Adviser to Cheney Is Indicted in Leak Case

Oh happy day.
Oh happy day.

When Scooter was (when Scooter was)
When Scooter was indicted. (from nyt)


My, my, Meirs -- I almost forgot!


Franzen v. Other Artists; Marcus Just Wants to Dance

Boo on this piece from Slate , which misrepresents Ben Marcus' essay in last week's Harpers, making it sound much more pompous and overblown then it was.

Indeed, Marcus never argues that Franzen's mini-piece in the New Yorker was what led to FC2's trouble with the NEA, he only drew the lines of a larger argument -- which is that hugely successful Franzen (and narrative/realist fiction elitism in general) picks out avant garde fiction for ridicule when it is already a small, tiny flea on the greater scene, constantly trying not to be drown by other more dominant (and totalitarian) culture forces.

I thought the emphasis on Franzen in the essay was too much and occasionally too personal -- but I also understood that Marcus was writing for a magazine who needed to have an angle. To have Franzen's sins stand in for the larger literary establishment (see: all the brough-ha-ha about the "unknown" nominees for the National Book Award) and the entire reverse-discrimination claim of experimental fiction being elitist which permeates mainstream literary discussions (see: New Yorker, Harpers, NYT Book Review, NY Review of Books etc.)

You can read the entire essay (finally I found it!) here. More discussion to come.

Meanwhile, read this interview with George Saunders:

"My political position at present is: Sick At Heart. I think you can see the idiocy of a lot of the administration's positions by observing the level of their inarticulateness."

It will clean your palate after that trash I led this post with.


mourning the loss of a righteous anger

Go safely and thanks.

"I do the very best I can to look upon life with optimism and hope and looking forward to a better day, but I don't think there is anything such as complete happiness. It pains me that there is still a lot of Klan activity and racism. I think when you say you're happy, you have everything that you need and everything that you want, and nothing more to wish for. I haven't reached that stage yet."

"Victory or defeat? It is the slogan of all-powerful militarism in every belligerent nation. And yet, what can victory bring to the proletariat?"

google image of yours truly

For the last four years, when you google my name, she appears.

Sometimes I imagine I am her. I work as a secretary in Australia, but I spend most of my time at work writing romance stories that feature hybrid animals. There is something about the centaur that appeals to me. It's close to the way that I feel when I am asleep -- my body more powerful, my limbs less likely to tangle.

Anyone want to go to Virginia?

"Republican candidate for governor Jerry W. Kilgore holds a narrow edge over Democratic Party rival Timothy M. Kaine, but the tight race remains well within the statewide poll's margin of error."

(from the DailyProgress)

This race -- a critical one that will set the stage for 2006 -- is going to come down to voter turnout. Voter turnout comes down to polling day -- to getting supporters to the polls. That means shuttle buses, phone calls, muffins.

Anyone want to go to Virginia in two weeks -- I'll bake.


Miers, IWF, and Puppetry

"This was not a home run," said Jennifer Braceras, a visiting fellow at the conservative Independent Women's Forum, speaking about the Miers nomination. "This is a foul ball."

"On Tuesday, the IWF sponsored a discussion on "What Women Want, the other Supreme Court Issues," and neither Braceras nor the four other women on the panel, including well-known conservatives Victoria Toensing and Barbara Comstock, raised their hands when I asked who was speaking out publicly for Miers."

(from the suntimes)

When you can't get the Independent Women's Forum behind a Bush appointee -- you've got problems.

Really, I just wanted to post about how much I loathe the IWF. They were formed during the Clarence Thomas nominations in order to create some pseudo-feminist "support" for the candidate. Board members include senior officials in the Bush administration and his nominees are vetted on "women's issues" by IWF before facing nomination hearings. (WaPo)

If you can't get the wags who were created to back horrific judicial nominees to stand behind you. . . there's something wrong. Or right. . . the conundrum of conservative opposition continues to confuse.

What I resent most about the IWF is the way that this think tank of powerful and elite conservative men and women are often cited as the "opposing" view to any pro-gender equity group. Unlike NOW or the Feminist Majority, they do not represent a large membership. Instead they are a select and small group of a few hundred pundits. Not an organization, not even a think tank, but a loose assortment of wags that are allowed to "speak" for the "other feminists" (ie those who don't belive in pay inequity, who think that boys get the societal short-straw, and are conspiciously mum on abortion.) The media's continued utilization of IWF creates the appearance of an opposition whose puppet strings are clearly held not by the smiling stiff-haired spokespeople (yeah I'm talking about you Hoff Sommers!), but by the larger and more influential right-wing policy institutions. So nice that they went out and created a ladies auxillary.


in the buff

This weekend I'm scheduled to interview someone I've seen naked.

