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.