Monday, July 09, 2007

Pet Peeve

We all have reasons to be disturbed about the Iraq war, and this point may seem petty, but it's one of those nit picky things that drives me as crazy as a teenager inserting the word "like" before every verb in a sentence.

The first rule of war is to know thine enemy.

Iraq is not pronounced "I-RACK" as in; "Wow, I RACK up a lot of bills when the price of gas is so high."

The word is pronounced more like "EAR-ROCK" as in "If we use our EARs to listen, we might understand why these people are throwing ROCKs."

The exact pronunciation involves guttural breaks foreign to the English language, and is covered extensively in the comment thread over at Ezra Klein's blog, for those of you who like to delve deep into such articulation.

For the rest of us, all we need to do is listen to Christiane Amanpour.

CNN’s chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour explained the proper pronunciation on national television when The United States led the attack on Iraq in 2003, and yet four years later, our drawling Texan leader still can not, or will not, say the name of this country correctly.

As a result, we have congressional leaders, television talk show hosts and regular folks sitting in coffee shops all over this country making the same glaring error over and over again.

It may be a petty thing to someone whose son or daughter died in this war, but it just seems to me, if we intend to tell these people how to run their own country, they might have a little tiny tad more respect for our guidance if we would pronounce the name of their country correctly.

In order to get beyond the fighting, we must begin by talking. In order to do that, we need to say the word right, before we can even begin to say the right words.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A TEST FOR PROFESSIONALS

The following short quiz consists of four questions and will tell you
whether you are qualified to be a professional. The questions are NOT
difficult.

_____________________

1. How do you put a giraffe into a refrigerator?

The correct answer is: Open the refrigerator, put in the giraffe, and
close the door. This question tests whether you tend to do simple
things in an overly complicated way.

_____________________

2. How do you put an elephant into a refrigerator?

Did you say, Open the refrigerator, put in the elephant, and close the
refrigerator? Wrong Answer.

Correct Answer: Open the refrigerator, take out the giraffe, put in
the elephant and close the door. This tests your ability to think
through the repercussions of your previous actions.

_____________________

3. The Lion King is hosting an animal conference. All of the animals
attended except one. Which animal did not attend the conference?

Correct Answer: The Elephant. The elephant is in the refrigerator.
Remember, you just put him in there. This tests your memory. Okay, even
if you did not answer the first three questions correctly, you still
have one more chance to show your true abilities.

_____________________

4. There is a river you must cross but it is used by crocodiles, and
you do not have a boat. How do you manage it?

Correct Answer: You jump into the river and swim across it. Have you
not been listening to anything I've said? All of the crocodiles are
attending the animal conference called by the Lion King. This tests
whether you learn quickly from your previous mistakes.

____________________

According to Anderson Consulting Worldwide, around ninety (90%)
percent of all professionals tested got all of the questions wrong, but
many of the preschoolers tested got several correct answers. Anderson
Consulting says this conclusively disproves the theory that most
professionals have the brains of a four-year-old.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Redistricting Game

Now here is a fun way to waste a few minutes of your life on the internet. Its called The Redistricting Game. Its an amusing cartoony version of how our political process works. Go ahead and try it. Its almost as fun as computer solitare, but you actually learn something in the process!

The Redistricting Game

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

That's My Boy!



Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.
He said to his friend, "If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,--
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm."
Then he said "Good-night!" and with muffled oar
Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore,
Just as the moon rose over the bay,
Where swinging wide at her moorings lay
The Somerset, British man-of-war;
A phantom ship, with each mast and spar
Across the moon like a prison bar,
And a huge black hulk, that was magnified
By its own reflection in the tide.
Meanwhile, his friend through alley and street
Wanders and watches, with eager ears,
Till in the silence around him he hears
The muster of men at the barrack door,
The sound of arms, and the tramp of feet,
And the measured tread of the grenadiers,
Marching down to their boats on the shore.
Then he climbed the tower of the Old North Church,
By the wooden stairs, with stealthy tread,
To the belfry chamber overhead,
And startled the pigeons from their perch
On the sombre rafters, that round him made
Masses and moving shapes of shade,--
By the trembling ladder, steep and tall,
To the highest window in the wall,
Where he paused to listen and look down
A moment on the roofs of the town
And the moonlight flowing over all.
Beneath, in the churchyard, lay the dead,
In their night encampment on the hill,
Wrapped in silence so deep and still
That he could hear, like a sentinel's tread,
The watchful night-wind, as it went
Creeping along from tent to tent,
And seeming to whisper, "All is well!"
A moment only he feels the spell
Of the place and the hour, and the secret dread
Of the lonely belfry and the dead;
For suddenly all his thoughts are bent
On a shadowy something far away,
Where the river widens to meet the bay,--
A line of black that bends and floats
On the rising tide like a bridge of boats.
Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride,
Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride
On the opposite shore walked Paul Revere.
Now he patted his horse's side,
Now he gazed at the landscape far and near,
Then, impetuous, stamped the earth,
And turned and tightened his saddle girth;
But mostly he watched with eager search
The belfry tower of the Old North Church,
As it rose above the graves on the hill,
Lonely and spectral and sombre and still.
And lo! as he looks, on the belfry's height
A glimmer, and then a gleam of light!
He springs to the saddle, the bridle he turns,
But lingers and gazes, till full on his sight
A second lamp in the belfry burns.
A hurry of hoofs in a village street,
A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark,
And beneath, from the pebbles, in passing, a spark
Struck out by a steed flying fearless and fleet;
That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light,
The fate of a nation was riding that night;
And the spark struck out by that steed, in his flight,
Kindled the land into flame with its heat.
He has left the village and mounted the steep,
And beneath him, tranquil and broad and deep,
Is the Mystic, meeting the ocean tides;
And under the alders that skirt its edge,
Now soft on the sand, now loud on the ledge,
Is heard the tramp of his steed as he rides.
It was twelve by the village clock
When he crossed the bridge into Medford town.
He heard the crowing of the cock,
And the barking of the farmer's dog,
And felt the damp of the river fog,
That rises after the sun goes down.
It was one by the village clock,
When he galloped into Lexington.
He saw the gilded weathercock
Swim in the moonlight as he passed,
And the meeting-house windows, black and bare,
Gaze at him with a spectral glare,
As if they already stood aghast
At the bloody work they would look upon.
It was two by the village clock,
When he came to the bridge in Concord town.
He heard the bleating of the flock,
And the twitter of birds among the trees,
And felt the breath of the morning breeze
Blowing over the meadow brown.
And one was safe and asleep in his bed
Who at the bridge would be first to fall,
Who that day would be lying dead,
Pierced by a British musket ball.
You know the rest. In the books you have read
How the British Regulars fired and fled,---
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
From behind each fence and farmyard wall,
Chasing the redcoats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,
And only pausing to fire and load.
So through the night rode Paul Revere;=
And so through the night went his cry of alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm,---
A cry of defiance, and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo for evermore!
For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
And the midnight message of Paul Revere.



The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 1807-1882
Written April 19, 1860; first published in 1863 as part of "Tales of a Wayside Inn"

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Great Silent Grandmother Gathering

Inspired by the book, The Great Silent Grandmother Gathering, a group of women from Ohio State University have organized a world wide gathering, which will take place on Mothers day, this Sunday at 1pm, (your local time.)

They are asking people to gather in parks, or gardens, or quiet areas of contemplation, and simply stand in silence for five short minutes of Prayer or Meditation.

I will serve as hostess for the gathering at Highbanks Metro Park, in Delaware County, Ohio. You are invited, and welcome to bring your friends. This event is open to all.

