Friday, November 27, 2009

Holly M. White 1966-2009

Things about Her Hollyness: She had a wicked, quirky, dark, sense of humor. I may miss that the most. I don't have that many people in my life who can go there with me. When she was newly diagnosed, she told me her biggest fear was how embarrassing it would be if she didn't die. She loved the Cubs. Damn them for not giving her the joy of a World Series win. She took forever to order in a restaurant, even if she had been there dozens of times. And in the end she would order the same damn thing she always did. "I'll have won-ton soup and an egg roll." Really? That takes 15 minutes to decide? I bought a house with less deliberation. She had tattoos of the paw prints of her beloved pets that had died. Hope you're running with Maddie and Taylor now. She adopted Trinity, a cat who had been terribly injured, and had had one of her legs amputated. Holly spent hours, shut in a bedroom, laying on the floor while Trin hid under a bed. It took her a long time, but eventually she won Trinity over. It was an act of true love.

Befriending Holly required similar dedication. She was sometimes bristly or brusque, which I originally mistakenly identified as rudeness, rather than the wariness it really was. But the rewards were significant. A loyal friend, who thought to do things for me that I hadn't realized needed doing. The first Christmas after my father died, Holly called, telling me she had bought a wreath for my father's grave, and was it ok for her to put it there for me? The day I entered my mom into hospice, I looked up and Holly was there with a Pepsi and SpongeBob Square Pants candy.  A few years ago I was recovering from a long illness, and temporarily needed a walker. My ex told me she had asked Holly to find one for me. I groaned, because I knew what was coming. Indeed, she showed up with the walker later that day. A gaily festooned walker. Stickers all over it, streamers on the hand grips, a bicycle bell in front. So I was happy to be able to return the favor this spring. I purchased vomit bags for her to use during chemo that had a huge picture of a stick figure puking on the outside.

When Holly was diagnosed with stage IV stomach cancer this spring, she accepted her diagnosis with stunning grace. She didn't whinge on about "Why me?" She said, "Why not me?" As our friend Tammy said, "This has been her finest hour." Amen.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Hoekstra and Stupak; Doin' Michigan Proud

Last post I was all, "Yay, Kalamazoo!" (Michigan!) This post I write with cheeks aflame after the Hoekstra/Stupak twofer this week.

Let me kind of give you the run down. Stupak represents Northern Michigan, including the Upper Peninsula. The UP is mostly white, rural, (forested anyway) and is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Independent minded Yoopers are a stubborn bunch. Absolutely nothing would surprise me from a UP native, which Stupak is. Hoekstra represents Grand Rapids, about an hour north of Kalamazoo. Southwestern Michigan has a strange Jekyll/Hyde thing going on. Grand Rapids is about as conservative as they come; lots of Dutch Christian Reformed Church types. Move south, and you run into Kalamazoo, home of the fine folks who brought you "equal protection under the law" for gays and transgendered people. Leave the cozy confines of Kalamazoo in any direction, and you immediately trip over the Republicans. In other words, in a Michigan game of Hide and Seek, Kalamazoo and Ann Arbor are "home."

Our governor, Jennifer Granholm, is a Democrat, and was Biden's Palin stand in while he prepared for the VP debates last year. This is doing our Governor a great disservice. She is smart, fiscally minded, and hot. Hoekstra wants to take her place. With the prevalence of anti-incumbent voting, an R may very well take her vacant spot. And, if it helps the rest of you, perhaps Michigan could take one for the team, elect him and keep him stuck in Lansing, where he can do less damage. We are a generous people.

"Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice" is our state motto: "If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look around you." What, had Florida already taken, "Look, Water!?" No "Live Free or Die" here. No, just a "pleasant peninsula." And with our sights set accordingly low, we offer the country Hoekstra and Stupak. You're welcome.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

One Kalamazoo Wins!

Did you hear that? I'll play that part again...

Cleve mentions Kalamazoo! You may remember my last post about the ordinance here in Kalamazoo that extends legal protections, re: housing and employment especially, to people regardless of their sexual or gender orientation.

This was the press release from tonight from One Kalamazoo:

November 3rd, 2009

Kalamazoo residents approve nondiscrimination ordinance

“Our campaign started with a very basic idea, and today voters confirmed that we are One Kalamazoo,” said Campaign Manager, Jon Hoadley.

With only absentee ballots outstanding, 65 percent of Kalamazoo voters have approved Ordinance 1856 by a vote of 6,463 to 3,527, adding protections for gay and transgender people to the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance. This margin is larger than the number of outstanding absentee ballots that are currently being counted.

“I am elated with the outcome of the election,” says Yes on Ordinance 1856/One Kalamazoo Steering Committee member and local resident Janice Brown. “This vote reinforces what our campaign set out to prove – that our fellow residents of Kalamazoo share the belief that all people should be treated fairly and equally, including gay and transgender people.”

The outcome of today’s vote confirmed that all hardworking people in Kalamazoo should have the chance to earn a living and provide for themselves and their families without fear of being fired for reasons that have nothing to do with their job performance.

“Kalamazoo is a great place to live and the passage of Ordinance 1856 makes the city an even better place,” says local resident Rev. Matt Laney, Pastor of the First Congregational Church. “I am proud to live in a city that recognizes that all people deserve fairness and respect.”

