June 28th, 2009 | Uncategorized

Thanks, everyone, for keeping the conversation going here–I’ve been very inattentive to the blog, partly because I’ve been working hard on my book. Here’s a sketch, as proof.


This is a scene of a Pride march in NYC that I attended in the early eighties. It’s been odd working on it this weekend since of course today is Pride day. (Or at least we used to call it that. Do we still?) And tomorrow is the 40th anniversary of Stonewall. I didn’t plan that, but it’s added an interesting resonance to the work. I think this particular march that I’m drawing was the 13th anniversary of Stonewall. It’s very peculiar to think that more than twice that length of time has elapsed since then.

Also on a visual note, did you see these lost photos of the Stonewall rebellion that the NY Times recently published?

And here’s a little selection of thoughts about Stonewall by a bunch of guys–the veteran radical gay activist Peter Tatchell on our lost radicalism. A younger gay man responding to Peter, saying thanks for what you did, but now please stop being so self-righteous. Our ally Frank Rich about how he never even heard of Stonewall until years after the fact, and how annoyed he is with Obama’s current foot-dragging on LGBT issues. Oh, and historian Eric Marcus has a nice piece in the New York Post today, busting some of the myths about the Stonewall riots.

Coming later today…I’ll make a post on Sarah Waters’ The Little Stranger, so we can begin our scheduled discussion.

333 Responses to “stonewall”

  1. Dr. Empirical says:

    Cool pictures! My brother lived in that neighborhood in the nineties, and I walked through those streets many times. Interesting to see them thirty years earlier.

  2. hairball_of_hope says:

    Looks like Sheridan Square, the corner of W.4th St and 7th Ave. South, from the perspective of standing on the SE corner looking NE across 7th Ave South. Probably standing in front of The Duchess, I’d say.

    Pride Day feels very subdued this year, even though it’s the 40th anniversary of Stonewall and we have made enormous progress on the legal front.

    Once upon a time, the entire Village/Chelsea area was festooned with rainbow flags for the month of June, and the excitement on the streets was palpable. Lots of tourists from US and overseas, and the restaurants, stores, and bars were packed.

    I think I’ve seen three or four flags pop up in the past week in my neighborhood, all in restaurants. No Pride banners or flags on the streetlamp posts, and no wave of tourists, no doubt all a result of economic upheaval.

    I’m hearing rumors of a 30th anniversary LGBT March on Washington this October. I was at the first three marches: 1979, 1987, and 1993. I missed the last one in 2000. Maybe I should get my duff to DC for this one.

  3. Ellen Orleans says:

    Thanks for bringing a splash of Pride Day into my home this year, Alison.

    The Denver March is big (and I think it’s today) but in years past it has seemed so focused on gays in the military or the right to marry or corporate gay groups and gay-friendly church groups and PFLAG replacing Dykes on Bikes to start the parade, that, as a less mainstream dyke, I haven’t much resonated with it.

    Or maybe it’s all part of growing older or not being interested in drinking beer or negotiating the heat or the crowds.

    What I’d love is a salon or a picnic with a bunch of lesbians to discuss what being queer means to them now. Guess I’ll put that on the list to organize and host.

    Meanwhile, great sketch from the book. I like the perspective and architectural details. Am I projecting, or does the character in the forefront look adrift?

  4. Feminista says:

    Ellen#3″ The forefront character appears to be AB,discovering NYC in all its variety.

    Interesting word,stonewall. I think the name originated with Gen.”Stonewall”Jackson of the Confederate Army,who got the nickname because he was so stubborn and determined to beat the damn
    Yankees. At some point,stonewalling came to mean refusing to listen to others or look at alternatives because change is too hard.

    I leave it to another intrepid Internet-searcher,and/or someone with a magnificent memory,to tell how the Stonewall in NYC got its name.

    HOH #2: Your memory for geography & place are so precise it’s almost eerie!

    HOH and Kate L: I spent a week at OU attending the National Women’s Studies Conference ca.1995. The cafeteria offerings ranged from grits,biscuits and red eyed gravy to Tex-Mex fajitas and burritos. I gave a presentation on women in the Cuban Revolution,but I don’t remember who else was on the panel.

    Those who paid our own way stayed in the dorms,which were Spartan but air-conditioned,very important for those hot (90+)days in mid-June. My dormmate a scholar and teacher,specialized in Greek and Roman Goddesses & Mythology. In addition,she climbed mountains in several countries & had picked coffee beans in Nicaragua in the early 80s. She even gave me a signed copy of her book!

    So there we were,the commie feminists and other lifeforms to watch out for,alongside high school students attending cheerleading and football camps.Nearly all were blond(e) and blue-eyed. The NWSAers,however,ranged in age from late teens to 70s. Some of us dressed punk,with pink hair and piercings;others in mullets & Birkenstocks boldly staffed a women’s peace trailer near the cafeteria. Some wore saris,others capris and feminist tees. A country-folk mostly-dyke band played one night,but none of the jocks bothered us. Maybe they thought women’s studies meant studying cooking and the domestic arts. Or the womanly art of breast feeding. Not,however,Lois’ definition.

    True story: In 1982,a very bright coworker– administrative assisant–asked me,genuinely puzzled, “What do women study?” “Everything that’s been left out of history,literature,you-name-it,”I replied. But of course her question was much better than the folks who changed the subject quickly,or the men who scowled and muttered to themselves.

  5. bean says:

    @#3. i’d love to organize the same discussion here in western mass. but the days of being able to organize a lesbian or women’s anything seem to be over; it’s all just too complicated now, and no one seems to remember why it was ever important (or fun!) in the first place. i’m presently helping to organize what was going to be a queer women’s book club but after some discussion will now be a queer reading group (queer authors and queer themes, whatever that may mean), open to anyone interested. (look for it in august if you are near shelburne falls.) maybe we’ll read Fun Home (again)!

    (and actually, I’m interested in reading suggestions, if anyone wants to offer some less obvious ones up; anyone ever read subGURLZ?)

    was really wishing i could be either in NY or SF yesterday, where both cities had their (un-permitted) dyke marches, and I had friends marching.

    Yeah, those Stonewall photos are cool. Was in NYC last week, where i managed to see the Stonewall exhibit up at the NYPL, which was also really cool, and included many pnotos by local lesbian photographer and legend diana davies. If you are near NYC, go check it out!

    so, yes, i’m feeling wistful for the earlier days of a more radical movement…

    maybe the book group could focus specifically on queer radicalism…any great title suggestions (or author suggestions) for that??? all will be appreciated!

  6. Ellen Orleans says:

    p.s. I’m off for a bike ride to our local native plant nursery — wearing my Vermont Pride ’93 “Proud Not Cowed” T-shirt. Yup, it’s an AB creation–a gift from my straight brother in Burlington many years ago. It features a big bossy cow in black and white with a single pink ear tag. Utterly fantastic.

  7. Kate L says:

    Feminista, hairball and Kate L all at the University of Oklahoma campus at one time or another! Wow!


    As for the Moore, Oklahoma, water tower along I-35… hmmm. I seem to remember something unusual about it, but can’t remember what. It’s getting to be more like 30 years ago that I was there, now!

  8. Alex K says:

    The effort involved in re-documenting, re-imaging (and re-imagining) one’s life for a book such as yours…

  9. Feminista says:

    #5 bean: Check out the website for In Other Words,Portland’s indy feminist bookstore and resource center,for book suggestions (you can order on-line from them). Events there range from yoga en espanol & a Zapatista study group to open mic nights & readings from Ariel Gore and Michelle Tea. The latter two were featured earlier this month but I was at my weekly writing group; that time is sacred.

    I’ve proposed to faciliate a 5-session writing group there this summer;hope I hear good news soon.

    Some DVS/Videos to watch out for: The Celluloid Closet narrated by Lily Tomlin,Before Stonewall;The International Sweethearts of Rhythm
    and its follow-up Tiny and Ruby (I wrote about them in early June),co-produced by my former women’s Andrea Weiss; and a documentary on Alice Walker produced in the late 80s/early 90s. Some of my favorite scenes: interviews with Alice’s mother Minnie Lou Walker and one of Alice’s sisters in rural Georgia,and AW in her Mendocino,CA home discussing her writing process for The Color Purple. The now-vacant one-room segregated school the Walker children attended in the 40s and 50s is shown as well.

  10. Dale says:

    I never heard about Stonewall until I was maybe twenty-one or twenty-three. Even then I never picked up any GLBT history until just recently. I had no idea that such discrimination existed during the sixties. It makes me realise how good I’ve got it, thanks to these individuals. But there are still battles to fight and I am willing to do it – for myself and for the next generation.
    Thanks for the links, Alison!

  11. Deborah9 says:

    I’ve been languidly rereading The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For this weekend, thankfully staying cool with 105 degree heat outside in Austin. I’m looking forward to the new book and so happy to see a sketch!

  12. Feminista says:

    Dale #10: Check out the anthology Gay American History for many interesting,brave and sometimes tragic stories of pre-Stonewall life:

    –From Civil War-era young men professing their love through letters to the story of Alan Hart,MD,who attended Univ.of OR Med.School around the turn of the 19th Century & would be considered FTM today.

    –From the beginning of SIR and the Mattachine Society to the early days of DOB (Daughters of Bilitis,not Date of Birth in this case)and NOW.

    Also check out the first 4 films I mentioned in #9 and some others: It’s Elementary,It’s Still Elementary,and another film which features a young woman for formed a Gay/Straight Alliance in Salt Lake City,UT,a bastion of Mormonism. (Though I hear SLC is getting somewhat more liberal as their demographics change.

    On another note: my wonderful IT person(age 27),who’s talked me through several computer problems & kept me from tearing out my hair as I revised my resume,suggested I take a comp.class. I immediately thought of when Mo took Computers for the Technologically Stunted. Damn,I didn’t grow UP with computers.

    Real story: “What did you use before computers,Mom?” queried my daughter,20. “Typewriters,books,dictionaries and encyclopedias.”

    And we even planned demonstrations without email and answering machines! Shocking but true.

  13. Feminista says:

    @Hairball: Do you think it’s valuable to join AARP;i.e.,are the benefits and discounts worth it? They’ve been sending me stuff since I turned 50,but my politics are closer to the Gray Panthers,and I have no interest in golf,gated retirement communities,or gargantuan cruise ships.

  14. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L (#7)

    Thirty years ago when you showed up in OK, the Moore water towers were painted with a smiley face which incorporated red/white/blue stripes and stars. The slogan on the water towers read, “Moore says: Smile America!”

    Sometime in the 1990s, they were repainted with the boring City of Moore seal. Not sure if that was before or after the May 1999 F5 tornado that wiped out most of the houses and structures along I-35 in Moore.

    A few years ago, the towers were repainted again, and they now read “Moore, Home of Toby Keith”.

    I wonder if Bart Connor feels snubbed. He had a gymnastics training school in Moore for years after he won Olympic gold medals, and they never painted the water towers with his name. He moved the school to Norman a few years ago, and Norman named the street after him.

    @Feminista (#4)

    Geography memory… I spent a lot of time in that neighborhood, and on that particular street corner in those days. Yeah, I was hanging out in the Duchess (well-known lesbian bar). :).

    I have eidetic memory for spatial stuff, which helps geography recall and recognition. Part of my strange brain wirings.

    Your description of the OU dorms sounds like either Adams or Couch Towers, Adams is the one with the downstairs coffee bar. The cafeteria was the Roundhouse, which I nicknamed the Outhouse. I tried very hard to never eat there.

    As for the name origins of the Stonewall Inn, I’ve never found anything definitive on it. It was a Mafia-owned bar; who knows and who could we ask?

    Perhaps they picked the name from the nearby Jackson Square Park, but the square was named after Andrew Jackson, not Stonewall Jackson, according to the NYC Parks Dept.

    Useless trivia: Around the time period of AB’s sketch, Cher was prepping for her role in “Silkwood” as the lesbian housemate. She used to discreetly stop in the Duchess in the last hour or two (the bar closed at 4AM) to study the patrons.

    (… goes back to looking for a link to Joan Larkin’s poem “In the Duchess (Sheridan Square)” …)

  15. jackie says:

    A new book! This makes my Pride weekend complete.

    I just recently read Fun Home for the first time; I’m a young queer at 21. It resonated with me so strongly, especially about coming to terms with oneself, if one ever does. I have to admit I got very choked up at parts.

    When will your new book be released?

  16. We (my crowd, in my day) called it Lesbian/Gay Liberation (or Freedom) Day. Not “Pride”, which was a given, but fucking LIBERATION. Which is still not here.

    And lesbian has been scrubbed from the picture.

    No wonder the movement is foundering. They’ll only give us what we demand. If all we want is to be married, put on uniforms, and have a few token celebrities, they’ll keep us focused on those crumbs (which represent only, at most, 25% of our community) and away from the real issues of cultural change.

  17. Heidi says:

    (re: #16) I would rather celebrate Liberation than Pride, too! I’m definitely bored with Pride, I have to say. This year my partner and I skipped the parade and festival altogether and went for a hike and a swim in the river instead. I did enjoy the Pride services at our church, though. This year I feel like it’s more a time to fight for our rights than a time to celebrate our accomplishments, although I realize it’s important to do both.

  18. Ian says:

    That sketch makes me think that at some point the current AB is looking back at herself at the ’82 Pride.(Did I get my maths right?)

    I very rarely go to my nearest Pride in Manchester UK which normally takes place at August bank holiday (end of August). Manchester has a ‘gay village’. It became so corporate. I hate the wristbands and that you have to buy one before you can buy a drink in a bar, 3/4 of which are owned by heterosexuals. Some people think I’m weird for raising the ownership point, but I’d rather we were economically in charge of our own area.

    Well, it’s a big weekend event that has a lot of fun and raises lots of cash for local HIV charities. But it just feels, well, hollow somehow.

  19. bean says:

    #16, maggie jochild, i always agree with and greatly appreciate everything you write.

    i totally agree that “pride” switches the focus from a demand of society (for liberation) to an internal change that we should just somehow, maybe through therapy, find the courage to make of ourselves. as though oppression is somehow our fault for having low self-esteem. the word “pride” makes me cringe.

    Thanks, Feminista #9 for the point to In Other Words. Still interested in hearing other folks’ favorite titles of queer(glbt) liberation/radicalism/history/radical culture.

  20. hairball_of_hope says:

    @bean (#19)

    Here’s a pretty good list of LGBT history/politics books from the Univ. Penn LGBT center.

    IMHO, many of the books on this list need to be read in the historical context of when they were written/published and not by today’s criteria for LGBT thought. For example, I read Arthur Bell’s “Dancing the Gay Lib Blues” when it came out in 1971; I’d probably wince or gag reading it today.

  21. Kate L says:

    I know I shouldn’t have this association, but for me Gay Pride Day coincides with the anniversary of me being sexually assaulted by a man. I do have one Gay Pride Day story from before the assault, though. I was attending a science conference at Berkeley, and the professor who was our ringleader wanted to see downtown San Francisco. After lunch at an open-air cafe (where I marveled at all the women geologists in San Francisco wearing jeans, plaid shirts and hiking boots), the professor piled us into the rental car he had, and somehow managaed to get us in the line up for that year’s San Francisco Gay Pride Parade. He complained that exactly the same thing had happened to him when he was in San Francisco for the previous year’s conference. So, I guess I can say that I was part of the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade! For about one block, before they had us pull onto a side street.

  22. Therry and St. Jerome says:

    @Hairball o’ Hope (#2), where do you live? Is that a rude question? I wondered because you seem to have recognized the background of AB’s drawing. I still want you to start a website or link us to your facebook page or something.

    @Feminista (#13): don’t bother joining AARP. I’m pretty sure you can get inundated by their mail barrage without joining but you do need the membership card to get the travel discounts. I wonder what their policy is on gray LGBT issues? Go for the gray panthers definitely.

  23. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L (#21)

    (… big hug …)

  24. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Therry (#22)

    Location… easy walking distance from Sheridan Square. I have over two decades of road warrior travel under my belt, so there are plenty of corners in the US that I could just as easily identify.

    I’m guessing if Kate L. had a photo of that SF outdoor cafe, I’d be able to recognize it too. I’m thinking North Beach, maybe Columbus Ave., not far from Coit Tower and Telegraph Hill. At least that’s where *I’d* be sitting, with an espresso and pastry, reading in the cool morning air, instead of this stupid padded cell they call a workspace cubicle.

    No blog or Facebook in my immediate future, I’m likely to become unemployed in the next few weeks, and I need to control what potential employers can Google.

  25. Kate L says:

    hairball (#23)

    Thanks, dear. The assault happened a month before I first taught a geology class here, so it was really tough preparing for my first teaching assignment while dealing with what had happened.

    Yes, that’s about where the San Francisco cafe was. We ate during a break on what I call a forced march from the BART station up Telegraph Hill to Chinatown and back again! We stopped for hot green tea in Chinatown, which I found very refreshing. I’m still a green tea fan today.

  26. Sylvie says:

    Source of “Stonewall Riots” – the raid that kicked it off was at the Stonewall Inn, a gay club.

  27. Tom Geller says:

    I can’t wait to see you depict Oberlin. (I just moved back to it after 17 years in San Francisco. Let me know if you need reference photos.)

  28. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Feminista (#13)

    AARP makes sense for certain types of discounts. It depends on your interests, spending patterns, and what other types of discounts you may qualify for. It’s not a particularly expensive membership, but if money is tight and you’re not likely to use what they offer, save the $15 or whatever they charge. Definitely support Grey Panthers for their good work.

    First, let’s get the issue of AARP-branded insurance out of the way. Scam. Avoid. Read this article for more detailed info:

    Next, travel discounts. This one depends on what type of travel you’re doing. If you are staying in brand-name hotels, the AARP discount may be about the same or slightly better than the AAA discount. If you have AAA for your car, AARP might not be worth it. If you are employed by a large organization (as I am, at least this week), your corporate discount might also apply for personal travel. Keep in mind that all discounts apply to the so-called hotel rack rate, there may be a special promotional rate that’s better. If you’re a member of a hotel frequent guest program, you might get some better deals.

    Rental car discounts are a surprise. I used to get great discounts with my corporate affiliation, but the last few times I rented for personal use, I got the best discount using my Costco affiliation.

    Also look for other discounts that you might not have considered, such as group affiliations. Supposedly some of the best discounts on hotels and car rentals are given to members of AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association).

    Whenever I book hotels or rental cars for personal travel, I ask about all the discounts I qualify for, and pick the best deal,

    Given what I know about your travel patterns from your postings, I don’t think AARP discounts are going to apply to your travels in Central America. :).

    There are some retail discounts that you might use, such as 10% off list price paperbacks at Borders. Go to the AARP website and find the Member Benefits page. Click around, and see if any of the offers makes financial sense for you.

    Many of the articles in the AARP magazine are good, but you can read them online for free.

  29. Kate L says:

    The Fort Worth, Texas, police department apparently decided to celebrate Gay Pride Day by re-enacting the Stonewall police raid at a local gay bar. 1969 came early this year. CNN has the story:

  30. Rebecca says:

    I followed your link to the piece by Eric Marcus about stonewall. I have to say, I think there was nothing to like about that article. For him to say that the gay rights movement actually started 19 years earlier with the *secret* forming of the Mattachine Society is just a way of reforming history so that the upper class, white, gay men can be our appropriate predecessors. As the mainstream gay rights movement becomes more and more obsessed with saying we are just like everyone else, then a history including sissy boys and butch dykes – which Marcus insists is somehow different from our myth of drag queens starting the riot – looks less appealing. I’m not questioning that the Mattachine Society existed and was a radical idea for its time, but it makes sense to me that a secret society wouldn’t do much to spark a national civil rights movement, but a riot just might.

  31. Acilius says:

    @Kate L: Big hug, indeed.

    A student was in my office this morning. He was explaining that the reason he acted strangely in class Friday was that he and his sister had just held a funeral for their father.

    “Well, ‘funeral,'” he said, with air quotes. “Today is his birthday. My sister and I had a funeral for him instead of talking to him. He- He molested her.” He put heavy emphasis on the word “molested.” Of course I didn’t ask him any questions. Of course he didn’t expect any answers.

    What a nice place the world would be, if people treated each other with respect.

  32. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Feminista (#20)

    re: the march of technology

    I still have a slide rule in my desk drawer. Not that I remember how to use it, maybe I could do some simple trig functions, maybe logs. Fortunately, I can still do math in my head sans calculator. I also have an abacus on my desk, which I actually do use. It’s great for hexadecimal (base 16) to binary (base 2) math.

    Tech does come full circle, though. When I was a kid, the cool thing at the circus was the little red flashlight that kids spun around while watching the show. As a teenager, we lit cigarette lighters at the end of a concert to show appreciation. Nowadays, the end of concert illumination is provided by the blue-ish backlight of cellphones.

    True story: Rental daughter #2 was prattling on about something when she was younger. Mom told her, “You sound like a broken record.” Both kids went, “Huh?”

    I explained how records skipped and the penny on the tonearm thing.

    “You’re making that up!” daughter #2 insisted.

    Daughter #1 chimed in, “Oh, I think I know what you’re talking about, you had to wind it up to play it, right?”

    “That’s a Victrola” I explained. “Mom and I aren’t *that* old!”

  33. Kate L says:


    A penny on the tone arm? Brilliant – my Simon & Garfunkel albums would have sounded SO much better! If only we HAD met up back at OU! 🙂

  34. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L

    The extra weight of the penny eventually reduces the sound quality and wears out the stylus, along with the LP.

    Maybe if you cleaned off the crud from the grooves, you wouldn’t have needed the penny.

    Dunking LPs in the kitchen sink filled with Dawn, warm water, and a shot of isopropyl alcohol, followed by a quick rinse, works well to clean them, just don’t soak the label. Also a good way to clean CDs.

    I’ve got the music technology graveyard here. Still have a Thorens turntable, a couple of Denon dual-well cassette decks, and some ancient but grandiose plans to eventually digitize it all.

    CD ripping to MP3 is a time slog, but doesn’t require much intervention besides the ID3 tagging. Analog-to-digital conversions and cleanup/editing are a whole different ballgame. Occasionally I get the urge to do some audio work in Audacity, but I quickly tire of it. I’d much rather just listen to music than work on it.

  35. Feminista says:

    @Therry and HoH: Doesn’t look like it’s worth it for me to join AARP; the aggrevation from their voluminous mailings would cancel out what little $ I’d save. Already have AAA,don’t stay in major hotels. Thanks for the info.

    On the other hand,if all the radicals stay away,AARP may continue to cater to the golfing, gated community demographic. But there are signs of change: I skimmed their retrospspective in honor of Stonewall,and it was decent.

    Kate L: you have my sympathy. **Takes a deep breath.** I was date assaulted twice in 1971. Don’t recall the exact dates.Women’s liberation literature,like Our Bodies Ourselves, was just beginning to talk about rape,though not other kinds of sexual assaults. Crisis lines,started on the grassroots levels,were only available in a few places.

    Two years later,having studied self-defense and karate,and gotten very involved in feminist activism,I screamed at the attempted assailant so loud he took off running.

    My parents were shocked when I told them of my self-defense studies,but I’ve never regretted the skills I learned. It took 2 years before I could tell them about the 1973 attempt & I never told them about the first two. They didn’t blame the victim,but were ignorant of the prevelance of violence against women (and children).

  36. hairball_of_hope says:

    (… also takes deep breath …)

    Date rape, 1972. Fought off assailant, 1974.

    Never told family about either one (I was a minor for both incidents). Fortunately, the police did not notify family on the 1974 incident, which I reported.

    It’s why I’m adamantly against parental notifications, and adamantly for legal, safe abortion. Abortion was legal in NY before Rowe v. Wade.

  37. hairball_of_hope says:

    (… big group hug to all …)

  38. hairball_of_hope says:

    Jeez… thinking about that stuff got my brain so fogged I misspelled ‘Roe’ in Roe v. Wade. Preview can’t help with that.

  39. Bookbird says:

    No deep political thoughts or personal commentary…just THANKS for showing us the artwork! I’ve been missing it. More, please.

  40. Feminista says:

    To paraphrase Marge Piercy,when you write or teach about women,you hear heartbreaking stories.

    Over the years I’ve taught over 20 Intro to Women’s Studies at 3 different colleges. The hardest section to teach was domestic & sexual violence against women,and though I always covered self-defense presenters and/or videos,I got very upset privately. But I knew it was important to talk and/or write about these experiences.

    Women’s studies courses have favored small group discussions & journal writing,proven to be essential to building supportive,safe atmospheres.During each of the above classes,one student would come out as lesbian and at least eight would disclose surviving violence,in her/their journal entries. I was glad they trusted me to tell their truths,but they were painful to read and hear about.

    Teaching American Women’s History and Women & Work courses,I heard fewer of those stories,but I still favored creating safe(r)spaces.

    **General Request**Please post any appropriate national crisis line phone numbers and/or websites. I’m already starting to cry…

  41. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Feminista (#40)

    They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. By that measure, we’d all be wearing Olympic gold medals around our necks.

    Did you see the recent Bill Moyer’s Journal about Leymah Gbowee and the Liberian women who forced peace on the government? Gbowee and Abigail Disney just released a documentary, “Pray The Devil Back To Hell” which covers many disturbing events in that struggle, including using rape as a weapon of war.

    Transcript here:

  42. hairball_of_hope says:

    Ukulele lovers, check out the link I posted earlier today in the #alisonFAIL thread.

    Kate, did my description of the old smiley water towers ring a bell? I haven’t found a photo of them online, although they were referenced in Roadside Attractions’ list of smiley water towers. Not sure if I have a photo of them, or where that photo might be all these years later.

  43. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L

    I haven’t found a photo of the old water towers, but I did find the old smiley logo used by the City of Moore:

  44. Ellen Orleans says:

    Kate, Hairball, and others…. Thanks for telling your story here. Society’s tendency to add shame and secrecy to rape and sexual assault makes the horrid more horrid yet.

