sometimes. . . this blog annoys even me.

the weekend approaches.

I have declared it (to myself, here in this cubicle) the first weekend of fall. Because of the chill in the air. Because I did not run the air conditioner last night. Because it feels dark and I feel insular. The activities I crave are not dinner on the street, dancing in a hot bar -- but something involving a sweater, soup, a movie.

Tonight I will see Capote. But next up on the list are the new George Clooney thing. Red Eye (don't ask, I can't explain) and Flightplan (This one is more morbid curiosity. In an interview I tried for days to find a quote from but failed, Ms. Foster explained how this part was originally cast for a man, but the producers in all their wisdom realized two things. First, a man could never care so deeply about his child. Second, a man would never "lose it" in the way the film requires. She went on and on about how a man couldn't really go nuts, not the way a mother can. No wonder she's still closeted, Jodie still believes the wandering womb business. Fuck her.)

Pending and of Note:

Standing in the Way of Control -- the new Gossip album is *a*mazing. I'm so obsessed that I've given myself headaches the last three mornings listening to it too loud in my headphones on the way to work. It doesn't come out until January, but in the meantime they are releasing a Le Tigre remix of the title track. Which should make something in your upper leg area quiver. You can buy it at KRS Oct. 11th.

New Coco Rosie album. Haven't heard it yet -- you? Awaiting in the mail.

New Fiery Furnaces. I just read something that described it as grandmother music. Which made me hungry.

Antony&the Johnsons at Carnegie Hall Oct. 13th. Delicate and subversive music played in the sacred spaces of America's upper class. Genius. I'm going to wear a cocktail dress or a tie. You can vote.

cubs game


the litter mentality

When I was small my older sister told me that Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson were the same person. She explained the whole urban myth -- how Janet was never around as a child, how they never appeared in public together, how the invention of Janet was a way for Michael to explore a new kind of music. To be himself, in some ways. Or a new self. A Janet.

This seemed entirely plausible to me. So much so that when I finally did see them together -- years after I must have realized that they were different people -- it seemed like it still may be true. There they were, cavorting all over a spaceship, yelling into the camera, demanding that the world stop looking, stop talking, stop wondering about them. It made sense to me that they were the same person and that they were brother and sister.

Much of my writing is an attempt to articulate that defining connection for me. In some way I cannot imagine how I am not the same person as my siblings -- my three sisters and brother. I wonder sometimes if when we are apart it is actually because we have become the same person. We are not gone, but moving together; we are in tandem and that's why we are not standing side by side. Our phone calls are actually conversations conducted between our split personality.
And when we are together it is something else. It is a movement so easy for me, so removed from the other questions of the world (there is no erotic, no question of committment or permanence, no inquiry that stretches beyond our intimacy, no reason to remember beginnings or imagine an end) that even here I can't say what it is.

Let me say this: my disapointments in them, in their gaps in knowledge about me, are the disapointments I have in myself. They are my own failures to live honestly, to share freely, to open myself. The things we have fill them: the cookies; the remote lodged in the plaster; the burn pile; soggy fields and darkened stairways; an aversion to the smooth brown of a prescription bottle; piles of names; the safety glass spattered on the freewaythe Pulsar, the Z200, the van, the Datsun -- all those backseats.

It is the meat of me.

My brother is older, strong, protective -- but he is my younger self, shy, self effacing, too sweet. There is the sister I abandoned, there is the one who left me, all our lives repeated in one another, all our regrets mounted onto the same frame.

I know how to reflect because they have always reflected me.

what could democracy look like?

A short guide to how Tom Delay laundered money and what we can do to change the system:

House Majority Leader Tom Delay (aka "the hammer") realized in 2001 that the new census information was going to be used by the Democratic-run state legislature to redraw districts. He couldn't let that happen because it would threaten the gerrymandering Republican and white dominance currently enshrined in Texas district maps (thereby threatening the job security of him and his friends.) So he created Texans for Republican Majority (a local version of Armpac -- Americans for a Republican Majority).

Now state elections are prohibited in Texas from accepting corporate money. And corporations really don't have that much of an interest in state congressmen from Waco -- but they do have an interest in the House and they certainly have one in Mr. Delay (and by extension Mr. Bush). So companies like Sears Roebuck forked over dollars to trmpac, who then laundered that money through the Republican party (who was given a list of names and told who to give how much). Thus Mr. Delay not only participated in, but orchestrated a felony conspiracy.

My interest is not only in the ways in which this incident highlights the corruption inherent in a neoconservative agenda (read:greed. see also: jack abramoff, karl rove, and Scooter Libby. "Crony capitalism" and "Stench of Corruption" are headlines I have been awaiting for a long time.)

One solution to these dilemmas that I am most interested in is the re-democratization of the american voting system. One of the most interesting proposals came from the woman who Clinton nominated for Asst. Attorney General on Civil Rights and then left for the wolves, Lani Guinier. In her book Tyranny of the Majority, Guinier argues for various forms of voting and change that would end the "winner-take-all" model of American democracy. The most bold is cumulative voting in which a person has a certain number of votes and can distribute them amongst candidates according to preference (three for the lady you really want, one for the guy you'd settle for).

The one I am interested in and that might put an end to so much of the gerrymandering (see: Delay) that currently keeps the U.S. from having anything resembling a representative democracy. Guinier proposed a non-geographical based voting systems, or multi-member "superdistricts." This allows minority communities to pool their votes over larger spaces, to avoid ghettoization of votes, and better reflects the shifting location and shared loyalties that a border -- an arbitrary line -- cannot.

