Monday, June 30, 2008

How to disappear completely!

Left: Buddha statue at DIVINE CONNECTION, Black Mountain, NC.

~*~

At AlterNet, Rob Peters asks Is Personal Blogging Fast-Fading?:

Perhaps we've realized that blogging every day isn't as fun as it sounds. A happened-upon red swirl of autumn leaves before a backdrop of unusually artful East Vancouver graffiti may very well be a blog-worthy topic. Life's minor muses are perhaps what inspire the pleasure blogger to pick up a keyboard in the first place, but it actually takes work to develop new material on a regular basis. No, writing never becomes easy no matter how long you do it.

Some difficult truths have been brought to light by the personal blogging blitz of the last few years. One such revelation is that most of us aren't as interesting as we think. Waking up every day and jotting down some deep thoughts about breakfast is a difficult way to sustain any kind of readership. A creative writing teacher once told me that everyone has lived one novel-worthy story. One being the operative word, I think.

It's as if we've gone through a few generations of blogging natural selection. The ones left are the big alpha bloggers, well suited to the harsh -- and fickle -- web environment. Said alphas have learned how to make money from their wordslinging, transforming what was once a very grassroots medium into something much more commercial. The pleasure bloggers just didn't have the genes, nor the capitalistic instincts, to survive.
Sounds ominous. Are we being declared dead? Is this like the infamous Death of Hippie?

~*~

This test is interesting, in that it literally measures how well one fits the wifely gender role as prescribed for middle class white women in the 1930s, which... surprise, surprise, the expectations for women within marriage haven't changed too awful much in over 70 years. (Thanks to Jaelithe!)

45

As a 1930s wife, I am
Average

Take the test!


----------------
Listening to: Grateful Dead - I Know You Rider
via FoxyTunes

Odds and Sods - post-frenectomy edition

Here at Dead Air, I try to keep my readers updated on the newest frontiers in hippie-aging. Today, we discuss frenectomy, specifically a labial frenectomy. (Nooooo, not THAT labia!)

First, imagine my heart-stopping reaction when I am referred to a periodontist (yes, as always, the consult-a-rama never ends!) with the same surname as a local politician whom I have, umm, written about in an unkind manner here at DEAD AIR! (((gulp))) A friendly question brings out that YES, they are RELATED (as everyone in the south is, of course). I can only hope this individual isn't fond of frequently Googling their relatives, or if so, maybe secretly hates their politician kinfolk as much as the rest of us do.

So...I go to see the periodontist for a graft of my receding gum and a frenectomy, which is the snipping-and-mending of that long, weblike piece of skin that attaches lip to gum; a useless fold of skin that we don't really need. Some evolutionary adaptation, maybe, like our appendix, no longer necessary. Now, it exists merely to attract stray hulls of popcorn, as well as pull on your gum and make your gum recede even faster than it normally would. This procedure is called a labial frenectomy. I also had two skin-grafts, over two teeth.

Simply put, this hurts like a mofo. But there are drugs to be had, and the days of my chemical purity in such matters are long gone. As Alan Arkin reminded us in LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, when you're young it's crazy to do drugs; when you're old, it's crazy not to.

Now I look like I've been pummeled. And you know all that perky-ass Mouseketeer bullshit you heard as a kid? I now speak very specifically to baby-boomer-aged American females, bludgeoned daily with: SMILE! It takes MANY MORE MUSCLES TO FROWN! This line was usually delivered by some insufferable, strenuously earnest 4th grade teacher, fresh from the local Midwestern Teacher College. The immediate capitalist goal was the continuous baby-boomer Gidgetizing of the masses of American womanhood during the halcyon 60s--ambiguous or thoughtful facial expressions were banned by the cultural authorities as signs of female independence. "Frowning" also referred to various versions of not-smiling, such as smirking, scowling, or sneering. Looking perplexed or furrowing one's brow in thought, were pretty risky also. Related other facial expressions that might imply girls were thinking for themselves, needless to say, were NOT permissible. We were constantly exhorted to SMILE, SMILE, SMILE.

Well, lo and behold--it turns out that...YES! It IS easier to smile. My preliminary research shows that reading blogs, post-periodontal surgery, has brought on involuntary painful smirking, scowling and the especially post-surgically-stinging sneer. (Aiyeeee)

I am suddenly aware of just how much smirking and sneering I actually DO in a day.

What would I do without the net, to teach me these important things?

~*~

Renegade Evolution reports that various anti-porn websites using porn performers' images without their consent, are just as much in violation of the law as any actual porn site that does the same thing:

The Stop Porn Culture Slide Show Training Program includes a script, tips for conducting the session; it also includes the power Point Visual presentation, which contains pornographic material. They are saying that this slide show falls under the preview of Fair Use.

However, as it can now be watched, downloaded, viewed, reproduced, and yes, even sold, the creators of Stop Porn Culture, or anyone and everyone else who wishes to showcase, distribute, or otherwise use the material in the slide show is in violation of Federal Law 2257.

Never mind that not a one of the performers featured in this “educational tool” were asked their opinions, or for their consent, nor were the companies that originally produced the images…but now see, there are questions of a Federal Law which applies to Pornographers, and as these people have essentially made themselves such, the law also applies to them. Any person exhibiting pornography, even if it is free, is beholden to 2257, this includes SPC, and those who run this seminar. You will note, at the end of the presentation, there is a claim of copyright over images already subject to copyright, and used without permission.
Another one of those interesting paradoxes that never occurred to me; rather as the film Tongues Untied was later used in anti-gay videos made by the Christian right (and I saw one of those; this isn't academic). Some of these clips were pretty explicit, too... it is interesting how far the "anti" people go in utilizing so-called obscene material to make their points. I can't help but wonder how much of this is to draw the audience in, to guarantee them some sexual excitement and appeal to their own repressed, unacknowledged prurience.

~*~

Some brave souls on the left and right are finally daring to take on the seemingly-sacrosanct matter of John McCain's war record. Politico reports:
Critics have accused McCain of war crimes for bombing targets in Hanoi in the 1960s. A widely read liberal blog on Sunday accused McCain of "disloyalty" during his captivity in Vietnam for his coerced participation in propaganda films and interviews after he had been tortured.

"A lot of people don't know ... that McCain made a propaganda video for the enemy while he was in captivity," wrote Americablog.com's John Aravosis. "Putting that bit of disloyalty aside, what exactly is McCain's military experience that prepares him for being commander in chief?"

"Getting shot down, tortured and then doing propaganda for the enemy is not command experience," Aravosis wrote in the blog post, titled "Honestly, besides being tortured, what did McCain do to excel in the military?"
Wow! And predictably, it's ON. (226 comments so far! Check it out.)

~*~

Blogdonia's most recent feminist trainwreck concerns the CARNIVAL OF FEMINISTS (#59), which included an extremely transphobic blog post purporting to "deconstruct" transgenderism. The article was eventually removed, but the resulting conflagration (113 comments) continues.

