Sunday, November 30, 2008

Rape culture and Christmas songs

If you participate in Christmas, you should be glad to know that our rape culture even extends to Christmas songs:

I really can't stay - Baby it's cold outside
I've got to go away - Baby it's cold outside
This evening has been - Been hoping that you'd drop in
So very nice - I'll hold your hands, they're just like ice
My mother will start to worry - Beautiful, what's your hurry
My father will be pacing the floor - Listen to the fireplace roar
So really I'd better scurry - Beautiful, please don't hurry
well Maybe just a half a drink more - Put some music on while I pour

The neighbors might think - Baby, it's bad out there
Say, what's in this drink - No cabs to be had out there
I wish I knew how - Your eyes are like starlight now
To break this spell - I'll take your hat, your hair looks swell
I ought to say no, no, no, sir - Mind if I move a little closer
At least I'm gonna say that I tried - What's the sense in hurting my pride
I really can't stay - Baby don't hold out
Ahh, but it's cold outside

C'mon baby

I simply must go - Baby, it's cold outside
The answer is no - Ooh baby, it's cold outside
This welcome has been - I'm lucky that you dropped in
So nice and warm -- Look out the window at that storm
My sister will be suspicious - Man, your lips look so delicious
My brother will be there at the door - Waves upon a tropical shore
My maiden aunt's mind is vicious - Gosh your lips look delicious
Well maybe just a half a drink more - Never such a blizzard before

I've got to go home - Oh, baby, you'll freeze out there
Say, lend me your comb - It's up to your knees out there
You've really been grand - Your eyes are like starlight now
But don't you see - How can you do this thing to me
There's bound to be talk tomorrow - Making my life long sorrow
At least there will be plenty implied - If you caught pneumonia and died
I really can't stay - Get over that old out
Ahh, but it's cold outside

Baby it's cold outside

Brr its cold….
It's cold out there
Cant you stay awhile longer baby
Well…..I really shouldn't...alright

Make it worth your while baby
Ahh, do that again….
Ah, nothing gets me in the Christmas mood like coercion, intentionally getting someone drunk for the purpose of sex, the idea that not wanting to have sex hurts a man's pride, female purity that needs to be protect by family members, slut-shaming by the community and date rape all immortalized in holiday song and cheer.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving Playlist

As I head back to the Midwest for Thanksgiving, this is the playlist on my iPod (hopefully one of those new nanos after Christmas, hint hint):

Phenomena, Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Right Back Where We Started From, Maxine Nightingale
Suddenly I See, KT Tunstall
You're So Vain, Carly Simon
The First Cut Is The Deepest, Cat Stevens
New Soul, Yael Naim
You Are the Best Thing, Ray LaMontagne
Seven Nation Army, Nostalgia 77
Helter Skelter, Dana Fuchs, Across the Universe soundtrack
Traffic Light, Ting Tings
Black Water, Doobie Brothers
Please Please Please, Fiona Apple

Have a great Thanksgiving, Americans! Have a nice Thursday everyone else!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Some people decided marriage equality deserved it's own symbol, thus:

Much like awareness ribbons, the White Knot symbolizes the ability for everyone to get married, regardless of gender of partner. They've mixed two traditionally American symbols of marriage - tying the knot and the color white - to visually support marriage equality.

Erica of swirlspice and says,

That’s cool and all. I get where they’re coming from. But who decided this? A bunch of white guys in West Hollywood? Because there are lots of marriage traditions out there and this seems like an awfully white-culture-centric choice of symbol.

I’d still wear one, though.

She's got a good point - it's representative of White American marriage culture, which is reflected in the very symbol they chose. But like colored ribbons or those plastic blank-strong bracelets, they're a very visible sign of support for marriage equality.

I'd wear one too.

Tool purse? Seriously?

What's wrong with this headline:

Astronaunt Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper loses her tool purse in space

She's an astronaunt - respect her position if you can't respect her. Jeeze.