Not homemade-pictures-passed-around-the-locker-room or anything, they were in a magazine, national if small.

Still, I loved those pictures. I looked at them a lot. I'm scared I'm not going to be able to stop thinking "I saw you naked. I saw you naked" and that eventually, the words will involuntarily spill from my mouth.


the fall

From the world that is only electronic to the realm of the physical, everyone I know seems to be driving toward splitsville or otherwise made panicked by some strange and unpredictable circumstance (distemper... flooding ... rehab).

It is a decaying season. Moldy things are tumbling down. The rain has washed up lost shirts and revealed strange stains (lipstick . . .grease . . .)

This morning, on the walk to the subway, I discovered hundreds of albums thrown out with the trash. Not one or two bags, but a stack four feet high that stretched halfway down the block. I was late and felt rushed (new position, people to impress, etc) but I had to stop. I didn't think they could be salvaged for their sound; they were wet, sitting atop concrete, many stacked without jackets. But because they seemed so precarious there, so sad. Many of them were topped with cobwebs and dust, but others seemed more loved, with jackets worn through from thumbing, from being removed, from listening.

I grabbed a stack of seven inches with the intention of making something from them. Cheap wall art. Ashtrays with enormous holes in the middle. It was an abstract thought (fueled by the memory of financial gains at a college craft fair) but my only regret was that I couldn't take more. I couldn't take the twelve inches; I couldn't carry more than thirty small records in the plastic bag I scrounged from the bodega. And I couldn't come back later -- the garbage man was thundering up the road even as I stood gaping at all the stacked vinyl, someone's collection, some life.

And then it struck me. This was too huge a thing to throw out because you were purging or because you were clearing out room for your new records. Some of these were old, worn; they had been stored for some time. Not in a basement, they weren't all ruined; they had been in a living room. They had lined the walls of an apartment, taken up a large space in someone's life -- which meant that their owner, their collector, was most likely dead.

After that, my hands were covered in the dust of a dead person's records -- which I wanted to string together or melt in the oven or make invitations out of for some small party. It felt so sad, the garbage man approaching, the records shining in the sun, the leaves in large piles all along the curb.

A favorite used to claim (do you still?) that this part of the year always brought something awful. She called it her "autumnal crisis" -- which is one of the prettiest phrases for awful incidents anyone every coined. It was a bitter thing said with "that's is how it goes" assuredness. A resignation although not entirely a retreat.

So in the midst of this time, this time of rotting and preparation for hibernation (cleansing, clearing away, paring down, hurt) I just wanted to say:

I got some of your records out of the trash this morning. And the rest made a gorgeous crash when they tumbled into the back of the garbage truck.

today's tangential

Albany police to get less-lethal stun devices

"Albany police are going ahead with plans to arm officers with Tasers even though a member of the department was injured during a demonstration."
The article goes on to state: "The department has had no reports of injuries because of the Tasers."

Well -- except for THAT one.


if a bard were formed of scraps and paste he would sing such amazing collage as this

Ben Marcus made my week.

As I was shuffling around JFK airport at six in the morning last Thursday I thought I might buy a magazine. I went to the store, I frowned over my choices and then I saw the cover of Harper's exclaiming:

Why Experimental Fiction Threatens to Destroy Publishing, Jonathan Franzen, and Life as We Know It

Fourteen (14!) pages later, I was alight. Not because Ben Marcus put Franzen and realist fiction "in its place," but because it refused to do anything limiting, because it was so celebratory, because it was infused with so much mirth and joy -- the very things "experimental" fiction are accused of being void of. It was such a pretty pretty thing. I haven't heard such a call to intellectual arms in quite some time and never so tender a one made for "postmodern" lit. I made a phone call as soon as we landed, to report the publishing of this essay. I have reread it since. The excerpts and extended breakdown are pending.

Till then there's coverage at :
publisher's weekly
galley cat
and you can read the angry traditionalists by doing a blogsearch.

things to examine about self

propensity for hyperbole:
Almost unprecedented. Able to say "always" after singular incident. Able to construct entire mountain ranges -- craggy and perilous -- out of abandoned and slumped mole hills.

propensity for tears:
At times, endless. But at other critical junctures face goes numb, jaw locks, the stares come on. Am a really good starer. Unsure if this is an asset.

tools of motivation:
My (in)ability to motivate through self reflection. Sporadic and energetic moments pared with extreme lethargy. Some might say manic phases of work. How to achieve regular mania without becoming maniac. See: control.

