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21st Century Lesbian Trailer Trash

These are the mad musings of a middle aged woman, dyke, nurse, poet. I have a dog, a cat, a mobile home, and delusions of grandeur.

Name:
Location: California, United States

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Return of the Illegal Abortion

Thanks to my friend kathygnome for this info.

A January 23 article by Carol Jaffe on Reproductive Regression found on the tompaine.com website:

Most commonly, they ingest a whole bottle of quinine pills, with castor oil...we try to get them to the ER before their cardiac rhythm is interrupted...Sometimes they douche with very caustic products like bleach. We had a patient, a teen, who burned herself so badly with bleach that we couldn’t even examine her, her vaginal tissue was so painful....”

“Our local hospital tells me they see 12-20 patients per year, who have already self-induced or had illegal abortions. Some make it, some don’t. They are underage or poor women mostly, and a few daughters of pro-life families...”

"If you assume the quotes above come from a veteran of the abortion rights movement, talking about the "bad old days" before Roe v. Wade, when desperate women suffered death and injuries because abortion was illegal, you’d be partly right. The speaker is a longtime worker in reproductive health, whose involvement with abortion started before Roe. But the situations she describes are occurring now."

Another poster in kathygnome's forum pointed me to a 2000 article by Joyce Arthur entitled "The Only Moral Abortion is My Abortion" It is instructive to take a look at this article which contains several anecdotal stories from physicians and abortion clinic workers about pro lifers having abortions, or taking their daughters for abortions, while continuing to maintain their "pro life" stance. In psychology we call this DENIAL.

So. Let me get this straight in my tiny little mind. Pro lifers are taking advantage of the very right that they are trying to deny other women. Because they are different? Morally superior? More deserving of autonomy over their own bodies?

Their God ought to reserve a special place in hell for them. With an eternity added for each and every woman who will die as the result of an illegal abortion should this right be stripped from us.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Sammy is In. Is Justice Out?

Alito Is Confirmed for Supreme Court in 58-42 Vote
By David Stout
from
The New York Times
Tuesday 31 January 2006


"Washington - Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr., who has been widely praised for his intellect and integrity but both admired and assailed for his conservative judicial philosophy, was confirmed today as the 110th justice in the history of the Supreme Court."

"The 58-to-42 vote in the Senate gives President Bush a political triumph just hours ahead of his televised State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress at 9 p.m. Eastern time. The vote is also a triumph for the conservative movement, whose adherents have longed to tilt the balance of the court to the right.

"Admirers and critics have predicted that Samuel Alito will do just that. Legal scholars have described his jurisprudence as cautious, respectful of precedent - and solidly conservative. In contrast, the justice he will succeed, Sandra Day O'Connor, who is retiring, came to be widely regarded as a swing justice between the tribunal's liberal and conservative wings...

"Judge Alito's supporters have described him as a jurist who would not seek to undo the work of legislators and adopt his own agenda. His detractors say he has consistently sided with big government and big business, and that he does not believe a woman has a right to an abortion...

"But history shows that a justice's path cannot always be charted in advance.

Two of President Dwight D. Eisenhower's Supreme Court nominees, Earl Warren and William J. Brennan Jr., turned out to be considerably more liberal than Eisenhower had envisioned or desired. And Justice David H. Souter, named to the court by the first President Bush, has likewise been a disappointment to latter-day conservatives."

One can always hope that Alito will prove to be more balanced than his record shows; that the weight of responsibility of being a Supreme Court Justice will temper some of his decisions. However, anyone who doubts that there is a clear and well thought out movement to the far right in this country must have corn flakes where their brains ought to be.

Americans had better wake up and smell the wiener schnitzel because things they are a changin'. Please don't come sniveling to me when they drag you out of your warm bed at 0300 and cart you off to the slammer because you did not toe the party line.

Kinja, the weblog guide

RIP Phil

The attempts to rev up a filibuster to block the Senate vote of Sam Alito's confirmation to the Supreme Court bodes ill for any of us who value the Constitution and the right of the citizens to make their wishes known.

If you do not understand what a filibuster is all about, go to the Save Phil! website for a simple lesson in American history.

If you still do not understand the importance of the filibuster, perhaps your 10 year old can explain it to you. All we need is to tip the balance on the anti gun side and we could wipe out your right to bear arms.

All of us who value the Constitution and who value the history of this country; and value the process which has grown out of 2 and 1/2 centuries of the growth of our democracy need to take a good hard look at our proclivity to shut out the minority in any debate.