The Yes on 1856/ One Kalamazoo campaign in support of the nondiscrimination ordinance involved hundreds of local volunteers and contributors, and had the endorsement of over 30 local religious, social, business, and political organization. The campaign would like to thank the Kalamazoo community for asserting their belief in the inherent equality of all Kalamazoo residents, and the countless volunteers for their hard work and dedication in recent months – and in some case, years – to ensure the passage of the ordinance.

AND, my friend Terry Kuseske, a gay man, won a seat on the City Commission! So with that good news to report, I apologize again for the infrequent posting. I will do my best to post more often in the next few weeks.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

In Which "Well, Rachel, We Are Fighting Hard, Rachel"

Ok, I must be honest and admit that I didn't watch all of the clip I have embedded above. But the interviewee was overusing Rachel's name, and that always makes me flame with embarrassment. You think I'm exaggerating? Here's a brief bit of the transcript:
"JESSE CONNOLLY, NO ON 1/PROTECT MAINE EQUALITY: Hey, thank you, Rachel, for having me on.

MADDOW: Is it right to characterize the anti-gay marriage campaign in Maine as a tactical rerun of Prop 8 in California?

CONNOLLY: Yes, Rachel. I think that we are seeing here in Maine some very similar tactics that were put out in California by the same P.R. firm that you mentioned. But I think Maine people are fair-minded people that will hopefully see through these attacks and we feel really confident about where the campaign is headed as we head into the last two weeks.

MADDOW: What are you doing differently in Maine from the folks how lost on Proposition 8 in California? I know that you‘ve studied some of that campaign and the strategies on both sides.

CONNOLLY: Yes, Rachel, this is something that we haven‘t gone to overnight. This has been a multiyear effort by advocates that knew this was a two-pronged approach. They knew that there would need to be successful both on the state legislature and have the governor sign it, and then also simultaneously build for this people the referendum clause that we have in our campaign."
I get the same feeling from this sort of thing that I get from watching the Price is Right. But I understand the gist of the segment: gay equality=good; right wing wingnuts=bad. We have a battle going on here in my own city. Pam's House Blend had an article on it a couple of days ago. The basics: our city commission voted unanimously for a gay rights ordinance, protecting against discrimination particularly in housing and employment. Of course, this got the religious right's knickers in a twist, and with a petition, they had a referendum added to the ballot. More detail can be found on the One Kalamazoo website. We've had a lot of outside help on this one; cross your fingers.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Holy Shit!

Cold medicine apparently acts as truth serum for Dr. Maddow. I know most of you have seen this, but for those friends of mine who don't actually watch TRMS, please watch this beat down Rachel delivers on Tim Phillips from Americans for Prosperity. If you're short on time, watch the second one.

That was bracing, was it not? Whew.

As I've mentioned before, when she has these confrontations I feel so tense myself. My co-dependency is showing. Last night, at the height of the interview, my phone rang and I jumped a foot. I am wondering if this harsher tone is here to stay. I don't know if I can take it. Last night, after the show, someone tweeted that Keith Olbermann confronts through the camera, and Rachel does it face to face. That seems accurate.

Friday, October 9, 2009

In Which My Maternal Side Takes Over The Keyboard

I share Rachel's obvious delight in smart girls. She geeked over the spelling bee champ:

And, last night, Caroline Moore, that wicked smart young lady who discovered a supernova, was back on to discuss the moon bombing with Rachel:

There are so many reasons to love this clip. First of all: bombing the moon! Awesome! (Although less awesome when it actually happened this morning) Secondly: Rachel's affection for geeky girls, no doubt because she was one. Thirdly, and the best reason, is Caroline herself: funny, adorkable, poised, articulate, her parents must be so proud.

As the parent of a young woman myself, there is a special place in my heart for girls who, despite societal pressures, are just themselves. In Caroline's case, she seems to revel in her geekiness, she is enthusiastic at an age when sullenness is all the rage, and she offers no apologies for her smarty-pants status.

And how many guests on TRMS are awkward, ill at ease, ramble on, and are looking everywhere but where they should be? (very distracting, Sarah Vowell) But here comes the delightful 15 year old Caroline, who acts as though she's been on national tv all her life. This kid's gonna do something good, people. You can just tell.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

In Which I Try To Force My Way Through Writer's Block

Ok, Ok. I know I have been posting with the frequency of a total eclipse of the sun; I am battling a hard core case of laziness. I've read that the best way to battle writer's block is just to write. Anything. I apologize ahead of time. Here goes:

I am not good at confrontation, which I think I mentioned here before when Rachel interviewed Tom Ridge. At the beginning of the Rick Berman interview last night, Rachel began with a pretty long rant. And it appears that Berman is sitting right there.

This is when my stomach began to tighten. How can she do that? I think that what that says about me is that I would much rather talk about you behind your back. I wish she had pushed him to answer why he thinks it's ok to call out lefty organizations to disclose who their donors are, when he so clearly defends his right to not disclose the same. Although she did get this little dig in:

Here's what I think. These fake grassroots right wing organizations that Rachel has been calling out have every legal right to hide who is funding them, same as the left wing groups do. But here's the difference: In America, by definition, liberals are anti-corporation, pro-union, speaking up for the disenfranchised, and support government caring for the poorest of our people. By definition, conservatives are pro-corporation, anti-union, and are not looking out for the little guy, at all. As has been said before on TRMS, liberals have the moral high road here. So why not frame every argument in terms of "liberty and justice for all?" I don't know what donors the lefty groups are hiding, but the end game of groups advocating for say, a higher minimum wage, isn't waging a war on behalf of money and power. The right can't say that. So, for instance, in the health care reform debate, the only thing we should be hearing from the left, and the voices are getting louder, is that the right of the individual trumps the right of the corporation. Whew. Enough of that "substantive" stuff.