Again, I feel it necessary to apologize to transpeople for the actions of these bigoted radical feminists, as I apologize to people bullied by Christians, by southerners, by white people, by Americans...I can only say I am sorry, folks.

They do not speak for me.

----------------
Listening to: Grateful Dead - Estimated Prophet
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, June 28, 2008

JW's tarot reading

Left: I worried the tarot reading would reflect my negativity about JW's imminent relocation, so I did some clearing with sage first. We relaxed and put on a DVD of Bob Marley to get in a mellow and enlightened mindset. (My friend, JW, is in her 20s, and finds it amazing that I actually saw Bob Marley in person, in 1978.)

~*~

A dear friend is moving to the West Coast. The upstate is losing another progressive, another great soul, a Buddhist with no place to practice.

Sometimes I wonder if there is any hope for upstate South Carolina; any way to hold on to the artists, the drifters, the nonconformists, the young idealists. The big-money movers and shakers are here, but the gentle, questing souls move away. This has happened to me so many times; friends leave. It's difficult. I can only hope they remember me fondly, when they recall their times in SC.

I can also try to make the environment more hospitable, personally and politically, so that the "cool people" stick around, instead of beating a hasty retreat.

Meanwhile, I mourn the loss of my friend to the "cool state" of Oregon.

~*~

JW is one of the young people with a more spiritually-advanced soul than I have. We have taken turns counseling each other. Although I had always heard that there were highly-spiritually-evolved young people, I haven't met many that I would assign this designation...except JW. She has proven an age-old truth to me, that age does not necessarily equal wisdom.

Losing this person, as I said, is difficult.

The tarot reading was very mixed, but accurate. We had a long conversation over the cards. Obviously, she has a lot of contempt for the place she is leaving; the constant harassment to seek Jesus, the lack of openness concerning spiritual matters and Buddhism in particular. The Emperor reversed, the nine of swords--her fears of the (complicated) relocation possibly getting all-botched-up, are right out there. (There are other issues, of course, that I know she would not want me to share here.)

But as always, she has The Star in her reading, as befits a spiritually-advanced soul.

I tell her she can always fall back on her practice, her meditation, yoga, centering, spirituality... this is her great strength.

There is never a time I have done JW's reading without encountering The Star.




~*~

As a return gift for my reading, JW arranges stones for the necklace she is making for me. This will be the way I remember her, a lasting spiritual mark of her almost-daily presence in my life. She fiddles with pendulums and various crystals and seashells in the busy, jewelry-making hub of her home. She brings them to me and calibrates their energy.


~*~





Left: JW finally assembles the precise stones and design for my necklace.

We talk about the technicalities of the long-distance move, her daughter, her partner, the work ahead of her. She has about half of their stuff packed up already, but plenty is left to do. It is daunting, but she is very happy to leave our locality, which does sadden me. But I am glad to see their life together finally taking off in the direction that I know will make them happy.


~*~


Left: Time for Jerry.

~*~

And then we relax again, with another DVD and a somewhat more distracted conversation. I tell her how nice it would be to live in a civilized state where I could get medical marijuana for my bad knees and dilapidated shoulder. Apparently, it is embarrassingly easy. Ah, Oregon sounds nice.

She extends the invitation: please come see us anytime.

And finally, I leave, happy yet sad. Shedding tears for my own loss, but happy for their gain.

Vaya con Dios.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Blogging addiction

Well, hey now, the addiction is not as bad as I thought it was! I feel so much better now!

How about yourselves?

~*~

Thanks to odd one out.

70%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

Created by OnePlusYou

George Carlin 1937-2008

Exactly the right song for George.

NOTE: I am not quite sure what "shadow Dave" is wearing in this video. My British readers should feel free to jump in and tell me what it is. It doesn't quite look like a kilt, some kind of Mod Edwardian thing?

My Kinks "BBC sessions" CD (which I never leave home without) has authentic angelic-voiced English schoolchildren doing the "la-la-las"--which sound like someone ascending to heaven... I regret this version doesn't equal that one.

Resquiat in Pace, George Carlin. Thanks for doing the Irish proud.

~*~

THE KINKS - DEATH OF A CLOWN

[via FoxyTunes / The Kinks]

Thursday, June 26, 2008

More fun with Cheryl

Left: Presidential candidate Cheryl Lindsey Seelhoff (aka Heart) on SEX-TV, with two of her eleven children.

~*~

Heart, aka Cheryl Lindsey Seelhoff, now has five websites (!) to talk about how wonderful she is. (two more linked below)

After she announced she was "running for president"--I did a demolition piece on her, which I think said it all. Until now, I had little to add to that. People told me I should lay off her, that the worst thing you can do to a pathological attention-seeker with Narcissistic Personality Disorder is to keep feeding the "LOOK AT ME!" jones. So, I stopped mentioning her. She gets kind of boring after awhile anyway, as most narcissists do.

And now, I find a Technorati link to my blog from her newest website, titled FIGHT THE LIES. Apparently she has already removed the link, which is good, because I DO NOT WANT HITS from her wacky Ellen Jamesian faction. Nonetheless, I will respond to the page she obviously claims was inspired by me.

First of all, is there no END to the self-aggrandizing "I'm suffering for women!" chatter from this person? In my piece linked above, I chronicled Cheryl's so-called (ha!) shift from extreme Christian fundamentalism to extreme Second-Wave feminist fundamentalism. I am still struck by the similarities--the love of suffering, the tireless claims of martyrdom, the endless passing of the collection plate (more about which in due course), the hagiography and colorful twisting of the (extremely suspicious) biography, the various poses with her 11 children as props (bringing to mind the saintly and ever-maternal expression of the Blessed Mother in Roberto Ferruzzi's MADONNA OF THE STREETS) and the continual rattling on about her hard work and self-sacrifice, all she does for Jesus... oops, I mean WOMYN.

Meanwhile, the viciousness towards women who are not like her, continues unabated. In fact, FIGHT THE LIES (the title sounds exactly like the name of a Jack Chick comic or religious tract, doesn't it?), seems directed to those of us who have already been duly banned from her site and have therefore found it necessary to defend ourselves against her false accusations in our censored absence. FIGHT THE LIES is basically a Calvinist-feminist attack on heretics... it is the equivalent of her own church's excommunication of HER: Oh goody, now I get to do the same thing to other people! (NOTE: Heart probably doesn't have anything nice to say about that old sexist, Friedrich Nietzsche, but when he said "In destroying monsters, we must take care not to become monsters ourselves"--he was talking about fascistic, fundamentalist zealots like Cheryl Lindsey Seelhoff and their total lack of self-awareness.)