Kinja, the weblog guide

Monday, January 30, 2006

Monday Moan

It's Monday. Yuck! I don't want to see my boss. I don't want to see my nurses. I don't want to deal with what is supposed to be the Real World.

There are a few people I would like to bitch slap just because.

I'll walk in all put together and with a smile on my face. No wonder I have high blood pressure.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Athana's Take On Abortion

From Athana's blog, Radical Goddess Theology:

“Goddess religion recognizes that to value life as an un-tempered absolute is ridiculous – it is to maintain the right of every cancer cell to reproduce blindly, of every sperm and every egg to unite a new embryo, of every flea and cockroach to populate the world endlessly. Life is interwoven in a dance of death, the limiting factor that sustains the possibility of new life….

“The concern of the anti-abortion forces is not truly with the preservation of life, it is with punishment for sexuality….” (emphasis mine)

From an excellent article in Charlene Spretnak’s highly laudable The Politics of Women’s Spirituality: Essays on the Rise of Spiritual Power within the Feminist Movement, “Ethics and Justice in Goddess Religion,” by Starhawk.

Yeah. What she said.



Kinja, the weblog guide

Saturday, January 28, 2006

What's Wrong With This Picture?

It seems that the time honored tradition of Civil Disobedience, once so eloquently defended by Henry David Thoreau, is no longer an option in the United States of America.

"I HEARTILY ACCEPT the motto, 'That government is best which governs least"

"But, to speak practically and as a citizen, unlike those who call themselves no-government men, I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government." (Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience)

Martin Luther King, Jr. had this to say in his autobiography:

"I became convinced that noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. No other person has been more eloquent and passionate in getting this idea across than Henry David Thoreau. As a result of his writings and personal witness, we are the heirs of a legacy of creative protest."

Here we sit, 157 years later, prosecuting those who would act upon their consciences in a peaceful manner.

Torture School Protesters Face Six Months in Prison t r u t h o u t Press Release
Friday 27 January 2006

Trials Begin in Columbus, Georgia on Monday, January 30; grandmother, priests, retirees, nun, students among those prosecuted.

Washington - On Monday, January 30 thirty-two people ranging in age from 19 to 81 will begin federal trials for peacefully walking onto a military base in protest of a controversial Army training school. Each person faces up to six months in prison and a $5,000 fine for this act of nonviolent civil disobedience.


I find it frightening that we who are supposed to be among the world's super powers are so fearful of those who see things differently. We are treating our own citizens as though they are enemies of the State. Arresting grandmothers, priests, and nuns for walking onto a military base with no other end in mind than making their views known.

Yes, I understand that we are at war. And I understand that we face terrorist acts within our borders. Perhaps they were foolish to actually walk onto the base itself. But I applaud those folks for having the courage of their convictions.

Had they chosen the safer path, we would never hear of their protest. I hope that on that day when called to vote my conscience with my feet, I will have the same courage.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Anti-religious Hysteria?

23 January 2006
From Utne Online on
Frank Feridi @ Spiked Online

The curious rise of anti-religious hysteria

It is the Anglo-American cultural elites' insecurity about their own values that encourages their frenzied attacks on religion.

"To the outspoken British libertarian Frank Furedi, nearly everything that staunch liberals believe about conservatives is wrong. Simply looking at the terms we've cooked up for conservatives -- right-wing, fundamentalist, extremist -- betrays the amount of emotion and vitriol that has seeped into the left versus right debate. 'Until recently,' Furedi writes in Spiked, 'cultural expressions of religious faith were simply considered old-fashioned and gauche. But over the past decade, scorn has turned into bigotry and hatred.'"

Furedi seems to believe that the political left in the United States is if not godless, at the very least agnostic; that as a group we look down our noses on spiritual practices in general, lumping them into some all purpose category of illiterate, red neck, fundamentalist christianity.

I cannot speak for anyone else but it would seem to me that what people object to is that a political group has attempted to coopt God and morality as though they were a one note melody that everyone must sing or suffer eternal damnation in this life and the next.

While I think that Furedi has a valid point to make about religious bigotry, he seems to forget that our country was founded on the hope of religious freedom. This country is full of those who would have it otherwise. There may not be a conspiracy of dunces within our borders. But there sits a man in the White House who has embraced the idea that we ought to be a religious State.

This is my mantra: I support anyone's right to think me wrong. But your freedom ends where my face begins.

I cannot stand idly by with my mouth shut when those who remain ignorant of the Constitution attempt to dictate the direction of my personal moral compass.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Friday, January 27, 2006

TGIF

This has been a week where I actually got some things accomplished at work and in my personal life. I won't bore you with the list. But there is some good news.