In this system one might have five votes for Congressman. Say there are three seats in your state. You have lived in the rural, Republican southern end of the state for your entire life. Your vote (as a bleeding heart) has never mattered. It has fallen into the well of the 12% that always vote Dem or Independent. Under this new system you could send your votes to the West to the strong Dem challenger who you really want to see in office. Or all the way up North to the urban center, where you could support the radical left candidate who can only get elected when their supporters are not split into conveniently divided districts. Hence you give three of your votes West, two North, and let the incumbent in your district stand. Suddenly all of those isolated "minority" votes have elected two members of Congress. Rather than three conservative votes for a state that is split 55/45 -- there is a moderate, a leftie, and a Republican -- something that actually reflects the mixed hues that the blue/red single-member districts refuse to entertain.

How a Tested Campaign Tool Led to Conspiracy Charges - nyt


thank you dr. edwards

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, one doctor realized that needs were great, situations pressing, and decided to offer free abortion services to evacuees . Dr. Jerry Edwards runs the only abortion clinic in central Arkansas.

Thanks doc.

Arkansas Clinic Offers Free Abortions from wapo

Delay Goes Down

the most social feline

"Tigers are lions' closest relatives.
Without their coats, lion and tiger bodies are so
similar that only experts can tell them apart. "

As we circle one another, sniffing out comments, watching the tics,
anticipating the breaks here. . . now here. . . we are a pride.
It must be that keeping these problems alive.
It must be that fueling all of this:
Our insulation, our survival, our dysfunction.
Even now, after turning on the young,
he will not be cast out.
We are not elephants.

the sanctity of our courts

I'm not going to say anythingjust look.


going to the pound

i don't even like cats. but who can resist a kitten?

damn those bisexuals!

We all know the story of Roy and Silo, two gay chinstrap penguins who shacked up together at the Central Park Zoo. They even raised a chick together (after zoo workers replaced the rock egg they had been keeping in their nest with a real one).

But alas, all good things. . .

"Silo's eye began to wander, and last spring he forsook his partner of six years at the Central Park Zoo and took up with a female from California named Scrappy. Of late, Roy has been seen alone, in a corner, staring at a wall."

But the real news folks is the hope that Roy and Silo's offspring gives to gay parents everywhere. Tango, the daughter of the pair has paired up with another young lady named Tazuni. They are one of four same-sex penguin pairs at the park. Of course, they probably moved in together too soon but that's for another day...

New Love Breaks Up a 6-Year Relationship at the Zoo - nyt
via Gawker

Tyson Foods is known for it's poor treatment of workers, it's corporate looting, and it's general inability to conform to safety standards. But, as with most things, the trouble runs even deeper. Twelve employees of a plant in Ashland, AL just sued Tyson for maintaining a segregated break room and bathroom.

According to the complaint, in July 2003, a newly-renovated bathroom at the plant remained locked except to a White supervisor and certain White employees. It alleges that a Tyson authority initially placed an “out of order” sign on the door although the bathroom was working well. “Thereafter, in August 2003, employees or agents of Defendant placed a sign on the bathroom door that read ‘Whites Only,’” the complaint states."

from the Chicago Defender

As subtle and silent racism continues to grow -- fed by it's "invisibility" overt discrimination is still alive, well, and thriving.

As a side note: when I did a google news search about this story only three sources came up. Two black newspapers and the UK Guardian. Apparently mainstream U.S. press still doesn't want to talk openly about persistent racism.


didion on grief

An excerpt from Joan Didion's new book The Year of Magical Thinking ran in this weekend's nyt magazine.

You should read it.


On Thursday i took the 4/5 to grand central. Retreated out the nearest exit and found myself standing in front of the airport shuttle I required. Bought a ticket, boarded a bus 1/2 hour earlier then I had planned to catch.

Riding through midtown, new rock n' roll blaring in my ear, it occurred to me that I had, in that exact instant and not before, fallen in love with new york. It felt like a new crush. Or like the dawning moment when a good friend becomes your crush. It came in a wave.
When I got to the airport a very nice lady named wanda got me a standby ticket on the earlier flight and I boarded an hour early and content.

It was a complete travel success that not even the worse turbulence I've experienced in years or the woman who insisted on hiss-breathing with her hands over her ears in terror, could dislodge. I made an early bus! I kept thinking. I got an earlier flight! This is luck, this is skill, this is navigating the world.


racial slurs at UVA

Wapo's article about increased racist incidents (in the first few weeks of the semester) on UVA's campus was nothing new. At my own alma mater there was an incident of racist graffiti and then a mass reaction, which seemed to provoke even more graffiti. Single incidents seem to have the power to open the lid of a pot that is always boiling. What struck me as the only interesting thing in the article was a quote from Professor Paul M. Gaston. He said "This is more than a few jerks; it's part of a cultural movement."

A point well taken and one to keep in mind as we read about new anti-feminist groups on campus and the rise of racial harassment faced by students of color. This isn't some age old racism rearing it's head, the right has been trying to reinvigorate racism and sexism -- to replant its seeds and to instigate a backlash against responsibility and thoughtfulness. Just wanted you to think about that before you derogatorily label something "PC" next time.

lift and descend.

first time: california. twelve and unhappy with the meal. my legs got antsy, my stomach flipped like when I rode the gravitron. I remember I felt old. Not mature, "I'm an adult now" but "make sure the baby has her bottle / will this never end" old.

Since then planes have become a constant part of my routine. Holidays equate to airports and love is dictated by oil prices and ATA timetables. There's something sacred for me about the ritual. There is the line, the arms extended search, the communal wait, newspaper, safety routine, the lift, the drop, crossing the barrier. I have favorites. Descending into PDX during the day, the Columbia River sweeping us along, the layover in Chicago, Indy at night. I am always hungry when I fly, unable to track down meat-less fare, and this leaves me frazzled and awake. But after all these years I have learned to surrender to my seat once it arrives. I can sleep through all but the worst turbulence.

