Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Vote No on Proposition 8

Vote No on Proposition 8!

Really. Because love is what marriage is about, and straight people don't have a monopoly on love. Fairness is what marriage rights are about, plain and simple. Nobody's talking about making it hard for a man and woman to wed, or about changing what churches do. It's simply about letting two people—any two adults—declare their love for one another publicly and secure certain comforts that heterosexual couples take for granted. Such as hospital visitation rights, co-parenting rights, inheritance rights, and property-sharing rights. Such as adding your loved one to your health insurance policy without having to pay income tax on the employer-paid portion of the premiums. Such as not being treated like second-class citizens.

The Declaration of Independence laid out the founding principles of America:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

All of us are equal, not just white people. All of us are equal, not just men. All of us are equal, not just heterosexuals. California is one of a very few states to recognize same-sex marriage, and the forces who stand against equality—against equality! How un-American is that?—want to kick every gay or lesbian person in the stomach and send the message, "You are not created equal, and you do not have the right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Send a message to these people and tell them No. Tell them that you support America's core principle of equality. Vote No on Proposition 8.

If you don't live in California, you probably know someone who does, or there are Californians who read your blog. Please reach out and urge people to do the traditionally American thing and support equality by voting No on Prop 8.

You might also consider donating to Equality California so they can air more ads speaking out against Prop 8.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Strange but true

When I was a tween, I was fond of this thin paperback from the youth section of the local library, a book about the Bermuda triangle and other specious creepy phenomena. (Ghosts, spontaneous human combustion, all that.) I don't think I ever believed that these things were true, but I was magnetically drawn to these eerie tales.

Now, a story even more unbelievable has happened to me. What you are about to true. You may be skeptical, but I swear to you, it really occurred—and twice.

Five years ago, I wanted a super-effective form of birth control, so I decided to get the Mirena IUD. My insurance company said it wasn't covered, but I figured the cost would be no greater than the five-year cost of the Pill. So I charged the fee to my credit card, and submitted it to my flexible spending account for reimbursement. "We won't pay this until you've submitted it to your insurance company," they said. Fine, I said, and I asked the doctor's office to submit the claim. In a truly mysterious occult fashion, the insurance company sent me a check because the IUD was covered. (Spooky!)

Fast-forward to summer 2008. It's been five years and the Mirena is reaching the end of its lifespan. The doctor's office informs me that they will first ask my insurance company whether the IUD is covered, and I have to wait for their answer to schedule my appointment. The answer comes back within a week: No. Not covered.

Okay, fine, I figured as much. So I scheduled my appointment, planning to self-pay. The day came. I took the bus downtown, and walked a couple blocks to the office building. Little did I know (cue dramatic music) what was about to happen.

—[NC-17 rating on the ensuing gore. Key words: embedded, extra clinician needed, angry cervix, cold hard steel dilator, cramping, blood and gore.]—

So I waited with only the mildest sense of foreboding. Probably the insurance company's explanation of benefits would say "not covered," and the doctor's office would soon mail me a bill. I would pay the bill, and my soul would not be rattled.

And then (cue dramatic music again) the insurance company sent word that it has paid the doctor's practice some $900 for a device and service it had said were not covered.

It is a more unbelievable turn of events than an alien abduction, yes, but I swear to you that everything I have attested to is absolutely true.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Ta-Nehisi Coates on Obama's grandparents

Read Ta-Nehisi Coates' short and sweet post about Barack Obama's mom's parents, and how they did the right thing in embracing their daughter and grandson despite the race thing.

A dear friend of mine (hi out there!) grew up not knowing her white grandparents because they chose not to accept their daughter's interracial marriage and the three amazing grandchildren it produced. What a terrible, heartrending lesson for those grandparents to give to the kids, from day one. (I've never been quite sure whether the appropriate response is to detest or to pity people whose racism affects others. Maybe both.)

In the 21st century, I hope far more families make the loving choice that the Dunhams—Obama's maternal grandparents—made, and that society heaps disapprobation onto the people who allow racism to circumscribe their lives and community.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Short takes

  • I saw a rainbow today.
  • I voted early! It took about 20 to 25 minutes, including waiting in line and using the touchscreen voting machine. Not too shabby—November 4th surely will involve longer waits.
  • This one SUV in a downtown parking garage has caught my eye a couple times. It's got consulate license plates. And a bunch of dog-lover decals on the back, celebrating a few different breeds. And also the Human Rights Campaign equal-sign decal. I saw the driver this morning, and he didn't really look like I envisioned a diplomatic gay dog lover looking. Maybe he's a straight diplomatic dog lover who supports equal marriage rights?

Monday, October 20, 2008

And the winner is...

