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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.

Location: California, United States

Friday, March 31, 2006

Red Red Wine

I have something of a Friday night tradition here in the Little Tin House. I like to have a bit of good cheese with a sourdough roll and a taste of wine. Tonight it was Red Bicyclette Syrah. A dry, fruity little wine, it's a French product bottled here in California by Gallo.

I was caught by the jaunty Frenchman cycling along the yellow label. The price was $7.99 (after the $2.00 discount I received by using my Von's card).

Gallo has grown up along with me. The company used some very sophisticated marketing techniques to find and market this gem. It was supposed to be a kind of soda pop wine, I think, designed for those younger and more hip than I.

Surprisingly, it was the perfect accompaniment to my North Devon cheddar. I must confess to some bias here. Gallo and Boone's Farm were the cheap wines of my college days and misspent youth. In my middle aged comfort, I would not have dreamed of touching anything Gallo.

It would seem that Gallo has outdone itself and produced something that even an old broad could love.

Happy Friday bois and grrls.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Once More With Feeling

Found on my favorite lesbian message board from my friend Nony in response to this article: Court: Gays Can't Come to Mass. to Marry

This doesn't surprise me a bit. I was curious about this 1913 law they're using as the basis of this decision. An article here;

Gay Marriage Limit

[which] spells it out more clearly as a law originally written to block interracial marriages. [emphasis mine] It seems rather suspicious that the article below didn't mention such a hugely discriminatory detail, don't you think? That law should have been struck from the books ages ago and not allowed to be recycled to keep rights from yet another group of people.

I'm a little fuzzy on details but here's what this looks like to me; The people of Mass have recognized gay marriage. The Republican governor and their supreme court don't like it. To keep their actions (of allowing the marriages) from being used in lawsuits by out-of-staters, they're disallowing the union for all but their own citizens.

DOMA is supposedly overrules (sic) the Full Faith & Credit Clause set out in Article four of our Constitution. This clause agrees in 'mutual understanding to recognize, honor and enforce one another (states) actions.' There are probably about 38 or 39 states now who have rejected gay marriage..

Full Faith and Credit Clause

but just to make sure they aren't REALLY supporting gay marriage or giving any legal precedence to residents of other states.. they're waving around an old law against interracial marriage like it was a flag with Christ's face on it.

If there is a God, I think he'd be ashamed.
~ Nony

'Nuff said.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Thursday, March 30, 2006

That's Entertainment!

For the sheer entertainment value, I recommend that you check out Oliver Willis this morning. The fur is flying on the issue of racism in America; the dismal fact that one day us white folk will be a minority, and *horrors* what if English one day becomes our secondary language. You have to read the comments. First you must plow your way through the initial 4 or 5 written by Frank who, as always, is protesting that he has been misunderstood and misinterpreted.

And while you are sifting through his commentary, remember that this guy is studying to become a professional counselor.

The next 2 citations are not "ha ha" kind of entertainment but rather of the more thoughtful variety.

Jenn is giving commentary on the series Black. White. I found this comment particularly gripping. Definitely something to chew on while you eat your cornflakes.

Rose realizes that you can't try to be a race, you are a race and that this show doesn't get you any closer to being another race than you were without your native-born skin. In fact, that whole conversation between Rose and Carmen is something I appreciated: it illustrated not only the futility of this project, but also what little of a happy-go-lucky, after-school message we might get from this show. In other words, if you want racial harmony, you must respect difference, respect your own identity, respect boundaries, respect what cannot be yours, and realize that a certain amount of racial friction is not only possible but in fact an integral part of that harmony.

White Bear, guest blogging over at Bitch PhD is talking about journalists and empiricism:

One of the things that drives me absolutely batty about the notion of a "public sphere" is that we seem to take for granted that what journalists tell us is true, even when it conflicts with our own experience of the world. I'm not saying that journalists are bad people or anything, just that we assume that they go out and experience the world, see things, talk to people, experience life fully and thoroughly, and then give some kind of accurate account of it to us. What many journalists do instead is make patterns, connections, and assumptions out of the empirical experience of others.

I just snatched that paragraph because it appealed to me. One thing my dad taught me that absolutely has stuck with me throughout my life is this: Don't believe everything that you read, hear, or see. Take it in but think for yourself. Respect your teachers but don't believe that they know everything or that everything they say is true.

That concept has made for an interesting life.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Speaking of Which...

Did you ever wake up in the morning and write something really, really stupid in your blog? Because your hair is greasy and you have to wash it? And you're like late to work? And your fan base has to like see something new.

And then you had like a really cool idea to write about when you got home? But you were too disorganized to write it down?

And then, when you got home, you like totally forgot what it was? And your head was just full of stupid shit about your stupid day?

So then you just wrote something else really, really stupid. Because you were too tired to research anything interesting? Or come up with a cool idea?

That's like me tonight.

Oh yeah. And the picture is me when I was like 2 years old. I'm waaaaaaaaay older now. But I do have the same smile.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Hit Sluts Unite

With a nod to Geeky Mom. Who found it elsewhere. And so on. This is how it works in the blogosphere. Wannabegirl devised this fun quiz: Are You A Hit-Obsessed Weblogger?

My results:

Your Score: 30 / 100
30 points is in the 20 through 39 precentTYPE C (HIT-CURIOUS). You do the weblog thing for yourself instead of for an audience, but you are aware that you do have an audience, small as it might be. You are often curious as to what other people find so interesting about your weblog. You check your weblog referrers every now and then just to satisfy your curiosity.

I'm probably a bit more hit obsessed than that. But low stats don't ruin my day. If they did I would quit this blogging thing. My biggest thrill is of the forbidden fruit variety. Will my Mormon bosses ever find out that their very own NursePam has a blog entitled 21st Century Lesbian Trailer Trash? If so, what will they do about it?

Kinja, the weblog guide

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Warm Fuzzies from the Military

Unlikely title, I know. And it's not exactly the military. It's the retired military. But once a soldier always a soldier, right? Semper Fi and all that.

It would seem that these retired military officers want Justice Scalia to recuse himself from a key Supreme Court case on the rights of alleged terrorists.

...a group of retired U.S. generals and admirals has asked Justice Antonin Scalia to recuse himself, arguing that his recent public comments on the subject make it impossible for him to appear impartial...

The case to be heard today -- Hamdan v. Rumsfeld , No. 05-184 -- is one of the most important terrorism-related cases to reach the court. It is a challenge by Osama bin Laden's former chauffeur, now being held at Guantanamo Bay, to the legality of the military commission that seeks to try him for war crimes...

Apparently, this is not a first for the honorable Mr. Scalia who twice before has been asked to recuse himself from Supreme Court cases. Are we surprised? Hell no! Unlike the aforementioned retired officers, Scalia has a particularly narrow view of the Constitution, of the United States, of the world in general, and of the concept of freedom and personal rights specifically.

