#alisonFAIL

June 17th, 2009 | Oddments

Okay, you’re right. Obama’s DOMA brief is really a problem. I’d heard something somewhere about how his reasoning was that if he made waves over DOMA, it would give the GOP back their base-rallying cry at a point when they’re in disarray. I guess that sounded like a good argument to me to be patient for a while longer. Thus my future Spock allusion.

This is a big problem of mine–I always feel like it’s my role to sit tight and not rock the boat because I think my needs aren’t as pressing as other peoples’ needs. Ideally, I suppose, no one would sit tight—and either each person’s motion would be counteracted by another’s, or else the whole damn canoe would flip over, and perhaps it would be all for the best.

Here’s a good article in HuffPo about what’s going on in Iran, where the canoe seems to have been lost altogether. It’s by Sarah Dehghan, an Iranian American who broadcasts a weekly literature program for VOA Persian. She’s doing a show this Saturday directed at the protesters in Iran, and she’s collecting messages of hope and solidarity from anyone who cares to post one as a comment at the end of her article. (Thanks to Jane Vandenburgh for telling me about this.)

P.S. The Rick Warren fiasco at the inauguration now looks like a tidy foreshadowing of DOMA and DADT, doesn’t it? And just as we were thrown a little bone with gay bishop Gene Robinson, now we get another one with this extension of job benefits to partners of gay federal employees.

252 Responses to “#alisonFAIL”

  1. jfruh says:

    I’m certainly not going to defend the Obama administration’s handling of gay issues — it’s definitely been hugely disappointing — but the administration in power does have an obligation to defend the laws that are on the books — otherwise you might as well just give the President power to make all the laws and send the Congress home for good. What if, say, eight years from now after DOMA has been overturned, President Palin announces that her AG won’t be defending the new Nationwide Civil Unions Act (or whatever incremental thing might get passed in the next few years) in court?

    Of course, I’d be a lot more inclined to cut the administration some slack if it seemed like they were working to prompt Congress to overturn DOMA. I’ve heard rumblings that it’s on the agenda for next year, which wouldn’t be awful, but some of this stuff is starting to have a “next year in Jerusalem” feel to it.

  2. yelena says:

    I too fear that the GOP will attack the administration if it tries to deal with gay rights in any direct way. But I don’t think that the only choices are “wait your turn” or “rock the boat.” DOMA is not the real issue here, the issue is equal rights and trying to make a more just system. That’s exactly why now is the time to get rid of marriage as a federal institution and establish a federal civil unions for the purposes of inheritance, child custody, insurance, hospital visits, and all the other rights that marriage currently confers. This is not about rocking the boat – it’s about a bigger, more stable boat.

  3. (1) Obama is not dismantling the grab for executive power begun by Cheney/Bush — in fact, he’s continuing and at times enhancing it. Thus, his talk about restoring the Constitution is being revealed to be mostly good speeches.
    (2) DOMA is about a Constitutional issue, not passing lesbian/gay marriage. Again, FAIL from the so-called Constitutional expert.
    (3) There are a dozen ways Obama’s DOJ could have “defended established law” without using language which will bleed away our human rights for perhaps decades to come. But, there is in fact precedent for administrations refusing to defend laws which they felt were clearly unjust and un-Constitutional. It’s rare but in this case they could have simply refused to defend and allowed it to be taken up by Congress or SCOTUS eventually.
    (4) The mindset of the Christianist Right values authority to the exclusion of logic, and certainly has no use for pluralism or diversity which are considered threats to their existence. Therefore, any kind of appeasatory behavior is interpreted by them as a “win” and weakness on the part of those who appease. It actually only makes things worse. You’d think a supposedly clever politician would understand that distinction. But the possibility has to be considered that Obama’s main cleverness lies in speechwriting. It is an emerging possibility that he actually supports some right-wing ideology and uses the appearance of “making compromise” or “biding his time” in order to keep their injustices in place.

    For the time being, we still have another branch of government where we can elect genuine progressives and get Real Change there.

  4. hairball_of_hope says:

    All this talk of LGBT issues being back-burnered until some vague future time reminded me of the title of MLK’s 1963 book, “Why We Can’t Wait.”

  5. B. Peregrine says:

    @Jfruh: Lots of people have pointed out that it’s basically the Department of Justice’s job to defend laws on the books whether the administration likes them or not, but it’s also true that they’re not legally required to do so. More important, however, is the extreme to which the brief went to defame gay people, arguing that DOMA is a good thing because it defends “traditional” marriage, implies that same-sex marriage would be bad for our country’s interests, and even comparing same-sex couples to incestuous couples. It would have been perfectly possible for the DOJ to submit a brief that stood behind DOMA (insofar as it is, after all, a law) without doing such injustice to gays and sending the message that Obama’s administration doesn’t care about us after all.

    http://www.hrcbackstory.org/2009/06/a-letter-to-the-president-from-joe-solmonese/

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/16/opinion/16tue1.html

  6. I just posted on this, and once again I have to thank the thinking on this list for helping me clarify things in my mind. You all rock.

    But I’m coming here to suggest we read Lane Hudson’s post at HuffPo for ideas about what to push for: The Gay (sic) Guide To Obama’s Remarks Today. I can’t risk the limbo of adding a second link, but I also want to suggest you read Ben Smith’s analysis at politico dot com about the marginal benefits being offered by the sop Obama announced today. Short version: The benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees does NOT include health care (HELLO?) or retirement plans because DOMA denies access to those, is a memorandum instead of the more powerful executive order, and will only apply to those who are in some of registered relationship, which will not translate to some regions or necessarily cover transgender unions.

  7. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Maggie (#5)

    I checked the Office of Personnel Management website (opm.gov), and there is absolutely NOTHING on this there. You’d think that the agency which administers Federal employee benefits would have at least a few words, even if they are simply, “Hold on, we’ll have some updated benefits info in a few days, stay tuned.”

    Then I went to the White House website. Not only is there nothing on this Executive Order, I noticed there is no longer a link to LGBT anywhere that I could find on the site. I seem to recall that there used to be an LGBT link on the main page, and that happened very early on in the Obama Administration. Today, there was nothing LGBT I could find either on the first page, or under the Civil Rights, Family, or Other Issues links.

    I checked the Wayback Machine (archive.org) to verify my memory, but alas, they don’t have any 2009 White House pages up yet, I think they wait about six months before posting them.

    It feels just a bit Orwellian to me. If all virtual records of our existence are deleted, it’s as if we ourselves don’t exist. Or at least that’s what some folks seem to hope for.

    (… goes back to saving her self in NVRAM …)

  8. hairball_of_hope says:

    Slight correction to my post… the White House website has a link announcing a conference call to reporters explaining this Executive Order, but that’s it.

  9. hairball_of_hope says:

    Here’s what Bloomberg reports on the Executive Order for Federal employees:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aQjuBqAOWNGQ

    Quoting from the article:


    The presidential memorandum Obama will sign this afternoon will allow domestic partners of civil service employees to be added to the long-term care insurance program and allow employees to use sick leave to take care of domestic partners and adopted children, according to an administration statement.

    Domestic partners of foreign service employees will be allowed to use medical facilities at posts abroad and will be included in family size for housing allocation, a fact sheet said.

    Some of this is bogus. Adopted children are already considered family members, and Federal employees can use sick leave and/or FMLA leave (Family Medical Leave Act) to care for family members. Extending the sick leave and FMLA to a domestic partner is new, as is extending the definition of a family member under the long term insurance. Note that LTC insurance is private insurance 100% paid for by the employee, there’s no Federal contribution, unlike with life and health insurance.

    They made no mention of relocation benefits for domestic partners, although that would apply much more frequently to Foreign Service employees as compared to Federal employees, and the State Dept. memo from last month seems to cover that (and the access to medical facilities overseas for partners).

    Not much there, in my initial reading. Of course, the devil is in the details, so I guess we’ll really know for sure once the EO is implemented.

  10. NLC says:

    (not relevant to the current discussion but)
    DTWOF Book Movie-Sighting

    This weekend we watched our Saturday evening videos, complete with the regularly scheduled “Quirky Low Budget Independent British Comedy” which in this case was the Mike Leigh movie Happy Go Lucky (think of it as sort of Amelie Does British Working Class).

    In the opening sequence the main character goes into a bookstore and as she heads to the back of the store she passes a shelf on which is displayed a copy of the first DTWOF collection (i.e. the Firebrand edition, with orange cover, rugby player, etc). Not “featured in the movie” or anything, but clearly recognizable.

    OK, you can continue now…

  11. hairball_of_hope says:

    And now, from the hypocrite wing of the GOP comes this item via Bloomberg:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=a_XOHXtou6q0

    Quoting from the article:


    Nevada Senator John Ensign resigned from a Republican leadership position a day after admitting he had an extramarital affair with a campaign aide.

    [...snip...]

    Ensign was one of the first Senate Republicans in 2007 to call for the resignation of then-Senator Larry Craig of Idaho when the Republican lawmaker pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct after police accused him of soliciting sex in a bathroom at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

    “He did plead guilty” to “lewd behavior, basically in a public restroom, and that’s not the kind of behavior” a “United States senator should be engaged in,” Ensign said in an Oct. 17, 2007, interview on CNN.

    Ensign was a Congressman from 1992-2000, he’s been in the Senate since 2000.

    Hmmm… now I have to go back to see if Ensign had any interesting comments during the time that the GOP were busy investigating if Bill Clinton’s zipper was in the upright and locked position.

  12. hairball_of_hope says:

    @NLC (#9)

    That’s called “product placement” in the biz, and companies pay good money to show their products being used (or just there) as props in film and TV.

    Makes me wonder how much AB paid for that placement. You’d think she’d have a product placement for a book that wasn’t out of print and we could actually buy. Or perhaps this was part of her plan to drum up interest in Essential DTWOF.

  13. NLC says:

    HOH:
    I realize you’re joking, but I’ll also note that seconds before the character walked by the shelf in question she also made what I assume must be the only direct reference to a Roger Penrose book to have appeared in a popular film.

  14. hairball_of_hope says:

    @NLC (#13)

    Product placement is real, but I doubt either Penrose or AB paid for it in this film.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Product_placement

  15. hairball_of_hope says:

    @NLC (#13)

    This probably doesn’t qualify as a “popular” film, but it does feature Roger Penrose as himself:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0103882/

  16. NLC says:

    HOH:
    Sorry if I wasn’t clear. I understand about “Product Placement”; my reference to “joking” was about the placement by AB.

  17. hairball_of_hope says:

    Oh how their fortunes have changed… reading about how John Ensign and Harry Reid slugged it out for the Nevada Senate seat in 1998. Apparently Larry Craig’s position on using Nevada as a nuclear waste dump was more objectionable to him than some of Craig’s “other” positions. Hmmmm…

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/campaigns/keyraces98/stories/nv103098.htm

    (… goes back to playing footsie with a feline …)

  18. hairball_of_hope says:

    AAG, Mentor

    I just noticed that when a formerly pending post (in this case, #5, due to two embedded URLs) is released from blog purgatory, the post numbering is reordered, which makes all our post number references in subsequent posts catawampus.

    Any way around that?

  19. grrljock says:

    Continuing a tangent: NLC (10), how did you find Happy Go Lucky? We were disappointed with it, because there didn’t really didn’t seem to be anything there, as much as we were cheering for Poppy. I’m pretty familiar with Mike Leigh’s work, so I don’t think it was a matter of acclimation.

  20. hairball_of_hope says:

    Ok, now for some corrections on exactly what Obama is signing today on Federal employee benefits for domestic partners.

    First, it is NOT an Executive Order. EOs, as the word “order” implies, direct REQUIRED actions by the targeted Federal entities.

    What he is signing is a Presidential Memorandum, which REQUESTS, but does NOT REQUIRE, actions by the targeted Federal entities.

    This thing is so full of weasel words and loopholes that it’s more hype than reality.

    Each separate agency or department can decide if it wants to implement these benefits, and if so, which ones.

    And of course, thanks to DOMA, it does nothing for health or life insurance, retirement benefits, or death benefits.

    Here’s the fact sheet, buried on the White House website:

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Fact-Sheet-Presidential-Memorandum-on-Federal-Benefits-and-Non-Discrimination/

    Quoting from the fact sheet:


    The Presidential Memorandum to be signed today will request that the Director of OPM and the Secretary of State act to extend to same-sex partners of federal employees the benefits they have identified. The Memorandum will also request the heads of all other executive branch departments and agencies to conduct internal reviews to determine whether other benefits they administer might be similarly extended, and to report the results of those reviews to the Director of OPM.

    The Memorandum will also direct OPM to issue guidance within 90 days to all executive departments and agencies regarding compliance with, and implementation of, the civil service laws, which make it unlawful to discriminate against federal employees or applicants for federal employment on the basis of factors not related to job performance.

    Interestingly, the fact sheet is written to cover same sex partners, not all unmarried partners. I wonder what language the actual Presidential Memorandum uses.

    I also find it ironic that the OPM director, John Berry, is openly gay. He gets to implement a half-assed attempt at benefits for same sex partners. That must sting.

    I guess the relevant question for today is, “Who put the Jell-O in Obama’s spine?”

  21. hairball_of_hope says:

    Everyday I learn something new… I just learned that there are paid product placements for non-sale items in grocery store fliers. The items are regularly priced, but merely by virtue of appearing in the sales circular, the product zooms into shopping carts and out the door. Hmmph. Caveat emptor.

    http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2009/06/17/the-truth-about-grocery-store-flyers/

  22. NLC says:

    grrljock (19) asks about Happy Go Lucky.

    I thought it was “OK”. You’re right, it doesn’t really go anywhere; you just kind of have to take it as a slice-of-life kind of thing. I put it in the “I don’t mind that we saw it” category; fun in spots, but I doubt I’d actively recommend it to anyone.

    When I saw the book at the start of the movie, my first reaction was neat, I’ll be able to report this and point out a cool movie at the same time. Oh well, one out of two’s not bad.

  23. Acilius says:

    I don’t think I agree that the Rick Warren choice foreshadowed these recent moves all that neatly. Mr O did insult sexual minorities by giving such a high profile spot to someone who had been active in the Proposition 8 campaign. But there were far worse bigots available for that slot. Mr O’s choice of Warren to deliver the invocation represented an unnecessary concession to homophobia, and it is a stain on his record. But if he had chosen someone like Franklin Graham that would have been, not just a concession, but a total surrender. And his decisions to defend DOMA and to allow “Don’t ask- Don’t tell” to roll on do represent total surrender. Mr O is unlikely ever to have as good a chance as he has right now to get rid of those things. And it’s hard to see what he imagines he’ll gain by holding to them.

  24. hairball_of_hope says:

    I’m listening to coverage of Obama’s memo and DOMA on NPR’s All Things Considered:

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=105545385

  25. Gus says:

    As a lesbian Republican living the in the South, I suspect that this is but a foreshadowing of the future. I’m not surprised by Obama. A lot of times people think that a party will solve a problem. It becomes a matter of our team beating their team, or our party beating their party. During the campaign, Obama wouldn’t even use the term “civil-union”. He sent his VP candidate to do all the gay stuff. I think Obama is a Christian before he is a Democrat. And I think that the Republican party will look a lot less like Rush and Sean, and more like me in a few years. I know we look crazy right now, especially here in the South, but we’ll come around. Please don’t hate Republicans though. Each party just tries to do what they think is best for the country.
    PS. I was shuffled out by DADT. I really hoped Obama would get rid of it with executive order.

  26. Acilius says:

    Good luck to you, Gus. I doubt we favor many of the same political ideas, but I’m all for you.

  27. s.irene says:

    This (by Laura Secor) describes conversations yesterday with 2 Iranian women.

    http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2009/06/laura-secor-optimism-and-anger-in-tehran.html#

  28. Hey, HoH, I gotta proposition for you! Using your excellent research and science background, NOT involving bicycles or honey, honey. If you’re intrigued, click on my name, go to my blog and find my e-mail address via my profile. Thx.

