Friday, April 30, 2010

Spill, baby…spill.

A bitch still remembers watching the horror of the Exxon Valdez oil spill on television.

It was hard to watch…I have a hard time watching animals suffer and images of birds covered in oil were beyond disturbing for me.

I don’t remember the Three Mile Island drama, but I sure as shit remember Chernobyl.  We watched that drama unfold in the pre-internet days…slowly learning that things were not under control and that the politics of the Cold War were making it hard to find out just how not okay things actually were.

The damage to people and the environment is still unfolding.

There have been many accidents in the quest for fuel and energy…and the environment isn’t the only victim.  Sometimes I think that people forget that we live in the environment…that humans are animals too…that shit doesn’t happen separate from us and the shit that does happen will touch us. 

Now we have a disaster of yet to be determined proportions off the Gulf Shore.

An accident…a fire…the tragic loss of life…and the oil spill…and then a leak that now threatens the environment.

Off shore is now on the shore…big time.

Spill, baby.

Spill.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Habs oust Caps in Game 7!

Oooh, la la!

A bitch caught Game 7 of the Stanley Cup playoffs between the Habs and the Caps…and it was wild!

Several sports outlets are spinning the Caps loss as a collapse…and ‘tis true that their power play was non-existent, they could convert for shit and there were a lot of mistakes made on the ice.

But the Habs outplayed them, stuck to their game and pulled off an upset on the road…BIG TIME!  Folks need to give them their due…they won this one.

For those of us who love the under-dawg, there’s nothing like watching the number 8 seed take down the number 1 in a decisive Game 7.

Fantabulous!

This bitch can’t wait for round two…

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Another day, another opportunity to lobby for reproductive justice...

Gawd, what the hell did people do before coffee?

Shudder.

Anyhoo, this bitch is up at the break of dawn and getting ready to head to Jefferson City Missouri to lobby legislators.

Lobbying is critical.  For every one of my core values, there are folks who disagree who are sharing their opinion with legislators.  If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard a legislator say that their district thinks this or believes that or supports whatever…and more often than not my data obsessed ass knows that the truth is quite different…I’d be set for life.

But we the people are too often silent.

The thing is, the public square isn’t.

There are plenty of loud as hell folks who claim to represent the will of the people and who are trying to legislate reproductive rights away in state after state.

Yeah, lobbying is critical as hell.

So I’m headed to Jefferson City...again...to make sure my voice is heard!

Toodles for now…

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Hockey is for EVERYONE!

As most of you know, this bitch is a fan of ice hockey.

Hockey is for EVERYONE, particularly angry black bitches (wink).

Anyhoo, I’ve mostly recovered from my beloved St. Louis Blues failure to make the playoffs (sob) and am now indulging in the bittersweet joy of watching the playoffs without being able to root for the home team (sob one more time and then sigh).

Last night I watched the Caps v. Habs and witnessed a certain Jaroslav Halak wall it up between the pipes…BIG TIME!

Halak was a goalie god, making 53 saves and only letting one get past him.  Lawd, by the time the Caps finally scored this bitch was about to declare Halak a hockey team of one!

Fantabulous.

I followed that hockey-based joy up by sorta-watching the Blackhawks close out their series with the Predators and as I watched a bitch couldn’t help but wonder why the hell the NHL has broadcast contracts that make finding and enjoying a hockey game hard as hell for the average hockey fan.

Talk about a marketing fail – ice hockey got a huge boost after the exciting finish to the Olympic medal race and lots of folks who hadn’t thought of ice hockey were ripe for the picking as new fans of my favorite game.  But the NHL has games tucked away, like a sorta-beagle hides it’s favorite bone, and new fans aren’t likely to haunt the dial until they find a game that probably isn’t even the “right” game being shown on Versus or being teased on Versus but really being broadcast on NBC’s alternate channel.  And my heart goes out to folks who don’t have NHL Center Ice!

Lawd, have mercy.

Mayhap the NHL is thinking that a decrease in supply will equal and increase in demand?

Blink.

Anyhoo, a fluff of the Afro to Jaroslav Halak for one hell of a game and congrats to the Habs for forcing game 7!

Monday, April 26, 2010

On Arizona's new law...

Let’s jump right in, shall we?

Last year someone sent this bitch a link to a powerful post on racial profiling(Update - found it!   http://americanindiansinchildrensliterature.blogspot.com/2009_06_09_archive.html Thanks!)... trust a bitch that this was one of the best posts I’ve read on the topic.

The author wrote of driving through a western state, being pulled over and asked a series of leading questions about where she was coming from and where she was going and then being allowed to continue with a warning about speeding even though she hadn’t been speeding when she was pulled over.  She wondered if the unwarranted traffic-stop was an attempt by the local police to harass visibly brown people and create an unwelcoming climate for undocumented people in the border state.  What made the post powerful for me was that the author also wrote about how her people had lived in the same region for generations...from a time when it was part of Mexico until the present.  I tried and failed to imagine what it must be like to have those kind of roots in a region and then have some asshole harass you as if you don't belong there.

I sure as shit thought of that when I heard of Arizona’s new immigration law.

And I’m calling bullshit on anyone who tries to say that the Arizona law won’t lead to profiling.