    Keep telling the truth, everyone.

    Speaking of fractured truths, I didn’t notice that Eric Marcus mentioned Daughters of Bilitis or the Ladder in his essay.

    He’s a pretty straight gay guy. I wrote a parody of his book, IS IT A CHOICE? back in the mid-90s. Mine was called WHO CARES IF ITS A CHOICE?

  45. In 1981, I was a member of the Pleiades, perhaps the first women’s self-help group for survivors of childhood sexual assault in the country (and thus the world). Certainly we were the only ones we knew about then, the only ones doing workshops at national women’s music festivals as well as in the Bay Area, doing interviews for NPR. I was 25, scared shitless, still acting out a lot of my trauma, having godawful nightmares most nights, but…every time I led a workshop, over half the women who showed up had never told ANYBODY about how they had been molested. So I had to keep going.

    I was not (to quote Stuart Smalley) a trained professional nor a member of numerous self-help groups (yet), but I was a caring nurturer with an ability to link personal assault to political structures. And I loved every woman I met in those days. So, I/we made a difference. It is the thing I’m proudest of, that work. We invented and created much of the theory that others put into books and used to revise the field of psychology which dealt with child sexual assault. We didn’t get credit — we were working class, the idea of credit and payment was pretty foreign to us. We did it because of community.

    At that time, the prevailing psychological theory was that girls who were molested were somehow in collusion/competition with their fathers (or whoever the adult male molesting them was) against their mother, a Freudian version of girls secretly asking for it. That thinking is of course still out there. Boys being molested, now that was heinous and all about gay predators. At least currently the field (if not the public) understands that the gender preferred by a pedophile/pederast has nothing to do with sexual orientation, it’s a reflection of (a) what occurred to the pedophile, i.e., a glimpse at the recorded assault which launched their behavior and/or (b) ease of access. Hence, the association between priests and altar boys isn’t “all those gays in the priesthood” which must be rooted out (which the Catholic Church wants us to believe is the problem), it’s that the church has a centuries’ old handed-on tradition of priests molesting children (and women) plus priests had unsupervised access to boys.

    It’s amazing to me how many of those telling-someone-for-the-first-time women’s stories I remember, women I’d never met before. I knew the simple act of telling, of breaking silence and letting the horror out, would take them on to where they needed to go.

    The conservative pushback against feminism, and especially the re-emphasis on “traditional family” values (which includes incest), has meant the revolution we sought is so far interrupted. Parental “ownership” of children combined with belief in masculine sexuality as uncontrollable, belief that children’s/adolescent sexuality is the same as adult sexuality, and in particular the deeply-imbedded Western belief that sexual charge can only be found in power-over relationships — all of these ills must be rooted out and healed before child sexual abuse will stop. Thus, private healing has to occur simultaneously with societal change.

    To heed Feminista’s plea, I’d recommend checking out Generation 5, dedicated to ending child sexual abuse in five generations, and/or reading anything by Staci Haines, whom I view as the natural descendant of the Pleiades — although she’s done exponentially more than we ever did, don’t get me wrong.

  46. Andrew B says:

    On a less important level than the last few comments, I want to say I like that sketch. It must be hard to get the sizes of the two figures on the left to match the rest of the scene. The composition makes the viewer’s gaze flow from left to right, then “bounce” back to find Alison in the center — neatly done. I want to know what the box coming out of Alison’s head is going to say. Walk? Don’t Walk?

  47. hairball_of_hope says:

    For those of you haven’t been following tech news in China, the PRC govt recently decreed that all new PCs sold in China aftet 7/1/09 have a special govt version of an Internet “nanny filter” software installed by the manufacturer, ostensibly to prevent folks from viewing pr0n. Of course, the software filter actually blocks other stuff, such as certain keywords linked to political ideas.

    The software, called Green Dam in English, was reverse-engineered and shown to contain pirated code from an American nanny filter product.

    Much diplomatic wrangling later, and today China has announced it is delaying the mandate.

    Buried in the Wall Street Journal article was this interesting factoid:

    The Green Dam initiative coincides with a tightening of government controls on Internet use. Last week, the Health Ministry ordered health-related Web sites that carry research on sexually-oriented topics to allow access only to medical professionals.

    I don’t know what the situation is in the PRC for LGBT folks. I’m guessing this is a means of stifling discussion and information for LGBT. I can’t imagine a country with a “one child per couple” rule would be blocking info on contraception and abortion.

  48. Kate L says:

    hairball (#42, #43)

    Yes, I do remember that logo. I think I was always too fearful of the I-35, I-40 interchange in Ok. City, to pay it much attention, though.

    The campus Women’s Center was the only place I found a sympathetic word after I was assaulted.

  49. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L (#48)

    Sounds like “blaming the victim” to me. I’m guessing that while your local PD might have standardized protocols for certain sexual assaults, they are out in left field when it comes to LGBT-specific assaults.

    Not that big-city PDs are necessarily better on this, but LGBT-specific assaults are more likely to be reported, there is likely more LGBT visibility in and out of the dept, thus they are more likely to have LGBT-specific protocols in place.

    Of course, that doesn’t prevent an individual PO from behaving like a real prick toward the victim (double entendre intended).

  50. hairball_of_hope says:

    Man, I should have had money riding on this… AP is reporting that SC Gov Mark Sanford had additional “liasons” with his Argentine flame, going back to 2001.

    So not only does he lie about the affair, he lies during his so-called confession last week. This guy is toast.

    I think there should be a pool for the Maggie Mendacity Countdown, the same way folks run dead pools, where they bet on which celebs will die during the year.

  51. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L

    Fearful of the I-35/I-40/I-240 interchange? There was NO traffic on it in those days. Believe it or not, there’s actually a bit of bumper-to-bumper rush hour (more like rush 30 min) in OKC these days, usually on the stretch of I-35 by the state capital, between I-44 and I-240.

    I was fearful when it snowed. These lunatics have no idea how to drive in snow, there are no plows, salters, or sanders for the roads. I recall one snowstorm in 1984 dropped 1/2″ on the ground and it closed the state. Laughable to anyone who lives up north.

  52. Kat says:

    Completely off topic (which is always a funny statement on this blog!):
    I watched “No Secret Anymore: The times of Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon” last night. It’s the documentary by JEB that I mentioned a couple of posts ago.
    What I had forgotten is that Alison’s art gets a little feature.

    The segment of the film on the book Lesbian Woman shows a panel of Alison reading it in her dorm room (i think).

  53. Kate L says:

    hairball (#51)

    No, not the interchange traffic. I found the twists and turns of I-35 in the area of the interchange in Oklahoma City very confusing, and always dreaded it.

    (hairball #48)

    This is all a continuing concern for me in this small town. I was looking at vegetables in the local grocery store the other day, and looked up to see a man with a baseball cap pulled down low over his eyes staring at me. He said “Hi”; I didn’t recognize him until after he had walked away. It was him. I’ve also received an anonymous e-mail showing a horrible cartoon of a man with a knife raping a woman that I think is from him.

  54. Feminista says:

    #47 HoH: China has offered free abortions and contraceptives for nearly 50 years (I’ve done research comparing the impact of 3 revolutions on the status of women in China(1949),Cuba (1959),and Nicaragua(1979).

    I’m not going to discuss progress or backlash re: women’s rights in the PRC or other countries here,as it’s a big subject.

    Short essay: Would you like spam with your fries?

    An unfortunate result of the Internet that its filters can block pr0n as well as crucial info on reproductive health and sexuality.

    If one’s search engines in the U.S. show websites such as this one and Our Bodies Ourselves,the spam boxes fill up with links to “Sexxxy Russian Woman” and “Some1 wants to date u.” Yes,I have multiple anti-spam filters,so they’re not in my inbox,but I scan the spam folders regularly to catch misdirected legit.emails. I delete my histories regularly.

    The good news is I no longer get Viagra or “grow 3 inches” ads.

    Kat #52: I’ll look for the JEB documentary. (NB: JEB is Joan E.Berman,lesbian feminist writer and filmmaker.)

  55. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate (#53)

    Reading between the lines here, I’m making the assumption you didn’t report it to the PD, and didn’t go to an emergency room.

    That makes it harder to make the case that you’re being stalked. I don’t know what the KS stalking statutes require for prosecution, but even if you have what started out as a consensual relationship, anti-stalking laws can be invoked when things get out of control.

    You’ve got a relatively high LGBT profile for your small town, so it’s not like you can hide from the creep. Whether you’ll get cooperation from local law enforcement is another matter.

    It might be time to consult with an attorney or victim advocate group to work out your options.

  56. Kate L says:


    The assault happened on the grounds of the Fellowship I attended. I made the mistake of going to the minister about the assault. My assailant was on the Board of Directors of the Fellowship, and I was nothing. The minister’s first response was that he “didn’t do conflict resolution”. When he was urged by others to do something, a meeting between me and my assailant was proposed. I passed on that when the phrase “you (me and my assailant) have so much in common” was volunteeered by someone at the Fellowship who claimed to be my advocate. Recently, that person has expressed doubt that anything untoward had happend at all, which seems to be the official line there, now.

  57. hairball_of_hope says:


    Ok, then let’s start with sexual harrassment training 101. The first step is to let the other person know, in no uncertain terms, that his attention is unwelcome and you desire no further contact.

    Clear, direct, and short.

    For example, if he approaches you in the supermarket, you say, “Get away from me. I do not want any contact with you. You are unwelcome in my life. I do not want any contact with you by any method.”

    Take contemporaneous notes about each encounter, including date, time, exact location (e.g. the vegetable aisle in Kroger’s near the tomatoes), along with notes about anyone else who might have been present (e.g. other customers, clerks).

    Be loud. Do not be afraid to state your objections to him loudly so others witness it. That forms the basis of corroboration.

    If there’s subsequent anonymous contact, e.g. e-mail, letter, something left on your doorstep, PRESERVE IT as evidence. For physical items, photograph them before disturbing them. For e-mail, save the complete message with the header so the routing info is accessible to a computer geek. If it’s voicemail, record it, including message info such as date/time.

    Make contemporaneous notes about these incidents too.

    Depending on what else occurs, you’ll have to decide when to deal with law enforcement for help with stalking. The guy’s defense is going to be that he’s flirting, it’s consensual, there’s nothing malicious intended by his actions. So it’s up to you to establish the case, and the patterns.

    BTW, if your cellphone has a camera, taking a photo when confronted by him in a public place is good. Also, if your phone or MP3 player can record voice, do that too. They will serve as additional evidence.

    Also, write up an account of what happened in the original incident, who you spoke to, who was involved, etc. It’s probably not likely that you can make a prosecution based on it, but it serves as the basis for the current stalking.

  58. hairball_of_hope says:

    Slight blogjack with good news for a change:

    The Minnesota Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that Al Franken won the MN Senate seat, and former incumbent Norm Coleman has conceded. Woo hoo!

    I’ll bet judybusy and DeLandDeLakes are going to celebrate by feasting on those peanut butter/bacon burgers at the Blue Door tonight.

  59. Kate L says:

    hairball (#58)

    Yep, it’s over. Senator Franken is good enough, he’s smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like him! 🙂

  60. hairball_of_hope says:

    Off-topic, but it connects to much earlier posts:

    The Body Farm isn’t the only forensic anthropology lab devoted to the study of decomposing human remains. The Univ. Texas has one too, there’s a story about this on tonight’s “All Things Considered”:

  61. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Feminista (#40)

    The Anti-Violence Project serves NYC’s LBGTQI community:

  62. Correction to information above: JEB is Joan E. Biren, not Berman. She’s most famous for her slideshow (shown in wimmin’s communities across the country during the late 70s/early 80s) which eventually became her book Eye To Eye, among other things. Those of us who saw it will never forget “The Look, The Stance, The Clothes”. A brilliant photodocumentarian of our community.

    And WAHOO, Stuart Smalley! A REAL liberal in Congress now.

  63. Kate L says:

    hairball (#57)

    It took me a while to take the first step. For a long while, I would still attend the Fellowship. Afterall, before my assailant joined, I had been on the executive board; I had even been vice chair of the Fellowship. That was before he shhowed up, and before we got a new minister. After that, I was nothing of importance to any of the local powers that be. My assailant, on the other hand, joined the executive board two weeks before the assault. I don’t think that was a coincidence. I did start sitting with my back (literally) to the wall of the Sanctuary. My assailant sometimes hands out the bulletins. If I sat away from the wall, he would sometimes sneak up behind me and get on my back, reaching around as if he were handing me a bulletin. He would laugh his little, low laugh while he did that. So, I sat with my back to the wall, in a place where I had once been somebody. Just recently, someone from the Fellowship who knows what happened to me called me on the phone. She wanted me to contribute money to the Fellowship. That snapped something. I haven’t been back since, and I doubt that I will ever go back.

    SO, anybody see those weird clouds in New York City? I didn’t… but you see those kinds of clouds all the time out here on the Great Plains (of North America), especially when there’s a storm a brewin’. I hate to say it, but when CNN showed sophisticated New Yorkers gaping up at the sky, and taking pictures and videos of the clouds, I chuckled to myself.

  64. hairball_of_hope says:


    Well that’s f-ed up. Beyond the assault itself, it takes away a place of peace and solace along with a community.

    Amazing how it’s possible to find the most ungodlike creatures in a house of worship.

    Sexual assaults are all about the power and have very little to do with the sex. Encroaching on your physical space, even the simple supermarket encounter, is another piece of that power trip dynamic.

    So the standard advice still goes: Make the guy clearly aware to stay the hell away, document everything, and if it persists, invoke the anti-stalking laws and get an order of protection if you need it. Just make sure your documentation is good.

    As for the clouds today, I’ve seen better in NY, certainly I’ve seen better on the plains. Spectacular wall clouds are nice to watch, so long as the tornadoes aren’t coming along for the ride.

  65. Acilius says:

    Something’s troubling me. Monday I noticed a blue pickup truck in the parking lot of the apartment complex where I live. Written in blue lipstick on the back window was the word “Slut,” together with a smiley face. I wondered if it was some kind of joke. Most of our neighbors are undergrads; they might think that was funny.

    Yesterday morning, on my way to catch the bus, I saw a styrofoam box next to the parking space where that truck had been the day before. It was the kind of box they give you in some restaurants as a carryout container. Written on it in black marker were the words “Accept my apology or I’ll slit your throat (not kidding.)”

    I thought of my cellphone. It takes pictures. It takes videos. I could record a video showing exactly where the box was when I saw it, call the police, and offer to send them that video in a text message. As these thoughts were going through my head, I was still walking to the bus stop. I boarded the bus while still thinking about doing something. I must have been in some kind of shock, my thoughts and actions aren’t usually as badly dissociated as that. When I got home last night, of course the box was gone.

    Last night I told my wife about the episode. Mrs Acilius said I should try to find out whose truck it was and approach her. The tenants need permits to park here; the permits are in the form of hangtags. Some of the hangtags display the apartment number. If I saw her truck again, I might be able go to her apartment and tell her what I saw. I could offer to be a witness.

    I tried to put myself in my unknown neighbor’s shoes. How would I feel if a complete stranger knocked on my door, told me that he’d seen aimed at me what I’d seen aimed at her, and offered to help? I might welcome the support, or I might be weirded out. And what if the box wasn’t directed at her at all? There are certainly enough guys in the world who make creepy threats to women that it could have been meant for someone else entirely. The wind could have carried the box there from some other place. If that same wind had picked it up again and carried it off before she saw it, I’d be alarming her for no reason.

    This morning, on the same bus, I saw my friend Amy, a counselor who spends most of her day listening to women who have suffered domestic abuse. I told Amy the story. She said I should call the police. They probably won’t be able to do anything, she said, but if the woman contacts them they might be able to connect it to your report. Then they would know that there was another person out there who had seen something. I told Amy Mrs Acilius’ idea that I call on my neighbor. She advised against it. What if the abuser answers the door, she asked. What if he’s in the next room, or outside the window, listening in while you talk to her? It’s too dangerous. Just call the police.

    I haven’t called them yet. I haven’t decided- Amy’s the expert, but I can’t help thinking it might be worth the risk to make contact with my neighbor. The way the complex is laid out, the buildings are well exposed. I should be able to scope the area out and make sure there’s nobody outside the window. I can talk slowly and watch her body language, so that if he’s in there she should have a chance to signal me. And if he answers the door, I can offer some fake reason for knocking.

  66. Acilius, it’s not an either-or thing. Absolutely contact the police, document everything. But you can also make human contact with your neighbor –only let your female S.O. make the first overture. Have her ask your neighbor over for coffee and cake, and make sure it’s (a) genuine plus (b) done in a way she won’t likely back away. Once she’s in your kitchen, you can sit down with her, talking to each other with a new bond of connection, and establish yourself as an ally. That gives her safety to not be overhead, to leave if she’s too humiliated or confused to make use of you (which is probable), and gives her the chance of interacting with another female. Because fair or not, the idea of another male observing her and interpreting what is going on in her life will probably feel like an additional violation.

    That’s my two cents.

    Kudos to you for doing something. Delayed is better than nothing at all, and delayed is actually very common: it’s hard for us to cope with insanity and hate when it appears before us, and woman-hating is both. If it weren’t so difficult to confront, we’d have had a revolution by now. (grin)

  67. Acilius says:

    Thanks for the feedback, Maggie! I’m not sure if it will be practical for my wife to make the first move, though of course it would be preferable. None of the apartments in the unit where my neighbor’s truck was parked is wheelchair accessible, so Mrs Acilius wouldn’t be able to get there. Maybe the two of us could work together, somehow. Maybe she can wait downstairs while I knock on the door. I could then invite our neighbor down to meet us. That way we’d be out in the open, no danger of the guy lurking in the back room. You’ve got me thinking! Thanks very much.

  68. hairball_of_hope says:


    I’m wondering if that styrofoam box was in the bed of the pickup (assuming there’s no cap on the bed), or in the passenger compartment (assuming the owner didn’t lock the truck), and the owner tossed it on the ground upon discovery.

    Although the physical evidence is gone, document your observations by making written notes. Include as much detail as you can, such as the date, time, parking space number, the location of the box, the physical dimensions of it, etc.

    Contact the police with your information. Maggie’s correct, the local precinct may already have a report on file from the pickup truck owner (I don’t want to assume the owner is female, but it’s likely).

    Do not contact the pickup truck owner directly. Never mind the gender thing of you or your missus contacting the person. You are strangers to her, and likely even her friends aren’t getting through to her on this. Also, she might suspect that you are somehow in on the stalking (or might even be the stalker, if she doesn’t know who it is).

    I speak from experience. I have a dear friend whose husband was an alcoholic abuser, and it took the better part of a decade for my words to sink into her head and for her to take action by leaving and getting an order of protection. Ultimately, she did leave because of her children. The irony is that her excuse for staying all those years was “for the children.”

    I’m not talking about some clueless uneducated woman with few options, she’s an educated and successful professional who certainly knows her way around the legal system. The emotional and psychological drivers win out over the rational objective ones in these situations.

    If a 30+ years friend can’t get through, a stranger definitely can’t, no matter how well-meaning.

    Also, when contacting your local PD, find out if they have an officer or section devoted to domestic violence, they may be able to cut through any red tape.

    In particular, the PD may be reluctant to take a report because they will dismiss it as a college prank. Take a look at the guy who stalked and murdered the student at Wesleyan in May. She filed for an order of protection from him in NYC when they were summer students at NYU, and two years later he tracked her down at Wesleyan and murdered her (along with making plans to attack synagogues and other Jewish institutions).

    Lastly, document any future sightings of stalking evidence by taking photos and/or calling the PD.

  69. Kate L says:

    The Associated Press is reporting that “The Obama administration is not fighting a nearly $500,000 judgment for a Library of Congress hiree who lost the job while undergoing a gender change from a man to a woman…Diane Schroer, a retired Army Special Forces commander from Alexandria, Va., had been offered a job at the Library of Congress when he was a man, David Schroer. The job was rescinded the day after Schroer told a library official he was going to have an operation to become a woman.” Previously, the Bush Administration had unsuccessfully argued that discrimination against transsexuals was not illegal.Here is the link to the AP story:

  70. hairball_of_hope says:

    Here’s an interview with Schroer from 2005, when she first filed the lawsuit:

  71. Acilius says:

    Thanks very much for the feedback, h_o_h!

    Your point that our neighbor might be suspicious of us is very well taken, and is something I was worried about. She may well not know who her stalker is, or whether he has accomplices.

    Let me clarify about one thing, I wasn’t thinking of trying to persuade my neighbor to stand up to her abuser. All I was going to do was tell her what I’d seen and volunteer to be a witness for her, if she wanted a witness. If her response was “Everything’s fine,” I would back off immediately. If Mrs Acilius and I went as a couple, I could be sure that we would be able to back off if asked to do so. The missus is very good at asking people if they would like help in a way that does not antagonize those who say no.

    And I too had hesitated about the gender assumptions- for all I know the pickup truck owner might be a man, for all I know the one scrawling the hateful messages might be a woman. The probabilities seem so heavily loaded the other way in each case that I decided it would be reasonable to go ahead and label the pickup owner “she” and the hateful messenger one of the “guys in the world who make creepy threats to women.”

  72. Kate L says:

    hairball (#70)

    Thanks for the Schroer link! We should always remember that the transgendered are as much a part of the LGBT community as anyone else!

  73. hairball_of_hope says:


    And in Schroer’s case, a triple-whammy of being transgendered, lesbian, and female.

    I don’t know if you read Schroer’s testimony to Congress last year, she said one of the excuses LOC gave for rescinding the job offer was that the people in the military with whom she would be interacting wouldn’t take her seriously because she was a woman. EXCUSE ME?

    Imagine if LOC refused to hire a black applicant on the grounds that the folks s/he would be interacting with were a bunch of racists and wouldn’t take her/him seriously.

    Gee, I’m a smart person. I won’t get hired because the stupid people with whom I will have to interact won’t take me seriously. Oh wait a minute, we already did that during the Reagan/Bush I/Bush II regimes.

    (… looks like my best hope for a steady check is to buy a lottery ticket for Friday’s drawing …)

  74. hairball_of_hope says:

    Link to Schroer’s Congressional testimony (.PDF file):

  75. Feminista says:

    @Acilius,Maggie,et al:

    Last night I was thinking about ways men could be allies for violence survivors,but I was too tired to post any more.

    Imagine my delight today to read your story,Acilius.

    Other ways men can be supportive: educate yourself in this area,talk to other men about these subjects,and speak up when you hear “jokes” which are offensive. Be a role model of an aware,supportive,pro-feminist man.Donate to a women’s shelter,crisis line,or other anti-violence project or program.

    Thanks to Maggie and HoH for continuing the dialogue.

  76. Feminista says:

    @Acilius: I mean delight that you’re trying to do something positive,not delight at what’s happening.

    @Mentor and the other Alison: is there a way to list a resources page? This group is a wealth of info,and rather than repeat some things periodically,we could refer fo’ folks to the resource list. For example,book suggestions,websites,phone numbers,etc.could be culled and then categorized.

  77. Ellen Orleans says:

    Has anyone seen this (lately)?

    A 1979 report from a San Francisco T.V. station on that year’s SF Gay Freedom Day Parade. In this age of the news bite, it nearly feels like a documentary. Look for Robin Tyler, 30 years younger.

    As I watched it, I wondered how many of the people in it were still alive and where they were now.

  78. Ellen O (#77) — I was there. With boots on. There’s a second half of the video you linked to, and I’ve viewed them both, creating an annoted log of commentary which I’m going to copy here in three sections so I bypass the one-link-only monster.

    Reminder: The 1979 SF lesbian/Gay Freedom Day Parade was the first after the White Night Riots.

    24 June 1979 SF Lesbian/Gay Freedom Day, Part 1:

    0:26 — The SF Gay Marching Band (and Twirling Corps) playing “San Francisco here I come”: I loved these guys. They were really good. What I remember most clearly is how, after 1981, each year their numbers got smaller and smaller in the parade until, finally, they didn’t have enough men left to perform. Fucking broke my heart.

    0:52 — Lesbian Nurses. It’s hard to say with absolute conviction, but I’m 90% sure the woman holding the banner pole in the shot is my friend Eileen (won’t give her last name) who was also in Lesbians Against Police Violence. I know she was in that group.

    4:50 — Announcer says police gave the crowd size at 100,.000. Bullshit. At another point in the coverage, the news itself states it was 300,000, and that’s what I remember. Way more crowded than any other year, claustrophobically so.

    5:10 — Dianne Feinstein: Lying wealthy elite traitor then, and now. For more information, you can read my post at Dianne Feinstein, Opportunist.

    6:00 — Robin Tyler’s rightp-on statement. How I wish she had been right. (Obama, fr’instance.)

    6:45 — Closing credits music is by the incomparable Casselberry and Dupree. Take it to the limit one more time!!! (You can buy their tape still at Ladyslipper Music.)

  79. 1979 SF Lesbian/Gay Freedom Day, Part 2:

    0:15 — Gay & Angry sign in front of the banner of the Stonewall Coalition, a group of lesbians and gays who worked frequently in coalition with the group I belonged to, Lesbians Against Police Violence. (We shared a lot of roommates and lovers between us.) (Not always harmoniously.) The Stonewall Coalition organized after the May 21 White Night Riots, in direct response. They weren’t as radical as us but were a great bunch. This means our contingent, LAPV, was either right before or right after the SC folks.

    0:19 — The dyke holding the right-hand pole of the SC banner is, I’m pretty sure, Amber Hollibaugh. Who was a VERY active figure in the White Night Riots, and a former key member of both Lesbian Schoolworkers and BACABI (Bay Area Coalition Against The Briggs Initiative) in 1978.

    0:24 — Taller of the two gay men standing in the jeep is Harry Britt, who was chosen as the heir apparent to Harvey Milk by misogynistic gay men and other politicos instead of Harvey’s chosen right-hand successor, Anne Kronenberg. They said a lesbian could never get elected in the Castro. They were probably right, it was not a very comfortable place to be a woman.