The idea is threefold:

1) To inspire people to believe they can actually help shape their world.

2) To meet others and begin taking action.

(Remember my old adage: Action Plus Intent Equals Miracles...AIM!)

3) To tell those who make public Policy that they should stop seeing themselves as politicians and instead act as guardians for our children, our grandchildren, and the seven generations beyond.

Here is the press Release from the organizers at StandingWomen.org:

Women Take Stand for Better World
Group Urges Women to Rise in Global Silence at 1 p.m., May 13


Mother’s Day is fast approaching and as we prepare to celebrate the mothers in our lives we often neglect to recognize the most important mother of all: Mother Earth. On Sunday, May 13 at 1 p.m., thousands of people around the globe will stand together in silence for five minutes in local parks, schools, churches and other gathering places to promote a better world for future generations. The result will be a 24-hour wave of standing to motivate and invigorate others to realize the dream of a better world for all.


The event was conceived by a group of women associated with The Ohio State University. Through their individual travels, they learned that many women have similar concerns about the direction the world is moving in. Inspired by a story written by Sharon Mehdi of Ashland, Oregon, The Great Silent Grandmother Gathering, collectively they decided that it was time to take a stand to make a difference. “We will be standing for the world’s children, grandchildren, and the seven generations beyond them,” says Deb Ballam, one of the event’s originators. “We dream of a better future for all of the world’s children.”


Mehdi, who will be standing with her townsfolk in Ashland, said “It was the women of Ashland who made sure the Grandmother Story got out to the world, and it is the women of Ohio who are bringing it to life. I am filled with gratitude, hope, and awe.”

Jean Shinoda Bolen, a best-selling author shared the Grandmother Story with the Ohio women during a visit to Columbus last fall, and will be standing in the San Francisco Bay area. “Standing in silence with others with the intention of making a difference,” says Bolen, “creates a feeling of peace inside that silently ripples out.”


The event is not limited only to women, however, and many men have expressed excitement in participating. For the last three weeks, Julian Koss of Sarasota, Florida has actively promoted the event in his state. “We’re all obligated to leave for our children and the ‘seven generations to follow’ a better world,” says Koss.


By standing for a moment of silence, participants will recognize the importance for all of the children of the world of issues such as safe drinking water, clean air, food for all to eat, access to basic education, adequate health care and safety from violence.


While the event originated in Ohio, it has become international in scope. The event’s website and promotional materials have been translated into 20 languages to attract participation in this global event. To further promote international participation, thousand of postcards promoting the event were recently distributed at the United Nations’ annual meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women.
Standing sites in all 50 U.S. states and around the globe are listed on the website and range from large-scale groups of a thousand or more to individual standings. Participants have the option of attending one of the gatherings listed or starting their own. More information on the event including standing sites, promotional materials and registration can be found at http://www.standingwomen.org/index.html

Friday, April 20, 2007

Why the Dogs Got Steaks for Dinner:

6am
Up and at 'em
Pet care
Read Op-Eds
Check headlines
Get kids up and off to school

9-12
Calling for dollars:
(The one activity that makes all candidates feel like a dog being dragged into the vet for a rectal exam.)
"Hi remember me (from some obscure somewhere about twenty years ago?) Why am I calling? Well, funny you would ask...Could you write me a check for $500.00? Oh, I see. Well, how about twenty?"

1pm
My third trip to the doc this month. The tubes in my ears have collapsed. Prognosis: meds aren't working. The magic eight ball says surgery is in my future. ugggh.

2pm
Grocery. Found two nice juicy steaks for the grill. Yummmmm.

3pm
Babysit the after school crowd while writing thank you notes to donors and working on campaign.

5pm
Door to door campaigning.

6:30
Daughter in crisis: yesterdays sore throat has turned into full blown flu, and tweenkin is locked in the bathroom at the school dance, blowing chunks and writhing with embarrassment while all her school mates gossip and watch.
Super mom to the rescue!

7pm
Third grade son is having slumber party. Two overnight guests are planned, but ten neighborhood boys are in our back woods wearing full military gear,doing "night maneuvers" with their pop guns. One falls into a barbed wire fence on the neighbors property and slices open his chest from collar bone to belly button.

7:15
Urgent Care

7:30
Rambo comes home, and digs on the purple heart status among his peers.
(I have to brag here a little bit: The urgent care did not charge for the visit because my first aid work was so good, they did not have to do anything.) Everybody is good at something, and this is one of my talents. Trust me on this; if you ever fall off a cliff in the wilderness, I'm the girl you want on the other end of that rope.

8pm
I finally start to cook those steaks... and. the. grill. runs. out. of. gas.

8:10
Off to the propane store, but first, all three boys reveal multiple day old boo-boos and want band aids. Then of course my daughter wakes up and starts puking on cue.

9pm
Dinner is served, but no one is hungry, so the dogs lucked out and got steak.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

A big day at the Statehouse

This energetic group trained all morning and, armed with the facts, lobbied for the Ohio Prevention First Act.

All this happened right after the Statehouse was evacuated because of a small fire. People were all over the place. It was bizzare. While we were waiting for everything to return to normal, I sat on the statehouse steps just a few feet behind the podium shown in this picture.

I was just a chit chattin away with my home girl about who knows what, when some stranger came up to me all bug eyed and informed me the microphone was on, and our conversation was broadcasting all over the Statehouse lawn.

EEE-GADS! Now the world knows all my secrets! LOL

Anyway, when the fireworks ended, we rallied with Senator Sue Morano, Rep. John Peterson, and Rep. Tyrone Yates who have all worked very hard on the Prevention First bill.

This bill will improve access to family-planning services and honest, comprehensive sex education, so that Ohioans have the resources and knowledge they need to prevent unintended pregnancies.

(When it comes to "Family Values", it just seems to me that education and prevention make a whole lot more sense than criminalization and social ridicule.)

______________________________________
Note to those of you who like to play Where's Waldo:
I'm in the second row on the right, next to the lady in red.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Here's a question for your health insurance company:

How come Viagra is covered under most health insurance plans, but women's contraceptives are not?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

On Imus I must say...

Sure, we need to protect free speech in America, but that does not mean Lenny Bruce was ever entitled to a prime time network sit-com. His act belonged in the smokey side street clubs, and Imus belongs there too.

We have different levels of decorum for different venues, and I for one am very glad to see the American people finally stand up and demand an end to shock jock shout show dramatics.

Our airways are infested with a whole stable of professional hatemongers (mostly from the right) who are making millions of dollars, poking sticks at every little bee's nest they can find.

Our nightly news has degraded into a sound-byte city of snarky wordsmiths who have no regard for the true art of debate.

Our talk shows have devolved from places of public discourse and reason, to a name calling, big time wrestling exposition of closed minded bullies. The more outrageous you are, the more press you get.

If the trend continues, pretty soon our networks will be anchored by the street corner schizophrenics. (Oh well, I guess that's one way to help the homeless, but it definitely would not be my solution of choice.)

I feel bad for the fall of poor old Imus, but he will land on his feet. He wont make as much money now, or wield as much power, but he still has an audience, and he will find a another station willing to put a few thousand watts behind his rusty barbed wire tongue; of that you can be sure. Shock Jocks are like car accidents. They sadden and disgust us, but we just can't seem to look away.

My hope is that free market capitalism will solve the problem through public pressure. If people refuse to listen, refuse to watch, speak out for justice and use their buying power to influence advertisers, it will regulate the hate mongers to a smaller market share, and in doing so, reward the voices of reason with prime time shows and premium pay.