As a matter of fact, supporters of the law should be outraged that the Governor of Arizona claims that profiling won’t be a part of the law.  The only way this kind of law “works” is if it is applied based on visible difference.  Usually paper laws mandate that only the other...the undesirables…are required to have their documentation on them at all times.  But Arizona has Americanized that shit…everyone is assumed to have some sort of government issued identification or easily produced proof of legal status, so supporters of the law can make the false claim that anyone who raises suspicion that they may not be American could be asked to produce documentation or face the consequences of having to prove that they are in the country legally.  Yeah, that’s American as a motherfucker…kind of reminds me of the impossible to pass voting tests members of my family had to take in Mississippi back in the day that were only given to black people trying to vote.

The thing is, Arizona could have passed the law with equal oppression for all.

Legislators could have drafted it to mandate that all residents of Arizona, regardless of age, have state issued documentation and that all interactions with law enforcement include producing that documentation.  That would have left the problem of how to deal with visitors to the state…but Arizona legislators could have mandated that any non-resident of the state who has any interaction with law enforcement who cannot produce a passport or legal identification issued by another state or the federal government be detained until their status can be determined.

But Arizona didn’t do any of that…Gawd forbid they subject everyone to what they so callously want to subject people of color to.


Sigh.

A bitch supports the idea of a boycott mostly because I think people should be warned that their family trip could turn into an apartheid experience quicker than flies gather on shit.

Better to avoid Arizona altogether…and that’s a damn shame, since I’ve been there and found it to be a beautiful state.  But natural beauty and stunning sunsets aren’t enough to overcome the now legal and oh so public threat of being treated like a suspect simply because you are a person of color. 

And this is also one of those things that those who are not subject to profiling usually fuck up on and "don’t get".

Right now there is someone writing a comment to this post who is going to try to make the case that people who aren’t in the country “illegally” shouldn’t get upset over being asked to prove that we aren’t in the country “illegally” because we can just show our papers and then go on about our bitness so what's the big deal and why do you always have to play the race card. 

Oh precious privilege, that those who enjoy you are gracious enough to tell the rest of us what should or should not be offensive…what is or is not insulting and wrong and the very definition of unequal treatment under law.

But a bitch is gonna be a witness...the only race card on the table is this mandate of unequal treatment under law that is the new Arizona law.

The race card that says people of color, people with accents, people who wear "different" clothing or people who are conversing in a foreign language get to experience one kind of American while the rest of y'all get to expereince the other kind of America where your ass isn't asked to prove your legal status when you're pulled over for failing to yeild.

Somebody ought to be 'shamed, but that'd be too much like right.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Missouri State Senator Joe Keaveny, his blatant flip floppery and why this shit is fubar…

Let’s jump right on in, shall we?

This is gonna be a bit longer than my usual post…a bitch has some shit I need to get off my Afro.

A bitch lives in the 4th Senate district in Missouri.  I love living here…’tis diverse as hell, populated by some of the most progressive folks in the state and has lots of pretty trees a bitch can enjoy once they cease spitting pollen.  When I first moved back to St. Louis, my state Senator was…well, he was reluctant to vote in a manner consistent with the values of his constituents (translation – he feared being denied communion more than he feared the wrath of the voters).  Typical to Missouri politics, that state Senator was sitting pretty because it is difficult to unseat an incumbent who is backed by the machine.  So this bitch watched as the then state Senator for the 4th district voted for bad bills that sought to shame women seeking to make decisions about their reproductive health…and he voted for the same-sex marriage ban in 2004, even though our district is pro-LGBT equality.

Yeah, that dude really sucked.

Imagine my happiness and joy when that state Senator was termed limited out of office…and then imaging all the joyification a bitch felt when a certain progressive as hell Jeff Smith emerged as a candidate and won!

Oh, happy day!

Finally the 4th was represented in the Missouri Senate by a person who articulated and voted the values of his constituents…outstanding.  But Jeff Smith had done a bad thang back in the day when he was running for Congress and that bad thang caught up to his ass last year, resulting in Smith going to prison and the 4th needing a new state Senator.

That’s when The Man and his machine kicked into gear…and candidates to fill the seat were selected by a bunch of ward-based committee people who played political poker for a day and spit out a certain Joe Keaveny as the Democratic candidate.

I didn’t know shit about Joe Keaveny except for the fact that he was part of the political machine…and, since a bitch is deeply involved in reproductive justice in Missouri, I had a bad feeling about a candidate I didn’t know shit about.

Keaveny won...the 4th is true blue...and he took office in January of this year.

He passed his first reproductive justice test when he voted against the heinous 2010 Abortion Restriction Bill when it came up in committee, but the bill passed despite his no vote.

Keaveny signed on to the pro-choice Prevention First Act…another good sign…but my bad feeling lingered.

See, I kept remembering the Senator who held office when I first moved to the 4th…the one who was allergic to voting in a manner consistent with the values of his constituents.

Well, a bitch didn’t have to wait long.

The 2010 Abortion Restriction Bill came before the full Senate Thursday morning...

...and Senator Joe Keaveny indulged in a public display of blatant flip floppery Thursday when he voted for the fucked up from the floor up Abortion Restriction Bill he had voted against in committee.

What…the…FUCK?

I suspect that Keaveny is going to try to spin that shit isn’t shit and that this heinous bill isn’t as heinous as it used to be.

But let’s skip that dance.

Abortion is the most regulated medical procedure in the state of Missouri.  Despite the delusions spewed forth on the Senate floor, Missouri already has and providers in Missouri already comply with rigorous informed consent requirements.

This bill isn’t about establishing regulations that don't exist.

This bill is about politics...about pandering to the anti-choice forced that waltz the halls under the dome in Jefferson City like they own the building because a majority of state legislators do ig'nant shit like Mr. Keaveny just did and make them feel that they basically own that fucking building.