    0:58 — Carol Ruth Silver speaks. She was my city supervisor, and I was happy to vote for her. She was a straight woman but way more radical than Harvey, who was very much a moderate on most issues.

    1:28 — The announcer is cut off saying “A call for support for Police Chief Charles Gain — “. Charles Gain kept the cops from killing us en mass the night of the riots. He held the cops back (except for the rogue bunch who attacked The Elephant Walk later, and the small bands on 3-wheel bikes who roamed the city looking for and beating the shit out of dykes alone or in pairs, or gay men of color ditto.) For his restraint and cool head, he was eventually canned by Dianne Feinstein.

    2:38 — SF Lesbian Chorus. I had a lot of friends in this chorus over the years. Wish I had a video or recording of them now.

    (At this point, ignore the utterly ridiculous muck-racking about the extensive attention paid to the man whose wife left him for another woman. It’s completely clear why he got dumped, and it was extremely common in those days. I’d guess a third of the dyke community had been married or in long-term relationships with men before coming out, which is why we had so many children in our midst. And so little slack for whiny straight men who refused to deal with their shit.)

    3:20 — Lesbian Mothers Contingent, which was huge — and this was back when you could easily lose custody of your kids, I mean, like immediately, if it came out that you were a dyke. I didn’t march in this group only because I was with LAPV. My ex was in town with our daughter, and she did march with this group for part of the parade. Our 8-year-old daughter was with me, however.

    4:24 — The announcer assures people the “tensions” after Dan White got away with assassinating two city leaders because he was smart enough to make one of them a gay man — these troubles (i.e., the biggest lesbian/gay riot in history) are all over now. Not true: Our contingent and many others carried extremely provocative signs and banners. But of course they’re not shown, only the “fun” gay stuff.

    5:09 — Shot of the Trocadero Transfer, or “The Troc”. This was a mostly male dance bar, where the bar crowd ended up after other bars closed. Dykes who hung with fags went, too, and were welcome as long as they dressed nicer than political dykes and drank a lot. I went once for about five minutes with a druggie friend of mine. Nostalgic shots of clones and pre-Village-People types on the dance floor. AIDS was a year away.

  80. Third and final post on this topic: To blog-whore yet again, I’ve written extensively about the political times surrounding the White Night Riots in San Fran at my blog, and other folks who were there have come to comment, so here’s the link: White Night Riot 21 May 1979 and Lesbians Against Police Violence

  81. hairball_of_hope says:

    Global LGBT news… In India, a Delhi high court struck down part of the British colonial-era law Section 377, which criminalized consensual homosexual sex between adults.

    Quoting from the article:

    The law, known as Section 377, is at odds with equal opportunity provisions in the Indian constitution, the Delhi High Court said in its ruling.

    “It cannot be forgotten that discrimination is antithesis of equality and that it is the recognition of equality which will foster dignity of every individual,” the court said.


    The decision comes at the same time that the Indian government has said it is considering legislation to decriminalize homosexuality. The ruling Thursday will remain in place until those new laws arrive, the court said.

  82. Kat says:

    Maggie–A friend of mine was in the SF Lesbian Chorus her first year in the Bay Area. She has some really interesting stories….

  83. Kate L says:

    Happy American national day, yanquis! To me, the Fourth of July has been more notable for those times when I was very much removed from fireworks, hot dogs (Hebrew National, of course, hairball!) and Mom’s apple pie. On one, in 1993, I was literally at sea, on the Pacific just out of sight of the booming metropolis of Eureka, California, near Cape Mendocino. I had hoped to see fireworks on the horizon, but no such luck.I’ve always wondered about the city of Eureka, and if it was the inspiration for the SciFi Channel series of the same name, set in a small community of supergeniuses. Anybody know?

  84. Feminista says:

    Different Porltnad progressive groups have hosted Interdependence Day potluck picnics off and on for 20 years. Great food & company,sometimes there are song circles;a nice escape from flag-waving patriotism.

  85. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L (#83)

    Were you checking out the interesting geological artifacts in that area? I recall seeing stuff left over from the 1964 Alaskan earthquake, there was considerable uplift on the shoreline.

    I wouldn’t exactly describe Eureka as a booming metropolis, but it’s got a nice artsy community. I picked up some gorgeous wood tzotchkes at a gallery in Eureka, still regret not buying a one of a kind piece of handmade furniture that caught my eye.

    A few months earlier in 1993 and we might have crossed paths in Eureka.

    In spring of that year, I spent some time in Eureka and Arcata, and celebrated Purim at a shul in Eureka. There’s a neat combo coffeehouse/sauna in Arcata that I really enjoyed.

    Those were my road warrior days, and I generally spent about one week a month in California.

    I usually spent the weekend after my work assignment visiting friends in SF area, doing other CA touristy things (hello wine country!), then I took the red-eye flight back to NYC on Sunday night, pulling into JFK airport around 6AM Monday, in time to brush my teeth and hop a cab to the office.

    I am exhausted just thinking about those times, how much I traveled and how hard I worked to get some personal time sandwiched in.

    I dread going back to a road warrior existence, and I fear that’s how my job search might end up.

    It was ok and even exciting a few decades ago, I was younger and eager to soak up life pouring out like a firehose. My six-digit frequent flier account balances often got me upgraded to first class and the airport lounge, which made things more palatable, but now I dread the thought of having to hit the road in a high-percentage travel job.

    I’m guessing the name of the SciFi town is just a play on the origins of the common usage of Eureka (Greek for “I found it”), which supposedly Archimedes exclaimed when he was working on some kind of gold alchemy. Maybe they should have named the fictional town Mensaville?

    Hebrew National hot dogs… the last time I had a hot dog was probably around 1980, at the Second Ave Kosher Deli. It was a “special”, which is a larger, fatter (and sometimes spicier) version of a hot dog. I suppose if you’re going to eat a hot dog, you’re better off eating a kosher one that has less crap in it, but I’d go for the ridiculously overstuffed corned beef or pastrami sandwich at the deli instead.

  86. Feminista says:

    HoH & KateL,#83 & 84:

    Yes,Humboldt a beautiful area. My niece until recently attended Humboldt State Arcata; I visited her once when one of her choral groups gave a concert. The campus is beautiful,with lots of redwoods and native plants. Didn’t know about the coffeehouse/sauna combo,a unique idea! They have some cool murals,co-ops,a peace & justice center,and many indy businesses. Among its indy restaurants is one which serves Mexican and Jewish food,so one could have salsa and asiago cheese on a bagel with a cream soda or horchata.

    Humboldt Co.has been a center for radical environmental organizing for many years(and also marijuana and hemp production). Julia Butterfly Hill,the eco-feminist who literally lived in a Humboldt Co. old growth tree she called Luna for almost 2 years,got radicalized while working with Earth First!there. The book she wrote about her tree-sit is even more remarkable considering the poor & fragmented education she rec’d growing up as the daughter of an itinerant preacher in the south.

  87. Ready2Agitate says:

    Whew – just read the whole thread, with intermittent breaks to link to articles and of course to watch the incredible two-part footage of SF “Gay Day” in 1979, which made me cry. How far we’ve come – not! Maggie, your notes abt the footage are terrific.

    Kate L, may I offer some sympathy and outrage. I won’t go into my own story, but at least I never saw the jerk again. (I’m now remembering that creepy day at the lab when you thought you heard footsteps….) Am hoping you’re considering writing up the initial assault and beginning to document as Hairball recommended. And that bringing up all this painful history isn’t giving you anxiety or difficulty sleeping.

    Wanted to put a plug in for the Women’s Center in Cambridge, MA, which has a resource information/support helpline at (617) 354-8807.
    M-F 10am-8pm
    Sat 10am-3pm
    Sun closed

    Founded in 1971, women-only space (and friendly to MTFs), home to perhaps the first battered women’s support group in the country, numerous survivor groups (including one for women partners of incest survivors), coming out groups, sexual harassment training, information about resources around the country, and much more. The biggest focus is New England, but the Center also purchases national resource directories in order to direct women to resources in their own communities. Always a friendly woman to talk to, and who will listen(and if not, try again at another time and you’ll get a different helpline volunteer). Amazing it is still surviving, and is perhaps the oldest, continually-operating, free-standing women’s ctr. in the US. See the film in process called “Left on Pearl.”

  88. Ready2Agitate says:

    a favorite bumper sticker in California (Santa Cruz, Arcata…): “What would Julia do?”

    (I was last in the Arcata area in 1997, visiting friends in Somes Bar – Feminista, were you there?)

  89. Kate L says:

    hairball (#85)

    Interesting how we seem destined to be near each other!;) In 1993, I was on a research cruise to examine the triple plate tectonic junction off Cape Menodcino (where the horizontal movement and earthquakes of the San Andreas Fault change over to the subduction and volcanism of the Pacific northwest). We sailed up all the way from La Jolla near San Diego (near the Mexican border) to Cape Menodino near the Oregon state line, so I’ve seen most of the California coast from the sea. We were too far out to even see the lights of San Francisco, though. No chance to jump ship, swim to shore, and start life over as one of the many women geologists I remember seeing on my visit to San Francisco. I certainly have the jeans, plaid shirts and hiking boots that they all seemed to wear! 🙂

    Ready2Agitate (#87)

    Thanks for the words of support! I’ve been living with all this in this small Midwestern town continually for four years, now. You can’t get away from the perp or the people blaming you for speaking out. The minister at the Fellowship seemed more concerned for keeping his job than anything else. Our local Women’s Center was where I received my only real support in all this. I did go back and talk with the director about the recent incident in the grocery store.

  90. Feminista says:

    KateL # 89 and above,

    You’re doing all the right things,reaching out and being pro-active. If you have the energy (perhaps the women’s center can help with this),I’d suggest filing a complaint with the Fellowship’s state and/or regional leadership. I can understand why you no longer attend,but this man needs to spend some serious time away from the general population.

    Ready #8:
    My niece graduated high school in 2001,and I was in Arcata in 2006. I didn’t have time to drive,so I flew; the tiny airport had no rental cars,so I wasn’t able to see Luna. Even if I had had a vehicle available,one has to park and then walk a considerable distance to see the lovely tree Julia saved. Perhaps another time.

    Anyone on the west coast (or likes to travel) who’s ready to raise hell, head to Humboldt Co.for a multi-issue community organizing conference in early August.

  91. Feminista says:

    Oops,Ready #88.

  92. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L (#89)

    If San Fran weren’t such a stupidly expensive place to live, I could see you jumping ship to start life as a plaid-bedecked geologist. But I suspect your Midwestern heart would have always called you back to Kansas. Like Dorothy said, “There’s no place like home.”

    If you ever get the chance to visit the CA coastline again from Humboldt county, take the Pacific Coast Hwy going south. I’ve done nearly all of the PCH, and it is a wonderfully seductive drive.

    Mendocino is a great place to fly kites, very windy. Even tied back in a ponytail, my long tresses acted as a windsock. I’ll bet they’ve got windfarms sprouting up there now. Check out the Mendocino Chocolate shop, definitely yum. Good munchies for the ride on the Skunk Train (a cogged railroad).

    On the topic of the perp, put your notes in writing. Contemporaneous notes are very very useful for these situations.

    Is the guy still on the UU exec board? I’ll bet real money you’re not his first.

  93. Kat says:

    Mental hugs, Kate L.

    “Humboldt Co.has been a center for radical environmental organizing for many years(and also marijuana and hemp production)”

    um, yeah. I had a college friend who always said that her dad was a fisherman (he supposedly fished off the coast of Mendocino)… turns out that it was a front for a pot growing operation!

  94. Renee S. says:

    Palin resigns!

  95. Dr. Empirical says:

    I saw a couple of lady geologists in Home Depot a while back (did I tell this story already?). Both were wearing plaid shirts and work boots. One had jeans, and her wallet was attached to her belt with a chain. The other had on kakhi pants and a tool belt. They were walking hand in hand down the aisle, such a stereotype that I chuckled.

    One turned and said “Hey! Are you mocking our cliche’?”

    I had to admit I was.

    “Cool! That’s what we were going for!”

  96. Kate L says:

    Renee (#94)
    Yep. Palin has called it quits in Alaska. I just heard her weird, rambling, spookily rapid-talk press statement to the press outide a house in Wasilla, followed by her walking off without taking questions. Strange. Here is Joan Walsh’s take on today’s thriller in Wasilla, courtesy of the Salon web site:

    Kat #93) Yes, there are not many fishermen off Cape Mendocino. Not many (read, ANY) recreational craft, either. The Humboldt Current from the north just makes the water too darn COLD! There are lots of ocean-going freighters hugging the coast and making the best time possible, though.

    hairball – I was off the California coast as a post-doc with the U.S. Navy. The ship we were on, though, belonged to a big-name oceanographic school.

    Lots of Folks
    Yeah, I should move to S.F. or Seattle. And, I’ve got to get me a tool belt!

  97. Renee S. says:

    @Kate 96—Just looked at the video. WTF?????
    did anybody understand anything she was saying besides blurbing out weird stuff?

  98. Andrew B says:

    Renee S, does Palin ever say anything besides blurbing out weird stuff? Just kidding, I haven’t had a chance to view the video yet.

  99. Renee S. says:

    @Andrew 98~ It’s a jumbo size word salad. Bigger than ever.

  100. Renee S. says:

    @ Andrew 98 again:

    This woman in this ad made more sense than Palin did today:

  101. Ready2Agitate says:

    ugh – watching Palin resign gave me post-election anxiety. I’d hoped to never hear her again. Maybe Tina Fey will do a reprise for the occasion. “I always remember a little saying on a refrigerator magnet that my parents have on their refrigerator: ‘don’t bother explaining: your friends don’t need it and your enemies will fight you anyway.’ Well I’ve explained my reasons.” Argh! Please please make this the final and permanent end to her political career forever amen.

    Yikes, Kate – four years ago, and four years of stress since then. Grrrrr! So great you do the Take Back the Night on campus with the students each year. I’m just glad your local WC is your ally. What would we do without each other – stare at yellow wallpaper and go mad!

  102. hairball_of_hope says:

    Jeez… I walk away from the computer for a few hours and all hell breaks loose. Palin resigned?!? WTF?!?

    Here’s the official transcript of her announcement:

    It makes even less sense reading it than watching it.

    Something smells here. Three GOP contenders for the 2012 Prez race knocked out in three weeks. There must be some kind of dirt on her that she’s ducking.

    Lessee now… two of the remaining contenders (Gingrich, Giuliani) have had their own marital scandals, so it’s probably not their teams doing the knockoffs; drawing attention to infidelity only draws the same types of criticism to themselves. That leaves Romney, Huckabee, and Jeb Bush.

  103. Renee S. says:

    @ HOH 102
    yeppers, methinks the sheet is about to hit the fan.

  104. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L (#96)

    Interesting CV you’ve got there, and you chose to plant your tuchas in the middle of Kansas as adjunct faculty.

    Hmmm… must be the Dorothy factor… “The next time I go looking for my heart’s desire, I won’t look any further than my own backyard. If it’s not there, then I never really lost it to begin with.”

    Were you domiciled in SD or Monterey?

    I’d loan you my tool belt but I think it’s too small for you. :).

  105. Feminista says:

    Some sad news in Portland:

    Just heard that longtime multi-issue activist Bonnie Tinker,61, died while riding her bicycle,a truck hit her. She was in VA attending a Society of Friends (Quaker)conference.

    In her 20s, Bonnie did voter registration in MS,was involved in the anti-war movement,got involved in women’s liberation,and co-founded a group which eventually became Bradley/Angle House in 1976. This shelter is still going strong today.
    She also lived in a women’s collective,Red Emma,where they pooled their money and talents.

    In more recent years,Bonnie had been involved with Love Makes a Family,marriage equality,anti-Iraq war activities in addition to being a co-mother and grandmother in a multi-racial family. She and her wife Sara Graham were together approx.30 years.

    (No,I’m not writing her obit.,but the info posted in our local rag The Oregonian was very sketchy.)

  106. Feminista says:

    P.S. Re: Bonnie. I first met her and others in 1971. We were in the same karate class (this was right after the second date assault I mentioned earlier).

    Another contribution she made was penning a regular column in our local radical monthly paper,The Portland Alliance. I have an irregular book review column with that paper,and have contributed stories on my Salvadoran solidarity trips.

  107. Acilius says:

    Sorry to hear about Bonnie Tinker. I never had the chance to meet her, but I’ve heard her name mentioned admiringly by so many of the weighty members of the Quaker meeting the missus and I attend that I feel as if I knew her.

    Good luck, Kate L. It’s awful to think that a creep like that might have the power to take a place away from you that had been home. I hope your story can have a different ending.

    Dr Empirical (#95): Hilarious!

  108. Ellen O. says:

    For fans of Mary Oliver, the New York Times has an article about her work and her landscape today:

    I’ve been touched by many of her poems (although I haven’t seen much development or exploration in her style or subject over the years), but wish she hadn’t remained so closeted for so long. She said it’s about “privacy.” Hmmm. Anne Tyler likes her privacy too, but she acknowledges that she is married (to a man.)

    Writer Rebecca Brown has a provocative essay, “Invisible,” in her new book _American Romances_, about this. She talks about how all the mainstream celebrity lesbians (Rosie, Ellen, Susan Sontag) chose to be closeted until they were accepted by society, established in their career. I can’t think of any exceptions, can you? Alison is moving in that direction, but she’s not a household name. Yet.

  109. Glenn R says:

    Did anyone see Jenny Sanford saying that gay marriage undermined her marriage and opene dthe door for Gov Sanford to cheat on her?

    I felt some pity for the little right wing nut until she started this nonsense.

    I wrote an email to her office at and I hope you will too:

    To the staff of Jenny Sanford:

    I understand that the Governor’s wife is suffering through a painful personal crisis. I felt compassion for her, as many people did, until Ms. Sanford began to blame gay people for the adulterous behavior of her husband.

    I would like to point out that many gay men and lesbians enjoy happy, long-lasting, monogamous relationships. Further, if Ms. Sanford allowed herself to know and even enjoy the company of gay and lesbian friends (which, like so many conservatives, she likely already has), she might be happier in general, and less eager to point fingers.

    On balance, I would like to thank Ms. Sanford for making such a poorly-informed statement in public. To blame her husband’s behavior on gay people and same-sex marriage actually undermines the argument that “the institution of marriage is weakened” when gay people can marry. No one has ever offered any evidence of such “damage” to marriage, and Ms. Sanford’s angry words only underscore that the argument carries no actual merit.

    Rest assured, gay men and women across the country are praying for Mrs. Sanford, in particular praying that she will turn away from the poisoned well of hatred from which she now drinks and let the true love of the Lord – including tolerance and respect for the dignity of her fellow citizens, as found throughout the New Testament – into her heart.


  110. Glenn R says:

    Note that I was playing up the religious stuff – having a gay guy lecture them on Jesus’ love will drive them bonkers. I still feel a little sorry for this nitwit woman – she is in shock. But after her rude comments I mainly feel real compassion for those four little boys.

  111. Glenn R says:

    Hey Hairball

    No, Palin thinks she is brilliant and that this will let her campaign full time. Alaska is too far from Iowa. No one in Alaska will hold her accountable for her dirt so no reason to run away.

    Please, if there is a God, make Sarah Palin the nominee in 2012. I’m not saying Obama would win all fifty states, I’m just saying that we could not rule it out.

  112. Ian says:

    @Glenn R #109: Because men never cheated on their wives before gay marriage was allowed, did they?

  113. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Glenn R (#109)

    Sorry, you’ve been had.

    When I couldn’t find any mention at all of Jenny Sanford’s supposed statement about gay marriage on the website of SC newspaper The State, I dug further.

    The original allegation of her statement can be found here:

    Scroll down to the bottom of the page, and you will see the following:

    © 2009 theDiscust. The editorial content of this site is satire and parody. Real news is clearly marked. Lighten up.

    This blog post makes reference to quotes supposedly made by Keith Olbermann on Countdown, and just to make sure, I read the transcripts for Countdown from 6/29-7/1 (the blog post was made 6/30). There is absolutely no reference to anything of the sort said by Jenny Sanford.

    It’s satire. You got snagged. I’ll bet Jenny Sanford is wondering why all these strange e-mails are coming in about gay marriage.

    (… goes back to her obsessive fact-checking existence …)

  114. hairball_of_hope says:

    FYI, the archive of MSNBC show transcripts (including Dr. Maddow) can be found here:

  115. Glenn R says:

    Of couse they did not Ian (@112) – it was only after Mass. passed gay marriage that straight men began to cheat. We had to teach them to enjoy sex with more than one partner…. I’m so ashamed.

    Uh oh Hairball (@113) – I hope that is not the case. blog attributed it to a SC newspaper interviewer, and it sounds exactly like the drivel one would expect from right wingers….

  116. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Glenn R (#115)

    Post a link to that story please, I haven’t found it.

  117. Am up again after 18 hours of severe pain. What do I discover? Sarah Palin has resigned! What a world, what a world.

    Here’s my prediction: It’s not linked to marital infidelity, and it’s not so she can campaign/write her memoir/look after her children (snort) full time. There’s an iceberg of a scandal about to drive a fatal hole in the hull of her ambitions. I mean, she’s always been a liar and a crook. Time was gonig to run out on her eventually.

    Kate and others, as one of those “women geologists” they likely saw in SF, with flannel shirts and boots, etc., let me affirm, I may not know schist from schiess but I have explored many a crevice and fault line, and been the source of deep tremors in my heyday.

    Feminista, thanks so much for sharing about Bonnie Tinker. I had not heard of her, either. May her work live on forever. Funny how many communes and collectives in the 70’s were named Red Emma. A group of dykes in Austin who worked for the University of Texas grounds crew got fired for being lesbian on the job. They formed Red Emma Garden Care Collective and proceeded on. I also remember one or two Red Emma printing collectives here and there.

  118. Kate L says:

    hairball (#104)

    Yes, an interesting CV. While I worked for the Navy, I was actually domiciled in neither Monterey* or San Diego; with Navy logic, I lived in Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi. We had to load up our van and drive out to La Jolla, California, on the I-10! I imagined that we would sample southwestern cuisine all along the way out and back during this trip (we drove through all of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and southern California to get to the California coast, after all!), but it turned out that the senior scientist in the group didn’t like Mexican food! 🙁 Oh, and and we’ll have to compare tool belt sizes, sometime! 😉

    Feminista (#105)
    While in Mississippi, another post-doc and I were very much aware that we were living and working near where some of the people involved in voting rights work back in the 60’s had been killed and buried. We were tempted to ask locals exactly where that happened, but decided not to for fear that we just might be shown.

  119. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Maggie (#117)

    Hope you are feeling better. You are in rare form today, “schist from schiess” indeed! Although I think you meant “scheissen” (shit). Yeah, I am anal enough to correct your German. So schiesse (shoot) me.

  120. Hoh — Ah don’t spricken ze Deutsch so good.

    Yep, you guessed my intent and corrected it on target. So to speak. (laughing)

  121. Kate L says:

    Maggie (#117) and hairball (#119)

    Maggie… in pain for 18 hours? What happened? 🙁

    Schist, of course, is a type of foliated metamorphic rock as I think you both know. Why do students laugh when I say that name?

    Back at that open-air cafe in San Francisco, I smiled and waved at all the women geologists walking by. They seemed perplexed, but some waved back. I guess they could tell that I was from out of town! Gosh, maybe I should have gotten to know some of them. We could have discussed earth science!

  122. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L (#118)

    Navy logic… another of those great oxymorons, like “military intelligence,” “civil service,” etc.

    I’m guessing you were rubbing shoulders with the rocket scientists in MS. The decisions about where to site facilities are almost always pure politics, they needed to placate the MS Congressional contingent when NASA downsized after Apollo.

    After all, you were located on water, right? That’s all the Navy needs. Never mind the huge differences between the Gulf of Mexico and blue water. They could have put the lab on Lake Wobegon if the politics demanded it. Garrison Keillor could have written about you. Think of the possibilities.

    Wasn’t there something a few years back where the bodies of civil rights activists in the US South were found using ground-penetrating radar originally developed for locating anti-personnel mines? Or am I just remembering that being described as one of the potential uses for transferring this military technology to civilian law enforcement?

    They already do quite a bit with infrared themography originally developed for military, beyond the obvious of tracking people in the dark. They can see the heat signatures of marijuana and grow lights indoors using aircraft flyover IR scanning.

    Shame you weren’t based in CA. Monterey Bay is absolutely gorgeous. San Diego and Coronado Bay are nice too, but the politics of So Cal are way too right-wing for me. I miss eating at Wahoo’s Fish Tacos for lunch every day, though. I got hooked on them, and fish tacos seem to be a strictly So Cal food trend that’s never made its way East.

    Also a shame about the bad road food. Southwestern food is pretty good, but I don’t know how much of that you would have actually found alongside I-10.

    These days, I’ve downsized from the old leather tool belt look (actually, I’m not even sure where it is anymore). I hang some nylon tool pouches off my belt that I can easily jettison via velcro. But I always have my Leatherman and Maglite, plus the assortment of communications devices, so it just looks like a high tech tool belt.

    (… puts on her tinfoil hat and lines the windows with black plastic …)

  123. Kate, the pain is multifactorial. Chronic but then there’s flares. Fact o’life.

    I used to hang out at the Cafe Flore, the deli on Market, the Church Street Station, and Orphan Andy’s in SF. I lived just off Market between Guerrero and Valencia. My favorite hang-out, after the Artemis Cafe closed, was Cafe Clarion at 16th and maybe Treat (?), because it was quiet enough to write for hours and the salads were great. I’m sure I waved back at you, if you ever waved at me.

    I knew schist was rock but that’s it. Well, and I have a vague idea of metamorphic, from the Latin roots. I used to type for a neurologist who consistently dictated in his reports whether or not his patients had “sedimentary” types of work. I always corrected it to sedentary but was often tempted to let it slide through.