Do things really drive me nuts or do I just want to be nuts? I'm not sure, but we should sweep more just to be safe. Wait. . .

Court allows inmate's abortion

From Scotus blog:

"The Supreme Court, without recorded dissent, cleared the way on Monday for a Missouri inmate to obtain an abortion over the objection of state officials. In a brief order, the Court refused the state's request to stay a federal judge's order requiring that the inmate be taken to a St. Louis clinic. Justice Clarence Thomas on Friday night had temporarily blocked that order, but the Court on Monday lifted the stay Thomas had issued.

U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple of Jefferson City, Mo., last week had issued an emergency order to require the abortion. The woman, who learned she was pregnant after being arrested in California, is in the 16th or 17th week of pregnancy. She sought an abortion while in California, but was transferred to a women's prison in
Vandalia, Mo., before an abortion could be performed. State officials, citing Missouri's official view that abortion should be discouraged, told her that they would not arrange for an abortion that was not medically necessary.

The case is Crawford v. Roe (application docket 05-A-333).

The woman faces a four-year prison term, after being picked up on a parole violation."

This makes me so happy. Due to some professional ties, I read a letter from this woman about two weeks ago. She was so determined, so intelligent, and -- considering the situation -- amazingly calm in the face of overwhelming adversity and odds. When Clarence issued a stay on Friday I thought for sure the Court would delay so long that she wouldn't be able to obtain the procdure. Thank goodness.

Ewww. . . Missouri is so John Ashcroft about shit.


naming the creatures

the size of her feet led to sneaks, which didn't work.

sk suggested converse, for her coloring.

chuck taylor seemed more appropriate.

but she's so wild and thus;

numchuck taylor was born.


oh to hear you sing

Bette Midler touched my arm.

And she said 'hon.'

I try not to be star struck or at least, not to take my star struck status seriously. But my leg shook when she spoke to me. Shook.

All of this and Kate Winslet! David Bowie! Lily Taylor! Richard Gere! Why the star power you may ask?

Because Antony & the Johnsons were just that good last night. With plenty of buzz after winning the Mercury Prize in Brittain, the lovely boy took to Carnegie Hall and made every last eye stop being dry. And he introduced me to the lovely and amazing Jimmy Scott.

Ugh. My heart is still beating bigger.


relax. rescind.

I just read an interview with Ariel Levy in Bitch. I might have to revise part of my earlier statement. But not right now. I don't have time.

Today was my last day at my job. I'm not going far, actually I'm just going around the corner. In my work life that is, going around the corner to a new department and, hopefully, a less stressful first of the month. Still, today I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to mask as many of my inefficiencies as possible, filing, doign things I have put off for eons (there is that file! I declared all morning). I have anxiety about ending, but I'm not sure why.

In my real life, where I don't sit beneath the constant hum of overhead flourescents, I'm going to the real city of brotherly love, the gay are extraordinaire, San Fran for an extended long weekend. My motivations are 1. family (younger sister, near-college graduate, teacher-to-be) and 2. fun (the beach, the club, the ladies).

I hope I have as baptismal a time as body mascot did last weekend - although I hope for no heart ache.

No heart ache. No heart ache.


it's a cancer vaccine for god's sake

I want my cancer vaccine!

An experimental vaccine has proved highly effective at preventing cervical cancer in a two-year study involving more than 12,000 women, researchers reported today.

If it were widely used, the vaccine could save many lives. Worldwide, there are about 500,000 new cases of cervical cancer a year, and 290,000 deaths. Most of the cases and most of the deaths occur in poorer countries where women do not have regular Pap tests, which can detect cancers or precancers early enough for them to be cured. In the United States, where Pap tests are common, 10,400 new cases are expected in 2005, and 3,700 deaths.
What is holding it up? Well, the vaccine works by making women immune to HPV. So it would be an HPV vaccine too. The best age to administer the vaccine would be to pre-teen girls. And we wouldn't want girls to have permission to have sex. That's what saving you from cancer would be, a call to wild pre-teen fornication.

Or so argues the far right in this country, who have been making trouble for this research from the beginning.

Don't let them delay this any longer. Call the FDA (1-888-INFO-FDA ) and demand your cancer vaccine.

Cervical Cancer Vaccine Is Found Effective - nyt

the list goes on

sweet-potato wontons.


onion rings.



apple fritters.

that's right good golly got the deep fryer of her dreams.

all things henceforth will be served golden brown.

speaking in tongues

"She's back to her old patterns."