When he voted for the 2010 Abortion Restriction Bill Senator Keaveny voted for…

A bill that plops the Missouri state government down between doctor and patient.

A bill that adds additional…and let’s stress that these are addition, burdensome and unnecessary…requirements to the informed consent process for abortion.

A bill that mandates providers deliver dogma dressed up to look like fact through a script to be developed by government rather than medical professionals.

The bill denies women the ability to purchase private health plans that cover abortion, even if they pay the premiums with their own money…prohibits the sale of single service riders for abortion coverage purchased with private individual funds…and goes beyond the Hyde Amendment, which has prohibited public funding of abortion in most instances since 1977.

And this is my favorite bit of rancidity...the bill mandates that providers post signs at abortion clinics that contain claims of some fantastical state funded programs that will provide assistance in carrying a child to term and caring for that child once born, including health care, housing, transportation, food, clothing, education and job training. 

Get this, the Senate voted to slash funding for programs that provide that shit before they voted to mandate that clinics post signs claiming that the state has programs that provide that shit! 

I’m not kidding.

Shit, if this bill becomes law a bitch hopes some woman takes the state up on that last bit and then sues the hell out of Missouri for false advertising and fraud.

Lawd, have mercy.

Sadly, for the 4th Senate district this is all just another case of history repeating.

A bitch is beyond pissed off.

Keaveny sent this bitch an email when I reached out to him to ask that he vote in a manner consistent with the values of his constituents…an email that stated that he didn’t support the restrictions in the bill because they would do nothing to reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies in Missouri…an email that said he was instead in support of prevention measures like those contained in the Prevention First Act.

I've seen this shit before…the Missouri Senate 4 two-step…the 'say one thing to get your constituents off your back' move that is always followed by the 'do the opposite because you really answer to another'.

Which leads me to the question I plan to put to Senator Keaveny soon and very soon...

Just who the hell did he serve with this vote?

Not people who want to reduce the number of abortions in Missouri…by his own admission via email to me, this bill and the provisions in it will do nothing to prevent unplanned pregnancies.

Not his constituents…I live here and we the people of the 4th district are not anti-choice and do not want the Missouri state government in the exam room with us and we sure as shit don’t support mandating the posting of lies at clinics or that claim of fetal pain.

So, who did Senator Keaveny serve…who is doing a happy dance over his vote…who is being represented in the Missouri Senate by Mr. Keaveny and his flip floppery?

I’d really like to know…because clearly I need to lobby that motherfucker if I want my values and wishes to be represented by Senator Keaveny in Jefferson City. 

***logs off to prepare to make one hell of a phone call***

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day...

The war on salt…


A bitch has been on the front lines of the war on salt for a few years now.

I’ll confess that I didn’t give a shit about the war on salt until my ass was diagnosed with high blood pressure.

Pause…sip coffee and do happy joy coffee dance in my head…continue.

Okay, okay…I still didn’t care about the war on salt even after I was diagnosed with high blood pressure.  My caring began after I started taking my blood pressure meds and realized that when they list frequent urination as a side effect they mean the hell out of that…they are serious…a bitch was peeing every half hour and that ain’t a recipe for happiness or joy!

What?

I’m just keeping it real!

All that pee made a bitch go back to my doctor and ask her what I needed to do to control my blood pressure without meds.

Random conspiracy theory aside - I suspect they did that shit on purpose…mmmhmm, a gaggle of doctors got together and decided to make blood pressure meds side effects just bad enough to have people consider changing their diet but not bad enough to have people stop taking them altogether.

Anyhoo, I’ve been at war with salt since the post meds peeing began.

And let a bitch tell you, keeping my daily salt intake under 2400 milligrams per day is harder than it should be!  Food manufacturers put salt in everything and that shit adds up quick as hell, so this bitch used to struggle to keep my diet diverse while still keeping my alt intake under 2400 milligrams per day.

Ugh.

Anyhoo, salt intake is in the news now ‘cause some folks want food manufacturers to cut the salt they add to things…and other folks want the government to mandate that food manufacturers cut the salt they add to things…and still other folks want the anti-salt people to stand down ‘cause folks have the right to eat a bowl of salt for breakfast if they want to.

Mercy.

All I know is that the best way I’ve found to control my salt intake has been to cook my own food…and read labels.

So far so good.

I’m not off the blood pressure meds yet but my doctor reduced the dosage so I’m not peeing as much and that is a very good thing!

But the war on salt continues!

Something tells me that food manufacturers aren’t going to change a damn thing until the masses join this war and change becomes a factor in their profit margins.

As my beloved father used to say, money talks and bullshit walks…

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Remembering Dorothy I. Height…

Dorothy I. Height has died.

Height was a key figure within the Civil Rights movement…a champion for voting rights, school desegregation, equal opportunity to employment and for fair and decent housing.


Dorothy Height went to the front…not so that she would get noticed or credit for being there, but to do work.

One can truly say that there was an America before Ms. Height and there is an America after...we are far from perfect, but it serves us well to look back at what was to better understand what is so we can get to work on what needs to be.

When there was a protest, Dorothy Height participated.

When someone needed to be lobbied, Dorothy Height got her lobby on.

When President Eisenhower failed to act on school desegregation, Dorothy Height took him to task.

When Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke of his dream, Dorothy Height was there…

…and when four families buried their daughters in Birmingham, murdered by a church bomb just weeks after the March on Washington, Dorothy Height was there too.

Dorothy Height was a social justice warrior who leaves a legacy of action and participation.