Don't you think Connie Schulz, "Pulitzer Prize winning columnist," is too cute?

Smart, funny, on our side, and also very attractive. I've got a little crush blooming here.

So. did you see @WillAtWork's tweet about Adopt-A-Liberal? What a list! Their blurb on Rachel:
"Rachel Maddow, Radio and Television Show Host
Maddow is an openly lesbian radio and television personality who pushes her liberal viewpoints in the media. She favors same-sex marriage, claiming that it decreased divorce when such marriages were legalized in Massachusetts. Maddow has also called for an emergency halt on military discharges of openly homosexual soldiers."
My favorite, however:
"The Unknown Liberal
There will likely be additional liberals the Lord may bring to mind who desperately need your prayers. Feel free to select your own unique liberal and adopt them for prayer, perhaps even nominating one or more liberals for listing on our website by emailing us at"
Your prayers are welcome, my self-righteous friends.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Did You Really Think That I Wasn't Going To Lead With This?

Just one more reason to follow @stephenfry.

And the hysterical laughter redux:

Hopefully I'll be adding something substantive in the next day or so. Sorry again for the gaps between posts. I'm pretty pissed about the whole "Chicago loses out on Olympics" bullshit. Mayhap I will be parsing that sorry business.

Friday, September 25, 2009

In Which I Didn't See That One Coming

And I would be surprised if Rachel did either.

Dressed as above, chic, indeed. (looks like a shot from the Advocate cover shoot.) For realsies though, I'm not so sure:

I'm not sure what it says about me, but I think the second one is hotter. Probably for self-referential reasons.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpa's been a week since my last post. (Sorry. You can take the girl out of the Catholic school, but you can't take all the Catholic brainwashing out of the girl. Thanks, Sister Michael Anthony!) Life, policy debates, and vitriol have conspired into a perfect storm of general ennui.

You may remember me writing about my friend with terminal stomach cancer. (This picture was taken in June, if I remember correctly.) This weekend we moved her to a residential hospice. Kind of brings the debate on health care reform into sharp relief. Perhaps we should have taped the circus of trying to get her admitted, and then trying to figure out how to pay for it, and send it to the ConservaDems. And this is for a woman who has insurance, and works for the federal government. Let's show them a tape of my friend, slowed by pain and medication, trying to use a calculator to figure out if she has enough money for hospice. Let me repeat that: FOR HOSPICE!!! So, I do not care to debate the finer points of health care reform. Instead, look! A prop! Shiny!

Rachel was on Andrea Mitchell yesterday to discuss Afghanistan and race. Here's her tweet about it:

I will say it again. It's been a year now, let Rachel dress how she wants to. And wear the glasses. However, it will undoubtedly cause a shortage in black western shirts. Don't the cowboys ever wear, say, red?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

In Which I Am Damn Sick And Tired Of The Haters

Socialism, Nazism, racism, 9-12ers, birthers, deathers, Fox News, Glenn Beck, Dick Armey, World Net Daily, can all suck it!!! I am so desperately tired of the health care reform debate hysteria that I can barely stand to watch TRMS anymore.

Other than the unfortunate choice of a mule rather than an elephant, that pretty well sums up the current political debate. On anything.

I am somewhat renewed by discussion below, in which Rachel interviews Mike Lux, the CEO of Progressive Strategies, who says what many of us have been thinking: much of this hysterical hatred of President Obama is racism. There are a whole lot of white people who cannot believe that they live in a country where a black man is in charge.

And thank God for Jimmy Carter, who weighed in on the subject yesterday:

When I was in high school in Jacksonville, the KKK was still meeting publicly at another Duval County High School. Monday-PTA, Tuesday-Latin Club, Wednesday-KKK!!!!! Clearly, Obama is an uppity black, who needs to be put in his place, except that the people who would usually "put him in his place" have no recourse against the leader of the free world. They can't stare him down in a restaurant, they can't bump him with their shoulder as they push past, they can't ignore him and take care of the white customer first. In short, they can scream and carry signs. So that's what they're doing. "You better watch yourself, boy," becomes, "Obama is Hitler." Let's call a spade a spade; (oh yes i did go there) it is ugly, troubling, terrifying racism. The last person who figures out that "that person" is a racist, is "that person."

h/t to my buddy Luke for the heads up on The Family Guy clip

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

In Which I Honor A Year Of An Obsession With Politics

Ok, so it's a little more Maddow than politics, but politics are definitely in there.

I was driving out in the boonies today, and I saw a small, carefully painted wooden sign that said, "No Socialism." No context; no tangential explanation. Politics in America have become a huge game of Whack-A-Mole: If a Democrat sticks his or her head out, whack! "Everyone should have health care!" Whack! "Kids, wash your hands often." Whack! This immediate, reflexive response from the right has to be an embarrassment to every sane Republican. Like Mark McKinnon. Or John Henke, the blogger who was on last night. And who dared to attempt a throwdown with Rachel.