I heard a radio piece once where a lot of people described how the silliest things made them cry on planes. Bad movies, sentimental airline radio songs. That it was a space where they found themselves overcome. If you were to happen upon me at 6 AM at LaGuardia you might find me ashambles. Shaky from a too-early-to-smoke cigarette. I'm always leaving someone and so I cry a lot. One week at home makes me feel so connected to my family that leaving them feels like that awful night at the end of high school when I tucked in my youngest sib in bed and drove north, flew east, left. When she jokes about us abandoning her at home -- with those two lost souls that boo and holler and haunt her -- there is a pang so deep in my stomach that it is hard to identify as an emotion. It is more like a lever installed especially for her. She could pull it any time she wanted, any of them could really, and my body would be obliged to follow. They have never utilized it, never asked much of me at all, given me my space, my distance, my city. I wonder if they even know it's there. Because they never say "come back" they only look so excited, giggle so loud, when it is mentioned. They celebrate every possibility but they do me the favor of never asking. So they do know then.

All this is to say that I walked to work today tugging a roll-along suitcase. So much more convenient then the heavy olden thing I prefer to have on these trips. And I felt, like I always do, that I was about to leave it all behind again. That a move, a change, a cleansing was calling my name. That I was going home. Or again chasing that notion of home that I've never really felt and constantly yearned after. I have tried to imagine a place where all the people I love are reachable. A city so complete that it holds open space within it, where I am tied and set loose all at once. Where no one is twelve hours, two plane changes, and a three hour drive on top of it -- away.

What a strange world it would be. My parents living next to the radical queers, my aunt rooming with the young dykes, my grandmother in the entrance to the art opening. That would be home right, that would make this life whole -- if I could share everything all at once. As soon as I see it, it falls apart. The frame splits and the houses I have crafted fall away from one another, one back into the cavernous street scene, one cascading down the choppy river. My grandmother turns back from the canvas in horror and looks at me askew. I am made different, something in what she sees suddenly broken. My aunt -- maybe my aunt could hang -- but it would be a strange thing the way that my friends would take her, own her. I would hate the way they told her stories, used her life, her poverty, as their credibility. I know a woman named Deb they would say, she is this sociological example. She is this thing for me to use in conversation. Just like I'm doing now.

But I'm not even flying home. I'm going to the middle of some mid-western city to spend time with a family that is not my own. Still, I'm flying alone to get there. Which means an evening in an airport and cold Wendy's fries. I have headphones and a letter to write. I have to say something, although I have not yet been able to imagine what words will work. I'm sure I will find them more easily in that in-between piece of atmosphere. I have, at the very least, faith in travel.


an unexamined life...

The news article about the "hordes" of "smart and attractive" women who are running from the boardroom are pretty constant in the last two years. I try not to give them credence or too much hype, since that's what a lot of it is. But this quote, from the end of the article, stuck out at me:

"Ms. Ku added that she did not think it was a problem that women usually do most
of the work raising kids.

'I accept things how they are,' she said. 'I don't mind the status quo. I don't see why I have to go against it.'"

This acknowledgement, that there remains a fundamental misunderstanding of how gender roles operate or how they affect various parts of your life, drives me bonkers. All these 19 & 20 year old girls declaring how they want to work for ten years and then give it all up. First of all, the class privilege inherent in these conversations is ridiculous. The whole article is written like "well, it's me at home or a nanny and I just don't trust the lower class to rear good rich kids." More than elite college grads, these are upper class rich kids who seem to have no worries about repaying student debt or needing to earn money for their families. Already that takes us into the top tiny tier of the U.S. -- not one that is a measuring stick for general trends.

There is an argument to be made that "motherhood" is often the golden ticket out of a working life that is not as rewarding or meaningful in the U.S. as it could be. The amount of time and exhaustion required to "make it" in an 80-hour-work-week environment is not one that anyone, in the long run, really wants. So some women are using toddlers as a way to get out of it, the way that in five years their boring gender robot husbands will use an affair or a trip around the world. There is something valuable, instructive even, about doing something other than work. At the same time, for this girl to be like -- don't want to look at the world, don't want to know how it affects me, don't see why things should ever change -- is just painful.

"Many Women at Elite Colleges Set Career Path to Motherhood" - from the nyt


After Blocking the Bridge, Gretna Circles the Wagons - Los Angeles Times

Gretna, LA is justifying blocking New Orleans flood victims from evacuation, claiming it was their fear of "people from New Orleans" propensity for "murder" and "stealing" that kept them from opening their hearts and roads.

Oh, cause I thought it was because of the racist assumptions you made about black people from New Orleans propensity to commit crimes that you kept them out. Now that I know better. . . hey, wait a minute!

After Blocking the Bridge, Gretna Circles the Wagons
(from bitch phd)

three point eight square miles

measured upon recent inspection:
An elaborate ruse wherein a group of five cousins proceed to local rural school for free summer lunches, picking up other cousins on the way. Elaborate ruse used to ensure second set of children eat something "decent." The maneuver provides two things: long thin hot dogs served with generic and bitter ketchup; no prideful rage provoked. The ammonia scented man stays plastered against the fake wood paneling of his bedroom. Not at work on the night shift, not asleep.

That sad cowboys mustache you used to cover the gaunt bones of your face. As if we wouldn't know, this man who played me Luke Skywalker albums, who bounced across my living room to Living Colour. You of all people wearing that redneck chops stache. Everyone smiling through their mashed potatoes. You were only there a moment and so I did not have time to laugh.

My brothers guilty looks, eyes darting. How can he say what he knows without telling me what he's done. Even now he is a boy wonderer, so eager to follow you past the limits drawn for us. You promised him adventures -- cross bows, automatic weapons, pornography, all those big boy games. He can't imagine you wrong. Holding it out in front of me the new toys. Ice, crank, ghb, formaldehyde dips. The promise of all those broken teeth.

