Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I fought the plague...

Cough.

Daaaaaamn, y’all – a bitch takes an extended trip away from the internets and y’all immediately jump to the conspiracy theories!

No, I'm not done with blogging....and no, I haven't been renditioned.

Shit.

I’ve been beyond ill with an ebola-esque plague from hell, y'all!

It started a little over a week ago…with a light cough and sniffles…and went to shit faster than a GOP frontrunner campaigning in Iowa.

Sneezing and then coughing…and then I lost my voice.

For real!

Hell, it still isn’t all the way back yet…and I’m more than a little pissed off that it doesn’t have that Kathleen Turner and/or Demi Moore raspyfied sexiness that can sometimes result from losing one’s voice.

No…no, no, no, no, NO…I get to sound like Momma from “Throw Momma from the Train” (for those unfamiliar with that film, think Harvey Fierstein first thing in the morning after an evening of cigars and loud talking).

Humph.

All the humans in the house took ill…the dawgs are fine, but tired of our shit.

At some point last week I was certain that we’d end up like those villages they show in CDC outbreak movies where a plane flies in and either drops provisions, a cure, or a giant bomb to halt the plague at the source.

By Friday this damn wretchedness has evolved to the point where I checked the front door to see if someone chalked a fucking X on it.

Pause…cough pathetically…continue.

But this morning I woke up feeling sorta-human…still coughing but way better than before!

Just in time for me to feel healthy enough to get my debauch on New Years Eve…

…and start 2012 with a nice plague-based relapse.

Ah, fate.

Cough...sneeze...sigh.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Enabling oppression…

Hi y’all!

I found out about a Rutgers student’s invitation to an evening of Disney-based racism through the magic of Twitter.

***rubs palms together***

Let’s jump right on in, shall we?

Tis alleged that a white PhD student sent an invitation via email to some of her "Race, Ethnicity and Inequality in Education" classmates (the white ones)…

Wait…hold up!

Am I the only one who finds it confusing that a student interested in that class would send such an invitation?

Maybe she thought the class would be more of a celebration of racism or a gathering of folk who enjoy inequality in education or…oh, fuck it.

Anyhoo…

The student sent the email invitation to her “fellow non-racist racists” for a screening of one of my favorite racist Disney movies to loathe, Song of the South.

Shark-Fu’s thoughts on this shit…

Thought #1 - Could this be an experiment gone wrong?

I know, I know…the fact that the student calls the invited students her “fellow non-racist racists” is damning…and it doesn’t look good that she only sent it to white students.

I was kind of hoping this was a failed attempt at a social experiment…kind of like the blue eye test that Oprah did that show on where folks with blue eyes were treated better than everyone else.

Yeah…um…right.

If that was the case then why the hell hasn’t anyone come out to say that this was an experiment set up to test how the students that received the invitation would respond?

Thought #2 – How the fuck did the students who received the invitation respond?

This is something that fascinates me – when confronted with a oppression-based happening, most people do not respond the way they thought they would, assumed they would, or even hoped they would. In this case, the students who received the invitation didn’t confront the sender and the department has yet to take action.

Soooo…who stepped up?

***cue crickets***

Well, someone had to in order for this to leak…unless the students of color had to overhear that shit in the loo.

Oooooooh, that’s just wrong!

Alrighty then, we’ll move on.

Final Thought – When the class becomes a case study for what the class is about...

I’m betting that this isn’t a social experiment in the classic sense of a professor staging an incident and then calling all parties together for a post-mortem analysis. The loud as hell silence from all parties sans the students who didn’t get invited kind of backs me up on that shit, because an easy way to avoid all this drama would be to announce that the drama inducing ig’nance has a purpose.

No, this looks to be more of an accidental social experiment…the kind that happens every single day in America…the sort that forces us to take our professed values out for a test run and see how they perform. And that casts the lack of outrage, condemnation, and censure from the students who received an email sent to “fellow non-racist racists” in an entirely different light.

Did they laugh?

Did they giggle?

Pause…consider…continue.

Or did they show up with popcorn and beer?

Blink.

Monday, December 12, 2011

I'll betcha a trillion fabillion dollars...

Confession – I missed the most recent GOP debate between would-be nominees because I was at a hockey game (go Blues!).  But thanks to the magic of Twitter...I caught up on the who, what, when, and where.

Shall we?

Two major happenings came out of the Great Most Recent Debate of Would-be GOP Nominees Seeking Power – Newt says the Palestinian people are “invented”…and Newt Romney makes $10,000 bets.

On Newt.

Oh, Newt…Newt, Newt, Newt, Newt, NEWT!

Didn’t I mention in a previous post how much I look forward to his verbal malfunctions?

Even the herd of conservative pundits, not known to chastise anyone for saying ignorant culturally inaccurate shit, thought Newt’s latest pander was off the mark.

But Newtonian form demanded that Newt double down on that “invented people” mess…which he did…and it is beyond telling that he’s still the candidate du jour after making a statement that, if he were President, would effectively toss massive amounts of gasoline on an already volatile situation.

Choosy moms choose Jiff…

….and likely Republican voters prefer zealots, homophobes, and hypocritical lying sacks of shit.

Mercy.

Anyhoo, then we have Romney’s $10,000 bet in response to some challenge about his stand on health care reform.

Where to start?

How ‘bout with the problem?

Every single candidate on that stage can make $10,000 bets…and none of them live on the average American salary. As much as the pundits want to talk about how out of touch Romney is, the real story is that all of these candidates are out of touch.