(I am not too proud to admit that my bowels loosened a bit when he challenged her. Flight or fight response, I suppose. Not so good at the confrontation thing.)

When I used to play the shooting type video games, I sucked, because I just shot everything. Turns out, there are consequences if you kill everything. There is absolutely nothing Obama can say tonight that will be the right thing. The Republican half of the Capitol will look like Chuck-E-Cheese on a Saturday night.

And, of course, Happy Birthday TRMS! Amazingly, I remembered this anniversary without any reminders. May not impress you, but I am the same person who could never remember my own mother's birthday. One year I called her and asked, "Is your birthday today or tomorrow?" And she answered, "Ask J______. (My ex) She knows." Ow. And ow. She really didn't care, but enjoyed beating me with it anyway. So yay for a year in the life of Rachel Maddow.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

In Which That Red Haired Girl Did A Real Nice Job!

If you're here, you are probably a fan of Ana Marie Cox. She finally got her chance at the big girl's desk tonight! Last time she was scheduled, Michael Jackson had the poor taste to die, bumping AMC. (This just in: MJ still dead. Yahoo headline today stated, "Some weeping at Michael Jackson's funeral." Wow. Crying at a funeral. Newsworthy, for sure.)

Tonight I'm just gonna be a fangirl, and write about AMC's big day. I thought she did a pretty good job. Rocky at points, with some nerves showing through. It's Kent, not Keith. But here's the awesome thing: I could just see how she would be with her own show. She shows a different kind of snarkiness from Rachel. A little more bitter. Which I love. When Alison Stewart fills in, she does an admirable job, but I still hear Rachel. I didn't with Ana. I have no idea how these things work, but she sounded like she writes, so maybe she wrote a bunch of her own stuff. Give her a chance to work out the nerves, and I think she would be awesome on her own MSNBC show. Like at maybe, 10pm. I'm just saying. I was hoping for some post-show Twittering, with a few "Gahs!," but she's probably celebrating with one of the bottles of scotch from Rachel's bottom desk drawer

I do have to say that it irritates me a lot that The Maddow's wardrobe has to get femmed up, while Ana Marie can get away with wearing the blazer and the vintage T, because she doesn't have to overcompensate for The Gay to make her palatable to an American viewing public. I think by now that Rachel has proven her appeal, and should be able to wear her black, western, shiny, shirts if she wants to. And her glasses. Any of the 14 pairs she has in circulation will do.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

In Which We Receive A Lesson In Civil Discourse

I'm sure that by now you have all seen Rachel's interview with Tom Ridge. If you haven't, make haste, make haste. I was literally on the edge of my seat. My stomach was all knotted up, waiting to see if Rachel was going to go in for the kill. And she did:

Let's give Tom Ridge some props for this interview. He disagreed respectfully, he argued his position without shouting, the one time he interrupted, he apologized.

Civility aside, she did pretty much eviscerate him. She just kept pressing and pressing. He seemed disingenuous when he backtracked on his statement in the book regarding politics driving the elevation of threat levels at Homeland Security. And at the end, when she says that positions such as his own make the Republican Party unelectable, he's toast. She, and we, are incredulous when he says that we did not invade Iraq for political reasons; that GWB wouldn't spend our "treasure" (I think that's what he says) unless he was sure it was for our nation's safety. Wow.

Did you guys see Rachel on Jimmy Fallon, saying she and Susan had swine flu? At first I thought, now THAT'S a Holy Mackerel story. But it turns out that lots of people are getting it. Like 10% of New Yorkers. She still sounds kinda sick. Last year my doctor said to me, "If you get the flu, you'll in the hospital." Very reassuring. My doctor almost told me I was going to die. Nice.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Requiescat in Pace, Senator Ted Kennedy

Although we all knew it was coming, I have to say that Ted Kennedy's death hit me hard. If I was doing word association, and someone said, "senator," I would answer, "Ted Kennedy." First elected in 1962, (!) he is the symbol of the Senate to me, and has been since I was a kid, even though I lived in Florida. He's one of the reasons I became a Democrat in a house of Republicans. I don't know enough about legislative history to completely understand his contribution, I understand it is considered unparalleled by some. Melissa Harris Lacewell wrote this tweet today: harrislacewell Passage of real #HCR would be significant tribute to Sen Kennedy.He fought to extend health care throughout his career. I would love to see that happen. A fitting testimony indeed.

Please share your thoughts about The Lion.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

In Which We Will Know Them By The Trail Of Dead*

In 2004, a couple, Nicole and Jeff Rank, were arrested in West Virginia at an appearance by GWB. For wearing t-shirts.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A couple arrested for wearing anti-Bush T-shirts to the president's July 4 appearance at the West Virginia Capitol filed a federal lawsuit yesterday alleging their First Amendment rights were violated.

Nicole and Jeff Rank were removed from the event in handcuffs after revealing T-shirts with President Bush's name crossed out on the front. Nicole Rank's shirt had the words "Love America, Hate Bush" on the back and Jeff Rank's had "Regime change starts at home" on the back.

Their lawsuit was filed in federal court in Charleston by American Civil Liberties Union attorneys. It names Gregory Jenkins, deputy assistant to the president and director of the White House Office of Presidential Advance, and W. Ralph Basham, director of the U.S. Secret Service, as defendants.