"She's in a rut."

"Missing a lot of work."

"That's what I'm talking about, she just doesn't listen to reason."

"She stopped going. She says she's cured."

raunch dressing

Girls sexuality is all the rage. There's the new study about young women's changing sexual attitudes (via feministing) and all the talk about Ariel Levy's new book Female Chauvinist Pigs

At first I wanted to give this book a chance. I'm not sure why. Something about the explanation of a raunch culture, a discussion of sex and empowerment that includes an acknowledgement that empowerment requires change to make a choice meaningful. The ladies at Slate had a good discussion about the merits of the arguments. . . though it has it's own strange hetereo-normative prudishness to it.

But I knew there was something wrong with the take. Comparing the ladies of Cake to adolescent girls wearing "Porn Star" t-shirts doesn't complicate the issue enough. Something was amiss with Ms. Levy's book -- and it's inordinate amount of press. It seems neither rigorous nor entirely insightful. It does ring a bell for me, but then no one arrives to put out the fire. Then I realized that Ariel Levy was the author of Where The Bois Are the awful piece in New York magazine about the state of ftm transgender kids in nyc. It all became clear. No wonder it's sensational -- that's the schtick.

Still, I find it disapointing. In all of this discussion about how much sex young women are having -- there is no real information on whether or not that sex is getting better, more satisfying, or if boys knowledge of women's sexual pleasure is getting any more complex. This is what I care about. I don't mind kids bumping uglies -- but I want to scream scream scream when I think about sixteen year old girls laying back for a dry, unsatisfying screw.

All of this talk about girl's sexuality and their very real (and also supposed) explotation doesn't ever offer the information or drive home the point that could change it. If you are going to have sex, you need to know what goes where for your lady pleasure. I want a study that talks about that.

As for the "raunch culture" and "female chauvinist pig" argument -- well, I think that raunch culture is slightly abhorrant. The women I know who negogiate it best are able to adapt raunch in positive affirming ways that acknowledge the fucked-upness of it's roots but use it as a means to gain pleasure -- since the alternative is none at all. The sad underside to that is that many women and girls have learned to mimic "empowerment" -- they can say all the words of feminims and independence without being able to incorporate it into their daily lives. That mimicry is where everyone seems to get confused. Because if a sixteen year old says she wants to be a porn star, it could mean one of two things. She's been reading Bust for five years, she knows how to get down, and she doesn't take no shit. Or it means that she knows that gets her attention, she envies self-possession through sex (a self posession that is rarely modeled for women in other contexts besides vamp-sexuality and mommy-dearest homemaker) and doesn't quite understand the implications of her statement. It's hard to distinguish between the two -- and they could very well overlap in a million ways.

And female chauvinist pigs -- well I feel the same way I do about that term as I do "reverse racism." It ain't right. (ie Racism requires bias plus power and privilege. Plain bias is just that.)

That said the trap of women hating other women to get into the boys club is nothing new, but it does seem to have gained new cultural strength in the past ten years. The whole "being down with the boys" and "I don't have girl friends, they're too much trouble" line breaks good golly's heart. The aim is so misdirected, the cycle so self-perpetuating. Don't hate the players girls -- hate the manufacturer of the game.


Violence Against Women Act, diluted and dirty

VAWA finally makes it through, but there's a hitch.

Stuffed into the current bill in both the House and Senate is a little, unconstitutional provision that would make it legal for police to obtain dna samples from all arrestees.

Prior to conviction. Way to ruin a good thing.

read the ACLU press release here


hey indiana

This one is a dandy.

There is currently a bill before the Indiana state legislator that would require anyone seeking to become impregnanted NOT through sexual intercourse, file with the sate.

Sec. 5. (a) A petition to establish parentage may be filed by an intended 30 parent. 20061258.001/84 (6) October 3, 2005 (1:24pm) (OBDAR)

1 (b) The intended parents must be married to each other, and both spouses must be parties to the action to establish parentage.

2 (c) An unmarried person may not be an intended parent.

That's right kids, non-married (read non-straight, read single women, read anyone but a Bibilical mom-and-pop with dysfunctional parts) would be barred from reproducing through technological means.

Am I kidding? No I am not

i could have been a great artist

If this lady hadn't stolen my medium. So pretty

research? sexism doesn't need no stinkin' research

Katha Pollitt takes down Louise Story's bullshit "Women changed their minds, they want to stay home. Period. No Conversation. All of 'em. Promise, I did research" piece which ran on the front page of nyt last week. Of course, they're in good company. Every other major magazine and newspaper are chomping at the bit to find a way to prove that women are just hormonally inclined toward toilet brushes and poop-filled diapers.