Feral Mom!

Remember a month and a half ago when I offered a free Entertainment Weekly subscription to whoever wrote the funniest haiku asking for it? Her Ferality submitted this one:

I live in L.A.
I should read a newspaper
Please send one my way

It is important to keep up with one's local news, so this was a compelling argument.

I keep my EW copy in the bathroom, and it sees me through the week's pees, poops, tooth-brushings, and hair-dryings. Most of the content is in short, easily digested pieces, so the magazine makes perfect bathroom reading.

Don't think that I'm generous or anything. The renewal offer said "renew now and send a free gift subscription," so I thought I would make the magazine's renewal marketing staff feel good about themselves by opting for that offer.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Why are 8-year-olds disenfranchised?

My 8-year-old son asked me this morning why he can't vote.

You know what? The vote should be extended to children who pay attention—and withheld from the folks who remain "undecided" less than three weeks before the election. Really? They still don't know which candidate is a better match for their values? The undecided crowd apparently has loose dirt inside their skulls in lieu of brains.

Ben has said, "We like Obama because of health care, right?" Damn straight, kid. Damn straight. Right there, he's identified one issue that points toward one candidate more than the other. If an 8-year-old can do it, what is wrong with these "independents"?

Post-debate musings

McCain seems to disdain allowing abortion for reasons of the "woman's health," air-quotes and all. That's so effing disingenuous. You know the straw woman the anti-choicers always trot out—the woman who's feeling cranky about having a child and gets diagnosed with serious depression so she can obtain a late-term abortion on a whim? I think she's the same woman who makes false accusations of rape for sport, just to ruin men's lives. What's the percentage for either of these things, anyway? I'm guessing it's no more than 1/10th of 1% of all abortions or rape charges.

I take it personally when someone opposes health exceptions to abortion bans. I mean, I oppose all abortion bans, but the people who talk smack about exceptions to preserve the health of the woman infuriate me. I am one whose health would suffer greatly if I were to become pregnant. Yes, I take precautions to avoid getting pregnant, but if my contraception failed, it would be dangerous to my health to continue a pregnancy.


Joe the Plumber isn't registered to vote in Ohio. Hah! He may fret that Obama is gonna raise his taxes, but it's not as if he can vote against him.


Sarah Palin made a big thing about "you can't blink." McCain issued a big "screw you" to his running mate in last night's debate: He blinked two jillion times. I thought Palin's winking was obnoxious, but McCain's blinking was...well, it made him look angsty, or maybe trapped in a windy desert. Somehow Obama's eyes were immune to the Hofstra University sandstorm that afflicted McCain.


An NYT article on the debate included this line" "But Mr. Obama maintained a placid and at times bemused demeanor." Memo to NYT reporter Jim Rutenberg: bemused doesn't mean "amused," it means "bewildered." And I don't think Obama looked confused. I think he looked amused.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Early voting, Cook County judicial candidates

If you live in Cook County, Illinois, you might be wondering which judges on the retention ballot need to be dumped (answer: very few; Casandra Lewis is the only one with mostly negative ratings) and who to choose in the competitive judicial races. Help is here! The Alliance of Bar Associations for Judicial Screening has compiled a chart of ratings from 10 different bar groups in the area:

Download this PDF of the judicial evaluation results, print it out, and take it to your polling place.

If you'd like to vote early and avoid the lines on November 4:

This PDF has suburban Cook County locations.

This page lists the 51 Chicago locations. You can vote at any location convenient to you, 9 to 5, Monday through Saturday, provided that you're registered to vote in the city.

Other Illinois counties' early voting locations can be accessed here.

To vote early, you'll need a government-issued photo ID (driver's license or state ID). And there are no do-overs—your vote's final.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

It's National Coming Out Day!

Pam Spaulding has a nice wrap-up, complete with videos. I liked the Clay Aiken interview on Good Morning America.

Pam writes:
For my straight readers:
-- are you “out” as an ally?
-- are you able to talk about gay friends or relatives with others?
-- are you comfortable shooting down homophobes when they spout off during a conversation?

My answers are:
-- Yes.
-- Yes.
-- Hell, yes! I do not shy away from blunt rebuttals. "Be quiet and don't make waves" doesn't suit me.

If you're gay or lesbian, I hope you're in an environment that makes it comfortable and safe for you to be exactly who you are. Alas, the patchwork of marriage laws in the U.S. deprive many of you of the rights straight folks often take for granted. But my wish for you is to someday be completely "out" with your sexuality in the way that straight people have always been—just a matter-of-fact spot on the spectrum of human existence, nothing for anyone to get riled up about.