WTF? I know we now have an administration that doesn't trample all over our Bill of Rights, but why is this threatening behavior permitted? Can you imagine if I had shown up at a GWB appearance with an assault rifle slung casually over my shoulder? I'd still be in Gitmo, most likely.

This is what WH Press Sec. Gibbs said about it, “There are laws that govern firearms that are done state or locally,” he said. “Those laws don’t change when the president comes to your state or locality.”

Now, part of me loves that, but most of me does not. The brazen demonstration of firepower is another bullying technique. The unspoken threats made by these gunslingers target not only the President, but are intended to intimidate the rest of us from exercising our right to Free Speech. Not to mention, their smirking self-satisfaction makes me want to throw something at my tv. (like a sock maybe. i can't afford a new tv.)

What's next? Are they gonna shove Obama in a locker and take his lunch money? What disturbs me most is, I was plotting going to some Republican senator's town hall meeting, and stand out side with my trusty assault rifle. Fortunately for my integrity, we don't have any Republican senators here in MI. And I don't have a trusty rifle. But other than that...

BTW, the Ranks settled their case for 80k.

P.S. Do we dare hope that "Life During Wartime" is back for good?

* YES, I know it's a band.

Monday, August 17, 2009

In Which Dick Armey Is A Patronizing Ass

It's been over 24 hours and I'm still seething about Rachel's appearance yesterday on MTP. Every time she said anything, smarmy Armey would look around the table with a patronizing smile on his face. "Oh look, the girl thinks she has something to say." Aaagghh! And shame on Gregory for not forcing Armey to answer any of her questions directly. She asks question A, he answers unasked question F, and David Gregory lets it happen. And Rachel staying true to form, never gets shouty, even when maybe she should have.

I'm doing a thought experiment right now in which I imagine I am Rachel facing the rest of the MTP panel. Do I argue harder, louder, even though it's not my thing? Is it a women's issue, in which we rarely try to outshout men? I have another theory. Most of the people that I know from large families are better at getting their voice heard than people from smaller families. Like Rachel, I grew up in a two kid family, where we rarely interrupted one another, mostly because it wasn't necessary. Kids from large families had to work harder to have their voices heard, so they will talk over someone else more readily. Maybe that plays into it too. Or maybe she just has better manners than that asshat Armey!

And to add insult to injury, Rachel was forced by the tyranny of television into wearing girly shoes.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

In Which I Ease Back Into It

Hi! Remember me? Anyone still here? I am moved, out of town guests are gone, and I am back.

I am ignoring the health care reform debacle and accompanying death threats tonight because I was sent into such a rage earlier I fear a brain aneurysm should I try to discuss it here. Instead: Look! Funny!

How did those idiots not know Hawking is British? Because his computer generated voice doesn't have a British accent? How did we win The Revolution again? Oh, yeah, back then, we weren't stupid. So embarrassing. Hilarious, but embarrassing.

So you guys know those ads that run during TRMS? Am I the only one here who didn't know what this is? "When divorce is not an option." Huh? What the hell does that mean? Oh.

"Life is short. Have an affair?" Come on MSNBC. Don't embarrass The Maddow like that.

ETA: Did any of you see Lawrence O'Donnell, sitting in for Chris Matthews on Hardball, eviscerate this woman regarding her attack on Arlen Spector at a town hall meeting?

More Yankee pride!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

In Which My Internet Provider Sucks

I moved, but still no phone or Interwebs. Will be back soon.

ETA: $200 later, phone and Internet machine working. No more excuses.

ETA Part 2: 1 more excuse...I'm tired. Really tired.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

In Which I Struggle With Intellectual Integrity

Crap. Did you see Rachel's awesome interview with Alcee Hastings (D-FL) tonight on DADT? His arguments against "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" were cogent, and well presented, and most importantly, he's willing to speak out. Vehemently. Unusual in Congress these days. But since last night, when he was mentioned on TRMS, I have had this niggling thought. The name Alcee Hastings rings some sort of bell for me. So I Googled. And I remembered. In the early '80s, when I wasn't an ex-pat yet, Mr. Hastings was a judge in South Florida, who was considered so corrupt he was that he was synonymous with moral debasement in a city that breathes it. If you are corrupt enough to get the attention of South Floridians, you are bad. Really bad. He was impeached.

So, as I mentioned, this was 25 years ago or more. I am all for letting this slide, because he's on my side now, and in a big, courageous way. But, I didn't let Sen. Sessions slide on his racist comments from approximately the same time period. So, reluctantly, I feel it is only fair to hold Rep. Hastings responsible for his past actions, the same way I do with conservatives who have a past they would prefer to disavow. Or, alternatively, I vow to let those with whom I disagree slide on their unsavory past. Which I don't plan to do. So here I am, outing a man who I now admire, as a man with a very unsavory past. So, I write this in order that I not be hypocritical. But...I am also very willing to believe in this particular person's redemption.

I hated writing this post. Sorry to pee in everybody's Wheaties.

Clearing the mental palate:

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

In Which We Respectfully Request That North Carolina Rein In Congresswoman Crazypants

Seriously, what are they putting in the Republican's Kool-Aid? Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) took the floor to decry the killing of senior citizens everywhere, as outlined by the President's health care plan. She, of the Mathew-Shephard's-death-wasn't-a-hate-crime-it-was-a-hoax fame. The most generous interpretation I can offer is, she's off her meds; my actual opinion, she is batshit crazy. To underscore the finer points of "batshit," I refer to this Wiktionary entry:
Adjective - batshit 1. (slang) Too irrational to be dealt with sanely. "Don't take any courses from that professor. She's completely batshit."
Adverb - 1. (slang) Used as an intensifier. "When we heard about it he went batshit nuts."
To clarify, I am using it adverbially. On a brighter note, the Republicans are making themselves unelectable. Except in North Carolina. And Texas.