Ms. Height was known to say that we must learn to take our task more seriously and ourselves more lightly.

She lived a life to remember...she was a leader who led by example…and she was a woman who went to the front, not to get noticed but to do work.

Dorothy I. Height was 98 years old…

Monday, April 19, 2010

15 years ago...

15 years ago I lived in Dallas Texas…in Irving, actually.  I worked at an advertising agency and had just learned how to drive a car.

I was 22 years old (Lawd, have mercy) and had just started to stretch my wings post college.  I was a young 22…totally absorbed with trying to get a promotion at my first “real job” and still dazzled by the feeling of independence I got out of having responsibilities. 

I was years away from feeling weighed down and stressed the hell out by those same responsibilities.

15 years ago today I woke up at dawn…put on the oh so corporate suit-based uniform we used to have to wear back…drove to work and began my routine.

By 8:30am I was already pulling media reports and sending deadline reminders.

By 8:45am I was already up on some serious work gossip from the day before…I think it was a Tuesday.

15 years ago…no, it was a Wednesday…I walked to the office vending machine area and purchased a honey bun.

It was 9am.

I walked back to my office…checked the reports that were churning out of the old as hell printer we used…returned to my desk and settled down to enjoy my honey bun.

Then there was a shout, followed by rapid voices, sharp sentences…an intense conversation happened just far enough away from me that I couldn’t make out what was being said, just that it was emotional as hell.

Was it 9:30am? 

10am already?

I can’t remember…I didn’t look at the clock on my computer, just pushed back from my desk and went to look around the corner.

What time was it?

It couldn’t have been 10am yet.

My co-worker was throwing things into her bag…her phone was off the hook and someone was shouting her name on the other end…she shoved by me and took off at a run.

Her supervisor ran after her.

I looked around for someone to ask what the hell was going on.

I remember all that, but not what time it was.

Someone whispered that there had been an accident in Oklahoma City…and the co-worker who had taken off was from there, had tons of family who worked downtown and had received a call from her mother that something very bad happened.

We all began the now familiar office ritual of tragedy…someone turned on CNN, other television sets went to local news…and the rest of the day was spent learning rumors and then the shocking facts.

We later learned that my co-workers family was not harmed...

...and that the tragedy was no accident. 

15 years ago, when I was 22 years old and working at my first job post college, Americans attacked America.

Domestic terrorists murdered 168 people at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.

And I think now, as I thought back then, about the people and children who began that Wednesday like they began every other day…about the pre-work routine, the pause for gossip, the emails sent to kick off the day and then maybe a dash to the vending machines.

Then I think of the horror that I cannot comprehend…the chaos I know only from what television crews captured from a distance and those pictures I can still see when I close my eyes…the confusion and fear and dust and rubble and that desperate search for survivors.

And then the slow…oh, it was slow as honey straight out of the fridge…that slow roll-out of who, what, when and we already knew where.

Not foreign, but domestic.

Children killed not due to miscalculation but rather indifference.

The deadliest domestic terrorist act in this nation’s history...

…happened 15 years ago today.

It was a Wednesday.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Did you know Missouri has a thought panel just for women?

‘Tis true! 

The Missouri State Senate is there to “help” women with complicated things like thinking and making decisions in partnership with our doctor!

Yep, the same MO State Senate that has wasted countless hours of the people's time working to prevent our access to federal health care reform because they are allergic to government being involved in health care has...oh, glorious hypocrisy reigns supreme...passed a bill that would plop the Missouri state government down between women and our doctors!




Classic.





Pause…crack knuckles…continue.

I’m so tired of being tired of the shit cranked out by my state legislature, y’all just don’t know!

The latest public display that the majority of Missouri legislators think it’s a miracle women have survived this long without their asses guiding our every action and decision is the Missouri Senate’s passage of the 2010 Abortion Restriction Bill.

This bill is a steaming pile of paternalistic bullshit on ice.

Want more restrictions to go with the tons of restrictions already in place to regulate abortion services…even though abortion is already the most regulated medical procedure in the state?

You’ve got it!

Want the Missouri State Legislature all up in your personal bitness…up in there standing tall and proud to be ig’nant between your doctor and your ass?

You’ve got it!

Did you think Stupak was extreme?  Think again – the Missouri Senate took Stupak and shoved that coverage ban so far to the right it hit a fucking wall!

Yay!

Want to prevent unwanted pregnancies, increase sexual literacy and treat and prevent sexually transmitted infections?



Too fucking bad!

Nothing about this steaming pile of paternalistic shit on ice does a damn thing to prevent unwanted pregnancies, increase sexual literacy or treat and prevent sexually transmitted infections in Missouri.

‘Cause passing prevention legislation would have been too much like right and it sure as shit wouldn’t have given our oh so worried about the little ladies of Missouri’s ability to think independently legislators the BIG WIN pile of steaming shit proof-based anti-choice pander-bill they were really going for to appease the anti-choice organizations that they serve.

That they did it on tax day…so that this bitch could know to the penny how much of my hard earned money goes toward the pool out of which these craven motherfuckers get paid…was salt in the wound.

Well done, Senate - if you're gonna say "Fuck You", say it loud and hard!

Fuck this fucking shit twice on Sunday.

When I schedule my well women exam next week this bitch is tempted to contact the assholes who voted for this shit and demand that they come along too…just in case I have to make a decision or think.

I mean, if they truly believe that women are feeble masses of emotion who get all worked up when visiting a doctor to address anything and everything going on “down there”, then they are fucking negligent for failing to pass the same bullshit regulations for my pap smear or for all medical things related to my reproductive system.