Like the Quiverfull faction that created her (and that's the link to her second new blog, BTW) Heart writes like she is always under attack by the Dark Side. It's a war between Good and Evil, and Heart is always on the side of the angels. AND HOW DARE YOU SUGGEST OTHERWISE, you cynic! Heart freely and proudly admits that she perpetually passes the collection plate, because she dedicates her LIFE (like a missionary) to covering issues for womyn. Interestingly, she recently asked for money to get a fallen tree moved out of her driveway, for instance, saying it was the only way off of "her land"--neglecting to consider that many of us don't own any land at all. I am not sure how this tree-removal benefits all women, although I realize, it benefits Heart, which to her is one and the same. She assures us she is not a millionaire, although she DOES admit she won a very large settlement from the Calvary Chapel fundies, who are therefore bank-rolling her whole enterprise. (Now, there's an interesting thought.) But how much, she assures us, is none of your business! (The net accounts say it was over a million; I assume the lawyers took their share.)

Heart doesn't seem to understand: She is an offensive, intolerant, judgmental, nasty, vicious, exclusive fundamentalist, only this time it's for her version of (rather zany, sometimes amusing) radical feminism. She was Wild-for-Jesus, now she is Wild-for-Womyn, and she hasn't missed a beat in the transition. Her very patriarchal, top-down approach is stylistically exactly the same. The finger-pointing, the judging, the slut-shaming, the sneering at the womyn who do not measure up, is the same as it ever was. If Heart can't be Quiverfull Queen, she will move on over to Valley of the Amazons (waves at AntiPrincess!--a favorite book of ours!) where she can brag without commercial interruption, and refuse to use the preferred pronouns of transgendered people in PEACE AND QUIET.

Cheryl has traded in one uncompromising, dogmatic philosophy for another one, and that's all she has done. She has not appreciably changed since being a devoted Quiverfull wife, traveling the country and speaking at podiums for Dr Dobson.

What Cheryl/Heart really needs to do is go back to reporting on women around the world, as she does on Womensspace, and cut out the self-aggrandizement and the self-centered gibbering about her greatness. These days, there seems to be less and less actual news about women on Heart's website (which is something she did do very well, when she could keep her fundie sensibility out of it) and more, more, more about her self, self, self. This dorky-assed "presidential campaign"--for instance. Just another way to preen and pose, whilst endlessly burbling about how much she does for THE WOMYNS!!!!!!!

But I gotta say--do her Ellen Jamesians know that she is on SEX-TV? If not, let me give them the heads-up. I have rarely seen anyone do the Madonna of the Streets thing as well, particularly on a SEX blog!

Strange bedfellows! But Heart, who easily reconciled Andrea Dworkin and Dr Dobson back in the day (she claims), knows all about that.

Crestfallen campaign update

Regarding the 4th Congressional District Democratic primary runoff election, held Tuesday the 24th: Ted Christian got roughly the same percentage of votes that he got during the primary on June 10. (33% on the 10th, 32% on the 24th) The estimated turnout, according to local talk radio, was around 2% of the upstate electorate. That is just scandalous, IMHO.

Ted credits his weasely opponent's hitpiece for his loss, but I credit the microscopically-low turnout. Paul Corden, the candidate who will be running against hyper-conservative, Bush-groupie Rep. Bob Inglis in the fall, pledged that he is the "real Democrat" in the race, yet never discusses the war and seems completely oblivious to the fact that "real Democrats" can't get elected around here. A DIFFERENT kind of Democrat (or other type of politician) will be necessary to penetrate the boredom and overall sense of futility people have around voting.

And so, I am taking Ted's widget off my blog, weeping all the while. We are presently licking our wounds and talking about what we should do next. I am all about the Green Party, which may be too lefty for Ted, but we'll see.

(((sings several rounds of FOR HE'S A JOLLY GOOD FELLOW))))

----------------
Listening to: Amy Winehouse - Me & Mr. Jones
via FoxyTunes

Monday, June 23, 2008

I don't like Mondays

The ever-intrepid Mr Daisy has just returned from HeroesCon in Charlotte this weekend, where he met up with these familiar folks. (Left: photo by Mr Daisy)

~*~



For those of you concerned that I would go through my whole life with a redneck vehicle, rest assured, I just spent three hours at PEP BOYS getting my window fixed. As the southerners say, it weren't cheap.

I sat there trying to stay centered and calm, as my promised hour-long wait stretched into infinity, and Tim McGraw and Gretchen Wilson and The Young and the Restless (all broadcast simultaneously at 96 decibels for your listening pleasure) nearly did me in and gave me a roaring headache besides.

I tried to concentrate on my spiritually-enlightening reading, Qi Journal, but alas, it was just so weird and otherworldly in the context of noisy vehicle repair, retail-car parts, the intoxicating scent of rubber tires and the blasting of multiple jacked-up televisions and radios... I ended up putting the high-minded reading away, getting a Dr Pepper out of the vending machine (as you might know, this isn't like me) and settling in to watch some scenery-chewing actress get married to a much older fellow on The Young and the Restless. (I guess I shouldn't complain, soaps are the last place on TV to employ older actresses who actually look and play their advanced ages.)

~*~

Some random Monday links:


GREAT NEWS! Convictions have been successfully overturned for 2 of the New Jersey 4, now known as the Newark 4. Terrain Dandridge and Renata Hill have finally had their bullshit convictions overturned, while the cases of Patreese Johnson and Venice Brown are still pending appeals. Kenyon Farrow speaks for many of us when he shouts HALLELUYAH! (I initially wrote about the case here.)

In local upstate South Carolina news: Clemson football player DeAndre McDaniel has been charged with assault in a domestic violence situation. McDaniel, 20, is charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature. The warrant claims he beat and choked the 19-year-old female victim, name not released.

Only 16% of the electorate voted in our recent state primary. Really pitiful. Ted Christian's runoff election is tomorrow, and we are once again busting ass. But it's very difficult to determine who is actually voting (and therefore how to funnel our limited resources) when the target group is so small.

Have people decided that democracy doesn't work? Have they given up?

Fun link to me and another feminist blogger (named Abby) having an argument over "single-issue feminism" as recently described by the Washington Post's Linda Hirschman... at least, if Abby doesn't end up deleting the thread in a huff, which seems entirely likely. For more background, go here, here and here. My favorite excerpt in the now-infamous Hirschman article was when Sudy is described thusly:

After the Center for New Words's diverse and inclusive "Women, Action and the Media" conference this past April, the blogosphere erupted with charges and countercharges. Bloggers like "Sudy," a self-described "Filipina of mesmerizing volcanic eruptions," declared some of the conference's female subjects to be synthetic: "I . . . don't believe that simply putting a womyn's face where a man's face once was is going to solve our problems . . . by Real Womyn I am talking about womyn of color, incarcerated womyn, migrant womyn, womyn at the border, womyn gripped in violence, rape, and war."

What does Sudy's self-description have to do with her quote? Were any of the white bloggers described (in the article) by using the colorful words in their own profile? This seems like a handy-dandy way to make Sudy look even more exoticized, marginalized and out-of-place.

(((sigh)))

EDIT: I won't be replying again at Abby's, because I don't want her yanking the whole thread and I thought she would prefer to have the last word. But if anyone wants to continue discussion here, please feel free.