Also, it's mine! My cute little house on the lake.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

In Which I Offer What Little I Have On Race

First I offer Obama's historic speech on race during the primaries.

Maddow, et. al. parsing that speech on "Race to the White House:"

And finally, Melissa Harris-Lacewell and Rachel discuss race the night before the Inauguration:

My take on the Professor Gates debacle? I have seen racial profiling at work, and have little doubt it was a factor. But, like MHL said tonight, I wish Obama had avoided the question about it during his press conference last night, for all the same reasons. I am sick at the idea of giving any more ammunition to those who would use race to divide us. The Pat Buchanan vitriol shows that there is no lack of white rage available to be exploited. Is it really going to be that easy?

Please weigh in with your take.

P.S. Dear TRMS, Not all midwesterners come from Chicago. For Michigan, you have to flatten your As. For instance, "jacket" becomes "jyaacket." Thank you.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Accidental Martyr

The Senate passed the 'Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act' today. But there are caveats, per usual, with Congress. The biggest caveat is the F-22 issue that Rachel and Rep. Barney-His-Awesomeness-The Curmudgeon-Frank were talking about. Obama has said he will veto any bill funding the F-22, so getting the monkey off the back of the hate crime legislation is a big step forward. Now Sen. Sessions, he of "the NAACP is a commie organization" fame, has added an amendment that allows for the death penalty in certain hate crimes. Sessions does not do this because he wants the ultimate punishment for those that may commit hate crimes, but because adding it makes it harder for a lot of Democrats to support it. He hopes. Now, in a similar move, Sen. Thune (R-SD) has added another amendment, this one some guns rights thing. Seriously. Of course, all of this is because the hate crimes bill is itself an amendment to the defense spending bill.

Have I just not been paying attention all this time? What a clusterfuck!

The ripples from the rock you throw with deliberation into the lake spread no further than the ripples from the rock you accidentally kick into it. Lack of intention often has little to do with the progression of events. The ripples from Matthew Shepard's death are still spreading, sweeping us all up in concentric circles of consequences. I am sure that Matthew's family is feeling a sense of triumph tonight. Triumph that good came from horrific, and Matthew's death has meaning far beyond the event. But, as a parent, no such sense of satisfaction could ever balance the grief. And Matthew is an accidental martyr, a man who surely, as he hung from the fence, in the cold, alone, could not have imagined the effect his death would have on millions of people. Do the martyrs ever know?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

In Which We Witness A Wonk Smackdown Heard 'Round The InterWebs

By now all of you have seen this clip, probably 2 or 3 times. It doesn't get old, really. It was shocking to see such racist opinions aired in such an unapologetic way. Rachel held her own, but her natural instinct to be polite and not interrupt her guest gave Buchanan too much of a platform. I wish, the rules of fair debating aside, that she had shut him down. At the end, when she gets all fierce and tells Buchanan he's playing with fire, I felt she was only beginning to get to the heart of the matter. I couldn't believe it when she let his statement about white men building this country go basically unopposed. It is logically, historically, demonstrably false, and should not have gone unchallenged. Of course, that's easy for me to say, sitting here in the comfort of my living room, with no camera on me, and no producer screaming in my ear to go to commercial. Melissa Harris-Lacewell, a favorite of ours here at SSI, saying it much better than I ever could, had some very interesting tweets about the smackdown:

MHL - I also think @maddow looked professional and reasonable in comparison.38 minutes ago from Twitterrific

MHL - It's over. I'm definitely of two minds. I think spewing racism and uncountered racist falsehoods on TVNews is not Ok.39 minutes ago from Twitterrific

MHL - I'm not sure I agree that it's "obvious" what's wrong with Pat. Huge gaps in racial & ideology perceptions are part of what I study.41 minutes ago from Twitterrific

MHL - The funniest part to me is that nearly 100% of MSNBC shows are anchored by white guys. It's like SCOTUS.43 minutes ago from Twitterrific

MHL - Ok black people run fast. That is clear madness.44 minutes ago from Twitterrific

MHL - In the Ivy League we give out grades?!? Kiss my ass Pat.about 1 hour ago from Twitterrific

MHL - These are the death throes of Americas white supremacy. But I do think @maddow could have countered his false factoids.about 1 hour ago from Twitterrific

MHL - Ok the worst part is "white people built this country". That's just a lie. @maddow not effectively countering.about 1 hour ago from Twitterrific

MHL - Ok I think @maddow is clearly giving him way too much time to say things that aren't true.about 1 hour ago from Twitterrific

MHL - There seem to be 2 opinions here. 1 group thinks @maddow did great. Others think giving Pat a hearing was wrong. Tell me what u think.about 1 hour ago from Twitterrific

I'm sure Professor Harris-Lacewell was apoplectic at the Ivy League comment. Check that; at the whole, damn, sorry diatribe.

