Thursday, April 27, 2006

speaking of Duke...

from darfur, to durham and on to texas it seems that male aggression is expressed through sexual assault and rape.

niice. - White teens accused of brutal racist attack - Apr 27, 2006

sad: shutting down?

i can understand tiffany's wish to take a break.
sometimes you're up for the mess and sometimes you're not.

but her posts on rape, the duke case, consent and race and class are all good. i haven't written about the duke case because, truthfully, i haven't had time to follow it but tiffany's posts were really solid.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

alas! poesy!

in all the moaning and complaining about work, projects, boys and libidinal death, i forgot that this month was national poetry month.

i'm feeling a little post-war new yorkiness tonight:

Why I Am Not A Painter

I am not a painter, I am a poet.
Why? I think I would rather be
a painter, but I am not. Well,

for instance, Mike Goldberg
is starting a painting. I drop in.
"Sit down and have a drink" he
says. I drink; we drink. I look
up. "You have SARDINES in it."
"Yes, it needed something there."
"Oh." I go and the days go by
and I drop in again. The painting
is going on, and I go, and the days
go by. I drop in. The painting is
finished. "Where's SARDINES?"
All that's left is just
letters, "It was too much," Mike says.

But me? One day I am thinking of
a color: orange. I write a line
about orange. Pretty soon it is a
whole page of words, not lines.
Then another page. There should be
so much more, not of orange, of
words, of how terrible orange is
and life. Days go by. It is even in
prose, I am a real poet. My poem
is finished and I haven't mentioned
orange yet. It's twelve poems, I call
it ORANGES. And one day in a gallery
I see Mike's painting, called SARDINES.

Frank O'Hara

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

happy equal pay day and other thoughts

yeah, hard to believe that, since the 60s and despite the federal law, women's wages have remained pretty darn flat - still earning only 71-77 cents on a man's dollar for comparable work.

but if you live in illinois and suspect that a wage violation has ocurred at your job, the Dept of Labor will sue for back wages!

all you have to do is call their hotline, file a complaint and they do all the work:

(this is how i spend my lunch hours: at brown bag lunches with other women in the city, in the governor's office, listening to presentations from the department of labor and the dept of employment services. it's not exciting, but they gave us cake. lesson? we have GOT to learn how to negotiate salary.)
so have i mentioned that i've cut down severely on my smoking? and that, other than the two obliterated nights last week, my drinking has also gone down? and that my libido has dried up?

i'm turning back into a fricking baptist!

with all this healthier living you'd think i'd be more...relaxed. but no. lucidity makes me tense.

Monday, April 24, 2006

a mugging

the post at the top is a story of a local blogger who was brutally beaten and assaulted quite recently. the police seem to think it wasn't just about what was in her wallet.

it's a reminder, to me, that being a woman in the dark is all sorts of vulnerable.

Gapers Block : Merge : April 2006

Thursday, April 20, 2006

it's 2.30 in the morning.
i just finished (sorta) working on a project from the office.

is this what real grownups do?

no wonder i avoided it for so long.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

shameless plug: Girls on the Run - Chicago!

a colleague of ours now heads up this organization and, while i've never actually used a pair of running shoes, i've heard that others do!

WonderGirl 5K Fun Run 9 a.m. on June 3, 2006
Join hundreds of girls who will be running their first 5K at this great family event!

Join Girls on the Run- Chicago at one of the most moving and unique events in Chicagoland, the WonderGirl 5K. Hundreds of young girls will celebrate their “girl power” by running 3.1 miles together. Let them inspire you! All men, women, children and superheros are welcome. Run along with them to celebrate health, inspiration and months of hard work at this fun, family event where all girls are number one! All finishers will receive a WonderGirl medal. The family event takes place on June 3, 2006 at Montrose Harbor and will feature kid-friendly entertainment and activities in addition to the race. Event sponsors include Fleet Feet Sports, American Girl Place, Dominick’s Finer Foods, New Balance, Goody and Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes.

Who: Everybody! Hundreds of girls aged 8-12, their “running buddies” and the Chicagoland running community; local, state and federal public officials; sports celebrities; and Tony the Tiger!

What: 5K fun run benefiting Girls on the Run-Chicago. The race is registered by the Chicago-area Runners Association (CARA)

When: 9:00 a.m. CT on Saturday, June 3, 2006

Where: Course starts and ends at Montrose Harbor Beach House, located at 4400 N. Lake Shore Drive Chicago. Plentiful, free parking is available in the Montrose Harbor Avenue parking lots east of Lake Shore Drive

To register for the race or for more information, visit or email

Girls On The Run®-Chicago uses the power of running to change the way girls see themselves and their opportunities. It is an innovative, preventative health education and wellness program that combines training for a 5K (3.1 mile) run/walk with life-changing lessons that inspire a lifetime of self-respect and healthy living

i think i'll have chili for lunch

Cat and Girl
(thanks, twisty.)