AND LAST BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST! To the guy who sent me the SC politics "news tip" via email, you used a lot of state-government lingo and I'm afraid I didn't get it. And what is this sooper-seekrit website you speak of, can anyone look at it or only state employees? WRITE BACK!

Sorry I am so slipshod in replying--I suppose I'll never be Pulitzer prize material.

~*~

I don't like Mondays - Boomtown Rats

[via FoxyTunes / The Boomtown Rats]

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Dead Air Church - Sweetness Follows

A week since I lost my feline muse.

Several times, I thought I saw him on the couch... no, only a recently-shed piece of clothing, the same color.

I thought I heard him meow. No, it was only a cat-food commercial.

I keep thinking, hey, where did he go?

Oh. Right.

Thus, for Dead Air Church, one of my favorite songs about death. Sorry if that bums you out.

This version has the beautiful lyrics included.




~*~

It's these little things
they can pull you under

Live your life filled
with joy and thunder


~*~

Sweetness Follows - R.E.M.

[via FoxyTunes / R.E.M.]

Saturday, June 21, 2008

James Earl Reed executed by the state of South Carolina

Left: James Earl Reed, 49, executed late last night by electric chair in Columbia. Reed is the first person executed by electric chair in the US in nearly a year, and South Carolina's first since 2004.

~*~



James Earl Reed was convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend's parents 14 years ago in a joke of a trial in which he "defended himself." He was finally executed in the electric chair late last night, after a dramatic federal stay of execution at the last minute, lasting about five hours. Peace activists held a prayer vigil at St Thomas More Catholic Chapel, and a later protest vigil at the Governor's Mansion. The stay was vacated by the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals and defense attorneys' attempt to get the Supreme Court to block the execution, subsequently denied.

James Earl Reed issued no final statement, and was pronounced dead at 11:27 pm, Friday, June 20, 2008.

From Canadian Coalition Against the Death Penalty, here is a short article about Reed by Ray Martinez of the Charleston Post and Courier, from back in 2003.

Short version: It is morally reprehensible that this execution should have been permitted. The people who put this man to death should be ashamed of themselves:

James Earl Reed is a man used to having his way, but it's not the way most people would choose.

When his ex-girlfriend's parents [Joseph and Barbara Lafayette] refused to tell him her whereabouts, he methodically shot them dead, firing at the mother once in each leg, once in the lower body and once between the eyes at point- blank range.

When he insisted on defending himself in his double-murder trial, despite pleas from defense attorneys that he had an IQ of 77 and was not competent to stand trial, he became the first person under the state's current capital punishment law to represent himself.

After a jury deliberated just 30 minutes to convict him of those murders, Reed reversed himself and asked for a postponement in the sentencing phase and pleaded for a lawyer to help spare his life. He got the postponement.

Now, nine years after the slayings of Joseph and Barbara Ann Lafayette in their Adams Run home, Reed has resurfaced from Death Row at Lieber Correctional Institution with another odd demand: He wants to be executed rather than continue with further appeals.

"I am standing upon my word that this case be dismiss [sic] or I be killed," Reed, 44, wrote in a letter to The Associated Press last week. He added that he has also decided against asking the governor for clemency, eating a final meal or making a last statement.

All of this sounds familiar to former 9th Circuit Solicitor David Schwacke. In television interviews before his trial, Reed ventured that if Schwacke could convict him and get the death sentence, then Reed would let Schwacke tie him to a tree and shoot him dead.

"This is pretty consistent with what he did at the trial stage, making the case personal," Schwacke said Monday. "Might just be the last act of a desperate man."

No motions have been filed pertaining to his request, said Assistant Public Defender Fielding Pringle of Richland County. She said Reed's request comes after his latest appeal for post-conviction relief was denied in a Richland County court. Reed has at least four more courts in which he could appeal his death sentence, said Pringle, including the South Carolina Supreme Court, the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Fourth Circuit and the Federal District Court. She said she talks with him regularly, but declined to say whether he has changed his mind.

"His competency has been hotly disputed since Day 1," Pringle said Monday. "It is in the court transcript that he has an IQ of 77 and suffers from neurological impairment."

An IQ of 75 is considered the low end of normal, Pringle said.

"It is a very sad story. He should never have been allowed to represent himself in the first place. It is very sad."

The Lafayette family could not be reached for comment Monday. At trial, prosecutors said Reed and the Lafayettes' daughter, Laurie Rego, briefly dated while they were both in the Army. Rego testified that when she tried to break off the relationship and fled her own apartment to get away from him, he rammed a car into an Army officer who was trying to help her. Reed was sentenced to 37 months in prison after pleading guilty to assault, but he continued to write Rego threatening letters from prison.

When Reed was released from prison on April 25, 1994, instead of going to a federal halfway house in Fayetteville, N.C., to complete his sentence, he went to Greenville and bought a 9 mm pistol and 10 bullets. On May 18, Reed showed up at the Lafayettes' house looking for Rego.

For Reed to be executed voluntarily, he must be found competent by a judge. Five years ago, the state Supreme Court upheld Reed's conviction after considering whether Circuit Judge William Howard had erred by finding Reed competent and capable of representing himself. The high court held that the judge had made clear to Reed the inherent dangers in self- representation.

Assistant Deputy Attorney General Don Zelenka was on vacation Monday and unavailable for comment, and his department's spokesmen, Trey Walker, said he was unaware of Reed's expressed intentions to volunteer for execution.

From Lieber Correctional Institution, Reed said on his Web site at www.ccadp.org/jamesearlreed.htm: "The big issue within this death penalty case/trial was that I would be representing myself which I have come to find out this hasn't been done, until I became the first! ... I didn't become my own lawyer for no type of fame nor glory! Yet to save my life period!"
And as we see, that didn't work out so well. Check the link, he is barely literate. I'm sure he really understood the law.

I am ashamed of South Carolina right now.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Friday musings: death and virginity

Left: Tapestry on my living room wall. Mr Daisy thinks the sun looks like Mel Brooks.

The more I look at it, the more I agree with him.

~*~

It's been rather depressing around here lately, with the passing of souls near and far: Aunt Laura, Grand Old Man, Harriet McBryde Johnson, Sean Costello, and now...I am sorry to announce, Maya's Granny (Joycelyn Ward). She was one of my favorite bloggers and possibly yours, too.

You might want to pay your respects.

~*~

The "Secondary Virginity" movement (which brings derisive snorts from the DaisyDeadhead household) has gone surgical, if you can believe it. Yes, they are SURGICALLY REPLACING hymens.

Ellen Goodman writes on AlterNet:

This time the subject isn't spiritual revival but surgical re-virgin. The furor comes from Europe where there's a trend among women -- mostly immigrants and mostly Muslims -- to have their hymens restored for the marriage market.

This began with a recent case that has France in an uproar even by French standards. A Muslim groom who discovered on his wedding night that his wife was not what she claimed to be -- a virgin -- sued for and won an annulment. He claimed a breach of contract on the grounds that virginity was an "essential quality" of the woman he chose to marry.