  29. P.S. Good to hear from you, Gus. I try not to hate Republicans, but sometimes I have a hard time finding good things to say. I’ll keep trying.

    The best GYN I ever had, a radical leftie straight-but-hired-a-lot-of-dykes-in-her-clinic type, waited until I was in the stirrups and she was doing my rectal before asking “So, can you possibly explain Log Cabin Republicans to me?” I laughed myself almost senseless.

  30. Ted says:

    Maggie@#3,

    Excellent post. It’s not just LGBT issues either. Obama is pursuing the “State Secrets” act with as much if not more vigor than Bush.

    I would direct you all to Glenn Greenwald’s daily blog at Salon.com. Glenn is a Constitutional Lawyer and an excellent writer. He is Gay and spends much of his time in Brazil because his partner can not get a visa. One of his columns today is:
    Obama and transparency: judge for yourself.

  31. Ted, somehow I had utterly missed that Glenn was gay. Guess what matters most is ideals and that old school liberalism, not identity per se.

    Here’s the direct link to Glenn’s post referred to by Ted. Thx for directing me to it; as usual, it’s a brilliant collection of facts and thinking.

  32. The Cat Pimp says:

    Not being lesbian or gay, I’m an outsider to these issues. So I could be full of shit. The level of homophobia in the mundane community is staggering. I cross the little hills from the People’s Republic of Berkeley to the land of The Hair and Nails Ladies and kids are calling each other “fags” and “gay”. I work and communicate with religious people who are irrationally angry or squeamish or phobic about anything other than Mummy, Daddy, and their kids in a household. I wish there could be more, but get the sense that he has to go step by step. Even the right-ish media is saying the nutbirds on the right are getting scarier and nuttier.

    Also, O’s only been in office since the end of January. He’s got 8 years of Suck to unravel. He hasn’t even had time to fumigate the Oval office.

    So, call me wrong if you want, but the stuff I see is pretty uninformed and scary on the other side of the hills.

  33. Kelli says:

    I would like to think that there is a very specific reason for Obama to continue to do these things.

    See, if he just comes in and makes sweeping changes, that’s essentially saying that these things are at executive discretion, and that a president can be as open or as closed as he or she wishes to be.

    But if he continues his predecessor’s policies, all the while making Federal bench appointments, he’s in a position to actually get the Bush policies on governmental operation judged in a court of law. There are already some indications that this might be the plan: His administration has complied with federal court requests for documents, where the recent Bush administration would have stalled or bluffed or remained obstinate.

    And so the Justice Department has to make the same arguments, and keep appealing, so that the record can show that these policies were brought before the highest possible court and found to be illegal and unconstitutional.

  34. Ready2Agitate says:

    NYT coverage today (“Outcry on Federal Same-Sex Benefits”) mentions John Aravosis’s AmericaBlog (but no link). Except that it leads with a ‘those we are helping are the ones who’re mad!’ hook (it’s just a hook), and omits what HoH succinctly points out re: memo vs. order, it’s not all that bad:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/18/us/politics/18benefits.html?hp

  35. Ready2Agitate says:

    ps re: the site. I used to know when the Queen herself posted (all hail Alison! – sorry, you must hate that… but we do love you) bc her name was highlighted in that pumpkin/saffron/mustard/monarch butterfly color (ha!); and now all bloggers have that same color highlight. Guess I like reading Alison’s posts/responses (maybe bc this is her site), and so now I’m wondering if her name can be in a different color from all the rest of us?

    (Good golly for some reason this sounds odder than intended… anyone else miss seeing AB’s name in a different color or am I the only weirdo?)

    ps Am very glad to easily link to Maggie & others’ blogs here now!

  36. Ready2Agitate says:

    pps Thx for keeping the spotlight on Iran, AB – that HuffPo article was very good.

  37. Ready2Agitate says:

    Last one – AB talks abt seeing her book in the Mike Leigh film (and how much she likes Mike Leigh) right when the film came out. (You’ll have to Google the url of this blogsite and then dot mikeleigh or something — one of our resident smartie pants – Hairball? – once xplained how you can search within a site that way).

  38. hairball_of_hope says:

    @R2A (#37)

    Yup, it was me. Refresher on cool Google trick to search a specific website:

    In the Google searchbox:

    site:[sitename] [searchterm 1] [searchterm 2] etc.

    Note there is no space between site: and the sitename.

    For example, to search this website for all references to Mike Leigh:

    site:dykestowatchoutfor.com “Mike Leigh”

    I put Mike Leigh in quotes to force an exact match to the full name. Omitting the quotes would also return results for Mike and Leigh, in addition to results for Mike Leigh.

    (… goes back to her Google search for the socks that the dryer ate …)

  39. Ian says:

    @R2A #35:I agree! Anyone could post on here saying they were AB, but when it was orange, we knew it was AB herself.

  40. hairball_of_hope says:

    Another cool Google trick:

    If you have a tracking number for a package delivery (e.g. UPS, FedEx, USPS), enter the tracking number in the Google search box. You’ll get a link that will look up the package status on the shipper’s website. I use this all the time to track stuff, I keep the tracking numbers in a spreadsheet, and cut/paste into Google. Much easier than navigating multiple shipper websites, and I never have to dig out the e-mail tracking notifications for the links.

  41. NLC says:

    HOH 38: [...Google search tricks...]

    Also, if you have trouble remembering the exact incantation, you can go to Google’s “Advanced Search” page and enter each part in a separate, labeled field:
    http://www.google.com/advanced_search

  42. ksbel6 says:

    If you guys haven’t yet, you should go read Zoe’s last post on the “Chaz” thread. It gives a great list of the recent scientific research on transexuals being “born that way.”

  43. the squealer says:

    It’s The Southland… O made a deal with the black preachers who are notoriously and sometimes violently homophobic to put DOMA and DADT on the backburner.

    Trust me, it ain’t just the white power structure that calls all the shots around these parts. Southern state GOP organizations are actively seeking the African-American religious leaders to coopt their voting blocs. The preachers have HUGE influence, especially out in the sticks, and are bought off on a regular basis.

    The shame is that these fools refuse to see that they’re the next crop of Uncle Toms.

  44. Kate L says:

    The news coverage of the Iranian government’s attempts to interfere with dissident webcasts reminds me the interference I get on my (big-name national cable company’s) feed of MSNBC. But for some reason (coincidence or not), ever since the switch to all digital television signals in the United States earlier this week, MSNBC has been coming in well enough for me to follow the programs. Why, I even watched the Rachel Maddow Show last night. On television!

    I took Sandy to the vet yesterday. My now-56-pound harrier hound (ha!) is in fine shape except for tartar on her teeth. She was so hyper, though, that she had to be muzzled!

  45. Kate L says:

    Oh, and about Senator Ensign. There are only, what, 40 Republican United States senators? And supposedly, Ensign’s mistress was on his office staff payroll. Does anyone really think that the other Republican senators were unaware of what was going on? Or, what was going on with Senator Larry Craig, either?

  46. Alex K says:

    @Ian / #39: Naughty! Here I was all ready to tell R2A / #35 — Yep, crazy as a June bug, you are, NO ONE else sees ANY poster-names in turmeric… but then you piped up.

    Dang.

  47. Ready2Agitate says:

    Bless you, Ian :). The Other Alison – let’s have the Queen back, perhaps in aqua-green, to honour the Earth (as well as Mz. HRT).

  48. Ready2Agitate says:

    Ahem, brandishing my newly empowered Google search capability, NLC (#10), here’s the first thread that referenced the Mike Leigh film & Fun Home (started Jan. 2009) – I believe it’s mentioned before AB put it in her opening entry herself:

    http://dykestowatchoutfor.com/sexual-dissidence

  49. Acilius says:

    Let me say that I’m also glad we can now link our names on this site to our email and websites. I hope it keeps unfriendly visitors from hijacking regular posters’ names.

  50. Alex the Bold says:

    I can’t say I’ve watched Obama’s administration under a microscope, but I get a feeling that, usually, Obama’s playing the long game.

    Does anyone here doubt that Universal Health Care, especially after so many “good, decent Americuhns” have lost their coverage through no fault of their own, is going to be coming along finally? Seriously, if it can’t be done by this administration, coming off of the biggest batch of criminals and incompetents in the Republic’s history, I fully intend to move to Canada.

    On a similar vein, what about gay marriage? How many states have sided with it now? Yes, some have sided against it. But come on, I can’t be the only one who remembers the Reagan Era. Gay people didn’t even freakin’ exist in the Reagan Era, except as marginally criminal deviants. And Reagan was only 20 to 30 years ago. Yes, that’s a big piece of a lifetime, but even 20 years ago, the idea of going to a gay wedding? I’d look good, long and hard at you to try to spot the lobotomy scars if you told me they’d be happening in 2009.

    It’s a cruel calculus, but could it be that Obama is looking at all of this with an eye on the long game and saying, “I am so sorry to have to do this, but if I just humor these fundie wackos a little with their DOMA fetish — while state after state sends them packing — they’ll wither up and blow away. It’ll be like the people who think dancing is sinful. But if I come in swinging the Federal government’s power, they’ll rally ’round Sarah Palin and her babbling through States’ Rights speeches. It’ll be the Reagan Rebirth all over again. Just let them fade on their own, don’t get in the way of someone trying to jump off a cliff.

    We ARE winning the fight for marriage at the state and grassroot level. That’s demonstrable. Is it that Obama looks at that success and realizes he could only help the other side if he is “too much” for it?

  51. Feminista says:

    Well,I tried,but I just can’t stay away from you wicked smaht,feisty fine fo’folks.

    I’m happy to say,despite living in the state w/the 2nd highest unemployment rate in the country, I’ve found a part-time summer job at a community college helping Latin@ students prepare for their GED exams.(Note to non-U.S.folks: GED stands for General Equivalency Degree,which is roughly equal to a high school diploma.)

    I started the summer employment search back in late Feb.,got discouraged for awhile with daily news reports of more and more lay-offs and cut-backs,and rallied again this month as some posted-at-the-last-minute teaching jobs opened up.

    Anyway,I’ll still have time to work on writing and art projects,enjoy summer activities,and do my on-going community service and political work. Did y’all know that July 19 is the 30th anniversary of the Sandinista victory in Nicaragua?

    Re: Mike Leigh films.I’ve seen most of them. Although Happy-go-Lucky wasn’t great,I think it was worth watching,as I liked the way Poppy,her flatmates and workmates supported each other. The scenes with the tempermental dance teacher were hilarious.

  52. Feminista, I associated the Sandinista victory with Mount St. Helen’s erupting, I remember celebrating both at the same political dyke meeting. Can that be right? How hopeful it all seemed.

  53. Ian says:

    @Maggie Jochild #52: You celebrated a volcano erupting? Is this strange recurrence of Vulcan worship (no, definitely not a Star Trek reference) after 1800 years a part of dyke culture previously unknown to me? ;)

  54. Ian: It was a FEMALE mountain, threatening PATRIARCHAL West Coast cities. Blowing her top, something we all wanted to do.

    Someone in the group painted a huge banner that hung all the way across that Berkeley living room, showing the cloud of ash, a river of magma (which was not strictly accurate, if I remember correctly), and in jungles blow, women dressed like “War of the Flea” Dance Brigade ninjas carrying machine guns were yelling “La puebla unida jamas sera vencida!”

    Now THAT would be a piece of ephemera to have. But I’m sure it’s long ago been sent to the trash.

  55. Ian says:

    @Maggie Jochild: Aaaaah I should’ve guessed! Silly of me. Although the ash does not distinguish between LA and the People’s Republic …

  56. Ian says:

    @Maggie Jochild #54: By the way, that banner sounds fantastic! I hope you (or at least someone) have a picture of that somewhere.

  57. Ready2Agitate says:

    wtf?! Barney Frank, of my state, is BACKING Obama’s memorandum? Yuck: http://www.queerty.com/shock-barney-frank-now-supports-obamas-doma-brief-20090618/

  58. Ready2Agitate says:

    Welcome back, Feminista ~ I’m not thrilled with Daniel Ortega, I must say, but the 30 year mark is certainly something significant (and let’s not forget July 26th – the 50th anniv of Cuba’s Revolution!). I recently attended a 25-year reunion of Boston-area Central America solidarity activists to celebrate the FMLN’s surge to victory in El Salvador. It was nostalgic and poignant to be sure.

  59. Feminista says:

    The biggest & most famous Mt.St.Helens eruption was Memorial Day Weekend 1981.My beloved Richard and I were driving north from the CA Sierras on Interstate 5. Since we’d been at “Commie Camp”,the nickname for the Western Radical Social Scientists gathering near Nevada City,CA we didn’t have access to news sources. By the time we got to southern OR,we noticed that traffic was very light for a holiday weekend. We tuned into AM radio and discovered she’d REALLY blown her top this time. The next five hours driving were quite eerie,like a science fiction movie.

    We returned to Portland to find a light coating of ash on the streets and in our apartment entry.We replaced our car’s air filter and wore protective masks as needed.

    The earlier eruptions were smaller and caused less damage. But I don’t know anyone who celebrated them. The banner sounds very cool,though.

    RE: Nicaragua. Well,the tide has turned again,and while the govt.isn’t as radical as it was from 1979-the beginning of the rightist Violeta Chamorro reign,some positive changes are being made.

  60. Feminista says:

    Ready– I have problems with Ortega,too,but your reunion sounds like one I’d like to attend. Gracias for the 26 de julio reminder.

    On July 19,PCASC (Portland Central American Solidarity Committee)will celebrate its 30th anniversary with a fiesta honor other positive changes in Latin America. I’m looking forward to seeing long-time friends.

    Many Portlanders,including Ben Linder,went to help build a new Nicaragua in from fall ’79 to the mid-80s. An excellent book written by a friend who helped coordinate the literacy brigade captures that time period: And also Teach them to Read by Sheryl Hirschon,published in Spanish and English editions.

    Linder’s family started an organization to honor Ben’s landmark engineering work in rural areas; it’s now called Green Empowerment and has additional projects in SE Asia. The hydroelectric power station he helped design and build is still running,and a number of women have been trained as engineering technicians.

  61. Feminista says:

    Aaak,I’m tired; sorry about the typos.

  62. Renee S. says:

    #57 R2A
    You know, I can understand the motivation to dismiss DOMA from a Supreme Court ruling at this time. The Court is stacked against us.
    HOWEVER
    The vicious manner in which the brief was written will haunt us for a very long time!!!
    The nasty rhetoric will raise its ugly head again, mark my words.
    WTF is Barney Frank thinking?
    methinks we should start a letter writing campaign….

  63. Ginjoint says:

    I did a term paper in eighth grade (about age 13)on Mt. St. Helens. We had to do the paper on an event of some sort, and why I picked that I’ll never know. The paper had to be 25 – yes, twenty-five – pages long, with a specified amount of footnotes and end notes (A TON), a certain length bibliography (LOOOONG), and also a specified amount of notecards showing our research (A SHITLOAD). Here’s what happened with Mt. St. Helens in a nutshell: It blew up. Ash was everywhere. The end. Just you try and write 25 freakin’ pages on that. I know I wasn’t the only kid who ended up at the dining room table, swimming in notecards and in tears, trying desperately to think of yet another way to describe just how much ash there was and how people cleaned it up. The paper, I believe, is still somewhere in my mother’s basement. It gives off a sinister vibe.

    /horrible flashback that I didn’t expect to encounter here of all places

  64. Ready2Agitate says:

    Feminista you won’t be surprised that I have a poster “In the Spirit of Ben Linder” in my kitchen. I think I bought it when his parents came through on a speaking tour the year after he was murdered by the contras.

    Re: Mt. St. Helens, does the Seattle Imax theatre still have a planetarium sized film abt the eruption? It had some amazing footage. What I remember were the number of trees uprooted and scattered “like matchsticks” all over the earth. It was an astounding sight. Ginjoint, you coulda gotten a lot off watching the film…. (um, that sounded funny :) – I meant you coulda gotten a lotta material for that dreaded assigment off the film). (and didn’t many of us use Cliff Notes to get us thru our high school book reports?)