I'll betcha a trillion fabillion dollars that they don’t know…have never experienced…cannot empathize with floating a bill.

They don’t know…have never experienced…cannot empathize with having to decide between meds or food, heat or rent, transportation or lunch.

These people are so far removed from the masses that they didn’t even realize Romney stuck his foot in it until their aides told them.

And they are the ones charged with fixing the problems that keep so many people trapped in a reality they can’t truly grasp.

Pause…sip coffee…continue.

It all reminds me of the times I’ve tried to describe paying off college loans to folks who had parents pay full tuition.

They’d nod and then grunt…and then talk about how super excited they are that Starbucks holiday coffees are back.

Blink.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Pondering the Newtonian Revival…

I woke up this morning to news that a certain Newt Gingrich has taken a commanding lead among GOP candidates in Iowa.

Every time I read something about Newt it feels all deja vu-ish because I remember him from back in the day…back when I think he was cheating on his second wife with his current wife but blasting Clinton for cheating and...

...damn, damn, daaaaamn there’s a lot of sex going on in DC.

Makes a bitch wonder why DC politicians legislate like puritans when they clearly get it on like folks booking trips to Vegas wish they could get in on.

Anyhoo…where was I?

Oh yes…Gingrich.

I remember Gingrich when he was opposing then President Clinton’s administration on [insert whatever and anything here] and was being such a braying ass about it that he can’t even claim credit for all that economic surplusedness folks now look back on with regret that they didn’t opt for the lockbox behind door number 2.

Sigh.

Ah, Newt.

Newt, Newt, Newt, Newt...Newt.

He speaks so well…with such authority, such confidence and pompous certainty that he almost pulls off making folk forget that he spoke with that same authority, confidence, and pompous certaintude back in the 90s and he was as off the mark then as he is now.

But I'll confess that I’m more interested in what the surge of this new candidate du jour says about conservative voters.

After two years of watching the media fawn all over those who adore tea, I’m fucking fascinated that the candidate currently taking off like a rocket has spent his career drinking from the Potomac River.

Newt, for the love of old school politicians who were in power when Boyz II Men ruled the charts…someone who has left so much evidence of his fuckeduptitude in DC that CSI could do a spin-off on that shit.

Wow.

I was excepting another case of those who adore tea being played for fools…like when their Missouri nest got hustled into voting then Congressman Roy Blunt into the Senate during the last election.

But that’s not what I’m seeing here.

Tea Party darlings surged and then fizzled fast once the GOP faithful got a good look at them.

And now we have Newt.

Newt freakin' Gingrich.

Pause...consider…continue.

We’ll see if Newt lasts…he certainly has a track record of lasting in conservative politics, big time…but right now it looks like the GOP faithful are telling those who adore tea that they really like them and had a nice time but they want to see other people now.

Blink.

Monday, December 05, 2011

The Great Cain Train Derailment of 2011…

Happy Monday, y’all!

I was sick as hell all damned day yesterday. I started feeling plague-ish Saturday and it went downhill from there. Ugh. I’m just grateful to feel human again...just in time for Monday.

Yay.

Shit.

Shall we?

Herman Cain has left the building. Over the weekend Cain officially announced that his non-campaign campaign was suspended.
 
Anyone surprised?

***cue crickets***

Yep.

Now that Cain is semi-gone the remaining candidates for the GOP nomination (Romney, Newt, and a gaggle of anyone but Romney or Newt) are busy trying to gather up Cainiacs and preparing to debate and debate and then debate some more.

I can hardly wait to see who will break free from the herd and indulge in a public display of ‘oh shit, did she or he just do/say that?’ this month week!

Good times.

Pause…sip coffee…continue.

So far the race for the GOP nomination has unfolded like an ice skating competition.

What?

Tis true! 

I always end up watching ice skating when it is on television and there is always this huge build-up from analysts about some superstar skater who totally nailed [insert jump here] in practice…followed by lift off…and then a wipe out…and then a reshuffling of the leader board.

Just like the race for the GOP nomination…

...only without the snazzy outfits

Maybe CNN should get Scott Hamilton on staff?

Blink.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Keep talking...

Shall we?

Full disclosure – I want Newt Gingrich to be the GOP nominee like a Cubs fan wants her team to beat the White Sox.

He’s a walking and talking content creating machine, y’all!

Example… Newt thinks child labor laws are stupid…and that poor people raise children incapable of working because they’ve never seen anyone work ‘cause the only reason anyone isn’t working right now is because they are too damned ignorant and lazy to figure out how to get one of the fabillion trillion jobs out there.

The thing is that Newt holds misconceptions that too many folks do – that poverty is an inner-city problem, that poor people are lazy, and that the current unemployment crisis is some special kind of thing ‘cause it hit regular people, so folks who have been unemployed or under-employed for decades must have something wrong with them while folks who are newly unemployed are totally different.

Back on earth, poverty is an equal opportunity situation. The newly unemployed provide a damn good example of how the long-term unemployment happens…unemployment + bills + no new jobs = economic drama.

But Newt ain’t trying to hear that shit. 

He wants “inner-city” poor kids to learn how to work by providing janitorial services. In his defense, Newt doesn’t cotillion with the masses much. He’s also not half as clever as he thinks he is…which is why he proposed that janitorial solution without pondering the fact that if there isn’t a janitor then that’s a grown-person job that ain’t being staffed not an unpaid learning opportunity for a 10 year old.