I am not about to advocate taking away any ones right to free speech. I just hope we are smart enough to prevent these people from getting rich while doing it.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Women in the workforce

Women do not need anything else to feel guilty about. Guilt is a driving force for most women. Mothers feel guilty when they stay at home with their kids, because they are not earning an income. They feel guilty when they depend on their husbands for support. They feel guilty when the take that full time job because they end up too tired to put their full energy into their kids, their husbands, and their homes.

Women worry all the time about looking their best, not so much for themselves, but for others. They want to be gourmet chefs, choosing healthy fresh organic foods to put on the table in style, but generally, then find themselves heating up some frozen concoction they found on sale in the grocery store. Either that or they grab a McMeal to eat in the car while playing the role of soccer-mom-taxi-driver.

Women feel guilt more times per day than adolescent boys think about sex, and folks, that’s a lot!

So it is not surprising that Leslie Bennett’s new book “The Feminine Mistake” is creating a roar of controversy with devoted stay at home moms. But before they dismiss her as the devils advocate, they would be wise to take a relaxing Calgon bath, and curl up with this remarkable eye opening book.

Bennett’s point is not to condemn the stay at home mom for her choice to nurture her children. Rather, it is a book of research and facts on the economics of motherhood which lets these women know exactly what they are in for.

The research compiled for The Feminine Mistake makes it clear that women who opt out of the workforce to stay at home with their children are making a definitive and quantifiable economic choice with long term ramifications.

A press release from Hyperion publishing states:

THE FEMINIST MISTAKE explains how when women give up careers, the loss in income has a cascading impact on medical benefits, retirement funds and other long-time financial needs. And sadly, Bennetts exposes how the much-vaunted concept of the on-ramp -- the track for talented women to rejoin the workforce following some years at home-- does not exist. Women are finding out too late that motherhood and community service too often still does not translate in HR departments as viable skills.

There is a solution to this problem that will make women stand up and cheer; One that has been sitting right under our noses for over two decades.

Twenty five years ago, colleges and universities around the country predicted new trends of work from home, job sharing, flex time and telecommuting would be the wave of the future as personal computers and technology integrated into our lives.

Sadly, that shift has not occurred. In order to be competitive in the workplace and secure opportunities for advancement, dedicated employees are expected to work forty to sixty hours per week, and make personal sacrifices for the good of the company. This puts women with children at a severe disadvantage in the workplace.

In the United States, we think of our nation as a family. We say our children are our future, yet again and again, we undervalue this concept, in every economic and social policy we create. Our schools are under funded, our teachers underpaid, our daycare facilities for working mothers are abysmal, and the very structure of our work model handicaps families and limits their ability to put the devotion they desire into the very areas we claim to cherish.

Since the beginning of time, women have worked along side their husbands while simultaneously caring for their children. From the Hunter gathering period of pre history thru the agricultural age, women provided food, wove baskets, made pottery, created clothing, tended livestock, built homes, and reaped the harvest, right along side their spouses.

The modern industrial ages represents a short blip in the long timeline of history. And this is the core of our modern dilemma. Women can no longer contribute to the workforce as they always have when the modern structure of society separates work from home.

What is needed is a reintegration. Technology makes this possible. Women know this instinctively. They realize modern corporate structure is damaging to their families, because in spite of statistics, they KNOW as mothers and wives, the love and caring they provide for their families is in fact important. So, they leave the corporate world and either opt out to stay home, or become entrepreneurs. They become freelance consultants, small business owners, part time employees, or seek jobs in the school system that will allow them to share schedules in sync with their children.

While you can tell a woman this is an economic mistake, it will do no good to poke a stick at a mother bear willing to sacrifice her very life to protect the cubs in her den. Forcing a bear to abandon her cubs to join the circus with the promise of free food and treats is no solution. We must find a better way.

Women represent half of our national workforce. If our country is to remain vibrant and strong we must address the issues of working mothers and create opportunities for women to be competitive without sacrificing their role as the primary caregiver of their families.

A few simple and long overdue changes will dramatically improve the net worth of American families, and have a positive effect on our nation’s children.

If we provide incentives for corporations to implement family friendly models including work from home, telecommuting, flex time, job sharing, and on site daycare services, we will provide working parents opportunities to remain in thriving careers commensurate with their abilities, while devoting larger portions of time to the needs of their families. We can also use the legislature to encourage policies which reward parents for community service and mentorship in the public schools.

If we create small business incubators through local government programs to increase the success rate of entrepreneur ventures, this too will provide opportunities for devoted hard working parents, who agonize over the choice between career and family and look for opportunities for flex time scheduling.

If these new models become widely available to both men and women, the balance between work and home will not fall exclusively to women, but will become a partnership of childrearing within the marriage, (and provide significant advantages for single parents too.)

When parents can remain viable and active in the workforce, in career positions commensurate with their skill levels and abilities, offering higher wages and better health coverage, the overall economic outlook for our country will see the positive effects of the increased spending power of the middle class. Children will recieve the attention they need, communities will thrive socially as well as economically, and corporations will reap the benefits of a thriving growing economy.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Please, Show your Support!

Hey Gang,

Please show your support and follow this Link to a grassroots Internet group for my campaign.

No commitment or anything, just add your name to the list as an act of support for this effort to encourage women to run for office.

As the list grows, it will increase my credibility, and sway large donor groups to fund the campaign.

Please sign up, and get your friends to sign up too!

I can't do it alone, but together, we can ensure progressive women's voices are heard in our government!


Thanks,

Kelbell

Monday, March 12, 2007

3...2...1...LAUNCH!

Ya-all know me as Kelley Bell. People have called me that since I was a baby. Especially my brother, who adopted the more elaborate Smelly Kelley with Jelly in her Belly.

But that's not my legal married name.

In certain careers, an alias is acceptable, even common, but for the endeavor I embark upon today, that is not the case.

Ladies and Gentlemen, may I introduce myself, (and expose myself) formally, with The Launch of my Political Campaign!!!!

After you check it out, I hope you will all join up and pitch in as I work with my dear friend and co-patriot The Fat Lady Sings to use the blog world as a means to encourage women from all over this great country of ours to find the inner strength and confidence to run for office.

What happens in The House has a direct effect on what happens in our homes. Therefore, we need womens voices on the floor of every house of government across this nation, from the school boards, to the local zoning commissions, to the state house, and beyond.

If you believe, then give a holler and donate a dollar, or better yet, sign up to volunteer. We have lots of things for bloggers to do, and honey, it's gonna be one H*ll of a Ride!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Six, Five, Four...

Almost ready for the big reveal...

In the mean time, Here is a Link to a Great Gathering of Women who will be holding space, and saving the world, on May 13th in a park near you.



I hope you will join us and be the change you wish for in the world!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Ten, Nine, Eight, Seven...

The countdown to my announcement draws nigh dear ones. One more day, or two at most.

But in the mean time, here is a link I love. Planned Parenthood has created The Pill Patrol, a way for women to ensure emergency contraception is available at their local pharmacy.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Double Bubble Toil and Trouble


Somethings a brewing
Can't say what it is

But soon it will POP
Like a giant Gin Fizz

(Stay tuned. Ya-All are just not gonna believe this one...)

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D

An excerpt from an article by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D

When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no
doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for.

My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times. I have
heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered.
They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world right now …
the fact is that we were made for these times. Yes.

For years, we have been learning practicing, been in training for and
just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement.