    What on earth (grin) does exfoliated mean with regard to rock?

  124. Oh, and HoH, fish tacos are everywhere here in Austin. Extremely tasty, too. And no, I’m not using a euphemism.

  125. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Maggie (#124)

    Fish tacos in Texas? Maybe there’s hope. Although the other CA thing I miss (Fry’s) also made it as far East as Texas, but it stopped there.

    De-clique-ification note for non-Californians: Fry’s is a chain of electronics stores that can be best described as a “Home Depot for geeks.” You can buy everything from a washing machine, to a laptop, to an oscilloscope at Fry’s, and get your fix of Jolt cola, Bawls, microwave burritos, and Pez dispensers too.

    (… I’m getting tachycardia just *thinking* about all that caffeine …)

  126. hairball_of_hope says:

    The AP is reporting that Dr. Tiller’s alleged murderer, Scott Roeder, is sending mailings from his jail cell that advocate killings of abortion providers.

    Quoting from the article:

    From his cell in Sedgwick County jail, Mr. Roeder has been sending anti-abortion pamphlets that laud Paul Hill, who was convicted of murdering an abortion provider in 1994, as an “American hero,” and include examples of Mr. Hill’s writings about how the killing of abortion providers is justifiable.


    Mr. Roeder has also been corresponding with Rev. Donald Spitz — whose Army of God group’s Web site celebrates Hill and who says he sent Mr. Roeder seven of the pamphlets at Mr. Roeder’s request — and Linda Wolfe, an Oregon activist who has been jailed about 50 times for anti-abortion activities and who is close friends with a woman convicted of shooting Dr. Tiller in the arms in 1993. She says Mr. Roeder mailed her one of the pamphlets.


    No one has accused Mr. Roeder of breaking any laws because of his jailhouse correspondence. But local and federal law enforcement agencies took seriously a threat Mr. Roeder made during a June 7 interview with the Associated Press that there are “many other similar events planned around the country as long as abortion remains legal.”

  127. Feminista says:

    Re: Fry’s–OR,and perhaps WA,has ’em.Good if you know what you’re looking for,overwhelming if you’re noise sensitive (like me)and get frazzled with noise from blaring TVs and all kinds of electronica.

    Like some other communities,Portland has Free Geek,a great place where one can get refurbished desktops and laptops; they have “sweat equity”program where people can volunteer 40 hours to get their own computer,also gaining useful job skills. FG also donates to schools and non-profits.

    I bought my daughter a refurbished Dell laptop for $200 a month ago there;she loves it. Free Geek offers free,non-outsourced telephone tech support,and the salespeople provide honest,no-pressure service,since they’re not on commission.

    Speaking of my daughter,she’s frazzled and stressed out in a hot apartment dealing with the baby and a lively toddler,so I’m off to a picnic and later will offer her some relief and support. Her fiance works very long hours,mostly outside,in the summer. I’m starting a legal fund so he can speed up the (cumbersome,don’t-get-me-started)immigration process and get a valid SS #. Si se puede/yes,we can!

    Maggie,sending healing thoughts your way. Must be hard to deal with many weeks (months?) of high temps.

  128. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L (#121)

    Q: Why do your students laugh when you say “schist?”

    A: You have to enunciate clearly, dear.

    I had a HS English teacher who was forever being accused of saying terrible things to students. He always got out of trouble by clearly enunciating the words he actually used: formication, dastard, etc. I suppose if he taught earth science, he would have had fun with schist too.

    This same teacher once chided me, “Ms. [X], your orthoepy is horrendous” in his best John Houseman stentorian voice. Well, whaddya expect from someone who read all these damn big words but never actually heard them being used. Chastened, I started paying attention to the pronunciation guide in the dictionary.

  129. Feminista, thanks. Last week we got down to 95, first time in at least a month it had been below 100. Yesterday it was back up to 105. This is not the Texas I knew as a child/young adult. And we’re in the worst stage of drought ever recorded. Heading into hurricaine season.

    But I don’t have to work outdoors and don’t actually live on the coast, so there’s that. Although the bell tolls for us all, economically and spiritually.

    Feminista, I remember a Portland friend telling me about something they had there called Scrap, which was a recyclying yard that deal with absolutely everything and was open to the general public. Do you know about that?

    We don’t have Free Geek here but we do have a branch of Goodwill that specializes in recycling computers and software (after all, we have Dell and Samsung here). It’s a great deal — the monitor I’m using and have for the past two years cost me $14 there. I bet other cities with a high percentage of electronics users might have the same thing through Goodwill.

    Speaking of big words, I used to make my little brother cry by telling my mother, in an accusatory tone, that I had just seen him hesitate in the yard, right in front of everybody. Or that he had shown his pisiform in public. He would hotly deny it while she laughed at me, then led him to the dictionary.

  130. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Maggie (#129)

    Hot weather, ugh. Brings back bad Texas memories for me.

    I spent a few months in Dallas-Ft. Worth area in the summer of 1990, and it was disgustingly hot. 110-115 during the day, maybe it got down to 95 at night. With 95% relative humidity. For months, without a break. Even when it rained, the temps didn’t get below 100 during the day.

    The rental car A/C couldn’t even get the temp down to something approaching tolerable during the day.

    I was told to stop bellyaching, that Houston was even worse.

    Only outdoor things I actually enjoyed that summer were the Ft. Worth Botanical Gardens, and the Ft. Worth Water Gardens. GW Bush owned the Texas Rangers at that time, and they played in that steaming dump called Arlington Stadium. The Dallas Cowboys played in another steaming dump called Texas Stadium. It was hideous in the stands, I have no idea how the players survived on the fields wearing all that gear and running around.

    I was so disgusted with the place after two months that I took a spontaneous quick weekend trip to San Fran to recharge my batteries. Spontaneous as in, deciding around midnight to get away, using frequent flyer miles and hotel points to book my travel, and setting foot in San Fran 12 hours later.

    Give me snow anyday over heat.

  131. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Maggie (#129)

    Big words… when we were kids, the favored taunt was “Your epidermis is showing!”

    Then I discovered that lovely word ‘defenestrate.’ Always great fun to watch kids cower after threatening to defenestrate them, not knowing what part of the anatomy to protect.

  132. Ian says:

    @hoh #131: Of course it falls apart if one of the smart aleck kids asks you if you’re going to throw them out of the window and then phones social services on their cell phone … 😉

    I always thought defenestrate meant to either smash or remove the windows!

  133. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Ian (#132)

    Yeah, the English words formed from the Latin fenestra (window) do seem to be inconsistent in definition.

    Fenestrated means windowed or perforated, but for some reason defenestrated doesn’t refer to the status of the window at all, it means to throw something through the window.

    And you’re right, in today’s overly-sheltered namby-pamby child culture, I would have been hauled off to Child Protective Services or something for making terroristic remarks. Except that in today’s text-messaging child culture, I probably would have texted the taunts and it’s unlikely I’d ever use a word with that many letters fully spelled out.


    Try making that stick in court.

    Thinking about the usual child conversations of my youth, translated to text messages…

    UR UG LE
    U SMEL

    (… looking for a cootie shot after that dose of childhood …)

  134. hairball_of_hope says:

    Remember the recent photo of the US soldier in Afghanistan shown in battle wearing pink “I Love NY” boxer shorts? (It was on the front page of the NY Times.)

    The soldier, SPC Zachary Boyd, is home for July 4th, and his now-famous boxer shorts will be on display at the 1st Infantry Division museum at Ft. Riley, KS. Imagine being the museum curator for that item.

    I wonder if he’s on a DADT watch list now because he wears pink underwear.

  135. Kate L says:

    Maggie (#123)

    Metamorphic rock is formed by heating other rocks (igneous rocks, like granite; sedimentary rocks, like limestone, or even lower-temperature metamorphic rocks) almost, but not quite, to the point of melting. Mineral crystals grow and maybe even chemically change to other minerals during metamorphism, or are dissolved. In foliated (banded) metamorphic rocks, minerals of the same type congregate into bands during this “solid-state recrystallization”. The text books say that the minerals =segregate= into bands, but I refuse to say that. Gneiss is a foliated metamorphic rock that was granite before heating. In gneiss, the pink (or white) felspar minerals and the gray quartz congregate into thick bands at high levels of metamorphism. Schist is also a foliated metamorphic rock, but it experienced a lesser degree of heating, and the foliation bands are much thinner. Give me a piece of gneiss over a piece of schist any day!

    Marble is an example of an unfoliated metamorphic rock. It used to be limestone, and calcium carbonate is the main mineral in both marble and limestone. The dark swirls in marble are not foliation bands, but are impurities (maybe even traces of organic matter) left over from the deposition of the mineral grains that formed the original limestone on the sea floor.

    And, exfoliation is a type of physical weathering of rocks, where the outer layers of the outcrop peel away (!) from the body of the rock.

  136. hairball_of_hope says:

    “…Give me a piece of gneiss over a piece of schist any day!…”

    Were you enunciating carefully in that sentence? :).

    You anticipated my question, I was going to ask about the difference between the two.

    Let’s see if I’ve got this down. Gneiss and schist are formed by the same general process, but are differentiated from one another by magnitude of heating and the resulting foliation, yes?

    Igneous rocks like granite can form either schist or gneiss, yes?

    Got it. Ready for the pop quiz.

  137. Kat says:

    Geez, there hasn’t been a good defenestration in AGES!!

    (sorry….I’ve always thought that defenestration is the coolest way to off someone…..)

  138. Feminista says:

    #129 Maggie: SCRAP,started by teachers, actually recycles smaller things often used for arts and crafts projects.People make mobiles from old CDs,and I’ve used some of their emphemera in collages.

    The group that does large-scale recycling of everything from old doors to (literally)the kitchen sink is called the Rebuilding Center. Then there’s Habitat for Humanity’s center which sells recycled stuff to benefit their programs. Portland has many other sustainablility projects.

    My computer tower’s from Craigslist,my mouse and keyboard were part of my mother’s computer system which I inherited and used for over 5 years until part major parts went to computer heaven @ Free Geek,my printer came free from a neighbor who’s upgrading,and my speakers are from Free Geek. The one new piece is my large-screened 2009 Dell monitor,bought on sale.

    Just back from the Interdependence Day Picnic I mentioned yesterday; food was good and convo was lively. Talked with a male electrical engineer dressed in a t-shirt and shorts (sans toolbelt) who was mildly political and pleasant,though completely devoid of emotion; other folks about gardening; and a Boomer activist,raised in W.VA.and PA as a coal miner’s daughter,about mountain-blasting in W.VA. I provided an update on the immigration issues for my son-in-law & his family. The good news is all his birth family have valid social security numbers.

  139. Feminista says:

    P.S.Said electrical engineer also makes about 4x my salary,and is knowledgable in few things outside his field. He cited a half-hearted recruitment method to demonstrate how his company is making **so much** progress in hiring women engineers. I pointed out national stats on women in engineering and other male-dominated fields,talked about the advances in Scandinavia,and related stats ‘n’stuff.

  140. Kat says:

    Boyfriend’s an electrical engineer, and the field is SO NOT making that much progress…..a very good friend of his has been sexually harassed in every job she’s ever held.

    And considering that Canadian engineering majors start taking internships and jobs in their 2nd year of college, that’s a lot of jobs. She’s never been in a work situation with more than 1 or 2 other women, either.

    The imbalance in the workforce that leads to shitheads being able to get away with that comes from an imbalance at the university level, which comes from imbalances earlier on….How many high school robotics clubs or whatever have lots of girls?

  141. Ready2Agitate says:

    suerte a tu niña’s novio, feminista. I’m just so bummed that Obama has de-prioritized immigration reform. As if it doesn’t affect energy, education, and health care policy! Ugh – so tired of living in an unequal society – so there’s my end of day July 4th thought. (although it was a nice day all in all – first sunshine in almost two weeks in Boston). (OK so THAT’s my end-of-july-4th thought :).

  142. Feminista says:

    Kat #140: I wish you could have been there to back me up,and I bet HoH could have given him a mouthful. Though I can stand my own,it’s hard to talk with someone with such a narrow range of expression,while having to prove my expertise and be taken seriously.

    I also mentioned a friend who’s been an environmental engineer for 17 yrs who still wishes for female colleagues. Her situation is
    her co-workers as this was a mid-life career change. A psychology major,she graduated from Divinity School and worked as a secretary and then an organizer for a public employees union,SEIU. It was an adjustment to go from that environment to attending engineering undergrad classes with socially awkward guys
    who had very limited life experiences.She said growing up with 2 very competitive brothers helped her deal.

    Things were better when she got her Master’s,as her colleagues were somewhat more mature. She hasn’t been sexually harassed,fortunately,and has some decent co-workers now.

    Ready,gracias para sus palabras amables. Voy a
    organizar *fundraisers*para pagar la abogada de imigracion. La lucha continua,no chiste.

    Tomorrow I’m picking up a Marx Bros.compilation DVD @ the library; it’s time for some good politically subversive satire.

  143. Feminista says:

    Errata: should read “her situation is different from her co-workers..” Buenas noches.

  144. hairball_of_hope says:


    When I read about that male EE, I was thinking he fit the stereotype of the pocket protector crowd. Leave him in the aisles of Fry’s… he’d think that would be a good first date!

    As for the solo female at work thing, sigh. Yeah, I’m almost always the first/only/highest-ranking female wherever I go, and I have plenty of stories over the years. I have a thick skin and a bit of a swagger, and I’ve found being on the offensive often keeps the boys in their places before things even start up.

    It’s not just the overt or clandestine sexual harrassment, most of the workplaces I encounter these days are pretty good about maintaining a non-hostile work environment, thanks to EEO rules/regs/lawsuits.

    The sexual (and racial/ethnic) harrassment comes in the form of subtle things, such as having one’s work picked apart, more heavily-criticized, revised, etc. than one’s male counterparts. Projects get less funding (or not at all). Needed resources to complete work are more limited, or timelines are much shorter. Much harder to prove those sorts of harrassment.

    A current example… Last week I sat in on a conference call where there was another woman sitting at our table. She was the prime contractor’s project manager, an architect/engineer, a brilliant woman with multiple degrees in mechanical and electrical engineering, and architecture. She was educated in India and the US, and has been doing project management for quite some time (I’m guessing she’s in her late 40s). She’s really good at what she does. The guys at the table all spoke of her in glowing terms (this was my first time meeting her).

    The project is a energy conservation/green building thing that has all these sophisticated gizmos and sensors to control HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) and lighting, and hooks into building computer network systems (which is where I come in) so energy usage and system control can be monitored/controlled remotely.

    She was being needlessly nitpicked on the conference call for various elements of the project design. The guy on the phone was niggling over this item on page 25 and that item on page 143, etc. He was reading each item to her as if she were a dolt. Finally, she said, “I know what’s in the design, *I WROTE IT*.” The guys at our table smiled and gave her high-fives, the moron on the phone tried as best he could to recover.

    Very tiresome to have to fight BS like that on a daily basis. I think it takes a certain type of personality or inner fortitude to successfully navigate that daily situation. Each woman finds her own way to do that. I’ve got my eats-tech-for-breakfast swagger, she’s got a cool-as-a-cucumber exterior that lulls guys into thinking she’s a pushover. Oh no she’s not, and once confronted, they quickly learn to pay her respect.

    My gaydar was getting ambiguous readings on her. Cute and smart. Hmmmm….

  145. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kat (#140)

    You’re right. If you want to see more women in science and engineering, you have to start earlier. Somewhere around 8th grade (age 13/14). That seems to be around the time (hello puberty!) where girls are acculturated to stop being brainy, where they stop participating in math and science class discussions, etc. Maybe ksbel6 has some insight on that as a HS math teacher.

    I think it’s somewhat better for girls these days, vs. when I was growing up. My niece’s AP (Advanced Placement) classes in HS were roughly equal male/female.

    I think the greater awareness of work/life balance also plays into later choices about university degrees and careers. My niece (in the middle of her science PhD) told me that one of the reasons she really likes the field she’s in now as compared to her previous science field is because she has all this time to herself, and no more nights/weekends in the lab. All because of the strict protocols on the monkeys. I told her I wanted to join that monkey union!

    Even as an undergrad, she talked about choosing a field that would give her balance between research and having a life.

    Which reminds me of something Gloria Steinem said, “I’ve yet to hear a man ask for advice on how to combine a marriage and a career.”

  146. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Feminista (#142)

    Hail Freedonia! Did you know Mussolini banned the Marx Bros. after “Duck Soup” was released?

    Many of the Marx Bros. MGM movies had a “race” scene, which was common for mainstream movies of that time. “Race” scenes, like the “race” movies of that same era, featured black actors. In the Marx Bros. movies, the “race” scene usually involved Harpo (and sometimes Chico) playing music with the black cast.

    These scenes have all been edited out of the versions of Marx Bros. movies shown on TV. I’m wondering if they are on the DVD, probably buried in the extra material.

    Ah, the days of the Marx Bros. festivals and midnight showings at the old Mini-Cinema in Uniondale. You could get a serious buzz just breathing in the theatre lobby.

    (… goes off looking for Captain Spaulding and Lydia the Tatooed Lady …)

  147. Dr. Empirical says:

    “A Day at the Races” had a fairly offensive “race” scene. To the best of my recollection, none of the other Marx Bros. films did, and I’ve seen them all multiple times. Can you give an example, HoH?

  148. Dr. Empirical says:

    Hmmm… In “Duck Soup” they sing “All God’s Chillun got Guns” but there were no people of race in the scene.

  149. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Dr. E

    I’m guessing you haven’t seen the uncut versions.

    I haven’t seen these scenes in many many years, so I’m doing this from memory.

    The “race” scenes were in their MGM films. “Duck Soup” was their last release for Paramount. Their first MGM film was “A Night At The Opera” and there’s a “race” scene in it where Harpo is playing harp and dancing with the black cast, who were the stevedores and chamberwomen on the steamship. That scene is cut from current releases of the film.

    In “A Day At The Races” there’s a similar scene with Harpo as a sort of Pied Piper with the black racetrack workers. Did you notice that the black woman who sings is Ivie Anderson, lead singer for Duke Ellington’s Orchestra? Certainly her oeuvre is more enduring than that of the white male vocal lead, Allan Jones. She popularized “Stormy Weather,” which Lena Horne later sang in the “race” film of the same name.

  150. Kate L says:

    hairball (#136)

    Yes! You are correct! Granite can be either schist or gneiss, depending upon the degree of heating. In fact, a common illustration in introductory geology textbooks is of a continuum from thin foliation in slate to wide foliation in gneiss, with schist one of the intermediate stages in between (phyllite is another, but that isn’t nearly so much fun to say). AND, a sedimentary sandstone composed of feldspar and quartz weathered from a granite outcrop could be deeply buried and metamorphosed into gneiss if heated enough. There is even a step beyond gneiss, called migmatite, where some of the minerals in the gneiss (typically the light-colored feldspar) begins to melt, forming blobs that harden upon uplift and cooling. The thick gneissic banding also begins to break up into swirls in migmatite, and that, also, is preserved if the rock is uplifted and cools down.

  151. Kate L says:

    (hairball #145)

    Back in the day when I was a geology undergraduate (the early 70’s, when things were groovy) there were few women undergraduate geology majors. More recently, there had been an equal balance, but I think that enrollments may now have shifted so that there are slightly more women than men geology students, possibly indicative of the overall trend of having more women enrolled in American colleges than men.

  152. Ready2Agitate says:

    May I recommend the brilliant queer film of color called “the Watermelon Woman” by Cheryl Dunye for commentary on so-called “race.” I haven’t seen it since it came out in the 90s but my memory is that it is absolutely brilliant and a must-see.

    Hairball, you are a hero to women & girls everywhere. (you too, Feminista, Kate, and Kat!)

  153. Ready2Agitate says:

    …and ksbel, Dr. E., Maggie, Ellen O, and on and on (((hug)))

  154. Kat says:

    Hairball (#145),
    The same friend I mentioned earlier also works for an organization through the University of British Columbia that brings engineering to middle school aged kids.
    I guess they figured that most kids don’t actually know what engineering IS (unlike most science disciplines that are actually taught in school) and so they do summer camps and in-school activities. They really work at getting equal numbers of girls and boys, and making sure that there are female leaders and counselors.

    She’s got the perfect temperament for the kinds of situations she’s in. She’s a mechanical engineer, and has taken jobs in some pretty bad-ass fields (her last internship while in school was at a diamond mine in northern Alberta). When someone starts the snide comments or the crude jokes, she responds with incredibly quick and scathing wit that leaves the perpetrator speechless and the rest of the room laughing.

    Plus she’s pretty much a pixie (teeny and blond), so no one expects her fierceness.

    She has said that that’s the only way to deal with the harassment, because if you’re the only woman and you go to HR or the boss about the treatment, it will actually lead to far worse treatment….ugh

    Interestingly, though, the other women I know in engineering have not had that experience. It might be different in civil vs. mechanical vs. electrical.

    And Feminista, yeah, it’s pretty common for electrical engineers to be totally single-topic. Boyfriend is unusual in that regard….
    (is it bad that that’s how I divide up his friends? Those who can have a conversation with me about something real versus those who can’t?)

  155. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kat (#154)

    Sounds like your friend and I have similar strategies for dealing with that crap. I recall one time that a guy was saying something crude about women, and I asked him, “Do you know why men make terrible engineers? It’s because they think three inches equals a foot!” All the other guys rolled on the floor laughing, and the instigator blushed and shut right up.

    @R2A (#152,153)

    I’m no hero. Heroes change the world. All I ever wanted was to get a decent paycheck and maybe do something interesting along the way.

    I’m always surprised (and a little tickled) when I show up at a job site and a woman comes up to me gushing about how wonderful it is that all these men couldn’t resolve whatever the problem was and it took a woman to get the job done.

    But then again, I also recall gushing the first time I saw a female first officer on a 767. As we were leaving the plane, I told her it was so good to see a woman on the flight deck.

  156. Kate L says:

    Here’s the latest on Sarah Palin, as reported by Salon’s Joan Walsh. Apparently, Palin’s lawyer is threatening to sue anyone who suggests that Palin may have quit as governor of Alaska because of some impropriety:

    Oh, and I =do= wish I had a tool belt this afternoon, when I climb my roof to replace two shingles. I’m going to have to preposition what I need before I climb up there. Look for me on google earth!

  157. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L (#156)

    Don’t carry your tools and shingles up the ladder. Put them in a 5-gal bucket (like the one from joint compound) and haul it up with a rope.

    Roofing hammer
    Galvanized roofing nails
    Utility knife
    Compound shears
    Wide blade stiff putty knife
    Small prybar
    Flashing compound

    Plan on a few extra shingles, you’ll either find some more that need replacement, and/or you’ll break a few yanking out the bad ones.

    Make sure you have someone spotting and holding the foot of the ladder. Don’t do this alone. Bring your cell phone.

  158. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kat (#145)

    Thinking about the differences between civil, mechanical, and electrical engineers reminded me of this joke:

    Three engineering students were gathered together discussing the possible designers of the human body. One said, “It was a mechanical engineer. Just look at all the joints.” Another said, “No, it was an electrical engineer. The nervous system has many thousands of electrical connections.” The last said, “Actually it was a civil engineer. Who else would run a toxic waste pipeline through a recreational area?”

  159. Feminista says:

    Kat,Kate L,and HoH:

    What,you mean there are differences between civil and uncivil engineers,software and underwear engineers,electrical and flashlight engineers?

    Now I must put in a good word for kind-hearted, socially-responsible engineers,like the late Ben Linder discussed in early June,and the group Green Empowerment. For those who don’t know, GE,based in Portland,organizes hydroelectric projects “in the spirit of Ben Linder”in Central America and Southeast Asia.

    There’s also a national socially-responsible student engineering group,whose name escapes me right now,that I’m encouraging my socially-conscious,curious-minded nephew-who-needs-a-nudge to join. I’ve heard good things about Engineers without Borders,which does useful projects along the lines of Educators,Physicians,etc.without Borders.

    RE: Marx al,et cie. Sometimes one just has to let loose and enjoy slapstick,sometimes-sophisticated satire,fast-forwarding through occasional offensive,dated scenes. Watching M B and Charlie Chaplin videos helped me get through the summer my husband died 6 years ago.

    Ready: Also saw Watermelon Woman back in the day.

    “Viaduct? You wanna buy a duck?” (Chico Marx)

  160. I love watching Design Squad on PBS, despite the fact that invariably the boys either ignore the girls or shout them down — but if the boys are left in control, the design fails a good portion of the time. I mean, these are early teenagers, so immaturity is a given, but it’s still sometimes completely disheartening to see how far these boys have to go before they become functional human beings in the emotional sense.

    I contrast that with Fetch, which I also watch regularly. The pre-teens boys are generally GREAT about sharing responsibility, ideas, etc., and the girls are not so beaten down. I’m not sure if it’s an age difference or more related to the specific field (i.e., engineering) which is pre-selecting for a certain personality. Even the really immature little boys on Fetch generally don’t try to push anybody else around.

  161. Kat says:

    Hairball, I’ve heard that joke…..

    Maggie, I’ve never heard of either of those shows. They’re on PBS? Explain!

  162. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Feminista (#159)

    Can you imagine either “Duck Soup” or Chaplin’s “The Great Dictator” being made today under the same circumstances?

    The lily-livered Hollywood types haven’t got it in them.

    Chaplin spent a ton of his own money making “The Great Dictator,” and later said if he had known the true extent of the Nazi atrocities he could never have made the film. It was his first talkie, and I recall the pseudo-German oratory as being really funny. The dance scene with the Chaplin/Hitler character dancing with the globe to Wagnerian music is worth the price of admission.

    I watch the dated, offensive scenes in old films without fast-forward. I’m always looking for the propaganda techniques, and maybe some subtle resistance to the implied status quo.

    The scenes that really make me squirm are the anti-Japanese propaganda of WWII-era productions. I don’t know if it’s even possible to find the incredibly offensive Three Stooges episodes on DVD with horrible anti-Japanese plot lines.