    Back to Barney Frank – what to do. He’s not my Rep, but yikes – definitely someone I look to for leadership to protect our rights. But do all leaders eventually compromise? Is all negotiation fundamentally about reaching a mutually agreeable/livable solution? Geez, with that logic, would the US ever have a woman’s vote, civil rights, or hate crimes legislation today? Not. No compromise. DOMA. MUST. GO.

    I do hope Maggie’s concern that Obama may be emerging as a conservative on gay rights is not true. How I hope. Is anyone here active with OFA, the Democratic org that was founded immediately after Obama’s inauguration to continue the grassroots movement for change? I’m considering pressing them to work on this from the inside, even though I know their mission is to “support Obama’s agenda” — but they are also full of the same progressives, queers, and Lefties who got Obama elected….

    (dang, the bulbous yellow smilie face is back :(

  65. j.b.t. says:

    DOMA is bad. The smiley face is not. :)

  66. Feminista says:

    Ready #64. Yes,they are an amazing family. David died in 2000,I believe,and I attended his memorial service. Elisabeth has moved into an apartment complex where many long-time lefties live,and she’s still active in WILPF.

    Re:Mt.St. Helens: I’ve never been to the Seattle IMAX,but I used to go to Folklife,and performed twice with musical groups. A MSH Visitor’s Center is in SW Washington,but I’ve never been;I’m not keen on huge displays of disaster areas. But some tourists love it.

  67. great comments!.. keep them coming

  68. hairball_of_hope says:

    re: search engines

    Has anyone played around with Wolfram Alpha yet? I fooled around with it a little the first day the beta was released, and haven’t gone back since. I haven’t quite figured out what I can use it for, although according to the Wall Street Journal article this week, math teachers are concerned that students will crib their calculus homework with it. Not surprising that it’s really good with math problems, after all, Wolfram wrote Matlab.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124516890985419379.html

  69. hairball_of_hope says:

    Now here are some interesting revelations about how the Census Bureau has been monkeying around with the data collected.

    Did you know that the Census Bureau has been keeping stats on same-sex unions, but has been prohibited from releasing it?

    Did you know the Census Bureau changed the reporting status of same-sex marriages in the 2000 Census to ‘Unmarried Partners’?

    Did you know that in the 1990 Census, they altered the gender of one person listed in the same-sex union statistics so they were counted as opposite-sex unmarried partners?

    All of this was news to me. I did know that the 2000 Census terms for the persons in the ‘Unmarried Partners’ category were called POSSSLQ and POOSSLQ (Person of Same/Opposite Sex Sharing Living Quarters), but I had no idea they actually CHANGED the data.

    The right-wing xenophobes decry the use of a valid statistical technique known as sampling to adjust for under-reporting in certain populations, such as undocumented immigrants and homeless persons, but are SILENT about blatant and direct data manipulation.

    All these factoids come way of an article discussing the Obama Administration’s efforts to properly count same-sex married and unmarried couples in the 2010 Census.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124537164093129827.html

    Quoting from the article:


    The administration has directed the Census Bureau to determine changes needed in tabulation software to allow for same-sex marriage data to be released early in 2011 with other detailed demographic information from the decennial count. The bureau historically hasn’t released same-sex marriage data.

    [...snip...]

    The Census Bureau has long collected data on same-sex marriages when people chose to report it. White House officials said the previous administration interpreted the federal Defense of Marriage Act as prohibiting the release of the data. The Obama administration has abandoned that interpretation.

    [...snip...]

    The original plan for handling these marriages in the 2010 Census was controversial among some statisticians and gay activists. Following procedures employed in 2000, the bureau had planned to use a computer program that recategorized spouses in same-sex marriages as unmarried partners. For the 1990 count, the bureau simply altered the gender designation of one partner.

    Some members of the 2010 Census Advisory Committee, composed of private statisticians and members of nonprofit groups, said they think that the bureau has handled same-sex marriages irresponsibly. Ed Spar, a member of the committee and the executive director of the Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics, said altering data like the bureau has done with same-sex marriages “does not make any sense.”

  70. Kate L says:

    Where Were YOU When Mt. St. Helens Blew?

    ginjoint (grade eight project on the eruption of Mt. St. Helens); Maggie (rad dyke celebration of Mt. St. Helens’ antipatriarchal eruption):

    And where was Kate L just before Mt. St. Helens blew her top in 1980? I was in Houston, interviewing for a job as a petroleum geologist with Marathon! You would have just loved me in my little business suit outfit! Btw, the eruption dropped volcanic ash as far east as my hometown here in eastern Kansas. Also, there are ancient volcanic ash beds many feet in thickness in western Kansas that were formed by much more massive volcanic eruptions in the past.

  71. Jus\' Sayin\' says:

    Not to defend Obama here, but to explain something about politics that lots of folks have misssed: Obama and the Dems are being wusses about gay rights not because they personally are bigots or because they want to avoid rallying right wingers. They are worrying about African-Americans. Smart Dems know they won the last election not just because of Bush’s failures or the economic collapse, but also because African-Americans turned out in much bigger numbers than usual. Dems fear that many African-Americans who go to church regularly are hostile to gay rights, particularly gay marriage. Dems don’t want to alienate this group of voters or provoke them into street protests and loud sermons on this topic. Believe me, Cheney waited to speak out in favor of gay marriage this month–instead of doing so before the vote on Prop. 8, or while he still held office–not because he’s suddenly become a nice guy, but because he knows his words can do harm to the Obama administration.

  72. Chana says:

    OK, so strangely enough, Obama’s not having ordered a temporary stop order for DADT bothers me more than the DOMA issue. Not because I think DOMA is less important, but because I think the DADT fight is one he could WIN, without alienating all the righties. Honestly-we’re in a war where there aren’t enough soldiers. These people are getting sent back for third and fourth tours. They’re letting avowed white supremacists into the Army, which is AGAINST army policy, because they just don’t have enough bodies. And he’s still allowing gay people who WANT to be in the army to get kicked out?? This is really, he could say in his beloved bipartisan (read, we are terrified of the right) fashion, an issue of national security. And maybe only gay people care about getting rid of DOMA, but there are plenty of straight people-even in the military! who care about getting rid of DADT. It would be a pretty good move as far as I can see…much better than throwing us non-existent bones like the memorandum. and that’s what makes me think that he’s not gonna move on gay rights, period. Not the DOMA stuff.

  73. Acilius says:

    #71: I don’t really agree about the politics. Wherever equal rights for same sexers are an issue, the Democrats usually take a hit with African American and Hispanic voters. But once a legislature adopts an initiative to recognize those rights, the public generally moves on rather quickly.

    #72: “And maybe only gay people care about getting rid of DOMA”- And maybe not! I mentioned in a previous thread that Mrs Acilius and I were on our honeymoon in Washington state when the governor signed the civil unions law there a few weeks ago. We were a great deal happier knowing that Washington’s same-sexers would soon be enjoying (most!) of the same rights we had just claimed. We would have been even happier, of course, if there were no distinction, but at least we felt we could look our friends and family members in the face.

  74. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L (#70)

    I don’t remember exactly where I was when MSH blew its ash skyward, but I do remember how much cooler that summer was, thanks to the atmospheric effects of the ash. I spent a few weeks hiking/camping/cycling in Maine that summer, and it was much cooler and wetter than normal.

  75. Kat says:

    @ #70
    I wasn’t even a fetus yet…

  76. Therry and ST. Jerome says:

    It is not either just gay people who are against DOMA! Me and the Puff, my husband, are against it because it rails against the deliberately childless. Would the establishment kindly leave my union (and my body) the hell ALONE please? Confusion to DOMA!

    @Danceteacher (#67), that’s some cute website you got going there!

  77. shadocat says:

    Kat #75– you must be close to my daughter’s age. She was about 3 weeks old when it happened.

  78. Ready2Agitate says:

    fwiw, many Latin@s & allies reject the term Hispanic, created by the US census bureau, in favor of Latino or Latina. I also reject the idea that blocks of people of color are monolithic on social justice issues.

  79. Kat says:

    Shado-I was born at the end of ’81.

  80. shadocat says:

    Well, OK, a year and a half younger then. God, I feel old.

  81. Kate L says:

    Young Ones,

    I was born in 1954. I recently came across a photo of me and my older sister taken in 1966. I was the shorter, cuter one…

  82. Kate L says:

    Hey,

    Does the fact that A.B. is drawing in her mouth in the self-portrait at the top of this blog represent the fact the she communicates with the world through her art?

  83. Kate L says:

    Me again. I should be working on lecture slides here in my office late this Friday night, but instead I somehow ended up at an ABC News web site that is talking about how Che Guevara’s 24-year-old grand-daughter Lydia is posing “half-naked” in an ad for PETA that will appear later this year. According to the news story, the ad’s tag line will be, “join the vegetarian revolution.” Yes, a photograph of Lydia from the ad appears with the story. You’re welcome! :)
    http://blogs.abcnews.com/theworldnewser/2009/06/che-guevaras-granddaughter-poses-half-naked-for-peta.html

  84. Ready2Agitate says:

    oooh and she’s buff :).

  85. Feminista says:

    @Ready #78: Very true. I get especially peeved at terms like the “Hispanic vote.” Latin@s constitute a wide sprectrum of races,nationalties and beliefs. Some are Indigenous,some are Mestiz@s (Indigenous and Spanish),some have European backgrounds(descended from Spaniards,Italians,Germans,and/or Irish),some are Creoles (Black and Spanish),and some are direct descendents of west African slaves.

    Many cities now have Latin@ Pride events. In Portland,one of the area Latin@ newspapers had a 6 page supplement on Pride events in a recent issue. Our local Latin@ theater company recently rec’d an award for its significant number of bilingual or Spanish-language cultural events involving LGBT themes. In June 08 I saw a wonderful monologue called Gaytino; the actor was the son of a famous Mariachi musician.

    There are big differences politically and culturally between,for example,second generation Cubans in Miami,FL,newly-arrived Salvadoran immigrants in Los Angeles,fourth-generation Mexican-Americans in Texas,and Indigenous Guatemalans in San Francisco.

  86. Feminista says:

    #83 Kate L: Yes,PETA has run a number of sexist ads which have been criticized,and American Apparel is great on producing clothing made under decent working conditions but horrible in its depiction of women in their ads.

    I wrote a letter to AA regarding one particularly offensive ad,got a generic thanks with the promise of another letter addressing my concerns. They never sent one.

    But dear friends,we must choose our battles,or we will get burned out and cynical.

  87. hairball_of_hope says:

    Lydia’s carrot-topped anatomy seems a bit, umm, gravity-defying. Since this is a PETA ad, I’m sure there are no chicken cutlets involved. That leaves only duct tape and silicone as potential enhancement devices.

    (… exits stage left singing her Carol Channing parody, “Duct Tape is a Girl’s Best Friend …)

  88. Ian says:

    Ok, I really hadn’t thought of PETA’s naked ads as sexist. Although the majority are women, we do get some fellas too – I nearly wrote to thank PETA for the Jamie Bamber one (of Battlestar Galactica fame). ;)

    A little OT but I had to post on here about it – last night I bought a 2 disc DVD of Whoopi Goldberg’s ’85 Direct from Broadway one-woman show and the 20th anniversary ’05 Back to Broadway show. We tend not to get HBO specials very often in the UK! Very powerful and very moving and pant-wettingly funny! But the portrayal of a menopausal mother and her journey through life from the 60s to the present day and her own conception of womanhood and just how strongly a person’s identity could be bound up with their genitalia was fascinating.

  89. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Ian (#88)

    Oh, you just brought back memories for me. In 1984, I saw this show at Dance Theatre Workshop performed by some young woman from the neighborhood. She had grown up in the housing projects a few blocks away and now performed with a crazy stage name.

    It was Whoopi Goldberg doing her first one-woman show, the shirt on her head as her “long luxurious blond hair,” etc.

    I was blown away. I told everyone I knew about this show and said they HAD to see it. Mike Nichols saw it too, and the rest, as they say, was history. The 1985 Broadway show is a slightly revamped version of those first shows she did at DTW.

    I haven’t seen the DVD, but I remember how electric and sharp her performance was, and how she shifted gears from wildly funny to movingly poignant in the span of a few seconds. Whoopi has superb timing, something you only get a glimpse of in her TV and film roles.

  90. NLC says:

    I don’t recall if anyone has mentioned this here:

    Tesori is working with Lisa Kron to adapt Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel “Fun Home” to the stage, [...]

    http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118005160.html?categoryId=2524&cs=1

  91. Kat says:

    Ian (#88)
    Putting women clad only in a pair of pig-like ears in cages?
    Oh, no, that’s not dehumanizing and misogynist at all….
    The PETA founder’s response to sexist publicity stunt after sexist publicity stunt? “Oh, PETA can’t be un-feminist. I’m a woman. Not possible!”

    Um, also, one of their print ads, from the “I’d rather go naked than wear fur” campaign, featured an underage girl.
    **Cue the sarcasm: But it’s all ironic and provocative, you see, because she was starring in a film version of “Lolita.”

  92. hairball_of_hope says:

    Fun Home as a musical? I dunno… not quite what I had imagined. But then again, there’s plenty of angst in “Rent” and it ran for something like ten or twelve years on Broadway, and the cast album sold by the truckload.

  93. Ian says:

    @Kat #91: You should hear what the pig thinks about it!

    I’m not disagreeing with you Kat. Those kind of images surround us everyday, that it’s so easy just to get used to it without questioning it.

    I wonder what the be-pigged model thought about it all?

  94. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Ian (#93)

    I’ll bet the be-pigged model was as fond of those ears as Leonard Nimoy was of Spock’s.

    Speaking of Spock, did anyone check out the “Nerd Prom” at last night’s Radio/TV Correspondents dinner? Obama gave the Vulcan salute.

    http://www.c-span.org/Watch/Media/2009/06/19/HP/R/20034/65th+RTCA+Dinner.aspx

  95. Catsanova says:

    Oh my…Fun Home, The Musical. I can see young Alison in the natty drag she dressed up in at her friend Beth’s house, plus straw hat, in her first big number: “I was butch (tap, tap, tap, tap) to my fa-ther’s nel-ly (tap, tap, tap, tap)…” But Jeanne Tesori did an amazing job with Tony Kushner on _Caroline, or Change_, so it’s a highly promising combination.

    I went to see the SF premiere of the documentary “Ferron: Girl on a Road” last night; worth seeing, although I have definite quibbles with the editing (in all the concert footage, they showed only a couple of verses from each song, cut to an interview with Ferron or a band member, and never cut back). Amazing audience energy; sometimes it was hard to tell whether the singing and applause was on the soundtrack or live! Plus just before it began, I glanced to my right and saw Herself standing there; once everyone caught on, she got a HUGE ovation.

  96. Renee S. says:

    HOH # 94 I’m sure the President had just attended a 24 hour Stooge Marathon.

    http://new.wavlist.com/tv/010/sorrymoe.wav

  97. Renee S. says:

    The last post:
    I’m sorry Mo, please forgive me.

  98. Renee S. says:

    Musical….
    Until I get to see Alison spinning around on a mountaintop singing, “The Hills Are Alive….,”
    only then will I know, that yes, Fun Home will make a great musical….

  99. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L (#45)

    Funny you should mention that other Senate Republicans probably knew about Ensign’s affair. According to the Las Vegas Sun, Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, who shares an apartment with Ensign in DC, was present (along with others) when Doug Hampton confronted Ensign in Feb 2008 about the relationship with his wife.

    Yup, that’s the same Tom Coburn who fought to allow guns into the National Parks. The same Tom Coburn who coauthored the bill to overturn DC’s laws on handguns, which included trigger lock requirements and registrations.

    Good thing Hampton wasn’t packing heat during that confruntation.