I grew up on the Great Lakes and recognize a seaworthy vessel when I
see one. Regarding awakened souls, there have never been more able
vessels in the waters than there are right now across the world. And
they are fully provisioned and able to signal one another as never
before in the history of humankind... Didn't you say you were a
believer? Didn't you say you pledged to listen to a voice greater?
Didn't you ask for grace? Don't you remember that to be in grace means
to submit to the voice greater?

Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of
stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach.
Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to
assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely.
It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the
critical mass to tip toward an enduring good. What is needed for
dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding
more, continuing.

One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene
in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck
shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks,
can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to
catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these
— to be fierce and to show mercy toward others, both, are acts of
immense bravery and greatest necessity. Struggling souls catch light
from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you
would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you
can do.

There will always be times when you feel discouraged. I too have felt
despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it; I
will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate.

The reason is this: In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you.
It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to
Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here.

The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours: They are
the words and deeds of the One who brought us here. In that spirit, I
hope you will write this on your wall:

When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no
doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for.

This comes with much love and a prayer that you remember who you came
from, and why you came to this beautiful, needful Earth.

-Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Good Golly Miss Molly

Witty wonderful humorist and Political world shaker Molly Ivans has left the building folks. Ivins' was a Texas writer who used the power of her pen to stab jolting satire at people in positions of power.

"The trouble with blaming powerless people is that although it's not nearly as scary as blaming the powerful, it does miss the point."

In a 2006 speech Bill Clinton described Ivins as "good when she praised me, and painfully good when she criticized me."

Ivins called the Texas Legislature "The best free entertainment in Austin."

In a 2002 column she wrote: "Naturally, when it comes to voting, we in Texas are accustomed to discerning that fine hair's-breadth worth of difference that makes one hopeless dipstick slightly less awful than the other. But it does raise the question: Why bother?"

This story links to a video of Ivans as she points out the "phallacy" of the Texas "penial" code. The video covers the legislatures debate on dildo's, so be warned: While it is humorous, and makes a powerful point regarding prejudice, bias, and the ridiculous sense of priorities demonstrated in government, it is not suitable viewing for children or evangelicals.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Life Beyond Code

Check out my featured Link at Life Beyond Code.

-To participate in this project is a humble honor indeed.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Young student's documentary leaving audiences stunned

Kiri Davis is a young filmmaker whose high school documentary has left audiences at film festivals across the country stunned -- and has re-ignited a powerful debate over race.

"We must be the change we wish to see in the world."
-- Mahatma Ghandi

Please watch this video and forward it to all.

The Missing Paragraph

Over at the Huffington Post,E.A. Hanks writes;

"Excuse me, Mr. President? Gosh...this is so embarrassing, but you have a... Well, Sir, you have a hole in your speech. Yeah, um, no - not there. There. Where you were supposed to talk about Katrina? That hole. It's a little big, don't you think? Didn't you think anybody would notice it?" (More)

Which lead me to ponder what reaction his State of The Union speech would have gotten if he had included the remarks he gave recently to a Pro-Life protest group :

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, Nellie, thank you. (Applause.) Thank you very much, Nellie. And I want to thank everybody there for taking part in today's March for Life. I appreciate so very much the devotion to such an honorable cause, and the good work everyone is doing to defend life.

And, Nellie, it's good to hear your voice again, and I thank you very much for giving me a chance to visit with you and the crowd that is assembled there on the Mall. (Applause.)

It is important for all Americans to remember that our Declaration of Independence states that every person has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. (Applause.) It also states that these rights come from our Creator, and that governments are formed to secure these rights for all their citizens. And we believe every human life has value, and we pray for the day when every child is welcome in life and protected into law. (Applause.)

Nellie, I want to thank you very much, and the members of Congress there who have worked hard to make progress toward this goal over the last six years. I want the folks assembled there to know that we're making progress. We promoted adoption, support parental notification laws, ended federal funding for abortions overseas, and are funding crisis pregnancy programs. (Applause.)

I had the privilege of signing legislation that extends legal protection to children who are born, despite abortion attempts, allows prosecutors to charge those who harm or kill a pregnant woman with harming or killing her unborn child, as well. (Applause.) I signed into law a ban on the cruel practice of partial-birth abortions, and we will vigorously defend that law in the courts.

Nellie, what I'm saying is, is that we're building a culture of life here. And I want to thank you and everybody assembled for helping.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A matter of Trust

The State of the household address:

As the tweenkin child of Kelley Bell, it is my honor to address the blogosphere and deliver the state of the household address.
While we as a family have many issues to face in the years ahead, today, I would like to speak to you about trust.

How do your parents send you off to school in the morning? Do they feed you breakfast, tie your shoes, give you lunch money and hurry you off to the bus with a kiss?

Mine dosn't. Today, she got me out the door by throwing donuts at me. You know, the powered sugar mini dounuts that explode in a big poof when they hit the dark blue walls of your kitchen?
Yeah, it looks cool, I know, but it makes a big mess, and why should I have to dodge donuts on school daze?

If my mother wants me to treat her like an adult, she needs to act like one. Right now, her behavior demonstrates she can not be trusted, and trust my friends, is what it's all about.

Parental response from house majority leader Kelley Bell:

If I have to feed her breakfast, get her to the bus on time, and clean up the all messes, why shouldn't I have some fun doing it. GAWWWWDDD, kids can be so uptight sometimes.

Seeds of Change

Last night I attended a banquet commemorating the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
Good food, good friends, good speakers.

At one point, I had a chance to chit-chat with executive director of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Ohio,Gary Dougherty, and asked how I could get more involved.

"Don't under estimate what you did with Meijer. Because of you, all of the pharmacists and technicians in 27 stores will be educated about Meijer's policy on this issue. Those people will do some research on their own and talk to their friends about it. In addition, you should think about that couple that went to Walmart and got laughed at by the pharmacist when they requested Plan B. Because of you, that won't happen at Meijer."

He then told me a story of an experience he had as a lobbyist for Planned Parenthood. "I had a meeting with a freshman Ohio Representative. My goal was to introduce Planned Parenthood and explain our position on the issues. For most of the meeting, her eyes were glazed over and I could tell I was not saying anything to connect to this woman. Then I told her about Plan B refusals. Her eyes opened wide and she said "You mean to tell me that I could take a prescription to the pharmacy and BE REFUSED?!"

"Yes, that's exactly what I'm telling you."

"After that, we were able to communicate and work together to push for sensible legislation. Those are the moments that make this work so rewarding."


------------------------------

Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.

-Robert Louis Stevenson

___________________________________

On a side note: I apologise to my readers for the mountain of political posts. I try very hard to keep my subject matter in balance. It's just that lately, there has been a lot of political material to cover.

Keep an eye out for a fun family snow sculpture post in the near future. The munchkins and I are about half way through with this years masterpiece!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Life in Munchkinland

My almost teenage munchkin (aka: tweenkin) went to the music store with me the other day, because my garage door broke.

I made a deal with Scottie the Door Man. He would fix the overhead mechanism if I would string his guitar and teach him to play it.

I guess you could say I got my garage door fixed for a song! (LOL)

Anyway, I'm browsing the sheet music at the string shop while my tweenkin is chatting up her "peeps," (thats munchkinese for friends, from the root word "people. btw) when the hot rock star clerk leans over the counter and beckons me with his finger for a confidential chat.

I was intrigued. Many a moon has passed since the last time THAT happened.

"I just heard your daughter tell her friends on the cell phone that you are the coolest mom ever."
"Really?"
"Yeah. That's hot. I don't usually hear kids talk like that, unless they want something." He shrugged and flipped back his long black hair in that rock star cool sort of way. "I just thought you'd want to know."