Blink.

Keep talking, Newt…please…

Thursday, December 01, 2011

On World AIDS Day…

Today is World AIDS Day.

May we remember as we focus on getting to zero.

Remember the names…that those names belong to people…that those people are mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, lovers, co-workers, beloved partners, and friends.

Remember the fear…that the fear so quickly became hate…that the hate was demonstrated in action…and that discrimination, misinformation, and bias didn’t go away when celebrities started wearing red ribbons or when political leaders finally said the word AIDS.

Remember the goals that have been missed and those that were met…the stereotypes that have been deconstructed and those that remain…the life expectancy that has been expanded and those who have died…

…and the number zero on the horizon.

Remember that every day that AIDS is in the world is World AIDS Day…

…and that AIDS isn’t some other person's worry or problem or risk or concern.

AIDS is until we get to zero and even then AIDS will be…for all of us who remember and for all of us who will never forget…

For the names that belong to people who are and were and forever will be.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

(Oh don't you know) that's the sound of the men working on the Cain Train…

What?

I can’t help it if my mind went there with that song.

Blink.

Jumping right on in…

A woman has come forward alleging…

Pause…consider…continue.

Damn if that phrase… “a woman has come forward alleging” … isn’t as tied to politics as honey is to biscuits.


The Cain campaign (say that ten times fast) is sorta kinda denying the accusation. 

I’ve got to give it to Cain, he is a living case study of whether or not people caught up in a shit-storm should engage and confront or dodge and redirect.

Mercy.

Cain's attorney, Lin Wood, provided WAGA (the station that broke the allegations…um, most recent allegations) with a statement saying blah blah… "appears to be an accusation of private, alleged consensual conduct between adults -- a subject matter which is not a proper subject of inquiry by the media or the public."

Pause…sip coffee…continue.

Wood added...

"No individual, whether a private citizen, a candidate for public office or a public official, should be questioned about his or her private sexual life."


Cough.

Um, Lin...jumping up into private citizen’s bedroom-based business is a plank in the GOP platform. 

Hell, the reason we’re witnessing a shit storm about who fucks who or how many times someone has been married or whether or not [insert candidate here] is [insert lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender]…the fucking source is the so-called social conservative values that long ago turned campaigns for public office into half-assed character tests that your average hard working American would fail and could give a shit about.

Don’t get me wrong…I’m the kind of voter who wants to know if a candidate for public office is a lying sack of shit or a sexual predator who prowls their workplace, but you know and I know that you know and I know that American sexual Puritanism has gone too far.

And so…Lin…here we are and there you have it.

I agree. 

I too am sick and tired of the constant questioning and government interventions into people’s private sexual lives.

I’m tired of regulations and laws and ballot initiatives that question a woman’s ability to make a motherfucking decision about her healthcare.

I’m tired of our society acting as if marriage is the norm and those of us who are not married are in crisis or pretending that same-sex marriage is a threat but sport fucking while married is benign.

I’m tired of total strangers screaming at women walking into healthcare centers because those strange ass strangers assume they know what women are going to do and they feel entitled to jump all up into that shit.

But most of all I’m tired of hypocritical bullshit spewing politicians preaching the gospel of jumping all up into private citizens’ sexual bitness and then whining and keening when the masses and/or the press jump all up in their sexual bitness.

So I’m going to borrow from some Cain logic. Mr. Cain made some statement that folks who are out of work and involved in the occupy movement shouldn’t blame Wall Street…rather, they should blame themselves.

Well, methinks the Cain Train should look at the hypocritical hot mess circus of one in the mirror and make that change.

Damn it to hell and back, this shit makes me long for the days of Demon Sheep and 3 am phone calls.

***logs off humming Sam Cooke’s Chain Gang ‘cause it is now stuck in my Afro***

Monday, November 28, 2011

Tis the season...

This bitch spent a fantabulous week at Brother Rob Thurman’s farm in Kentucky!

Lawd, I haven’t been this relaxed since…um…wince…clearly my ass needed a rest.

Anyhoo, it was beautiful and spending the holiday with friends on the farm was just what I needed.

I’m just now catching up with the news. Just as I suspected, the world is still taking a shit in the middle of the room.

Shall we?

The morning news shows are telling me that today is Cyber Monday and folks are supposed to get their online shopping on because…well, because because damnit!

I’ll confess that I do not understand folks diving in to a shopping experience like folks dive into the day after Thanksgiving or the Monday after the holiday weekend or [insert day near a holiday that advertising agencies have successfully created a legend around to convince folks to spend, baby spend lest the heavens fall and dinosaurs rise to roam the land again]. It just doesn’t look like fun to me…particularly when it comes complete with the very real threat of physical violence.

But it is what it is…and many an American will come to work today sporting bruises like a hockey player in the middle of the NHL playoffs.

Now is the time of year when morning television offers up a rather freakish menu of warm fuzzy Humans Are Nice And Giving stories with a selection of Holy Shit, Humans Are Greedy Violent Shopping Zombies side dishes…and a luscious desert of You’re Fat or You’re Going to Get Fat Off Of One Huge Meal And Then The Zombie Shoppers Will Eat You.

I love how everyone gets sorta-decent this time of year…’tis much like the save-the-date post-turkey shopping shit.

It’s as if folks glance at their calendar and note that they have an appointment with consumerism on Friday and they need to stop being a wretched shit for a month.