My vet is returning on February 7 after giving birth to triplets on October 1. I switched Maggie's appointment for the end of February from the snippy little Brit back to Dr. Ford. Dr's Fincham and Birdwell are no more in my little Universe.

If I ever had any doubt that my poor dog reflects my inner landscape, that doubt is gone. Within days of our first visit with Fincham and Birdwell, Maggie had horrible diarrhea. Now that Ford is back, Maggie's little poops are becoming normal again. Scary to think that my personal insanity has such an impact on another living creature.

Friday is jeans day which means I don't have to worry about what to wear.

It rained last night while I was sleeping.

The nurses' schedule is in order for the weekend. Please, please, please don't someone have a nervous breakdown before Monday morning.

I'm thinking the Olive Garden for dinner. If only I can find a partner in crime.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Thursday, January 26, 2006

All The News

Lunching with my boss and the staff development director sometime during the past week, we got into a discussion of television. They were discussing the wonders of digital cable and the ability to watch their favorite shows whenever they wished.

My boss says, "So when Entertainment Tonight and Jeopardy come on, I just watch whatever I want. I read Star and the Enquirer so I already have all the news."

I have to look at her face to make sure that she is serious. She isn't overly sophisticated so I don't believe that this is a joke.

I search her face. Nope. Not a joke.

A shining example of your average American who believes that Tom Cruise is an important person and that the National Enquirer contains real news.

I hate to think of myself as a snob. But a person has to draw the line somewhere.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Which Fantasy/Sci Fi Character Are You?

It always bums me out when I get the same thing everyone else got. I like to think of myself as special and unique. It would seem that in the larger scheme of things, I am just a person like everyone else.

I am....

Galadriel

Possessing a rare combination of wisdom and humility, while serenely dominating your environment you selflessly use your powers to care for others.

Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.

Galadriel is a character in the Middle-Earth universe.


Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

Thanks Gina!



Kinja, the weblog guide

Monday, January 23, 2006

My Lucky Bamboo

Several years ago, one of my Asian workmates was horrified to learn that my lucky bamboo was not a gift. "They don't bring you luck if someone doesn't give it to you," She tittered.

"Someone did give it to me," I replied smartly. "I gave money to the cashier and she handed me the plant."

Now there's what you call a Cultural Difference.

Being your consummate nerd, I looked up lucky bamboo on the internet. My bamboo has 6 stalks. Puny. But there are 6. This means Perfect Combination which, in Chinese, also sounds like Luck. It is supposed to bring me prosperity and favorable conditions.

This might be the reason I live in a trailer instead of in a real house. I don't exactly have what you would call a green thumb. Ergo, my lucky bamboo does not thrive and my prosperity sucks.

In the end, I prefer to believe that Lucky Bamboo is just another (Chinese) communist plot to overthrow my smug American sense of entitlement.



Kinja, the weblog guide

Just Say No!

Checking in at Truthout this morning, I found an article by Cindy Sheehan about Matriotism. Ms. Sheehan says:

"A Matriot loves his/her country but does not buy into the exploitive phrase of "My country right or wrong." (As Chesterton said, that's like saying, "My mother, drunk or sober.") A Matriot knows that her country can do a lot of things right, especially when the government is not involved. For example, I know of no other citizens of any country who are more personally generous than those of America. However, a Matriot also knows that when her country is wrong, it can be responsible for murdering thouands upon thousands of innocent and unsuspecting humans. A true Matriot would never drop an atomic bomb or bombs filled with white phosphorous, carpet-bomb cities and villages, or control drones from thousands of miles away to kill innocent men, women and children."

Sheehan mentions Code Pink, something I had heard of but forgotten.

From their mission statement:

CODEPINK is a women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end the war in Iraq, stop new wars, and redirect our resources into healthcare, education and other life-affirming activities. CODEPINK rejects the Bush administration's fear-based politics that justify violence, and instead calls for policies based on compassion, kindness and a commitment to international law. With an emphasis on joy and humor, CODEPINK women and men seek to activate, amplify and inspire a community of peacemakers through creative campaigns and a commitment to non-violence.

Visit www.womensaynotowar.org to support the cause.


Kinja, the weblog guide

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Blogging For Choice

According to my friend Nelle from Crossing the Great Divide, today is Blogging for Choice Day. What stood out for me was her comment that this is freedom OF choice. It does not mean that any of us believe that it is the ONLY choice.

Since the Bible thumpers currently seem to have a stranglehold on the culture, I consider it my left wing duty to at least make mention of this day.