Thanks to Kari for the heads up.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Transgendered hate on talk radio

Chris Baker, a conservative talk radio host on KTLK 100.3 out of Minneapolis, has repeatedly said hateful things including, but not limited to:
Regarding the recent murder of Latiesha Green, a trans woman, on his November 18 show, Baker said:

Second of all, I believe that the fault, and I know, 'cause already I'm seeing quotes and comments and, "Oh, it's hate. It's a hate crime. It's a horrible hate crime." Doesn't some of the blame lie with the American media who enables this fraud? Doesn't some of the blame -- I would say a majority of the blame does not lie with the nitwit that shot him, other than the fact that he's a nitwit and a guy who should have been in prison in my opinion, who shot him. But to me, this is the -- this is an example of how, by enabling people and trying to push this false reality, leads to horrible crimes like this, by -- by telling people, "Oh, well, you know, he -- did he [Thomas Beattie] get pregnant?"


So annoying for me, but there's a story today, it's a very -- it's a horrible story from Syracuse, New York. A guy's been charged with murder after he shot two people last week. One of them was a transgender person. So, now, they're talking about hate crime charges, things like that. Look, this guy is a murderer and should go to jail. This guy should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

But I personally believe that by the media and all these other people out there enabling these people that they put people like this at risk, because they give them the boldness, the confidence, the -- to decide, "Well, you know what? I'm a girl. Even though I'm not a girl, I'm a girl. And the media will call me a girl, so, therefore, I can walk into any party I want. I can go anywhere I want. I can demand whatever I want and no one can stop me because the media is going to call me a girl."

Well, guess what? In my opinion, other than the fact that the guy that allegedly murdered this guy -- and this guy I'm talking about would be the transgender guy. I promise I'm just getting this off my chest. This is just driving me nuts.

I believe the media and the rest of the enablers out there, they have this guy's blood on their hands because they create this false sense of reality and they enable people who need serious psychological counseling. I mean, what guy in his right mind would have his stuff cut off? Now, there's a lot of women in their right mind that would like to do that to a guy, but what guy in his right mind wants to have his stuff cut off? What woman in her right mind wants to have her breasts removed? I mean, do they notice the millions of dollars women spend every year in this country to get bigger ones?

This whole thing is -- it's just infuriating to me. You know why? Because I gotta explain this to my kids.

You know what's infuriating to me? I'm going to have to explain people like you to my kids one day. I'm going to have to explain why some people are so hateful to people they don't even know just because of who they are.

Because people like Thomas Beattie and Lateisha Green were trying to find some happiness in their lives.

Because Sarah Palin and Nancy Pelosi had the audacity to be women in political office.

Because WNBA players want the same respect as male professional baseketball players.

Because citizens of this country wanted to show their dissent for an ideology of fear and restricting rights.

I'm going to have to tell my kids that it doesn't matter what they do in life, people are going to judge them simply on who they love or if they play basketball or if they have the ambition to serve our country in political office or if they just show up to voice their dissent.

And that's infuriating to me.

If you'd like to share some of your thoughts with Chris Baker or any of the other people at 100.3 KTLK, feel free here or at

h/t to Minnesota Independent and Media Matters for links

Monday, November 17, 2008

"I showed her the closets"

Laura Bush, you are not helping with the whole fashion is not news thing.

Thanks to Michael for the link.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Tilly and the Wall revisited

I've written of my Tilly and the Wall love before, but Tilly on Sesame Street? Awesome.

Tilly & the Wall on SESAME STREET from Team Love on Vimeo.

Have a good weekend.

Fashion is STILL not political news

Aw, hell no.

Slate has up an article today titled: Fashion advice for Michelle Obama, with slideshow.

We've been over this before. Fashion and hairstyles are not political news. If you're covering a fashion designer's new winter line, then yes. That's news. But if you're offering your "advice" to someone who doesn't make a career in fashion, then it's not. It's just ridiculous and sexist.

Michelle Obama is an intelligent, passionate, hard-working woman who doesn't need someone writing about her clothing choices. I think the only person who should be critiquing her wardrobe is her stylist, and I'm almost certain that person wouldn't be writing about it for Slate.