    When I need to self-medicate with laughter-induced endorphins, I watch old “I Love Lucy” episodes. And of course, there’s a direct connection between her physical comedy and Chaplin, right down to the “Lucy in the Chocolate Factory” episode and Chaplin’s “Modern Times” assembly line.

    HONK! “And two hard-boiled eggs.” QUACK! “And a duck egg.”

  163. Feminista says:

    Lucy had an incredible sense of comic timing and wonderful facial expressions,and she had some minor roles in 1930s Marx Bros.movies. In at least two “I Love Lucy” episodes,she appeared with Harpo,including one where they dressed alike. The Chocolate Factory and the Italian grape stomping are among my favorites. You’re right about the Chaplin influence. The Great Dictator,Modern Times,and the one set in the Klondike are worth several viewings.

    Comedian Roseanne said her main comedic influences were the Marx Bros.,Lucille Ball,the Three Stooges,and Mad Magazine. She’s said that her friends in a Denver women’s bookstore collective encouraged her in the early-mid 70s to do stand-up; her early venues were the bookstore & gay bars.

    Re: the Stooges. Although they were Jewish,they went along with mainstream anti-Japanese sentiment in the WWII era. Never saw the episodes you’re referring to,but remember reading my parents’anthology copies of Sad Sack,a slyly anti-war comic which appeared in Yank,the widely-distributed Army newspaper. Cartoonist GI Bill Maudlin,influenced by the anti-Japanese progaganda, depicted the Japanese as buck-toothed,cross-eyed and devious.The cartoons are still worth a look,especially considering they were able to sneak through the Army’s censors.

    Margaret Cho’s influences include all of the above (except for Bill Maudlin),her mother,and her “ferocious wildebeast” North Korean great-grandmother. Growing up with traditional Korean parents who unwittingly opened a bookstore in the Castro has given her plenty of material!

    “I wouldn’t want to belong to any group that would have me as a member.” Groucho Marx

  164. Kat, they’re afternoon children’s shows. Great to wake up with. Fetch is mixed live action with a group of six children and animation with a dog, Ruff Ruffman, who sends them out on tasks which are interesting and challenging. They get awarded points according to how brave they were, how well they listened to new ideas, etc. “Is that all the points a dog can give? NOOO!!!”

    Design Squad focuses on a group of eight young teenagers, divided into two teams, who are given a real-life design task, a workroom full of tools and supplies, and two days to create and build the project. Like: Invent a device to dispense chopped onions onto hot-dogs for a street vendor that can be easily run by customers and doesn’t waste food. The person who requested their services then votes as to which team was more successful. It’s often fairly advanced (for me, anyhow) engineering concepts, and there’s a lot of failure along the way.

    Re anti-Japanese “art” during WWII, there’s a multitude of Bugs Bunny/Daffy Duck cartoons which are viciously racist and not shown anywhere now except for special viewings. The Castro Theater in SF used to periodically have a weekend of them, for our edification. Dr. Seuss also began as a cartoonist doing war propaganda that was frequently extremely racist.

  165. Kat says:

    “Invent a device to dispense chopped onions onto hot-dogs for a street vendor”
    They actually have one at the Costco food court…it’s quite fascinating.

    Anyway, it sounds like a neat show, and a good way of introducing kids to the idea of engineering.

    Didn’t Disney do some WWII animation? I seem to remember reading about a Donald Duck one…

  166. Ian says:

    You can see some of the WWII racist Bugs Bunny cartoons on YouBoob, or you could, unless WB have had them yanked since I saw them.

    I’m not working at the moment and have a choice between sub-Jerry Springer type shows or children’s TV so naturally I watch the children’s TV! I have a completely regressive thing for Bear in the Big Blue House. It’s Disney, but I like it.

  167. hairball_of_hope says:

    Those of you who subscribe to Anu Garg’s “A Word A Day” ( were no doubt as surprised as I was this morning to see today’s word arrive via e-mail: defenestrate.

    I would have suspected that Garg reads this blog, but his word theme for this week are words with three letters in alphabetic sequence.

    Garg included a link to an art installation in San Francisco called “Defenestration”:

    He also includes this interesting note about defenestration:

    There have been many defenestrations over the course of history, but the most famous, and the one that inspired the word defenestration, was the Defenestration of Prague on May 23, 1618. Two imperial regents and their secretary were thrown out of a window of the Prague Castle in a fight over religion. The men landed on a dung heap and survived. The Defenestration of Prague was a prelude to the Thirty Years’ War.

    How fitting for them to land on a dung heap! I wonder if the dung heap was formed as a result of defenestration.

    (… goes back to looking upward at windows for thrown objects as she walks the streets …)

  168. NLC says:

    Just to add a couple notes to HOH comment above:

    It takes a bit of the fun out of it, but one bit of info often left out of the story is that the window in question was on the ground floor.

    Another notable/fun appearance of the word “defenestration” is in the song “Booming and Zooming” by the Tom Tom Club.

  169. hairball_of_hope says:

    @NLC (#168)

    Now that I’ve read the Wiki on the Defenestrations of Prague (plural!), I see the Czechs have a thing for throwing people out the window.

    According to the Wiki, the second defenestration (which is the one that Garg referred to) was from a window that was approximately 30m (100ft) high. It might be that the window was ground level (the article doesn’t make that clear), but the dung heap was in a dry moat, so I’m assuming they are discussing the total distance of the fall from the window to the moat, not the height of the window relative to ground level.

  170. Ian says:

    It all reminds me of a fight in a pub which was ended when the bouncer walked up to the two guys, grabbed them and asked them which window they wanted to leave through!

  171. NLC says:

    [I posted this over in the “The Little Stranger” thread. However that thread seems to have taken on a life of its own. So just in case anyone who is not following that thread, but who might be otherwise interested…]

    The new musical Fun Home penned by Tony nominees Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori will be part of the 12th annual Ojai Playwrights Conference in August.[…]

    […]FUN HOME
    By Lisa Kron (writer) and Jeanine Tesori (composer)
    “A musical adaptation of Alison Bechdel’s acclaimed graphic novel, ‘Fun Home.’ The book charts Alison’s attempt to understand her father through the common and unspoken bond of their homosexuality.”

    (Story is [Here] .)

    Do I sense a field trip coming up?

  172. Kat says:

    That’s exciting, NLC!

    Too bad I’ll be out of the state for most of August, because I could drive to Ojai fairly easily….

  173. Acilius says:

    The current issue of The American Conservative, a magazine founded by right-wing peaceniks, includes an article about Czech politics with a nice paragraph describing the Defenstrations of Prague. The author of the piece is Peter Hitchens, a name that would perhaps mean the most to Americans if coupled with the description “Christopher Hitchens’ smarter brother.” Not quite as impressive as being Mycroft Holmes I grant, but still a distinction. It’s unlikely Anu Garg reads that magazine- few people do, I think. I read it because it offers its readers a stream of writings by conservatives and libertarians who are (I think) as wrong as Republican partisans, but wrong in interesting ways that are worth arguing against. That feeds a fantasy I have, that some of the rightists I encounter as I go through my daily routine will say something thought-provoking.

  174. Acilius says:

    @Kate L (156): I doubt Sarah Palin really is facing a criminal investigation. If she were, she’d probably hold onto her office, as Alaska Senator Ted Stevens did as he was charged, tried, convicted, and sentenced on federal charges. So long as Palin was a sitting governor, the whole Alaska Republican Party had a stake in her good name. As an ex-governor who may or may not join the field of 2012 presidential candidates, she is a target, not only for Democrats, but for supporters of other Republican candidates.

  175. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Acilius (#173)

    I suspect Peter Hitchens wouldn’t be flattered by the comparison to Mycroft. Mycroft was the original slacker, too lazy to even prove his cases. Sherlock seemed both envious of Mycroft’s brainpower and contemptuous of his sloth.

    (… puts on her houndstooth cap to search for Prof. Moriarty …)

  176. hairball_of_hope says:

    Ah, sweet young love…

    A lesbian couple has won the title of “Best Couple” at a Bronx NY high school. The winning couple’s election was a landslide; beating out two heterosexual couples, they received four times the votes of the other nominees.,0,849771.story

  177. Ready2Agitate says:

    Sweet! Hey Hairball, Freyakat has a tech Q in the Sarah Waters room (I think it was asked here too recently – how to get to the bottom without scrolling). I said I’d come let you know, ever the helper…

  178. hairball_of_hope says:

    @R2A (#177)

    Technoid answer posted in the Sarah Waters thread.

  179. ksbel6 says:

    @girls in math/science/eng: There is a fairly equal number of boys and girls in most upper level math and science courses in high school these days. I can tell you that when I graduated from college with a mathematics undergraduate degree, there were more women than men in my graduating class. I believe at that time (1994) the only subject area where there were consistently still more men was physics. The problem (as I see it) with women in engineering and other science related fields in the real world, is that women have babies. I know many of you just said, “sexist pig” under your breath, but out of the group that I graduated from college with, it is the women, not the men, that choose to put their families above their careers. Thus, several women that I graduated with have masters instead of phds, they say the reason for that is, “it meant more to him than it did to me.” Even with professions that do not require extensive time away from home or traveling (like actuaries), the women sacrifice for family time. One actuarial friend works 30 hours per week (and has since kid number one arrived) so that she is home whenever her kids are home (she meets them at the door after school with cookies I’m sure). So, in my lifetime, it has not been gender bias that has kept girls out of math/science careers (as I said, my graduating class had more women than men…in the mathematics department), it has been the personal choices of the women after graduating that has kept the numbers low.

    Sidebar: An actuary is the person who works for an insurance company (and gets paid VERY well) to do all the statistics on the gathered data in order to determine how much to charge people for their various insurances.

  180. Ready2Agitate says:

    So ksbel, to what do you attribute the fact that men (in general) do not prioritize their families or see child rearing as a number one priority of being human/being a parent? Surely you don’t think women’s prioritizing child-rearing is merely innate. You must know it is learned, acculturated, and conditioned. Get men into the kitchens, diaper-changing rooms, and parent-teacher meetings (not to mention many other socially skilled arenas), and watch women fully realize their real potentials. (And barring that, compensate women for doing close to 100% of the important work of raising society’s next generation.)

    Any analysis that rests on ‘but you CHOSE to do it thus-and-such-a-way’ without looking at broader constructs of social power, privilege, and meaning – in my book – fails miserably.

  181. Feminista says:

    #179 & 180: **Clears throat**To paraphrase a sociologist friend,generalizing from personal experience doesn’t always work in the broader picture. In other words,we can share what things are like in **our** particular department,school,university,company,non-profit,,etc.,but that doesn’t necessarily reflect the actual numbers of,say,women working as mechanical engineers,marchinists,or plumbers in a region or country.

    True story:I know a woman that co-owns an auto shop with her husband, she and another woman have worked on my car,and another friend used to work as an auto mechanic until she developed back probs. This is good news,but does this mean that women constitute 30% of all auto technicians? No,it’s 3% overall in the U.S.(2008),compared with 0.5% (1970s).

    The argument put forth in #179,that women *choose* lesser status jobs so they can do child care, dates back at least to the 70s. It is one of the myths of pay and status inequities that in essense blames the victim,and doesn’t take into account entrenched societal sexism in our capitalist system.

    Similarly,the fact that a college has a female president doesn’t mean that college xx treats everyone equally. Certainly said president can be an excellent role model,and she may be esp.supportive of women’s studies,staff/student child care facilities,etc. But that does’t mean that institutional sexism and racism have disappeared.

    Ready in #180 is right,not to mention right on: men need to step up as equal partners in all aspects of life,including nurturing and supporting others. Some of them are,but much more progress is needed. As I’ve stated before,the Scandinavian countries are doing the best in terms of parental leave,pay equity,etc. In addition,these social democratic countries provide their citizens with shorter work weeks,better working conditions,a much larger social safety net and longer vacations than U.S.workers.

    Managing a household and raising children should not be held in contempt; in fact,the salary for all the combined jobs a homemaker does (nurse,manager,chauffer,chef,etc.)adds up to a (conservative) market value of over $150,000/year.

    What kind of society do we have which pays a custodians with a G.E.D.more than a child care worker with an A.A.or a B.A.?!? Both jobs are important,but the one that deals directly with young humans is devalued. At the other end of the life spectrum,nurses’assistants who tend to the daily needs of seniors,and help families deal with the deaths of their elders, are paid less than those who transport senior citizens in vans.

    Of course,unionization of the jobs cited in the above paragraph improves wages,but that’s another
    subject. (N.B.:look for lecture notes on historical and contemporary issues of women and work.)

  182. rinky says:

    I love this picture, I particularly love the foreground glasses, nose and moustache

    AB do you write your novels first and draw them later or do you draw and write simultaneouslyish?

  183. hairball_of_hope says:

    @ksbel6, R2A, Feminista (#179,180,181)

    Drawing broad conclusions from one’s own experience is not statistically valid, to stay within the math/statistic theme. But it does give illuminating insights into the innards of specific situations which may be replaying many times over on the macro scale of human behavior.

    For example, ksbel’s actuarial friend is working 30 hrs/week. Ksbel notes that actuaries are paid VERY well, so perhaps 30 hours at that rate of pay are equivalent to 40 hours of work at a more typical rate of pay. The actuary may feel that this is a worthwhile tradeoff, she has enough money to provide for her family, and she has flexibility to spend more time with her family.

    After all, plenty of us (regardless of gender) aren’t making a gazillion dollars a year, and some of us have chosen careers or locales where the financial remuneration isn’t top dollar, but the non-financial rewards compensate somewhat for that.

    That said, there is a long-standing problem of the “pink ghetto,” where jobs that are perceived as “women’s work” are disproportionately undercompensated as compared to “men’s work.”

    Feminista gave the examples of the ambulette driver vs. the home health care worker, two semi-skilled jobs with a wide gap in pay.

    Note that the jobs and professions which are subject to this apparent gender-linked undercompensation have changed over time, and interestingly, the undercompensation seems to follow the female demographics.

    Take teaching for example. When it was a mostly male profession, it was decently compensated. As it has become more female, the pay has lagged with respect to the overall economy.

    I’ll have to dig up the actual data at BLS, but I’m guessing that 50 years ago, teachers, plumbers, and electricians earned comparable wages. There was actually a stigma associated with being a tradesperson or doing any kind of manual labor, so all things being equal, the socialization of the time pushed the “white collar” profession of teaching over being a tradesperson.

    Today, plumbers and electricians make about 2-3 times the average salary of teachers. There’s plenty of training that plumbers and electricians receive to become licensed, and lots of continuing training to maintain the licenses, but it’s nowhere near the time and financial committment that the baccalaureate and masters degrees require to obtain one’s permanent teaching license.

    I’m watching the legal profession to see if this trend continues. There are more females than males in law schools and being admitted to the bar these days. But the top-compensated attorneys are almost always men, and it may be that the ridiculous time demands of these highest-paying jobs rule out people who don’t want to spend most of their time and energy working and making money.

    Someone who wants flexibility to do other things, not necessarily child-rearing, might not want to take on a professional lifestyle that requires such a heavy time committment. That’s a choice we should embrace.

    But the real problem here is that child-rearing and elder care responsibilities almost always fall disproportionately on women (due to socialization and acculturation), and we have terrible and often non-existent support systems for families.

    That’s not choice. That’s getting a load of responsibilities by default.

    Feminista brings up the Scandinavian model. So much more progressive on so many levels.

    Men who are highly involved in child-rearing are still treated as oddities. There isn’t much support in our society and institutions for men who want to be active in child-rearing and family life. Ok, generalization from personal observation. So sue me.

    I have a male friend who gave up a good job, day shift, weekends off, when his daughter was a toddler. He took a midnight to 8 shift, midweek days off, shorter commute, so he could do child care. His wife worked as a mid-level manager at a big multinational company. She brought their daughter to school in the morning while my friend got home and went to bed. He got up in the afternoon, picked the kid up, and did all the parent taxiing that typical suburban moms do; violin lessons, ice skating lessons, Brownie Scouts, school plays. He made dinner, his wife came home from work, they ate, then he took a nap before going to work while his wife supervised the kid’s homework.

    He told me he was always the only male in these situations; he was the only male parent on school trips, he was the only male asst troop leader in Brownies, etc. He said it took years for the moms to feel comfortable around him, that he would sit in the park with them while the kids were playing and he could just FEEL the conversation change because he was there.

  184. ksbel6 says:

    @Fem & R2A: You guys asked for my input, that was it. Here are the 13 individuals I know with math degrees. Here are the choices they made. You can blame socialization as much as you want, but the women who made those choices will laugh at you…they believe themselves to be independent, capable of deciding their own priorities, and not puppets of what society tells them to do. Believe me, I tried!

    Is child raising innate? I have no idea. But around the world it does seem to be women who want to make sure the offspring make it safely to independence. I’m really sorry, but men just don’t have to make the invest that women do. Carry it around while it grows for 9 months. Breast feed it for 6 months after that. It isn’t a fair system. I’ve often said if men would just sprout breasts the second they get a woman pregnant, the world would be a better place. One parent can carry it for 9 months and deliver, the other can feed it after it gets here. My point is, men have to really work at being involved as a parent, women have no choice. I don’t think it is as simple as, “you must know those behaviors are learned.” Nope, I don’t know that, I do think that some gender behaviors are innate. That doesn’t mean I don’t think women are capable of being mathematicians and scientists.

    Oh, I believe teachers should be the highest paid professionals in any given society (all the way down to the stay-at-home folks). Both parents can stay home for the first 3 years and get paid $150,000 per year by the government. I would vote for that. But I bet if you offer it up, most of the dads still head off for work, and most of the moms are quitting their regular jobs to stay home and grab that new check.

  185. hairball_of_hope says:

    @ksbel6, et alia

    In that utopian situation of parents collecting $150K to stay at home for three years… I wonder how many male parents are choosing to go back to work because that’s the socialized comfort zone?

    That’s not a real choice either. Too often men feel boxed into these roles because of social strictures. Also, it’s not uncommon for women to have an employment gap for family reasons, but it is exceedingly rare for men (at least in North America). It’s probably a bit easier to resume an interrupted career if one is female (assuming that the career lends itself to interruption in the first place). That could play into a male’s decision to keep working despite the possibility of a stay-at-home paycheck.

    My friend who made career sacrifices for his daughter bucked a lot of stereotypes, and was quite frankly uncomfortable in some of those situations (e.g. the park bench with moms while the kids were playing on the jungle gym and swings). He was always acutely aware (or made to be acutely aware) that he was the only male, and was always on some level an outsider, even when he was the asst Brownie troop leader.

    He also told me that he had a feeling that because he was male, he wasn’t fully trusted by other parents, male and female. If he was choosing to be so involved with kids, maybe he was a child molester, or so the thinking went. Maybe that was paranoia on his part, but he said he got that vibe with some regularity. When he would pick his daughter up from a play date on weekends, the male parent in the playmate’s house (who had obviously heard about him) would often spend time chatting with him, a sort of maleness interview, as my friend described it, to try and figure out if there was something wrong with him. A female parent would simply offer him a Diet Coke or a cup of coffee while the kids packed up and got ready to depart.

    A thought about the money… while ksbel pushes for teachers to be the highest paid professionals (a bit of self-interest there!), I note that the lack of money hasn’t caused ksbel to run out and become a well-paid actuary, or even to take a better-paying teaching job in St. Louis. The non-financial rewards of the position, whatever they are (location? lower cost of living? really good girls softball team?) are compensating for the lack of money, and that’s as much of a valid choice as the female math majors who opted to curtail their careers in favor of family.

  186. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L (#156)

    Forget the satellite imagery, too many satellites are busy chasing some event at the Staples Center in LA. Some sort of amnesia-inducing popular phenomenon designed to make us oblivous to the perfidy of our politicians.

    I flew by on my turbocharged O-Cedar looking for you on the roof. No sign of you either hammering shingles or sprawled face down on the ground after falling off the ladder.

    But then again, you could be lost in all the vegetation:

    1313 Mockingbird Lane, right?

  187. Ready2Agitate says:

    Anyone who believes they are not a full mix of nature and nurture, well, the laugh’s on them.

    It’s like the study of droves of pple who said they were inured to advertising, disregarded it, muted it on the telly. And yet were able to complete every single sentence (“Get a piece of the ___.”) and jingle from the overplayed adverts. Point: Socialization affects and effects us.

  188. ksbel6 says:

    @hoh: wow, quite good at keeping track of the breadcrumbs! I’m going with “the school district I teach in is excellent for my offspring” as the reason I stay here as opposed to moving to a bigger city for more pay (although I would head west to KC).

    I’m not an actuary because I get bored too fast for statistics, or an office with a desk. I love the challenge of teaching and every 50 minutes, good/bad/otherwise, is going to be a brand new experience.

    The softball team is just a bonus!

  189. Anonymous says:

    #183 & 184,HoH,ksbel6,et cie:

    I carefully reworked & qualified my opening paragraph in #181 in order not to step on anyone’s toes and to urge the discussion towards dealing with,as my parents used to say,”the big picture.” This does NOT mean that personal experiences aren’t valid. Please reread paragraph 1.

    But apparently I struck some nerves,though that was not my intent. However,saying “,,,so sue me” comes across sans facial expression as snide. Which I don’t appreciate from anyone,and no,one’s region and background aren’t excuses. This is one of the probs of virtual communication–we can’t see the facial expression or the body language of the “speaker.”

    Further,as long as we’re splitting hairs,it was HoH,not I,who specifically asked for ksbel6’s take on gender issues re: equity in secondary math teaching. Regardless, I’m glad you offered your well-written experiences and viewpoint as they contribute to the discourse,which remains rational. (Inside note: when my sister and bro-in-law were at Oberlin in the 60s,the catch phrase there was “rational discourse.”)

    #185 HoH: Your description of what your male friend went through in taking on a broader range of parental tasks is similar to that of some men I know (being one of only fathers in the play group,etc). One,DP,was the primary caregiver and homemaker for about 10 years; he spent his non-parenting time as an unpaid political activist while his wife worked in a unionized telephone co.position. DP said he had no regrets for the choices he made,and while initially it was difficult to return to the paid workforce,he now is happy as a writer and activist,while continuing to do the bulk of household responsibilities. He spoke at one of my women’s studies classes 6 years ago,and felt that whatever problems he had bucking the traditional male role,they were much less than what women routinely experience. He never experiences sexual or physical assaults on or off the job,for example,and he continues to provide a model of a kind,gentle,principled man.

    DP is proud of his maternal Cherokee heritage,and growing up he said he ID’d much more with his mother than his father. He preferred looking after his younger siblings and learning how to run a household.

    Second example,JG,former childcare worker who for many years also was a primary caregiver/homemaker/activist. His family was better off financially than DP’s,as JG’s wife was a well-paid accountant. When he returned to the paid workforce he continued to do care giving jobs. He and his wife divorced when their daughters were teenagers due to compatability issues,not role reversals.Again, he voiced no complaints about challenging traditional gender roles. Also,he willingly spoke at women’s studies classes about his experiences,as well as providing info on alternatives to military service to all the area high schools.

    Returning to the broader social agenda,or big picture. Many families of whatever gender composition require two wage earners to stay afloat economically. Fifty years ago,when a high school education (or less)was enough for many men to earn a family wage job in the auto,rubber,or steel industries. Thanks to the long struggles of unions,some non-white,primarily Black,men were able to help their families move into the middle class. Gracias to the UAW & USW. (Notice I qualify my statements,as I’m well aware of occupational racism as well as sexism.)

    In the past 25 years,those jobs have been eliminated and/or outsourced,one of the reasons MI,the former top auto producer,continues to lead in unemployment figures.

    HoH is absolutely right about the pink collar ghetto,but that discussion will be on another day.
    Now please read Alice Walker’s essay “In Search of our Mothers’ Gardens” for Wed. No,I do not hate men.No,I’m not rich. Yes,I realize I am lucky to have received a very good education. No,you will not be graded on your opinions. **big grin**

  190. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Anónimista/Feminista (#189)

    Not intended to be snide at all. Imagine self-deprecating humorous tone, exaggerated Yiddish inflection, as in “Nu? So sue me!” Guilty as charged of regional and background influences. “Yo! You gotta problem wid dat? Fuhggeddabouddit!” :).

    Your observation about the necessity for two incomes today vs. one income 50 years ago is only part of the story. The burgeoning gap between the highest and lowest paid employees in corporate life is the real problem.

    Let’s say the average bank teller makes $30-40K a year. If the salary multiple for the CEO were say, 30-40 times the lowest paid employee, the CEO would make at most, $1.6 million a year. That would be considered poverty wages by today’s crop of corporate CEOs. And that’s not even considering the obscenely expensive and lavish perquisites they receive during and post employment. Google ‘GE Jack Welch divorce’ (no quotes) to see a typical example of these lavish obscenities, which came to light during his divorce proceedings a few years ago.

    Looks like I’m going to spend some time burrowing in the Bureau of Labor Statistics stats to see what the typical CEO salary multiple was 50 years ago.

    When I talk to straight married men about equal pay issues, I tell them that they should be out front-and-center on this issue, because their wives are bringing home less money, and that affects them (the men) directly.

    Of course, two of the guys in my office (engineers) make much less than their wives (real estate), so I’m not able to use that argument as much these days.

  191. Acilius says:

    “No,I do not hate men.No,I’m not rich. Yes,I realize I am lucky to have received a very good education. No,you will not be graded on your opinions.”

    Underrepresented groups around here: man-haters; the rich; people who are ungrateful for their educations; those who set out to grade others for their opinions.

  192. Kate L says:

    Hairball (#186),

    I replaced the shingles! The high that afternoon was only 80 degrees F (27 degrees C), versus as high as 105 degrees F (41 degrees C) on other days. Between my back and my (low) blood pressure, I came close to my physical limit while doing it. I thought of you all while I was up there, though. (Imitates Dorothy waking up from tornado-induced coma): And hairball, you were there, and ReadytoAgitate was there, and ksbel6 was there, and Aunt A.B. was there, and you were all there! The shingles are only 11 years old, but are wearing out. They pretty much look like the photo you linked to.