Hell, if the Missouri Senate is to be believed, this bitch needs a permission slip...from some man, of course...to green light a pelvic exam!

Shit.

I’ll end this rant of absolute disgust in the majority in the Missouri Senate with a tip of the Afro to the minority – to those State Senators who stood up, pointed out just how ridiculous the 2010 Abortion Restriction Bill is and took the opportunity to point out to the fools on the floor that, if they really gave a damn about preventing unwanted pregnancy and empowering Missouri women, they’d give a hearing to and pass the 2010 Prevention First Act.

Our pro-choice legislators are fantabulous…like fresh air in a room full of stank…and I appreciate the hell out of them.

I need look no further than the 2010 Abortion Restriction Bill to know that we need more pro-choice voices in the Missouri Senate to protect us from those who would protect us from ourselves...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Addressing some shit that needs addressing...

Happy tax day! 

Wince.

Shall we?

As some of you know, a debate broke out in the comment section of my Autism Awareness Month post

I’d like to address a couple of things that need addressing.

#1 – On silencing…

A bitch moderates comments and have done so since picking up a few racist trolls my first year of blogging.  Some comments get rejected – if they are off topic, rancidly racist or threaten violence I hit the rejection button without shame.  Other comments are published and then responded to.  I don’t agree with everyone and everyone doesn’t agree with me, but I don’t reject a comment just because it disagrees with this bitch.

There is a difference between disagreeing and silencing.  I speak from personal experience – I’ve been disagreed with and I’ve been silenced.

I’ll continue to have people disagree with me as long as I share my opinions…the two go hand-in-hand.

But I will never be silenced again.

For the record…when a bitch wants someone to shut the fuck up I tell that person to shut the fuck up.  When I want someone to get gone I usually say something like “Get thee gone!”  If I don’t tell you to shut the fuck up or get gone, then I don’t want you to shut the fuck up or get gone.

#2 – On practicing the fine art of bitchitude and discussing autism…

One key part of practicing the fine art of bitchitude is making sure what you say is what you meant to say. 

On the topic of autism, I’d rather say nothing than do damage. 

I spent the first half of my life not talking about my brother because a lot of people’s reactions pissed me off or hurt my feelings.  My silence was self-imposed and a kind of self-protection…and it resulted in many people not knowing that I had a brother or anything about him.  I realized that fact after a chat with a friend who I had known for years who was more than a little hurt that I hadn’t shared about my brother and who accused me of being ashamed of him. 

That hurt like hell, but I earned it...and, having earned it, the hurt was all the more painful.

I took that note and painful indictment and did a lot of inner work to get to the point where I feel empowered to openly discuss my life…my sister and brother are a huge part of my life…and I’m pretty sure that everyone knows that now.

Having said that, this bitch ain’t perfect. 

Shit, I never claimed to be!

Fantabulous maybe, but not perfect.

And, just as I have called folks out for fucking shit up, I have had folks call me out for fucking shit up on all manner of topics. 

Practicing the fine art of bitchitude requires…hell, it demands...having the courage to listen to one’s critics and learn from that which is valid.  I’ve done that on a lot of issues…when I look back at some of my early posts on feminism I sometimes want to pull them down, but they reflect my journey and sometimes I need to look back to appreciate where I currently am.

I am absolutely certain that the same can be said of my posts on autism.

So, when critics in my comment section highlight that my using the phrase “live with autism” to describe my life is inaccurate and insults them…I listen.

I’ll confess that the prince to pauper tone of certain comments got my back up…and ‘tis difficult to listen to someone who just pissed you off…but if I only listened to comments that didn’t piss me off I’d only hear praise and that’s not a recipe for growth. 

I paused…reflected…considered…and acknowledge that the use of that phrase and other phrases sends a message that I don’t want to and never intended to send.

I won’t use it again.

I won’t edit it out of previously published posts…that’s about the journey and being able to look back and note from whence I have come.

But I won’t use it again.

Thank you to those who commented…in support or in condemnation…and thank you to those of you who sent personal emails.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Pondering the benefit of the doubt...

Shall we?

A bitch used to live in Dallas Texas, where I was in sales.  I worked for a firm that sold broadcast radio nationally.  It was a high-pressure job and our team often took lunch-based excursions to balance out the stress.

Some background – my boss and I often discussed racism in and outside of the workplace.  I worked on a lot of marketing campaigns for urban (translation – black) radio stations, so the topic came up from time to time.  My boss, like a lot of people, was one to give folks the benefit of the doubt when it came to covert racism…and this bitch was one to call shit the shit that it is, covert or overt or someplace in the middle.

Anyhoo…

One day we went to Northpark Mall, which houses several high-end stores including Neiman Marcus.  We popped from store to store, grabbed a nice lunch (chicken Caesar salads, sweet tea and strawberries with cream…yum!) and then went to Neimans.  At the time, Neiman Marcus was the only store in town that sold the makeup I wore and that makeup was really the only thing I could afford at Neiman Marcus.  I broke away from our crew to go to the makeup counter, saying that I’d meet up with them in the shoe department after I scored some lipstick.

Needless to say, I was waiting at the makeup counter for sometime…a long time…long enough for my co-workers to go through the shoe department, try on several pairs of shoes, wander through handbags and then wonder what the fuck happened to my ass.

What happened was that the woman working the counter was indulging in a public display of not seeing the black woman who had yet to be waited on.