"Thanks. Of course, the title has its downside. I have half the population of Munchkinland in my living room every day of the week."

He laughed.

"The food bill is insane, and my carpet, well, It aint the yellow brick road, but it sure has a well worn path!"

"We had a mom like that in my neighborhood. We started our first band in her basement."

"Sounds like I have a lot to look forward to."

"Oh Yeah. But don't worry, it's worth it. It's cool, having kids in the house."

Yes it is, but Ms. Mayor of Munchkinland knows the job is fraught with mishaps and mayhem.

On Sunday I took the tweenkins to our schools first Ski club event. Twelve Lakefront Lines Deluxe Tour busses filled to capacity, and I was a chaperone.

We herded em in, showed em the drill on how to get lift tickets, skis, boards and boots, and warned the beginners repeatedly to stay off the black diamond runs.

Tying shoe laces was never my favorite mom duty, but hunching over to fit a busload of em made me wish a house would fall on me.

One kid ended up in the clinic with a bruised collar bone, saying "The bunny hill is for babies." One threw up on the bus during the ride home, and I still can't straighten my spine out of the boot fitter hunch.

Overall, I'd call that a successful day.

Well, gotta run. The Semi truck delivery of snack foods is backing up to the garage door right now.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Blogging for Choice Day

The author at Uncommon Misconception offers a compelling and heart wrenching story about late term abortion. It is a must read for anyone who has strong opinions on this issue.

The ACLU of Pennsylvania tells us "reproductive freedom means the right to make informed decisions about whether and when to become a parent without government interference and to access a broad range of reproductive health care including contraceptives, prenatal care, treatment for sexually transmitted disesase, and abortion."

Click here to see what the law is in your state regarding access to abortion.

Bardiac put up a post full of good links including this one:

"The National Network of Abortion Funds can help you find local resources to help fund care for women who don't have access for financial reasons."

Baxter Sez is blogging for Choice because "a woman's ability to determine whether and when she gets pregnant affects every other aspect of her life. Everything--my relationships, my job, my economic status, my existence in my own body--would be affected were I to get pregnant. Now, that's not to say that they would be affected in a negative way, but they would be affected, and only I am in a position to weigh all the factors and judge whether or not pregnancy and motherhood are right for me."

This post from This Woman's Work inspired some thoughtful comments from a blog community focused on infertility issues and adoption.

Anna Winter Links us to Feministing and Pandagon, with this concept:

"We’re living in a time where pregnant women are roundly punished—whether they decide to terminate the pregnancy or carry it to term...our capacity for getting pregnant is what connects us all in this mess of discrimination and punishment."

Buddy's Books says:

"The right-wingers have always known that once women finally secured certain freedoms, like reproductive and sexual rights, society would adapt, changes would be swift, and control over women would cease. The outcome, in their sick minds, would be devastating—women would join the work force, run for office, speak out on social issues, and even challenge the authority of the husbands. Hell on earth!!!!!

That’s why we must never compromise with these perverse individuals. They care little about fetuses--what they want is power. And believe me, these right-wingers stay up nights lamenting and shedding tears over what has happened since the 1960s: women’s rights, feminism, racially-mixed marriages, gay marriages, civil rights."


Not That Desperate has a powerful post about her mother regarding sexual control over women.

Caffeinated Geek Girl tells us:

"My right to make decisions about my own well being are constantly being assaulted for no other reason than because I am a woman... I'm pro-choice because I know what's best for my own existence, and trust that other women know what's best for theirs."

Carrie Callahan cracked me up with her video and humor. She jokes:

"I used to be really pro-life in high school, but what changed for me was in college I had a pregnancy scare.
Before my pregnancy scare I thought about abortion in terms of "When does human life begin?" and "When can the government regulate people's bodies?" And then after the pregnancy scare, the question that kind of framed the debate for me was, "You want me to have a motherf*cking baby?"

Alexandria brings up two important points:

1) "I realized early on that getting pregnant means more than just baby powder and diapers. It means a woman is changed–economically, physically, professionally, and emotionally. In the best of circumstances, those changes are all positive, but too often, they’re not."

2) "Abortion will not go away, whether or not is it legal. Women who can afford to will simply have them elsewhere. Poorer women, or those without health care, will have them, too–in unsterilized, unprofessional, and dangerous environments."


Delightfully Dogmatic is right on when she says:

"I wish I could tell you how many young women I have heard argue that there is "no need for feminism." That "women are equal." One needs to look no further than the battle over contraception and abortion to understand that simply isn't true."

Feministe hits all the talking points and provides a platter of worthy linkage too. (Rock on girl, you must be exhausted!)

And for that matter, so am I.

I have been reading and linking all morning, and am only half way through the list.

I will conclude by saying, I am Pro-Choice because I stand in solid support of each and every one of these women, and I hope you do too.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Blog for Choice Day


Blog for Choice Day - January 22, 2007


Bush v. Choice, and NARAL Pro-Choice America are proud to announce the second annual Blog for Choice Day.

"Today, Monday January 22nd - "the 34th anniversary of Roe v. Wade - we are asking pro-choice bloggers to join us in a day of activism for choice. Blog for Choice Day is a chance to raise the profile of reproductive rights issues in the blogosphere and the media, and to let everyone know that a woman's right to choose is nonnegotiable.
This year's topic is a simple one: tell us, and your readers, why you're pro-choice.

Sign up for Blog for Choice Day below to let us know that you're planning on devoting at least one post on January 22nd to sharing the story behind your pro-choice beliefs."


Here is a quote I really liked from one of the bloggers signed up for the event:

"I’ve been struck today, time and again, by how ineffective punitive approaches are to securing the health of women, children, families, and communities. But I’ve also been struck by how infrequently women are actually a factor in this debate. So often — too often — we talk about how to ensure healthy children, or healthy births. But as Erica Lyon said in a panel today,[at the National Advocates for Pregnant Women’s National conference in Atlanta] we need to push for a goal of healthy mothers as the building block of healthy families and healthy communities. While it might be more efficient politically to talk about children’s health (and certainly the government focuses on fetal and children’s health usually to the exclusion of concern for pregnant women and mothers), it’s disingenuous.

As the inimitable Loretta Ross, co-founder of SisterSong said today, when we talk about reproductive justice, we need to think holistically about women’s lives and to include the right to have or not to have children, and the right to parent our children."

Saturday, January 20, 2007

"I'm in, and I'm in to win!"

"I'm in, and I'm in to win!"
-Hillary Rodham Clinton

That's right folks, Hillary Clinton has announced she is forming an exploratory committee to run for president.

I for one am very excited about this.
Not because I am a die hard democrat.
Not because I am an expert on her political record.
And not because she represents the polar opposite of George W. Bush.

I am excited about this because Hillary Rodham Clinton stands as a symbol of liberty for this country.

While America is a beacon of hope for many, it is also viewed as the evil empire by others. Both views have basis in fact. As an American, I want my country to be a symbol of freedom for the world. I want to use our position, our authority and our voice to promote the ideals of our constitution for all the world to see.

I want my country to stand proud as a symbol of Lady Liberty, for the poor, the tired, and the hungry.

And I want a woman in the white house.

I do not say that simply because I support feminism, I say that because a democracy can not survive if the voice of the people is not heard. Women represent 50% of our population, and yet in two hundred years, no woman has ever been elected president. If America is the role model for democracy, then or government must reflect the diversity of our people.

When we finally break through the marble ceiling, including women as leaders in the highest office of the land, the floodgates will open for all minority groups to gain representation in positions of power.