This ruling outraged a country that bans headscarves in schools and has immigrants sign a pledge that describes France as a secular country where men and women are equal. It was described by a cabinet minister as a "fatwa against emancipated women" and identified by others as something that would pressure more women into hymenoplasty.

Now, why precisely one woman found guilty of fraud would drive other women into deeper fraud I'm not sure. But gynecologists in Paris report women coming to them for certificates of virginity, and medical tourist packages take women to places such as Tunisia where the surgery is cheaper. There is even a new Italian movie about an immigrant returning to Casablanca to "have her odometer brought back to zero."

All this is happening despite the fact -- Biology 101 -- that the presence or absence of a hymen may be unrelated to sexual experience.
And before we write this off as those-crazy-Muslims-are-at-it-again, don't forget the Promise Keeper faction here at home:
...American doctors are also offering to repair hymens in website ads promising privacy and like-a-virgin results -- thank you, Madonna.

Bioethicist Alta Charo squirms over the idea of hymen repair but then says we ought to "put it in the larger context of how far women will go to make themselves marriageable and sexually attractive." Just what will secular, modern women do to fit their own cultural stereotypes -- breast implant, anyone? What will they do to stay employable -- face-lift, anyone?

But there's something in the tale of fear, fraud and France that resonates with the darker side of the abstinence-only education movement here.

Government-promoted virginity lessons are not simply an attempt to protect our daughters -- and, oh yeah, sure, sons -- from a culture that sells sex like Pop-Tarts. Nor are they just about helping them delay and think twice about hooking up. They too are based on fear and control.

And consider the father-daughter Purity Balls dotting the country. At these deeply creepy events, fathers promise "to cover my daughter as her authority and protection in the area of purity." How far is that protection from the protection racket where fathers oversee their female property until it's passed on -- intact or else -- to a husband?
And what, you may reasonably ask, is a Purity Ball? It sounds utterly horrid. Glamour magazine (of all places) ran a pretty good article about these balls last year, well worth reading:
Wilson’s voice is jovial [Pastor Randy Wilson, cofounder of the Colorado Springs’ Seventh Annual Father-Daughter Purity Ball], yet his message is serious—and spreading like wildfire. Dozens of these lavish events are held every year, mainly in the South and Midwest, from Tucson to Peoria and New Orleans, sponsored by churches, nonprofit groups and crisis pregnancy centers. The balls are all part of the evangelical Christian movement, and they embody one of its key doctrines: abstinence until marriage. Thousands of girls have taken purity vows at these events over the past nine years. While the abstinence movement itself is fairly mainstream—about 10 percent of teen boys and 16 percent of girls in the United States have signed virginity pledges at churches, rallies or programs sponsored by groups such as True Love Waits—purity balls represent its more extreme edge. The young women who sign covenants at these parties tend to be devout, homeschooled and sheltered from popular culture.

Randy Wilson’s 19-year-old, Khrystian, is typical: She works at her church, spends most weekends at home with her family and has never danced with a male other than her father or brother. Emily Smith, an 18-year-old I meet, says that even kissing is out for her. “I made a promise to myself when I was younger,” she says, “to save my first kiss for my wedding day.” A tenet of the abstinence movement is that having lovers before marriage often leads to divorce. In the Wilsons’ community, young women hope to meet suitors at church, at college or through family connections.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.

----------------
Listening to: PJ Harvey - This Mess We're In
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Q-and-A with Daisy - VOLUME TWO


Left: Thanks to Yellowdog Granny!

~*~

Wow, has it really been almost five months since I publicly answered my mail? Goodness mercy. Slack, that's me.

My excuse: I saved the fun emails in another file, then promptly forgot all about them. I found them whilst searching for something else entirely, which seems to sum up my whole life.

And so, at long last, we go forward with Q-and-A with Daisy, VOLUME TWO!

~*~

Q: I can't figure out what kind of Christian you are. You claim to be Catholic and then you quote Buddhists and Hindus. You talk about the saints and then you welcome people with gender confusion and affirm their psychosis. You casually use the F-word. What kind of Christian are you, anyway?

A: The fun kind!

Q: I suppose you know that you are no vegetarian if you eat cheese and eggs? Please stop calling yourself one!

A: Bite me!

Q: What is your real name, and why won't you tell us? Is it LaToya?

A: I explained in the comments of the gargantuan thread in question, why I would not reveal my real name. I have also divulged a great deal of very personal stuff in my blog; I live in a smallish town and my name is pretty distinctive. I am usually the only person with my name that people have met, and it would be easy to figure out who I am and who Mr Daisy is. He shouldn't have to pay for my sins, which as he would say, he does already!

You don't have a right to anyone's real identity on the internet. What's YOUR name, anyway?

If you don't want to answer that question, why am I expected to?

Q: You wrote about your name, so don't you think it's different?

A: You write about your workplace, so why won't you tell me where you work?

(((crickets)))

Left: at the South Carolina Farmer's Market.

Q: You said you intended to go to 75% raw foods. Which books on the raw foods lifestyle do you suggest?

A: Living Foods Lifestyle, Rawsome, Complete Book of Raw Food, Living in the Raw, and many more here.

Q: When are you going to write more about the presidential campaign?

A: When the candidates choose their veep nominees, I will be all over it like flies on shit, pardon expression. Right now, not much going on, IMHO.

Hopefully, counter-demonstrations will also be going on during the conventions. I wish I could join them, as I did in my youth, but don't think I can run from riot police as well as I used to.

Q: I think your blog is really stupid, I can't believe the dumb things you write about.

A: Just keep clicking on it. Stats are stats!

I will try to keep amazing everyone with my stupidity. It's a dirty job, but... etc.

Q: Thanks for the Outlaws song, dude! I didn't know the name of the band or what the fuck they were singing. I couldn't have found it on my own. I love it!

A: My pleasure and ROCK ON!

Keep those cards and letters coming in!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Gay-bashing trial: Sean Kennedy's life is only worth three years

If he had been straight, maybe it would be worth more.

I apologize for not posting this sooner, but the news was practically buried. I just got an email about it. Not a lot of ruckus locally over this, which isn't surprising.

Just very, very sad.

Stephen Moller gets three years in Sean Kennedy's death at club
By Eric Connor • STAFF WRITER • June 12, 2008 • GREENVILLE NEWS

The Taylors teenager who threw a single, fatal punch at Sean Kennedy outside an Eastside bar was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison after an impassioned argument about the role Kennedy’s sexual orientation may have played.

Stephen Andrew Moller pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, admitting he punched 20-year-old Kennedy in the face in the parking lot of the former Brew’s Pub on Pelham Road in May 2007 after a night of drinking.

Kennedy’s head hit the pavement, causing fatal brain damage.

Moller, who turns 20 on Friday, originally was charged with murder and faced the possibility of life in prison until Greenville County’s chief prosecutor offered the alternate involuntary manslaughter charge after a grand jury found "no malicious intent." The lesser charges carry a maximum sentence of five years.