Pause…sip coffee…continue.

Maybe this year Cyber Monday will get into the swing of things with a full on digital brawl over 50% discounted blue-ray blah blah blah.

Blink.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving feastitude preparedness…

Hi all!

I’m on vacation from all things this week including the internets (mostly)…but I wanted to take a moment for my annual Thanksgiving Feastitutde Preparedness post.

Last year…on this very day…I was having surgery. Trust that I am very thankful for a fantabulous recovery and the help and love of family and friends.

This year I’m heading to Kentucky to visit my Blog Father, Brother Rob Thurman, at his farm (hooray)!

I’m not cooking the feast solo this time…just my Corn Casserole Yumminess…but I’ll also need my copy of Ordinary People (a Thanksgiving tradition and yes, I know that’s kind of creepy but fuck it I never claimed that my ass isn’t bent) and lots and lots of vodka followed by cran.

Happy, happy to all y’all!

Be safe…be outrageous…be well…

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pondering over-the-top exemptions and going-too-far denials of coverage...


I just read this editorial in the New York Times and I’m disgusted.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is roaming the halls of power in Washington, DC…and, unlike the rest of us average folk, it seems they can easily get whatever they want.

A few years ago, they were drafting amendments to attack access to reproductive healthcare and I’m betting they never left the Hill…just camped out and kept working their relationships until an opportunity to impose their ridged interpretation of healthcare on us all presented itself.

That opportunity came in the form of the new Head Party In Charge in the House. Yep, House Republicans and the Bishops are BFFs…and they are now pressuring the Obama administration to radically expand the refusal clause in the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The expansion proposed by the Bishops and their Congressional minions would mean that millions of women would then be denied access to affordable birth control.

And no, the Bishops and those minions do not have a point when it comes to religious protections in ACA. It already contains a substantial refusal clause that exempts certain religious employers that have religious values as the purpose of the organization, primarily employ persons who share the religious tenets of the organization, serve primarily persons who share the religious tents of the organization, and are nonprofit organizations.

And the choir asked… “So what the hell else do these Bishops and minions want?!?”

And a bitch replied… “Glad you asked, choir! They want to be able to deny access to affordable birth control to folks who work at a religious affiliated hospital, school, charity or university. We’re talking about nurses, secretaries, teachers, and other workers.”

My people call that "wrong".

A few weeks ago I wrote about the impact of expanded exemptions just like the one being pushed hard in DC right now. A family in Missouri had insurance through the Catholic school they work at…they have a child diagnosed with Down Syndrome and autism…Missouri passed autism insurance reform…the family sought coverage for needed and necessary therapies…and they got flat out denied.

Yes, denied…REFUSED coverage…and the reason cited by the Catholic affiliated insurance company for refusing to adhere to our state’s new autism insurance reform mandate…

…wait for it!

They are exempt ‘cause they are a church.

Disgusted?

Good.

That’s what exemption feels like.

Disturbed.

Good.

That’s what over-the-top exemptions and going-too-far denials of coverage unfold like in the real world and in the lives of average folk.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' control over policy development in America must stop and it must stop now.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

You contact the police…

Ugh.

Last night I watched Bob Costas interview former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. Sandusky did his interview over the phone with his lawyer present in the NBC studio.

It seems as if decades of not asking the hard questions during interviews with steroid enhanced cheaters in sport has toughened Costas up…he asked the hard questions, follow-up questions, and even confronted Sandusky once the man answered questions. Sad to say, but journalism has deteriorated to the point that those basic tasks are more the exception to the rule.

Sigh.

Sandusky denied all of the allegations made against him.

That’s not surprising. What is surprising is that he would do so, after such an extended silence, on national television…knowing that anything and everything he said would be chewed within an inch of its life and possibly even used in the case against him. 

Some may interpret that as the act of an innocent person…

…but I was reminded of a television show I watched years ago that featured a young woman, whose abuse was horrifically well documented by medical and eye witness testimony, as she confronted the man who abused her as a child on hidden tape. The man denied everything…told her she imagined or was brainwashed or misinterpreted his actions. It was stunning to see…much like a rapist claiming that his victim asked for it or an abusive partner demanding an apology for being “forced” into beating another human being.

Either way, Sandusky will have his day in court.  His interview sheds light on what his defense will be…and it is that which should turn the stomach of everyone involved in not taking this case to the police immediately.

Sandusky will likely argue that the victims are mistaken…maybe even that they have been brainwashed…but most definitely that they misinterpreted his actions.  His lawyer or lawyers will likely make the case that the adult witnesses were uncomfortable with what he calls “horseplay” but that doesn’t make it a crime. Team Sandusky will take the court-based field and say that Jerry is guilty of making bad decisions and showering with young boys…nothing else. 

And all of that…every smidge of it…will have been enabled by the amount of time that has passed between grown people witnessing and grown people being forced to finally report allegations of child sex abuse to the police.

Because of that, Penn State will be dragged through this dung over and over again so that the prosecution can try to explain the delays, the lack of follow-up, the lack of outraged disgust and swift action that should come from adults having witnessed what folks said they witnessed.

That is nothing compared to the harsh reality that not taking swift action probably led to further abuse. Just look at the multiple cases of child abuse across decades within the Catholic Church. Or look toward the alarmingly similar scandal unfolding over at The Citadel…where officials knew about a predator and did not take action, where that predator then went on to abuse more children…

…and where those school officials are now left offering apologies.