And while we are on the subject, here is what really grinds my behind: Why do the right wing men seem to be leading the charge? I'll tell you why. They want the little woman barefoot and pregnant. They do not want their women (or any woman for that matter) to have freedom of choice let alone freedom of movement. It is their wish that a woman not have autonomy and self awareness.

It would seem to me that one can boil this whole christian family movement down to one or two simple ideas. Mans fear of castration. Mans fear of the power of the vagina and of the womb. Personally, I think there's a little racism thrown in to boot. While the christian right supposedly embraces all christians, I'm thinking that at heart, they're afraid we aren't making enough of them white babies to hang onto the power.

It irks me that these folks just do not get the Constitution. They certainly don't understand that I have no need to undermine their personal world view as long as they leave me alone. They don't even understand that two opposing points of view can coexist peacefully here on the blue planet.

Hey. Have all of the babies you want folks. I support your right to bear children, to bear arms, and to bear me ill will. Just remember that old adage. Your freedom ends where my face begins.

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Friday, January 20, 2006

Holy Mary, Mother of God!

I always did like that expression. Not well versed in all things catholic, I was partially raised by a catholic stepfather. He was a beatnik and a Theosophist. I grew up as a Unitarian. But I did enjoy attending mass with my stepgrandparents as a young teen.

The title here is simply my way of expressing my shock and outrage at this story on CNN. It seems that some right wing "christians" want to exclude gay families from the White House Easter Egg Roll this year:

NEW YORK (AP) -- Three months before the annual Easter egg roll at the White House, the usually festive event is already taking on a divisive edge because of plans by gay- and lesbian-led families to turn out en masse in hopes of raising their public profile.

The Family Pride Coalition and other organizers envision the April 17 action as a celebration that will earn good will and showcase their families engaging in the annual tradition.

"It's important for our families to be seen participating in all aspects of American life," said Family Pride executive director Jennifer Chrisler.

Yet some conservatives, alerted to the plans this week, accuse gay activists of trying to "crash" an event for children and turn it into a forum for ideological politicking. Some groups are discussing ways to respond.


"It's improper to use the egg roll for political purposes," said Mark Tooley of the conservative Institute on Religion and Democracy. Tooley wrote a critical article this week in the Weekly Standard magazine about the planned event that has circulated widely on conservative Web sites.

Since the article appeared Tuesday, Chrisler said Family Pride has received "a flood of hate-filled, venomous messages telling us that our families aren't welcome."

Wouldn't it be fun if they excluded all the queer families? And all of the little christian progeny that will grow up to be gay turned a pale lavendar during the event? What would they do then?

Oh. I know. They could hold an exorcism on the White House lawn.

If they want to gain any credibility at all, they had better be inviting a whole lot of children from a whole lot of families that are not christian and/or not white. And let's not forget single parent families or parents and children with disabilities. And interracial families. And foster families. Then there are the families with a parent in prison. Families living with AIDS.

I wonder just how many families they could exclude if they really put their minds to the task. With any luck, the Bible could show good cause to exclude a whole lot of us instead of just the queers. If we're going for the Rapture here, why not just go all the way?

This entire situation brings to my mind Maya Angelou's poem On the Pulse of Morning. This is the one she read at Bill Clinton's second inauguration in 1993. I long for the day when all of us recognize that the human family is woven from the same fabric:

Each of you, a bordered country,
Delicate and strangely made proud,
Yet thrusting perpetually under siege.
Your armed struggles for profit
Have left collars of waste upon
My shore, currents of debris upon my breast.
Yet today I call you to my riverside, If you will study war no more. Come,
Clad in peace, and I will sing the songs
The Creator gave to me when I and the
Tree and the rock were one.
Before cynicism was a bloody sear across your
Brow and when you yet knew you still
Knew nothing.
The River sang and sings on.


There is a true yearning to respond to
The singing River and the wise Rock.
So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew
The African, the Native American, the Sioux,
The Catholic, the Muslim, the French, the Greek
The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheik,
The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher,
The privileged, the homeless, the Teacher.
They hear. They all hear
The speaking of the Tree.


~from On the Pulse of Morning by Maya Angelou




Kinja, the weblog guide

Thursday, January 19, 2006

In Tune With the Universe? Or Just Dumb Luck?


Earlier today, after arriving home from work, I was blog surfing and waiting for my midnight caffeine fest to wear off so I could sleep. My mind wandered to my gardener, Robert, and the fact that I have not been able to corral him in order to pay him for several months.

Robert is a Scotsman with white hair, ruddy cheeks, and a delightful brogue. For the mere pittance of $25 per month he keeps my little garden in pristine shape. Sometimes I know he has been by only because of the empty beer can sitting on my back porch.