In the year since Kennedy’s death, his mother, Elke Kennedy, has decried her son’s killing as a hate crime. Shortly after the death, a warrant alleged that the assault was motivated by the fact that Kennedy was gay.

However, in court Wednesday, prosecutor Mark Moyer read a statement Moller gave to an investigator in which he said he didn’t know Kennedy was gay until after he punched him and that he hit him because he was angry that Kennedy had inadvertently brushed his face with his hand.
Aside: Why is it so bad to inadvertently brush someone's face with your hand?

Unless, you know, HE'S GAY!!!!

And you believe he has just infected you with AIDS? Read on:

No evidence was presented during the hearing that Moller acknowledged Kennedy’s homosexuality before the attack.

Shortly after Moller hit Kennedy, Moller called a girl that Kennedy was with outside the bar and left a voice message mixed with laughter, profanity and anti-homosexual epithets bragging about the assault, Moyer said.

The prosecutor read a transcript of the message in court, which Kennedy’s mother pleaded unsuccessfully with the judge to listen to the actual recording before sentencing Moller.

Left: Stephen Moller at his sentencing, Greenville News photo by George Gardner.
In his statement to the investigator, Moller said that he was sitting in the back seat of a car reaching to turn the radio station as Kennedy reached in with a cigarette and inadvertently brushed his face with his hand. Moyer said the car with Moller had driven over to some girls and that Kennedy came up and hugged one of the girls.

Moller’s attorney, Ryan Beasley, told Circuit Judge Ned Miller that Moller didn’t realize that Kennedy was gay until the driver of the car saw a bleeding cut on Moller’s hand and told him.

"You know that dude is gay," the driver said, according to Moller’s statement. "What are you going to do if you have AIDS now?"

"Everybody thought that this was maybe a hate crime, but it was not," Beasley told the judge. "Stephen had no idea that he was gay until afterwards."

Beasley called the killing a "tragic and freak incident with devastating results" and offered another possible explanation for the brain damage Kennedy suffered, telling the judge that a friend of Kennedy’s, who was drunk, dropped him after trying to lift him up.

"Oh, please!" a member of the crowd of Kennedy’s family and friends present in the courtroom said in response.

Before sentencing, Moller turned to apologize to Kennedy’s family.

"I live with it every day," Moller told the family. "I wish it had never happened. I never thought this would happen. I’m sorry."

In October, Thirteenth Circuit Solicitor Bob Ariail said that his office prepared the alternate charge of involuntary manslaughter after "realizing the possibility of no indictment on the murder charge ... would result in Moller’s release." Ariail said that while the charge would result in an inadequate punishment, it was the only charge that applied to the case.

Moller was later released on bond.

Judge Miller said that "the easy thing to do would be to give him five years and move on," but that he wanted to try to rehabilitate Moller with three years of probation after the sentence is served. Miller also ordered Moller to undergo anger management and substance abuse counseling, submit to random drug tests and perform 30 days of public service.

Miller gave Moller credit for the seven months he served in jail before he was released on bond in November.

Beasley told the judge that during his release Moller has been working and supporting a 9-month-old daughter.

Beasley told the judge that a prison sentence would "only hurt him" and that "there are some bad people in that place, and he’s going to be exposed to things he’s never seen."

Moller’s uncle, Steve Moller, spoke on his nephew’s behalf and said that "we wouldn’t be here today" if alcohol wasn’t involved, and he asked Kennedy’s family to work together with him to help curb underage drinking.
If you can stomach it, go to the GREENVILLE NEWS page that I linked, and read the comments.

Maybe then you'll see what we are up against around here. It ain't no joke.

Seven songs meme

Lovely Ren roused me from my grief by tagging me with a meme. See what nice friends I have? (She got an iPod and it just seemed pertinent!)

~*~

List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re not any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now, shaping your spring-summer. Post these instructions in your blog along with your seven songs. Then tag seven other people to see what they’re listening to.

I've already posted several of these songs and decided to post the rest, so you can listen to em here if you want to.

~*~

LAUGHING--David Crosby

Actually, I've been listening to the last two minutes, the amazing steel guitar solo by Jerry Garcia, which is resplendent.

MUSIC EYES--Heartsfield (2nd song in link)

Overjoyed to find this old song, and have listened to it about 5000 times since it was first posted to YouTube last week.

AIN'T LIFE GRAND--Widespread Panic

Always makes me think of summer, for some reason... probably because I first remember hearing it in a horrendous summer traffic jam, where I had the AC in the car way up. And it properly reminded me: you aren't in an accident, you aren't poverty-stricken or unemployed, people care about you, so just calm the fuck down. Zen message, which I listen to whenever I need to be reminded: Ain't Life Grand?

I love the wistful, ironic way the song is delivered. I think it was Wendell Barry (?) who said the Southern Way is "sitting on the fence post, commenting wryly on the ways of God"... and this song is the musical equivalent of that sentiment.

~*~

This next one goes out to the AA folks. I've listened to it most of my life, at some point. I love the hard-nosed sensibility; like the last song, it "wakes me up"--as the Buddhists would say. It brings me back to myself and reminds me of first principles. It's also one of the greatest country songs ever written.

I was once at an AA picnic and virtually EVERY SINGLE PERSON KNEW THE WORDS...even the children! That says plenty, huh? (Unlike a lot of people these days, he takes FULL RESPONSIBILITY!)

Mama Tried - Merle Haggard

[via FoxyTunes / Merle Haggard]

~*~

Abrupt change in sensibility. I've been patiently waiting for Netflix to ship me the movie about Ian Curtis, titled CONTROL. I MUST SEE IT. Meanwhile, listening to WARSAW, which is the most claustrophobic punk song ever written.

Every now and then, I get a sort of clairvoyance concerning who isn't long for this world. Or is it (as the skeptics would undoubtedly say) that I'm just very attuned to the particular reality of addiction? (see AA reference above) At various times in my life I have heard certain songs and then pronounced "That person isn't long for this world!"--spooking my daughter, Delusional Precious, with my prescience and accurate fortune-telling. Most historic of these documented instances: WOULD?, ALL APOLOGIES and NO RAIN. In each instance, I thought, wow, that guy is gonna die, and SOON. I don't know if it's the actual song-lyrics, or the fact that I have heard literally thousands of addicts talk in thousands of 12-step meetings, and the overall sentiments expressed in the songs ring some kind of existential bell? Or is it something else I am hearing on some other sensory level? Whatever it is, I can hear it, and it always alarms me in a distinctive way. DEATH IMMINENT is what I hear. (And the song might even be relatively sprightly, as NO RAIN is, but I heard it anyway.)

And I thought the same thing when I heard WARSAW. I thought, DAMN, that guy, whoever he is, is NOT LONG FOR THIS WORLD. (When I finally get the movie about Ian, promise to post a review!)

Warsaw - Joy Division

[via FoxyTunes / Joy Division]

~*~

Nostalgic pining away for the days in San Francisco before AIDS took my friends away. It was fun, you guys. I have no words to properly express it, but I do have the song.

