kitchen table

two day nap

Dismay uploaded by Lindsay Beyerstein.

I’ve sort of jumped ship these past couple weeks, been so busy with my two jobs & all the campaign work. It’s all over now though–the campaign, that is–and I am so, so please with the results.

After leaving the party at Democratic headquarters last night, a bunch of us headed down to Founding Fathers, a bar. We attempted to place our campaign stickers on the backs of unsuspecting Republicans–a fun game when your drunk on alcohol and exhaustion. Anyway, I’m ready for a two-day nap.

Follow all the news & updates here…

Lindsay Beyerstein photographing the faces of defeat in Virginia.

Buffalogeek has local analysis and some videos up from the after party.

South Dakota rejects the abortion ban.


practical advice from Mark Crispin Miller
September 5, 2006, 11:26 pm
Filed under: Blogging, politics

So earlier today I was reading this editorial about election fraud over at the New York Times. I didn’t know what to feel nauseous about first: the overwhelming evidence that suggests our democratic process will be screwed over again this November or the fact that this isn’t–and hasn’t been–front page news. I also felt helpless, remembering the interview with Julian Bond I read before the 2004 election, during which he predicted, “It will be worse than in 2000.” And let’s not forget, Julian Bond has seen his fair share of disenfranchisement.

The following find over at that the Huffington Post was especially relevant then: Five Things to Do Before Election Day by Mark Crispin Miller, an author who has covered election fraud extensively. He has some great, do-able ideas on how we can all address election fraud in the upcoming mid-term elections–a great alternative to sitting on your ass and feeling nauseous.

Talk to me when you’ve been a right-wing political hack
September 5, 2006, 5:22 pm
Filed under: Activism, conservative craziness, Growing Up, politics

One of my favorite writers at livejournal, Laura, has an Open Letter to Bill O’Reilly up at her journal. She takes O’Reilly to task for asking celebrities like George Clooney and the Dixie Chicks detailed, case-specific questions about the war on “Islamic Fascists,” and gives a pretty great history of The Muslim Brotherhood, which O’Reilly mistakenly calls “The Islamic Brotherhood.”

Laura’s post also made me think about an oft-employed tactic mostly older, mostly male relatives have used on me during discussions in which they disagree with my stance. I’ve heard it employed by non-relatives too, across the gender lines. I usually call it the Talk to Me When You’ve Been a Teacher for 35 Years argument since this was the first version I heard as an Opinionated Young Person. The older person, and it really doesn’t matter how much older, dismisses the younger person’s thoughts and ideas with simple, “Yeah, well, talk to me when you [insert specific experience; ranging in detail, depth, and length of time to “complete” said experience] and then we’ll see.” Besides the “Talk to me when you’ve been a teacher for 35 years,” response to a discussion about education reform, I’ve received the “Talk to me after you’ve been in the Korean War,” and “Talk to me when you’ve got a mortgage.” (My friend Stephen, with whom I am applying for a mortgage, and I are secretly excited to be fake-condescending to our friends and respond to anything they say with, “Well, [Friend’s name] talk to me when you’ve got a mortgage.”)

It’s not so much that I think the experiences of teaching for 35 years, or being in a foreign war, or having a mortgage are insignificant. It’s the assumption that there is only one right conclusion derived from such an experience that bothers me, as well as the admittance that then and only then will Older Person consider Younger Person’s ideas. It’s unfortunate because a potentially great teaching-moment is flushed down the toilet.

All that aside, I don’t want to claim that I haven’t dismissed someone’s argument for a perceived lack of experience on their part. But what I always strive to do, and what I think we’d all benefit from, is to see those moments as an opportunity to share an experience. An opportunity to trace the evolution of related beliefs and, quite possibly, earn some respect.