I closed my eyes at my keyboard and said "Robert! Please manifest so that I can give you money." It wasn't 10 minutes later that the dog started barking, and was quickly followed by the sound of a hedge trimmer.

I hurried to the kitchen, wrote a check for $100, and went outside to catch him.

My question is this. Am I unusually tuned into the Universe today? Or was it plain old coincidence? I doubt it was my prayerful attentions to the great god Comp Uter. And I don't think my mad dash to the facility earned me cosmic brownie points. Maybe it is simple Right Intention.

It is kind of cool, every now and then to try that manifestation thing. But as I have not gassed up that old spiritual engine in a good long while, it was probably just luck and coincidence.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Happy Birthday Religious Freedom

I sincerely hope that we do not lose this one. Thanks to Chas Clifton for turning me on to yesterday's Christian Science Monitor article: US celebrates its most misread freedom by Jane Lampman.

Some excerpts from the article:

"While Americans do count freedom of religion as one of our most precious rights," says Audrey Smith, acting director of the Council for America's First Freedom, in Richmond, "many citizens aren't sure how they exercise those rights, or what is not allowed under our Constitution..."

"[One] popular misperception relates to religious freedom in public schools. In the 2005 State of the First Amendment poll, 50 percent of respondents said students have "too little religious freedom." Yet students are free to pray individually or in groups, to form religious clubs and publications, to express religious views in their school assignments, and wear religious messages on their clothing. Unfortunately, many educators are unfamiliar with those rights, though the government has issued guidelines."

It is interesting to note, further on in the article, that some American Muslims, who express happiness at being able to practice Islam as they see fit because they could not do so in their own countries, do not understand why we place so much emphasis on separation of Church and State. These are people who came from a religious State. Is it any wonder that many average American christians are confused about exactly what this separation means?

Bottom line? Without the separation of Church and State, there is no such thing as religious freedom. Chew on that for awhile.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Bitch Session

So I was yanked out of bed somewhere between 0215 and 0230 this morning by a nurse telling me that my office was flooding. The maintenance guy was on the way and only I can get into my office after business hours. Imagining what could be the worst, I slid out of my pajama bottoms and threw on my jeans and a pair of shoes.

Wearing the same sweat shirt I wore to bed; unbathed, hair uncombed, and with fuzzy teeth, I unceremoniously dumped the dog in the kitchen and took off into the night. I arrived at 0245 and checked the damage with Dan who looked no better or cleaner than I. His only advantage is that he lives almost next door.

I rescued everything that was on the floor while he gathered the wet vac and some tools to fix the overflowing toilet. While he worked on that, I made rounds of all three cottages.

When Dan was finished, I went into my office, booted up my computer, and proceeded to work. Later, I helped trouble shoot a broken medication refrigerator and then audited and corrected the new admission charts. I sent the daily schedules for the weekend to staff development. In other words, I worked for six hours on just over three hours of sleep.

When the administrator came in I said "OK. I've been here since before 0300. I'm going home.

She looks at her watch. "What? Only six hours?"

"I didn't get any sleep," I replied.

"What do you mean you didn't get any sleep? Didn't you go to bed last night?"

At this point I am failing to see how my bedtime is any of her bloody concern. "Of course I went to bed. I went to bed at eleven and they woke me up in the middle of the night."

"Don't yell at me!" She says.

Of course, if that was "yelling" then she yelled at me first.

"Well I'm sorry. I'm tired. I have been working all night on three hours of sleep."

I did not elaborate on my lack of grooming and hygiene. Although I added "And my dog hasn't been fed."

"I don't know if my dog's been fed yet either!" she says. As though this is important because a) her dog does not require medication and b) her husband is there and will feed her dog before he leaves for work.

"I have to go." I told her. And off I went.

The fact that the housekeeper was shampooing my carpet, thereby rendering my office unusable for the rest of the day was not considered important either. I guess I was supposed to wander the facility unwashed, uncombed, and stinking for two more hours just to make her happy.

But I fussed and fumed all the way home. I was livid. I'm still pissed. What in the hell is her problem? I didn't arrange the leak. I don't usually fall asleep before eleven because I so often receive phone calls up until the night shift comes in at eleven. I have explained this to her numerous times. I don't fall immediately back to sleep when they wake me up. Her standard response always is "Oh I do."

I have no idea why she believes that this means I have a choice. Nor do I understand why it matters how many hours I work today when my ten and twelve hour days don't bother her. She gets way more than her money's worth out of me. I need to think about this for awhile because it is obviously time to set some clear boundaries with the boss again.