I believe a woman leader will stand as a symbol for the mature, wise, nurturing, mothering concept of America; the caring, parental, lady liberty figure of global politics, instead of the bullish world police image we are branded with now.

We need a democratic president to rebalance our positions for the short term, but we need a woman president to rebalance our history for the long term.

America can not lay claim to the title of free republic until our government truly reflects the demographics of our population. Hillary Rodham Clinton is the first woman in history who has a real shot at winning the presidency, and she may be the last one to emerge for a long, long time. For this reason alone, we owe her our vote.

You may not agree with her position on every issue, but her stance is centerist, which is where our country needs to lean. We have survived swings to the left and right many times. We will survive four years in the center.

One term in office has limited effects, but the symbol of a woman as the leader of the most powerful country in the world, now THAT will have long lasting implications.

Change is measured in centuries, not decades, and this change is one that must occur now. It is a long over due step for the country that stands as a symbol of liberty for the world.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Plan B?? No.

"Plan B®'s availability over the counter is a huge victory for women's health, but it will take more work to ensure that women know about, and have access to, this safe, effective form of birth control and don't encounter delays or harassment at their local pharmacy," said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America.
----------------------------------------------

While I was in Meijer today filling a prescription, I asked the pharmacist if they kept Plan B in stock. The young blond in the white coat looked at me like a confused puppy.

"According to the computer it's an over the counter drug." She blinked innocently.

"Yes it is, for women over 18. Do you have it?"

"Um, let me look." The Blonde says as she runs behind the shelves to hide. Then a slightly older woman comes out to take over.

"I'm sorry. we don't have it." (Big Meijer smile)

"Can you order some in?" (Long Pause.)

"Um, well, see, our Meijer corporate has a contract with this one wholesaler, and we can only carry what they have, and Um, well, see, they don't give it to us."

"Can you request it?"

"They don't sell it."

"Could you ask them to?"

"Um, well, I suppose I could call corporate and ask them to ask. You should probably get it somewhere else though."

"Oh, I don't need it. I had my tubes tied years ago. I'm just asking so that I can report the information to NARAL and Planned Parenthood."

"What's NARAL?" She asked.

I looked at the three women standing there in their fancy white pharmacy coats, staring at me and I could not believe my ears.

(What's NARAL???? And THESE women fill our prescriptions??? What happened to the T.V. image of the wise and trusted Pharmasist we should go to with all our medication related concerns??? )

"NARAL is a national women's rights organization, but maybe you should just give me the name and number of someone in corporate."

"Um, well, No, I can't, but I could take your name and number and have them call you."

"Well, as a matter of privacy, it would be better if I called them. I mean, It's not that I care if you have my name, But, I think a lot of women in need of this medication might be a bit intimidated about the lack of anonymity. So, why don't you give me the numbers for corporate and wholesale, and let me call them. Then you won't have to bother."

"Oh, um, well, I can't do that." .

"Are you sure? "

"I'm sorry. I will give them them your number though. We'll get back to you."



---------------------------------------------


UPDATE:

With the help of a friend at my local Planned Parenthood, we got on the phones and pushed back. The result: The district manager for Meijer pharmacies has assured me they will have Plan B available in all 27 stores in this district from now on, and they will instruct their technicians and pharmacists on the companies policy to dispense it without delay.

-Ain't it Amazing what a woman or two can do in twenty four hours.

What a Day, What a DAY!

UPDATE 2:

Women are talking about this and taking action

The outspoken and adorable Bitch PhD has added her voice to the fray

UPDATE 3:

Planned Parenthood's Ohio Action Network just sent an e-newsletter to all their supporters Here's a very informative post on the subject

UPDATE 5:

Today my local paper, The Columbus Dispatch, ran an editorial about access to Plan B and told the story of a couple who were laughed at by the pharmasist at Walmart.

Even though Walmart had Plan B in stock, no one but the pharmasist on duty could dispense it, and he refused. The writer of the editorial stated: "Why does the pharmacist even need to be involved? The medicine is behind the counter only to ensure that those under 18 can not obtain it. Why not put this medicine in the cashier lane where they sell tobacco?"

Action Alert!


Once again, My friend over at The Fat Lady Sings has alerted us to a grave injustice. Apparently Bill O'Reilly of FOX News has done the unthinkable, even for his outrageous standards. He is actually claiming 15 year old pedophile victim Shawn Hornbeck LIKED his four years of captivity and wanted to remain with his abuser.

To quote Bill:

"I think when it all comes down what's going to happen is there was an element here that this kid liked about his circumstances..."

"The situation here with this kid is looks to me to be a lot more fun then when he had under his own parents. He didn't have to go to school, He could run around and do what he wanted."


Fat Lady Sings duly notes, "Bill O’Reilly needs to be fired from Fox News. Immediately. His comments make me wonder – is he a pedophile himself? Those arguments he makes – those are NAMBLA talking points – right out of the pedophile handbook. He seems awfully conversant with their stated ideas and opinions."

NAMBLA is The North American Man/Boy Love Association whose goal is to "end the oppression of men and boys who have freely chosen, mutually consensual relationships."

(As if there could be any such thing!)

Steve Huff of The True Crime Blog tells us, "O'Reilly has been in the news for 30 years or more, covering all sorts of stories, and he's never heard of preferential pedophiles? He's never heard of brainwashing or complete intimidation? He can't do the math where a 6'4", 300-lb pedophile with a violent temper against a slightly-built boy from rural Missouri equals one having complete control of the other?"

This public stance by O'Reilly is an outrage! The man must be stopped. Please join us and take action! E-mail the O'Reilly producers at FOX NEWS and get this lunatic OFF THE AIR!

OReilly@FoxNews.com

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Die Laughing:

Old aunts used to come up to me at weddings, poking me in the ribs and cackling, "You're next Sweetie."

They stopped after I started doing the same thing to them at funerals.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Citizen King

Today's post is too big for me, especially since I threw out my crickity ol' back again. You know the old saying "The mind is willing but the body is weak? Well, all I have to say is when you add a little Vicodine to the equation, "The body is weak and the mind is mush."

So in honor of Martin Luther King Day, I offer you a buffet of good reading from my friends in the blogosphere.

His words changed our nation forever, and your words might too.

Yolanda King reminds us that America has not yet reached the promised land of peace and racial equality.

"We must keep reaching across the table and, in the tradition of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, we must feed each other," she said Sunday at Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church. "The best sermons are those that are lived."

FLS has a great post, wondering how things might be if King were not killed.

The Happy Feminist has some interesting thoughts on the subject, and the comments are sharp as well.

This site on the LoveEarth Network (which I think was founded by Yoko Ono, or one of John's sons,) has a nice tribute complete with audio links.

Orcinus looks deep into history and tells us what a "Sundown Town" is:

"A sundown town is any organized jurisdiction that for decades kept African Americans or other groups from living in it and was thus "all white" on purpose.

... Many towns drove out their black populations, then posted sundown signs. ... Other towns passed ordinances barring African Americans after dark or prohibiting them from owning or renting property; still others established such policies by informal means, harassing and even killing those who violated the rule. Some sundown towns similarly kept out Jews, Chinese, Mexicans, Native Americans, or other groups.

Sometimes entire counties went sundown, usually when their county seat did. Independent sundown towns were soon joined by "sundown suburbs," which could be even larger: Levittown, on Long Island, had 82,000 residents in 1970, while Livonia, Michigan, and Parma, Ohio, had more than 100,000...Outside the traditional South ... probably a majority of all incorporated places kept out African Americans."