(Why does it start out with a HARP? Because we were in heaven, of course.)

Boogie Nights - Heatwave

[via FoxyTunes / Heatwave]

~*~

And this election season, we are well reminded that the big fish eat the little ones, the big fish eat the little ones...

Something we should always keep in mind, even if we are optimistic.

Optimistic - Radiohead

[via FoxyTunes / Radiohead]

~*~

I TAG THE FOLLOWING:

white rabbit (who had issues with my quirky meme! you should like this one better, dude!)
Jojo
Annie
Rootie
Vanessa, who usually includes fun stories with her memes, like I do.
Nexy
And John Powers, to get him to update his blog!

~*~

Yall have been just wonderful in the face of my grieving. Thank you so much. It was (and still is) a shock.

My mother's beloved Siamese kitty lived to be 18, and I was kinda hoping for that long lifespan, even though I knew Grand Old Man's digestive system wasn't in very good shape.

And it happened so fast; just like with old humans. Simple illnesses are no longer simple.

It's hard to write without my muse. I've been doing it so long; Grand Old Man nestled in my lap as I typed. And when I got going really good, he would emit a sweet, quiet, musical purr, as if he could somehow sense that my brain was creatively humming along. His contented purr let me know I was writing well. We were connected that way, and I feel like a tentacle, a sensory antenna, was severed.

I just loved him so much. It will take a long time to recover.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Grand Old Man 1993-2008

My Grand Old Man's kidneys and heart failed today. He was about 15 years old, pretty old for a kitty. I blogged about him here, here and here.

Emotionally devastated; I don't have anything to say.

~*~

The following comic is from Dykes To Watch Out For. (It's kinda hard to read on a blog, so for a larger version, click here.)

God Bless Alison Bechdel, for giving me the art and the words.

Goodbye, my dear friend.

~*~


Dead Air Church - Laughing

This song was recorded in 1973 for David Crosby's "solo" album (which was hardly solo) titled If Only I Could Remember My Name. Deadheads will particularly enjoy playing "name-that-musician" with this video, which includes the whole tribe of people playing on this song--as well as a look at David Crosby's long career, stretching all the way back to his time in the Byrds. Sweet, dreamy harmonies by Joni Mitchell, Grace Slick, Graham Nash. And that heartbreakingly-lovely steel guitar by Jerry Garcia. A beautiful, timeless song.

Have a peaceful sabbath, and don't forget to laugh in the sun.

~*~

I thought I met a man
Who said he knew a man
Who knew what was going on

I was mistaken

Only another stranger
That I knew

And I thought I had found a light
To guide me through
My night and all this darkness

I was mistaken

Only reflections of a shadow
That I saw

And I thought I'd seen someone
Who seemed at last
To know the truth

I was mistaken

Only a child laughing
In the sun


~*~

David Crosby - Laughing

[via FoxyTunes / David Crosby]

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Odds and Sods - Baltar is my prophet edition

The season finale of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA was last night.... and wasn't it just SO GREAT!!!????

~*~

SPOILERS AHEAD!

~*~

The next time someone argues with you about global warming, just show them the last episode of this season! Earth has been irradiated, and the whole place looks like the coast of LAKE ERIE!

Heather Havrilesky of Salon sums it up very well for us:

The road to Earth is paved with good inventions -- like a viper that knows the way! Friday night's "Battlestar Galactica" finale was packed with big surprises, from the revelation of the secret four Cylons living among the fleet to the suddenly bellicose maneuvering of D'Anna, fresh from her resurrection. But the biggest whopper of them all came in the last few minutes of the show when the Cylons and the colonists make peace and follow Starbuck's viper to Earth, only to discover that…. Oh nooooo! Earth is a post-apocalyptic wasteland!

But that's exactly the combination of high stakes and suspense that loyal viewers have come to expect from "Battlestar Galactica," a show that shines the most brightly during the start and finish of its demi-seasons (with a little bit of finger-strumming and pacing in between). When the final episodes of the series begin to air in January 2009 (Oh noooo! Why must we wait so long?), the colonists (and their big Cylon buddies) will be forced to reckon with the fact that their new home, which they've imagined so long is their salvation, isn't the land of sunshine and moonbeams that they'd so dearly hoped it would be. At least it isn't anymore. After the celebrating and embracing and high fiving over finally locating Earth, that moment where Admiral Adama runs his fingers through a fistful of irradiated soil and then scans the wreckage-strewn, overcast landscape is just devastating. Welcome to the promised land, motherfrackers!
I'm very relieved they didn't execute Captain Tigh, who looked so regal and resigned, facing his fate with solemn military bearing as that green light flashed and Lee reaches for the key to blow him out of the airlock. He was ready to die with dignity, and you know that living with the knowledge that he is a skin-job is a far worse punishment than death for him. He is the best alcoholic I've seen on TV for awhile.

Cylon alcoholics! WHO KNEW???

Meanwhile, Baltar is still playing his preacher-prophet role to a fare-thee-well, and we'll see what his glazed-eyed groupies do in the next season, as they undoubtedly gain religiously-based power within the BSG-population. Will he become a Messiah? We can only hope!

~*~

Speaking of Messiahs, or fake ones, or whatever it is, I'm still getting steady hits on my Is Barack Obama the Antichrist post. I followed one of the searches and discovered that although I WAS about fifth or sixth on the list, as one of the first cynics, I have now fallen to the second and third Google pages ((frowns)) as the religious fanatics have eagerly taken over the topic.

They are dead serious, of course.

Intrinsic to the claim is the foofaraw surrounding the year 2012. This probably deserves a post of its own, but I am not yet knowledgeable enough on the full spiritual significance of the year. Suffice to say, its got something to do with the Mayans, Nostradamus, numerology and various other prophecies... Apparently, the Biblical account in Revelation has been wedded in some strange way to these ideas. (As Ash famously said in the movie ALIEN: I'm still collating.)

These combined-theories, presented together, look like a total mishmash to me, and I am naturally given to seeing weird connections everywhere. Let's not JUMP TO CONCLUSIONS!

At my workplace (a veritable bastion of scientific objectivity) we are selling a CD titled UNLOCKING THE MYSTERIES OF 2012, which sounds interesting. (There is also a book to go with it, but we don't sell it yet.) A co-worker listened to the CD and wasn't unduly spooked. If you have a positive attitude, it will all work out for the best!

In the CD, John Major Jenkins explains everything:
• What is the Galactic Alignment of 2012? The astronomical phenomenon predicted by the Mayans, and how it will affect us

• Izapa as the origin place of the 2012 calendar and the "uncorrupted vision" of the early Mayan skywatchers

• How the “Hero Twins” creation story encodes a hidden blueprint for the evolution of human consciousness

• The spiritual practices of the Mayan mystics, featuring a guided breathwork exercise based on their shamanic traditions
Now, who could argue with that?

~*~

The Angry Black Woman points us to John Scalzi, who reports that Fox News actually referred to Michele Obama as Barack's Babymama. (!!!!)