The retired officers are Brig. Gen. David M. Brahms, Brig Gen. James P. Cullen, Vice Adm. Lee F. Gunn, Rear Adm. John D. Hutson and Rear Adm. Donald J. Guter. They have filed a friend of the court brief in the case opposing the military commissions, on the grounds that denying Geneva Conventions protections to detainees at Guantanamo Bay could result in their denial to U.S. troops by their captors abroad. [emphasis mine]

Mr. Scalia must have failed SandBox 101 wherein children learn that turnabout is fair play. Rules may be made to be broken but you most likely will pay for that. Scalia, as he has done in the past, will probably not recuse himself from the case.

But thanks to these gentlemen who have filed a friend of the court brief, a fair amount of credence may be given to the opposing argument. Toying with the Geneva Convention could have dangerous consequences for the United States, its citizens, and its military personnel.

Just say NO to Antonin Scalia.

~from an article by Charles Lane in the Washington Post, March 28, 2006

Kinja, the weblog guide

Monday, March 27, 2006

Monday Morning Quarterbacking

Perhaps I ought to begin tracking how many cups of coffee, or how many games of solitaire that it requires for me to complete an entry in this here blog. I have a wee bit of OCD in my personality. But it is not the kind that organizes drawers, scrubs floors, or organizes bills.

It's the kind that utilizes mindless pursuits to prevent me from going completely around the bend with the screaming meemies. Pastimes that send me into a haze of happy forgetfulness for hours on end.

The nursing staff managed to push all of my buttons late on Saturday night. Why they believe that their personal problems are my utmost concern I cannot fathom. But they do. It matters not how many times nor how many ways in which I tell them that I too deserve a day off. They believe that I want to discuss their innermost struggles and dramas.

But the problem is not really theirs. It's mine. I am just stupid and insecure enough to take it from them. And they know this as surely as the infant giving the evil eye to mom who just denied him his heart's desire. A screaming tantrum is certain to ensue.

So, another weekend down the drain with guts tied in knots. No rest for the weary. Or is it no rest for the wicked? Either way, I'm a Monday Morning Mess.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Kewl Stuff

I was doing some blog surfing this morning. There are so many brilliant, funny, and fascinating female bloggers out there that I sort of dropped in my own estimation from A Plus to Mildly Entertaining.

From Dr. Crazy's Reassigned Time here is a March 15 entry on feminism. You have to scroll to the bottom to find this post. Thanks to Denise, I finally found the archive lists. But even with her help cannot find the url for certain individual posts. If you click on the link provided in her comment, it will take you to said post:

"I mean, that's just, like, the rules of feminism."
For those of you who don't recognize the title of this post, it's a quotation from the movie Mean Girls, in which Gretchen Wieners explains to Cady that the "rules of feminism" include not "liking" or dating the ex-boyfriend of another girl. Apparently, if my students' papers are any indication, the "rules of feminism" also include an implicit belief that "young girls," "teen girls," and even women are "impressionable" and "very easily influenced by the media," which is what makes them get eating disorders, have poor self-concepts, dress like sluts, act like sluts, and I'm not sure what else. What I have learned from these papers is that "young boys" don't have similar problems, and that my (primarily female) students who chose to write about these issues have internalized all of this shit about what it means to be female in our culture that a) constructs women as victims, b) constructs girls and women as total slaves to any media they consume, c) constructs women as unthinking and vain creatures who will do anything to get the attention of men (which, of course, their arguments explain, is wrong, not because it's inherently wrong to define oneself in relation to men, but because beauty is about what's on the inside and/or one can be sexy without whoring it up and baring her navel)...

For those of you who are trying to juggle high powered career along with family, Geeky Mom, who hooked me up with several of the sites mentioned here, has some interesting things to say. Like, how come it's OK for married men and childless women to ask for things to be scheduled around an upcoming conference or vacation? But if Geeky Mom asks for something to be scheduled around the kids' spring break, she gets the big fish eye from the group?

Geeky sent me to
Bitch PhD who has this great rant on abortion and the pro life movement:

Don't Like Abortion? Become a Feminist.

...And I have a real problem with people who seriously want to prevent abortions calling themselves "pro-life," to be honest, because that label is used by political organizations that are opposed to women having sex and that actively pursue policies that increase, rather than decrease abortion...

...The "pro-life" movement is demonstrably anti-woman. It is demonstrably more concerned with punishing women for having sex than it is with preventing abortion or saving children. Arguing otherwise demonstrates either ignorance or shockingly bad faith...

...Get over here with the feminists and start working to make motherhood a truly respected and supported institution, not a shit sandwich that ya'll talk about as if it were chocolate...

Bitch sent me to Ampersand. Ampersand has a bitchin' policy chart to outline pro life (read anti-women, anti-abortion, anti-choice) goals and how they play out IRL.

Somewhere along the way I stumbled across Stephanie McMillan, a talented cartoonist at
Minimum Security: Cartoons by Stephanie McMillan. Go here for a hysterical cartoon about Bill Napoli.

And just for fun,
Sandra sent me to this fun feature that she found on Kelly's blog: Gizoogle.com where you can translate your blog into street jive.

Also checked out one more item of interest called
Blog for America.

Have fun!

Kinja, the weblog guide

Saturday, March 25, 2006

The Love of a Good Man

Don't freak out just yet people. I'm still a lesbian. But this morning I was introduced to a most wonderful story over at MochaMomma's blog. Forgive me if I sound overly sentimental here.

It is a passionate and tender love story between two of the most unlikely of friends. A Princess and a Pauper. A beautiful young woman and a disheveled old man in overalls. And more than a meeting of minds, it was a union of souls that left an indelible stamp on both of them.

Told by Kelly with such depth and delicacy, her story of Allen touched me with joy and amazement; so much so that I still feel the sting of tears in my eyes. They shared a love of books, a love of ideas, and a love of the possibilities of the human heart.

While she talks of the many ways in which Allen changed her, I wonder if she truly understands that she gave to Allen this final gift: In seeing the beauty beyond the shell, she gave him the gift of knowing that he could leave this world having been loved and celebrated. The gift of sharing all that he was with the children. The gift of sharing himself with a teacher who everyday touches tomorrow.

Go here and scroll to the bottom to begin reading this lovely story.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Friday, March 24, 2006

Edwards and the Poverty Game

Salon.com has an article on John Edwards "work" on the growing divide between rich and poor in this country. Of course it begs the question: when will he get off his booty and do something about it?

Remember, I was around during the 60's and 70's for The War on Poverty. There were a whole lot of programs that pretty much amounted to nothing. Community centers sprang up like dandelions in poor urban areas. Local talent were put into place as directors and teachers. They offered art classes, basic health care, and forums for politicizing the communities.

Since they depended on grants to continue operation, many eventually withered and died. Not that people didn't try to keep them open. But often the monies were mismanaged and the government lost interest. And they didn't provide people with job training, food, clothing, or shelter.

The War on Poverty lost momentum as the poor disappeared into the background, looking good in their K-Mart clothes and McDonald's poundage. Urban areas became gentrified and the poor scattered. Or they lived in third rate housing, hidden one block over from the Starbucks and the little French bistro where Yuppies flocked with their new found wealth.