I made eye contact with her…and watched as she left her station to go to another station to wait on folks there.  I continued to observe her as she returned to her station, went to the back storage area and then left again without asking me if I needed help.  The place wasn’t exactly busy…but the woman managed to help several people who came over after me.

When my co-workers walked up and asked me what was taking so long I explained the situation calmly…this wasn’t my first time at the dance…and watched the skepticism leap into my bosses eyes.  It stayed there until the woman who apparently didn’t see my black ass waiting at the counter for damn near 30 minutes came over and, instead of asking me if I needed help, asked my boss how she could help her.

Pause…sip coffee…continue.

And my boss went from skeptical to fired up in the blink of an eye.

She went off.

I stood back in shock, as she demanded to see the manager and scolded the woman for her public display of not seeing the black woman waiting at the counter.  Suffice it to say, I got a store credit and apology and everyone was soooo sorry that I had to wait but…wait for it… “She didn’t see you waiting there and you should have said something sooner!!!”

Sigh.

My boss vented and ranted about it on the drive back…at the office throughout the remainder of the day…and during our meeting the next day.

She was shocked.

She was offended.

She couldn’t believe how calm I was.

And, after I explained to her that if I got fired up over every incident I’d cease to function, I then explained that I was going to address it and would have addressed it…but she fired up so fast I never got a chance.

That incident remains one of those moments when I got to see how other people experience the racism visited upon we people of color.  There is often denial and skepticism…that shit can open a serious rift, ‘cause nothing pisses a body off more than being told you are over-reacting to something that you know quite well but they know little about.  I’ll confess that half the reason I didn’t just walk away from that makeup counter was because I knew that I’d have to explain why I didn’t get the makeup and then my boss would have made some lame ass excuse for why I hadn’t been waited on and then I’d get pissed at her and…well, yeah.

Sigh.

But sometimes…when an incident like that happens…sometimes there is a realization like the one my boss had.  A realization that racism does happen and it isn't always blatant and obvious, complete with hoods and Confederate flags.

There is a reason I don’t automatically give folks the benefit of the doubt...

...just as there is a reason why my boss did and probably still does.

Oh, and I moved on to MAC ‘cause they know how to treat a bitch and they have fantabulous lipstick.

Blink.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Daaaamn...

A bitch caught this news bit while cruising through the internets this morning. 

Apparently, legislators in Connecticut have a bill that would extend the statute of limitations on child sex abuse cases.  The current statute gives victims up to the age of 48 to sue.  The proposed legislation would lift that limit and allow people over 48 years old to join lawsuits filed by younger people.  My understanding is that the legislation has no impact on the statue of limitation in a criminal investigation, so we’re talking about civil suits.

Pause…sip coffee…continue.

The headline of the story caught my attention – “Conn. bishops urge parishes to fight new sex abuse law” – hell, that shit made my Afro hurt.

A bitch’s first reaction after reading the headline followed by the article…

Lawd, have mercy.  Somebody ought to be ‘shamed, but that’d be too much like right.

Now I know that you know that I know that you know that Catholic Bishops love politicking and I know that you know that I know that most people know that this latest public display of political organizing by Bishops is about covering ass.  A bitch suspects that a lawyer suggested this shit because of pre-existing lawsuits and so forth.

But daaaaaaaaamn.

Religious leaders in Connecticut are urging the faithful to get their activism on against a bill that would allow victims of abuse…not just victims of child sex abuse by priests or Catholics…to seek the only justice still on the table.

Daaaaaaaamn.

A bitch’s second reaction after reading the headline followed by the article…
I mean daaaaaaaamn!

Confessional – a bitch is beyond confused about the laws that govern churches involvement in politics.  I used to think that churches risked losing their non-profit status and tax exemptions if they organized politically, lobbied legislators, drafted legislation or openly urged their flock to oppose or support candidates or legislation.  But after watching Bishops draft amendments to federal health care reform legislation and then get their lobby on with an expertise one usually only sees from pharmaceutical or oil company lobbyists…and noting that they didn’t seem to fear any ramifications from having publicly done that shit…well, a bitch is confused.





Mayhap the notion that there are laws that prevent churches from getting knee deep in politics up in their congregations is a myth?  Could that notion be like chupacabra...more myth than reality but hard to completly discount 'cause so many people talk about it that you have to believe at least part of myth must be real?

Mercy.

A bitch’s final reaction after reading the headline followed by the article and prior to logging on to write this post…
I’ve gotta be honest…this bitch is having the same reaction to news that Connecticut Bishops are asking parishioners to oppose legislation that would allow child sex abuse victims over 48 years old to seek justice in the civil courts against the individuals and/or organization that perpetrated and/or facilitated that abuse that I had while reading articles denouncing investigations of allegations of widespread sex abuse by priests and cover-ups of that shit in multiple countries...

If the church put half as much energy and passion into protecting children and removing predator priests from power as they put into defending the church after children have been abused and avoiding responsibility, odds are Bishops in Connecticut wouldn’t be in a position to fear legislation that would allow victims of child sex abuse over 48 years old to seek the only justice still on the table.

Blink.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Radical my black ass…


Pause.

Stretch.

Give Theo the sorta-beagle a nice belly rub.

Begin.

A bitch is radical...or so I've been told (wink).

Obviously…since I’m an activist…I’d like to see the world reset itself so that my values aren’t so damn radical and my ass doesn’t have to get militant on shit.

But, at present, a bitch is what I am and the world is mostly fubar.