This must be quoted in its entirety:

Back in the day – you know, when presidential candidates were respectably white – news organizations called potential First Ladies “wives.” But now that black folks are running, we can get all funky fresh with the lingo, yo. So it’s basically fine for Fox News to use “Baby Mama” for Michelle Obama, slang that implies a married 44-year-old Princeton-educated lawyer is, to use an Urban Dictionary definition of the term, “some chick you knocked up on accident during a fling who you can’t stand but you have to tolerate cuz she got your baby now.” Because the Obamas are black! And the blacks, they’re all relaxed about that shit, yo. Word up. And anyway, as the caption clearly indicates, it’s not Fox News that’s calling Michelle Obama “Baby Mama,” it’s outraged liberals. Fox News is just telling you what those outraged liberals are saying. They didn’t want to use the term “Baby Mama.” But clearly they had no choice.

Meanwhile, over at her personal site, Michelle “Fox News’ Ethnic Shield” Malkin defends Fox News’ use of the “Baby Mama” phrase by essentially making two arguments. First, Michelle Obama once called Barack Obama her “baby’s daddy,” and as we all know, a married woman factually and correctly calling her husband her child’s father is exactly the same as a major news organization calling a potential First Lady some chick what got knocked up on a fling. Second, the term “baby-daddy” has gone out into the common culture; heck, even Tom Cruise was called Katie Holmes’ baby-daddy, you know, when he impregnated her and she subsequently gave birth while the two were not married, which is exactly like what happened between Michelle and Barack Obama, who were married in 1992 and whose first child was born six years later.

So by Malkin’s reasoning it’s perfectly fine for Fox News to call Michelle Obama the unmarried mother of Barack Obama’s children because an entirely different phrase has to her mind entered the common culture, and there was this one time that Michelle Obama once uttered something that sounded like that entirely different phrase, which is not the phrase that Fox News used. But wait! Malkin also points to someone in her comment thread saying that one time, Michelle Obama actually used the phrase “baby daddy”! No apostrophe! It’s in a comment thread, so it must be true. Therefore, Michelle Obama apocryphally using a piece of urban slang makes it perfectly okay for Fox News to use an entirely different piece of urban slang. And that’s why, you see, it won’t be a problem for Bill O’Reilly to refer to Barack Obama as “my nigga” on the next O’Reilly Factor.

It’s shit like this that makes this story on CNN, about whether Barack Obama should be considered black or biracial, an absolute hoot. Here’s a quick test on whether Obama should be considered fully black: Poof! Barack Obama has been magically transported to a KKK meeting in deepest, whitest Klanistan without his Secret Service detail. There’s a rope and a tree nearby. What happens to Obama? If you say, “why, Barack Obama walks out of there alive, of course” then sure, he’s biracial. Also, you’re a fucking idiot. To everybody who cares about Obama’s racial identity, either positively or negatively, the man is a black man, married to a black woman, who has black children. Black black black black black black black black.

It sure as hell matters to Fox News, which is why it’s dog whistling about Barack so loudly that it’s vibrating the windows. Calling Michelle Obama a “baby mama” isn’t just Fox News having a happy casual larf; it’s using urban slang to a) remind you the Obamas are black, b) belittle a woman of considerable personal accomplishment, and c) frame Barack Obama’s relationship to his wife and children in a way that insults him, minimizes his love for and commitment to his family, and reinforces stereotypes about black men. Someone at Fox News just ought to call Barack Obama “boy” at some point so we can have all the cards right out there on the table.

This will keep happening. Fox News will keep finding ways to remind its viewers that the Obamas are black (and possibly Muslim), Michelle Malkin will continue to make excuses for Fox News’ dog-whistling racism that expose the fact that she’s about as familiar with logical thinking as a rainbow trout is with knitting, and eventually some portion of the Fox News audience will get to the ballot box in November convinced that they’re not really racists, they just know that there’s something about that Obama boy they just don’t like. This is how it will go. Let’s not pretend it’s not part of equation, this election year.
226 responses, all worth reading.

I suppose it will get a lot uglier before it's over.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday Cat Blogging

Caption: Why doesn't she leave me alone? Doesn't she know I dislike her flashing steel box game? Boring.

----------------
Listening to: Patti Smith Group - 25th Floor
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Her life was saved by rock and roll

Today: nostalgic musical interludes. Run away now!!!

Looking over my old posts, I was horrified I didn't blog this video for my obituary of the Outlaws' Hughie Thomasson. Then I realized, I didn't yet know how to embed videos!

I know now, so I feel obliged to post it.

Just keep in mind, this isn't just a SONG (there's no video)--it's an ANTHEM, and just like the 1812 Overture or something, it just can't be any shorter. Just so you know.

I assume only the Deadheads and/or southerners will stick around for all 10 minutes! Yall have heard of "dueling banjos"? The last two minutes of this song is "dueling electric guitars"--and a more righteous noise you ain't likely to hear in this lifetime.

Green Grass and High Tides - The Outlaws

[via FoxyTunes / The Outlaws]

~*~

On Sunday, I mentioned my magical thinking.... and this is exactly the kind of thing that reinforces it: I have been looking for the following song since the advent of the net, literally, for well over a decade. I Googled the lyrics; I tried in vain to remember the name of the band. Was I spelling it wrong? No sign of it. It was a favorite of someone I knew, who died in November of 1979. Were we the only two people who heard the song? It was like a phantom. He is gone, the song is gone...and truly, it is like there is no record of him anywhere. If I could find the song, it would prove---what? That he isn't gone either. He is somewhere.

His birthday was June 10th, which started me looking for it all over again.

It was posted for the first time, yesterday, the 11th.

(See, "coincidences" like that are just too MUCH for me!)

And so, for Keith Alan Koon, at long last: Music Eyes.

He had them.

Music Eyes - Heartsfield (1974)



~*~

This song goes out to ex-Plexus (Bay Area feminist newspaper, published approx 1974-1983) news editor Kelly Eve McRae, another person it is virtually impossible to locate. Unfortunately, there is a Christian artist with the name "Kelly McRae"--rendering most searches maddeningly hopeless. (I know they aren't the same person, since they appear to be several decades apart in age.)

If you're out there, drop me a line.

More magical thinking: she wore her hair like this, too.

Temptation - New Order

[via FoxyTunes / New Order]

~*~

And finally, the song featuring the title of this post... I was over five years old (the age of the song's precocious protagonist) when I first heard it, but you know, not by much. If only they had allowed the Velvets on TV, I could have seen Maureen Tucker for myself and known that YES! There are WOMEN DRUMMERS! It might have changed my life. By the time I saw Karen Carpenter, they had already foisted the violin on me. (And besides, they made her stop playing the drums, too.)

The bang-up remake of this song by Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, inserted "Detroit station" in place of "New York station"--so I guess we all fill in our hometowns, if we identify with the story.

And ain't it the truth?

The Velvet Underground - Rock and Roll

[via FoxyTunes / The Velvet Underground]