Story gets schooled: Desperate Housewives of the Ivy League?

(addendum: this is not anti-stay at home. it is definitely anti the lady stay at home because moms need to be there, because it's natural, because it's a "choice." as long as men's earning power outpaces womens, as long as there is extreme societal pressure to bear the brunt of child rearing and homemaking, and as long as gender stereotypes of "motherhood" persist there is no meaningful choice to be made. )


Holla Back NYC

What do we think of this? Holla Back NYC

(most of it sparked of course by Thao Nguyen (yeah for you!), who, after being flashed on the subway, took a cameraphone picture of the perv. It circulated blogs and web, eventually showing up in the NY Post and Fox 5 News. People identified him as Dan Hoyt, owner of two raw foods restaurants. He was arrested and charged. Gothamist has a good summary here. In late August I saw at least three or four other people posting their subway flasher photos. They all said that the act of capturing them digitally seemed to diffuse the situation, reverse the power dynamic, and make the flasher retreat. )

shout out to connecticut

For over the weekend becoming the first state to institute civil unions without court injunction. Yes, that means my neighbor to the North had legislators who based their decisions on fairness and equity, rather than squeamish discomfort and propriety.

Or, did they actually do it to ensure UConn women's team stay as "top" as it's been for the past decade or so?

I'm not saying anything, but I did hear that Vermont and UMass's recruiting was way up last year. Go figure.

the spirit and the gene

On a nameless youth-oriented networking site a cousin (16, boy, so-cal) has taken to posting bulletins that declare his love for Jesus through various calls to faith. The posts usually involve hideous anecdotes like the following:

Evil science teachers asks class can you see a tree? Yes. Can you see the sky? Yes. Can you see god? No. So God doesn't exist. Six-year-old girl replies can you see a tree? Yes. Can you see the sky yes? Can you see the teacher’s brain? No. Well, according to your logic, it must not exist. Ha ha ha, the girl is smart because she has Jesus. Atheists are simplistic!

Other ones blame terrorism and natural disasters on the removal of prayer from schools and Dr. Spock (don't ask).

This is a wants-to-be-hip kid who sends me messages about indie bands, who is painfully aware of his slim and somewhat effeminate demeanor, but has not transformed himself into a hyper-masculinized teen-beast to accommodate for it. I babysat him when he was younger. He was amazingly articulate as a child; He was speaking in full sentences at two and a half, memorizing rap lyrics at four. He was always enormously curious and quick. So I hate to hear this business coming from him. I hate to see the ways in which the respites of my youth (punk rawk! teenage angst! loneliness) are being invaded by pop-culture Christianity. Feel lost? Rock out in anger against the God-less. Amen. Oh, the evils of co-option, of cultural parasites, of mimicry. Do you have sexual desires and a broken home? Blame Charles Darwin. The connections are all loose, free-association gone amok, fear-driven.

I, constantly recovering from a religious upbringing, cannot help but say something to the kid. I sent him a quote I heard this weekend on Speaking of Faith (NPR's soothing voiced show on religion). It's from John Polkinghorne (a scientist and priest)

"God did something much more clever than create a deterministic world. Rather, the world has the freedom to make itself."
I just like how easily it ends an evolution debate. So don't believe in Darwin, so don't get down with the last hundred years of science. At least, in all your praise and admiration, give the almighty credit for some creativity. For perhaps putting into place something a little more powerful and awe-inspiring then a regular, unaltered, dude. Instead hope for growth, for change, for your free will (on the conscious and the cellular level) to actually have weight.

Then again, back when we had God and prayer in schools we could still treat our wives as chattel! We had lynching, segregation, and vigilante justice! You know, all those true and anointed markers of true human progress.

cronyism is incredible

Harriet E. Miers has never served as a judge. So she'll have no pesky record to review and slow down the nomination process. Phew, I thought we were going to have to seriously consider this position of utmost importance.

As always, check out SCOTUS blog for the most in-depth coverage. Their take this morning is:

"Miers suffers, perhaps greatly, by comparison to the President Bush's other nominee, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., and few observers would expect her to perform at anywhere near to his level before the Judiciary Committee. Only senators wholly committed to Bush's choice, perhaps solely because he made it, are likely to have an easy time with the nomination if her performance is visibly lacking.
Longtime Confidante of Bush...nyt