If you're straight, I encourage you to challenge people when they say anything ignorant, wrong, or disdainful about homosexuality. You might not change their mind, but maybe they'll think twice about spouting off next time and the world will be one notch better.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


Visit Becky the Absent Minded Housewife for her eminently reasonable take on boobs.

Visit The Assimilated Negro for Kelly Tsai's spoken word piece about political candidates' shorthand of "black, white, whatever," with the inclusion sometimes of "purple, green, silver" but hardly ever "yellow, red, brown." The yellow, red, and brown folks are out here too, you know.

Watch Tim Wise discussing the origin of the concept of "the white race" and how it continues to serve a divide-and-conquer master. (Hat tip, Jay.)

From topical humor site 23/6 (less hard-working than 24/7), a comics version of last night's debate. I'll check back in a couple days for the next round of 23/6's debate-in-a-minute videos—they really encapsulate the memes and verbal tics of the candidates.

Why maverickiness is not necessarily a grand thing

In tonight's debate, McCain again harped on Obama's not having defied his party as a negative.

Sure, McCain has bucked the GOP party line, oh, about 5% or 10% of the time lately. It should have been more. His party sucks and tries its damnedest to ruin everything that is good and right.

Of course Obama has toed the line with the Democratic Party's prevailing positions. Those have been the best positions!

It's like they're both married to hypothetical spouses. McCain's hypothetical spouse is a nightmare, a soul-sucking, abusive, thieving nightmare. He'd be right to step back from that spouse. Obama's hypothetical spouse shares his values, supports his goals and interests, and splits the housework fairly. If he divorces that spouse out of mere spite, that would make him an irrational asshole.


As for the debate itself, the CNN undecided voters graph kept looking mighty flat during McCain's turns, especially when talking about the economy. When Obama was talking, the graph line zoomed upwards and stayed there. CNN's "analyst scorecard" also leaned heavily towards Obama.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Child's Soup of the Soul

This morning, Ben explained something over breakfast.

"You know what happens to souls when you die? They fly up into space and go in a black hole. The black hole is really a hot tub, and the souls hang out there."

(No, the boy has not learned about the Christian take on the destination of souls.)

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Am I brilliant? Why, yes.

It's gotten chilly this week, and the temperature in my bedroom has dipped down to 65 or 66 degrees. I am not one who demands a cool sleeping environment, so this is not good. Our condo building is over budget for the year on gas bills, and an upstairs neighbor is replacing some radiators in the coming week, so we're gonna tough it out and not turn the boiler on just yet.

So it's chilly, and even though it's been long enough since I changed the sheets (see recent blog archives), I'm too lazy to put on the flannel sheets now. But I came up with an even cozier solution than flannel sheets. Oh, yes, I did. I took a Polartec blanket like this one and laid it over the bed. Can you imagine what it feels like to tuck yourself between a plush polarfleece blanket and a flannel comforter? Omigod, the snuggly!

Why haven't I seen polarfleece sheet sets yet? These should exist. Sure, it might get a little staticky to roll around in layers of fleece, but the coziness would be worth it.

Today, I bought another fleece blanket to outfit Ben's bed with The Coziness so he might be induced to stay there all night, rather than being inexorably drawn to his parents' fleece-lined bed. Who could resist that> Mama didn't raise no fool. (And Mama hopes the boy's own polarfleece cocoon will render him unconscious with coziness so he doesn't wake up chilly.)

If you're like me and you seek a warmth solution, get yourself a polarfleece layer in your bed. You'll love it.

Friday, October 03, 2008

What's your Achilles heel?

It's a simple enough question. I'd like to hear your answers.

What's my Achilles heel? I have demonstrated again and again that I am a speedy editor, and also, I'm going on a Caribbean cruise over Christmas.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

VP debate tonight!

At first I was looking forward to the Biden/Palin debate with great relish. But now? There's some trepidation.

Palin has set the expectations for her performance so low—below the second subbasement level, encroaching on the magma beneath the earth's crust—that all she has to do is not be 100% ludicrous and incomprehensible, and it'll be touted as a Palin win. If she manages to avoid the "moose in the headlights" look and sometimes makes cogent points, it'll be spun as the rebirth of a compelling and strong candidate.

Biden has to solid across the board without coming across as too "knowledgeable" or "smart," because that's too offputting to portions of the electorate. If he looks like he's got more knowledge and experience than Palin—which he does—the GOP talking heads will spin it as "boring and elitist."

Dang! I forgot to get a debate bingo card. Wait, the internet can help. Here's one. Here's another. Palin bingo is the more family-friendly, recovering-alcoholic-friendly, teetotaler-friendly approach. Drinkers can use the bingo card as a guide to knowing which buzzwords and buzzconcepts they should take a swig upon hearing.