    (… Snark alert …)

    The LV Sun has reprinted Doug Hampton’s letter to Fox News, complete with horrid grammar and spelling errors. This guy made $160,000 a year, and has the English skills of a 4th grader. Hey, I can spell without spellcheck, and I know when to use apostrophes. Surely *I* deserve at least that much money for my daily toil.

    http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2009/jun/20/war-words-between-ensign-and-hampton-escalates/

    Also note that Fox News tried to bury this story, and they may have tipped off Ensign that Hampton was writing to news media.

  100. Aunt Soozie says:

    Yeah Dance teacher…
    love the website…
    and FYI… I think it was Dr E who suggested it but my friend Jeanne went with Alfred Switchcock!
    Thanks Doctor!

  101. Feminista says:

    @hairball #99: While I agree that the letter is poorly written,terms like heinous,egegrious,and unjustified aren’t part of the average fourth grade vocabulary list. I have seen college students’ papers with as many or more errors,and don’t get me started on grammar,sentence structure,and spelling errors on OTHER blogs.

    Hampton’s general incompetence shouldn’t be rewarded with a triple-digit salary,but that’s how the Peter Principle works–managers rise to the level of their own incompetence.

    According to a recent AAUW (Amer.Assoc.of Univ.Women),women are now up to 78% of men’s salaries. Of course,the average salaries for women of color are lower than that. I’ve known so many competent women who’ve had to deal with incompetent,arrogant,usually white male bosses. Like our last president,and a number of senators,
    congressmen,college deans,etc.,these dudes hire bright people to do their research and cover up for their mistakes.

    Fun Home the musical? Should be interesting.

    Oh,are we back to drag king names? I like(d) Max Axle,but many of the other names seem,well, adolescent.

  102. Andrew B says:

    NLC, #90. Good to hear it’s actually being developed. And I like this sentence which refers to the composer who’s working on it (as well as a couple of other Broadway composers):

    “Their musicals get produced on Broadway with the kind of clocklike regularity that recalls the glory days of Rodgers & Hammerstein.”

  103. HoH, #89: Some time around 1981-ish, I went to a left benefit performance in Berzerkly where one of the unknown artists on stage was Whoopi Goldburg. My friend and I thought she was Jewish, and when she wasn’t, that was our first shock. She did her little black girl longing for long blond hair routine, and that (mostly white) crowd BOOED her, thinking it must be racist. Afterward, my friend and I talked for hours, trying to figure out what Whoopi had meant, and eventually we got it — but she was that far ahead of her time. Hard knocks for her, I’m sure.

    At least Alison is being credited and paid for her original idea in Fun Home — unlike Sarah Schulman for Rent (to revisit an already chewed-over controversy).

  104. Ready2Agitate says:

    Big Ferron fan here, Catsanova #95 – thx for the tip.

    Cuz it won’t take long.
    It won’t take too long at all.
    It won’t take long.
    And it makes you say, ‘I don’t really understand what you’re talking about’
    And it makes me say, don’t you wanna see yourself as strong?

  105. Ian says:

    @Renee S #98: Thanks for putting the idea of AB running out into the backwoods behind her house, arms flung out wide, spinning and twirling in a black dress and pinafore, trilling “the HILLS are alive, with the sound of mooses”.

    Followed by a bewildered Dr Winnicat of course.

  106. Glenn R says:

    Back to the original post questions for a moment: DADT, DOMA, and Obama’s slow movements.

    I’ve been carefully explaining to every solicitor from the DNC, DCCC, DSCC etc that I am gay; that Obama looks like Bush on gay rights so far; and that until there is action, there will be no further donations to Dems from this household.

    I advocate this to all, because this is how right wingers manipulate politicians.

    On the realistic side: The public is generally supporting repeal of Don’t Ask – and more than 50% in every state Obama won; hate crimes protection is supported by wide margins in every state Obama won in 2008.

    Thus I am with Chana in Post #72. It’s not realistic to ask progressives to walk into a meat grinder (national gay marriage push). But it is more than fair to expect them to pursue opportunities where the downside is limited.

    Put gay marriage aside, these two items are the low hanging fruit. If the Obama administration is too timid to act when they have public support on their side, they don’t deserve our support. I would certainly vote for him again, but no money – that goes to gay candidates and causes instead.

    I love the posts on the Ensign affair (such as Hairball at 99). Of COURSE his Senate peers knew about his problems, and more than one of them is white knuckled wondering when their own male of female lovers will squeal on them.

    The fact that he was a right-wing zealot and a Promise Keeper just makes his disgrace more tasty. Note how Gavin Newsom – liberal and tolerant mayor of SF – was not attacked as a hypocrite when his own affair was exposed.

    Gavin never attacks other people for their personal life, so he gets much less opprobrium.

    Ensign threw rocks in his own glass house. I just hope we get another solar flare of GOP sexual hypocrisy in time for Sept 2010 for midterm elections attention.

    Romney or Palin sexcapades would be especially yummy. But he may be too repressed and she may have had too much pre-marital fun to get caught doing middle age nasty dances.

  107. Ready2Agitate says:

    >>I just hope we get another solar flare of GOP sexual hypocrisy in time for Sept 2010 for midterm elections attention.

    Hear hear, Glenn.

  108. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Glenn R (#106)

    “… and she may have had too much pre-marital fun to get caught doing middle age nasty dances.”

    Well, there were all those pictures of her field dressing a moose. I’m kinda hoping for some pictures of her undressing *with* a moose.

    It might be hard for her to carry on an office romance when you consider that she was working out of her house (and billing the State of Alaska per diem) much of the time.

    In the “name that fling” game, there are probably a few Dems as well as GOPers who will take a fall if their romances sour.

    Finally, is it just me, or has the coverage of Ensign’s extramarital dalliance sounded a lot like “women as property” in tone?

    Sure, it’s entertaining and satisfying on some level that this holier-than-thou Christian, Promisekeeper, intolerant Senator has fallen from grace.

    But the coverage of the cuckolded husband positively reeks. For starters, the woman involved is nearly always identified in news accounts in terms of her relation to Doug Hampton (e.g. “the wife”, “his wife”), instead of by her own name (Cynthia Hampton).

    It seems to me that Doug Hampton is pursuing Ensign the way a victim of a hit-and-run vehicular accident pursues the other driver.

    Hey Doug, did it ever occur to you that perhaps Cynthia was INTERESTED in Ensign? That she could have desires unmet by you?

    If this were a case of sexual harrassment, where the person in authority used/abused his power over a subordinate for sexual favors, you can bet your bottom dollar that Cynthia Hampton and/or Doug Hampton would be making allegations and filing EEO charges.

    The fact that no one is alleging sexual harrassment leads me to believe that this was a purely consensual relationship. And as painful as that is to the unsuspecting partner, it does not give him license to treat her as chattel.

    Shame on the news media who are so engrossed in the delicious irony of a priggish Senator getting his comeuppance that they perpetuate the notion that a man’s wife is really his property, for which he should be compensated if another man touches her.

  109. hairball_of_hope says:

    Now for a mashup of sex, space travel, and food…

    James Hansen, an official NASA historian, discussed sex and food in space at the Paris Air Show this week.

    Quoting from the article:


    “Sex in space, now there’s an experiment scientists certainly want to conduct,” the Auburn University history teacher and official biographer of lunar astronaut Neil Armstrong says. “Great outer-space food and wine would be fine, too,” he adds over lunch in the Jules Verne restaurant, a few hundred feet beneath the top of the Eiffel Tower.

    Noted chef Alain Ducasse developed a menu for the European Space Agency used on the International Space Station that won raves from German astronaut Thomas Reiter, who told Ducasse the only thing missing was the wine.

    I can see it now on the ISS work schedule: Date Night. Let’s hope DOMA doesn’t prevent same-sex interactions in space.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601093&sid=ae9A1rAPFAwc

  110. Catsanova says:

    HOH: It’ll give new meaning to the Mile-High Club…

  111. Therry and ST. Jerome says:

    Hi @Maggie Jochild (#103) Sarah Schulman get credit for RENT? How about Giacomo Puccini? I think he wrote La Boheme from which Rent is taken. Credit where credit is due.

  112. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Therry (#111)

    I believe Jonathan Larson did give credit to Giacomo Puccini’s opera La Bohème. Of course, there was no money involved in doing so, the copyright having long expired on it.

    Giving credit to Schulman would have required payment of royalties. Schulman chose not to sue for copyright infringement. Lynn Thomson, who worked with Larson on a rework of “Rent,” did sue. Larson’s estate and Thomson eventually settled out of court for an undisclosed sum, and the settlement is sealed.

  113. Kat says:

    Man, HoH, first I had to consider the existence of astronaut poop on the moon, and now you’re making me think about sex in space…….things that this inquiring mind doesn’t want to know!!!!

    @Ian:
    maybe it’s easy to get used to images that don’t directly degrade YOU. The other half of the population might disagree.

  114. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Catsanova (#110)

    More like the 220 Mile High Club, +/- about 20 miles. Not sure what the current ISS orbit is these days; when it was originally launched, it was about 240 miles (400 km). The orbit height varies for lots of reasons; decay due to atmospheric drag, intentional maneuvers to dodge space junk and/or dock with other spacecraft, reboosts to put it in a higher orbit, etc.

    I’m wondering what will the test subjects say when they reach climax? “The Earth moved” just doesn’t cut it.

  115. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kat (#113)

    There might be a day that lunar missions for the sole purpose of cleanup are launched. There are cleanup expeditions to many of the Earth’s premier climbing mountains for just this reason. Teams remove decades of discarded mountaineering junk, such as old oxygen bottles, base camp garbage, and yes, poop. Poop stays rather well-preserved in ice and snow. If you think it’s pretty disgusting to step in dog poop on a city sidewalk, imagine encountering human poop in the Himalayas.

  116. Ian says:

    @Kat #113: I do apologise – I was too busy thinking about the point they were making about the disgusting ways agribusinesses treat their livestock.

  117. Renee S. says:

    If anyone is interested: Another battle:

    ACTION: Ask Reynolds Director Koeppel to Help Arrange a Meeting with FLOC

    The Farm Labor Organizing Committee has for over a year called on Reynolds American to improve the conditions of tobacco harvesters in the fields of the South. FLOC has requested a meeting with Reynolds American CEO Susan Ivey, but she has refused to meet with FLOC.

    Holly Koeppel is a member of the Reynolds Board of Directors, and has a close relationship with CEO Susan Ivey. She is also the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of American Electric Power (AEP). AEP provides electricity to consumers in parts of Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Texas, and Oklahoma.

    FLOC has asked Reynolds Director Koeppel to assist in arranging a meeting with Ivey, but she has failed to respond.

    Now you can help bring justice to tobacco farmworkers. Send a letter to Reynolds Director Holly Koeppel, and tell her its time for her to help FLOC obtain a meeting with corporate CEO Susan Ivey.

    We ask FLOC supporters to send Koeppel an e-letter by this Friday (June 26).

    The farmworkers who labor in the tobacco fields that supply Reynolds suffer many hardships, such as long hours of stoop labor in the fields, harassment in their work, abject poverty, miserable housing in labor camps, and the denial of basic labor and human rights protections.

    Each year thousands of farmworkers are effected by Green Tobacco Sickness, caused by exposure to harmful chemicals in tobacco leaves. Many of these workers receive little or no medical attention. The vast majority of farmworkers are not even covered under workers compensation insurance.

    Though tobacco farmworkers farmworkers may not be directly employed by Reynolds, they work for growers who do contract with Reynolds. Reynolds sets the prices and terms and is ultimately responsible for the just compensation and safe working conditions of these tobacco farm workers farmworkers.

    A major injustice endured by tobacco farmworkers is being denied any voice about their own conditions. The supply system dominated by Reynolds isolates the corporation from any contact with farmworkers, through a structure of contracts with the growers. Since Reynolds does not directly employ the farmworkers, the corporation argues that any problems in the fields are between the farmworkers and the growers who employ them.

    However, Reynolds dictates the terms to its suppliers, and therefore is in the pivotal position to change the conditions of the farmworkers. Reynolds earns some $2 billion in annual profits, and sets the prices and terms with their contract growers. Reynolds executives, who can receive up to $60 million a year in bonuses, claim to be committed to corporate social responsibility and to the common good of all stakeholders, but they do not allow for any input from farmworkers themselves.

    FLOC is seeking to gain dignity, respect, and safe working and living conditions for farmworkers producing tobacco used by Reynolds. History has demonstrated that the most effective way to achieve justice for farmworkers is when they have a direct voice through their union.

    After more than a year, Reynolds CEO Susan Ivey still refuses to meet with the farmworkers who produce the corporation’s tobacco. FLOC has asked to meet with Reynolds to discuss the conditions of thousands of farmworkers in the South who plant, tend, and harvest the tobacco the corporation uses to make its products.

    While corporate executives of big tobacco companies gain millions, tobacco farm workers remain some of the most exploited workers in the country. Reynolds CEO Ivey and the Reynolds Directors must take ultimate responsibility to ensure fair and safe conditions for the thousands of tobacco workers at the bottom of their supply chain.

    Reynolds Director Holly Koeppel is a part of the corporate leadership. FLOC has asked for her help, but she has not responded.

    You can make a difference in bringing justice to the tobacco fields of the South. Send a letter to Reynolds Director Holly Koeppel, and tell her it’s time for her to help arrange a meeting between FLOC and Reynolds CEO Susan Ivey.

    We ask FLOC supporters to send Koeppel an e-letter by this Friday (June 26). Click here to send your letter:

    http://www.unionvoice.org/campaign/Reynolds09622

  118. hairball_of_hope says:

    End of an era for those of us with closets full of slides… Kodak has announced that they will cease production of Kodachrome film.

    http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Investing/Dispatch/market-dispatches.aspx?post=1162584&_blg=1,1162315

    I wonder if Paul Simon will be singing at the funeral.

  119. Kat says:

    Thanks, Ian.
    The point, however, that I and many others try to make is that using sexism and misogyny to expose animal cruelty is….well…..cruel.
    The true message gets completely lost when you look at an ad campaign and only think about the naked woman in some provocative pose.

    By the way, you might want to look elsewhere for an organization that truly cares for animals and ending factory farming, rather than just cheap publicity stunts.

    There have been accounts of animals being “rescued” by PETA workers, only to be killed because the organizations “didn’t have the space to care for them.”

    Or how ’bout this quote:
    “During the seven years between 1938 and 1945, 12 million people perished in the Holocaust. That same number of animals is killed every four hours for food in the U.S. alone.”

    Surely I’m not the only one who finds this seriously problematic!

  120. Ready2Agitate says:

    wow I am totally out of touch with the animal rights movement and had no idea how low PETA had steeped! :(

    Renee – thx for the latest from FLOC. A great org.

    Meanwhile I’m working for Education Equality in Massachusetts for undocumented immigrant high schoolers to be allowed to pay in-state tuition rates to public colleges. Live in MA? Email me.

  121. Ready2Agitate says:

    er, stooped.

  122. Ready2Agitate says:

    (ready2agitate at the Google mail thingie.)

  123. NLC says:

    From Kat (119):
    [...]Or how ’bout this quote:
    “During the seven years between 1938 and 1945, 12 million people perished in the Holocaust. That same number of animals is killed every four hours for food in the U.S. alone.”
    Surely I’m not the only one who finds this seriously problematic!

    Along these lines, a few years back as part of PETA’s “Holocaust on Your Plate” campaign, a billboard raised a stink in the Boston area. The image was the [in]famous photograph of the interior of a barracks at Buchenwald in which Elie Wiesel is shown among the prisoners lying on a bunk in the background, (with corresponding text).

    (Curiously enough the campaign’s organizers did find it necessary to crop and air-brush out the nearly-nude man standing along the right-hand side of the original. Guess they didn’t want to offend anyone.)