~sigh~


Kinja, the weblog guide

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

A Little Dyke Fun






I snagged this from Brando over at Circle Jerk at the Square Dance. I don't think it was designed with lesbians in mind but I'll take it. Just remember that the best humor is not generally politically correct.







Kinja, the weblog guide

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Laughter: The Best Medicine

If you haven't found Pat Kirby's Ramblings from the Desert yet, it's because you're not looking. She talks about things like dog poop and relationships from the perspective of an everyday woman. Wry, irreverent, and down to earth, she brings a breath of sage scented air to my life.

Some excerpts from her January 9 musings, Things I Have Learned:

*Foreplay and romance are overrated. After a long, hard day, there is nothing better than a quick, frenetic fuck followed by rolling over and going to sleep.

*All women are insane. Every. Last. One. What? Did I just violate some crucial tenent of sista-hood--admitting lunacy? Tough. IN-SANE.

*I remain an agnostic. Should The Almighty wish to send me a sign, however, He may zap Pat Robertson with a lightning bolt.

You might want to add her to your favorites list. She could be famous someday.


Kinja, the weblog guide

Monday, January 16, 2006

He Had A Dream

Delivered on the steps at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963. Source: Martin Luther King, Jr: The Peaceful Warrior, Pocket Books, NY 1968

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity. But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free.

One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land.


So we have come here today to dramatize an appalling condition. In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.

This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.


So we have come to cash this check -- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God's children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.


It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the Negro. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights.

The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges. But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.


We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. we must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.


The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" we can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal." I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor's lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring." And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania! Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado! Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California! But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia! Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee! Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Kinja, the weblog guide

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Built Ford Tough

This dyke resides someplace I swore I would never go. That is, San Diego's own version of Redneck Country, otherwise known as east county. Mine is a little burg in a cluster of little burgs that used to be farmland. Probably closer to the mountains than it is to the ocean, this area is white man's cowboy country.

To be sure, the Yuppies and gentrification are encroaching. There are 4 Starbucks stores within a comfortable driving distance. There is the suburban shopping center with a Barnes & Noble, a Target, a Pier One, a Blockbuster and a Hollywood Video. Conspicuous consumerism lives even where the Aryan Nation skulks in the shadows.

As I pulled into my supermarket parking lot this afternoon in my modest Nissan Sentra sedan, I found a cozy spot between 2 gigundo Ford F 150's. To my left was a white monster. To my right a navy blue. And as I looked in my rear view mirror what to my wondering eyes did appear but a grey Ford F 150.

I have to tell you I cannot stand those huge trucks and SUV's that are eating up the highways and blocking my view. But there isn't much I can do to get rid of them. They're bigger than me.

Fer godsake boys! Put it back in yer PANTS!

Coming back out of the store, I lost my bearings because my iron guards had left me. But just as I spied my car and strolled toward it, I was horrified to see a 40 something woman in a gigundo light blue Ford F150 attempting to squish the behemoth between my car and the one on the other side of the empty spot.

I stood frozen to the pavement for a full 3 minutes as she pulled in, backed out, pulled in, and backed out. All the while her eyes showed amazement and her mouth made a little red O.

Feminism and cute bumper stickers aside. This was her husband's truck. When the woman stepped down from the truck, she was wearing the requisite velour jogging suit with a sadly poor fit and she displayed that swaybacked walk of someone who just dismounted her horse.

I left secure in the knowledge that despite the benign suburban veneer, I am indeed living in Redneck Country.


Kinja, the weblog guide

Saturday, January 14, 2006

And Ain't She A Woman?

It has been my privilege in life to get to know, on one level or another, some transgendered persons. Only one was female to male. The rest have been male to female. And they have some amazing stories to tell.

I decided to post this because an acquaintance of mine posted on another site about the Michigan Women's Music Festival and their absolute exclusion of men. Many in the lesbian community ensure this distinction by referring to transgendered women as Not Born A Woman. I first heard this expression almost 30 years ago. Young pup that I was, I wondered why a bunch of lesbians were so adamantly exclusionary.

But it seems that, to the WOMYN of the music festival, penises are disgusting, threatening, and a symbol of the Patriarchy's objectification of women. So much so, that they have a Brother Sun Campground for women who are camping with their young sons. And a Brother Sun Family campground for those women who have been blessed with both male and female progeny.

While I understand the desire to have private space where men are not allowed, I always had a particular revulsion, as a human being, to the rhetoric of this music festival. Were I the mother of a son, I would not take him anywhere near the Michigan Women's Music Festival.