A lot of folks on the right and some Stupakian motherfuckers who have been allowed to pitch tents on the edge of the left (Gawd forbid the move all the way in) have been making noise about how radical President Obama is…how he’s a militant and a Socialist and blah followed by blah followed by another fucking blah.

Radical?

Obama?

Yeah right…I wish!

Sincerely.

I wish Obama had pushed through single payer health care reform.

I wish the masses had demanded that shit instead of embracing fear despite the realities on the ground then bitching about the moderate as hell reforms that Obama managed to push through.

I wish the wars were over and our troops were home.  And I sure as hell wish the masses demanded that shit.

I wish the masses would get their rally on to protest religious leaders writing federal legislation, lobbying against birth control and generally working their religious asses off to turn dogma into law.

I wish CNN had the opportunity to show hour after hour of video of anti-poverty marchers descending on D.C. and speaking truth to power.

I wish anchors on CNN called bullshit on homophobic freaks masquerading as experts who preach that gay is a disease and they’ve got the cure rather than provide a platform for that shit.

Shit.

I wish there was a whole lot more radical out there…so much radical that radical was mainstream and this bitch could spend time working to keep shit that way.

But that is not the case anymore than Obama is a radical.

Pause.

Consider.

Give Theo the sorta-beagle another belly rub.

Continue.

Do you know how conservative your ass has to be to even think Obama is radical?

Yeah…uh huh…your ass has to be so far to the right that you can see folks on the left out your damn window!

Blink.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Virginia – it ain’t for lovers anymore…

Let’s jump right on in, shall we?

I am forever amazed that America remains the only nation in the world (I've yet to find another) to allow the flag of an organization that engaged in an armed insurrection against our government to fly over state government property.  This is America and individuals have the right to praise and honor anti-government insurgencies, but when government does that shit it’s an entirely different thang.  I speak from personal experience, since Missouri had a Governor who pandered to his Confederate adoring base while in office…ignoring the fact that Missouri state spiraled into horrific guerilla warfare during the Civil War and is still dealing with the ramifications of that shit today.

Sigh.

And now Virginia isn’t for lovers anymore.

The Governor of Virginia has proclaimed that April is Confederate History Month

Let’s call shit shit…Virginia will not be engaging in a comprehensive exploration of it’s history with the Confederacy.  Virginia will be honoring the Confederacy while ignoring any and all negatives.  Token criticism may occur…but the goal here is to make supporters of the Confederacy happy and they aren’t happy about criticism.

Some will argue that the Governor of Virginia has the right to proclaim April Confederate History Month…and they are probably correct.

But by doing so he has branded Virginia as a pro-Confederacy anti-America rebellion honoring state…a place where folks who support the ideals of the Confederacy are welcome and a place where residents are encouraged to honor the group behind our most tragic rebellion.

The fact that this panderific move will help Virginia’s Governor with his conservative base is also telling.  He could have encouraged investment to create more jobs or improve education and opportunities for higher education…but his conservative base wants a month honoring Confederate history.

Illuminating, isn’t it?

Sigh again.

I have no nostalgia for the Civil War.

623,026 American soldiers died…countless others were maimed and injured…society was torn asunder…President Lincoln was assassinated...and many states still nurse the wounds of our nation’s homegrown insurgency.

No, I don’t get nostalgic for that shit.

I believe in exploring history…the good, the bad and the ugly of it. 

We can avoid tragedy if we learn from tragedies…

…but we do nothing but encourage tragedy and division when we exalt tragedies.

But here we are…and Virginia is now for lovers of the Confederacy.

Next step in the re-branding of Virginia tourism – how about a Birth of a Nation advertising campaign?

Blink.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

On the West Virginia mine explosion…

25 miners have been killed in an explosion at a West Virginia mine. 

4 miners are still missing.

I cannot imagine…there are no words.

My deepest sympathy to those touched by this tragedy…

Monday, April 05, 2010

Reminder - there’s an election tomorrow…


…for some of y’all!

Tomorrow, April 6th, some of y’all have an election and will need to go get your vote on.

The League of Women Voters of St. Louis, in collaboration with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, has published their Voter’s Guide and it’s online.

So, make sure you take time tomorrow to vote!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

...but simply for the doing and the spirit behind it.

April 4th is the anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis. 

I lost my own father in the month of April and I can’t help but think of the King children today…yes, even that tragically hateful homophobic anti-choice niece.  I know how hard it is to lose a good parent…not a perfect one, but a parent who loved you and who you know loved you…and I can’t imagine what it was like to lose that kind of person at such a young age.

Today I am remembering King for the work he was doing when he was murdered…for how his activism had matured and led him to the Poor People’s Campaign in 1968, to his support of black sanitary public works employees on strike for higher wages and better treatment…and that led, ultimately, to that balcony at The Lorraine Motel in Memphis.

Toward the end of his life King spoke of a government that demonstrated hostility toward the poor…of an American society that was in need of a radical reconstruction. 

I thought I understood what he was talking about…but I realize that I didn’t truly get it until I became an activist and started paying closer attention to government.

There are those in government who think that the wages of poverty are misery, hunger and want.  Cynthia Davis may take heat for saying that shit, but a lot of folks in government are right there with her…silently agreeing even as they curse Davis for bringing that shit up after they’ve worked so hard to create Soylent Green-esque rhetoric that has poor people voting for rich people who hate poor people.

I’m remembering the evolution of King as activist...how he connected the dots over time and came to understand how war, oppression, poverty and the condition of workers all tied together to keep The Man in power and the masses spinning in circles pausing only to lash out at each other for fear of losing what little they let us have.