So when will John Edwards put his money where his mouth is? I don't respect him for talking about this great divide. I won't vote for him until I see him actually dive into the fray and get his hands dirty.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Phat Phobia; FFT

P-h-a-t, I am told, stands for Pretty Hot and Tasty. I don't know if you younguns still use that slang. And by younguns, I'm talking about the kids this time, not the 25 to 35 crowd. But it seems to fit for me somehow.

Jenn, over at
reappropriate, posted this on her website yesterday. It always seemed intersting to me that the word fat was chosen as a slang term for something desirable in a culture in which fat is anything but desirable. While I understand that this is not the manner in which the term evolved, it is nonetheless ironic.

The fat guy was dumped on The Apprentice last night. I think that the Donald's people always pick one or two contestants who are so far out of the league of other contestants that they can be publicly humiliated for the purpose of comic relief. And they are even cruel enough to pick contestants who are naive enough to believe that they are on a level playing field.

There are plenty of bright, charismatic, and powerful fat people out there in the world of business. People who could mop up the floor with the current pool of candidates. But they would not be chosen. Why? Because as a culture, we seem particularly unwilling to present fat people in a positive light. Even Kirsti Ally's career was in the toilet until she decided to turn her travails as a fat woman into a comedy about losing weight to salvage her acting career.

It seems to me particularly egregious that we can continue, as a people, to devalue others so consistently. And it is certainly just another example of how we love to think with our Lizard Brains because it is the path of least resistance.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

You Go Sandra!

Thanks to Renegade Mom for this link:

Retired Supreme Court Justice Hits Attacks

Supreme Court justices keep many opinions private but Sandra Day O’Connor no longer faces that obligation. Yesterday, the retired justice criticized Republicans who criticized the courts. She said they challenge the independence of judges and the freedoms of all Americans. O’Connor’s speech at Georgetown University was not available for broadcast but NPR’s legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg was there.

Nina Totenberg: In an unusually forceful and forthright speech, O’Connor said that attacks on the judiciary by some Republican leaders pose a direct threat to our constitutional freedoms. O’Connor began by conceding that courts do have the power to make presidents or the Congress or governors, as she put it “really, really angry.” But, she continued, if we don’t make them mad some of the time we probably aren’t doing our jobs as judges, and our effectiveness, she said, is premised on the notion that we won’t be subject to retaliation for our judicial acts. The nation’s founders wrote repeatedly, she said, that without an independent judiciary to protect individual rights from the other branches of government those rights and privileges would amount to nothing. But, said O’Connor, as the founding fathers knew statutes and constitutions don’t protect judicial independence, people do. [emphasis mine]

Is she saying what we have been thinking? Please go read the rest of the story. Death threats, attempted and actual assassinations of judges and their family members? Shades of the abortion doctor killings.

It would seem to me that we don't need to worry about outside terrorists. We ought to be concerned about the terror that lives within. O'Connor is calling it as she sees it and telling it like it is.

The Emporer is nekkid baby.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

White Grrl Blues

Years ago my baby sister wrote a poem about me called "My Sister Thinks She's Black." OK. Forgive me if I misremember but it was years ago and she only showed it to me once. Years after she wrote it. I believe she thought I would flip out.

It was clear to me, at the time, that this was her perception of me when she wrote it. It didn't feel like me but there was a kernel of truth in there somewhere.

I went to an all white elementary school, a racially mixed junior high school, a middle class, lily white high school, and then on to a racially diverse University. Wayne State. Located in downtown Detroit.

But I didn't just go to Wayne State. I went in 1967. A time of great social upheaval. I dated, among others, several black men. I fell madly in love with one of them and to this day still carry a torch for him. Yes. I know I'm a dyke but I still love Bill.

When I was 6, and we played "teenager," all of the other little girls wanted to have blond hair and blue eyes. I wanted long black hair and brown skin. When I was 12, I had this idea that I could disappear into the woods and become an Indian. The Native American kind. I would live in a tent and forage on the land. It was my fondest dream. I just wanted to be left alone to contemplate life and the Universe.

Where on earth did I get these ideas? Perhaps it was because I read "Virginia Dare, Mystery Girl" when I was a child. I was glad that Virginia had been taken by the natives. She seemed to have a much more rich and interesting life than she would have had raised by Pilgrims. Never mind that this book was pure fiction in the guise of an historical novel. It captured my imagination and has lived there ever since.

I was never sure if my sister was making fun of me, angry with me, or just making an observation when she wrote that poem. But the idea was interesting to contemplate. I think that I simply wished I was something other than what I was.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Monday, March 20, 2006

The Anniversary

From the Asia Times, with thanks to Professor Kim:

Regional vultures circling Iraq
By Ashraf Fahim
Mar 21, 2006

If Iraq wasn't on the brink of civil war before last month's bombing of the previously gold-domed Askariya Mosque in Samarra, which is sacred to Shi'ite Muslims, it certainly is now. The attack turned what was a low-intensity sectarian conflict hot, with media reports saying that Baghdad's central morgue alone recorded 1,300 Iraqis dead in four days of reprisal killings after the attack.

That increased violence between Arab Sunnis and Shi'ites has persisted, and fears are growing that civil war could draw Iraq's neighbors further into the conflict, or even spark a wider war. That fear was recently expressed by US Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad, who warned that if US troops pulled out, a regional conflict could result. Religious extremists could triumph, he said, and use Iraq as a base for expansion, while Persian Gulf oil supplies could be disrupted...

The predominant fear now in the region is the dismemberment of Iraq.

"If the whole state system unravels, if Iraq unravels and everybody has to choose inside Iraq - and there's no nationalist side - then everybody's state is in jeopardy," said Hollis. The neighbors are therefore caught between asserting influence to create a favorable political order and pushing so hard they force it apart. A Sunni-Shi'ite war could make this balancing act unsustainable.

A recent report by the International Crisis Group (ICG) captured this dilemma: "Should neighboring states conclude either that Shi'ite influence has become a strategic threat or that Iraq's breakup is inevitable, they are likely to take steps that will accelerate the country's disintegration ... a development in which, ironically, they have no interest..."

The Sunni-Shi'ite war in Iraq is a potential catastrophe for US interests in the region. Not only are allies of the United States being threatened and its military being placed under further duress, the symbolic setback civil war presents is profound. Korany of AUC said the US is now facing "complete failure of the objective of establishing a new Iraq, which would have been a showcase, a model of democracy for the region".
"If the Americans leave now," he said, "with the chaos behind them, it is bound to affect American influence - particularly its advice on democracy in the region."

It would seem to me that we did not learn our lessons from Vietnam. Once again the United States finds itself embroiled in a centuries old internal conflict which we will never be able to control. And it looks as though we will be forced to participate in the dismantling of yet another country.

My questions, after reading the article, are these. What does it gain us as a country to stay or to leave? And what do we owe the people of Iraq after we leave?

Understanding the 9/11 was a turning point in our country's history, are we still not done "sending our message"?

The world is no longer insular. But there are peoples and cultures that we simply cannot control. I don't pretend to have the answers. But I find the whole thing deeply disturbing.