  193. Kat says:

    ksbel has probably been admonished enough, but:
    If your experience was that math programs were evenly balanced, that’s great and wonderful for all involved.
    I wish engineering were the same. The engineers that I know (family members, friends from Boyfriend’s undergrad, friends from Berkeley, where he’s working on a phd) have had the opposite experience…..

    So, I’ll stop harping on the whole thing now.
    (crawls back out of the computer)

  194. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L (#192)

    Glad you’re not in traction awaiting spinal disc fusion. Reading between the lines here, I’m assuming you did the job alone, with no one holding tha ladder base. Climbing back on the ladder to descend is the most dangerous part of the job, unless it’s a steeply-pitched roof or gable.

    An asphalt shingle roof should last about 20 years, assuming good quality materials and proper installation, and minor repairs and maintenance are made throughout that time. Time to start socking money away for the eventual roof replacement. Ouch.

    You don’t recognize that house photo? Check out the address.

    (… gets on her broom and flies off in advance of the severe thunderstorm warning …)

  195. Kate L says:

    hairball (#192)

    Yes, I was physically alone, but not alone in spirit. Yes, the shingles are 25-year shingles from (Big Name Shingle-Company), that an expert I had look at them thought were 20 years old, not 11. I’m jumping through hoops, now, to get some satisfaction from (Big Name Shingle Company) Collecting two shingles for their inspection was just the start. I just read in their instructions that I must lift a complete tab of shingles to photograph the contractor’s nail installation (wish I’d have read that two days ago when I was removing shingles), and then photograph the affected parts of the roof (all of it) and then photograph the ventilation of the roof. Then I need to print out the photographs for Big Name Shingle Company. A cd of my photos is forbidden, if I want to meet their demands for warranty consideration. Yes, no one held the ladder for me. But this is the roof I’ve climbed up on since I was a kid. This house is my equivalent of the Fun House in Pennsylvaia. I’m used to putting the ladder on the back porch, climbing onto the carport roof and under the main electrical feed for the house, and thence up on the main roof. I’ve pretty much been doing this most of my life. And Evonne DeCarlo lived at 1313 Mockingbird Lane. Or, rather, her character did!

  196. Kate L says:

    Btw, Sandy (my dog, not my partner) was out in her dog run in the back yard while I was up on the roof. She refused to look at me while I was up there. I think she was afraid that I’d fall off the roof. I’m important to her… I know where the dog treats are!

  197. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate (#196)

    Good luck with Big Name Shingle Co. If you get anything from them at all, it will be prorated (likely in their favor), and won’t cover the cost of new roof installation. They will try to blame everything on bad installation from your contractor, failure to keep gutters clear, ice dams removed, louvers open, etc. Yeah right, the shingles are bald because of moisture. I don’t think so.

    Depending on how many layers you have on the decking (no more than two!), you will probably have to strip down to the decking, replace bad sections with new OSB or plywood, new underlayment, then new flashing and shingles. Easily a five figure job. Big ouch.

    I assisted with a section of roof repair and new gutters on a friend’s then 60 year old two-story house many years ago. It always seems to take 10-20% more materials than expected on these old houses, because once you start ripping out the old stuff, you find way more is rotted or in poor condition. I didn’t mind the roofing work once I was up on the roof, wasn’t fond of the transition from roof to ladder to descend, but I *hated* hammering the gutters in place while standing at the top of a two-story extension ladder. Every hammer strike caused the ladder to undulate and flex. Very unnerving. And yes, I had a spotter holding the base of the ladder.

    Sounds like your roof is more manageable than that.

    Don’t sell yourself short… Sandy also appreciates that you know how to operate a can opener.

    In the good news dept, Sen. Al Franken was sworn in today. He’s going to do his damndest to be boring and dour so people take him seriously, at least for the first year or two.

  198. Feminista says:

    (Wanders in,looks around carefully,drops off bag o’bagels with containers of cream cheese,tofutti,& salsa,and a gallon of horchata.** Sneaks out,whispering “there’s no place like home…”)

    **a very refreshing Latin@ rice beverage

  199. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Feminista (#198)

    Thanks. I’ll contribute some nova (lox) from Zabar’s, but unfortunately it will be the machine-cut prepackaged stuff, I can’t afford the hand-cut stuff from the smoked fish counter.

    @Kate L (#195)

    Yup, Yvonne de Carlo and Fred Gwynne. Extra points if you know the address for the Addams Family mansion (I had to look it up).

  200. hairball_of_hope says:

    Every day brings another disappointment with the Obama regime…

    Quoting from the article:

    The Obama administration said Tuesday it may continue to imprison non-U.S. citizens indefinitely even if they have been acquitted of terrorism charges by a U.S. military commission.

    Jeh Johnson, the Defense Department’s chief lawyer, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that releasing a detainee who has been tried and found not guilty was a policy decision officials would make based on their estimate of whether the prisoner posed a future threat. The Bush administration took the same position, but its legality was never tested.

    Excuse me? They’re innocent but you’re going to imprison them anyway?

    (… goes back to singing … “meet the new boss, same as the old boss… won’t get fooled again…”

  201. Ian says:

    Speaking of Dorothy, a right-wing opinion columnist in Britain at the weekend used the phrase “provisional wing of the Friends of Dorothy” when talking about London Pride. I was rather taken with this phrase. I think he may have inspired a new name for radical gays! I’m going to get it made up into a badge anyway (what you call a button).

  202. Ready2Agitate says:

    I’ll bring the frittata I just made with local eggs & rainbow kale. (yes, that’s serious.)

    And can someone go over to Kate L’s house and make sure she’s not tooling around on the roof again? It gives me & Sandy mild heart palpitations…. 😉

  203. Ready2Agitate says:

    Ian, my NY friends have moved on from saying “Friends of Dorothy” to “Friends of Chelsea” (referencing the gay Chelsea neighb of NY).

  204. Ian says:

    @R2A #203: Well, Chelsea may be more relevant but I’m old-fasiioned. It may be a cliché but I just lurve Judy!

  205. Ian says:

    Ahem. Old-fashioned that should say. In my defence, it’s 8 am here and ever since I gave up smoking I’m a little slower to wake up in the mornings.

  206. Dr. Empirical says:

    I was very proud when my girlfriend was promoted to my job title and pay grade, but everyone I told, including my mom, was concerned that I’d find the situation somehow threatening or demeaning. Why would it bother me? She’s AT LEAST as smart as me, and she works harder! I found the attitude surprising, but even more surprising was how widspread it was.

  207. Kat says:

    Dr. E. Several of my coworkers acted completely surprised when they found out that Boyfriend and I keep our finances completely separate, and that he doesn’t support me or pay for any of my expenses….
    When I explained that modest as my preschool-assistant salary is, it’s actually a little higher than his grad-student stipend, they were pretty shocked.

    Granted, these two women are from very traditionalist cultures in Africa, but still. Can we get rid of this idea that a y-chromosome holder should be the bigger earner in a relationship??

  208. Kate L says:

    Ready2Agitate (#202)

    So, I made your heart rate faster? 🙂

  209. Feminista says:

    Hi everyone. I just penned three pithy paragraphs which pertained to above postings,when I accidentally hit the wrong key and *poof**,my precious prose was gone. Anyway,I was giving examples of how some family members have changed,and how some have not,re: pay scales,bank accounts,etc. All within the greater societal context,of course.

    Kat,knowing what I do about wage scales,I’d say BOTH of you deserve raises. To quote Marge Piercy in her landmark 1973 novel Small Changes,”he had a graduate fellowship that a family of gerbils would starve on.” Let’s hear it for unionizing grad.assts./teaching fellows and sisters/child care workers/pre-school teachers!

    Historical note: among the first to unionize grad.teaching folks were the Universities of MI,WI,OR and CA(Berkeley),all back in the 70s. A housemate was active in the organizing effort at the Univ.of OR.

    **Willing to accept back rubs as compensation; it’s been a long day.

  210. Dr. Empirical says:

    I actually did pretty well for myself in grad school. At least, until Ronald Reagan suddenly decided that my fellowship grants were taxable income.

  211. Ready2Agitate says:


  212. Kat says:

    yeah, Boyfriend is at Berkeley. He’s a grad student researcher, and while they’re not unionized, I don’t think, the grad student instructors are. The GSRs get the benefits of the whatever agreements the union comes up with.

    My “raise” for the coming year is health insurance! Finally….I mean, ideally, I would have liked insurance AND more money, but whatever….Considering that the school is having to close a classroom for financial reasons, I’m super happy about a full year contract and insurance.

  213. Kate L says:

    Dr. Empirical (#210)
    I feel your pain. When I was a post-doctoral fellow with the Naval Research Laboratory, my income was taxed as well. Also, the outfit that the Navy had doing the books for the fellowship program (and whose “employees” we were for IRS purposes) could not be bothered to do withholding, so every quarter I had to figure my withholding and send in a chunk of change to the IRS (Internal Revenue Service – our federal tax people), and to the state of Mississippi.

    Kat (#212)
    Congrats on the health insurance. I lose mine in late August when I go back to teaching “only” 440 students in one class that is held in a classroom the size of a small movie theater. You see, internationalistas in this group, in Merika access to health care is a priveledge, not a right. Having a handgun is a right.

  214. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L (#213)

    Are you eligible for COBRA health insurance? It would mean you pay 102% of the group cost (the extra 2% is administrative fee), but at least you won’t get excluded because of pre-existing conditions, you’d get the group coverage rate, and Obama extended COBRA to 24 months from the prior 18.

    There’s also some government subsidization of COBRA as part of stimulus package (a small bone thrown to normal people while they shoveled piles of money to big financial firms), not sure if you have to be completely unemployed for that to kick in.

    Must be a pretty strong Kansas attraction (beyond your personal Fun Home residence) to keep you there.

    Also, while Ronnie Raygun enacted taxation of fellowship grants, employer tuition reimbursement benefits, Social Security benefits, and unemployment benefits, note that all those nifty perks given to boondoggling CEOs like Jack Welch are NOT taxed (even though technically they are supposed to be taxed at fair market value). After Welch’s nasty divorce where his perk package was made public, Bush IRS did *NOT* investigate him for the taxation on these benefits.

  215. Kat says:

    yeesh… least Berkeley does all the standard withholding, so Bf doesn’t have to cough it up…

    440 students in a huge lecture hall? Um, yeah, that’s partially why I left “regular” university for a music conservatory! There weren’t even 400 students in the whole school!
    I can’t imagine what it’s like to teach in an environment like that.

    Do you have to do your own grading, or do grad students do that?

  216. hairball_of_hope says:

    Here’s a typical example of corporate largesse at its worst…

    Rick Wagoner, the ousted CEO of General Motors, is still on the payroll four months after being fired. He is still receiving a nominal salary of $1 a year (which he agreed to under duress while getting the US govt to bail out GM). But more importantly, he is still receiving all the benefits that he received as CEO (and you know that included much more that health and life insurance). He is negotiating an exit package with a pension that is worth about $20 million.

    Excuse me while I barf.

  217. hairball_of_hope says:

    In gender-neutral marriage news, the state of Massachusetts is suing the Federal government over DOMA.

    Quoting from the article:

    In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court here, Massachusetts — which legalized gay marriage in 2004 — said that in enacting DOMA, Congress “overstepped its authority, undermined states’ efforts to recognize marriages between same-sex couples, and codified an animus toward gay and lesbian people.”

    The Department of Justice declined to comment pending a review of the case, but a spokesman for the agency noted that President Barack Obama supports the legislative repeal of DOMA.

    “… codified an animus toward gay and lesbian people.” Now *there’s* an understatement.

    Don’t hold your breath waiting for Obama to do anything progressive on this, unless self-asphyxiation is your cup of tea.

  218. Kate L says:

    (Kat #215)
    The only help I get are several student proctors when I give the class a scantron exam. Everything else is me. Btw, a tenured prof at this university recently announced that “all part-time faculty” get benefits like health insurance. Technically, that’s true. IF the word “faculty” appears in the person’s job title. And if the person is 50% or more Full-Time Equivalent (I’ll be 30% with the 440-student class; last Spring I was 50% FTE with two classes of 100 students each). I still get health insurance this summer with a small class of 37 students. And, I had to fight to get the word “faculty” included in my title. The person who was departmental chair at the time originally wasn’t going to do it. She even told me, “People in your position usually depend on a spouse for health insurance”.

    Hairball, get me out of here!

  219. Kat says:

    did you respond: “People in my position often want to punch your lights out!”????

  220. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L (#218)

    Wiseass that I am, I would have said to the dept chair, “So when are we going to get married so you can put me on your health insurance?”

    I just love how petty functionaries withhold/dole out little crumbs of compensation just because they can. It’s not like the health insurance is taking much of a bite (if at all) out of the dept budget.

    I’m surprised you didn’t perform exploratory surgery on her with a #2 pencil.

  221. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kat (#219)

    I’m with you on that. I’m much more pugilist than pacifist. Kate, on the other hand, is one of those pacifist nonviolence types. Not to be confused with doormat, but I think that’s how it’s playing out here.

    Like I said, whatever the pull of that Midwest ancestral home, it’s a strong one. Said she who struggles in an overpriced East coast city. :(.

  222. Dr. Empirical says:

    Lack of witholding was a big problem, especialy the first year after Ronnie’s new rules were in place. I got a note saying “You know all that money you already spent of books and food and stuff? Well, Ronnie says it belongs to him now, so fork it over or go to jail.”

    I’m paraphrasing, of course.

  223. Kat says:

    I’m not clearly not cut out for pacifism….

  224. Feminista says:

    On the subject of bureaucracy: I have a part-time summer job working with unemployed people which helps them get their GEDs. Great students,great co-workers,I love the work. But: a boss who talks little and explains less. After providing the required driver’s license and social security card info along with W4 forms and other assorted paperwork,she then said I had to provide a passport as she didn’t think my birth certificate,complete with 1950s seal of authenticity,was adequate. So I dutifully brought in my passport; she was gone,so her assistant examined said document,made a xerox,and declared I was all set.

    Unfortunately,Kate L’s situation is not unique to Kansas. We’re **all** doing the best we can,and I’m glad we have this virtual sounding board,for support,advice,cutting-edge info,and laughs.

    Today I got an email saying if I didn’t provide the passport to her IN PERSON,that I would be laid off! This,she explained,was not her rule,but a federal requirement,and this had to do with the fiscal year budgets. (Right,I thought to myself,Obama’s gonna call her up and admonish her failing to be particularly picky with passports.)

    HoH and others,much as I wanted to do a Marx Bros. and/or Dolores Huerta imitation,I know when to pick my battles. I said I’d come by tomorrow (a non-teaching day,requiring a 2 hour round trip)to give her the passport. I may bring my daughter and grandchildren with me for moral support,since they live near by. (How could she scowl at these beautiful children?) In any event,I can squeeze in a family visit.

    I should mention that the dean,JC,is Black,holds the MSW,grew up in Texas,is willing to pitch in and do some clerical work when needed,and keeps her own schedule. She was direct and down-to-earth when giving an orientation to our first group of summer students/clients. In other words,she’s not a faceless,colorless bureaucrat.

    However,it was easier getting to and from Cuba via Mexico in 2001 under Bush II than this whole
    enchilada has been. I have never met an administrator who was so,um,rigid about regulations. And did I mention that our paychecks were due July 1 but most haven’t rec’d them yet?
    Fortunately,I still have some $ left from my final paycheck from my Sept.-June job. Still,I had to get $ transferred from savings.

    As stated before,my state’s #2 in unemployment,and I need and like this job,however overqualified I may be. I know they’re lucky they are to have a mature,experienced,Spanish-speaking teacher,and plan on getting an excellent reference for all my competent,on-the-ball work.

    I carefully made note of the on-campus union office which serves part-time instructors and tutors.

    And whenever I think I or we have it bad,I think about what my future son-in-law and his Mexican immigrant family,discussed previously,have been and are still going through. And don’t get me started about El Salvador before the recent election; two union organizers were killed two weeks before our delegation arrived,and we were told never to go anywhere alone,due to the high level of violence.

  225. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Feminista (#224)

    Administrative types rarely have a sense of humor. Groucho had a bit of a run-in with US Customs; in a Groucho biography I saw a photo of the ‘Re-entry to US’ form he filled out (don’t remember the form number).

    He answered the information blocks as follows:

    Occupation: Smuggler
    Born: Yes
    Hair: Not much

    Customs folks didn’t find this particularly funny, and they detained him for a few hours to teach him a lesson.

    (… exits singing … “Whatever it is, I’m against it, and ever since they first commenced it, I’m against it” …)

  226. hairball_of_hope says:

    Now that the Michael Jackson hagiography-fest has subsided, perhaps CNN et alia can start reporting real news. Such as this bit of interesting scandal about Nevada Sen. Ensign (Remember him? He’s the one who schtupped his chief of staff’s wife).

    Quoting from the article:

    The parents of Sen. John Ensign paid $96,000 to the family of the Nevada Republican’s former mistress, the lawmaker’s attorney said Thursday.


    Thursday’s disclosure came after Mr. Hampton offered an exclusive interview to a Las Vegas Sun columnist in which he alleged that Mr. Ensign had paid his wife $25,000 in severance.

  227. anna says:

    The blog border seems brighter now. It is giving me eye strain:(

  228. hairball_of_hope says:

    Reading the Washington Post story about Ensign’s parents’ payoff to the Hamptons had this tidbit in it:

    Ensign’s father, Michael, is a former casino executive who earned more than $130 million in stock sales and stock options while engineering the sale of the Mandalay Resort Group, which he headed, to MGM Mirage. Michael Ensign has more recently sought to get back into the gambling business by teaming up with a Topeka, Kan., development company to bid on operating a casino in south central Kansas, according to news reports.

    Wouldn’t it be poetic justice if somehow the Phelps clan were involved in this Kansas casino deal? It’s possible. After all, nearly all of the Phelps’ are attorneys (and Fred Phelps Sr. is a *disbarred* attorney who is also banned from Federal Court practice).

  229. Feminista says:

    Ms.h_o_h #228: Probably Customs knew who he was and detained him so they could get some free entertainment!

    @Everybody: now that we have food and refreshments,all gather ’round for a marathon session of Marx Bros. Silver Edition DVDs.Courtesy of the public library,where the librarians are super helpful and can take (and give)a joke.

    (Suggested dress: “Sure,I’m a Marxist”,a red and black t-shirt which pictures Karl M. and his younger bros.Groucho,Harpo,Chico…Or whatever subversive ideas you can come up with.)

  230. Feminista says:

    That should read #225. Do you type in your sleep? 🙂

  231. Kate L says:

    hairball (#221)
    I used to think that Thomas Wolfe was making a pronouncement against the advisability of time travel when he said, “You can’t go home again”. I thought he was warning against the dangers of temporal paradoxes if went back to earlier periods in your own life. But it turns out that he was trying to send me a warning against moving back to my old home town more than half a century after he wrote his book. Which means… Thomas Wolfe must have practiced time travel himself! All I can say is, buying the old homestead and moving back here seemed like a good idea at the time.

  232. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate (#231)

    The Cartalk guys, Tom and Ray Magliozzi, have some recurring story and letter themes on the show. Two of them are ‘Famous Last Words,’ which no matter how the fatal story plays out, always start with “Hey! Watch this!” and another less fatal version which usually includes the phrase, “It seemed like a good idea at the time.”

    Now if we can just keep you off the roof (fiddle or not), the story won’t turn into the “Hey! Watch this!” variety.

  233. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Feminista (#230)

    Having not found a word which means “one who types while asleep,” I’ll have to invent one.

    Ok word mavens, could I describe myself as a tocasomnatist? Does that work for you? Latin roots for ‘touch’ and ‘sleep’ in there, with a nod to the Italian musical term ‘toccata,’ which is a piece designed to show off the performer’s keyboard skills.

  234. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Feminista (#229)

    I had one of those Marx/Lennon (Groucho/John) posters on my wall as a kid. But for this event, I think basic black will be fine. Look for me in the black T-shirt.

  235. Acilius says:

    @Kate L: Let me say that I’m always impressed, and heartened, by how thoroughly peaceful you seem, even when the world is making war on you.

  236. Kate L says:

    Thanks, Acilius! 🙂 Whenever life gets me down, like the recent horrible events of violence in the news, I manage to find hope for the future in the kinder, gentler tone taken of late by the boys at RedStateUpdate:

  237. Acilius says:

    @Kate L: I think those guys are onto something! Maybe other media outlets that currently waste time on bitter political squabbling will follow their example and turn to showing video of animals. I for one would be glad if Fox News would finally live up to its name.

  238. Renee S. says:

    uh oh, I hope this is a parody, but sadly, it looks like the real thing..WTF?

  239. Zeugma says:

    @Feminista#229 and HOH#234: Up here in the frozen North we used to see T-shirts with the legend,”Je suis Marxiste – tendance Groucho”, accompanied by a picture of the Bros. Haven’t seen one in a while — probably directly related to the crumbling, not to say decay, of the organized Left in Canada.

  240. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Renee (#238)

    It’s real. and .net are both registered as follows:

    Domain Name: SARAHPAC.COM
    Whois Server:
    Referral URL:
    Status: clientTransferProhibited
    Updated Date: 02-jan-2009
    Creation Date: 02-jan-2009
    Expiration Date: 02-jan-2012

    Campaign Solutions
    c/o Network Solutions
    P.O. Box 447
    Herndon, VA. 20172-0447

    Domain Name: SARAHPAC.COM

    Administrative Contact, Technical Contact:
    Campaign Solutions
    c/o Network Solutions
    P.O. Box 447
    Herndon, VA 20172-0447

    Quoting from the following, which was posted 1/27/09:

    The domain name “” was registered on January 2 to Campaign Solutions, a Web consulting firm in northern Virginia with longstanding ties to John McCain, which processed online donations for the McCain campaign and the Republican National Committee in 2008. The URL is set to expire in 2012, according to online records.

    UPDATE: According to a copy the FEC filing, SarahPac’s statement of organization was filed by Virginia political consultant Timothy Crawford, who is listed on the paperwork as the group’s treasurer. Reached by phone, Crawford told CNN he plans to sit down in the coming weeks with Palin to discuss her plans for the committee.

  241. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Renee (#238)

    Ooops, my post is in blog purgatory, I pasted the WHOIS record into my reply and totally blitzed that this would trigger the greater than one URL content filter.

    Eventually Mentor will release it from blog limbo, but yes, this is real. The .com and .net sarahpac domains were registered in early January 2009 by Campaign Solutions, a GOP-ish political consultancy.

  242. Renee S. says:

    @HOH 240
    Thanks! hmmm, since January, verrrry interestink, indeed.

  243. Renee S. says:

    @ HOH 233
    how about narcoleptypist?

  244. hoppyland says:

    this is to hairball about a comment on AZ’s lovable Sheriff Joe’s Tent City. Only sentenced prisoners are in this cheerful hell hole. Everyone is issued pink underwear and the zebra stripes, unsentenced or sentenced. Unsentenced people are sent to the freezers Estella or Durango and all equally wear stripes…Zebra lost in Austria…

  245. anon et al says:

    to Kate L. (#236)

    I awoke feeling miserable and depressed; jus’ another day in the neighborhood. Blase horror set in w/ the SarahPac link, but that’s to be expected.

    But goat on a trampoline? Who knew? First smile of the day and I haven’t even finished my tea. Thank you! Hope is restored!

  246. Kat says:

    a propos of nothing….
    I just got back from a “robot fair” at UC Berkeley. grad students from all over the place were doing demos of research involving robotics.

    Scariest thing I’ve ever seen? The Cyborg Beetle. A real, huge, live beetle with some kind of electronics in its brain, and a microchip backpack. It can be made to walk or fly in certain directions……it was seriously crazy and scary.

    Incidentally, guess how many female students were presenting (or were part of teams that presented)?? Yep. ONE.

  247. Ready2Agitate says:

    saw ani difranco tonight. she is still an amazing guitarist and major talent. but she seemed a little distracted, pining to be back in the motel room with her baby & hubby. Still, it was terrific to see her. The crowd, of course, was full of D’sTWOF – and many double generations (co-moms w/young adult daughters). Much respect.

  248. Kat says:

    aww R2A, I’m jealous!
    There’s something about Ani’s voice that I’ve always found kind of odd, but her songs and her guitar playing are amazing.

  249. hairball_of_hope says:

    In Axis of Weevil news, comes word that Darth Vader, oh, I mean Dick Cheney, directed the CIA not to inform the Congressional committees charged with intelligence oversight about the “mystery” program that CIA director Panetta cancelled, and then revealed to House and Senate Intelligence committees in an emergency meeting.

    Quoting from the article:

    The disclosure about Mr. Cheney’s role in the unidentified C.I.A. program comes a day after an inspector general’s report underscored the central role of the former vice president’s office in restricting to a small circle of officials knowledge of the National Security Agency’s program of eavesdropping without warrants, a degree of secrecy that the report concluded had hurt the effectiveness of the counterterrorism surveillance effort.


    Representative Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, the top Republican on the House intelligence committee, said last week that he believed Congress would have approved of the program only in the angry and panicky days after 9/11, on 9/12, he said, but not later, after fears and tempers had begun to cool.


    A report released on Friday by the inspectors general of five agencies about the National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance program makes clear that Mr. Cheney’s legal adviser, David S. Addington, had to approve personally every government official who was told about the program. The report said “the exceptionally compartmented nature of the program” frustrated F.B.I. agents who were assigned to follow up on tips it had turned up.


    “There’s been a history of difficulty in getting the C.I.A. to tell us what they should,” said Representative Adam Smith, a Democrat of Washington. “We will absolutely be held accountable for anything the agency does.”