  124. grrljock says:

    NLC #90 sez:…[Jeanine] Tesori is working with Lisa Kron to adapt Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel “Fun Home” to the stage, …

    Wow! Lisa Kron was FABulous as a Brother in Five Lesbian Brothers. I’ve been really looking forward to going to see her new play at the Berkeley Rep next May. And now to hear that she’s working on FH? COOOOOL!

    Random fact: did you know that the real Maria von Trapp sold the right to her story for a measly $9000? To a German production company? Who produced the first movie of that story?

    (My sister spent Saturday afternoon watching all the specials from her Sound of Music DVD)

  125. Acilius says:

    @h_o_h #118: That’s too bad. Kodachrome is great stuff, as we View Master aficionados can testify. Even after 70 years Kodachrome slides don’t usually show any decay visible to the unaided eye.

  126. Ian says:

    @Kat #119: It’s not too bad for me – the main animal rights NGO in Britain where I live is the RSPCA who are a lot less ‘radical’ than PETA. Although, if an animal can’t be rehomed, it too will put down a perfectly healthy animal, unlike the Dogs Trust who don’t. They do work with industry and you can buy meat that’s been reared according to RSPCA standards – freedom food, it’s called.

    We do, however, have the Animal Liberation Front that resort to kidnapping, harrassing, terrorising animal research laboratories, etc.

  127. hairball_of_hope says:

    I have a feeling I’m not in Kansas anymore…

    The Fred Phelps wackos descended upon synagogues and Jewish institutions in NYC this weekend. My synagogue used the opportunity to hold a fundraiser, and raised $10,000 in under an hour thanks to the presence of the half dozen Westboro crazies on the street (or should that be Wasteboro?).

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/2009/06/22/2009-06-22_manhattan_synagogue_makes_money_off_of_westboro_baptist_church_protest.html

  128. hairball_of_hope says:

    (… second link about the Phelps’ visit, this one from the NY Times, not wanting this to end up in blog purgatory …)

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/22/nyregion/22westboro.html?ref=nyregion

    I’m wondering if they got an NYC Vistor’s Bureau discount at their hotel for Pride Month festivities? I hope not.

  129. Feminista says:

    @Ready #120:Are we clones? Just 10 minutes ago I was looking for comm. college tuition assist. programs for my daugher’s novio,who is still working valiantly to get his papers. OR’s legilature has been talking about such a bill,but I don’t know if it passed this session.

    Off to yoga. Om shanti.

  130. Renee S. says:

    @HOH #127, 128

    WOOO-HOOO! What a Fantastic Fundraiser and Hate-Buster!

    Who ya gonna call? Hate-Busters!

    Shalom

  131. hairball_of_hope says:

    @grrljock (#124)

    Even with inflation, $9000 in 1955 dollars is a pittance, it’s only worth about $72,000 in 2009 dollars. (N.B. The first of two German films about the von Trapps was released in 1956, so I assumed the rights were sold in 1955 dollars, and I made no allowance for the exchange rate between US dollars and West German marks.)

    According to the Wikipedia article, which referenced Maria von Trapp’s 1987 obituary, von Trapp did receive about $500,000 in royalties from the American film version.

    Some interesting info about the real von Trapp story courtesy of the US National Archives and Records Administration:

    http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2005/winter/von-trapps.html

  132. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Feminista, R2A (#129, 120)

    I think the OR bill for in-state tuition, House Bill 2939, got tied up in committee and died.

    Check out the following for info on making this a reality via US Congress and state legislative action:

    http://www.dreamactivist.org/tag/in-state-tuition/

  133. Kate L says:

    Hairball (#127)

    I’m sorry to hear that the Fred Phelps gang has taken their show to New York. I know exactly the kind of anti-semitic posters they were carrying, because I saw them carrying those same signs outside of this year’s Commencement here at the Kansas university that employs me. A bunch of us always show up early to make sure the Phelps gang is kept far back from the people walking to graduation. Sigh… it used to be that Kansas was known for Amelia Earhart and Dwight Eisenhower.

  134. NLC says:

    Somewhat off-topic, but…
    Those with a couple minutes to spare should do themselves a favor and click Acilius’ homepage link above, scroll down a bit and enjoy his ukulele solo.

  135. Ian says:

    @NLC #134 and Acilius: Is that really you playing the ukelele Acilius? What is it about a musician that makes me want to flirt inappropriately with them? ;)

    I wonder if I should take up the ukelele? My hands are small and my left hand can’t quite manage the guitar although I don’t have much of a problem with the piano. I might find the thinner neck easier to manage. These are all random wonderings … I always wanted to be able to play something other than the recorder.

  136. Renee S. says:

    @Ian #134, I could build you one from a cigar box.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/30154698@N00/sets/72157619095838874/

  137. Renee S. says:

    oops #135

  138. Catsanova says:

    HOH (#114):

    How about “Oooh, I just jettisoned my rockets”?

    Or for less successful trysts, “I’m losing my launch…”

  139. Acilius says:

    Thanks for the plug, NLC! But let me clarify, that isn’t me on the ukulele, but Al Wood, aka Woodshed, proprietor of the great ukulelehunt.com.

  140. Feminista says:

    @Acilius #139: Great website; will check out the uke tunes soon.

    Do you know the Progressive era vintage”Hum and Strum(I’m a little ukelele)”? My maternal grandparents had a record of that song by Rudy Valee ca.1900s. My sister,cousins,and I used to laugh ourselves silly cranking up the old portable Victrola and listening to that and “Kitty from Kansas City.”

    My grandma used to play the mandolin and her sister was an excellent piano player,so we also found lots of sheet music from 1900-20s. By the Depression era,however,sheet music sales were flat,due to the increased popularity of radio. My great-aunt,one of the few traveling music saleswomen,was laid off and unemployed for at least 2 years. The WPA music project came along just in time,and she catalogued folk music for them in San Francisco.

  141. NLC says:

    Acilius (139):
    Oops, my bad. I was so busy listening that I totally misparsed the accompanying text (to read something like “here I am back in my office, playing a little number by…”)

    Ah well.

    (On a uke-heavy page, no references to Iz?)

  142. Renee S. says:

    @Feminista…140
    The story about your great-aunt is fascinating! An entire novel could be written around that vignette.

    We need a WPA now, especially in Michigan, and I’m sure that Oregon could use it too.

    My grampa used to work with the CCC. It provided food for the family when there was no work elsewhere. I am not sure exactly where he worked, and have yet to search the National Archives to find out. I often camp in the southern states, and have seen many older campgrounds that have been built by CCC labor. I always wonder if grampa was there at one time, laboring faraway from his family, aching to go home.

  143. hairball_of_hope says:

    Hmmm… maybe that “solar flare of GOP sexual hypocrisy” on the part of the GOP is actually happening.

    It appears that South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, a much talked-about possible contender for the 2012 GOP Presidential beauty contest, has been literally missing since last Thursday, according to the Wall Street Journal.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124570228330038355.html

    Reading about his behavior patterns in the article, my sexual escapade radar went off.

    Quoting from the article:


    Mystery surrounded South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, whose whereabouts haven’t been revealed since Thursday, when he took off in a sport-utility vehicle normally driven by a bodyguard, turned off his mobile phone and stopped communicating with his office, family and close political allies.

    [... snip ...]

    Republican state Sen. John “Jake” Knotts, a former police officer and a political opponent of the governor, said law-enforcement division officials told him Mr. Sanford had frequently told agents to step out of his state-provided car while he was on the phone, or ordered them to leave the keys in the car when he was dropped off at the governor’s mansion at night, so he could go out for a few hours.

    [... snip ...]

    First lady Jenny Sanford told the Associated Press Monday that she hadn’t heard from her husband, but that “he was writing something and wanted some space to get away from the kids.” She told the AP she had not heard from him over the weekend. She didn’t return messages left Monday at the family’s Sullivan’s Island beach house, where she and their children were staying.

    [... snip ...]

    It wasn’t clear how the absence might affect Mr. Sanford’s political future. Mr. Sanford, the head of the Republican Governors Association, has long been mentioned as a potential presidential candidate. Part of his appeal has been his photogenic family, including his four school-age sons who are regularly featured in campaign ads. His political allies said privately that his absence was an unnecessary distraction, which underscored that he was away from home on Father’s Day.

    To paraphrase The Bard, “Something is rotten in the state of South Carolina.”

  144. Alex K says:

    Blogjack (from Vienna): A dip into WIND IN THE WILLOWS again; and odd to read the title of the chapter in which the “good” animals restore Toad to his goods and lands. THE RETURN OF ULYSSES.

    Musings on WILLOWS as a refraction of the odysseic, and on how, unexpectedly, another level of FUN HOME has exposed itself.

  145. HoH, someone in the Governor’s office has issued a stated that he is “hiking the Appalachian trail”. Which doesn’t actually go through South Carolina, and no, his wife didn’t know about it.

    Yeah, sounds like there a juicy story there.

    I once typed a medical report about an elderly (almost 90) woman living in a nursing home with her husband of a kajillion years who suddenly decided she was in love with another man (even older) at the nursing home and filed for divorce, plus a room change, of course. I read the personal history out loud to my coworkers, omitting her name, because it just like a soap opera. One of my coworkers, a laconic woman from the Dakotas, remarked “there’s lawyers gonna show up in that story”, and it’s become a line I think of now at times like this. Lawyers gonna show up in this Sanford story, too, I betcha.

  146. hairball_of_hope says:

    Hiking the Appalachian Trail? Yeah, right. If that were the case, you’d think someone would have seen him loading up the official SC state vehicle with outdoor gear. Everyone from his wife to his chief of staff would have squashed speculation from the beginning by saying the Gov. was hunting/fishing/hiking/whatever.

    My read on his behavior patterns… chasing out SC State Police when he makes phone calls could be innocent, but could also be hanky-panky. Demanding the keys to the SLED (State Law Enforcement Division) official vehicle could be innocent, but could also be his wheels to a tryst. Disappearing without leaving means of contact right before Father’s Day weekend? Not too many ways to make that look innocent for a married politician with three kids.

    I’ll bet he had a fight with the Mrs. Perhaps he’s with his other SO. Or perhaps he’s just off in the ozone. Not exactly Presidential material to disappear and be incommunicado. Watch him come back and say he was at a religious retreat, and have some minister vouch for him.

    Wouldn’t it be a trip if it turns out his liason is not female?

  147. hairball_of_hope says:

    Typo… Sanford has four kids, not three. Also, something really smells in the story. The wife and kids are at the beach house. Why would he need to “get away from the kids” as she claimed? He could stay at the Gov. mansion and get his writing or project done. No kids or spouse to distract him if they’re not home.

  148. Ian says:

    @Renee S #136: That cigar box ukelele and your offer are fantastic! Though how you’d get it to me across the Atlantic I don’t know. I suspect that buying one would be cheaper than the postage sadly. :(

    I’ve heard of cigar box banjos, but whether it’s from Mark Twain, Brer Rabbit stories or some snippet of info about the history of the instrument I’m not sure.

    Btw, HOH, this Sanford story sounds very intriguing. I remember after watching Brokeback Mountain, the new name for having sex became known as “going for a fishing trip” for a while. Hiking the Appalachian mountains sounds very similar!

  149. Timmytee says:

    @ 146: “Hairball”, I’m going to bet that from now on “hiking the Appalachian Trail” will be a Stewart/Colbert/etc. euphemism for–well, you know…

  150. Acilius says:

    @Feminista (140): Thanks for the compliment! I vaguely remember those tunes, but haven’t heard them in a while. I’ll look them up.

    @NLC (141): Thanks for pointing that out, it really is a shocking omission. I love Bruddah IZ! I’ll post something about him soon.

    @h_o_h, Maggie, Ian, Timmytee: I had hopes for Sanford. As a congressman, he opposed the Kosovo war, was notably reluctant to support the 2003 invasion of Iraq, had a relatively good record on civil liberties (though he’s nothing special on civil rights,) and seemed to include programs that promoted his own interests in his denunciations of “Big Government.” In other words, Sanford was a genuine conservative. Not my favored spot on the political spectrum of course, but something worth arguing against.

    If the GOP were to nominate Sanford or someone like him for president, I’d be a lot more comfortable with the fact that they are one of the major parties. Not that I would ever in a million years vote for him, but at least I would think it was an exaggeration when people called him a fascist.

  151. hairball_of_hope says:

    The Sanford story sounds even hokier now…

    The Wall Street Journal has an update here:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124570228330038355.html

    Quoting from the article:


    In a statement Monday night, the governor’s spokesman, Joel Sawyer, said Mr. Sanford “is hiking along the Appalachian Trail. I apologize for taking so long to send this update, and was waiting to see if a more definitive idea of what part of the trail he was on before we did so.” But Mr. Sawyer said he hadn’t received an update from the governor Monday.

    Mr. Sawyer earlier Monday had said his office knew how to reach the governor, if needed, but declined to reveal where he was. Mr. Sawyer said at the time that the governor was taking time to “recharge” and “to work on a couple of projects that have fallen by the wayside.”

    [...snip...]

    South Carolina Law Enforcement Division Chief Reggie Lloyd, who oversees the governor’s security, raised alarms with high-ranking elected officials over the weekend, according to people familiar with the situation.

    Mr. Sanford is a regular user of Twitter, and tweets were sent from his account Sunday and Monday. But his spokesman said the recent traffic was posted by staffers.

    [...snip...]

    When asked how the governor could work on projects while hiking, Mr. Sawyer said, “My assumption is that he’s either got a laptop or a pen and paper.”

    Why would they need to announce what part of the Appalachian Trail he was on? You’d think that a) for security reasons, they wouldn’t announce this, and b) the part of the trail he was on would be meaningless to the average person.

    The real question here is why the head of the SC Law Enforcement Division didn’t know Sanford’s whereabouts, and was concerned enough to go to high-ranking elected officials with his concerns.

    That’s the biggest reason why this hokum story smells. If the Gov. were really out hiking/fishing/whatever, why were the state police security folks not privy to this?

    Also interesting is that staffers used Sanford’s Twitter account to send tweets on Sunday and Monday. I’m sure it’s quite common that staffers handle social networking media in the guise of the big cheese. I’m wondering if the tweets were so specific as to give the impression that Sanford himself was actually tweeting, such as “Having great time hiking Appalachian Trail” (which of course begs the question, if he’s sending tweets from his phone, why isn’t he making or receiving calls?).

    Also, his spokesman is a dope. Yeah right, he’s hiking with a laptop. Six or seven pounds of dead weight, three hours battery life, and he’s gonna stuff this in his backpack? I don’t think so. And where will he charge it up? I have a 2 lb netbook that can run half the day on bettery power, and I doubt I’d lug it in my backpack while hiking.

    Maggie’s right, there’s gonna be lawyers in this story.

  152. [...] For page for pointing out omissions from Los Thunderlads’ coverage of ukuleledom.  “Feminista” called my attention to a couple of Rudy Vallee tunes, including “Kitty From Kansas [...]

  153. Kate L says:

    Panther Red (#152) For a moment, I thought you said, “KATIE from Kansas!”…

    hairball, timmytee, so many others,

    If Sanford were president and pulled a disappearing act like this, it would be a constitutional crisis and a national security issue (“Was the president kidnapped?”, that sort of thing. No matter the outcome, lawyers showing up in the story or no, Sanford has taken himself out of the running for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, even if he did not intend to do so.

  154. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L (#153)

    Yeah, I also think Sanford just shot himself in the foot with his erratic and irresponsible behavior. If he chafes under the relatively light gubernatorial security, imagine how he’d deal with the Presidential “bubble” of security.

    Even Jesse Ventura, the former wrestler-turned-governor in Minnesota, acknowledged that he had to restrict his own freedom to come and go as he pleased because the position demanded it of him. So how does a professional politician not “get it?”

    Latest from the Wall Street Journal on the mysterious disappearance and return of Sanford, who reportedly will be in the office on Wednesday:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124577221733942191.html

  155. Acilius says:

    Kate L (153): Sorry to have jolted you like that!