Older recollection:
You kept numchucks in your top most drawer. Folded your white outfit meticulously. Flipped us smaller kids onto the dirty mattresses grandma kept piled in the basement. I landed nose down and lay still, sniffing the aging urine there. How exciting to fly, to be looked at sternly by you. Ka-yah.

You would let me steer your run-down red fiat down the hill while you pushed until the engine caught. Then you would climb over the trunk and I would dodge under your legs so you could drive. You let me sit on the back, arms up, free to fall if I was dumb enough, free to ride along if I was smart enough to stay quiet. That car always died as soon as it would be a pain in the ass to walk back.

'Arrest us all'

"In India, even to admit to being raped is taboo, yet dozens of Yadav's victims reported the crime. But the 32-year-old was never charged with rape. Instead, the women say, the police would tell him who had made the reports and he would come after them. According to residents, the police were hand-in-glove with Yadav: he fed the local officers bribes and drink, and they protected him."

After years of terrorizing women in his town, the rapist was set upon by a group of 200 women. After killing him in the white marble hall of the district court, the women told the police "Arrest us all" from the Guardian

meth on my mind

"In Linn County several ‘entrepreneurial’ meth cooks have begun a garbage collection service to remove chemical waste material for larger cooks. These user meth cooks either cook off the waste or sell the materials to other smaller cooks. This type of ‘garbage removal service’ is not unknown in Oregon, however the change from the random service to organized agreements between larger and smaller cooks is a recent development."

friday night started the dance party out right

with the gossip at knitting factory.

and sunday set me to sweating for sure

le tigre seemed grateful to be in new york. they did a summer tour opening for beck, which i'm sure was a contrast to the gyrating floor of fanatics that shook their butts, kissed each other with gusto, and pumped their fists last night at webster hall.

i watched from above, where I carved out enough dance room to work up crazy sweat. Danceable rock shows are the most cathartic experience; there is no other remedy like it. Even today, with not enough sleep, parked in front of a computer monitor at work, i feel tingly. The show was spot on. TKO and FYR prove that three letter initials make the best disco anthems. Thanx for the leg cramp ladies, thanx for the leg cramp.

(addendum: do not think i brought my digi-cam to the rock show. there is no time, no room for me to create representations of the experience I am in the midst of. Oh no, I steal pics from other kids who bring annoying digi cams, god bless 'em.)


pour myself a cup of ambition

walking through lower manhattan yesterday, listening to "9 to 5" on the earbuds, I dodged some suits on the corner and avoided the splash of water the bus I was trying to board shot up at my feet.

For a moment, as Dolly sang "It's a rich man's game and they never give you credit. . ." I felt like I was in the midst of the New York I dreamed about when I was six years old and obsessively watched that movie. I don't even think that movie was set in New York, I think it was set in Chicago, but the point stands. That working woman, fast paced, musical version of the city happened for me yesterday.

Then I got off the bus and walked one block to the Kinkos on Houston where I spotted a girl with blue bangs and an octopus tatoo. I picked up the flyers and put the earbuds back on. Suddenly I felt like I was in the midst of the punk-rock dream of the city I had when I was fifteen. I had the fliers, I was going to pick up my cmj badge, the cute kids were preening on the sidewalk.

Most of the time the city just feels like a maze based game that I have to negogiate without soiling my clothes, but yesterday it was buzzing. The crazies were out and I was not ashamed to be dancing on the platform with them.


ooh ooh elections make me drool

Very very good news from the Strategic Vision Poll
"Do you approve or disapprove of United States Senator Rick Santorum's job performance?
Approve 45%
Disapprove 40%
Undecided 15%

15. If the election for United States Senate were held today, and the choice was between Robert Casey, Jr., the Democrat and Rick Santorum, the Republican, whom would you vote for?
Casey 52%
Santorum 38%
Other 3%
Undecided 7%

gearing up for election season 2006

WaPo has coverage of the VA gubernatorial debates

"Kilgore faltered under a series of questions by moderator Tim Russert, host of NBC's Meet the Press. Asked by Russert whether he would sign a bill to outlaw abortion if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade , Kilgore refused to answer, calling the question hypothetical.

Russert, who thrills in catching national politicians in contradictions on his Sunday morning show, followed up quickly by asking whether Kilgore would veto a tax increase. Kilgore fell for the trick question, saying he would.

"That's a hypothetical question!" Russert said, prompting laughter from the luncheon crowd of more than 500 Northern Virginia business executives in the ballroom of the Hilton McLean Tysons Corner.

"Kilgore was nervous and tense. He sounded bad. He argued badly," said University of Virginia politics professor Larry Sabato, who is scheduled to moderate a debate Oct. 9. "This was Kaine's best performance ever."

The governor's race in Virginia is one of the most important in 2005. While the NJ governors race will probably remain in the hands of Democrats and, unfortunately, NYC will keep falling for the "no NY republican is a real republican" facade of Bloomberg -- there is a real risk Republican Jerry Kilgore replacing Democrat Mark Warner.

Such a large and powerful red state electing another Democrat will not just be better for Virginia, but could bode well for the way that things will tip in 2006. If we are to make any real inroads to the growing conservative corprotacracy in 2008 -- we have to win big in the mid-term elections. We need to recapture state houses and the Congress.

So, quit your jobs and get to work.


Court Nominee Says Early Career Is No Guide - New York Times

Court Nominee Says Early Career Is No Guide -- nyt

So throw us a bone johnny.

With only two years on the bench and a refussal to be frank (contradicted by Ginsburg, and to some extent Thomas, the last two people nominated to the bench), Roberts continues to seem like a slick, charming, handsome weasel, well versed in the art of revealing nothing. Revealing his stand on every case may not be appropriate, but having a frank discussion is necessary to the nomination process.


Bush Takes Responsibility for Failures in Storm Response - New York Times

nyt says
"President Bush said today that he accepted responsibility for the extent to which the federal government fell short in the Hurricane Katrina relief effort."