For those of you who do not know, we all begin in the womb as FEMALE. Yeppers fellas! Until you get that testosterone bath, you are in mortal danger of spending your childhood pigtailed, pink, and playing with dolls.

Actually, sexual differentiation is much more complicated. But it's fun to imagine the boys digesting the ick factor to think they might actually have been born without a penis.

I must confess that I went through a period of difficulty with the concept of transgenderism. Remember, I was raised in the 50's and 60's by a therapist with Freudian leanings. But as time progressed and I began to know some of these Not Born A Woman women, my thoughts and feelings changed.

They are not gay boys. They are not cross dressers. They were in fact Born A Woman. But nobody knew it because somehow, the brain and the body came out mismatched. Anyone who understands biology and physiology ought to be able to wrap their brain around that idea.

Interestingly, people who are born with ambiguous genitalia and/or with a chromosomal makeup that does not match their morphology are considered to have been born with a birth defect. They are said to be intergendered or to have been born with a sexual differentiation disorder. The common term used to be hermaphrodite.

Yet many still consider those who are transgendered to be confused people who simply refuse to follow God's Plan. But there is indeed a central nervous system component to sexual differentiation. So why is it so difficult to take it one step further to understand that while the chromosomes and the genitalia may say male, the brain could be saying female. And vice versa.

If you want to read one TG woman's perspective on the festival's policies,
BC Holmes posted a thoughtful and rather erudite piece on this issue in 2002.

Life is so fragile and precious. And far too short to continue making everyone who does not fit our idea of how the world must be as The Other. It may be true that we need those with whom we can identify in order to solidify our self concept. To my way of thinking, it is equally true that we need something to bump up against in order to learn what makes us human.


If you want to read more about sexual differentiation in utero, simply type the phrase into your search engine.


Kinja, the weblog guide

How Dumb Is He Really?


For some reason, when I saw this picture, I thought of this song:

Dance, Thumbelina dance, Thumbelina gay your life must be!

This is the old definition of gay as in carefree and happy. Truthout.org posted this New York Times story:

New Orleans - President Bush made his first trip here in three months on Thursday and declared that New Orleans was "a heck of a place to bring your family" and that it had "some of the greatest food in the world and some wonderful fun."

Well. Maybe not so much any more Georgie. New Orleans, as we knew and loved it, is pretty much gone. But lucky you George. Half of the people are in Texas now so you can enjoy some of that fantastic shrimp gumbo when at last you return home from your wanderings in that desert called Washington D.C.

I can hear it now. Back at the ranch:

George Sr.: Junior. How could you be so stupid as to let them take pictures with that joker behind you?
Babs: Now daddy. You know that left wing communist media is out to get him. They probably planted that picture.
Junior: No ma. I think they painted it in on the computer.
Jeb: (bubble over head says: I'm prettier and smarter. How'd he end up in the White House?)
George Sr.: Next time son, just put a bag over your head. It would be less painful.

The article goes on to say:

Mr. Bush spent his brief visit in a meeting with political and business leaders on the edge of the Garden District, the grand neighborhood largely untouched by the floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina, and saw little devastation. He did not go into the city's hardest-hit areas or to Jackson Square, where several hundred girls from the Academy of the Sacred Heart staged a protest demanding stronger levees.

Mr. Bush, who appeared to be trying to spread optimism in a city that is years away from recovery, did not tell the group or the city's residents what many were hoping to hear: that he would commit the federal government to building the strongest possible levees, a Category 5 storm protection system.


He's a lame duck Prez. Why should he care?

(Photo: AP)

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Signs of the Tracker

Like a Native American tracker, the hunters of all ancient tribes, or the gypsy with her tea leaves, I start my day reading and tracking signs.

The dog pooped in the proper spot this morning. This means it will be a very good day. If I am out the house by 0830 and if I don't trip over the trash can, it will be an even better day.

If I receive more that 3 phone calls from the nurses between dusk and dawn, my day most likely will not be so hot.

If I am still sitting at my computer at this late hour, all bets are off. If every traffic light between here and the freeway is red, I will know that I ought to have stayed home.

It's not that I am superstitious. It's not even that my signs are always correct. I just like to have an idea of what to expect during the next 10 to 12 hours. Most days, it's my only connection with the earth.

The modern day drum beat of ancient yearnings.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Monday, January 09, 2006

Damn I'm Lazy!

Thanks Kimmie for showing me just how flagrantly slothful I can be. Can one even use the words sloth and flagrant in the same sentence?

My only other question is, how can I work so hard and end up so high on the Sloth Scale? Maybe that's my cue to pay more attention to my personal life.