(We have reached the third anniversary of the war in Iraq).

Kinja, the weblog guide

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Pardon Me?

I was tempted to title this post BITE ME! But then I decided to show a little restraint toward those who believe that this is a wonderful gesture on the part of Alabama.

Oliver Willis directed me to this CNN.com news snippet:

'Rosa Parks Act' would bring pardons
State mulls bill to absolve those arrested under segregation laws
Thursday, March 16, 2006; Posted: 4:35 p.m. EST (21:35 GMT)

MONTGOMERY, Alabama (AP) -- Alabama lawmakers are considering pardoning hundreds, possibly thousands, of people who were arrested decades ago for violating Alabama's segregation laws.

The idea of a mass pardon gained traction after the death last year of civil rights icon Rosa Parks, who had refused to give up her bus seat to a white man half a century earlier.

Even though the law allowing segregated seating on city buses was eventually overturned, Parks' conviction is still on the record, said Rep. Thad McClammy.

So here's the way I see it. People were stripped of their rights, of their dignity, and of their humanity. When they fought back, they were charged with crimes. Then, 50 years later, we decide it was all a mistake. "We take it back," they say. "It's all in the past. Let's just forget it."

No. It's not just in the past and it's not forgotten. I remember watching people being mauled by dogs and drenched with fire hoses on my grandmother's little black and white TV. And later, I remember Detroit burning to the ground.

The only medal that those brave people in Alabama got was a criminal record. Their own personal badges of courage. And now Alabama will strip that from them.

Of course people want to be pardoned. The vast majority of those folks were law abiding Americans who never were before or since in trouble with the law. But in return, they ought to be given medals identifying them as American Heroes. Something to show their grandchildren and great grandchildren that they played an important role in American history.


Kinja, the weblog guide

Speaking of Coffee...

Did you know that Folgers, Maxwell House, and other companies that make what the majority of Americans consider to be coffee is made from the cheapest and least flavorful beans?


There are two main species of the coffee plant. Coffea arabica is the older of them. It is thought to be indigenous to Ethiopia , but as the name implies it was first cultivated on the Arabian Peninsula . It is more susceptible to disease, and considered by professional cuppers to be greatly superior in flavor to Coffea canephora (robusta) , which contains about twice as much caffeine —a natural insecticide (paralyzes and kills some of the insects that attempt to feed on the plant) and stimulant— and can be cultivated in environments where arabica will not thrive. This has led to its use as an inexpensive substitute for arabica in many commercial coffee blends such as Folgers, Maxwell House and almost all instant coffee products. Compared to arabica, robusta tends to be more bitter, with a telltale "burnt rubber" aroma and flavor.

The largest coffee exporting nation remains Brazil , but in recent years the green coffee market has been flooded by large quantities of robusta beans from Vietnam, due to low costs and to financing provided by the World Bank indirectly through the French Government. Many experts believe this giant influx of cheap green coffee led to the prolonged pricing crisis from 2001 to the present. In 1997 the "c" price of coffee in New York broke US$ 3.00/lb , but by late 2001 it had fallen to US$0.43/lb. Robusta coffees (traded in London at much lower prices than New York's Arabica) are preferred by large industrial clients (multinational roasters, instant coffee producers, etc.) because of their lower cost.

It would seem to me that Starbucks, Peets, and Seattle's Best, to name a few, are doing the United States a great public service. The ex-housemate used to laugh and call me a coffee snob. She accused me of drinking frou frou coffee and said Folgers was the real thing. Now, when people tell me that Folgers is just as good or better than Starbucks I can reply "If you like burnt rubber, be my guest. In fact, I could stop off at the used tire place and grind you up some old tires to brew."

Just for fun, here's another frou frou coffee factoid:

One unusual and very expensive variety of robusta is the Indonesian Kopi Luwak and the Philippine Kape Alamid . The beans are collected from the droppings of the Common Palm Civet , whose digestive processes give it a distinctive flavor.

This is one that I could probably do without. I have become used to the idea of ambergris (whale puke) in perfume. But civet turds? Really. That's a coffee experience I can happily forego. Forever.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Saturday, March 18, 2006

All Things Chocolate

Once again Kelly, aka MochaMom, has inspired me. She is the Goddess of All Things Coffee. The Maven of Mocha. The Jewel of Java. She is the WOMAN!

As anyone with half a brain knows, coffee and chocolate are intimately related. Both are part of the 5 main food groups: sugar, salt, fat, caffeine, and chocolate. Life without these food groups is a life not worth living. And nothin' says lovin' like a cup of Starbucks House Blend with an espresso brownie chaser.

I have a good friend, Cat, on my favorite iVillage message board. We have a lot in common; so much so that we refer to each other as Cuz. Both of us love chocolate. A couple of years ago, when I was still a community leader on that particular board, I did some sort of game or quiz and promised a prize to the winner. Well, my cuz won and I told her the prize would be chocolate.

It took me forever but just before Easter, I bought a sweet little basket and filled it with all sorts of chocolate goodies along with some trinkets like a pen in the shape of a bird with a feather on the tip. I wrapped it up in colorful cellophane and finished it with a large pastel bow.

I took it to work with me to find a box to wrap it in, thinking I could drop it off at the Post Office on my lunch hour. I promptly forgot that it was there. As I meandered through my workday, the temperature rose to 102 degrees farenheit outside.

Oops! When I got to the car, my beautiful basket was a melted mess. I tried to nibble on a couple of pieces but this chocolate was beyond redemption. It felt positively sacreligious but the ruined chocolate had to go into the trash. The only things that survived were the basket, the pen, and a couple of Hello Kitty stickers.

When Ms. Cat next asked about her chocolate, I had to confess. Knowing how much I love chocolate, I don't think anyone in that community believed my story. They thought I was overcome with my chocolate greed and consumed it myself.

It took several more months. By way of atonement, I sent my Cuz a tower of chocolates. Delivered straight from the store. Because either way, I am obviously not to be trusted when it comes to chocolate.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Oh Yeah!

From the iVillage Sandbox crowd:

What a difference a day makes.

Your Mood Ring is Dark Red

Very happy



Kinja, the weblog guide

Friday, March 17, 2006

Shelter From the Storm

It's raining again. And I have a four day weekend. I have stopped accruing vacation time until I use some. And I desperately need a break before I go completely and utterly mad.

I went out briefly and had a veggie California burrito with black beans at La Salsa. Now I'm enjoying a glass of merlot as I surf the net.

I'm in the middle of watching a very bad movie. And almost done with a very excellent book by Octavia Butler. There's a pint of Ben & Jerry's Phish Food in the freezer. And an electric blanket with my name on it. As long as I share with the dog and the cat.

Someone told me about a great little place right here in the neighborhood where I can get a good massage for a reasonable price. I think that will be my goal for the weekend. One hour of deep tissue sounds like heaven to me.