    I’ve long thought the US presidency should be abolished. By a long way, it is the most destructive single institution on the planet. So perhaps the best thing Obama could do would be to disappear for a couple of months. After an initial panic, it might become unavoidably obvious that we were all getting along perfectly well without him. Then a mass movement could begin, demanding that the presidency be replaced with something less disastrous. If Obama won’t do it, then perhaps Sanford might be the man for the job after all.

  156. Feminista says:

    @Renee (140): Thanks,and of course there’s more to the story.Small town MN born and raised,Aunt Lula had her share of gentleman callers in SF. Fred,for example, paid for stenography classes to improve her job skills,and spent a lot of time in the Victorian house where she rented a room. At one point she was down to two dresses,which she washed in her sink at night so she could “pound the pavement” the next day.

    Raised Presbyterian,she discovered Christian Science and rarely went to a doctor. Raised on meat, potatoes,and cholesterol,she learned gourmet cooking in the cosmepolitan port city.Raised to be a wife and mother,she never married.

    During the Depression in Providence,RI,my dad worked for another New Deal program,the NYA (National Youth Administration),filled in at his dad’s print shop which published in English,Hebrew,and Yiddish,volunteered with YPSL (Young People’s Socialist League),and chaired the Liberal Club,composed of YPSLers and YCLers (Young Communist League).Despite these political differences(!),they promoted student cooperatives,organied meetings on “marriage & family life” (the euphemism for info on dating,sex and contraception ed).

    Dad attended anti-war and NSA (National Student Assoc) conferences in Boston when his comrades could scrape up bus fare for him and others.Among some of the attendees: Molly Yard (former president of NOW,Dave Dellinger,Irwin Silber (former editor of The Guardian).

    Most of this I learned from reading the notes,letters and memorabilia he saved,which I learned after his death. He didn’t talk much about himself; growing up,I learned only that he worked for NYA & his dad to pay college tuition,was chair of the Liberal Club,and edited the college newspaper.Karen and I learned Solidarity Forever and We Shall not be Moved during summer car trips.

    Despite living at home until 21,he stopped attending Temple as a young man.Further breaking with family tradition,he met a bright idealistic woman from MN who was raised Presbyterian and Congregationalist,with Norwegian agnostic and MA Quaker roots. They married 66 years ago this month,a hasty wartime wedding.

    I’ve written much about my maternal and paternal foreparents in my writing groups,and plan to organize these pieces in the future.

    Yes,we need a combination of the best of the 1930s social programs and the 1970s CETA programs(Comprehensive Employment and Training Act). I’ve been saying that for a year,but so far none of Obama’s people have called.

  157. Feminista says:

    Errata: paragraph 3 should read “organized”meetings on…and support for the republicanos during the Spanish Civil War and other “pre-mature anti-fascist”(sic)groups.

  158. Feminista says:

    Maggie #145: Woo hoo to that feisty frisky senior sister!
    That’ll show ‘em!

  159. Ready2Agitate says:

    I’d love to read that writing collection, Feminista. I think I’m the first to be an activist in my lineage. Many assume otherwise (that I must be a red-diaper baby), but it’s far from true. I envy you (I *wish* we were clones! :).

    Stay tuned for why the DREAM Act will not rectify the questions of in-state tuition for undocumented high schoolers (HoH #132) — which is now the case for 10 US states, having passed with wide bi-partisan support. Liberal Massachusetts, however, has yet to pass it. We are pushing for it this fall.

  160. Feminista says:

    #159: Ah shucks,Ms. Ready. But I bet if you’re able to do some serious geneological research,you might discover some ancestors who were free thinkers,ones who challenged “Tradition” like the folks in “Fiddler on the Roof.” Or women who demanded to learn Hebrew,refused to shave their heads & wear those horrible wigs (shaytl) after marriage,and supported their families through their own small businesses while their husbands studied. This was true with at least 2 foremothers and other families on the shtetl.

    Growing up with progressive parents in the 50s and 60s wasn’t all bread and roses,though,as I’ve blogged here before; having different ideas & beliefs set me apart from many of my peers from elementary through most of high school. Contrary to belief,my parents and grandparents neither forced-fed us Marx,Ibsen,Tolstoy or Margaret Mead nor dragged us to marches and meetings. Rather,like Maggie’s mama,they encouraged us to read,think,and ask questions.

    And as we know,knowledge is power. Saber = Poder.

  161. Kate L says:

    I never thought of myself as ahead of the progressive curve, but when I was nine years of age, I can remember my father introducing me to one of his new graduate students, a white man from South Africa. As I shook his hand, I remember thinking that the whites in South Africa were oppressing the majority blacks. And please remember, this was in 1964! Although Mandela had already been in jail on a desolate island for several years by then…

  162. Feminista says:

    Kate L #161: Kudos to you for making the connection! Have you seen the indy film (I forget the name)about a girl,13,whose parents were Jewish white CP members and South African anti-apartheid activists in the late 50s? It’s about the true story of Ruth First,who wanted a normal adolescence complete with parties and dances; instead she had to contend with govt.surveillance of her parents and their comrades.

    Renee #140: The young men in the CCC did excellnet work,much of which still stands today,in the nation’s state & national parks. Young women in the CCC got trained in traditional women’s skills like housekeeping,so their accomplishments have been hidden.

    I believe it came out in the 90s.

  163. Feminista says:

    Errata: the last sentence should come after the first paragraph–distracted by a phone call.

  164. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Feminista, Kate L (#163)

    The film is “A World Apart.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_World_Apart_(1988_film)

  165. hairball_of_hope says:

    Now this is interesting, even if it does involve economics… Emily Glassberg Sands, a Princeton economics student, researched gender bias in the theatre. Turns out that female artistic directors and literary agents ranked scripts with a female nom de plume lower than the same scripts with male names.

    Another interesting factoid from her research:


    By studying doollee.com, a database of plays published since 1956, she also found that scripts with a majority of female parts are less likely to be produced than those dominated by male characters.

    Must be a corollary to the Bechdel Rule applied to theatre.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601088&sid=aiTW8uu5oNMM

  166. Feminista says:

    Hey hey,ho ho,(________)**has got to go.
    **fill in blank with yer cause o’ the day for the next march.

    #164: HoH,thanks again.

  167. Jain says:

    Guess you all noticed this week’s feminist, #88, over at facebook’s This is What a Feminist Looks Like, is Alison Bechdel.

  168. Timmytee says:

    @163/3: Feminista: I remember an early Barbara Heshey movie about white anti-apartheid activists, and I recall that the real-life family portrayed was featured on “60 Minutes”. Am I remembering correctly? Actually think it may have been early 80s.

  169. Acilius says:

    If you’ll allow me to go off topic for a moment, here’s an article at “Visual Thesaurus” about the origin of “Ms.”
    http://www.visualthesaurus.com/cm/wordroutes/1895/

  170. Ian says:

    As Acilius is wandering off-topic I’ll do the same. For those people who enjoyed the geography quiz I posted a couple of posts ago, here’s another quiz on English Literature.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8116627.stm

    I have to say I expect full marks from such Literary Dykes (and other carbon-based lifeforms) to Watch Out For as inhabit this blog! ;) I only got 5 out of 7 sadly.

    NB: GCSE is the age 16 qualification all children/young adults take in Britain.

  171. Dr. Empirical says:

    6/7 on English Lit. I missed the Bronte question. What can I say, I’m a straight male.

  172. Ian, I only got 4 out of 7. I’m claiming fatigue as my excuse. (grin) That score indicates “Must read more”. If I do that, I’ll have to give up sleep altogether, I fear.

  173. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Acilius (#169)

    There’s something considered off-topic here? :).

    Here’s an article about the push to get Ms. into common usage circa 1960s-1970s:

    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/member/member.html?fl20001105a1.htm

    Trivia note: The roommate mentioned in the article (first name misspelled as Mari), is Mary Hamilton of the landmark civil rights case Hamilton v. Alabama.

  174. Ali Frick over at Think Progress reports that the magick disappearing Mark Sanford, as it turns out, was not “hiking the Appalachian Trail” but was instead visiting Argentina for undisclosed reasons.

    Governor Sanford, do you solemnly swear you are up to no good?

  175. hairball_of_hope says:

    I guess I should connect the dots on my last post (#173)… Mary Hamilton was charged and convicted of contempt in Alabama for refusing to answer in court when she was addressed by her first name.

    In the segregated US South, blacks were addressed by their first names, and whites were addressed by honorifics, Mrs, Miss, Mr, etc.

    Mary Hamilton refused to answer questions unless she was addressed as “Miss Mary Hamilton.”

    The US Supreme Court overturned Hamilton’s conviction in 1964, ruling it was a form of discrimination to address whites and blacks differently in court.

    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,875740,00.html

  176. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Maggie (#174)

    Reporters were staking out the airport because the last cell phone contact with him on Thursday was located from a cell tower near Atlanta Hartsfield Airport.

    Pretty damn obvious his staff was lying, and rather than tip off the Gov and his minions that they were on to his BS, they dutifully reported the tripe that the Gov was “hiking the Appalachian Trail” and waited for him to show up at the airport.

    Hmmm, now I’ve got that damn song in my head, might as well put it in yours too. The lyrics seem oddly appropriate.

    (… sings an off-key imitation of Patti LuPone as Evita, “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” …)

    It won’t be easy
    You’ll think it strange
    When I try to explain how I feel
    That I still need your love
    After all that I’ve done
    You won’t believe me
    All you will see
    Is a girl you once knew
    Although she’s dressd up to the nines
    At sixes and sevens with you

    I had to let it happen
    I had to change
    Couldn’t stay all my life down at heel
    Looking out of the window
    Staying out of the sun
    So I chose freedom
    Running around trying everything new
    But nothing impressed me at all
    I never expected it too

    Don’t cry for me Argentina
    The truth is I never left you
    All through my wild days
    My mad existence
    I kept my promise
    Don’t keep your distance

    And as for fortune and as for fame
    I never invited them in
    Though it seemed to the world
    They were all I desired
    They are illusions
    They’re not the solutions
    They promise to be
    The answer was here all the time
    I love you and hope you love me

    Don’t cry for me Argentina

    Don’t cry for me Argentina
    The truth is I never left you
    All through my wild days
    My mad existence
    I kept my promise
    Don’t keep your distance

    Have I said to much?
    There’s nothing more I can think of to say to you
    But all you have to do
    Is look at me to know
    That every word is true

  177. Timmytee says:

    Hey, folks! Let’s give Sanford a break here, OK?
    I just assume he was looking for the absolute southernmost end of the Trail. Maybe that’s in South America! So lighten up already! Sheeesh! Best wishes to all.

  178. Andrew B says:

    So I clicked over to facebook to see the feminist o’the week. The first thing I have to say is Alison, you are truly a genius of photoshop. Although I have to admit, that image is no less realistic than some of Parton’s actual plastic surgery. (Check out Alison’s facebook page, link at upper right of this page, to see what I mean.)

    Second, Jain, what do I need to do to view the page you described? If it requires signing up for facebook, don’t bother, I won’t, but if you can provide instructions or a direct link I’d take a look.

  179. Jain says:

    I don’t know if this will work for the non-fb addicted, but I guess try http://www.new.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2204676030&ref=ts

    Alison’s moment of fb fame has now come and gone.

    86th Feminist: George Tiller
    87th Feminist: Massouma al-Mubarak
    88th Feminist: Alison Bechdel
    89th Feminist: Dolores Huerta

  180. hairball_of_hope says:

    Back to the imploding SC Gov. Sanford…

    Check out his interview yesterday with The State (Columbia SC):

    http://www.thestate.com/politics/story/838823.html

    The author of the article points out the following inconsistencies in his story:


    Sanford said he was alone on the trip. He declined to give any additional details about what he did other than to say he drove along the coastline.

    [...snip...]

    Trying to drive along the coast could frustrate a weekend visitor to Argentina. In Buenos Aires, the Avenida Costanera is the only coastal road, and it’s less than two miles long. Reaching coastal resorts to the south requires a drive of nearly four hours on an inland highway with views of endless cattle ranches. To the north is a river delta of islands reached only by boat.

    How many obvious inconsistencies can you pick up that weren’t mentioned?

    1) His official SC state SUV was parked in the Atlanta Hartsfield airport parking lot. So how could he have departed from the Columbia (SC) Metro airport as he claimed?

    2) His cell phone was last logged on Thursday night at a cell tower outside the Atlanta Hartsfield airport, also contradicting his claim to have departed from Columbia Metro airport.

    What motivation would he have for lying about his departure airport? I can see FOIA requests for security camera footage in his future.

    I don’t know if there are toll roads between Columbia SC and Atlanta. If there are, I’m sure he used his EZ-Pass or other RFID toll transponder to pay them, and there would be records of his vehicle passage and likely photos of the vehicle. More FOIA requests in his future.

    My guess for his obvious lies about the departure airport: He wasn’t alone. Now let’s see who turns out to be his travel companion.

    I checked the visa requirements for US citizens to travel to Argentina, and there’s no visa required for travel under 90 days, but a valid US passport is required. I’ll bet the flights to Buenos Aires will soon be filled with journalists tracking down the governor’s breadcrumb trail.

  181. Andrew B says:

    Jain, that link did work. Thank you.

    Hoh, something stinks about Sanford’s trip and your speculation is highly plausible. According to the article you linked to in #180, though, his official SUV was parked at the Columbia airport. (Columbia is the apparent antecedent of “the airport” in the article text, and it’s confirmed by the caption on the photo of the SUV.) Even with no particular sympathy for Sanford, there’s a part of me that’s glad he has at least turned up and that he didn’t do anything really stupid. That part of me is also a little disturbed about what the implications of the story will be for his wife and kids, who are not slimeball politicians and who have not done anything else to deserve this.

  182. hairball_of_hope says:

    Andrew B (#181)

    The original news reports said the SUV was parked at the Atlanta airport. They have since been modified to report the location as Columbia.

    But wait, there’s more… (just like the late-night infomercials)

    Sanford held a 2PM news conference today and admitted marital infidelity.

    They’ve updated the story at The State link above with this bit of news:


    – LIVE UPDATES: Sanford admits he has been unfaithful to his wife.

    In a press conference in Columbia this afternoon, Gov. Mark Sanford admitted he had been unfaithful to his wife and apologized to his family, friends and citizens of the state.

    Oooh, my finely-calibrated sexual escapade radar is right on target.

    So now that makes two potential 2012 GOP Presidential candidates who have self-destructed in one week due to inability to keep their pants zipped.

    Of course, this sort of thing won’t knock out Rudy Giuliani from the 2012 race, he already went through the marital infidelity routine while mayor of NYC. I don’t think there’s double jeopardy allowed for extramarital affairs. Although he gets extra credit for announcing his request for divorce from wife Donna Hanover at a press conference before even telling Donna about it.

    (… goes back to enjoying her schadenfreude …)

  183. hairball_of_hope says:

    Oh my, Sanford was having an extramarital affair with an Argentine woman. Or at least he says it’s with a woman.

    I wonder if this was the first time he ducked out of the country for a little nookie without notifying anyone. I doubt it.

    The article in the link above keeps getting updated. Here’s the latest from The State:


    Gov. Mark Sanford admitted today that his secret trip to Argentina over Father’s Day weekend was to visit a woman he is having an affair with.

    “I have developed a relationship with what started as a dear dear friend from Argentina. It began very innocently as I expect many of these things do, just casual email back and forth,” Sanford said. “But here recently this last year developed into something much more.”

    Asked if Sanford was separated from his wife, he said “I don’t know how you want to define that. I”m here and she’s there. I guess in a formal sense we are not.”

    Sanford said his wife has known about the affair and they have been working through it for the past five months. “What I did was wrong, period. End of story,” Sanford said.

    (… goes back to waiting for more skeletons to emerge from his closet …)

  184. hairball_of_hope says:

    I wonder if Sanford billed the state of South Carolina for any part of his trysts with the unnamed Argentine… phone calls, plane tickets, mileage on the government vehicle, etc. Ordinary civil servants would be terminated for that type of misappropriation of government resources.