Saturday, April 15, 2006

i had the cutest bag, at least

These are my observations from spending 2 hours with boys in politics earlier this week (and since it was a very long 2 hours, this is a very long post):

- Where are the women, indeed? Other than the woman who won her primary for a heavily contested city position and the women who worked for the host's office, I was the only woman in the room. (And frankly, I was only there because we're the host's client.) We sat around a big conference table to throw questions at Kos and hear him talk about his new book (which I'm excited to read, I'm not ashamed to say) and I couldn't help but look around at all the earnest, serious, white male faces around that table and think, "Wow. And we're different from the Republicans how??"

(They were all very nice guys, yes. And one had a lovely beard and another sported a cuorderoy jacket that was quite fetching. I'm just saying that the organizer couldn't find a few women in the whole of metropolitan Chicago to go to this lunch?? Nowhere? No women running campaigns? No women in charge of strategic communications for some progressive candidate somewhere? No women working for progressive change? Not even a single woman who writes about politics? As a member of several strategic coalitions in the city and state, I find that hard to believe.)

- Never give a vote to a Republican - NEVER. It's no secret or surprise that when NOW and NARAL threw their weight behind a Republican "pro-choice" candidate a while ago, instead of behind the Democrat candidate who was on record being anti-choice, their decision made Kos and his fellows lose their shit. When this was brought up at lunch (as in 'what are we supposed to do when a less than ideal Dem goes up against a so-so Republican?') The answer was simple - primary them. Find the candidate you want, run them against the candidate you don't want. Or, vote for the Dem candidate anyway, knowing their single anti-choice vote will become moot and you get rid of them next time with a preferable candidate. But never give a vote to a Republican. Why? Because in the end they'll totally screw things up: the conservative candidate, though giving lip service to reproductive rights, later backed all of the conservative judges and justices up for appointment (and basically ignored the two choice groups who backed him.) Those justices and their decisions can make life a hell for the rest of us.

-Strategic thinking isn't bad. I never thought I'd say this but the context of my thinking has changed a little. During lunch it was my impression that Kos thinks that women's groups are wasting opportunities, that they aren't thinking long game and are only working short, reactive games. I question that. I don't think groups like NOW, NARAL or Planned Parenthood were caught by surprise by the Alito nomination at all. (Was it even possible to stop the Alito confirmation from happening? I'd say no; the whole game had been lost when we folded on the whole filibuster deal earlier in the year. After a deal like that, made my Congressional Dems, who has room to maneuver at all? Not the groups' fault - I lay that whole thing at Democratic leadership's feet.) All of us were at the mercy of the extremely small window of opportunity we had.

But back to my point. Kos&Fellows has a point about strategery. And I've only just come to this realization just this year; after working where I work and seeing how advocacy strategy isn't *only* about getting people to follow you and support your cause, I see that it's also about insuring that the right people are in place who will make it easier for you to get your work done over the long haul. Who is most likely to support my organization, one that serves women? Who is more likely to understand what I mean when I talk to them about the needs of low-income working women, single mothers or student mothers? Who is more likely to protect the breadth of my interests? This isn't to say that the big women's groups don't do this. I think they do; I think Kos and his Fellows underestimate just how savvy women's groups are. But I think the strategy question is a question that needs to be asked whenever we engage with TPTB.

Our issues (women's issues) are no longer stand-alone. Economic empowerment, reproductive rights, education and health care - these are all related to one another. The increase in opportunity, or access, in one area depends on the strength of the others. Perhaps that's what K&Fellows mean when they keep repeating the mantra that 'single-issue' advocacy won't get us anywhere. (gasp! am i saying that i think single-issue advocacy is bad? no, just that they're not really single-issue.)

Strategy is not the binary opposite to Values. If done correctly, strategy should be a direct product of our ideological values.

-I want to win. Having said that values define strategy, does that mean that strategy is the only thing that matters? That, as long as we feel good about our values and that we have a long-term strategy in place to spread those values, the work ends there? It was funny, sitting there with my cute bag and cute shoes, listening to the boys use military and sports terms for everything. I don't have that language. I have the language of my old corporate world, which mirrors this language, but that's not really my language. My language is academic. Academics don't win anything. For the past 6 years, we progressives haven't won anything either.

But I want to win. Winning is important. Not everywhere or with everything, but in this context of politics and progressive causes, yes it is. It is very Important because the alternative (Losing) is too awful to withstand. But is winning our end goal? (I think this is where people get hung up. 'As long as we win, whatever's ok.' No, there is no 'as long as we win.' That puts winning first and values last. We spread our values AND we win.) No - our end goal should be a place where our values are lived out and demonstrated at every level - but we can only get there if we win.