One simple statement is running on a loop through my mind - you contact the police…you contact the police…you contact the police…you contact the damned police.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Ah, graft…


Happy Monday, y’all!

Shall we?

Last night I caught the new edition of 60 Minutes…after an annoying as hell 30-minute delay to allow a football game with 5 minutes on the clock to wrap its ass up. Fuck it - it was worth the wait!  60 Minutes Steve Kroft went old school with an investigative report on graft in Congress. Specifically, Kroft’s report delved into the fact that members of Congress are buying and trading stocks based on inside information they have unique access to because they are members of Congress charged with drafting policy and so forth.

Graft!

Lawd, I haven’t heard that word in a month of Sundays.

The report is worth a god watch. My opinion of Congress is so poor that I wasn’t shocked, but we the people should take note when specific examples of shady behavior come to light.

I was particularly intrigued by the news that several members of Congress snatched up healthcare insurance company stock during the healthcare reform debate. It seems that the very people who were supposed to roll up their sleeves and get that shit done were more than a little preoccupied with their own ability to get paid off of whatever policy came about.

***pause…sip coffee…continue***

Money talks and bullshit walks.

So, what to do with this information….what to do, what to do, what to do?

Eureka!

This shit would be an ideal action for the occupy folks.

I’m serious. The problem with this specific case of graft is that the same people who should craft legislation to prohibit it are the people who benefit from the lack of reform and thus are not motivated to do a damn thing beyond weather harsh questions from Steve Kroft during a press conference.

This mess needs a grassroots movement demanding real reform…BIG TIME. And the occupy folks have singled out the 1 percent for critique and protest – twould be a logical progression for occupy to expand beyond the public square and take it to Congress.

Plus, its cold as hell outside…people could warm up in Speaker Boehner’s office.

Just saying.

Blink.

p.s. A fluff of the Afro to Steve Kroft and 60 Minutes for a solid report.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Veterans Day…

On the eleventh day of the eleventh month we remember and honor our veterans.

To those in my family who serve and have served…to my friends who are veterans…to my readers who are online friends and are veterans…to all of their families…

…Thank You and Happy Veterans Day!

On the Penn State child sex abuse case...

Let’s jump right on in.

I’ve been out of the loop while working on the campaign to defeat “personhood” in Mississippi, but even I caught the news of the child sex abuse scandal at Penn State. Yesterday I spent the day in my couch-based area recovering…and watching news report after news report of the allegations against a Jerry Sandusky and those who either witness the abuse and/or failed to properly report the abuse to authorities and/or engaged in a cover up of the abuse.

Full disclosure - I am a fan…not of Penn State football, but of my beloved St. Louis Blues. My friends and family will tell you that I bleed blue 24/7…and I’m writing this post as someone who understands fan loyalty.

Nothing…not one thing, organization, team, or institution…NOTHING is more important than the safety of a fellow human being.

There is no sport victory that comes at the expense of that…

…and there can be no pride in rallying for a sports program, however revered it may be for its winning record, that failed to demand justice for the victims of systematic sexual abuse.

And you can be damned sure that fan loyalty doesn’t ask that we disregard a culture of enabling child sex abuse and keep on cheering.

When a child alleges sex abuse our reaction should be to encourage and support that child in whatever manner we can. Getting pissed off at the child because their sex abuse is going to get in the way of a body's college fucking football fan experience is downright macabre.

This case is still developing, but the sworn statements of many Penn State athletic program employees are disgusting, alarming, and should have people taking to the streets to protest them.

We have actually arrived at a point where people are telling their friends, family, and/or children that if they witness a child being abused they should call 911.

And, although it sickens me to think that anyone would have to be told that, the scene of students rioting in support of a coach and/or sports program rather than the children and their families...well, clearly people need to be told that if they witness a child being assaulted they should try to save the child and they should definitely contact the police.

Not the administration.

Not the diocese.

Not the boss, BFF, or fellow co-worker or student.

Fuck it if that gets your ass fired. That would be a firing worth it's weight in gold.

Lord, have mercy.

We the people need to look hard at Penn State’s reaction to this horrific case…both the disgusting display during the riot and the emerging effort by current students and alumni to return the focus to and stand in support of the children.

Sadly, the shock of many in the press is shocking in itself.  We don’t have to "wonder how this abuse was able to go on for so long"…we don’t need to question what kind of culture opts to cover up abuse rather than protect victims.

Penn State football just proved that enabling abuse is not a condition exclusive to the Catholic Church…

…and that the most dangerous place for a child is in an environment that values [insert any fucking thing here] over the welfare of that child.

Please join Penn State alumni who have begun an online campaign through RAINN to raise awareness and funds to continue the fight against child sex abuse and assist survivors.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Getting my activism on…


 
Hi y’all!

I’m in the field getting my reproductive justice activism on, so posting will be sporadic for the next day or two.

Buckle up, people…

...this ride is going to be bumpy as hell!

Friday, November 04, 2011

Digital strange fruit hanging from cyber trees?


Let’s jump right on in.

Now that it appears the Herman Cain sexual harassment scandal may have legs, supporters of his campaign are gathering up strength and taking to the internets to blast the press and Cain’s accusers.

No surprise there.

But one group of Cain supporters have created a new ad that accuses those investigating Cain, reporting on the investigation of Cain, and discussing the reporting of the investigation of Cain of participating in…wait for it…a high tech lynching.

Sound familiar?