Any deep thoughts over the next few days will be purely accidental.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Here's a Shocker

Thanks to board buddy KathyGnome and the Advocate:

Iraqi cleric wants gays killed in "most severe way"

In the midst of sectarian violence that threatens to drag Iraq into civil war, the country's influential Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has issued a violent death order against gays and lesbians on his Web site, according to London-based LGBT human rights groups OutRage.

Written in Arabic, the fatwa comes from a press conference with the powerful religious cleric, where he was asked about the judgment on sodomy and lesbianism. “Forbidden,” Sistani answered, according to OutRage, “Punished, in fact, killed. The people involved should be killed in the worst, most severe way of killing.”

Is this really news to anyone? Like you thought we were going to get warm, fuzzy Shiites instead of mean, nasty Al Qaeda?

Puuuuuuuuuhlease grrlfriends! Get your face out of your makeup bag, turn off the shopping channel, and read a book.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Beaten to Death

So Tampa, Florida sends a 14 year old boy to boot camp for joyriding in his grandma's car. And guards beat him to death. After he collapsed on the exercise field. And it's caught on video tape. Then a coroner rules it a death by natural causes.

The ruling has been reversed but the final cause of death is as of yet undetermined. We only know that it was not due to natural causes. His family had to pay for that second autopsy. I think this is known as adding insult to injury.

He's young, he's black, he has an attitude. Let's kill him.

Just between you and me, I would rather take my chances with him than with the 19 year old middle class white boy in a fraternity house. But hey. I'm not normal.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Pedophiles & Privacy: Disturbing News Bits

Just how regulated are we willing to become as a society to keep ourselves and our families "safe"? Two seemingly unrelated news items tell us that some are willing to go pretty darned far in order to harbor that illusion of safety.

From the New York Times online:

Iowa's Residency Rules Drive Sex Offenders Underground

[Iowa's] new state law barring those convicted of sex crimes involving children from living within 2,000 feet of a school or day care center has brought unintended and disturbing consequences. It has rendered some offenders homeless and left others sleeping in cars or in the cabs of their trucks...

And the authorities say that many have simply vanished from their sight, with nearly three times as many registered sex offenders considered missing since before the law took effect in September...

But studies for the Colorado Department of Public Safety in 2004 and the Minnesota Department of Corrections in 2003 have suggested that where an offender lives appears to have no bearing on whether he commits another sex crime on a child.

And from the WashingtonPost.com:

Use of Implanted Patient-Data Chips Stirs Debate on Medicine vs. Privacy

...two D.C. residents are among just a handful of Americans who have had the tiny electronic VeriChip inserted since the government approved it two years ago. But the chip is being aggressively marketed by its manufacturer, which is targeting Washington to be the first metropolitan area with multiple hospitals equipped to read the device..

But the concept alarms privacy advocates. They worry the devices could make it easier for unauthorized snoops to invade medical records. They also fear that the technology marks a dangerous step toward an Orwellian future in which people will be monitored using the chips or will be required to have them inserted for surveillance.

Perhaps they could solve the problem of released sex offenders by implanting them with data chips to track their whereabouts. In fact, law enforcement officials are already talking about special tracking devices for sex offenders. Just remember that the sex offender population could include your teenage son who made the stupid mistake at 18 of having sex with a 17 year old girl whose family decided to press charges.

We could use the chips for more than surveillance. A potential employer could save the time and cost of a pre-employment physical by scanning your medical chip. I'm sorry Ms. Smith, I can't even give you a job application because your medical history indicates that you would be unable to perform your required job duties.

Maybe we could decrease the incidence of teen pregnancies by keeping our daughters on tracking monitors until they turn 21. We could deny drivers licenses to people. We could deny people children based on a social history chip. We could deny entrance to the best colleges and universities based on fitness. We could keep the Beverly Hillbillys out of Beverly Hills.

Oh. I'm sorry. I got carried away. George Orwell already wrote that book. Check this: The world is not, has never been, and will never be a safe place to live. I don't know how much you are willing to give up in order to create the illusion of safety. Me? I'll take a little danger with my morning coffee.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

It Had to be Somewhere Around Here


And I found it, thanks to Sweet Little Wolf. A site specifically for Butch and Femme lesbians. It's a classic lesbian pairing that lost favor in the 70's but is making quite a comeback, especially among younger lesbians.

From the site:

Who Are We? Butch-Femme is about being who you are. It is not about "labels". We define who we are when we tell the truth about our lives. Butch, stone Butch, Femme, and stone Femme are natural gender expressions that are of the heart, having little to do with appearance or any stereotypical code of behavior.

With the Women's Movement in the early 70's, the personal lives of all females became political. It seems some lesbian-feminists decided decades ago that deliberate androgeny was a basic requirement to be politically-correct as a lesbian. Butches were thought of as oppressors of women, a symbol of the patriarchy. Femmes were seen as a hindrance to progress in the Movement where androgeny was not a style, but a political stance. Even though Butches have provided queer visiblility for eons, and Butches and Femmes were also both part of the resistance at Stonewall, the Sex Wars largely ignored that there are naturally occuring gender variations amongst all people.

Although I like to play with the idea, and consider myself a femme, I am not terribly into the butch-femme thing. While I find the butch persona to be tantalizing and powerful, I tend to be more attracted to femme or androgynous women.

Back in the day, you didn't know a woman was a lesbian unless she was butch or you found her in a dark lesbian bar hidden under the freeway underpass in a bad part of town. Today we can all wear rainbow flags on our butts and a double woman symbol around our necks. Butches were the brave torchbearers of our kind. Bless them.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Monday, March 13, 2006

A Woman of Uncommon Courage

From the New York Times online:

Published: March 11, 2006
LOS ANGELES, March 10 —

Three weeks ago, Dr. Wafa Sultan was a largely unknown Syrian-American psychiatrist living outside Los Angeles, nursing a deep anger and despair about her fellow Muslims.

Today, thanks to an unusually blunt and provocative interview on Al Jazeera television on Feb. 21, she is an international sensation, hailed as a fresh voice of reason by some, and by others as a heretic and infidel who deserves to die.

In the interview, which has been viewed on the Internet more than a million times and has reached the e-mail of hundreds of thousands around the world, Dr. Sultan bitterly criticized the Muslim clerics, holy warriors and political leaders who she believes have distorted the teachings of Muhammad and the Koran for 14 centuries...

Dr. Sultan said the world was not witnessing a clash of religions or cultures, but a battle between modernity and barbarism, a battle that the forces of violent, reactionary Islam are destined to lose...

She concluded, "Only the Muslims defend their beliefs by burning down churches, killing people and destroying embassies. This path will not yield any results. The Muslims must ask themselves what they can do for humankind, before they demand that humankind respect them."

Dr. Sultan grew up in a large traditional Muslim family in Banias, Syria, a small city on the Mediterranean about a two-hour drive north of Beirut. Her father was a grain trader and a devout Muslim, and she followed the faith's strictures into adulthood...
But, she said, her life changed in 1979 when she was a medical student at the University of Aleppo, in northern Syria. At that time, the radical Muslim Brotherhood was using terrorism to try to undermine the government of President Hafez al-Assad. Gunmen of the Muslim Brotherhood burst into a classroom at the university and killed her professor as she watched, she said.

