and earn the confidence of the American people. All we must do to achieve this is temporarily set politics aside, and I am committed to doing so."

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

student voting: a handy legal guide

[crossposted at Bitch, Ph.D.]

So I'm at work, trying to put together communications for GOTV and I am realizing that there is a huge gap in my knowledge re: the voting process for students. I know the rules for early voting, absentee voting and registering and what to do if you're challenged at the polls here in Illinois, but what about for students?

Everyone I've spoken to has drawn a blank when I try to develop a guidesheet for students voting in this election. The best I can come up with is, 'Uh, be familiar with the laws of the state you're going to school in or, uh, vote absentee.'

Not good enough. I had no idea there were so many barriers to student voting - and it's no wonder that previous elections have seen younger voter turnout remain so flat. We make it virtually impossible for them to vote!

Some states have flat out refused to recognize students' residency as valid (hello, Texas, Virginia and New York); some states don't recognize student IDs as valid identification, making it impossible for students to comply with HAVA (Help America Vote Act) guidelines; some states require drivers licence addresses to match voter registration card addresses, which unfairly burden students from another state; and then there are those state officials who claim that students voting where they go to school could endanger financial aid or scholarship awards.

So what are the rules? Where can student voters go for clean information?

Thank goodness I didn't have to do much legwork.

The Brennan Center has developed a web tool that provides a handy legal guide for students during this election year. They code states according to how student-voting friendly they are - green is friendly, red is not. (Just guess which states aren't friendly.) They give you what the regulations are and what maze of red tape you'll have to navigate to come out the other side. They also dispel all the myths WRT losing financial aid, imperiling parents' taxes and endangering tuition.

The guide does not say that students merely have to show up to vote, but helps prepare students for whatever bullshit their state throws in their way. Forewarned in forearmed.

So, professors and grad student instructors, or anyone who knows a college student voter who's fired up - do your students a solid and tell them about this guide so they can prepare themselves for what they need to do to vote without too much issue. They don't have a lot of time.

Updated: to add that Jack (from Jack & Jill Politics) has created a Voter Suppression Wiki. They have an action page that is pulling information together from voter suppression watchgroups, contact information to report irregularities, different campaigns and legal actions already in progress to halt voter suppression.

Friday, September 19, 2008

being busy - and being invisible at church

good gracious!
this week has been a little bit full.

had a date on monday (which was fun), worked furiously to get ready to leave town for a meeting on tuesday, was in indianapolis on wednesday for my meeting, flew back, worked furiously on thursday to catch up and now - hey! more working furiously while also getting ready for a church retreat over the weekend, a birthday party and maybe a tennis date.

but what i really want is a nap.

speaking of church, here's a little story i haven't had a chance to share. it reminded me that, as progressive as my congregation is, it has a LOOONG way to go to recognize something that Macon D over at Stuff White People Do has written about here and here. (And has posted a fine analysis of non-white reaction to what white people do here.)

i was with some church folks at a farewell reception for a church colleague. most of the people there were from Session, some i recognized from my years as Deacon, and some from my position as board member on the non profit organization housed at the church. in other words, these were not complete strangers to me.

but as the cocktail party wore on, it became clear that people did not recognize me to the same extent that i recognized them.

little old white ladies rushed up to me and cooed, 'oh, stacy! it's so good to see you here!' repeatedly, they did this - even after someone else had introduced me as 'Ding,' member of the Such&Such Board. oh, the stiff smile i'd wear as their eyes would blink and flutter and i could see their confusion, which probably sounded a little like this:

'what? but - but - stacy is The Black Girl! this is a Black Girl, so...this must be stacy! but she says she's not stacy! but she must be! why isn't she stacy?!'


when i put in my requisite 90 minutes of cocktailing, i sat in the lounge area to check my messages on my cell phone. a man from the reception came up to me, hugged me and said, 'oh, stacy! it was really good to see you tonight!'

i had been standing next to this man when the departing executive director of our organization publicly thanked me for my service on the board - and said my name.