Over at The Huffington Post, Congressman John Lewis says "Today we celebrate and commemorate the life of a man of peace, a man of love, a man of nonviolence who must be considered one of the founding fathers of the new America. Because of his dedication to the cause of justice and the imperative of human dignity, he wrestled with the soul of a nation and challenged it to reach its highest destiny."

Eileen at the Peace Train uses King's wisdom to contemplate our current acts of war.


Or, you could check out Time's photo essay which offers stunning pictures matched with quotes.

The King Quotations Page offers a feast of his words. One I particularly like is:

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

So I hope you will use this day to think about what matters, and give voice to those thoughts, for that is how "we feed each other" and do the work of Civil Rights. We do it by thinking, and learning, and writing, and talking at the dinner table. We define our beliefs on justice and equality, and we live those beliefs each and every day, for our friends, our families, and ourselves. Such is the way of change.

P.S.

If you want to broaden your view of discrimination check out this post where a gay woman fears hospitalization after a surfing mishap, because her partner can not legally speak for her. When she sites this injustice, she is told the solution is to "just quit surfing."

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Paying Respects


Dear Friends,
Please link over to Ericka Lutz at Literary Mama.

Her entry this month tells of the passing of renowned American feminist and writer, Tillie Olsen, who also happens to be Ericka's grandmother.

Comments are welcome should you want to pay your respects. Personally, I think we all should, as we stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us. I know I owe Tillie a drink or two.

(Or should I say, a cup of her favorite peppermint tea?)

From The Feminist Press:

"Olsen's landmark text pays tribute to the labor of writing, and details the impediments that can force writers to relinquish their craft. She champions the myriad would-bes who lived and died, leaving "silences where the lives never came to writing."

Inspired by her immigrant mother's struggle to overcome illiteracy, frustrated by her own years as a waitress, secretary, and capper of mayonnaise jars—years during which her writing was effectively silenced by the demands of work and motherhood—Olsen gives voice to all who strive to prevent their "unused capacities" from atrophying, from ceasing to be. A clear-eyed, unsentimental tribute to anyone who has ever tried to work with words."

Also, JOHN LEONARD of The Nation offers his ode to Tillie "celebrating the eloquence of the feminist, activist and writer in whose work memory, history, poetry and prophecy converge."

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Almost genius

I know a little boy of six, who is borderline genius. His parents are both alcoholics. Booze brought them together, and booze tore them apart. The pregnancy was a drunken "oops."

When he was born, mom stayed home, while dad hit the bars alone. Dad would stumble in at 9 or 10 or 11pm, to a cold dinner and an angry wife; A wife who wanted a drink and a break from the baby. As time passed, he came home to a drunken wife, who would thrust the baby in his wobbly arms as she staggered off to bed.

She worked weekends. He resented working a fifty hour week, and then having to babysit on his days off. Of course, babysitting consisted mostly of telling the kid to "shad-up" while he watched football and nursed his hangover on the couch.

Dad got very good at thrusting the baby into moms arms the moment she walked in the door.

It was a game of "Get Even."

They divorced not too long ago. Dad has remarried, and mom is dating a guy she met in the bar. The little boy has no friends in the neighborhood, because Dad does not want other kids in his house. He has few friends at school, because the teacher says he fights.

Mom has moved three times since the split, so the boy does not try too hard to make friends when he is staying with her. It hurts too much.

Now Dad is telling the boy they are moving to another state, and he wont be able to see his mom quite so often.

Mom got him a puppy for Christmas last year, and told him she is giving the dog to Grandma, because she works long hours, and its not right to leave the dog in a crate all day.

Mom says "I love my son. I never yell at him unless I'm trying to sleep, and yeah, I know I sleep too much."

The little boy spends lots of time alone in his room, taking things apart. He loves to discover how things work. Toasters, phones, vacum cleaners, you name it. He reminds me of a little Thomas Edison.

What will happen to this bright little boy who is almost a genius, I don't know. I have done all I can, which is a far cry from enough.

I wonder if my tears will help?

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Nancy Pelosi

Tune into ABC's "Good Morning America" this morning to hear The White House Project's President Marie Wilson talk to Claire Shipman about what Speaker Nancy Pelosi's rise to power means for all women.

What Women Want

By Kelley Bell

Syndicated columnist and conservative pundit Cal Thomas recently wrote an Op-Ed piece in which he suggests Republicans "change tactics." He suggests the "lock em up and throw away the key crowd" reclaim power by adopting Glen Campbell as their new political messenger singing:

You got to try a little kindness
Yes show a little kindness
Just shine your light for everyone to see
And if you try a little kindness
Then you'll overlook the blindness
Of narrow minded people on the streets.

Holy Jesus in The White House, Batman, that's a Grand Idea! Let's try it. Let’s stand on the edge of the great divide and sing out while we build a bridge to the middle. Let’s rise to the challenge and build it from the widest point of the political chasm: Abortion.

The solution is so simple. Both sides want to reduce abortion, so the problem is already half solved. Now all we need to do is turn our guns away from each other, “try a little kindness, overlook the blindness,” and find a way both sides can participate in the achievement of that goal.

Think of the millions, possibly even billions of dollars that have been spent slinging mud and arguing this matter. Think of all the progress that could have been made if those dollars had been used for prevention programs and health services instead of hate mongering, finger pointing, and politicking.

It's time to end the arguments. It’s time to sit down and LISTEN to each other. It's time to move forward.

Women want Choice because criminalizing women for their fertility will not make our nation stronger. It will simply label good decent citizens as criminals, and put unneeded pressure on our already over stressed legal system. Criminalization is the wrong way to solve this problem. If abortion becomes a crime, then it must be enforced with a punishment. That means women, their doctors, nurses, midwives and husbands will all face long drawn out trials and possible incarceration. Our courts are already overloaded and our hospitals understaffed. Can we afford to lose these doctors, nurses and mothers? Do we have the prison space for these citizens? Who will “investigate” reports of suspicious miscarriage? Can you imagine yourself as a young woman who has suffered a miscarriage, being interrogated, prodded, and intimately examined by suspect strangers who assume you are guilty of a crime? Can you imagine being forced into court to prove your innocence while recovering from a miscarriage, or having your children put in foster care while you sit in jail trying to find money for a good attorney? The whole idea of criminalization as a solution is preposterous. Our country does not have the resources to enforce it, and even if we did, it would amount to cruel and unusual punishment to thousands of innocent people. The results would be the ugly stepsister of prohibition, creating a dark unnecessary underworld of danger and despair and fear.

Women want Choice because of the history of discrimination against women. We remember when slave owners raped women and forced them to breed ten or more children like a rancher breeds livestock. Black women have been aborting themselves since the earliest days of slavery. Self induced abortions were acts of desperation, motivated by the oppressive conditions of their subordination, conditions of which, some still exist today.

Women want Choice because we remember 1932, when the Eugenics Society passed compulsory sterilization laws in 26 states, requiring thousands of "unfit" persons (defined as "Morons, mental defectives, epileptics, illiterates, paupers, unemployables, criminals, prostitutes and dope fiends") be surgically prevented from reproducing.

Women want Choice because we remember when the Birth Control Federation of America, planned the "Negro Project" in 1939. The Federation's proposal suggested a racist strategy of population control, using the clergy of Black churches to promote birth control with the goal of “exterminating the Negro population.”

Women want Choice because we remember the case of the Relf sisters in Montgomery, Alabama and the 5000 other young black women just like them. 12 year old Minnie Lee, and 14 year old Mary Alice, were permanently sterilized against their will, when their mother was deceived by the social workers who handled her daughters' case.