So one more time with me: Fashion is not political news, or almost any news in general.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My feminist awakening and the Global Gag Rule

Word has it that President-Elect Obama plans to rescind the Global Gag Rule as soon as he takes office, which is awesome. I'm particularly glad to hear this, and hope it happens immediately. Women all over the world are hurting because of the Gag Rule, and they don't need one more day of conservative politics on their bodies.

I have a special affinity for the issue of the Gag Rule, one that's wrapped up in my feminist-coming-of-age story.

Growing up, my parents weren't particularly outspoken regarding politics; I knew my parents voted Republican but I never really knew why and didn't really care. In my high school civics class, I took a survey on various political positions and was a little surprised to see my viewpoints were decidedly liberal and I was closely aligned with the Democratic party - although now I think I was just surprised because I assumed I'd have Republican leanings as opposed to being surprised based on policies.

When I went off to college, I became more politically aware, but not active. Aware, but on a distant level where it was all theoretical. One day, my friend invited me to an informational meeting about the March for Women's Lives in 2004. I went and signed up, but it was all so ... abstract. I didn't quite realize exactly what was at stake and how large of a march it was until we got there and literally, my world changed.

We took a 30 hour bus ride from St. Paul, MN to Washington D.C. My friend and I couldn't afford a hotel room, so we contacted students at Georgetown and we ended up staying at another student's house on their floor with other marchers. They were radical lesbians and really fun, given that we were awkward college freshman from the midwest... Also my first introduction to The L Word was a poster in their bathroom, but my love for The L Word is another story.

The March was amazing and life changing and still to this day, when I found out my current roommate was also at the March, we hugged. Never before had I been surrounded by so many people passionate about what they believed in, and fighting for sovereignty of their own bodies. I was afraid to tell my parents that I was going to the March, believing that their politics and religion would disapprove and they'd be disappointed in me. I waited until I was on the bus to tell them I was going (not that I thought they'd stop me... just that I put it off as long as possible), but my expectations and fears were unfounded. Instead of disappointment, my mom was proud of what I was doing (although she thought staying with strangers in DC was a little sketchy) and the experience opened up discussions on my family's history between my mom, sister and I. Looking back, I only wish they could have been there with me, but I'm sure there will be many opportunities in the future.

After a virus attacked my computer junior year of college, I lost a bunch of my photos. They might be on discs somewhere, but I'm not holding out hope for those. This blurry picture-of-a-pictures might be the only picture I have of my roommates and I at the March for Women's Lives. I didn't have a sweatshirt and I was kinda cold.

After returning from the trip, I ditched my paper topic for my Model United Nations class and instead opted to write on the Global Gag Rule and its impact in Africa. Here's my closing paragraphs from my paper (be kind... I was 18 when I wrote this):

The most obvious solution is to revoke the Global Gag Rule immediately, restoring funding to cut programs like the International Planned Parenthood Foundation and allowing other NGOs to speak freely on reproductive health choices. The Global Gag Rule doesn’t affect the level of abortions because it doesn’t affect the occurrence of unwanted pregnancies. It only forces clinics that offer education on family planning and reproductive health to discontinue services, and in drastic cases but not uncommon, to close. The Gag Rule “causes more unwanted pregnancies, more unsafe abortions, and arguably, more deaths” (The Global Gag Rule: Putting Politics Before Public Health, 2004). The Global Gag Rule is one flounced by pro-life politicians, but in all reality is as anti-life as possible. This rule demeans women and puts the personal choice of reproductive health into the hands of male politicians on a different continent, thousands of miles away.

While many NGOs are cutting back on reproductive health services in order to keep US funding, several have denied US backing in order to continue informing women, men and couples on contraceptives, family planning and safe abortions.
Supporting these programs is the best way to directly help and influence the reproductive freedom of people in other countries.