Responsibility? Bush? Willingly? I'm going to need to see a transcript to believe that.

Trust Me, Baby by Kristen Lombardi

From the village voice: Hilary Snookered on Plan B
"The latest development in the Plan B battle reveals more than just the administration's dishonesty, though. It shows how much the Bush White House remains in the clutches of the right's most extreme elements. Many conservatives actually support the idea of putting Plan B on drugstore shelves, says Ann Stone of the Virginia-based Republicans for Choice, who counts herself as one. 'Clearly,' she adds, 'the FDA is pandering to very vocal, extreme right-wing groups.' "

transgender murderers convicted/cleared

From WaPo: "HAYWARD, Calif. -- Two men who had sex with a transgender teenager and then discovered she was biologically male were convicted of her murder but cleared of hate-crime charges. Michael Magidson and Jose Merel, both 25, face mandatory prison sentences of 15 years to life for killing Gwen Araujo, 17, who was beaten, tied up and strangled. The jury was deadlocked in the case of a third man, Jason Cazares, 25."

Isn't this what hate crimes laws were invented for? They murdered her because she was trans. The media insists on using Gwen's birth name, which was legally changed, further sensationalizing her murder and attempting to muddle the issue.

Remembering Our Dead has a great site that maintains statistics and information about the murders of trans folks. There is at least anti-trans murder a month in the U.S. They also have statistics about anti-transgender murders from 1970-2004

These crimes are often unreported, even more so the defendants often get lighter sentences and use the fact of their victims transgender status as a justification. As some of the most targeted and victimized members of our communities, we all must start expressing outrage over these crimes whenever they occur. You can read more about Gwen here


addendum: ewwww. I was just reading more accounts and realized how dirty the WaPo coverage that I first quoted was. It indicated, although somewhat vaguely, that Gwen had sex with the two men the night of her murder. In fact, she was friends with the men, not a stranger. They had become friends over the course of a few months and she had sex with one of them (maybe not both) on a previous occasion.

the real marriage debate redux

Should marriage be abolished? I think so Apparently feministing don't. But they might be swayed.


Roberts begins march toward Chief

For note: 43 Presidents have only elected 17 Chief Justices over the course of 229 years.

The network news ran light coverage of the hearings tonight , a bad sign. All three clipped his umpire metaphor and commented on his charm.

Scotusblog says "So far, to my mind, the most impressive Senators have been (in order of presentation) Specter, Feinstein, and Graham. The play-by-play is here.

gaza returns to palestinian control 38 years later

I had to dig to find a non-sensational headline, but of course, always go foreign for objective news coverage. Jubilant Palestinians return to Gaza from the Guardian


three things:

a. A sheep when I was seven years old. I had a hand on its flank. I pulled as instructed.

b. A baby. I took photos of the proceedings. I was not overcome with awe so much as struck by an enormous feeling of empathy and connection with my sister.

c. that movie with nicole kidman. the boy in the bathtub and the way they made the city seem so icy and deserted, a snowbound place.
I just wrote a rather long post that I trimmed for clarity, for brevity. There are more ideas, these are rough, rough, rough.

* * *

I thought today, without any real justification or evidence, that decadence is masculine. i.e. Decadence often represents a position of privilege or power that grants one the ability to indulge in overtly selfish acts. What I am struggling with is whether or not decadence can operate as a mode of resistance. I see the beauty in the idea; in Foucault's limit experience, in Bataille, even in Camille Pagilla (hi jr). But in my everyday life, in the operation and negotiation between myself and the world, I have little tolerance for what decadence has come to mean. Perhaps I'm not opposed to the idea, but only the 1960s-nostalgia-based pursuit of it that centers around drug use, casual (in this sense it might mean stranger based, but more accurately thoughtless) sex, and general self-abuse.

With some good reason, the community that has come to represent the greatest collective representation of decadence is gay men (often gay white men). Free from societal expectation of children/family, those "out" individuals often fairing from middle-to-upper class backgrounds, with all the power and privilege of patriarchy and skin privilege, were able to push boundaries of taste, culture, sex, models of living, etc...

I've thought about this a lot -- why I am such a prude. There is a responsibility I feel -- toward my family, my friends, my self, my community, to consciousness -- that preempts me from edge-walking behavior. Or rather, the tradition of decadence as it's developed in the U.S. over the last forty years. I think that other forms of decadence are easily accessible to me, interesting. Modes that are radical, that are revolutionary, but that are not without regard for others, for self, for ethics. When I consider decadence, I find that it often isn't radical, but a celebration of the unradical and a rumination in the individual-obsessed fiction of U.S. culture -- that we act alone, that we grow through taking the world on cowboy style, let the women and children fall to the side, shrug off the government, shoot-em-up ride, ride, ride.

More structured thoughts pending....


this kids got it summed up. Hullabaloo


the work of repair

phone call. birthday card. say hello to that person you live with... rudimentary evidence.

all signs of attempts at normalizing relations. appreciated and distrusted in almost equal measure. try to avoid conversations that encourage:

a. hypochondria
b. discussion about being a five-year-old girl.
c. connection

In the outside world: try to avoid people who talk about their mothers with devotion. Try to avoid conversations about medicine, illness, irritable bowels. . . do not think about that grinding knot that is your stomach.

Remember E.V. Spelman's elements of a genuine apology. Hold out, hold out.

for reference:

note to celebrity do-gooders

If you have a lot of free time and money AND you want to volunteer with the hurricane relief effort -- that is wonderful. I'm sure celebrities at shelters brighten days and that extra hands are needed to help unload the truck.

But please leave your camera crew at home. The minute I see that you're trailing around with an Oprah crew or a Entertainment Tonight mic, it just doesn't seem as genuine. Why do I get the feeling that as soon as the little red light goes off, John Travolta and Lisa Marie wipe their hands and take three steps back from the refugees?


where was this when i was eleven?