It should!

That phrase, “high tech lynching”, was made infamous by a certain Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas when he was accused of sexual harassment during his confirmation hearing.

Thomas was eventually confirmed and has gone pretty much mute while on the bench.

And ‘tis his eventual confirmation that always made my Afro hurt when pondering his use of the phrase “high tech lynching”.

Nothing screams that a person or organization lacks a proper knowledge of a thing like an inaccurate analogy.

If you are able to protest your treatment during a confirmation hearing…and later in a book…then you were not the victim of a lynching, high tech or real world.

If you are fundraising up a storm in the midst of accusations that you sexually harassed more than one woman…then you are not in the midst of a high tech lynching.

If your website is still “living”…if your campaign has not been wiped clean from and effectively killed off online…then you have not been subject to a high tech lynching.

Unless…unless these Cain supporters feel that the Cain campaign is in the final throes of political death and that it’s demise if certain…only then would the phrase “high tech lynching” apply.

Lynchings are murders…endings, for the love of history...they brought about and indeed still bring about the end of life.

I don’t care how much a body adores Herman Cain and I don’t give a shit how upset they are about his treatment in the press, this inaccurate analogy corrupts a history that has never truly been acknowledged.

Herman Cain clearly weathered the storm of more than one accusation of sexual harassment several years ago…his employer settled rather than fire him…he then went on to run for the GOP nomination for President, where he faces questions about those accusations. For the most part, the firestorm has resulted from his campaigns fucked up from the floor up handling of those questions. Either way, Herman Cain will be here once the dust settles. Odds are he’ll even be online in some form or another. He may even be the GOP nominee. 

This shit is in no way, shape, or form the equivalent of a lynching.

A witch-hunt perhaps…depends on how you view the situation.

But I sure as shit don’t see any digital strange fruit hanging from cyber trees…

…anymore than I see that shit when I ponder the fact that the original “victim” of a high tech lynching is still enjoying life as a Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

Blink.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

On confidentiality agreements and a front-runner who didn’t learn a damn thing from history – Follow the Smell of Bullshit…

Shall we?


No…they aren’t being harsh or overzealous.

Journalists are sharks…and Herman Cain poured a bucket of blood in the water when he was first confronted about this shit.

When first confronted, Cain didn’t answer questions about whether he’d ever been accused of sexual harassment.

And that was the last thing the man did right.

Catch thy knee – I’m gonna wait until the facts about the harassment claims come out before I add that all of this shit could be avoided if people cease sexually harassing co-workers in the first damn place.

Cough.

Clearly there are confidentiality agreements. After the initial confrontation, Cain had a solid 24 hours to come up with a crisis management plan...and the top bullet point to that shit should have been Hide Your Black Ass Behind the Motherfucking Confidentiality Agreement.

But no…Herman Cain had to be Herman Cain. So we the people who are such political junkies that we follow this shit months before the first GOP primary have been treated to a master class in mismanagement and fucked up from the floor up messaging.

Not because Herman Cain is black…this shit is happening because Herman Cain is was the front-runner and failed to plan for being the front-runner because he’s a pompous ass who thinks he can talk himself out of anything – a belief which was probably bolstered by his ability to spin himself more than one settlement complete with confidentiality agreements when claims of sexual harassment were made against him.

Pause…sip coffee…continue.

The Ann Coulters and Rush Limbaughs of the world have rushed to play with this fresh clay…eagerly seeking attention with claims like “our blacks are better than their blacks” or rants about how all of this is happening because Herman Cain is black and conservative.

But GOP voters need to take a big sniff and note the unusually large quantity of flies.

Back in the day this kind of fumbling confusion in response to a scandal would be understandable.

But this is the post-Clinton, post-Edwards era…and the press has learned from watching two high profile men who were or could have been President of the United States attempt to bob and weave their way through sex-based accusations that were later proven to be beyond true.

Not uncovering this shit would be damn near criminal.

Which begs the question…is Politico just that good or is the herd just that fearful of doing their damn job?

Either way, the water is still pink.

Trust a bitch…this frenzy won’t end until shark teeth sink into flesh.

Pause…sip more coffee…continue.

As for Cain’s claims that the Perry campaign is behind this shit, I have to suspend my initial dismissal of that.

The Perry campaign is like any other political campaign and thus capable of digging up dirt.

Just because they couldn’t find their ass with both hands when Perry’s hunting lodge came back to bite him doesn’t mean they can’t drop a morsel of scandal-based kibble into a famished reporter’s mouth.

Add to that the fact that Chris Wilson, a GOP pollster and Perry supporter, seems to know an awful lot about sexual harassment claims against Herman Cain and…well, let’s just say the right side of the political waiting room is ripe with the smell of shit from a bull.

Did the entire GOP class flunk Campaigning 101?

Perry now claims that no one in his campaign knew anything about this and they all found out when the rest of the world that actually gives a shit did.

If that’s true…and they have a pollster in their midst who seems to have intimate details about Herman Cain and sexual harassment…then Team Perry is even more fucked up than I initially thought.

***rubs hands together***

This political theater better last until Downton Abbey comes back on the television.

Blink.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

When what is covered demonstrates flawed values…


I just read this piece in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and it has me all fired up on a Tuesday, y’all!

Let’s jump right on in, shall we?

Longtime readers know that my sister and I are co-guardians of our older brother. Our brother is autistic and aphasic. He does not speak in sentences…has a vocabulary of less than 100 words…but can communicate better through sign language.