flatly, i said, 'i'm not stacy.'
he said, 'oh.' silence. uncomfortable silence as i stared at him, with my cell phone in my hand. i was not smiling.

he said, 'well, it was good to see you.' and rushed away while i really tried not think bad thoughts about white people - and failed.

who is stacy? stacy is the african american woman who runs the very successful tutoring and mentorship program at our church.

and, clearly, the white people i serve with at church think she and i are exactly the same person. this is not the first time this has happened to me. at our mission benefit, at a board dinner, and during coffee hour while i stand at our organization's table during a fundraising campaign - i am every other black woman in church except who i really am.

do white people really not see the differences between us? do we really blur and blend into indistinguishable shapes? are we just all brown and black and yellow blobs that float indistinctly in and out of white vision?

this is the kicker: not one person apologized for mistaking me for stacy. not a single word of apology passed their thin, christian lips.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

excuse me, your freudian slip is showing

Scene: breakfast bar at suburban indianapolis hotel.

Ding: hi, I'd like french toast.

Chef (a congenial pink faced man):sure thing!

(Whipping up breakfast)

Chef: brown sugar? Uh, I mean, want sugar? I mean, how about some powdered sugar?!

Ding: um, yeah. Sure. Powdered sugar.

Chef: I don't know why I said brown sugar! I mean, brown sugar! Ridiculous.

Ding (wondering why he won't stop saying brown sugar):no worries. Powdered sugar is fine.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

john mccain = bad judgment

i think today should be john mccain=bad judgment day.

make it the title of whatever blog post you write and then write whatever you want. it's up there; it's sending the message.

for this post, i have about 30 minutes before i leave for the airport and i wanted to vent a little about this election (as if i'm the only one going through fits.)

to the american people - you're still a bunch of fekkin' idjits. really. you're like the apostle paul who was stuck on his anti-bacon thing. how many times did he need to have the vision of the sheet with all the food on it? 3 times before he got the message??

well, here we are, living the past two republican administrations and you're still willing to give those GOP fuckers a third try.

if we get stuck with Gramps and Hockey Mom for President, i'll blame you. you and your home schooled values. (anyone see that SNL skit? gosh, it was hilarious.)

i mean, i frakking give up, you know? you'd think the past 8 years was proof enough that the GOP is venal, corrupt, ideologically retarded and just plain bad for the country. but, clearly, most of us really are too stupid to vote in our own best, long-term interest.

so, as our country's banks fail, our industrial sectors fail, our economic indicators fall, and we wage war on more countries because the Hockey Mom doesn't know why the Bush Doctrine is a failure, i hope you're happy.

after all, you sure did stop those slutty girls from using birth control and killing teh babehs.

frakkin' idiots.
(yeah, i'm pissed off. i'm going to be sitting in an airport lounge while Fox News blares at me! frak!)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Quick Hit: Can I touch your hair? - Feministing:

Renee at Womanist Musings has a great post up, Can I Touch Your Hair? Black Women and The Petting Zoo.
Natural hair equals revolutionary because it says I do not covet whiteness. It says I have
decolonized my mind and no longer seek to embrace the qualities of my oppressor. It flies in the face of beauty traditions that seek to create black women as unfeminine and thereby undesirable. My natural hair is one of the truest expressions of the ways in which I love myself because I have made the conscious choice to say that I am beautiful, without artifice or device. It further states that I will not be judged by the yardstick of white womanhood. My beauty is a gift from my foremothers who knew on a more instinctual level than we know today, that 'woman' is as beautiful as she believes herself to be.

Yeah, well, my relaxed hair says, "Shit, this humidity is driving me fucking nuts!"

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

amazingly candid

What to Expect When You're Aborting
[via WomenStake]

shameless plug: follow me!


If you read Screed (in fact, if you just can't get enough of Screed) show me your love and Follow me!
Yes. I am totally craven for attention.

I'm a Libra.

Monday, September 08, 2008

do *you* have friends of another color?