    Another thought about a holier-than-thou politician hoisted upon his own petard…

    When Mark Sanford was in Congress, he voted in favor of impeaching Bill Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky affair.

    A little bit of Googling, and I turned up this quote from Sanford in 1998 in the Seattle Times:


    Among those attending was South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford, who voted for Clinton’s impeachment over the Monica Lewinsky affair.

    Sanford, a Republican, said he planned to avoid any discussion of the matter with Clinton. “They’d probably be fairly unproductive conversations, to say the least,” he said.

    The congressman said that if he did run into Clinton over these two days, his message would be: “There’s one way, Mr. President, you can have a legacy, and that’s Social Security, rather than the Monica-Bill story.”

    http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19990101&slug=2936690

  185. Kate L says:

    I’ve just finished reading The Temporal Void, by British sci fi author Alastair Reynolds. In it, an alien race called the silfen have left trails on various Earth-type planets that lead from one world to another. You’ll be walking along, and gradually the landscape changes from one world to the next. So you see, it COULD still be true that Mark Sanford was taking a stroll along the Appalachian Trail in North America, wandered allong a silfen trail, and ended up having an affair in Argentina. Why, he’s just lucky he didn’t end up on the other side of the galaxy!

    Kate (my hero is Captain Kathryn Janeway of the Star Trek universe)

  186. Therry and St. Jerome says:

    Hi dee ho, friends and neighbors, you were asking for an instance of GOP sexual hypocrisy, and you got it in spades. Although I guess the sexual hypocrisy would be if they went ahead and ran him for POTUS anyway.

    Hey, is everybody reading Little Stranger for the June 28 kickoff of our reading group? My husband wanted to know if we could hijack the blog for a session of Virtual Room for a live meeting, but that would mean we would all have to commit to a particular time for all of us to be at our computes with a copy of the book at hand and slides prepared of our remarks. Le’ts do it the old fashioned way and fire off random remarks into the sphere when we get a chance. But keep up with your reading.

  187. Therry and St. Jerome says:

    And a show of hands — who wants Hairball to develop her own website so that her name can appear in Mustard at each of her posts?

  188. Acilius says:

    @Thierry and St Jerome (187): Most definitely yes!

  189. cd in Madison says:

    I’ve been wanting to suggest the same thing for days, but I’ve been biting my tongue.

  190. DaneGreat says:

    Hi AB (and everyone) –

    Did anyone see that AB’s been named part of the 100 hottest butches ever?

    http://www.tophotbutches.com/the-2009-list/2009-11-25/

    Enjoy! I know I did!

    ~Dane

  191. Ted says:

    Ian #170, I also got a 5/7 score. I must admit I don’t know diddly about “Jane Eyre”.

  192. Ian says:

    @Dr. E #171 and Ted #191: I didn’t know anything about Jane Eyre either. Is this a male thing? I do vaguely remember that I must have read Wuthering Heights for GCSE, and roughly know the story but I can’t say I know much about the Bronte sisters.

    @Maggie Jochild #172: You must have been tired for me to score more on a lit quiz! I’m shocked and stunned. But I do think the questions are very specific.

  193. Ian says:

    By the way, I was wondering if AB would dedicate a specific post to the Sarah Waters discussion? Not that I’ve been reading the book myself as Ms Waters isn’t my cup of tea, but it would save discussions being sidetracked by errant Senators and bacon-related musings.

  194. Kat says:

    Maggie–4/7 for me too…..
    Like others have said, it was the damned Jane Eyre stuff. I’ve read the book, of course, but I’m of the opinion that it’s one of the most over-rated books ever…

    Of course, I’ll end up offending someone with that statement, but meh. For the record I hate Jane Austen.

    May the screaming commence!

  195. Kat says:

    I was just able to access the GCSE geography quiz, referenced a few posts ago, and apparently I fail miserably at geography!

  196. Feminista says:

    @Re: Sanford’s doing the horizontal tango. I’m so f’ing sick of the double standard! Can you imagine the uproar if a female politican were to behave like (fill in blank with current high-ranked adulterous male)? The only difference between now and,say,JFK’s now-famous philandering and today’s fickle fellows is that the affairs or drug abuse are covered up for months or years and exposed while he’s still alive. Well,maybe a few differences,like with John Edwards. But for every *#$% who resigns in disgrace,there are dozens who resolve to be even more discreet.

    And “the public” forgives and forgets,and often the guy gets re-elected later. Think Marion Barry,Daniel Ortega,or(another fill-in-the blank). Even Viet Nam’s beloved Uncle Ho(Ho Chi Minh),who never married,fathered several children with different women.

    (With Mo not around anymore,we’ve got to keep up the righteous indignation. And then go dance our socks off.)

  197. Dr. Empirical says:

    I never read Jane Ayre, but two years in a row I had an independent study period, editing my high school lit review, in the room where it was being taught to two successive years of freshmen. That came in handy during my AP exams, but wasn’t enough to get me through an internet lit quiz.

    All of you Austen-haters may wish to check out Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, by Jane Austen
    and Seth Grahame-Smith. Mr. Grahame-Smith takes the mesmerizingly dull novel and grafts in a zombie mayhem subplot.

    “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.”

  198. Acilius says:

    @Feminista (196): I’m sure that a female politician in Sanford’s position would be treated far less respectfully than he has been. It’s all too easy to imagine the slut-shaming that would engulf (let’s say) Sarah Palin if she had been caught in this fashion. But surely you aren’t suggesting we try to correct the double standard by extending slut-shaming to men? Can’t we reject slut-shaming altogether?

  199. ksbel6 says:

    When will the women who these politicians cheat on finally stand up for themselves and leave? Once that starts to happen, men will change their behavior. I cannot believe it is 2009 and the stupid wives are still ending their statements with, “I just hope we can patch things up and save our marriage.” Sorry, but women in general are mush. They sit around while the man cheats, and then whine and cry, and then take him back.

    And I will never buy into the belief that men just can’t control their sex drives. For every cheating male, there exists some female willing to help. Humans have strong sex drives. Period.

    Oh, and add me to the Jane Austin haters group. I can’t read through a paragraph of anything she has written without falling asleep. Adding zombies would help a ton!

  200. Kate L says:

    Oh, please, who among us hasn’t spent five days in Buenos Aires crying about a lover? (Note to self: be sure to edit this sentence out before posting).

    I was struck by the tone of forgiveness for Mark Sandford’s philandering that was struck by the talking heads on Fox News yesterday. “Let the healing begin” was the catch phrase, just not said in exactly those words. I think people would be more forgiving if Sandford hadn’t just been caught flying ten thousand miles round-trip to be with his lover while leaving his state in the lurch.

  201. Feminista says:

    #199 ksbel: Yes,women can be complicit in our own oppression,but that doesn’t make them “stupid wives.” Many women do leave,some at great risk; the divorce rate has hovered around 50% for decades,and women are often the initiators. Talk to anyone at a women’s shelter,and you will hear stories of tremendous courage.

    And we all know that same sex partners are not immune from dishonesty and mistreatment.Dishonesty and abuse cross gender,sexual orientation,gender identity,race and class lines.

    It boils down to this: if you’re in a committed relationship/partnership,respect yourself and your partner by practicing mutual monogamy. If you want “variety”,have the guts to leave the relationship. If you want to save the partnership,that’s your own business.

  202. Alex the Bold says:

    Specifically about politicians’ wives and affairs.

    Can anyone provide me with an example of Mrs. Bedfellow finding out Sen. Bedfellow was getting it on with his secretary and then dumping all his pants onto the front lawn with the crotches cut out of them, dousing them with gasoline, and then lighting them up?

    I cannot, for the life of me, recall a single instance of one of these politicians’ wives divorcing the bastard.

    I hate generalizations (he typed, just before making one) but my initial conclusion is that the wives of these guys who whore around are in it for the power of being a senator’s (or a rep’s or a president’s) wife, that somehow, the relationship isn’t genuine at some level, it’s just an artifice for the sake of power.

    I could be way off on this. Can someone explain what I’m missing?

  203. Alex the Bold says:

    Wait. Just thought of an example. McGreevey’s wife divorced him. I think that would be a special case.

  204. Alex and others, I too would LOVE to see wives whose husbands have broken vows react with visible anger. But living in the public eye I think does train you to deceive and conceal automatically — which makes liars of our leaders and their families on a congenital level.

    Sex is a drive but not a need, not for human beings. Controlling drives in an appropriate fashion is a sign of maturity and self-respect, neither of which falls into the modern Western definition of masculinity. And femininity trains us to give over our needs to control of a male, not necessarily self-discipline and intelligent enjoyment, either.

    What bugs me most is how many of these immature liars build careers on claiming morality, especially heterosexual marriage-focused morality. I think it should be a new Bechdel rule that any leader who raises money or runs for office on a platform of anti-lesbian/gay, pro-het-marriage values is immediately put on a countdown clock to see how long it takes them to be exposed for the hypocrite they are. If you’re actually living it, you don’t need to enforce it on the lives of others.

    Which, as one commenter at GNB pointed out, makes President Obama increasingly look like a closet case…

  205. Feminista says:

    Wise as always,Maggie. What is GNB?

  206. T. says:

    Hey! I meant “hiking the Argentinian Trail”! The message got garbled–coulda happened to anyone!

  207. Feminista, Group News Blog. Where I’m one of a diverse, don’t-always-agree buncha writers. Link on Alison’s front page.

  208. Renee S. says:

    huh. Just found out Michael Jackson died.
    End of an era.

  209. Ready2Agitate says:

    Michael Jackson & Farrah Fawcett in one day. 1970s/80s icons to be sure. It’s a funny feeling for those of us who grew up with them….

    Maggie, you said it, girl. Your analysis hit the bulls eye on-target, my dear.

    I kept thinking abt Feminista’s insights today, imagining a woman pol saying “you know, it started as an innocent friendship 8 years ago, and then it became an affair…”

    Fact is, women who desert their families are seen as “unnatural,” while it’s “natural” — in fact, masculine/virile — for men to wander from their spouses. A woman pol splitting from her 4 girl children over mother’s day wkd? We’d never hear the end of it, me thinks.

    I bet Sanford isn’t mourning the sad celebrity passings today, as they will take his place in the line of media fire….

  210. Kate L says:

    Politicians are learning from Mark Sandford’s mistake, and trying to get ahead of the curve (and reporters)…
    http://www.theonion.com/content/video/congressman_offers_preemptive?utm_source=infocus

  211. Andrew B says:

    There isn’t a sexual double standard. It’s a multiple standard, depending on who the affair is with. Just ask McGreevey.

    Still, it’s not the early sixties anymore and even (male) Presidents can’t get away with just anything. If you don’t know what I mean, ask Bill Clinton.

    Less wiseacreishly, I feel we need to be very hesitant to judge wives (and other partners) who stick around after their husbands/partners get caught in affairs. They are stuck in a lousy situation not of their own creation, and they often have children to consider as well. I’m not saying they’re right to stay with their husbands/partners. I’m saying we should be very hesitant to judge them one way or another.

  212. To switch topics again — for those of you who want to kick-start the other side of your brain, try the Color Test here. Usually it takes 4-5 tries to get up to 100%, but I got it right off. I don’t know what that says about me, given my dismal score on the literature quiz above, because I really AM much more verbal than image or color oriented.

  213. ksbel6 says:

    Welp, got the color test at 100% on the first try. I’m a left-handed, mathematician, athlete though, so left/right brain stuff doesn’t generally cause me difficulty…even if I don’t have much time :)

    I also went back and took the lit quiz on which I scored a 5/7.

  214. Acilius says:

    @Kate L (210): Thanks for that video!

    I don’t know what Jenny Sanford wants, why she’s sticking with the governor. I’m pretty sure she that what she does NOT want is to hear one more person talking about her husband’s affair, now or ever.

    Also, I must say that as potential governors of South Carolina go, Mark Sanford is the class of the league. Granted, it’s a ghastly league, but there’s a reason all those other guys are demanding his head on a platter.

  215. hairball_of_hope says:

    I like Maggie’s idea of the self-destruction countdown clock for the self-righteous politicians. Gotta give it a catchy name, any suggestions? The Maggie Mendacity Countdown?

    Feminista is dead-on with her observation, “if you’re in a committed relationship/partnership,respect yourself and your partner by practicing mutual monogamy.”

    Having been on both sides of that equation, I can say it’s not an easy choice or position to be in, even if you are the wandering partner. Full disclosure: Twenty five years later, my relationship screwup is still one of my life’s major regrets. (Note to Kate L: Gee, how come Buenos Aires looked so much like Norman, OK? Maybe I couldn’t see through the tears.)

    Sanford’s situation is getting curiouser and curiouser. The State published texts of some of the e-mails between Maria (the Argentine) and Sanford. The article said the newspaper had been in possession of the e-mails since December 2008, but had not been able to verify authenticity. Sanford’s spokesperson did not deny they were authentic.

    Perhaps the newspaper was carefully scrutinizing the Gov’s comings-and-goings in the past few months, looking for signs of extramarital intrigue. They had the full name and address of the Argentine woman via the e-mails, perhaps they enlisted local Argentine journalists to investigate. They attempted an interview with her, post-confession, via a local journalist.

    Also, as I mused in #184 above, Sanford *did* charge some of the earlier tryst(s) to the state of South Carolina, and now he is offering to reimburse the state.

    In the ultimate boomerang karma, SC lawmakers are considering impeachment. As a member of Congress, Sanford voted to impeach Bill Clinton.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124596061328355673.html

    Something about the timing of The State’s acquisition of the e-mails has set off my political rivalry and conspiracy radar.

    Sanford was being considered as a VP running mate for John McCain in 2008. During the vetting process, both McCain’s folks and GOP folks would have been digging into Sanford’s life. Perhaps they found the e-mails, and kept them quiet until after the election.

    Post-election, these folks were looking for another GOPer to support as political operatives. Let’s say they got hired on by a 2012 GOP Presidential aspirant. First order of business is to narrow the playing field of competitors.

    How to do that? Leak the e-mails to the newspaper in the rival’s political base.

    Also, maybe it’s just coincidence, but I’m wondering if Doug Hampton, the cuckold in the Sen. Ensign saga, was prodded to spill the beans to media by a GOP operative. I find it hard to believe Hampton thought going public with the Ensign revelations could help his employment/money situation.

    As a political player, surely he knew that he’d become an unemployable toxic asset for both private employers and politicians. My theory is that someone was prodding him to go public, and he chose Fox News instead of a perceived liberal media outlet.

    (… soon to be unemployed, goes back to het time-sucking and probably futile online job search …)

  216. hairball_of_hope says:

    I also got 100% on the color test. Not surprising, since I’m an ambidextrous synesthete (numbers/colors). I’d be very interested in a numbers/colors version of this, it would probably blow up my strange brain circuits.

    My little medical adventure has forced me to do more things right-handed, and I’ve suddenly become very conscious of which hand I do what with. Some are either, some are preferentially one or the other, and now have heightened awareness of when I go back to using my left-hand preferentially for certain things, and can actually do them.

  217. Kate L says:

    oh, hairball,

    I lived in Norman, Oklahoma, 25 years ago! We probably walked right past each other! :(

  218. Acilius says:

    I doubt the McCain team ever looked very seriously at Mark Sanford for vice president. McCain built so much of his 2008 campaign on his superhawk stand on Iraq that choosing a running mate who was one of only two House Republicans to vote against making regime change in Iraq official US policy in 1998 would have looked mighty strange. Admittedly, McCain’s other big theme was experience, which made the ex-mayor of Wasilla a counter-intuitive choice, but as a young woman from the Last Frontier Palin was able to generate a buzz of excitement that would never have greeted a saturnine plantation owner.

  219. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L

    Perhaps I pedaled past you, especially if you were on Rt. 9. I used to cycle to Thunderbird Lake from campus a few times a week in good weather.

    More likely we would have crossed paths watching the Wed. night classic films on campus, or in one of those so-called private clubs which were really bars.