On a positive note, I'm a veritable saint with regard to the remaining six deadly sins. Yet how sad to score so low on lust.


Greed:Very Low
Gluttony:Low
Wrath:Low
Sloth:High
Envy:Very Low
Lust:Very Low
Pride:Very Low



Take the Seven Deadly Sins Quiz

Watch Out Younguns!


Are you at all concerned about your privacy on the internet? Apparently thousands of 20 something college students are not. Or perhaps they are simply naive.

Chas Clifton posted a link in
Letter From Hardscrabble Creek yesterday to an article about Facebook. Supposedly the government is gathering statistics on all of these unsuspecting folks. I'm not big on conspiracy theories.

But I don't like the sound of
this.



Kinja, the weblog guide

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Oh My God! I Forgot To Have Children!

A number of years ago, you could buy tee shirts with that expression. That and "OMG! I left the baby on the bus!"

Actually, I always wanted children. In fact, I had a foster daughter whom I was planning to adopt. But the Universe had other plans for both of us. I was also pregnant a couple of times. But the Universe had other plans for those children as well.

Want to know something funny? My coworkers are always asking me "Who will take care of you when you are old?" Trust me, I have worked in too many nursing homes where old folks have literally been abandoned by their progeny.

That's how I learned that if you have children with specific expectations about what you will receive in return, then you probably aren't ready to have children.

I think I would have been an OK mother. Probably as good as most moms. Better than some and worse than others. I did some body work sessions on a therapist a number of years back and she told me that I had "great mom energy." I am not convinced that this is all that it takes to make a good mom.

So, I have to take all of that mom energy and displace it somewhere. Some to my nurses, some to my patients, some to my friends. A whole lot to my dog.

The most annoying thing about not being a parent, is the knowing looks and comments from parents. I could not possibly understand the joys and heartaches of parenthood.

Oh, I have a teeny tiny idea. You only need to have a child ripped from your life once to understand all you would ever need to know. And you only need one moment to understand all of the joy you might have held in your hands.

But life goes on. The best thing any of us can do is to live in the moment. And love the one we're with.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Understanding Warp Speed

A friend of mine is outlining a total meltdown in her blog. Adding insult to injury after a holiday season of stress, her academic job resumes at what she calls warp speed. I often ask myself how it is that I chose a profession in which nothing ever stops moving.

Multi-tasking is my middle name. Not that I'm very good at it. I simply have no choice.

Imagine this. I am so caught up in my job that it is a stress for me to take a break this evening to see The Lion King at a downtown theater. Although we purchased tickets last summer, the best we could get were in the nosebleed section. Nevertheless, I ought to be just a tiny bit excited by this.

We're meeting at the apartment of one of the women for a glass of wine with some cheese and fruit before driving to the theater. My 3 companions are in a frenzy of excitement. I am simply feeling pushed.

"Self," I say to myself, "get over yourself." It doesn't seem to work.

I am already worried about how to beat feet out of the facility at a reasonable time with visions of a thousand hands grabbing at my shirt tails to hold me back.

Poor me.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Sunday, January 01, 2006

What Is True?

One of the top 10 articles from truthout for 2005 was The Nobel Lecture: Art, Truth and Politics by Harold Pinter. Pinter is an actor, poet, and playwright of some magnitude. He was given the Nobel Prize for Literature for 2005.

He gave an amazing speech (via video) on the question of what is true and what is false. And he made an interesting distinction between the difficulty of discerning truth in everyday life and the necessity to discern what is true and what is false with respect to the political realm.

I highly recommend that you take some time to read his speech.

What Goes Around Comes Around

True story from one of my nurses. When her daughter was about 4 years old, mommy was in high dudgeon while scolding said child thoroughly. When she was finished, the child said to mommy: "Why do you talk to me like that? You better watch out because when I grow up and you grow down, I'm going to be mean to you."

Mommy asks "What do you mean when I grow down?"

"You know," says the little girl. "When you get old and walk like this." At which point she bends over and shuffles like an old lady holding a cane. It is stunning to realize that a 4 year old already understands emotional cause and effect on any level.

It's a cute story. With dark undertones. It reminded me of what a friend of mine used to say: "You had better pray that the people who are taking care of you when you are old, senile, and helpless weren't abused as children."

Here's a newsflash for all of you. Huge numbers of those on the front lines in your local nursing home were abused as children. Many have overcome the trauma and are kind and gentle caregivers. Many are still lost in the past often unable to even recognize when their actions are abusive.

If the care, feeding, and safety of children is not number one on your personal hit parade, then I do hope that you are preparing yourself for a rather grim old age.





Kinja, the weblog guide

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