I’m remembering King as an example of what people can do…of what we all could do if we choose to do it. 

Not for a perfection of theory or tactic…not even for the outcomes, but simply for the doing and the spirit behind it.

I’m remembering, in that way we who did not live through it remember, the violence that follows…that is stirred up by those who need it to manifest…the violence that has the goal of creating fear, so the people are struck frozen like deer in the headlights or lay cowering like abused beasts in the corner praying the pain will stop even as they know that it will continue.

And I know that it is with courage that activists remember King by getting our action on…keeping our eyes on that prize…walking forward toward that mountain top...

...onward, for the many slain along the way to justice and equality and for those who deserve all that and more because human beings deserve all that and more.

Friday, April 02, 2010

By request – is a bitch a diva?

Shall we?

A certain Mary from way down under in Sydney (hello Australia!) sent this bitch an email asking me whether I consider myself a diva.

Well, that’s the first time I’ve been asked that question!

A bitch is a bitch, but I don’t want to be a diva nor do I consider myself a diva.  We’re not talking about opera divas…like the fantabulous Maria Callas.  We’re talking about divas among us…more along the lines of certain celebrities who have a reputation for being difficult in a bad way.

Confession - this bitch is often “difficult” in a good way.  When it comes to my activism, I believe in speaking my mind…I have expectations and I hold those in power accountable.  As the recent home training fail demonstrated by Missouri legislators in response to an animal rights group’s activism in lobbying against a horse slaughter bill, those in power aren’t used to and don’t appreciate hearing from the masses…thus, they find those of us who do it “difficult”.

But that doesn’t make me a diva.

I’ve been wrong (rarely…very rarely…like Haley’s Comet!) and, thank the gods, I have people in my life that will look me in the eye and tell me my ass is wrong.  More importantly, I work hard to be the kind of person who can hear that shit and appreciate the spirit in which it has been given…rather than fluff my Afro and tell folks to kiss my black ass.

Divas, in my opinion, lack self-confidence.  Oh, I know that they appear to be confident as a motherfucker…but I find their random tests of adoration rather telling and extremely annoying…like when Madonna demanded a present from Warren Beatty in Truth or Dare then bragged when she got one.

That ain’t me.

But I know that some folks have reclaimed divadom as a positive thang…more of a celebration of self than a manipulation of others.  I suppose that’s okay, but since my personal experience with divas has been that they are vain materialistic insecure pains in the ass…well, it’ll take some time for me to transition to that revised definition.

Anyhoo, at present time a bitch does not consider myself a diva.

Hell, I’m still refining my bitchitude...this shit ain't easy!

Wink.

Toodles!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

On Autism Awareness Month…

My older brother is autistic.

His name is Bill.

He’s aphasic, so he doesn’t speak in sentences or all that often…and he’s a charmer, loves to eat sometimes foods all the time and is a master of the barbeque grill (with supervision…lots and lots of supervision).

Growing up with autism in my world has taught me a lot about communication…about the power of sound, the meaning behind high pitched wails or low rumbling laughter.

Autism has taught me the precious value of a hug or a kiss…of eye contact or a quick glance…of a tickle and the giggles it inspires.

I have lived my entire life with autism.

For me and mine, autism is…it just is. Sometimes it’s a pain in the ass and sometimes it is the most amazing thing, but autism is a constant thing not limited to months or years or days when walks take place.

Autism Awareness Month often brings with it a lot of stories about autistic children. I understand why, because so much rides on early diagnosis and therapies and education. But my brother is 39 years old…he’ll be 40 this July (Lawd, have mercy!)…and not enough attention is given to autism after a child with autism becomes an adult with autism.

So, be aware…that my brother’s life isn’t wretched or sad. My sister and I work very hard to make sure that it isn’t.

Bill is not a cure that didn’t happen or a diagnosis…he’s a human being, who gets up every day and goes about his bitness.

Some days are good.

Some days are not so good.

I could say the same about my life.

Be aware…that autistic children will become autistic adults. A body doesn’t grow out of autism. That is not an argument against advocacy for autistic children…but rather a challenge to advocates to extend our work beyond programs for children.

Be aware…that there is a strain on loved ones and that not all of us are parents. I am my brother’s co-guardian and, as such, I often find myself wading through the world of programs and funding…of Medicaid and the Department of Mental Health…of wants versus needs. My sister and I balance our role as sisters with our role as guardians…and we are not the only ones doing it. Families need to plan for a life, not just a childhood…they need support and education on how the system works once a child becomes an adult.

Be aware…that our lives are a different kind of normal.

I grew up knowing that eventually my sister and I would have to take on a guardianship of some sort. I confess that I used to fret about it…I watched my mother become consumed by advocacy and the search for a cure and I worried that I’d never be able to be a sister for all the demands of being my brother’s advocate.

But be aware that my different kind of normal is a life full of happiness and bitchitude and laughter and tears. We have challenges and set backs and achievements and victories.

More often than not, we share a meal…catch up on what’s new…and communicate with each other in a way I never dreamed was possible until it simply was.

Not a life of regrets and guilt, but a life where sometimes my brother gets on my last nerve…and that’s okay, because all brothers can work a nerve.

Sometimes I worry about my brother’s future and happiness…and that’s okay, because people who love each other want the best for each other and sometimes fret over shit like that.

April is Autism Awareness Month…a month out of a year in the lives of millions.

Be aware.

Organize.

Share.

Love.

Act.

Live.

This I write for my brother Bill, lover of sometimes foods all the time, who I love beyond measure even when he works my last nerve.