    Mr. Hoekstra, the intelligence committee’s ranking Republican, said he would not judge the agency harshly in the case of the unidentified program, because it was not fully operational. But he said that in general, the agency had not been as forthcoming as the law required.

    “We have to pull the information out of them to get what we need,” Mr. Hoekstra said.

  250. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kat (#246)

    For those who don’t follow Doonesbury (and perhaps for those who do), Alex Doonesbury is a female engineering undergrad at MIT. Garry Trudeau ran a series of strips last year where Alex was working on her robotics project. She was doing really well in the robotics contest until her robot was disqualified for trash-talking. Alas, the strips are no longer online in the Doonesbury archive, too old.

    I keep hoping that when (not IF!) AB resumes DTWOF, Stella will develop into a geek girl. Maybe she ends up with Samia as an advisor for her Intel science project. Maybe she pursues some other math/science/engineering interest. It would be so nice to see a brainy girl in the panels.

  251. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kat (#246)

    I finally found the Doonesbury strips with Alex and the robotics contest on an MIT website, they were from 2007, not 2008. Must be my advanced age, I’m losing years.

  252. hairball_of_hope says:

    In 51% news, Lithuania has just sworn in its first female president:

  253. Kate L says:

    hairball (#249),

    For our younger group members, I just wanted to say that news coverage of the Did Dick Cheney Authorize Secret (REDACTED) Teams scandal reminds me a lot of the early news coverage of the Watergate break-in in 1972. I remember that the break-in and arrests were reported on the CBS Evening News the following night, and that those arrested were identified as having ties to the Republican party. Many in politics thought the story would end there, but they were wrong. Over the next few years, it grew into what history now records as one of the biggest stories of the 20th century. Remembering that, I think the current story could turn out to be at least as important. Stay tuned.

  254. Kat says:

    Thanks Hairball!

    Could we please not call Dick Cheney Darth Vader? It’s not fair to the poor Sith lord…..besides, Dick could never rock that cape, and I bet his light saber skills are lacking.

    (oops, my geek is showing!)

  255. Kat says:

    Heh….that was a funny strip.

    These robotics projects weren’t about setting your robot against someone else’s but rather devices that work with each other autonomously or remotely. There were mini quad-rotor helicopters, a bouncing “weeble wobble” heli, some moving, 4-6 legged things (that could be dropped off a 6 story roof and move around upon landing), and, of course, the cyborg beetle.
    Which was sooooo creepy I can’t even wrap my head around it.

    And, of course, Boyfriend’s floating water sensors, which are not at all robotic (yet), but had the benefit of being the only demonstration that has been actually, really tested. And the only ones that don’t have scary military uses in their future….

  256. Ian says:

    Cheney actually reminds me more of Grand Moff Tarkin … 😉

  257. Feminista says:

    #250 & 251: I’ve enjoyed Doonesbury since the days when Joanie Caucus left her husband and child,joined a commune with a group of Boomer college students 20 years her junior,and worked at a day care center.

    It’s also been interesting to see the next generation’s development. Alex is the birth daughter of Mike Doonesbury and stepdaughter of Kiim,who entered the strip as one of the Vietnamese orphans airlifted to the U.S. ca.1976. A Caucasian family adopted her,and early strips showed her learning English by imitating commercial jingles. Fast forward about 28 years,and she’s a co-worker of Mike D. in a large computer co.based on Microsoft,where old friend Bernie works.Romance blossoms,M & K marry,and start their own computer co.

    Mike D.,by the way,is based on a Boomer of the Pillsbury family in Minneapolis. Rick Redfern,ace investigative journalist,is based on Woodward and Bernstein. Uncle Duke,all-around mercenary,substance abuser and scoundrel,is based on the late Hunter Thompson.

    Joanie Caucus,after graduating from law school,marries Rick Redfern; their son Jeff attends Walden Univ. and does gigs for **gasp**the CIA. Joan Jr.(JJ),Joanie’s daughter from her first marriage,was married briefly to Mike,and is Alex’s birthmother. A conceptual/performance artist,her second husband is lifelong slacker Zeke,former caretaker to Uncle Duke.

    Besides Joanie and Mike,other residents of the Walden area commune were Mark Slackmeyer,based loosely on SDS leader Mark Rudd; BD,football jock turned coach turned recovering war vet;and Zonker,who’s still stuck mentally in his 20s; he works as a nanny and at McFriendly’s. BD’s girlfriend and eventual wife,Barbara Ann “Boopsie” Boopstein,starts out as Josephine College-cheerleader,has minor Hollywood success,and eventually comes into her own when she takes over BD’s coaching position.

    OK,so that’s the dirt on the major characters from the last 30 years.

  258. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Feminista (#258)

    Pretty good synopsis of the Doonesbury characters.

    I’ll add the following: BD is based on Trudeau’s fellow Yalie Brian Dowling. BD was never seen without a helmet (football, California Highway Patrol, Army) for over three decades. He lost the helmet when he lost his leg below the knee in Iraq a few years ago. Trudeau has had an amazingly good series of strips showing BD and other Iraqi vets’ recoveries from war injuries, including Leo/Toggle’s recovery from traumatic brain injury.

    Joanie Caucus worked for GOP Representative Lacey Davenport, who was modeled after the real-life GOP Rep. Millicent Fenwick of New Jersey.

    Rick Redfern was terminated by the Washington Post and is now a blogger, to his everlasting embarrassment.

    There have been two gay characters in Doonesbury, Andy Lippincott (who died of AIDS in the early 1990s) and Mark Slackmeyer, who appears as an NPR radio host. I don’t ever recall seeing a lesbian in Doonesbury, not even in passing. And no transfolks at all.

    All this begs a question, especially considering we are discussing a fictional community of characters on a blog devoted to a different fictional community of characters… where are these communities of characters in real life? Or am I part of one, and I just don’t know it?

  259. hairball_of_hope says:

    Maggie mentioned the ongoing Michael Jackson hagiography in the Sarah Waters thread. Not wanting to fill that thread with additional non-tLS comments, I’m posting here.

    Two things come to mind. First, some Latin (Acilius, please correct me if I’ve got this wrong): de mortuis nil nisi bonum (of the dead, say nothing but good). Second, in death, as in life, Michael Jackson has been used and exploited for the profit of those around him and for an army of hangers-on.

    Where the hell were all these people while Jackson was alive? If all these folks were sooo appreciative of his talents and sooo horrified by the exploitation of him by his family, his entourage, by the media, why were they mostly silent while he was alive? Not one of these faux friends took the tabloids to task for their sensational “Wacko Jacko” coverage. None of them publicly supported him during various sensational court proceedings. But opportunists that they are, they all showed up to praise him in death. I doubt Al Sharpton ever met Michael Jackson, but there he was, bloviating at his memorial.

    The so-called straight news media (as opposed to tabloid media) were no better (although these days I find CNN to be more and more like the E! Network than straight news). Their inane wall-to-wall coverage of the days leading up to and including the Staples Center memorial was driven by pure capitalistic greed. Very inexpensive to cover as compared to real news, and guaranteed to produce eyeballs and ratings that advertisers crave. And of course, now the sensational coverage about custody of the kids. Doesn’t Anderson Cooper squirm just a little bit covering this story? After all, his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, was herself the subject of a sensational custody battle as a child that played out in the media.

    What’s being missed in all this Jackson coverage are the real news stories that have real effects on everyday lives. The passage of the Carbon Credit legislation in the House. The unfolding sagas of hypocritical personal behavior of right-wing politicians. The financial deals to bail out irresponsible corporate entities run by irresponsible corporate chieftains with our tax dollars, while ordinary shmoes pay taxes on their unemployment benefits and have no access to health insurance.

    Final thoughts… Michael Jackson was an immensely talented and immensely tortured individual. Neither the hagiographic halo being spun by the media, nor the sensational scandalous revelations also spun by the same media, give an accurate portrayal of the man. But if there’s a buck to be made by purveying either or both of those slants, you can be sure there will be a stampede of folks trying to cash in.

    The Bard said it best, “Good-night, sweet prince; And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”

  260. Kat says:

    I quickly scanned down the Stranger comments to find yours (to see what hairball was referencing)….That Pew study is interesting, but also a bit depressing.

    I think there was a recent case of some pretty egregious media misreporting, right? A doctoral candidate published some research that showed that promiscuous young men were more likely to sexually assault. How did the media (british, I think) report the finding? “Promiscuous young women get raped”….


    I think that climate findings have been pretty twisted and mixed up, too, haven’t they?

  261. Kat says:

    (and yes, I got all the quiz questions right :))

  262. Acilius says:

    I suppose you can be nostalgic for anything. I, for example, am nostalgic for the days when “boring as only Doonesbury can be” was one of the taglines on this site.

    @Kate L: I mentioned you on the blog I write for, thanking you for pointing me to the “Red State Update” video. Here’s the link:

    @h_o_h: MJ as Hamlet, a “sweet prince,” spent in a wild act of vengeance against the parent who ruined his early years? Perhaps. Though he seemed more like Caliban to me.

  263. hairball_of_hope says:

    In LGBT news (actually only LG, they made no mention of B or T), the American Episcopal Church has approved a statement supporting LG clergy.

    Quoting from the article:

    Bishops at the Episcopal General Convention in Anaheim, Calif., voted 99-45 Monday with two abstentions for a statement declaring “God has called and may call” to ministry gays in committed lifelong relationships.

    Lay and priest delegates to the meeting had comfortably approved a nearly identical statement, and were expected to adopt the latest version before the meeting ends Friday.

    I’m no expert in the weasel words used by religious conventions on various matters of faith, doctrine, and practice, but I wondered about the statement’s support of LG folks in committed relationships. Does that exclude LG folks who are single?

  264. hairball_of_hope says:

    In capitalist failure news, word comes that fired GM CEO Rick Wagoner will finally leave the payroll effective August 1. He departs with $8.2 million payable over five years, a $74,000 annual pension for life after that, a $2.6 million cash value insurance policy, and liability insurance for the next year.$8.2-million-retirement-package-from-GM

    What’s remarkable in this article is info about the corporate slugs left over to dispose of the “bad” assets of the old GM (now renamed Motors Liquidation Co.). Not just how much money they are making off this, but who these dodos are. Steve Case, former head of AOL, along with a VP of the old GM, a president of the old Chrysler, etc. Oh, and the firm that is handling the liquidation got a $13 million “success” fee for getting the Bankruptcy Court judge to approve the sale. As if there were any doubt about success with the Obama Administration orchestrating the bankruptcy.

    Quoting from the article:

    The old GM — now known as Motors Liquidation Co. — is headed by President and CEO Al Koch, who is vice chairman and managing director of restructuring firm AlixPartners. Koch is handling the sale and liquidation of the old company’s assets, such as the Pontiac, Hummer, Saab and Saturn brands.

    On the board, he is joined by James Selzer, who is vice president and treasurer of the old GM. Selzer also is a director in the corporate turnaround and restructuring practice of AlixPartners.

    Koch and Selzer will be paid $835 an hour and $555 an hour, respectively, filings show.

    Their affiliated firm, APServices LLC, is entitled to a $13 million “success fee” since U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Gerber approved the GM asset sale. The company also may be paid an undetermined fee by old GM, according to the regulatory filing. The financial terms of the fee are being discussed and are subject to approval by the bankruptcy court.

    On June 8, the old GM elected five new directors who will serve on the company’s board. They are Stephen Case, who founded AOL but is no longer associated with the company, former Chrysler Group President James Holden, and Alan Johnson, Alan M. Jacobs and Wendell Adair.

    The directors will be paid a $50,000 annual retainer, plus $3,000 per meeting.

    I’m in the wrong line of work. :(.

  265. Ian says:

    @hoh #260: Thanks for that quote from Hamlet; I now know exactly that it’s what I want for the epitaph on my gravestone.

    Morbid, yes, but you know when you just *know* you’ve found the right words to express something?

  266. Feminista says:

    #260 h_o_h Re: the “ordinary Shmoes” who are taxed on their unemployment insurance and have no health insurance.

    **Ref.** my post #224.Yes,that’s the folks I’m working with in my part-time job helping folks from the WorkSource Program pass their GED exams so they can move into job training programs. Our deanis getting worse,to the point that she’s harassing me. Yup,sent the pres.of the part-time teachers and faculty union,and have documented everything. Reading between the lines,although we average 20 students/day,with new ones entering our program every Mon.,the budget’s in trouble. Ever heard of last hired,first fired?

    I’m very stressed out,being threatened with losing the job I just started on 6/22. No matter that I’ve been consistently punctual,do the work of the equiv.of 2 persons,and have the most teaching experience. And I know how to behave appropriately and,as they say,professionally. Left two msgs.for my wonderful mental health workers.

    So please,no wisecracking about WorkSource (they’re doing a decent job,at least in this county,with insufficient resources)or scolding/chiding.

    On the good news front: My future son-in-law SD,also mentioned in #224,was screamed at and verbally abused by his boss about a month ago. SD stood up to this arrogant bully and told him “nobody talks to me like that.” Boss backed down,boss’ son apologized,and SD is still working there. Six days a week,lots of overtime in the summer,but he needs the $ and until he gets his papers,has few other options.

    I’m starting a legal defense fund for SD to raise at least part of the $5000 he needs for the immigration attorney,INS fees & redtape,etc.etc. ad nauseum.

  267. Ready2Agitate says:

    Hang in there, Feminista – and give us a report soon! 🙁

  268. Ready2Agitate says:

    We interrupt this msg~

    “White Man’s Last Stand” – Maureen Dowd on Judge Sotomayor’s confirmation hearings:


  269. hairball_of_hope says:

    @R2A (#269)

    Segueing from Dowd’s op-ed piece in which she mentions Sarah Palin, to an op-ed piece on Palin and her culture of victimhood:

  270. Acilius says:

    Thanks for the link, h_o_h! I wonder about one thing. The Journal identifies Thomas Frank as the man who founded The Baffler and “continues to edit it to this day.” If that’s true, he’s been editing issue #18 for over two years now. I’ll start checking my mailbox for it…

  271. Feminista says:

    #268 Ready: The union pres.just called me,and yes,others have had probs with the dean as well(hiring folks outside the bargaining unit in order to save $). So I’m emailing her documentation,and we’ll take it from there.

  272. Ready2Agitate says:

    F’nista: so I’m guessing it’s not in your contract that new openings first must be advertised inside the school/company/organization before opening to the public… In that case, documentation and negotiating perhaps within the purview of the NLRB….

  273. Ready2Agitate says:

    (oops, not purview – I’m tired – I meant within the context of the NLRB….)

  274. Feminista says:

    @Ready #273: Perhaps we can continue this offline.
    My email address is posted under my name on the Reply site.


  275. Kate L says:

    Feminista (#272)

    You’re my hero! 🙂

  276. Ready2Agitate says:

    OK, another mention of the “Reply site” — I’m clueless; someone clue me in!

    Meantime Feminista, I’m not boned up on my labor skills, but first I’d want to know if you’re covered by your bargaining unit; and if you’ve got a copy of your contract; and if Dean is violating the contract by hiring non-bargaining unit staff; in which case there may be cause to file a complaint with the National Labor Review Board — but that would be strategy determined by your steward/s. Let’s talk. You can email me at ready2agitate at the Google mail thingie. xo, r2a

  277. Acilius says:

    @R2A: ““Reply site” — I’m clueless” I was wondering about that, too. Thanks for asking.

  278. AEB says:

    258 & 259 HoH and Feminista, I’m excited to see that you’re as serious Doonesbury nerds as I am–I’m a mostly-lurking admirer of your clear thinking and writing. Anyway, here’s an addition: I think the character Nicole from way back in the earliest strips might have been implied to be a lesbian (though she may just have been a radical feminist pejoratively thought to be lesbian by homophobic characters). No others that I can recall. I’ll be digging out my old Doonesbury books tonight…

    Good luck with your work situation, Feminista, and with the job hunt, HoH.

  279. Feminista says:

    Ready,Kate L,AEB,h_o_h et al:

    Gracias for your support. This AM I spent over an hour composing and then sending an email summarizing the sitch to the union pres.

    I’m too tired to explain more,but it looks likely that I’ll be laid off on Mon. I got an email at 4:30 PM today from my direct supervisor,C,asking me to fill out a July time sheet. As we only fill them out at the end of the month,I immediately read between the lines. The dean has already put me through the wringer,and it appears she’s ready to deliver the final blow. Her reasoning: I didn’t “follow directions” re: documentation. That is not

    It appears I’m being getting the last hired,first fired treatment; the official reason will most likely be budget cutbacks. Ref: above the IOU issue in CA and elsewhere.

    The thing is,until I asked about it,we didn’t even **have**time sheets or sign-in sheets. I’ve had enough experience to know how offices should operate: not like this,with orders issues today which contradict the one given yesterday. And years ago I learned to document everything.

    OK,here’s my email addy to anyone who wants to continue the discussion: nbeckpdxatyahoodotcom.

    @Ready,what is the “Google mail thingie”?

  280. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Feminista (#280)

    That sucks bigtime. Hang in there. The Google mail thingy that R2A is referring to is gmail[dot]com. Reading between the lines is a useful survival skill, but it’s always a rude awakening when you realize the bullseye target is the person in the mirror. I wish Obama would do something along the lines of the 1970s CETA grants. So many progressive orgs funded staffers with CETA that it’s unlikely the reactionary forces wielding the political puppet strings would ever let such a bill see the light of day in Congress.

    @AEB (#279)

    Nicole was one of those early characters in the Walden commune days. My gaydar never registered anything in the smoky haze of the early Doonesbury strips, I was surprised when Andy came out to Joanie in the mid 1970s.

    De-clique-ification note to young ‘uns and non-USAnians: CETA (Comprehensive Employment and Training Act) was a 1973 law that provided grants to non-profits and local governments to train and employ low-income folks, the unemployed, and students, for up to two years. Just about every progressive group and publication had CETA funding for staff. (Weren’t we all low-income and/or students and/or unemployed in those days? Sure seems like it).

  281. Ted says:

    Just an addition to the Doonesbury posts. You forgot about Chase Talbott III, Mark Slackmeyer’s uber conservative S.O. He’s most often seen talking to Mark on PBS. A real Log Cabin gay.

  282. Ian says:

    I think Chase and Mark have split – before last year’s election definitely. I get Doonesbury daily through Yahoo. I hope the author gets some money from the ‘net syndication!

  283. Acilius says:

    Continuing discussions: I doubt it’s such a great idea to exchange email addresses on public sites, even as far down as this in a comment thread.

    There are safer ways. I’ve noticed that music sites tend to be pretty good about setting up the virtual equivalent of after-hours clubs. It doesn’t really take much time or effort to set up a site through a service like WordPress or Blogger, you don’t have to give your real name, and it’s free. So, a commenter might suggest “Let’s continue this discussion at my site.” You click on the commenter’s name, and you come to a site that’s reserved for the discussion. The moderator can even set it up to be private, so that only the commenters s/he authorizes can read what’s there. Even if the site is viewable by the public, you don’t have to let it upgrade to search engines. So it can be Google-proof.

  284. Feminista says:

    @Acilius #284: I understand your point,and am security-conscious as well; however,my situation is one needing immediate attn. for further strategic workers’rights discussion.

    @Ian #283: Yes,Mark and Chase broke up; I think Trudeau con’t their relationship as long as he did to highlight Log Cabin Repubs’ ideas.

    Re: Doonesbury in general: Many papers moved the daily comic to the op-ed page as they thought its political content was “too controversial” for a comics section;some southern papers summarily stopped it. In the case of our local rag The Oregonian,so many readers protested the move that soon it was returned to the comics page,where it remains.

    Similarly, about 7 years ago a very political syndicated comic called I believe Boondoggle, featuring a young Black character making astute observations,”disappeared” from many papers.

  285. Acilius says:

    The strip was “Boondocks.” Cartoonist Aaron McGruder took a sabbatical several years ago, and that cost him many papers. On the other hand, he does have an animated series on cable now, so I guess he’s doing okay.

  286. Uncle Walter has died, at age 92.

    The first Sunday after 9/11, I attended my local (Austin, TX) Friends Meeting as I usually did, but with a particular need to hear from others who were not responding to the event with rage and revenge in mind. There were so many people there that day, it was standing room only for the late-comers. That was when I realized that two of the regulars, Robin Rather and Kate Cronkite, were the children of Walter and Dan — after they stood in meeting and talked about what their fathers had said to them on the phone earlier that week.

    I remember watching Cronkite with my parents after Kennedy was assassinated and my mother turning to my father, saying with disbelief, “My god, he’s crying.” That’s when it hit me how terrible an event had occurred. I was eight then.

    I also remember watching him report on the Vietnam war, a year or three later, and his making the comment “We must continue on because we have never lost a war.” I was lying on the linoleum floor. I turned to Mama in confusion and said “What’s he talking about?” She understood instantly and said “He’s talking about America, not us.” Us being the South.

  287. Feminista says:

    #286 Acilius: Ah yes,Boondocks. As we*gasp* age,our brains sometimes take longer to access all the vast quantities of stored information,both profound and pedestrian. **Makes note to update brain’s internal system;may need “Windoze for Boomers”:)

    I first heard of Boondocks in The Nation,and was glad when it got,however limited,national syndication. I enjoyed sophisticated political analysis coming through the voice of a young Black male.

    Another strip I miss is Nicole Hollander’s Sylvia,though it’s still published in some papers.

    RIP Uncle Walter.Yes,I remember watching him with my family during dinner time in the 60s–recall most strongly coverage of civil rights demos,deaths of JFK,MLK,& RFK and the Viet Nam(or American,depending on your perspective)war. The latter was the first war to be broadcast on TV. Hmm,just read the syndicated news report on him; I thought of him as more of a moderate than a liberal.Didn’t know he moved to TX years ago.

    Thanks for telling us about Robin and Kate,Maggie.
    How wonderful that they are members of your Friends Meeting.

    And that’s the way it is,Friday,July 17,2009. This is (the spririt of) Walter Cronkite,saying goodnight for NBC.

  288. Feminista says:

    **Aaak,that should be CBS. That’s what you get from someone who peruses PBS,IndyMedia,Democracy Now!

    It was Huntley and Brinkley who said “goodnight for NBC.”

  289. Kate L says:

    (Feminista, #288) Walter Cronkite at NBC? Feminista! Moments like this make me remember Anthony Quinn’s line from the movie Lawrence of Arabia (paraphrasing, “So, she is NOT perfect!”). (Feminista, #289)Yes, Cronkite was at CBS, indeed. For the first half of the 1960’s. the CBS affiliate in Topeka was the ONLY television we could receive here in (Hooterville). By 1969, though, we had cable television (small towns in the U.S. got cable years before anyone else, just to pull in a signal). I can remember where I was 40 years ago on the afternoon (in the mainland U.S.) of Sunday, July 20th, 1969. I had been following the progress of the Apollo 11 flight, and was all set to watch Walter Cronkite describe the landing when the tv station in Topeka went off the air! I had to turn to the Topeka NBC station to know what was going on. I felt like a traitor! I kept switching back to the CBS station just in case Cronkite was back on the air. Moments before the actual landing, Walter Cronkite and CBS were back in business, and I was able to watc the rest of the landing in peace. Which is ironic, because I now know that it was in the last two minutes of the descent that the guidance computer on the lunar module became overloaded, and Neil Armstrong had to take manual control and land long to avoid a small crater full of boulders.

  290. Kate L says:

    The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) is currently photographing the Apollo landing sites from lunar orbit, and has returned an image of the descent stage of the Apollo 11 lunar module Eagle, still on the surface after all these years. It has also photographed the later Apollo 14 landing site, showing not only the descent stage of the lunar module Antares, but a set of scientific instruments the astronauts set up some distance from the lunar module, and a trail of disturbed lunar soil (regolith) between the two. Later Apollo missions involved several moonwalks instead of Apollo 11’s one two-hour excursion in the immediate vicinity of the lander. Later teams were out for as 8 hours at a time, and traveled more than a mile from their lunar modules.

  291. Kate L says:

    And here’s the link to the news story with the Apollo 11 and Apollo 14 landing site images.

  292. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L (#290-292)

    Hooterville, eh? Say hello to Mr. Haney and Eva Gabor for me.

    What I recall most about Cronkite’s space coverage was that he was really interested and enthused about the space program. I remember one of the Gemini missions (Gemini 8?) where they separated the capsule and docked with another space vehicle to test docking maneuvers, and there was Uncle Walter demonstrating with a plastic toy model, just like the ones we kids played with. He looked like he was having fun too.

    I watched the moon landing with my family, and got up at 4AM with my brother so we could see them set foot on the moon the next day (no VCRs or Tivos in those days!). Most of the newspapers changed their masthead dates to read Moonday July 21, 1969 (except the NY Times of course, which then just as now, was too self-important and full of themselves as “The Grey Lady” to ever do something even remotely cute).

    I was eating dinner in a restaurant a few days ago when the shuttle launched. I watched the TV over the bar, and the waitress came over and asked me if something was wrong. I explained I was watching the space shuttle launch, she just shrugged her shoulders and said, “Oh.” She had no interest at all. Only one other person looked at the TV. It’s a freaking miracle that this machine gets off the ground and makes it back from orbit in one piece most of the time, and you’ll find more eyeballs tuned to some hokey pseudo-science crapola than a shuttle mission. Boo.

    1969 was a year of many miracles. The moon landing, of course. Joe Namath and the Jets beating the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. The Amazing Miracle Mets winning the World Series. I watched them all on a big black-and-white TV in our living room.

  293. Feminista says:

    #290-293: Ah yes,1969. I graduated from high school,then spent the summer at Oberlin where my sociology major sister had scored both of us jobs coding info for a research project on Upward Bound Program(one of LBJ’s Great Society anti-poverty projects). Yes,folks,computers then were huge; the info we coded was then transferred onto key punch cards,which were fed to the computer. Ultimately data spewed out,and then came the big job of interpretating said info. Only the prof who ran the project,a delightful Nisei man from Hawaii,knew the inner workings of this mysterious beast. I was the youngest; the others were Black and white undergrads and grads.