Apparently, the newest Seventeen magazine has a page dedicated to explaining the vag, replete with a rainbow array of legs to help illustrate.

This is incredible to me for many reasons.

1. The first bullet is the clitoris. Unlike my high school Health II teacher, who informed a class of mostly sexually active sixteen year olds that the "clitoris serves no biological function and will not be discussed," Seventeen lays it bare for the young ladies, basically saying "this is where the money is."

2. About seven years ago, I saw a similar spread in Cosmo -- except various men were asked to draw arrows to where they thought various parts of the vagina were. It was something like one in ten who could point to the general area of the clit. Everything else was vaguely "lips" and "junk."

3. Fuck yeah. Get with your stuff, you gotta know how to use it. Way too many twelve-year-old girls know the inside out and out of a cock and nothing about their precious precious.

via gawker

He used to host INSIDE EDITION, why do people listen to this prick?

O'Reilly blames the poor
"The USA has mandatory education, but nobody can force you to learn. If you refuse to do the work, you're going to be ill-equipped, and all the government programs in the world are not going to change that. Every American kid should be required to watch video of the poor in New Orleans and how they suffered because they couldn't get out of town. And every teacher should tell the students that if you refuse to learn, you will be poor and powerless."
Maybe someone should tell Bill that lots of people get an education, work their asses off, and are STILL poor. Or maybe someone should tell Bill that since he and his right-wing friends have made contraception and reproductive health so hard to access in this country, innumerable women and men have been strapped with children at a young age, negating their access to the capital this country requires to get a foothold. And maybe Bill should advocate for some QUALITY education and some equity for the poor. Nah, let's call 'em welfare queens, underpay them, live large off their labor and complain about how lazy they are. That's worked for so long, why quit now?

if you scratch a little at the u.s. you will find. . .

From The Guardian
"A Louisiana police chief has admitted that he ordered his officers to block a bridge over the Mississippi river and force escaping evacuees back into the chaos and danger of New Orleans. Witnesses said the officers fired their guns above the heads of the terrified people to drive them back and "protect" their own suburbs."
This American Life about the disaster after the hurricane was wrenching. A woman evacuated from the local hospital to the convention center describes her sincere belief as the days dragged on that the authorities were planning on killing them. She describes water trucks passing the mobs of people by and gives a grateful description of "looters" who brought food, protected the very young and old. In the second act you hear how one white family was able to cross the bridge -- and how they brought four people-of-color with them by pretending they were relatives. The woman describes feeling outraged that others were left behind and ecstatic for surviving, like she had "won the lottery."

The skin lottery, hadn't you heard? It's the oldest, most long standing game in the U.S. Didn't get your ticket? Don't worry, everybody is automatically entered.


today's tangential

Oak pruning causes a stir
"The man who trimmed and thinned the majestic tree at Heritage Mall said he pruned the tree properly, but a certified arborist and others contend that he cut so much from the tree that the health of the 300-year-old white oak is in question."

I love local news.

dyslexic cake

the lady friend may have reversed the numbers on the cake.

but when you get birthday brunches this beautiful, who are you to complain about the juxtaposition of shapes and symbols?

Representing the Oregon's 3rd Congressional District

Prescience on the part of Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer's:

"Mr. Speaker, I recently had the opportunity to view the devastation in Southeast Asia as a result of the tsunami. As appalled as I was by what I saw, I must confess that occasionally my thoughts drifted back to the United States. What would have happened if last September, Hurricane Ivan had veered 40 miles to the west, devastating the city of New Orleans? One likely scenario would have had a tsunami-like 30-foot wall of water hitting the city, causing thousands of deaths and $100 billion in damage.

The city has always been at risk because of its low-lying location, but that risk has been increased because of rising sea levels, groundwater pumping and the erosion of coastal Louisiana. Twenty-four square miles of wetland disappear every year, since the 1930s an area one and a half times the size of Rhode Island washed away.

Considering the reaction of the American public to the loss of a dozen people in the recent mud slides in California, it is hard to imagine what would happen if a disaster of that magnitude hit the United States.

The experience of Southeast Asia should convince us all of the urgent need for congressional action to prevent wide-scale loss of life and economic destruction at home and abroad. Prevention and planning will pay off. Maybe the devastation will encourage us to act before disaster strikes. "

a short list of things

"Being poor is knowing exactly how much everything costs."

from John Scalzi

The list has it's problems, but also some stingers.


roll call

all the robot marketing spam get good golly blue.

so does the lack of chatter. i know yr there. leave a note for me (non bloggers, this means you). if the parish prez made you weepy, say so. if you think i'm full of shit when it comes to the hypocrasy of outing, i appreciate it. so, open thread.

roooollll calllll.

ps. i want yr stories for abduction season

local to cheney: "go fuck yourself"

thumbs up for gays in china

Fudan University began offering the first class in China to deal with gays and lesbians yesterday.

Two questions: I wonder why the overheads are in English and I wonder why the story estimates the country's gay population at only 48 million. That seems a little sparse in a country of a billion+ people. Are they not counting people who get some same sex lovin' on the side?

A Chinese University Removes a Topic From the Closet - NYT

Bush's astounding arrogance

From Salon.com: "That night, at the White House, Bush met with congressional leaders of both parties, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi urged Bush to fire Brown. 'Why would I do that?' the president replied. 'Because of all that went wrong, of all that didn't go right last week,' she explained. To which he answered, 'What didn't go right?' "


the daily hate

The soon-to-be-defeated Senator from Pennslyvania, Rick Santorum, took it to the victims of Katrina earlier this week: "I mean, you have people who don't heed those warnings and then put people at risk as a result of not heeding those warnings. There may be a need to look at tougher penalties on those" from the Seattle PI

Eat shit Ricky.

anthony makes the magazine

For those of you who missed it, the NYT magazine ran a long story on Anthony & the Johnsons this week. It had a brief, but alright geneology of the queer avant garde ny cabaret scene. As a result, listened to I am a Bird over the weekend. Despite numerous goes 'round, it always leaves me wrecked.