Women want Choice because we remember when HEW-funded birth control clinics all over the country were subjecting young girls to forced sterilization or compulsory birth control as a solution to the welfare problem. An idea that even Ronald Regan supported.

Women want Choice because we remember when our government involuntarily sterilized close to half of the Native American women who lived on reservations during the nineteen seventies. Native American women would go into federally funded medical clinics on the reservations for health care, then were required to sign surgical sterilization consent forms, often while under sedation, while in pain, and without regard to their ability to read English. It was part of our countries long history of reproductive genocide.

Women want Choice because our government has proven time and time again that it can not be trusted with issues of women’s fertility. Government policies against women have been used;

• to stop over population,
• to reduce welfare,
• to promote ethnic cleansing,
• to ensure the “unfit” can not reproduce,
• to increase personal wealth.
• And to use The State to enforce certain religious beliefs.

Women want Choice because none of these motives are moral. In a democracy, the role of government should be to support the people, not control them. If women are going to be fully emancipated and live up to their full potential as human beings, they must be able to control their fertility. Birth control -- individual choice, safe contraceptive methods, accessible unbiased well informed healthcare, and abortion when necessary -- are a fundamental prerequisite for the emancipation of women.

Women want Choice because all through history we have been treated as chattel. For far too long women could not vote, own property, choose a career, or enter politics. Even today, women only hold 14% of our senate seats, and all but one of them is white! The time has come for our voices to be heard, our intelligence respected, and our bodies protected.

Women want Choice because we are capable of handling these matters privately, on a case by case basis, with the advice of our doctors, the support of our families, and the guidance of our own moral compass, without the intervention of the courts.

Women want Choice because we are tired of the false stereotypes. The cries from the pulpit that loose women use abortion for birth control, that sexually active women are harlots, and that abortion is a flippant selfish decision are all grossly misleading accusations which do not reflect the truth.

Women want Choice because quite frankly, we have had enough. It is time for the government to back off for a few centuries and treat us with the respect we deserve.

Cause if you try a little kindness
Then you'll overlook the blindness
Of narrow minded people on the streets.



Copyright 2007

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Lisey's Story

"Reality is Ralph."

If you do not yet know what that means, get This Book, go sit under the Yum-Yum Tree, and don't come out until you're thru.

Stephen Kings new novel, Lisey's Story tells the tale of a Pulitzer Prize-winning author from the perspective of his widow Lisey, who must travel into the world of his imagination, the world of the Boo-ya Moon, if she is to heal her grief, and move on.

The voice of her dead husband fills her mind, breaks her heart, and leads her on a Bool Hunt. Not just any old bool mind you, but a Blood Bool.

He leads her from Sweetheart hill, through the Fairy Forest, to The Pool, " the Language Pool, the Myth Pool, where we all go down to drink..." It is a magical world on the other side of the wind, where the colors are brighter, the flowers smell sweeter, the moon is always full, and our deepest darkest terrors, are only a hot breath away.

It is the place where you must be still, and quiet, and wary, and a place you should never, ever go to at night. That is, unless you are a barefoot ten year old boy who has no choice. The boy who must go to the place where catatonics go when their eyes are empty and they leave this world. The place where they sit by the Pool and watch the Hollyhocks in a hypnotic prison of eternal dreaming. The place where we learn of Scott Landon's horrific past, and how Lisey was the anchor that kept him sane and saved his life.

The place where we learn, the voice of a loved one is the one thing that can holler you home.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Ms. President...

Last night I attended The John Glenn School of Public Affairs "Women in Leadership" lecture, featuring Marie Wilson. Marie is the founder of The White House Project, former president of The MS. Foundation, and co-creator of Take Our Daughters To Work Day.

This gal has so much goin on, we could just replace the word feminist with Wilsonette!

The evening began when OSU VIP Barbara Snyder took the stage to introduce Senator John Glenn. She did a great job, but mistakenly said Glenn was a fighter pilot in WWI, instead of WWII. Glenn won the hearts of the audience as he feigned a heart attack and hobbled to the podium, hunched over in dependence of his imaginary cane, before launching into an energetic introduction of Wilson, the featured speaker and honoree.

Marie opened with praise for the Senator, and drew an analogy of his career, comparing it to a cubist art piece in the Wexner Center, celebrating space exploration. The crowd erupted in applause when she summed up by stating "Women have always had to think outside the box in order to get anywhere, and since John thinks outside the box too, I think we should make him an honorary woman!"

She then spoke on the need for women in leadership, and reminded us, that even though 87% of The American People support the idea of women in leadership roles, The United States is ranked 67th in the world regarding women representation in politics. In recent election cycles, women have been loosing ground, as women leaders in State legislatures has dropped from 24% to as low as 16%. She cited a recent story of success in Norway. A law was passed requiring all public companies to have a 40% ratio of women representing their boards of directors. When first debated, the law caused an uproar of controversy, but in spite of detractors, the law was passed and, the goal achieved in less than two years. By thinking outside of the box, the women of Norway succeeded to create positive progressive change for their country.

What if a law were passed in the United States, requiring our congress to accurately reflect the demographics of our populations? What would our government be like if we had true representation for people of all race and gender? What if districts were drawn by cultural communities instead of geographic location? Radical? Yes, but an example of thinking outside of the box in a way that could lead our country to a more representative form of democracy.

One of the major problems women candidates face, is what Wilson referred to as "Hair, Hemline and Husband" issues. When only one woman is running against a pack of men, the media does not report her stance on the issues, rather, they discuss her hair, hemline or husband. Even Hillary Rodham Clinton has been quoted as saying "If I want to knock a story off the front page, I just change my hairstyle."

Another issue, according to White House Project studies, is that women wait to be asked before running for office. Men see other men in positions of power, and assume they could aspire to the same goals, so they "just run." Women on the other hand, wait to be invited, and then, before running, they seek training. Hmmmm. Imagine that.

"In this position as the leader of The White House Project, I have been given a magical power." Wilson said, while mystically waving her had over the audience with an impish grin. "If you do not invite a woman to run for office in the next twenty four hours, something very bad will happen to each and every one of you."

Women in general, do not have the arrogance of men. They operate from a sense of humility and acute personal critique. "Women set the bar so high for themselves. They seek personal perfection, before considering positions of power." Said Wilson. "We have this desire and expectation that the first woman president be perfect." That is simply not possible. "I'm Tired of it!" She exclaimed. "We need [to view women candidates with a sense of] REALITY!" We need to reset the bar, and put women in proper perspective as leaders. When expectations of women are twice as high as their male counterparts, we cut our progress in half.

She went on to explain, many women avoid the political arena because of the culture of negativity and personal attacks. Women do not see this as appropriate or honorable behavior. But to create change, "We've gotta take it on!" She cried. "We are not in the gender business when we do this work, we are in the transformation business, and OUR TIME HAS COME!"

"The single most important difference in the gender gap of politics, is that women really believe the role of politics is to SERVE the PEOPLE," not gain power. Women's voices are needed in the political arena for this very reason, and not just one or two, but many. When we achieve a critical mass of women in office, the idea of women as leaders will be normalized. Women will then take their rightful place as fully participating citizens, and use their voices to bring balance to political ideology. Women have so much to offer beyond hemlines and hair. The time has come for us to prove it. The time has come for us to use it. Our time is NOW.

On a side note, my daughter just received honor roll recognition for her 3.84 GPA.

I gave her a big hug and said "Keep it up honey, and you just might be Ms. President someday."