"They shot hundreds of bullets into him, shouting, 'God is great!' " she said. "At that point, I lost my trust in their god and began to question all our teachings. It was the turning point of my life, and it has led me to this present point. I had to leave. I had to look for another god."...

...even as she settled into a comfortable middle-class American life, Dr. Sultan's anger burned within. She took to writing, first for herself, then for an Islamic reform Web site called Annaqed (The Critic), run by a Syrian expatriate in Phoenix...

An angry essay on that site by Dr. Sultan about the Muslim Brotherhood caught the attention of Al Jazeera, which invited her to debate an Algerian cleric on the air last July.

In the debate, she questioned the religious teachings that prompt young people to commit suicide in the name of God. "Why does a young Muslim man, in the prime of life, with a full life ahead, go and blow himself up?" she asked. "In our countries, religion is the sole source of education and is the only spring from which that terrorist drank until his thirst was quenched."...

Dr. Sultan said her mother, who still lives in Syria, is afraid to contact her directly, speaking only through a sister who lives in Qatar. She said she worried more about the safety of family members here and in Syria than she did for her own.

"I have no fear," she said. "I believe in my message. It is like a million-mile journey, and I believe I have walked the first and hardest 10 miles."

Kinja, the weblog guide

Health Tidbit for People of Color

I stumbled across the Negrophile blog and read a little snippet about African Americans being less likely [than caucasians I suppose] to receive the flu vaccine. It reminded me of something I stumbled upon while doing some internet research on African Americans and diabetes.

Diabetes is epidemic among hispanics, native americans, and blacks. And apparently, all of those groups have a high likelihood of having a related condition known as insulin resistance. Research has shown that diabetics with insulin resistance ought to be taking both insulin and oral medications to control their blood sugar.

I was first tipped off to do the research when I began to notice that among the 20 some diabetics at my facility, the people of color seemed to have the most wildly fluctuating blood sugars. Hence my online research project.

Unfortunately, precious little seems to have been published. I have convinced one of the doctors to add the oral meds for a couple of my patients with good results. But I'm not getting the response from the docs that I would like.

If anyone out there in BlogLand knows of any good research on this subject, I would be very grateful to have it forwarded to me.

In the meantime, if you are diabetic and a person of color who is having trouble with control, please discuss this with your physician.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Forgive Me. I'm Weak.

Praying to the Goddess of all that is feminist and female. I couldn't stop myself.

Freethinker stopped by today so I had to check out his blog. The most recent entry was the history of the Starbucks logo. Not good.

I went out to pick up a movie and, as always, my car drove right up to the nearest Starbucks store which is on my way home. Well. Not exactly directly on the way. But kind of on the way if I turn left instead of turning right.

Hey! The car knows the way. And she has a mind of her own. Not my fault.

Reluctantly I found myself dragged toward the store with a history of a politically incorrect logo, like a sailor to the Siren's rock. (Note the ongoing mermaid imagery)

Never mind that they have fixed it. It was probably more out of a desire to shut up the feminists and the dykes than to align with a more politically correct worldview.

I am a traitor to my kind. It's cold and rainy outside. And a Cinnamon Dolce Latte is just what the doctor ordered. A venti please. And really, noone does Gold Coast like Starbucks. I need some of those beans. Need them!

No sooner did I find out that Starbucks did not refuse to send coffee to the troops because of their stand on the war in Iraq, I find out about the spreadeagled mermaid. And I have Freethinker to thank.

At least his blog is pretty cool. I continue my trek through the blogosphere with sullied lips that taste like cinnamon. A pound of Gold Coast in my cupboard. And an espresso brownie at my side.

Kinja, the weblog guide

A Nice Family

It's all about an historic lawsuit in New Jersey. They just sound like a nice family. Why are they being denied their rights as citizens?

Thanks to Professor Kim for the link.

Kinja, the weblog guide


From the New York Times online:

A Cancer Drug's Big Price Rise Disturbs Doctors and Patients
Published: March 12, 2006

On Feb. 3, Joyce Elkins filled a prescription for a two-week supply of nitrogen mustard, a decades-old cancer drug used to treat a rare form of lymphoma. The cost was $77.50.

On Feb. 17, Ms. Elkins, a 64-year-old retiree who lives in Georgetown, Tex., returned to her pharmacy for a refill. This time, following a huge increase in the wholesale price of the drug, the cost was $548.01.

Ms. Elkins's insurance does not cover nitrogen mustard, which she must take for at least the next six months, at a cost that will now total nearly $7,000. She and her husband, who works for the Texas Department of Transportation, are paying for the medicine by spending less on utilities and food, she said.

Some drug companies and insurance companies are working to help patients obtain these expensive, life saving medicines.

...But people who analyze drug pricing say they see the Mustargen situation as emblematic of an industry trend of basing drug prices on something other than the underlying costs. After years of defending high prices as necessary to cover the cost of research or production, industry executives increasingly point to the intrinsic value of their medicines as justification for prices.

...But many patients who rely on expensive drugs are stuck in a bind. Don Schare of Saratoga, Calif., said he paid $1,260 last month for 200 grams of nitrogen mustard cream, about 10 times what he paid for his prior prescription. Mr. Schare, 69, said he was covered by the new Medicare Part D drug program [emphasis mine] as well as supplemental insurance from AARP, but that neither of his plans covered Mustargen.

Bush and his evil minions have effectively cut off the social security cushion at the knees. Between Medicare Part D and a failure to regulate big business, seniors can once again face extreme poverty, needless suffering and death, and the loss of everything that they worked for in their lives.

I just caught a snippet on one of the morning news shows yesterday. Someone said that the over 65 group were the wealthiest seniors in the history of the country and that fewer and fewer over 65 citizens were having to work to supplement their retirement income.

Don't believe it. You won't see the seniors falling from middle class lives into the underclass. And that's just fine with the super rich and with those who aspire to be super rich.

At what point did we decide that personal wealth was more important than human beings?

Kinja, the weblog guide

Friday, March 10, 2006

In Like a Lion

It has been absolutely freezing here in West Coast Redneck Country. We have had a fair amount of rain and there is a true winter chill in the air. We even had hail this morning while I was at work.

We went to Mimi's Cafe for lunch. I had a bowl of clam chowder and fresh baked bread. Perfect for a day like today.

Since I never get out of work before 7 or 8 on a Friday, I had to hurry straight home to feed my neighbor's cats and play peek a boo with the darned dog. She still refuses to come out of hiding. It looks like we are not going to be good friends. I did clean up most of her messes last night. We won't talk about that.

Now I have to decide whether to make my Friday night rounds: Hollywood Video, Starbucks, and grocery store. Or just stay in.

It's a dark and stormy night. If I venture out now, I can hunker down for the rest of the weekend and stew in my own juices.

But no. The Magster is whining. She wants her bed. I think I'll just have chicken soup and ice cream for dinner and watch something stupid on TV.