I guess that I am shocked that Buchanan is so enraged. I expected resentment, but the rage scares me. It makes me fear that there is probably a much bigger chunk of our country that is virulently racist than I realized. I am praying that Buchanan is a voice for only a small, bitter segment of society. So much for post-racial, huh?

ETA: Perhaps my favorite Tweet of all time, courtesy of MHL, "Ok so I wake up to my Twitterverse to learn the SCLC is ousting it's Pres because he opposes Prop 8. Lord a mercy I'm on it."

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

In Which Forbes Recognizes The Power Of The Maddow

The Most Influential Women In Media Forbes July 14, 2009
No. 15: Rachel Maddow
"Maddow's eponymous cable talk/news/events show debuted last year and now regularly beats her CNN competitor, Larry King Live, in the ratings. Maddow, 36, quickly established a reputation as someone who could tackle issues with intelligence and irreverence. With her embrace of Twittering, podcasting and fan art, she appeals to a younger, hipper audience. Her Web site is even designed like an iPod, with a "playlist." She also has a regular show on Air America, the liberal radio station."
Rachel is one of three out lesbians on the list, Ellen at number 4, and Suze Orman at number 18. In celebration, here is Rachel in media influencing mode:

Friday, July 10, 2009

In Which Ann Coulter Lusts After Rachel Maddow

Sarcasm? I think not. Just check out the first thirty seconds of the clip below from 2006.

I knew it!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

In Which My Sad, Sorry Life Regains Meaning

My keyboard runneth over! There's so much to be grateful for. Rachel's back, and she's using props and acting dorky. I haven't been this happy since...well... since...ok...since last night's awesome dinner - but you know what I mean.

First, the waders. The awesome waders. Is it wrong of me that I thought she looked hot in them?

And, please to notice: still holding her ubiquitous pen.

Now, some actual news: Al Franken is finally a senator! Senator Klobuchar mentions that Senators Kennedy (D-MA) and Byrd (D-WV) are gravely ill, which could affect the Democrats supermajority. Before you start wringing your hands, I'd like to share this from Politics Daily.
It remains one of the most dramatic scenes in Senate history. California Democrat Clair Engle -- dying from a brain tumor -- was wheeled onto the Senate floor, attended by a nurse, to vote to end a Dixiecrat filibuster against the 1964 Civil Rights Act. As civil rights historian Nick Kotz tells it in "Judgment Days," Engle valiantly tried to speak but could not form the words. So he slowly lifted his hand and pointed to his eye as the Senate clerk declared, "Senator Engle votes aye."
Teared up a little, didn't you? Kennedy and Byrd are two guys I won't count out until they are truly gone.

If you haven't seen the Oscar winning documentary about Robert McNamara, "Fog of War" that Rachel makes reference to, you can watch it free here. It is not to be missed.

And, apropos of nothing, other than Holly Hunter is awesome as ass-kicking Grace in "Saving Grace," I present the theme song by Everlast. It has been in heavy rotation in the iPod for several months. (best heard cranked, with a subwoofer)

In celebration of Rachel's return from her fishing trip on Cape Cod, I would like to share a poem. Mary Oliver, a lesbian, is known as "The Bard of Provincetown." In the linked NYT article Oliver describes her relationship with Molly Malone Cook as a “40-year conversation."
She moved to Provincetown to be with the woman she loved, and to whom she has dedicated her books of poetry, Molly Malone Cook. As Ms. Oliver explained it in “Our World,” a collection of Ms. Cook’s photographs that she published two years after Ms. Cook’s death in 2005, the two of them had met at Steepletop, the home of Edna St. Vincent Millay, when both of them were there in the late 1950s visiting Norma Millay, the late poet’s sister, and her husband. “I took one look and fell, hook and tumble,” Ms. Oliver said in “Our World.”
I am a relationship cynic, but that does melt my heart.

On the Beach

Some herons
were fishing
in the robes
of the night

at a low hour
of the water’s body,
and the fish, I suppose,
were full

of fish happiness
in those transparent inches
even as, over and over,
the beaks jacked down

and the narrow
bodies were lifted
with every
shining sally,

and that was the end of them
as far as we know—
though, what do we know
except that death

is so everywhere and so entire—
pummeling and felling,
or sometimes,
like this, appearing

through such a thin door—
one stab, and you’re through!
And what then?
Why, then it was almost morning,

and one by one
the birds
opened their wings
and flew.

Perhaps more dark than celebratory, but excellent just the same. This little picture is the only one I could find of the two of them:

Monday, July 6, 2009

In Which...

Yeah, I hope she feels better...blah, blah, blah...sorry she's under the weather...blah, blah, blah...freaking needs to feel better tomorrow...blah-freaking-blah!!!

ETA: Sorry. My tone was a little harsh, but mostly I meant it. Which I'm sure says way too much about me. Cheers to Rachel's improved health! (That seems nicer, doesn't it?)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

In Which We All Mutter, "Really, MSNBC?"

Seriously. Breaking news! MJ still dead. I have nothing to write about, so, as is usual in these circustances: gratuitious Maddow.

If I don't know who they are, I just crop 'em right out.

Rachel wears orange!

You can't really see her, but this picture cracks me up because she is dressed like nearly everyone I know.

Pictures all courtesy of MaddowFans.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

In Which There Is Another Reason For Sanford To Resign, As If There Weren't Enough Already

Read this first. I'll wait here. [whistling tunelessly, looking at random pictures]

[doo dee do dee do...another gratuitous Maddow picture]

You're back? Good. I want us all to be on the same page. I wonder if this past week's "hiking" trip was on the taxpayer's Master Card too?