The likelihood of the Gag Rule being revoked before November 2004 is incredibly slim, considering the current state of affairs.
Hopefully in January 2005 the new president will attend to this matter, but until then there’s still things that can be done. Contacting your state representatives and voicing your opinion is an option that applies to all issues concerning citizens, and works well in this situation as well. Raising public awareness of Bush’s war against women not only increases your commitment to seeing change, but also impassions other individuals who feel strongly about it as well. The influence of the Internet is a major force in politics these days, as seen in the rise and fall of Howard Dean. There are groups that you can get in contact with, and if none suit your specific needs, create a group. Most importantly, all citizens need to go out and vote in the presidential election. If you don’t vote, then you don’t have a right to complain about the state of affairs. Being a concerned citizen involves taking an active part in shaping and molding how the future of the United States looks.

In President Bush’s State of the Union address, he singled out Africa as a primary place for receiving HIV/AIDS education and drugs.
Sadly, Africa is also the place where the global gag rule devastatingly impacts the hardest, causing hundreds of people to die from being denied the basic human right of family planning and access to education and information. The level of unintended pregnancy is lowest in countries with greatest access to effective methods of contraception and where women play a major role in family decision-making (Family Planning: A Human Right). In an effort to influence the entire world and push one faction’s ideals, the United States has managed to alienate itself and anger many people, domestic and foreign alike. The current status quo is unacceptable, and the statistics are overwhelmingly tragic. The Mexico City Policy needs to be revoked as soon as possible, in order to free the world from this gag rule implemented by conservatives whose idea of sex education is no education. Women and children are dying from the effects of this “pro-life” policy, and that must be stopped immediately.
It's a little odd to read something I wrote five years ago, but the opinions I expressed there haven't changed. I might cringe at some of the phrases and bright-eyed optimism, but since I wrote that, things have gotten worse. The Bush administration has cast a eight-year shadow over the world, slashing funding for groups that even discuss women's health, all in the name of religious and moral absolutes.

For the past eight years the Global Gag Rule has stood as a reminder of my feminist awakening and my ever present awareness that as a privileged nation, the United States isn't doing enough for our sisters suffering in this world. To finally see it written out of law will be a good day indeed.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Protest Prop 8 on November 15

People all across the country will be protesting California's passage of Proposition 8 banning marriage equality this Saturday, November 15. Congregate at your town hall at 10:30 PST/1:30 EST and show the United States that we won't stand for institutionalized hate and inequality.

Join the Impact is the main site for organizing and disseminating information regarding Saturday's protests. You can find information there about how to locate your nearest protest or organize your own. Queers United has a collection of other protests, lots in California and for you Minnesotans, at the Capital in St. Paul on Tuesday, November 11 at 3:30.

If the events of the past week have shown us anything, we can make a change, so let's work towards marriage equality and striking down the hate inherent in Prop 8.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Couldn't be happier!

This someecards makes me so giggly and happy.

Google Times

A visitor to this blog did a Google search for "liberal politicians and their beliefs."

The first result on the first page, as of 7:00pm CST?

My post.

Made me smile.

Help Keep Minneapolis Queer/Lesbian Bar Alive!


This is a personal note from the owner of Pi Bar, Tara Yule:

I have been overwhelmed by the response from our community to the news that Pi is closing. People have expressed their desire to come together to raise money toward the effort to retain this space for the community which it has served. Only weeks ago, the financial challenge seemed insurmountable. However, a significant amount of money has already been raised in an effort to save Pi’s building. In addition, other parties have emerged with potential, alternative, creative financing ideas that could bridge the shortfall if enough money is raised. Joni Thome is a good friend of mine and definitely Pi family. She’s a mom, a lawyer, a long time activist, and a great, caring person. She is one of the many people that have come forward to organize this endeavor. What she has to say sums up the sentiment of many that have come to me. Our ultimate goal is to preserve this space for the service of the community that it has worked to bring together and come to love. I invite you to read her words and consider the offer.