Antony Finds His Voice - NYT

ancestor arrives, departs, on motorcycle

His middle daughter, the one who tends to be in town, away from the house, on vacation, sleeping, when he drops by -- passed him on the highway. She did not know him from; adam, steve, jerry, bill. His name, of course, is Jim. She passed him on the highway and did not think -- "I wonder if that man on the motorcycle is my elderly father, my ageing father who lives those seven hundred miles away." Because that would be silly.

He has, needless to say, histories. He has a history of visiting this way -- sporadic, unannounced, burdensome.

So she parks and the motorcycle, muffler popping loudly, pulls up behind her car. She thinks "one of my husbands friends, one of the old gang, someone from ago."

He takes off his helmet, a version of her face, my father's face, my face.

The story goes:

He traded some cattle for the bike, decided to ride it up while the weather was still good. From Redding, CA to the NW town where his family moved after the depression, where he raised his children, where he left his wife.

This 78 year old man, riding up I-5, 700 miles, with one arm paralyzed (field, beating, infection, white satin glove) by his side. Just to say hello. He stays for dinner, continues north.

Says he's going to track down his brother.

the daily commute

Best not to think of yourself on these days. Or, best not to think of yourself in the way you usually do -- obsessively, without pause, as a capturable thing. Best instead to say hey now, or hey there, or to wonder instead -- why was the man on the train, the man who came in with bushy beard and untrimmed dirt-rimmed nails, the man who was so good at mimicking the robot conductor's voice (Neeext stop. Bowling Green. Please stand away from the..., please stand away from the...), why couldn't he say doors? Because he was leaning in so close you see, to the people around him. And he was not foul odored exactly, but he was ripe with something other than clean. Strong. Musky, a grandfather might say. Musky for sure. But he was not gone, not totally mad. He was aware of his body, the space he took, and it was more than necessary, but not enough to drive them off. Instead he hovered close and no one shied away. They only worried, when will he move that next step, how close will he get, where will I move to. But it never came to that. (Next stop, waaaall street. Stand clear of the . . .) He was close and they shared that space, him and the girl, him and the other man, him and the self-contained pre-teen child. They shared it all, uncomfortably close, but not so awkward, not so awful come to think of it. Not so bad, to stand close to another human being, musky and warm, in the morning.

Watch video through until the end

this is the most touching and upsetting interview I've seen. Please watch the whole thing.

Congress begins hearings to limit eminent domain

hey nonny -- The House agriculture committeeis holding meetings today to review the Supreme Court decision on eminent domain and legislation to strengthen the Ownership of Property Act of 2005.


"i am trying to break your heart"

This story is *a*mazing

Meet Deamonte Love, Age 6 and the Children He Saved "In the chaos that was Causeway Boulevard, this group of refugees stood out: a 6-year-old boy walking down the road, holding a 5-month-old, surrounded by five toddlers who followed him around as if he were their leader."
Now that John G. is up for Chief Justice instead of associate, there are a lot more questions to be asked of him as a leader.

For the non-legal nerds: chief justice isn't just a title. As Chief Justice, every time that you are in the majority, you get assign the decision. That means that if you want the whacko ideology of Scalia to go down as the law of the land that's the way it's going to be.

With only TWO years on the federal judiciary and very few penned decisions (all of those documents we are seeing are legal memos and advice offered to various administrations), Roberts is a complete guessing game. His even demeanor could mean one of two very different things.

1. He is calm and sensible. He is willing to weigh issues and gives the Supreme Court it's proper deference and respect as an institution of equal weight to the congress and the executive branches

2. He is skilled at the art of diplomacy. He advised O'Connor, during her confirmation hearings, on how to avoid stating her opinions on controversial topics. He is flying under the radar in order to land himself the most powerful post in the judiciary. Remember, if Roberts becomes Chief Justice he won't be around for four or ten or fifteen years -- but thirty or forty years writing (or unwriting) the laws of the land.

And after these hearings, George gets another pick. The options are abyssmal and the general concensus is that since he didn't pick Gonzales for chief, he's going to try and place someone far to the right of even Roberts.

For updates, the best is SCOTUS blog.

barbara and george bush don't care about poor people

The President's insensitive and asinine comments upon his belated arrival in the gulf area were well publicized. After greeting the homeless and heartstricken, he could only think about the beautiful estate of his segregation-sympathetic friend
"The good news is -- and it's hard for some to see it now -- that out of this chaos is going to come a fantastic Gulf Coast, like it was before. Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott's house -- he's lost his entire house -- there's going to be a fantastic house. And I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch. (Laughter.)
And surprisingly, the White house spin machine continues to post the transcript on their website.

On any other occasion, I would cringe at someone blaming a mothers for the sins of their sons. But in this case, feel free to blame Bush's elitism on his mother not raising him right. Upon visiting the internally displaced at Houston's Astrodome Barbara Bush said on Monday
'What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality,' she said during a radio interview with the American Public Media program 'Marketplace.' 'And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them.'
Riiiight, Barb, poor people love it crowded, dirty, and underfunded. To think, I actually felt bad for them for a minute AND was inspired by some of the optimism and hope of people who just escaped starvation. Had I known that's how they prefer to live I wouldn't have worried so. I'm going back to being afraid of them.

p.s. Do you like how george pluralized rubble?

kanye calls bush out; mike meyers blinks uncomfortably.