I remember a Rachel rant on AAR about disgraced politicians giving their tearful apology press conferences with their tight-lipped wives beside them. So yay for Mrs. Sanford for letting the sorry, hypocritical bastard stand out there alone with his arrogance hanging out of his pants.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

So, This Happened

I'm sitting in a hospital room. It's 6:30 a.m.; I've been here since 10 last night. I'm taking the night shift, because staying up all night is a strong suit of mine. From each, to each. This past January a friend of mine made a New Year's resolution: participate in a 5K every month. Unlike almost everyone else who made a resolution, she kept hers. She won't be running one this month, although she did run just last month. Two weeks ago we found out she had cancer, metastasized to her lymph nodes, but of unknown origin. Then we found out that she had stage IV stomach cancer. Yesterday we found out she has another mass on a kidney. She is 42 years old. We, her chosen family, are marshalling ourselves into around the clock vigils.

I mention these things to you by way of explanation of my infrequent postings in the last week or so. I value very much the time any of you give to review my ramblings here, and do not want to become that link you don't click anymore because nothing new EVER happens there. Yes, I'm looking at you. You know who you are, you non-updating bloggers. It will get better in the next few days, as we become clearer about our path. So, I write to ask your patience. Thanks. I swear, I will be funny again, as God is my witness!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

In Which We Honor John Hodgman And Celebrate AMC In A Black Cocktail Dress

In honor of Mr. Hodgman's ass-kicking at the Radio and Television Correspondents' Association dinner tonight, one of my favorite Maddow videos of all time. Please to enjoy: Maddow and PC.

The aforementioned ass-kicking from J.H.

And, also from tonight's dinner, via Twitpic and Ana Marie Cox:

Oh my. Mr. Ana Marie Cox, Chris Lehmann, is a very lucky man.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

In Which I Needed These Tears

Via the MSNBC promo machine, the only thing to make me laugh out loud in days. A must click.

Hand update: My doctor screeched, "Oh my God!" when she saw it, know...much better.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

In Which, "Bad Kitty!! OMG, I'm Hit!"

Ok, so this isn't actually my very bad kitty, but it is a fair approximation of what happened last night. Just add teeth. Lots of teeth. If you will look to the right column, you will see my latest Twitter update. Further update: 24 hours later, my hand is the size of a birthday balloon, I have a fever, and I also have a dr's appointment tomorrow. I say all this as an explanation as to why, despite much that is newsworthy, I will be taking a break tonight, and maybe tomorrow night. Stupid cat. Probably paying me back for naming him "Senor Mr. Boy Kitty." On further consideration, I totally deserved it.

Friday, June 12, 2009

In Which The Maddow Demonstrates Her Sitcom Potential

Rachel was bringing the funny tonight, so I don't have to. I love Fridays on TRMS. Her first sitcom take is after the "smoking lettuce" Holy Mackerel story:

But her finest moment comes in her remarks about House Minority Leader Boehner:

And to top it all off, a DorkFactor moment with props!

DorkFactor of 8.8. 1.6 level of difficulty for managing two props simultaneously.

In Which I Do Not Have It In Me To Try To Be Entertaining. Sorry.

Seriously, ya'll, it has been a week. Hopefully something in tomorrow night's show will flip a switch in me. Gah. I do have a few things to say: Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) is awesome, plus I am a complete sucker for a little lisp. And he used the word "iteration." And he's married to a marine biologist. How cool is that? Also, regarding Kent's list of rare and unusual majors, my beloved Little Conch is majoring in LGBT and Gender Social Justice. I know, right? She says she wants to run the gay world, and those of you who know her do not doubt it. She is a force. Not that I'm proud or anything. Here's a picture of her in action: (She's the one writing)

Here she is at her leisure, with her BFF, Nick The Opera Singer and some Rosie look alike with whom I am unfamiliar:

I am a dead woman. If this post is down tomorrow, you'll know why.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

In Which, "What The Hell Is A Uiger?"

I have to say, until tonight, I had never heard of "weegers." I accept without question that they, whomever they are, have been held at Guantanamo for years, even though they are no longer considered "enemy combatants." I do question however, how in the hell some Chinese guys from Xinjiang, Muslim or not, ended up there. A blog article from ABC's "Legalities" in October of 2008 sheds some light.
The men, a group of Chinese Muslims known as 'Uighurs,' had weapons training from the Taliban in camps in Afghanistan. They were picked up in Afghanistan and Pakistan after Sept. 11th, and have been at Guantanamo ever since. They are no longer considered 'enemy combatants,' because China, not the United States, was their enemy.
This map however, really tells the story. Look at all those "'Stans" bordering Xinjiang: (you can click on the image to enlarge it)

I think I would rather live in Palau than Washington D.C., but then I'm a beachy kinda girl.

Update: Per Spencer Ackerman, a Maddow favorite, the Uigers, at least a significant number of the 17, are goin' to the shore.

Monday, June 8, 2009

In Which I Read Playboy For The Articles

I followed an Ana Marie Cox tweet link to an article on DADT this afternoon. Imagine my delight when I found this banner:


Umm, ahh, err...what? Oh, sorry. The article is good too.

Tonight, I may actually write a substantive post. And then again, maybe I won't.