I'm glad Glamour had this panel (h/t Racialicious.) I've always had friends, close friends, of other ethnic backgrounds and I sincerely believe that most of this stuff about race and difference, privilege and white supremacy, would be addressed in a more thoughtful way if folks actually knew people of another ethnicity.

(Like, KNEW them. Not knew OF them. You know?)

Slightly related, but sort of different, over at Stuff White People Do, Macon D. had a really thought provoking post about all-white spaces and the cultural, historical, social blindnesses that kind of monochromaticity can create.

(Hm. 'Monochromaticity.' Perhaps not a real word. But, like, Lollapalooza. Did anyone else notice how White Lolla was and how nearly all the social pairings/groupings seen were monochromatic?)

In a similar way, I think having friends all of one color is...limiting. It speaks to an insularity that I think is really puzzling.

Anyway, Glamour wants to know and I do, too: Do you have intimate friends (not mere acquaintances) from another ethnic group? If so, what's your story?

(I'll show you mine if you show me yours.)

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Community Organizing: Not a tea party

I live in Chicago.

My adopted city is one with a vibrant history of immigration, ethnic pride, migration, work, violence, poverty, ambition, and working class values (with a little head breakin' and racial segregation thrown in for good measure.)

It's also a city that has always taken part in community organizing, that thing the GOP sneers at. A better word for it would be grassroots community organizing.

The thing about grassroots organizing is that it happens outside of power. It goes directly to the folks being impacted by bad policies, by inequity, by disenfranchisement and it helps them fight against all that and work in their own best interest.

It's hard work helping people fight in their own best interest, especially when those in power say that the interests of the rich ARE the interests of everyone else. It's hard to mobilize folks to go up against big institutions and work for reform and actually win, especially when those institutions pretty much depend on the bafflement of the communities they exploit or neglect.

Community organizing does what government can't or won't.
Without community organizing, where would we be?

The organization I work for was founded in the 19th century by 13 women meeting in someone's home. They saw women migrating to the city from Illinois farms with no way to navigate this new environment and so they vowed to do something about it. These women helped with housing and employment; they helped these women build community with one another and, later, they integrated their clubs long before most other women's clubs were comfortable with the idea. They went on to agitate for women's sufferage and then helped organize Wednesdays in Mississippi, during the Civil Rights movement. In the 70s, these women helped mobilize the working women of Chicago to fight for sexual harrassment and gender discrimination laws that literally transformed the way thousands of working women were treated in this city.

These were ordinary women, hidden women. Wives, daughters, secretaries and students - going up against political disenfranchisement, racism, and sexual discrimination - meeting in lunch rooms, living rooms, libraries, churches, and community centers, sharing their stories, identifying deep systemic problems and dedicating themselves to solving them. These were women writing letters, crashing city council meetings, rallying in plazas, and riding buses to help other women fight police violence and racial conflict.

Who benefits from community organizing?

Mostly poor people, working people, elderly people, children, people of color, people who don't usually have access to power and influence.

Who doesn't the GOP care about, if they're so ready to be contemptuous of community organizing?

Poor people, working people, elderly people, children, people of color, people who don't usually have access to power and influence.

Ideally, grassroots community organizing allows for the flattening of power. Maybe, just maybe, this is a clue into why the GOP hates it so much. For some reason, the GOP just doesn't like the idea of ordinary people taking up the mantle of changing their circumstances - or the idea of anyone helping them do so. Though they say they're the party of 'personal responsibility,' when a community decides to take responsibility for itself and mobilizes to fight for its own interests, they characterize the effort as lazy or irresponsible and feckless.

It's funny. They say a lot about Christian values. They spend a lot of time holding hands (or kissing ass) with the Christian Right. But they don't have a firm grasp of the Golden Rule or the Beatitudes. To me, a woman who grew up in Sunday School and still remembers her lessons about the sermon on the mount, religious minded folks who express contempt for the poor and disenfranchised screams hypocrisy.

If you work as an organizer share your story here: what you do, who you fight for and what you're up against.
Tell the GOP exactly , and other folks who hate the idea of fairness, what community organizing is about.