Kinja, the weblog guide

Thursday, March 09, 2006

CAT Scan

It sure in the hell wasn't scheduled. And the cat forgot to tell me that it would be an invasive procedure.

Picture this: It's 0230. The air outside is a nippy 38 degrees. The heat is turned down and the electric blanket is on. NursePam is sound asleep, curled up on her right side, dreaming of nurses who beg to come to work.

The Magster has cozily wedged her little body between my stomach and the pillow next to me. Suddenly I am awake. I feel pain on my face and see blood on my hands. I have no idea what happened.

I jump out of bed and run to my bathroom mirror. There is a fair amount of blood sprouting from what looks to be a gash on my left cheek. I have a moderate scratch on my right cheek and claw marks around my chin. Then I notice a decent chunk of the knuckle on my right index finger seems to be missing some skin.

The cat! She jumps up onto the bed post or the headboard above my head in order to look out the window. Evidently, something either startled or excited her. At which time she used my face for a springboard down from the bed post and on to the floor. Probably to get a better look from the sliding glass door in the living room.

I patched myself up as best I could with antibiotic ointment and a couple of bandaids. Then I went looking for the cat. She was hiding under the bed. I must have screamed when she jumped but I don't remember hearing it. She was not coming out from her safe spot, thank you very much.

Maggie slept through the whole thing. Today, my left cheek is black and blue, puffy, and raw looking. It hurts. So does my finger.

I never cared for that cat. Not really. She belongs to the daughter of my ex-roommate. The felon. It's not fair. But my face looks like I felt after a few years under the same roof with her.

Still, I feel obligated to care for the cat. Besides, Maggie likes her.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Don't Wanna Talk About It

The things we don't want to talk about. Or are unable to discuss without things deteriorating to mud slinging.



Stem cell research




Gay marriage and Transgenderism

The War

Health Care in this country.

Why children are still underserved in the most powerful nation on earth.

Are you depressed yet?

Kinja, the weblog guide

Blogging Against Sexism and IWD

March 8 was International Women's Day and Blog Against Sexism Day.

Where was I? Toiling away for eleven hours at my 63 cents on the dollar an hour job. On my Pink Collar career path.

It's enough to make a woman want to take a mop and bucket to work with the intent to do great bodily harm.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Your Tax Dollars at Work

The Cost of 'Don't Ask Don't Tell'
Commentary: OutRight
By Dale CarpenterPublished on 03/02/2006

Here are portions of his article:

A new study from the University of California estimates the financial costs of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, under which more than 10,000 gay service members have been discharged since 1994. The total estimated cost of about $363 million for the first 10 years of the policy (1994-2003) is a low-ball figure, according to the study. While that figure is not much in relation to the gargantuan annual federal budget of $2.7 trillion, any amount spent on excluding otherwise eligible Americans who want to serve -- especially in wartime -- is a waste of taxpayers' money.

The report breaks down the financial cost of firing service members for homosexuality under DADT into four discrete categories: recruiting costs for enlisted service members; training costs for enlisted service members; training costs for officers; and separation travel costs. Let's take a look at each of these:

Recruiting costs for enlisted service members fired for homosexuality: $79.2 million.

Training costs for enlisted service members fired for homosexuality: $252.3 million.

Training costs for officers: $17.7 million.

Separation travel costs: $14.3 million.

Finally, "financial costs" alone do not measure all the costs -- in broken careers, broken lives, broken families, in the dignitary loss to gay Americans in general -- of having a policy that expels Americans who want to serve their country simply because we learn they're gay.

I hate to say it but I fear that the military would lose billions before it would lift the policy. This is just one more reason that I sometimes wish everyone who is GLBT would wake up tomorrow morning with skin the color of lavendar.

Kinja, the weblog guide

The Passing of an Icon

Gordon Parks, a photographer, filmmaker and poet [he was also a pianist and composer] whose pioneering chronicles of the black experience in America made him a revered elder and a cultural icon, died yesterday at his home in New York. He was 93.

Parks, the son of a dirt farmer, rose from meager beginnings and above recurrent discrimination to walk through doors previously closed to African Americans. He was the first black person to work at Life magazine and Vogue, and the first to write, direct and score a Hollywood film, "The Learning Tree" (1969), which was based on a 1963 novel he wrote about his life as a farm boy in Kansas. He also was the director of the 1971 hit movie "Shaft," which opened the way for a host of other black-oriented films.

From the Washington Post.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The End of Roe v Wade?

I don't generally post links to iVillage message boards. But I think the hot topics boards are fair game. One very new board is Hot Topics: The End of Roe v Wade?

You can join iVillage for free. But you have to play nice. The boards are heavily moderated.

If you are passionate about a woman's right to choose, check out what women are saying about the issue.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Monday, March 06, 2006

Doggone It!

So here I am taking care of my neighbor's animals while he leaves for a week to help his sister in northern California. The last time was a breeze. I fed the cats. I let them in and out. I made sure mama racoon and her babies had food so they wouldn't break into his house.

This time, my neighbor leaves his dog. A sweet little long haired? Peekapoo maybe? Her name is Muffin. She came right to me when we were introduced. For the last 24 hours, she won't let me near her.

I forget that all dogs are not as lovingly dumb as mine. Maggie will bark and bellow like the best of watchdogs. As soon as you are in the house, she is all over you like chocolate on a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. Really, this dog never met a stranger.

Not so with Muffy. I entered the house yesterday morning and heard frantic barking in the back. At first I thought maybe she was locked up in the bedroom. I picked my way through the living room, then the den, then into the bedroom. There sits the dog, on top of the bed (which is piled a mile high with books) barking at me ferociously.

And so it has continued for the duration. In order to understand the problem this creates, you have to picture my neighbor's mobile home. Such as it is. Although it is structurally sound, and looks rather charming from the outside, the innards are those of the proverbial antisocial, mad genius with precious junk strewn and piled everywhere.

He has about 4 various couches and beds. It's possible that 2 of those are clear enough to sleep on. But you could only walk through his paths single file. There are books, DVDs, computer equipment, newspapers, mail, knick knacks, and unidentified stationary objects covering almost every square inch of space. And these various objects are sometimes piled several feet high. In other words, next to him, I look like Martha Stewart without the jail term.

The kitchen, because of all of the pet food and the lack of cleaning, is full of ants. I feel like I should spray myself with insectiside before I reenter my own place.

Can you imagine what one week of the dog not going out will add to the gestalt? I can't even figure out where she is doing her bathroom business. And if I could, I most likely would not be able to reach the spot. Both places that Muffin is hiding from me are completely unreachable. Even if I could grab her I probably would not try since she could bite me.

The cats are fine. I just hope the dog warms up to me soon. The neighbor failed to call me, as promised, with his sister's phone number. So I won't be getting any tips from him. This is why I kennel my dog when I leave town.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Bitchin' Blogs

Two women worth watching:

Professor Kim and Reappropriate. Both smart. Both vocal. Both literate. Both women of color.

Kim tends to be more scholarly. Jenn (reappropriate) is young and hip. Both are formidable spokespersons for truth, justice, and the American Way. The New American Way. Rooted in one of our most precious freedoms: the freedom of speech.