I grew up in a house with too much going on for our parents to bother shielding us from reality.

I knew that my brother’s behavior and speech therapy cost a lot of money. My brother is 41 now and when he was a child the options were far more limited than they are now, but my parents worked tirelessly to provide him access to whatever was available. 

And I knew it…felt it…saw in on my father’s face when he sat down to do the bills or went to work at a job that he found little fulfillment in just because it paid him a high salary.

Our entire family worked as a team when it came to speech therapy and behavior therapy. And we shared in my brother’s triumphs and setbacks.

My brother worked his ass off. He went to school year ‘round and then came home to a never-ending series of exercises. Every event, every meal, every interaction was laced with training or skill building or corrections. Trust that I doubt I could have been as strong as he was or half as successful.

We all enjoy the benefits of my brother’s efforts. He is a fantabulous man who is eager to communicate and share his opinions. We’ve found a system and honor his use of sign language rather than push for more verbal communication.

Pause…sip coffee…continue.

When autism insurance reform gained momentum in Missouri, I supported the hell out of it even though it would not apply to my brother. 

I know, better than most, just how expensive education and therapy can be…and just how amazing the outcomes can be when families have access.

Autism insurance reform was needed because insurance companies refused to cover needed treatments and families who had paid premiums for years were getting hustled on the back end when they needed services.

When autism insurance reform passed I cheered…for the families and children it will benefit and in honor of my parents who would have been all over that fight.

Now it looks like some institutions that like to talk the talk of caring for children with developmental disabilities and/or communication challenges are being outed for not walking the walk when it comes to providing coverage for the services that actually demonstrate caring for children with developmental disabilities and/or communication disorders.

Insurance by Christian Brothers Employee Benefit Trust, which comes from Christian Brothers Services (a nonprofit Catholic organization), does not offer coverage for autism treatment services.

And they don’t have to.

Because they are…wait for it…a church plan.

Yep…they are a church-based whatever that is a non-profit and thus exempt.

As detailed in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch piece, when a local St. Louis family tried to get autism treatment services covered they were denied. The child in question has Downs Syndrome and is autistic. The mother was directed to read her insurance certificate, which read…

"The Christian Brothers Employee Benefit Trust is a 'church plan' as designated by the Internal Revenue Service and Department of Labor. It is not a group insurance contract within the meaning of state group insurance laws. Therefore, the Christian Brothers Employee Benefit Trust is not subject to the mandated benefit requirements imposed by state group insurance laws."

Pause…allow that bullshit to marinate…continue.

Now you know and I know that you know that I know that clause is one hell of a get out of providing all manner of services shit.

Usually, Catholic services make the news for not providing reproductive health care like emergency contraception to rape survivors or tubal ligation or abortion care to save a woman’s life or…well, you get the picture.

With this latest public display of callous disregard, they are showing their cards a bit.

And the smell of hypocrisy is ripe as hell.

Despite the rhetoric from the right that claims otherwise, one of the reasons many families fear having a child with developmental disabilities is because they don’t think they will be able to afford the care that child would need. Nothing can be more gut wrenching than knowing a child needs something…and, damn it, we are talking about “need” here not want…knowing there is a need that you simply cannot meet.

I’ve seen that look…felt that fear…known that something was going to have to give so something needed could get done.  And my family was blessed to be in a position to even consider most of the services my brother had.

But far be it for Missourians to expect a religious institution that benefits from non-profit status under the guise of providing care to the community to actually provide care to the community.

That’d be too much like right.

Sigh.

In this as in so many things, the wrong is never limited to reproductive healthcare…it may start there or get media attention there, but the theme of public rhetoric and private rancidity never ends there.

Mayhap the family featured in the article will find relief in the federal healthcare insurance reform they probably opposed for fear that it would provide coverage for abortion services that it can’t because of Hyde?

Blink.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Welcome, New York Magazine readers!

Apparently I got a shout-out in New York magazine - fantabulous!

Welcome to all new readers.

I'm in an all day meeting planning reproductive justice activism for 2012...

...so bitchitude is on hold until later today!

And many thanks to Emily Nussbaum for the shout-out.

I can't wait to read the article... 

Congrats to the Cardinals!

Congrats to my hometown St. Louis Cardinals for winning the 2011 World Series!


May the rally gods continue to bless the sports clubs of St. Louis for months to come...

A bitch is back, damnit!


Okay, y’all…I take a week off, disappear, and don’t even post about what’s what and daaaaaaaamn if some of y’all don’t get your conspiracy theory on!

Nice.

No, the man didn’t kidnap me.

Pause…check out room…continue.

I’ve just been so busy practicing the fine art of bitchitude offline that I haven’t had the energy to blog about that shit online.

But I’ve caught my breath.

Thank the gods….

Monday, October 24, 2011

On coverage…

I was going to post about something else.

But I read In a tiny town just outside Joplin, a landmark adoption case tests the limits of inalienable human rights in the Riverfront Times and…well, I’m going to focus on something else today.

I’m a news junkie. I cruise through masses of stories each day. And I’ll confess that I often take the news for granted…just assume it is going to be there…and tend to forget the work that goes into researching and writing a story.

But my friends at the Riverfront Times have a habit of covering the stories other outlets take a pass on…

…and reminding this news junkie that the "news" can still stun me.

I highly recommend that y’all read this story…share it.

By the time I finished reading it I was shaking.