    Few students were on campus that summer,so in true Oberlin fashion,we formed a dinner co-op. We watched the first men to do the moon walk on a small b & w TV; most of us were mildly stoned. This particular group were nearly all in the social sciences,so while we thought it was cool,it wasn’t a big deal.Even my future bro-in-law,who did his senior honors chemistry project on THC,never marveled about that day. To each her/his own.

    The Mets? The Jets? Not in our orbit,even though the New York contingent was well-represented. Some talk of Woodstock,to be held in August. We met some members of the Black Student Union and grads of historically Black colleges who were taking post-bacc courses. While our dinner co-op was all white by default,we found common ground in a few dance parties;this was a time where many politicized African Americans didn’t socialize with whites.

    Note: Oberlin,founded in 1832,was the first to admit women and Black people. In southern Ohio o/a 1847,Horace Mann founded Antioch College with similar admission policies.

    After a late August trip with our parents to New England,Karen returned to “Obie-land” and I started my freshman year at Beloit College in WI.

  294. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Feminista (#294)

    I think Bowdoin College in Maine has Oberlin beat on the admission of blacks. According to the Wiki, John Brown Russwurm, class of 1826, was Bowdoin’s first African-American college graduate, and the third African-American graduate of any American college. I have no idea who the first two were, but I’ll find out.

  295. hairball_of_hope says:

    I found the first black American college graduate, but not the second.

    First black American college graduates: Male: Alexander Lucius Twilight, BA, 1823, Middlebury College; Female: Mary Jane Patterson, BA, 1862, Oberlin College.

    Now for grad school, Ph.D.: Male: Edward A. Bouchet, Ph.D. 1876, Yale University; Female (Three in the same year, 1921): Georgiana Simpson, University of Chicago; Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander, University of Pennsylvania; and Eva Beatrice Dykes, Radcliffe College.

  296. Feminista says:

    #296 h_o_h: Well,I guess you’ll need to send that info to Oberlin,’cuz they have made that claim to fame for many years. No doubt they will engage you in “rational discourse”,their catch phrase for many years.And you’ll have to take it up with the authors of Women: a Feminist Perspective.

    In any event,the college has had a long progressive tradition,and the city was a stop on the Underground Railroad. My sister visited a (new to her)museum there which honored the early Black and female grads. She sent me a postcard showing an abolitionist-themed quilt.

    Women’s rights pioneers Lucy Stone and Olympia Brown were early Oberlin grads;Olympia was the first woman to be an ordained minister(numerous credible sources).She was Unitarian; the Unitarians and the Universalists merged later (UUA history guide). Lucy Stone and Henry Blackwell made history when Lucy retained her family name upon their marriage;Henry was related to the(widely cited)first female MD in the U.S.,Elizabeth Blackwell.

    Yes,there’s MUCH more info on the early women’s rights and abolitionist movements,but that was covered in the first week of Intro to Women’s Studies. You missed it? OK,borrow notes from a classmate,watch the video listed in your syllabus, and keep making your journal entries. Yes,it’s important to note that Frederick Douglass was a former slave,an active abolitionist and a women’s rights ally. Race,to quote Manning Marable,matters. ((Ginger Jordan: “It wouldn’t kill you to read an author who’s not white and male.” DTWOF))

    Finally,And Ain’t I a Woman was not a 1930s blues song. But “A Good Man is Hard to Find”is credited to Bessie Smith. And it was Maye West who said the reverse of Bessie Smith. No,that will not be on the quiz.

  297. hairball_of_hope says:

    Fortieth anniversary of Stonewall (another of those 1969 miracles), and a recent Harris poll says 44% of LGBT folks can’t talk freely about their partners at work, and 78% don’t feel comfortable bringing their partners to work functions. No kidding.

    Quoting from the article:

    A recent Harris poll conducted with Out & Equal and Witeck-Combs Communications indicated that 44% of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) participants feel unable to talk freely to co-workers about their partners, and up to 78% don’t feel comfortable bringing their partners to corporate social functions


    Many experts agree that Mr. Bozman and other LGBT individuals are correct to have reservations about making their sexual orientation public. “There’s no federal law that safeguards people from being fired because they are gay, and only 16 states have such protections,” says Brian Mustanski, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “While the constant stress of monitoring themselves can take its toll, LGBT people have to balance the freedom to be themselves with their employability.”

    Now there’s an understatement… “…’LGBT people have to balance the freedom to be themselves with their employability.'”

    Yup, your money or your life.

    (.. goes back to her closet among the brooms …)

  298. Kat says:

    speaking of Lucy Stone and others, I’m currently reading “Sex Wars.” Were you the one to mention it on a previous comment thread?
    Whoever did, thank you! I’m quite enjoying it!

  299. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Feminista (#297)

    Oberlin can claim the first female black college graduate, Mary Jane Patterson. Patterson and three siblings (two sisters, one brother) all graduated from Oberlin.

    I knew about Bowdoin’s long history as a racially integrated school because Oliver Howard, the founder of historically black Howard University, was a white Bowdoin alum. Howard was a Union general who headed the Freedman’s Bureau after the US Civil War, and was considered very progressive (for his era) for his views on blacks. Harriet Beecher Stowe starting writing “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” during the time her husband taught at Bowdoin, according to the Wiki, so it seems to have been a locus of anti-slavery ideas.

  300. Feminista says:

    #299 Kat:Yes,I mentioned “Sex Wars” way back when we were discussing 19th Century home condom manufacturing and Anthony Comstock. I published a book review of it in The Portland Alliance in 2007.

    I’m glad you’re enjoying the book. Piercy’s novels have been at the cutting edge of left feminism since her publication of Small Changes ca.1973. (Her previous 2 published novels didn’t have feminist themes.) The parallels between the Victorian era she depicts and the 2000s are striking. Right-wing religious hypocritical zealots,check. Restriction on women’s reproductive rights,check. Prostitution,check.High-ranked men buying the services of sex workers,check. (Not aware of any 19th Century Larry Craigs caught in compromising circumstances in the outhouses,however.:) Pornography,check. However,today’s pr0n is now spread internationally,thanks to the Net,and is many times more violent and mysogynist. And don’t get me started on international sexual trafficking of women and children.

    But Piercy avoids descending into cynicism and despair.She persists in pointing out the positive,including both immigrant women’s small business kitchen condom*production,and the more ambitious entreprenurial adventures of Victoria Woodhull(stockbroker & politician) and her sister Tennessee Clafflin. Woodhull ran for president,with running mate Frederick Douglass,in the 1870s. No matter that women couldn’t vote in **national**elections until 1920.

    And that’s all I have to say before 8 AM PDT. Light breakfast and yoga are next on the agenda.

    *Utilizing VULCANIZED rubber years before Mr.Spock

  301. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Feminista (#301)

    “… *Utilizing VULCANIZED rubber years before Mr.Spock.”

    Touché! Although I suspect Spock didn’t have quite as much fun with rubber goods as some other folks.

    (… goes back to petting her tribbles …)

  302. Ready2Agitate says:

    OK – Sex Wars moves onto the public library order/reading list. Thanks to you both. ps Marge Piercy lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in the town where I will soon be on vacation (Wellfleet). She turns up in the audience at the public library readings & discussions, and does her own readings to benefit the Cape women’s shelter.

  303. hairball_of_hope says:

    In more 51% news, the South African Reserve Bank (their equivalent of the Federal Reserve Bank and the Bank of England) has named a woman as governor, Gill Marcus.

    What’s heartening about this article is what was NOT written. There is no mention of her femaleness (other than nouns and pronouns), whether or not she is the first woman in the post, how many other female heads of state banks there are, her family arrangements and composition, or what she was wearing.


  304. Feminista says:

    Check out Duncan’s commentary,That’s Not the Way It Is (was),on his blog. He points out that Walt was a Republican; I too was baffled to see commentators calling him liberal. Clicking Duncan’s name(in pumpkin/mustard on the fo’)will immediately transport you to his wise words.

    @Hairball–Just read The Essential DTWOF,so now I know the origin of your hilarious handle.

    @Ready: How wonderful you’re going to Wellfleet. Marge wrote in great detail about her move there in her memoir Sleeping with Cats. I’ve heard her do 2 readings: one in Seattle (1985) & another in Portland (ca.2006). The latter was a benefit for Planned Parenthood,and she read excerpts from Sex Wars. At one point she reached for her water bottle,accidentally squeezed it,squirting her in the face. She quipped,”premature ejaculation!”

    @One and All:And let us not forget the Chinese slogan “Friendship First,Competition Second.”

  305. hairball_of_hope says:

    Well, that was a short-lived outcry of praise for gender-neutral reporting. Bloomberg updated the article on Marcus’ ascension to SA bank chief, and sure enough, the writers (both female, I believe) felt compelled to include the following:

    Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first post-apartheid president, appointed Marcus as deputy finance minister in 1996. She worked with former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel until her appointment as central bank deputy in 1999. She will be the nation’s first female to hold the top job at the bank.

    I’m sure the details of her marital status, children, and what she’s wearing will be forthcoming. Foo.

    What if male public figures were written about in the same style that is typically used for female public figures?

    Imagine this:

    “President Obama, 47, married with two children, wore a dark suit with matching shoes to the meeting. He is the first African-American to hold the job, and the highest-ranking African-American to ever hold US elected office.”

    Oh wait a minute, they usually write the second sentence or something similar. All we’re missing are the details on his wardrobe.

    Or maybe not. There was some nonsense this week about Obama wearing “mom jeans” to throw out the first pitch at the MLB All-Star game. What’s wrong with faded jeans, and how have faded jeans become a pejorative called “mom jeans?”

    I thought he looked good in faded jeans and a Chicago White Sox warmup jacket. And definitely comfortable.

    Yeah, yeah, the game was on Fox. Whaddya expect?

  306. Ellen O. says:

    Re: 297 & #296: “…you’ll need to send that info to Oberlin,’cuz they have made that claim to fame for many years” i.e. “Oberlin, founded in 1832, was the first to admit women and Black people.”

    Several years ago, I noticed that Oberlin media began using the words, “Oberlin was among the first colleges in the U.S. to admit women and Blacks…”

    On their website, however, I can’t find anything about the college’s history. I guess that’s not an immediate selling point anymore.

    1969 — I was only 8 years old. I remember the moon walk as anti-climatic. I was at sleep away camp and they wouldn’t let us stay up to watch it. (It must have been 11 p.m. EST) We saw the footage the next day. I suspect it was replayed on the networks because that was before videotapes, right? A murky memory for sure.

  307. hairball_of_hope says:

    In transfolk news, the FTM Boston trolley driver involved in a trolley crash earlier this year has pleaded not guilty.,2933,534070,00.html

    What’s notable about this story from the Fox News folks is that they managed to write an entire story about the trolley driver without once screwing up the pronouns or making mention of his trans status.

    Quoting from the article:

    Treseler said Quinn told authorities after the May 8 crash that he had been typing a text message to his girlfriend and did not see a yellow light or a red light that he went through without stopping. Quinn applied the trolley’s emergency break about eight feet before striking the trolley in front of him, Treseler said.

    Of course, they did manage to use the word “break” instead of “brake,” thus showing that the fine journalistic standards of Fox are still being maintained. Editors chosen for ideology instead of ability. Hey, isn’t that some form of affirmative action?

    (… goes back to looking for a bumper sticker which reads “I don’t brake for idiots” …)

  308. Feminista says:

    #308: I don’t think anyone should use his/her cellphone for talking or texting while driving or cycling. Twice last week,while driving in Portland, I came very close to being sideswiped by cellphone yakkers who weren’t paying attn to should have been their #1 priority,safety.In addition,several times I’ve had to swerve to avoid cycling cellphone consumers.

    CA and some other states have outlawed handheld cellphone usage for drivers,which I think is a great idea to follow. The laws don’t say anything about texting yet,but they probably will in the future. If you have to talk,pull over!

    **Walks off in a huff,then gets mood uplift via delicious Middle Eastern snacks,conveniently waiting for me in the fridge.**

    Though I don’t follow the folks at Fox,I’m glad they’re making some positive progress.

  309. Jain says:

    Bowdoin–that’s where the author of Bad Girls Go Everywhere, the terrific biography Of Helen Gurley Brown I just took back to the library teaches. I was on line for that one for quite a while, but it was well worth the wait.

  310. Kat says:

    I always understood “Mom Jeans” to be ones that were high waisted….as in, moms don’t follow the trend of jeans so low that one’s thong sticks out that back….
    Didn’t even know that men could wear “mom jeans” since men’s jeans all seem to be cut the same in the waist….strange.

    To all:
    is it tacky or not ok to make mention of an upcoming performance of mine in the comments?

  311. hairball_of_hope says:

    In “guilty until proven guilty” news, comes word that noted black scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. was arrested on his front porch by police who didn’t appreciate being upbraided for their fairly obvious racism.

    I’m sure most of us have heard of the arrestable offense of DWB (Driving While Black), now we’ve got LWB (Living While Black).

    Quoting from the article:

    Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., one of the nation’s pre-eminent African-American scholars, was arrested Thursday afternoon at his home by Cambridge police investigating a possible break-in. The incident raised concerns among some Harvard faculty that Gates was a victim of racial profiling.

    Police arrived at Gates’s Ware Street home near Harvard Square at 12:44 p.m. to question him. Gates, director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard, had trouble unlocking his door after it became jammed.

    He was booked for disorderly conduct after “exhibiting loud and tumultuous behavior,” according to a police report. Gates accused the investigating officer of being a racist and told him he had “no idea who he was messing with,” the report said.

    Gates told the officer that he was being targeted because “I’m a black man in America.”

    Friends of Gates said he was already in his home when police arrived. He showed his driver’s license and Harvard identification card, but was handcuffed and taken into police custody for several hours last Thursday, they said.

    The police report said Gates was arrested after he yelled at the investigating officer repeatedly inside the residence then followed the officer outside, where Gates continued to upbraid him. “It was at that time that I informed Professor Gates that he was under arrest,” the officer wrote in the report.

    There’s a link to the redacted version of the police report in the article, but I dare not include two URLs because it will set off the blog content filter.

  312. Kat says:

    I just read the AP article on Gates’s arrest……un-fucking-believable.
    I’m so angry right now.

  313. Ready2Agitate says:

    Wow, today’s makes it sound like the officer was so mild-mannered and polite – I Doubt That! Gates is so well-known around here as a mild-mannered academic guy, I can only imagine he’d snap back at the police officer if the guy was demanding (and demeaning).

    “The confrontation between Gates, 58, and a police sergeant occurred on Thursday when the professor returned home from a trip to China
    filming a PBS documentary. Gates set his luggage down and beckoned his driver for help because his front door refused to budge.

    The scene — two black men on the porch of a stately home on a tree-lined Cambridge street in the middle of the day — prompted a passerby to call police to report a break-in.”

    Hmmm – a “passerby” – funny how quickly the police will respond to such “tips.” Good thing they did, though – what else would two black men want with a stately home on a on a tree-lined Cambridge street in the middle of the day? (In reporting that, it’s like the author of the article is excusing the passerby’s response!)


  314. hairball_of_hope says:

    Update on Gates’ arrest… The Cambridge DA and PD are planning on dropping the charges. Although that’s the right thing to do, it does bring up the obvious classism issue.

    Joe Sixpack, arrested under the same circumstances, would not have had charges dropped against him, but a noted Harvard professor who happens to garner a lot of media attention, gets preferential treatment.

    I think the media circus of a hearing, although stressful to Dr. Gates, would have been helpful in bringing to light disparate treatment of minorities by the PD and criminal justice system.

    Of course, that’s EXACTLY what the Cambridge DA and PD want to avoid.

  315. Skip Gates was indeed very fucking much the wrong man for them to have messed with. They may be dropping the charges but Skip will not let this go. He is brilliant, has a formidable vocabulary and even more formidable understanding of racism in American history, and among his devoted friends are such folks as Oprah Winfrey and Chris Rock. Look for, perhaps, an hour on Oprah devoted to the role of police in perpetuating racism in this country. Yee-haw!

  316. Ready2Agitate says:

    Why do I bother reading the comments under the articles in the boston newspapers. They make me ill.

    You can find a great 2-min. sound clip of national treasure Skip Gates speaking to what happened yesterday, magnanimous in his ability to quickly rise above the situation and speak to the larger issues that impact everyday folk. (I just don’t know how to attach a sound clip.)

  317. Kat says:

    Yeah, this site has spoiled me…..I sometimes forget that most comment sections are filled with evil, vile nastiness.

    Maggie, I bet you’re right…..just wish the forum for such a discussion could be somewhere other than Oprah.

  318. Acilius says:

    I’m sure the only reason Henry Louis Gates was trying to break into his own house was that the door was sticking and he was too jet-lagged to respond to that problem in any other way. But if I were a police officer, I would not have the right to make that assumption. Seeing a man trying to break into his own house, I would have to remember all the men who have broken into their own houses because their wives have locked them out rather than submit to another beating. I would have to remember them even if the man I saw were a Harvard professor, media celebrity, and “national treasure” like Professor Gates. What would it say if the cop’s reaction were “A bigshot like Henry Louis Gates can’t possibly be a danger to his wife. Sorry to have troubled you, Professor!”

  319. Dr. Empirical says:

    “Seeing a man trying to break into his own house, I would have to remember all the men who have broken into their own houses because their wives have locked them out rather than submit to another beating.”

    That argument might justify the cop’s confronting Prof. Gates, but it certainly doesn’t justify arresting him after Gates had provided identification and the cop had confirmed that there was no one else in the house.

  320. Kat says:

    Besides, who breaks into a house with luggage and a cab driver in tow, ‘cept someone whose door is stuck or who forgot his or her keys??

  321. Acilius says:

    Someone whose wife doesn’t want to let him back in after his trip out of town, that’s who.

    Talk about framing narratives- some social psychologist should do a study of how people react to the phrases “A man tries to break into his own house” and “A woman tries to break into her own house.” If I were a gambler, I’d wager a hefty sum that most people would react to phrase one with a chuckle and a surmise that he’d lost his keys, or the door was stuck, or something of that sort. And an equally hefty sum that most people would react to phrase two with the question “Who else’s house was it? Was there someone in there? If so, why wouldn’t that person let her in?” “His own house” puts a frame around the story that blots out any other resident- it’s his house, no one else’s. I suspect that “Her own house” doesn’t.

  322. Kat says:

    Note that I didn’t say “his own house” And I’m not sure that there’s a difference between that and “her own house.” “OWN” seems to be the important word in that phrase.

    you’re right about someone going away and their spouse using that opportunity to get them out, but that’s a lot of assuming for a passer by to do while deciding whether to call the police or not.

    I’m sure that plenty of neighbors have seem me, key in hand, trying to negotiate a door open. I’ve house-sat many times for some relatives whose locks stick when it gets hot. I’ve had to spend 20 minutes sometimes, trying to pull the door into just the right position to get the lock to free up a little…With no notice from the neighbors.

    If I were an African American male friend of the family doing the same thing, would the neighbors have noticed??

    I think that’s the most important point to remember, here.

  323. Here’s what else I’d like to add to the equation about Gates’ arrest that the news is (mostly, if not entirely) ignoring:

    (1) Skip Gates is a small, grey-haired, immaculately attired man. Yeah, that’s the class card, but seems like race trumps class here.
    (2) Skip is disabled, walks with a pronounced limp. Often uses a cane. Just NOT a physical threat. Except for the color of his skin, which pushes him over the line to “menace” in white public perception.
    (3) The cop who arrested him is all over the news saying no way he’s issuing an apology because Gates should be “thanking him” for “insuring his (Gates’) own safety”. This is the mindscour that cops are trained with nowadays, that we should be GRATEFUL to them no matter how they treat us.
    (4) The cop who arrested him said Gates made a comment about his mother. What he reports Gates said was, when he was demanding Gates come outside a second time after Gates had already shown ID and established himself as the owner of the house, was “Yeah, I’ll come see your mama” or something to that effect. It was a jeer and a slam, but since when is that punishable by arrest? At what point did we lose our right to talk back to the police if we’re committing no crime and interfering with no other action? The fact is, Skip was being “uppity” to a white man in a uniform, and he got arrested for THAT. If he had been white, he would not have been arrested for using language (and not profane language at that) to make fun of a cop.
    (5) Every news broadcast I saw is going out of its way to say the cop who arrested him had been chosen by a black cop to lead sensitivity sessions about racial profiling. As if a black cop with their training cannot have internalized racism operating and as if racism is not complicated, appears in some forms in an individual and is absent in other forms. As if once you’ve done one non-racist thing, you’re issued a get out of jail free card with regard to racism for all time. As if racism is not a SYSTEM that permeates every fucking thought we have.

    We’ve lost control of the cops in this country, we’ve given up too many of our basic rights in the same of “safety” and “respecting authority” (which has also contributed to militarism in general), and any loss of civil rights is going to follow lines of oppression more often than not. So people of color, women and other people who look like the “wrong gender”, poor people, youth, and disabled people are all going to experience much more police violence, with a presumption of their guilt until proven otherwise, than the white males who are in fact heading the crime charts. No slamming around Bernie Madoff, no handcuffs for Karl Rove — but talk back to a cop if you’re an old woman or a teenaged girl, and you’ll be tasered, then arrested for “making them” taser you.

    Recently here in Austin, a man was pulled over by the police near a nightclub area because they were blanket testing people for sobriety. One of his companions in the car is a prominent local attorney (a white woman) and former city government official. The guy was doing their sobriety exercises fine but they wanted more, either a breathalyzer or, their latest passion, a blood test where his DNA would be permanently stored as well. He was saying no and the cops were getting belligerent. His friend the attorney got out of the car, came to stand several feet away in her evening attire and heels, identified herself as an attorney, and began advising her friend of his rights. They promptly arrested her and him both, claiming public intoxication (which was later disproven). The next day a judge dropped all the charges, and the cops went “judge-shopping” for a week until they found another judge who would allow them to arrest her AGAIN. But once the second (moron) judge found out how he had been used, he dismissed the charges as well. She is now suing the shit out of the police department because she says this uncontrolled harassment of people insisting on their rights needs someone like her — with knowledge and power — to put a scare into the bully-boys.

    I’m glad Obama, for once, is not backing down and is repeating it was a stupid thing for that cop to do. I earnestly hope Skip files suit and pursues it as far as necessary. He’s linking it to poor people and women, not just blacks, by the way — but then, Skip is one of us.

  324. hairball_of_hope says:

    I’ve read and heard some of what Gates has said after the charges were dropped. All these right-wing and GOP nutjobs obviously have not.

    Gates said he had no problem with the woman calling the police because she saw some men trying to force the front door open. The description of the men as black or African-American was not a problem, it’s just a physical description along with other physical characteristics.

    What Gates took issue with was a) the officer’s refusal to give his badge number and name, and b) the officer’s behavior and actions after he (Gates) had provided his driver’s license and Harvard ID card.

    The Cambridge officer called the Harvard campus PD after Gates produced his ID. Why? This was not on campus, this is not their jurisdiction.

    The Cambridge PD has been trying to CYA by saying the officer taught a race relations class. BFD.

    What this officer really needed was to be *trained* in conflict resolution and situation management.

    Anyone who has ever been in a confrontive situation knows how easily it can escalate. Professionals such as police officers are supposed to be trained in how to de-escalate the situation, defuse the tension, and how not to become ensnared in a confrontation themselves.

    This police officer failed the practical application of this training miserably.

    Oh, so hearing Skip Gates say, “I’ll see ya mama outside” is reason for arrest? Nope. Where did this guy grow up that he never had someone call his mama names (or called others’ mamas names himself)? Oh his poor sensitive ears. Oh his poor mama. They shouldn’t hire such fragile people and give them a badge and a gun.

    Very unprofessional behavior on the police officer’s part, and all the smoke about the race relations training he supposedly taught, and all the other nonsense, is just CYA.

    What’s really different about this situation is that the officer really had no idea who he was messing with and the potential fallout from it. Joe Sixpack would still be in jail, and no one would be discussing police response and institutional racism.

    Who knows how many times situations such as this occur and go unreported? That’s classism trumping racism. Gates’ incident is a proxy for all the other poor schlubs who get poorly treated and wrongly arrested without public scrutiny.

    Maggie, I know you’ve been under the weather lately. I’ve missed your cogent writing and thoughts. Hope you’re doing better.

  325. hairball_of_hope says:

    Now Obama is doing a little dance…

    Quoting from the article:

    Asked if the president regrets weighing in on the matter at Wednesday’s prime-time news conference, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said, “I think he would regret… if he realized that… how much of a overall distraction and obsession it would be, I think he would probably regret distracting you guys with obsessions.”

    Translation from mouthpiece speak to everyday speak:

    Obama does not regret saying the police acted stupidly. He regrets giving all you idiots something to make a big deal of by saying the police acted stupidly.

    Of course, some media will miss this distinction and will have yet another field day with this.

  326. Kat says:

    Hairball, what’s CYA?

  327. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kat (#327)

    Acronym decoder for the above post:

    CYA: Cover Your Ass
    BFD: Big F@#$ing Deal

    Other acronyms seen in these posts lately:

    MSM: Mainstream Media

  328. Kat says:

    big frackin'(or it’s less polite original) deal and MSM I got, but CYA was new to me…..thanks!

  329. hairball_of_hope says:

    Ok, let’s all do the Obama cha-cha… one step forward, two steps back, cha-cha-cha…

    Quoting from the article:

    President Barack Obama said he should have “calibrated my words differently” in remarks about the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. in which he said police “acted stupidly.”

    Imagine the uproar from Rush Limbaugh if he were arrested under similar circumstances. We’d be hearing about how fat white people are victims of abuse, and the rightwingers would be saying the skinny black President didn’t support fat white guys.

    (… goes back to looking for a partner to tango with …)

  330. Kat says:

    I tango 😉

  331. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kat (#331)

    Thanks for filling out my dance card. :).

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