Here’s Joni’s letter:


Most of you have probably heard by now that the Pi Bar will have to close its doors effective November 15th. This is to let you know that this does not need to happen and that I believe, it should not happen. Here is what is going on:

The Pi Bar and Restaurant:
I like to go to Pi and here is why.
This is the only place I have ever been where the sign “everyone welcome” speaks the truth about the establishment. Many in our communities have worked long and hard to bring different communities of color, culture, age, class, sexual orientation and gender identity together in one place - in 30 years in this community I have only witnessed two venues achieve that goal - Twin Cities Pride and Pi. And, Pi has done it in under two years! This is more than a bar, it’s a place that is rich in potential and one that is destined to become a community landmark. Last night I watched and celebrated the election results with my Seward and Longfellow neighbors, several punks, a group of children, postal workers, teachers, stay at home parents, students, lawyers, bankers, city and county workers, people who just lost their jobs and houses and so on - I was at Pi and the true community spirit could not have been more intense. Then again, this night was not all that different from other evenings at Pi - whether for Dildo Dingo, a Kid Dance Party, a neighborhood wine tasting or for a fundraiser, the community spirit is present at this place. We cannot let this unique and necessary space get away.

The Problem: Pi Bar owners, like any small business owners, had to take risks in their efforts to get the business started. One was to take the building on a contract for deed. That deed ballooned in September. Throughout the summer and in to the fall, Pi owners worked tirelessly in their efforts to obtain financing for the building. Obviously, this balloon came at a bad time in the life of US economy, we are not at our best. The building itself is valued over $600,000.00 and the current owner wants $600,000.00. If Pi cannot finance or raise that money by mid-month, it will take the necessary steps to ready the building to be retaken by the title owners. BUT, in the last week since Pi made it known that it would have to close, over $100,000.00 have been donated to the business.

The Solution: Make the building a community owned space - sort of like the Green Bay Packers. That is, private donors contribute dollars to bring the amount to be financed down to a manageable level or provide enough funds to purchase the building outright. Current Pi owner Tara Yule would then become the steward for the building. The Pi Bar and Restaurant would continue to operate consistent with its current philosophy and environment and, it would continue to be the space for fundraising and other events in our communities. The benefit to our communities and to each donor is not something that can be defined at this time. Management has tossed around ideas of VIP status and public recognition for contributions - contributions of $500.00 and more. I know that I will donate because I go to Pi because of what it has become and what it will continue to be in our community. We won’t have a chance like this again perhaps for a long, long time. You can become a proud “owner” of the Pi Bar and Community Center by sending all you can to:

Pi Bar
2532 25th Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55406

In the unlikely event that not enough funds are raised to purchase the building, your check will not be cashed. If you want your check returned to you in this event, please send a note indicating the same along with the check.

Pass it on …

Joni M. Thome

Although I don't currently live in the Twin Cities, I know my friends treasure Pi and the space it provides. We need to keep places like this alive and well. We need to support this endeavor to symbolically counteract the devastating results of Prop 8 in California, to build community and tell the world that regardless of sexual orientation, gender, race, class, religion or whatever else we imagine separates us, we are in this together and we support each other.

Save Pi. Save the World.

Right now they just have the mail-in donations, but I've asked about online contributions. I'll keep you up-to-date on any places where you can contribute.

Crush(es) of the Day

These guys, from the National Youth Poetry Slam (Chico Speaks Out Team 2005), made my day on Tuesday when a friend pointed out this video. Not work/school appropriate, but definitely something that should be checked out.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Sometimes, Words Fail

The following is a short column I wrote to be included in my college's newspaper about the historic election last night. It was written quickly, after class today, but it came from the heart:

I know many people are thinking and feeling the same things I am, and words cannot adequately express many of those things. Last night was a night to be an American. Hope and a million possibilities seemed to hang in the air, there for the taking if only we were willing to grasp them. We did grasp them when we elected Barack Obama to become the 44th President of the United States of America. Not only was the election itself an amazing event with the first African American to be elected President in this country, but the events that took place after the winner was declared were illustrative of the kind of leader Barack Obama already is and the brilliant future that is a real possibility for this country.