Now that I have posted my plug, let me comment on a comment I found on Jenn's blog. It comes under the heading of

Oh no she DIDN'T!

OK. So this young grrl comes onto reappropriate's web site and says:

i read the 360 blog yesterday and was actually hoping someone would post about it. i agree with much of what you're saying Jenn, but I have a question for you. What is the appropriate response by white people to racism? Because it seems lately with this blog and others that we're "damned if we do and damned if we don't". Either we're not accepting that racism exists -- which is bad. Or we're accepting it and agreeing that it sucks -- which is also bad? i don't get it. i'm honestly not trying to start shit here, i'm just trying to understand. do you feel that those that are not a direct victim of racism have no place in discussing it? i'm very interested to read your and others' responses to this. i've been trying for a while to find a way to ask this without sounding completely offensive, but i have a feeling i failed...

Hoo boy! First off chica, how is it bad that you acknowledge that racism exists? It does exist. You are stating fact.

The appropriate response to racism is to check yourself and then call it when you see it. Furthermore, if a person of color points out your racist leanings, don't argue. Listen.

I don't think anyone said that white people shouldn't discuss racism. I think some might have said "You don't know what you're talking about." In other words, don't argue with the experience of a person who has been places you will never be. You cannot put someone else's life into your own personal context. Which is what those with the power of the primary culture tend to do.

When one of my young, black nurses comes to me and says "I'm being discriminated against," it doesn't matter if I don't think that's the case. What matters is that she is seeing something that I don't see. Because she is automatically more sensitive to the subtle behaviors that equal racist thinking.

Not only must I listen to what she has to say. I must support that young woman, and if I recognize that she is right, then I have to reorganize my thinking. To carry it even further, it is important that I speak out to my white colleagues about any problems we have as an organization which may promote racism.

There is no overnight cure. It's a process. It's one step at a time. And if you really want to eradicate racism, you have to be willing, as a white person, to be uncomfortable, to be wrong, to take a personal inventory of your failures. And most importantly, you have to be willing to give up your sense of entitlement. Because for the most part, white people do believe that they are entitled to certain things in life before any other group. And most people don't give that up willingly.

I know it must be the ultimate in hubris for this middle aged white woman to even think that she may understand the issue. And maybe I am too hard on the young woman who posted the comment.

But it just makes me frickin' insane to think that my generation fled to the suburbs and raised a generation of middle class children who honestly believe that racism is just another word for Their Poor Me Paranoia.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Have You Seen This?

A Planned Parenthood Report on the Bush Administration and its Allies
Executive Summary
October 2003

The Bush administration has made clear its goal of overturning Roe v. Wade and denying women in this country and around the world access to safe, legal abortion at all stages of a pregnancy. What has been less visible, but equally deadly, is this administration's efforts to undermine access to birth control and effective family planning methods.

An emerging campaign against family planning is underway across the country and in international arenas, led by the Bush administration and its allies in Congress and state legislatures. This report examines some of the most visible elements of these attacks including:

efforts to strip contraceptive coverage from the Federal Employee Health Benefit Plan and limit Medicaid family planning expansions

blocking legislation to require insurance companies to provide coverage for prescription contraceptive drugs and devices

freezing funding for family planning programs

attempting to retool the primary federal family planning program ("Title X") into promoting abstinence for unmarried adults of any age over comprehensive family planning health care services

attacking condom use, removing scientifically based information about condoms from government Web sites, and promoting an anti-condom agenda in international arenas

attacking the birth control pill, IUDs, and other forms of contraception as interfering with implantation of fertilized eggs

stacking federal health advisory committees with anti-condom, anti-contraception zealots determined to replace science with ideology

threatening critics of the administration's anti-family planning policies with censorship, audits, and defunding

If the American public knew how aggressively the Bush administration and its right-wing allies are attempting to undermine family planning, they would repudiate these efforts. But they don't know. It is essential that we act now, before it is too late, to educate the public and stop this assault on fundamental reproductive rights.

Thanks to the Hot Debates board over at ParentSoup.

Kinja, the weblog guide

Saturday, March 04, 2006

SoCal Saturday

I didn't leave work until about 8:30 last night. My poor animals suffer from my often irregular hours but always seem to forgive me more quickly than I would forgive myself.

I was wide awake. So I finished Ten Big Ones by Evanovich. Then I finished watching The Weatherman with Nicolas Cage. Due to this late night orgy I suppose, I was sound asleep at 10:30 a.m. when my phone rang. My sister had left a message for me at work, complete with her phone number and my brother's phone number.

Why my sister does not have my phone number, and why she believes that I do not have her phone number, is a complete mystery to me.

It turns out that my half brother, Drew, is in town with his family and would like to meet me. I have 4 younger half siblings. Drew is the baby. I think that makes him like, young enough to be my son. I have not seen him since he was about 2 years old.

Color me bored. One family is enough. I think my father's one claim to fame was his ability to procreate. He spread his seed across the land like that famous man named Johnny. All of his trees bore fruit. In the interest of trying to be a nice person, I may make a half hearted attempt to connect sometime tomorrow.

But back to my Saturday. I arose after the phone rang. I had fresh ground coffee, the cat had her kibble, and the dog had her morning medication followed by breakfast. Followed by medication. Which was followed by a good poop. All was right in my Universe.

I noodled on the net. Blog surfed. Checked message boards. Checked e-mail. In between, I played about 300 games of Free Cell. Not because I'm hooked. At my age, you have to make sure you keep your reflexes and your hand eye coordination in prime condition.

I discovered that the 3 Olivia Butler novels I ordered from Alibris had arrived. Oh boy!

Decided to go grocery shopping and discovered that the air carried a decided Arctic chill. Laugh if you must. This may be southern California but the wind had a bite to it that one does not usually feel in this climate. Very odd.

These are some of the items I purchased:

A chicken and some vegetables to make a stew.

Haagen Dazs Raspberry Chip ice cream.

Coombe Farm mature and creamy cheddar from South Somerset.

Sour dough sandwich rolls.

A bottle of Napa Valley merlot. I purchased a copy of The Little Black Book of Wine a while back and I'm trying to be more adventursome.

Some Lean Cuisine meals (on sale) to take for my lunches.

Some Gerber veal baby food for the dog.

A couple of packages of 60 watt light bulbs.

I saw that I have earned a free drink at the grocery store Starbucks. It's my 6th one. This means that in the last 13 months, I have purchased 42 beverages at that particular Starbucks. It's one of 4 Starbucks stores that I frequent. I decided to save it for a day when I'm feeling poor.

When I returned home, my neighbor across the way knocked on my door. He has an emergency with his sister up in northern CA. I promised to feed his cats while he's away. He forgot to mention, until we sealed the deal, that I would also be feeding and walking his dog. Oh well. Luckily I like animals.

I have given Maggie her evening meds and in a few minute's I'll feed her. Then we'll hunker down in bed with my new books and the movie Domino. All in all, a pretty good day.

Kinja, the weblog guide

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