I just wanted to share it…didn’t want y’all to miss it the way I feel I missed it even though this case happened and is happening in my home state of Missouri.

But for coverage…but for the news…but for questions and focus and editorial decisions, so many things would happen without us even knowing about them.

Pause…consider…continue.

And immigration policy debates would remain political theatre even as the application of immigration policy rips families apart...

...in the dark, behind closed doors, harsh and ugly and efficient and painful and oh so fucking often that it takes your breath away...leaves you shaking, quaking, and rocked to the core.

Blink.

***a fluff of the Afro to the RFT and writer John H. Tucker***

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A not so “special” special legislative session…


This year Governor Nixon called for a special legislative session after the regular session ended in May so that state lawmakers could tackle some important business that could not wait until next year. Many Missourians are getting a good look at what political junkies like me see session after session…the inability for the Missouri House and Senate to legislate things that don’t involve jamming government in between women seeking healthcare and their doctors.

This has been a not so “special” special session. Lawmakers were tasked with passing legislation to facilitate St. Louis leaders' plans to turn the Lambert airport into a China trading hub, gain local control of the Police Department, and seduce the NCAA Final Four basketball games to come to town. Unfortunately, extending the session meant extending the juvenile infighting within the controlling GOP and the public displays of private feuds that seem to plague the assembly.


The Senate has taken their ball back and left the playground.

The House is still hanging around the kickball field fussing about how the Senate took the ball and left the playground.

Governor Nixon is fixin’ to head to China.

Important legislation that could bring jobs and money to the region gathers dust while gazing anxiously at the paper shredder.

And it’s all just another case of history repeating.

Behold, the dysfunction of the Missouri General Assembly when tasked with legislating something other than denying access to reproductive health care or denying Missourians our voting rights or protecting animal abusers ability to operate puppy mills.

Pause…sip coffee…continue.

I suppose this is what happens when folks elect too many people to government who don’t believe in government.

And I wonder if this not so “special” special legislative session cost taxpayers money.

I’d ask for a refund but that’d probably require a special legislative session and…well, did I mention that the Missouri General Assembly is legislatively challenged?

Ugh.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Solving the problem of free-range black women…

Let’s jump right on in, shall we?


Yes, I know…we sistahs are nothing if we aren’t a dangerous, hypersexual, unhealthy, emotional, and enraged mass of unmarried drama.

But worry not!

The Economist article has a solution to that unmarried part. And, since everyone knows that nothing settles a woman down like the guidance and leadership of a man through the sanctified institution of man-on-woman marriage, marrying black women off will likely address all of our other “problems” too!

Fuck the audacity of hope…let’s shoot for the audacity of being saved by a man!

Before you let those feathers get ruffled, please note that the editors at the Economist made a point of stating that they didn’t come up with the latest and greatest solution to the problem of free-range black women – wait for it…a “black male professor” wrote a something or other about it and HE is the one who “kicked up a storm”, so just chill that ass out and don’t blame the Economist for making sure that storm doesn’t die down.

Pause…sip coffee…continue.

Professor Ralph Richard Banks has a book out titled “Is Marriage for White People? How the African-American Marriage Decline Affects Everyone”.

In the book, Banks makes a point that others have made that black women are less likely to be married. Black women are less likely to marry someone who isn’t black and apparently our unmarried free-range status has a negative impact on society, so everyone and their lap dawg should encourage unmarried black women to seek out men regardless of race and get our stubborn difficult and in need of marriage asses married.

Pause...consider the issue several times…continue.

Allow me to retort.

The term “unmarried” assumes that the natural state of adult human beings is “married”.

The economic argument is that the lives of women are more stable and secure when married…my argument is that the only fix to economic instability for black women is equality - in education, hiring practices, and wages.

The theory that “unmarried” black women are a drag on society assumes that marriage is a solution, but I’m here to tell ya that marriage is it’s own worst marketer.

With a 50% failure rate…and assuming that Banks is right in asking whether marriage is for white people…why the hell isn’t anyone asking why white people can’t get the marriage thing right?

Divorce costs money…it takes a toll on families and has a huge negative impact on the lives of women…and yet Banks and those who enjoy chewing on the bone du jour of black women’s integrity aren’t turned on by exploring the impact that has on whether women consider marriage or on society at large.

I get it, though.

If a body starts an intellectual exploration with the assumption that marriage is the natural state of things and assumes that women who are not married should be married then that body’s intellectual exploration is narrowed to a conclusion that seeks to solve the problem of unmarriedness.

But Banks apparently has a heart. He doesn’t want sistahs seeking to solve our unmarriedness to marry down or have to share a man. His solution is for our own good…so we can have our own man to lead us out of the darkness of trying to live life on our own.

And never you mind that this shit would deny black women romance...that it reduces the union of marriage to a transaction…that is leverages black women’s agency to a hunt for a provider…that in assuming marriage is a solution it absolves society of the multitude of inequalities facing women…or that this exploration on top of the relentless study of black women as mothers, as reproductive vessels, as troubled and at risk and a drag on society and unhealthy and violent and irrational and difficult thus in need of taming…

…that this shit situates black women as the subject, our lives naked and on display, studied like the Hottentot Venus, and presented with the false choice of leveraging our womb and sexuality for the promise stability and safety.

Whew!

Well, shit…if that doesn’t get sistahs off our lazy asses and out there in the dating scene looking for a cure…um, err…a man, I don’t know what will.

Blink.