-Other observations - Kos is actually very nice and seems to enjoy Corner Bakery brownies.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Crashing the Gate in Chicago!

so i may have missed out on my chance to see hillary last night but today i get to go to a lunch for these guys. no black tie, but should be fascinating.

i haven't been hanging out at kos since the election ended (it just made everything too raw) but the opportunity to ask questions of the 'leaders' of the progressive blogosphere is too good to pass up.

maybe i should ask them where all the women bloggers are...

Chicagoist: Crashing the Gate in Chicago

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

best line. ever.

'doris, you're a sexual disneyland!'

oh, my kingdom for a black tie!!


i just had to turn down an invite to the hillary clinton event tonight.

because i have nothing to wear!!

damn you, black tie events! damn you!
(to tell the truth, the very thorough security check scared the bejeebus out of me, too...who knows what kinds of petitions i've signed in my life??)

Saturday, April 08, 2006

a perplexing dilemma has sprung up in the ding-roomie household:

which is the worse movie - xanadu or showgirls?

it's unexpectedly hard to decide.
geez magazine sent out a pitch call for articles. due monday.
i have nothing.


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

um, i think one of these guys installed our cable

ever wonder who's out there paying $20 for a little alley action?

these guys.

and i'm not kidding about the cable guy.
i mean, how many bogdans are out there??

Monday, April 03, 2006

oh, god.
ucla is down. it's the second half.

i can't watch anymore.

so i'm watching amelie. (mathieu kassovitz is ...sigh.)

huh?: Immigrants and the Economics of Hard Work - New York Times

ok, maybe it's because i haven't had my first sip of coffee yet but i'm having a difficult time figuring out the argument from the guy at the conservative think tank if:

illegal immigrants only take up a tiny fraction of our workforce and aren't really taking jobs from citizens but do depress wages for less-educated african americans, therefore...

i'm confused.

Immigrants and the Economics of Hard Work - New York Times

Sunday, April 02, 2006

U. (clap clap clap)
C. (clap clap clap)
L. (clap clap clap)
A. (clap clap clap)



just trying to clarify...

i wonder if this is what alabama senator hank erwin meant when he said alabama was 'family friendly.'


there's this intern. (yes, i'm about to talk about work, for those who know me and where i work.) she's great. she really is. smart, willing, and down with our cause in a super big way. the perfect person we want volunteering for us. she even has a grad degree.

but there's this project. it's bigger (oops, i almost wrote the n-word) than we originally thought and could lead to some stupendous conclusions; me and the intern made a preliminary presentation on thursday to the project manager. she was duly impressed but it was clear that we had some holes to fill. so we extended this sub-project to fill these gaps. then the PM suggested that we might want to each write a report on our project and draw some conclusions and present it to her (and my boss) because the stuff was turning out to be fascinating.

no biggie. this all makes sense to me. the timeline is sorta tight, but i'm thinking about how we can do this in three easy stages: stage 1 - gap/fit; stage 2 - populate the map; stage 3 - look at the map and report what it's saying to us.

the problem: the Intern is a grad student and likes to make brilliant-sounding pronouncements that ultimately get us off task and she gets caught up in all the details. the map is one such detail. we're putting all these little markers on it, coding them for different things, and the map isn't the best. it's a population/demographic map so it has only the most general outlines of communities. if it was a map with census tracts AND demographic (racial/ethnic) info it would be different. so the Intern, now confronted with how this project is about to get a mite bigger, starts worrying about how far apart the dots are on the map.

this is not the problem i'm identifying, which is how we're going to gather the data for the fracking map complete in just 5 days, with a few more days to do the mapping and then write the report. who fucking cares about what color sharpie to use to dilineate pilsen from logan square??

i said, 'i don't think we should be worrying about this. we need to establish a process for how we're going to cull through the information from all these other sources. we to decide how we're going to divide this job.'
she said, 'but the map isn't accurate.'
'uh-huh - it's accurate enough. we don't need satellite-level accuracy. we need general areas. the dots can come off. the tabs can come off. i can reprint another fricking map. we have to trawl through potentially 400 more agency sources.'
'do you think a silver sharpie would show up?'

aaack! suddenly, i could see her getting bogged down and we'd miss the deadline and who'd be to blame? me - not some volunteer, but ME. no way, dude. not on my watch!

so, on friday, i made a decision that kept me at the office for 5 extra hours: i completed the first half of stage 1, then i sent her what i'd finished and told her what part was hers and when she needed to be finished (wednesday).

we are not going to co-write this report sitting side by side like snow white and rose red, dickering over each word/idea. she's going to write hers and i'm going to write mine; then we're going to see whose report the PM likes best.

clickety-clak! clickety-clak!