Many of us on this campus heard the cheering last night when the results were announced. Many of us were part of the jubilation that spilled into the streets of Galesburg before returning to Knox where people came together for music and dance in order to express the joy that seemed all-encompassing not only on our campus, but around the world.

Barack Obama has done something amazing: He has invigorated people and motivated them to become involved in the political process, to be excited, and to really care. That is how real change is going to come about in this country, and Obama has already started the process, even before moving into the White House. All I can say is that I am so grateful to have been a part of this historic moment, and I look forward to the next four years.

Me, pointing at my "I Voted" sticker, right after voting
for Barack Obama in my first presidential election yesterday.


Last night was, of course, historic.
It was also inspiring, beautiful, personal, affecting, communal, and changing.

Last night, CNN called the election at 10pm.
McCain made his concession at 10:30pm.
Obama addressed the nation at 11pm.
At 11:45pm, we took to the streets.

Amelia and I live on a small college campus of about 1300 students in the middle of a working class town.We were in our room with some friends eating, cheering, studying, and watching CNN. We had our windows open and kept hearing people screaming, so we decided to explore. We walked towards the center of campus to see a line of several hundred students walking. Joining in, we found ourselves walking towards Old Main, the most prestigious building on campus, the last remaining site of a Lincoln-Douglas debate and the place where Abe Lincoln first publicly denounced slavery on moral grounds.
We stood on the steps of that historic building celebrating another historic moment, the election of our first black president. Surrounded by most of the campus, chanting, screaming, crying, laughing, I felt proud. Something deep inside me, something I've never known before, something I've never expected to feel, came to the surface.

I loved my country in that moment.

I loved that I could stand there, on those steps where Abe Lincoln stood before me and be surrounded by chaotic young people of all colors. That we could yell together. That we could cry together. That we could march together, later, through the streets, running and skipping, hugging and smiling, holding hands and cheering. We were, we are unified. We are American, and under the leadership of Barack Obama, I am proud of that fact.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Voter 745

I was voter number 745 this afternoon at my polling station. After voting, I went outside and passed out information on Question 1 for the rest of the afternoon. Here's what I'll remember about today:

  • Walking into vote, a young boy asking me if I was going to vote for Obama.
  • The older gentleman who shook all of the poll stander's hands as he walked out of the polling station, saying he was going to tell his children and grandchildren about that day.
  • The two men and older woman trying to convince voters to vote for their candidate for state representative, shouting names after them as they walk to vote
  • The boys and young men playing basketball next to the school, watching their community come together to make their voice heard
  • When I said, "Vote no on Question 1," the man saying, "Oh, the question that wants to gut my rights?"
  • The 13 year old daughter of a local campaign manager arguing local politics with the two men trying to get people to vote for a write-in candidate
  • The 5 year old granddaughter of another poll stander who couldn't read everything she was handing out, but could read the word "vote"
  • The group of youth doing a recording for a local radio program, one who said while walking away, "I wish I was old enough to vote..."

Quick Read on election day anxiety

Debra Haffner at the Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice and Healing has ten tips for easing election-related anxiety:

1. Don't check the polls on the web today. People are voting tomorrow. Those little up and down arrows won't tell you much. Just skip them. Don't click on them.

2. Call your local office of your party and ask how you can make a difference today or on election day. Offer to spend an hour or two.

3. Email all your friends in swing states and remind them how important it is to vote.

4. Check out your polling place on line, its hours, and what kind of ID you are going to need tomorrow. Plan to vote early. Talk to your boss about taking an hour off if the lines turn out to be long. Call a friend to go with you.

5. If you have done steps 2, 3, and 4 -- thank yourself for participating in our great democratic process. If you are anxious and you haven't done what you can do to participate, think of your own.

6. Remember to breathe. Use this simple mantra, "Breathing in, I calm my body; breathing out I smile."

7. Do not watch any more TV about the election today. You can watch tomorrow. Oh, Saturday Night Live's special election count down and the Daily Show don't count as TV. Laughter is good stress relief.