If you live on the West coast and NBC robbed you of the opportunity of hearing some honest commentary, you can watch Kanye West's statements about media portrayals, Iraq, and President Bush at Crooks and Liars

That's the second time in two weeks Kanye made a fan out of me. During his special All Eyes On Kanye West, the young rapper delivered this call for hip-hop to end it's anti-gay kick (even after a publicist tried to interupt him twice -- which is not reflected in the transcript)

" If you see something and you don't want to be that because there's such a negative connotation toward it, you try to separate yourself from it so much that it made me homophobic by the time I was through high school. Anybody that was gay I was like, 'Yo, get away from me.' And like Tupac said, 'Started hangin' with the thugs,' and you look up and all my friends were really thugged out. It's like I was racing to try to find that constant masculine role model right there, right in front of me. I would use the word 'fag' and always look down upon gays. But then my cousin told me that another one of my cousins was gay, and I loved him, he's one of my favorite cousins. And at that point it was kind of like a turning point when I was like, 'Yo, this my cousin, I love him and I been discriminating against gays.'

But everybody in hip-hop discriminates against gay people. Matter of fact, the exact opposite word of 'hip-hop,' I think, is 'gay.' Like yo, you play a record and if it's wack, 'That's gay, dog!' And I wanna just come on TV and just tell my rappers, just tell my friends, 'Yo, stop it fam.' "

Fuck yeah on both fronts Kanye.


this is the america I know

all photos from the Associated Press

Over and over again, I've heard people outside the hurricane affected area declare "I can't believe this is America!"

Nothing about the disparity in planning for the poor, the pace of rescue efforts, or the desperate situation of such a large portion of the population in New Orleans surprises me. This is the America many of us are aware of, the truth about the disparity and ugliness that defines our caste system. The slow reaction of the federal government only reflects, for me, the larger population's denial of the state of their union. However, none of my knowledge, beliefs, or cynicism prepared me for the images and stories I have heard from the hurricane affected areas. This is the America I thought I knew, but had not felt so strongly in quite some time. I could not be more hurt.


Listening to NPR just now, the analyst being interviewed said that the Red Cross and Salvation Army are reporting that they were PREVENTED from entering New Orleans by FEMA. The justification given was that if they helped people or made life "comfortable" people wouldn't leave.

Katrina & Rehnquist

Did anyone else just see these guys walk past?


margaret cho devotion

i don't understand margaret cho love. i'm not saying anything against the lady, but what's with the adoration/devotion? give me janine anyday. anyone care to explain?


katrina roundup

Everyone must listen to New Orleands mayor Ray Nagin's interview where he blasts the federal governments slow response and backwards priorities. Alternet has it.

Mark Fischetti tells us not to buy the stories in his own paper. NYT ran a front page story touting the claims that no one anticipated levee breaks. But an op-ed calls bullshit on the administration.

The Coop is mad. He Wants You to Go to Your Window, Open It, Stick Your Head Out, and Yell - Gawker

Salon.com Flushing out the ugly truth:
"As if to make sure we didn't miss the ironies, the same week as Katrina came news that the poverty rate has climbed again, the fourth straight year under President Bush. But let's be fair: John Kerry barely mentioned the poor last year. And while President Clinton's booming 1990s lifted some boats, and his welfare reform at least muted the ideological sniping about whether poor folks were victims or freeloaders, nobody's bothered lately to pay much attention to whether welfare reform made people's lives better, whether it paved a path out of poverty or just moved its subjects into the vast ranks of the working poor. "

constantly conflicted

despite how I feel about marriage (gay&straight=bad), I can't help but feel cheered when I hear about gay marriage victories.

I'm advocating a radical departure from marriage-culture, but for those fighitng on a different front, I offer my congratulations.

Calif. Senate OKs Gay Marriage Bill fromSalon

pat robertson wants your assasination. . . i mean hurricane. . . money

How facocked is your federal government? Well, take a look at FEMA's donation page for hurricane relief. The first organization they list, The Red Cross. Well that seems reasonable. The second? Christian Broadcast Networks "Operation Blessing."

Yahoo! News

Yahoo apologizes for photo captions. In a vague way. Still, blogs and email brought it to their attention. I also think the lack of mainstream media coverage of the racial component of Katrina's effects yesterday, compared to today, is due in part to the vigilence of the internet.

It's kind of neat. I'm glad they invented it.


the strong and the robust

NYT reports that the U.S. Poverty Rate Rose for the fourth consecutive year.

The census's annual report card on the nation's economic well-being showed that a four-year-old expansion had still not done much to benefit many households. Median pretax income, $44,389, was at its lowest point since 1997, after

Maybe this "expansion" is called rich profiteering? That the strengths of a nation's stock market doesn't reflect it's overall economic health? That the policies of the Bush administration continue to devalue the poor, workers, and the "middle class" ? Nope, according to the admin:
The poverty rate "is the last, lonely trailing indicator of the business cycle," said Elizabeth Anderson, chief of staff in the economics and statistics administration of the Commerce Department.
The last indicator? Oh, I forgot: trickle down! So the poverty indicator is just measuring how tiny the last droplet of water that reaches most Americans is. There's a whole lake that the rich are hob nobbing on right now. They have boats and expensive champagne. I feel reassured.

In more economic news, your mommy's pay falls off every time she gives birth. Because employer's tend to track women with children into less well paid positions, women with children earn "from 3 to 10 percent less per child compared to employed women with children." Considering that women continue to make 3/4 of men's pay in the U.S. workforce (fyi the gap is back on the rise again), the fact that they are punished further for choosing to reproduce (while men are often rewarded with tonier positions because they have "a family to provide for") might account for why women are so much more likely to be poor.

shout it out

Speakout screening at the 92nd Street Y

Date & Time: Tue, Sep 20, 2005, 7:30pm
Location: Steinhardt Building, 35 West 67th Street
Price: $15.00
Get yr tickets here

and tell yr friends. yr friends friends. yr parents friends.

to get it started right:
speakout films
abortion conversation
sf abortion hotline
i'm not sorry