    (… pining away, alternately for her knee cartilage and her misspent youth …)

  220. Ted says:

    This is off topic but, I think, important. Courage Campaign is asking people to sign a letter of support for Lt. Dan Choi the Army translator who is being discharged for being openly gay. Speaking as an ex Air Force officer I think DADT has no place in our society.

    If you could, take a minute and sign this:

    http://www.couragecampaign.org/page/s/SupportDan

  221. Ted, #20/220, I went and signed. It’s not off-topic here. And I signed despite the fact that I am a pacifist, very anti-military in general (“I see no humor in uniform”) and equate lesbians/gays trying to get into an institution which is a tool of imperial aggression with those of us desperate to be married: Not My Cause. However, the Courage Campaign are good folks and everyone has to reach nonviolent citizenship via their own path, so I support liberation struggles even when the apparent goal seems off plumb to me.

    Just had to say that. Because I know others of us feel the same way and it’s important that we work as allies without having to necessarily agree.

    With regard to the details emerging about how long Sanford’s affair was known: Once again, there is no electronic privacy any more. Not since Bush & Co released the hounds of NSA to do as they wish. (A decision backed by Obama, I might add.)

    The overriding life purpose of Bush, Cheney, et al was and remains (1) acquisition of power and (2) acquisition of wealth — or funneling both to their elite class. Patriotism and national security only figure into their goals when it feeds #1 and #2. If you take that as a starting point, it’s clear the secret, unimpeded data gathering is being used to control other members of our government and/or make money. As in, selling information.

    And why don’t Obama and key figures in Congress want this Hoovering operation to stop, to be exposed, to be punished? You tell me.

    I just woke up. I’m in a bad mood. I’m tired of hearing about Michael Jackson as if he were not the victim of a religious fundamentalist upbringing, no doubted sexual prey as a little boy, who gained enough wealth and independence to become the prey of Western medicine, happy to sell him any kind of surgery to feed his desire to not look “black”, to look “normal”. It created a whole generation or two who believe appearance determines identity and plastic surgery is somehow an act of liberation. Instead of actually fighting, you know, racism and sexism on the ground, fine as who we are. Happy to “not look right”.

    Hopefully with the collapse of the economy and the steep decline of empire, our national obsession with appearance as opposed to actions and content of character will take a nose-dive as well, because it’s all based on selling bandaids to treat massive internal discontent with the patriarchy. But I’m not sure.

    Maybe after I eat breakfast I won’t be so pessimistic.

  222. Acilius says:

    Right on, Maggie!

  223. Kate L says:

    hairball,

    I lived on East Boyd, east of the OU football stadium, just across from the duck pond. And all too near the railroad tracks that ran through town!

  224. Jain says:

    Bad mood or good mood Maggie, I love it when you sing my song out loud!

  225. Feminista says:

    @Maggie,Ready,and others re: Michael Jackson

    The research I’ve done on MJ indicates his father Joseph physically and emotionally abused him,and some of his siblings,for years.Sexual abuse may/may not have occurred as well.Determined to bring his large family out of steel-town Gary,IN in the 60s,Joseph placed intense emotional pressure on his children to succeed musically & financially.Michael’s mother brought the Jehovah’s Witness belief system to the family,but I’ve never heard any allegations of child abuse brought against her.

    MJ was extremely talented and creative in many areas,gifts which Joseph,Barry Gordy of Motown and others exploited. By 1975,all of the Jackson 5 except Jermaine left Motown for another major company,a very difficult and brave move.(Jermaine married into the Berry family.)

    Re: plastic surgeries. His first two medically- necessary rhinoplasties were performed after he sustained a broken nose. As far as the other surgeries,it’s not chrystal clear. He stated in a televised interview that he was “a proud Black man”,but I believe he suffered from internalized oppression,as Maggie mentioned above. The showbiz machine industry has for many years forced their top performers to change their physical appearances,and sometimes their names/identities, to conform to an “acceptable”,always changing, standard.

    I learned as well that MJ was a hard-nosed businessperson who nonetheless contributed huge sums to various medical and charitable groups. I agree with others that he was eccentric, exhibited some truly bizarre behaviors,and was a complex individual.

    My conclusion is that he died as the result of years of unrelenting pressure and stress;he had also struggled with addictions and anorexia.

    This image of MJ will stay with me:a sweet boy with a beautiful smile and full Afro singing “ABC” with his brothers in the early 70s. I saw this on a PBS Motown tribute retrospective.

  226. Feminista says:

    Errata: that should read Berry Gordy and the Gordy family.

  227. Feminista, thanks for a more complete picture.

    I’m assuming that anyone who sexually molests children had it done to them as a child. Pedophiles are created, not born.

    In other, far more upsetting news, ProPublica has just published an article stating that the Obama administration is drafting an executive order to continue the denial of habeas corpus created by Bush & Co.

    Where is Harriet Tubman when we need her?

  228. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L

    We could have crossed paths around Campus Corner too.

    Just in case you were feeling nostalgic for the duck pond and the view from Boyd St.:

    http://www.asergeev.com/php/searchph/links.php?keywords=norman+duck+pond

  229. Alex the Bold says:

    Feminista,

    I’m thinking the saddest thing about MJ’s story is that he was used by people his whole life: first his family as a means to ends to escape hardship; then the promoters (I can just barely recall the Jackson 5 cartoon series) who marketed the living daylights out of the Jacksons’ images, which must have been a hell of a mindf$*#, especially that far back; then the media basically inventing whatever they wanted to sell papers; etc.

    I wonder if, right at the end, if he did have a moment to realize what was happening, he wasn’t just enormously relieved to finally be laying down all the obligations and burdens?

    (Sharon Olds, the poet, has a line in “The Race,” where she says something like, “I wept like people must weep upon entering heaven. In enormous relief.”)

  230. NLC says:

    This is radically OT, and apropos of nothing other than 1] a salute to the upcoming reading group, 2] the ongoing food discussions, and 3] the fact that I thought it was great.

    This page has a link to an episode of NPR’s “Select Shorts” on which the first item is Isaiah Sheffer’s reading of Harry Mathews’ recipe-as-short-story Country Cooking from Central France; Roast Boned Rolled Stuffed Shoulder of Lamb (Farce Double).

    http://chawedrosin.wordpress.com/2009/05/11/selected-shorts-farce-double-by-harry-mathews/

    (The reading is over a half-hour, so if you decide to listen, “allow plenty of time”.)

    Enjoy

  231. Ian says:

    The Sound of Music is never off-topic here is it? Take a look at what happens in this train station – 200 people doing Julie Andrews proud:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UE3CNu_rtY&feature=player_embedded

    I’m afraid I can’t do the whole embedded thing that puts the video in the comments.

  232. Iam, I just got up after a VERY tough night and clicked on your You Tube video above. Wept and wept. Have shared it on. Thanks ever so much.

    And NLC, back when I was mobile I went every year to the “Selected Shorts” traveling show that came through Austin, with Isaiah Sheffer and other luminaries reading stories around for a couple of hours. It was glorious fun, sitting in a concert hall in the dark with others, listening to great stories read by great voices. Followed by a buffet of hot beverages and desserts from Sweetish Hill. I’ll never forget one story read by Laura Linney which began with her saying in a smug, triumphant voice “We were married“, leading with humor and having babies but trailing away into the disappointment of matrimony itself for young women, so that we were all heartbroken by the end.

  233. Alex K says:

    “The disappointment of matrimony itself”. Yes. A sub-class of the vanity of human wishes, eh?

    Minor and twofold blogjack coming up. You have been warned.

    http://www.duckie.co.uk/generic.asp?id=96&submenu=shame&special=_girly

    For those of us who can’t be bothered with Gay Pride, please see above. Get your GAY SHAME on.

    And! Directly from tavern discussions in rural Hungary this past week (my Fidesz- and Jobbik-voting neighbours discuss, I sit there and listen and try not to let my jaw drop so wide open it hits the tabletop): The reason that every true Magyar has to be on guard against the Jews is that, once they’re kicked out of Israel (so the Arabs will sell oil cheaply), the fix is in to move them all back to Budapest. Who knew?

  234. Ian says:

    @Maggie J: I’m so glad you enjoyed it and that something cheered you up after a rough night! I absolutely loved it. I think it’s actually a TV ad for a talent competition which in the UK was called “There’s Something About Maria” where ‘normal’ people off the street would audition to play Maria in Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s latest production of TSOM.

    That’s what life should be like though – 200 random people suddenly breaking into a dance routine from the Sound of Music. Don’t you think?

  235. I do a kick-ass impression of the nuns singing “There’s Something About Maria”. Soprano and all.

    Austin has an annual Sing-Along-With-The-Sound-Of-Music event which draws big crowds. Though not as big as the similar Wizard of Oz spectacle (where drag queens vie for top honors), because living here locally was a real Munchkin. He’d show up in his Munchkin soldier outfit and march down the aisle. Alas, he died recently.

    Another local theater used to have a perform-along-with-Mommie-Dearest event, where they handed out wire coat hangers at the door and again gay men dominated the audience. I went one year on a first date with a woman who, unbeknownst to me, had been beaten throughout her childhood by her mother. She’s still friends with me, but I haven’t wanted to go back to that particular event.

    I went to musicals or old movies at the Castro Theater almost every weekend that I lived in San Fran. I adored how the fags applauded not only stars in the credits, but also the hairdressers, costumers, etc. I’ve never stop wanting life to be like a musical — if we really could just burst into song at tense moments and work it all out with a dance, that would be hunky-dory with me.

  236. Kate L says:

    hairball,

    Did you ever eat at that little Greek fast food place, just off the northeast corner of the OU campus on (I think) University Boulevard? I like to think that in another timeline, we met there and became best friends! :)

  237. hairball_of_hope says:

    Yup, I ate there… was it called Greek Taverna? I only made the mistake of eating at Toto’s once in my life. Yuck. That is NOT Italian food.

    There was a decent place on either University or Webster (I forget which) near Linn St. called the Service Station where I often ate. All the dishes had car-themed names, I think the chicken fingers or fried zucchini were called lug nuts. Maybe it was fried okra. It all looked alike to me.

    Spent a lot of time at the other end of campus drinking at Mr. Bill’s.

    I did go to Walter Mitty’s once. Also Sugar’s once. (N.B. to non-OUers… the last two were strip clubs conveniently located directly across the street from campus. Amazing how a college campus in the middle of a Bible-belt dry state had more booze and boobs available than any other college town I’ve seen.)

    You’ve just jogged an old memory… There used to be a small restaurant (no longer there) near the bookstore where I had the bizarre experience of being herded into the walk-in cooler with the staff and other customers when the tornado sirens went off. Twenty minutes standing in a big refrigerator with a bunch of total strangers. In my head, I replayed the “I Love Lucy” episode where Lucy gets trapped in the walk-in freezer. Fortunately, this was a refigerator, not a freezer.

  238. Kate L says:

    hairball,

    I THOUGHT that was you I saw at the Greek restaurant back in the early 80′s! :) I’ve forgotten the name of the place, though.

    Afraid I didn’t do much drinking back during my OU days. I was a serious young geologist, out to do Great Things. I do remember the bookstore (also on University, right?). The odds are very great that we DID see each other more than once, back then! Where you at OU for the Great Heat Wave of 1980? That was my first summer there.

  239. hairball_of_hope says:

    1983, and it was still pretty damn hot.

    Extra points if you can remember the slogan painted on the Moore OK water towers visible from I-35.

    I’ll bet we did cross paths. I look pretty much the same. More grey and a few more wrinkles, of course, and a couple of additional pounds.

    Oh to be young and Serious. Good thing about age… it improves one’s sense of humor. Chicken and egg, I suppose. Age *requires* humor.

    Funny how life plays out. I wouldn’t mind a few pauses and do-overs. How the hell did I come this far and not really get anywhere at all?

    (… goes back to pondering life’s great mysteries …)

  240. Renee S. says:

    morning…it’s time to discuss the Little Stranger.
    are we gonna have a separate space for this, AB?

  241. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Mentor

    Now that’s odd… that’s the second post that got swallowed up by the spam filter, and this last one didn’t even have a link.

    The trigger word is either one of the following (I’ll put hyphens in them so this post doesn’t get eaten by the Spam Monster):

    A-A-R-P

    S-t-o-n-e-w-a-l-l

    The org listed as the first hyphenated word has a special section on their website devoted to the second hyphenated word. I was trying to bring that to folks’ attention.

    You need to check the spam filter’s blacklist triggers. I doubt there’s something really spammish about a bunch of geezers reminiscing about 1969 and LGBT pride.

    But then again, the same spam filters decided there was something wrong with a film festival and a museum a while back.

  242. Mentor says:

    Test message #1:
    AARP

  243. Mentor says:

    Test message #2:
    Stonewall

  244. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Mentor

    Add .org to the AARP and see what happens.

  245. Mentor says:

    To address HOH’s question above:

    As a test, in the previous two messages the Spam-filter appears to have no problem with the words “AARP” or “Stonewall” per se.

    Rather, as you can (not) see from “Test message #3″ the problem appears to be with the URL “A-A-R-P-.-o-r-g” (which appeared in your original blocked messages).

    I’m not really sure where this blocking is happening. So far as I can tell it is not local to this website/blog. (I’ll keep looking but I assume the URL above has got itself black-listed as a “spam source” sometime over the years, which is probably not completely surprising.)

  246. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Mentor

    Thanks for being on the ball! What’s really surprising about the second nessage which got blocked it that it was not an actual link; simply by concatenating aarp, a dot, and org in a sentence was enough to trigger a content filter.

    Interesting that the filtering blocks the over-50 org without local website intervention. Now why can’t we get the right-wing loonies blocked from the universe the same way?

    (… goes back to thinking about nefarious ways this content blocking can be used by governments and political entities …)

  247. hairball_of_hope says:

    Ok, now let’s try this without triggering the Big Brother Spam Monster:

    For the alter kockers among us, check out AARP’s special section devoted to the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising.

    Can’t put the unadulterated URL here, or the Spam Monster will eat this post.

    There’s a link on the front page of the AARP website. That’s AARP, dot, org.

    Happy Pride, y’all. Put some rainbow sprinkles on your vanilla ice cream today. :).

  248. hairball_of_hope says:

    Here’s one for the ukulele lovers among us…

    Check out The Beatles Complete on Ukulele:

    http://www.thebeatlescompleteonukulele.blogspot.com/

  249. Acilius says:

    Thanks for that link, h_o_h! I loved that project. Especially the fact that they donated the funds raised to Warren Buffett.

  250. Glenn R says:

    I tend to be like Alison – willing to worry about other’s needs before my own. The unemployed for example need help immediately.

    Perhaps Obama admin is right to do one Big Thing at a time. If he gets health care for all or something close, he’ll be on a hot streak and DADT and DOMA will be easy to get overturned.

    On the flip side, if this were about black civil rights, would anyone justify further delay?

    Still this is not 1992. Major conservatives and a big majority of the public are in favor of killing DADT. Thus delay starts to look more like cowardice….

  251. spongefile says:

    @hairball_of_hope (#7) I’m pretty sure I remember a lot more mentions of gay issues(read: very clearly some) on whitehouse.gov too. Or on Change.gov, and definitely before that on his campaign site, where the issues were organized in the same way as on whitehouse.gov now. I’m going to try to remember to check the wayback machine too. It’s creepy/depressing. Note: Women and veterans have their own categories, but gay people don’t even make the “Other Issues” list, unlike “Sportsmen”.

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/additional/

  252. spongefile says:

    Wait, I was wrong. This is under “Civil rights”: “President Obama also continues to support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and believes that our anti-discrimination employment laws should be expanded to include sexual orientation and gender identity. He supports full civil unions and federal rights for LGBT couples and opposes a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. He supports repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in a sensible way that strengthens our armed forces and our national security, and also believes that we must ensure adoption rights for all couples and individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation.”

    Maybe someone didn’t get the memo.