8. Exercise. Go to the gym; take a walk; take the clothes off the treadmill or the exercise bike, and do something for 20 minutes.

9. Plan who you will spend election night with. You don't want to be eating a can of peanuts or a bag of pretzels on your own. Buy a bottle of inexpensive champagne or sparkling cider and put it in your refrigerator to celebrate if your candidate wins.

10. Pray. Pray for both of the candidates and their families. Pray for your's. Pray for America. Pray for the world. It couldn't hurt.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Same-sex marriages start November 12 in Connecticut

Word's out: Same-sex couples can marry in Connecticut beginning November 12 at 9:15 AM!

Here's GLAD's information guide on getting married in Connecticut.

So much wedding cake... mmm.

Quick read: Veterns for equality and against Don't Ask, Don't Tell

If you've been following some of the election races in Minnesota, you know there's tight competition for several seats, including Norm Coleman's Senate re-election bid against Al Franken (with recent allegations of money funneled to Coleman's wife by an associate), Michele Bachmann's House seat (complicated by her comments on rooting out "anti-American" members of Congress, generating an unexpected fund-raising boost by her competitor), and the open House seat in the 3rd District between Ashwin Madia (D) and Erik Paulsen (R) (who allegedly darkened/desaturated Madia's skin in a tv ad).

However, the Minnesota Independant has a great article out today about Madia's equal rights stance and how he arrived at that opinion during his time as a U.S. Marine:

Madia’s turn-about happened while he was a U.S. Marine. As a member of the judge advocate general’s corps in the Marines, Madia was assigned to defend the case of a servicemember who was being discharged because he is gay. Madia was one of the first attorneys in history to successfully defend a fellow Marine against the military’s discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

“Real patriotism sometimes means taking on the system if you know what you’re doing is the right thing,” he said of taking the case.

In 2005, Madia took on a client who had downloaded gay pornography on a government computer and was caught. The same day, another Marine had gotten caught doing the same thing, only the pornography was heterosexual in nature.

“The gay Marine was given a demotion in rank; loss of pay; restricted in his movements on base; and, most severe of all, an administrative separation from the Marine Corps with an Other-Than-Honorable (OTH) discharge, just one step below a court martial,” Madia said. “The straight Marine received a verbal reprimand by the commanding officer.”

Madia successfully argued to a panel of Marines that the disparity in punishment was unjust. They agreed.

His client was able to continue his career with the Marines, but Madia was concerned about the man’s well-being now that he had been outed as gay. Madia checked up on him. “When PFC Smith got on the phone, he was calm and his voice level toned. He said, ‘Sir, nobody cares about that stuff,’” Madia recalled.

“If the Marines, some of the most conservative members of our society, can look beyond sexual preference, maybe the rest of America can do so too,” says Madia. “If someone is willing to wear the uniform, fight, and possibly die for this country, it shouldn’t matter who they are and who they love.”

Check it out.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


I can't wait until Tuesday.
I can't wait to vote.

I met Barack Obama two years ago in D.C. He called me young lady and took a picture with me.
I canvassed for him in Iowa before the primaries, knocking on doors for an afternoon.
Amelia and I have a little shrine to him in our room with lots of pictures of Michelle and him.
I read the newspaper everyday, and the New York Times website is my homepage.
I blog.

I am engaged in the political process.
Thanks Alice Paul.

Eighty-eight years ago women got the right to vote and the right to be actively engaged in the political process. Alice Paul led the National Woman's Party in picketing, hunger strikes, and civil disobedience during suffrage. Her hunger strike campaign and the subsequent public outrage had a deep influence on the Nineteenth Amendment. She was a revolutionary, and she is still not well-known. She is a large part of the reason I can cast my vote on Tuesday, and I want to thank her.

"Mr. President, how long must women wait for their liberty? Let us have the rights we deserve?"

Ill Doctrine: A Poem for The Young Voter

Tuesday is the day. Make sure you get out and vote.