Overheard conversations, the low-down, & illness-induced web browsing
August 15, 2006, 3:35 pm
Filed under: Activism, Blogroll, Feminism, Gender, Healthcare, politics, Reproductive Rights

From Feminist Law Professors, a post describing Catholics’ desire for female priests. This reminds me of a conversation I mostly overheard and minorly participated in at my boyfriend’s family party last weekend. His mother and a cousin–his mom raised in an Italian, catholic community on the West side–were discussing the shrinking number of nuns. When they were in school, both went to private high schools from what I gathered, it wasn’t uncommon for a graduating class to “give” upwards of 30 girls to the order. Among the few women who didn’t leave the order for careers or marriage, the youngest age group is nearing 60. BF’s mom was saying that they needed to find another role for women in the church–that something had to change–because those nuns were treated like crap by the priests and women aren’t interested in it anymore. I sat back and listened as I find nuns–and the conversations of older women–to be interesting. Very interesting.

Along similar (if not stretched) lines, Nicole J has some photos up of her thesis project Viola Swamp School for Girls:

It was an interactive installation that allowed viewers to rummage through, among other bags and containers, a pink Jansport backpack. There were notes, biology lab reports, and signed permission slips–all handwritten by Nicole–along with lunches, post-it notes from Mom, and fortunte tellers. Totally brings me back to that time known as middle school.

And finally, Bill & Melinda Gates came out strong for sex-worker rights and the framing of the AIDS epidemic as a woman’s issue. The 16th International AIDS conference is being held just an hour and a half North of this woman’s table, in Toronto, and it was with much nodding that I read the following quote this morning, “We need to put the power to prevent HIV in the hands of women. This is true whether the woman is a faithful married mother of small children or a sex worker trying to scrape out a living in a slum. No matter where she lives or what she does, a woman should never need her partner’s permission to save her own life.” That’s Bill Gates talking and no matter how many other people have been saying the same thing for years, I’m still darned glad to hear it coming from his white, influential, rich-ass mouth. Read more at Common Dreams.

In other news, I have an allergy-attack rash all over my body. Grossssss.

Why be a hater, Phyllis?
August 14, 2006, 5:58 pm
Filed under: books, Feminism, Gender, politics

Dear friend Brynn came to visit yesterday and before I slipped into my allergy-induced coma of sick, she and I walked to the bookstore for some browsing. I made my way to the back of the store and looked, shelf by shelf, for some titles in the women’s studies section. There, staring up at me from a stack 3-4 books deep, was a stack of the following book by Phyllis Chesler:

First reaction: What the fuck, Phyllis? I’ve been annoyed with her since I picked up a copy of the condescending Letters to a Young Feminist at the library several years back. My annoyance was only compounded when a friend bought me another Chesler tirade, Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman. I take issue not just with the content of her texts but also her flashy, attention-grabbing, a la Ann Coulter dust-jackets.

I can just imagine some asshole walking into the bookstore, seeing the cover of The Death of Feminism, and thinking, “Oh, it’s been proven by an insider!” Chesler should be aware of the rhetoric, aware of the frequency with which outfits like Time and Newsweek claim the feminist movement is dead, and choose her words and images carefully. Her title is reckless and ultimately damaging to a movement about which she claims to care and, it seems, not that appropriate for the content of her book.

healthy competition?
August 11, 2006, 3:14 pm
Filed under: Healthcare, politics

If one more co-worker tries to be competitive with me regarding the amount of sleep I didn’t get, or how much of my personal life I’ve sacrificed in the name of Work, I will scream. The lack of humanity in these kinds of exchanges is unbelievable. I don’t have a problem with working my ass off–it’s not that–it’s the encouragement of what is, essentially, an unhealthy lifestyle and the competition to be the most masochistic.


back and forth
August 4, 2006, 11:54 am
Filed under: Activism, friends, politics

Stephen wrote me recently, saying something to the effect of, “What’s with the constant back and forth: I hate my job, I like my job, I’m quitting, What I’m doing is kinda neat, I hate my job.”

As the date of the primary approaches, I’m both full of dread and a sense of empowerment. It’s confusing. This business I’m working in–politics–gets so ugly at times that throwing in the towel in a fit of disgust seems like the most reasonable action. But then I have a conversation with one of my allies, and another conversation, and another, and I talk it out until I feel comfortable. Until I am reminded of oh yeah, this is why I’m here. This process, these people.