The new mini ice age, or, the year there was no summer

I remember when we used to have joy in our lives

Fight fight fight. Don’t give up. Let’s carry on the revolution for RBG.

As I walked into city hall today, I heard live music. It was a cello and a flute, warming up for something.

I almost didn’t recognize it. I haven’t heard live music since February. I have not heard live music in over six months.

It brought me to tears.

We have lost so much.

We have lost so much because of the poor leadership of this country.

We have lost over 200,000 lives, which is the biggest tragedy of all.

We have lost businesses. People have lost their livelihoods.

We have lost hellos and goodbyes and celebrations and laments and our summer and joy and collective sorrow and we have lost everything. EVERYTHING.

And it did not have to be this way.

Mr T and I are very lucky. I know that.

But even with that, even with not getting sick or with having already lost my job for non-covid reasons so I can’t blame that on the current soon to be ex I hope president, even with being lucky, we did not attend the wedding of the daughter of one of my best friends. We watched it on zoom.

We did not attend the funeral of my friend who died in July.

We did not go to my uncle’s funeral this week – we watched it on zoom.

We did not go to a single concert this summer.

Nobody did.

We did not go to a single festival.

Nobody did.

We did not go to the state fair.

Nobody did.

We will not go to our college class reunion.

Nobody will.

We have seen one set of friends once – we sat in our driveway.

The husband of my friend who died in July came over last night and we sat in the driveway and it was lovely, but it was cold. We are not going to be able to do that much longer. We don’t dare risk having people indoors. I am volunteering at city hall, which means I am around a lot of people, so I don’t want to expose anyone else.

Our friends T and S, from college, called us last night. They saw something I had written on facebook and were laughing about it. T and S are in Chicago right now, getting ready to sell their house their. We had talked about visiting them the next time they were in town and in the excitement of the moment, decided we would go there this weekend.

We realized it would be the first visit with college friends since last winter.

And then this morning, we realized we couldn’t go to their house, cook dinner, and spend the night. We couldn’t expose them to my city hall germs. We couldn’t do it. We won’t go after all.

I know it’s a small thing and that many people are suffering greatly.

But at the base, all of us are suffering at least this much – we all lost our summer. We lost our celebrations. We lost graduations. We lost weddings. We lost the 4th of July. We lost our funerals. We lost visiting our friends and family.

And we lost if because the president of this country knew what was going on and lied to us and refused to lead.

And, as I write this, I see that Ruth Bader Ginsberg has died.

We are losing everything.

Vote. Vote. Vote.

 

What is, How much money does the patriarchy spend on getting it up?

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I used to wonder why they had fans in church. I wonder no longer.

You guys. I am angry. I am angry about so many things. There is so much to be angry about:

  • Structural racism
  • Regular racism and yes, we see you
  • Regular racism that I might have – that I am terrified that I might have because I DO NOT WANT TO BE RACIST
  • Police brutality
  • Donald Trump
  • Putin’s bounties on American soldiers
  • More than 170,000 (as of the time I am writing this, but it will probably be 180,000 by the time you read this) Americans dead of covid
  • The deliberate sabotage of the USPS in an attempt to undermine the election
  • The lack of action on unemployment insurance. Let me say this: an extra $600 a week is not enough to keep people from wanting to work. You know what that $600 a week does? It lets people pay for their health insurance, which costs $1,100 a month for two people. That’s what Mr T and I pay for ours. So if someone is getting UI, it might cover their family’s health insurance – barely? But if it does that, it doesn’t pay for anything else – not the rent, not the electricity, not food. This idea that people are living it up on $600 a week instead of going to work for $50K a year with benefits – yeah – most people would rather have not enough money to survive than a good job with good benefits.
  • Donald Trump
  • Donald Trump
  • Donald Trump did I mention Donald Trump and all his evil minions?

All of that makes the issue that I am pissed-off about right now seem petty and small but I am going to complain about it anyhow.

Here’s a pop quiz. The answer is an integer between one and ten.

How much more research is done about PMS, which affects 90% of women, than is done for erectile dysfunction, which affects 19% of men?

What did you answer? Four? Seven? Ten? Ten times as much research into PMS than into ED? That would make sense, right? Because PMS affects the majority of women and it’s something that affects us whether we want it or not and it affects our everyday lives. It’s not limited to a recreational function that does not have to happen.

So it makes sense that science and research and money would be focused on women and our health issues instead of on how to help men get it up, which I think we can all agree is not essential to everyday life and the lack thereof is not crippling to everyday life the way menstrual cramps and other symptoms of PMS can be. (I guess cramps are technically M, but you know what I mean.)

Well guess what?

The answer is not four times as much money for PMS.

It is not seven.

It is not ten.

No.

This was a trick question.

Because there is more research about ED than there is about PMS.

You read that correctly.

“There is five times more research into erectile dysfunction, which affects 19% of men, than into premenstrual syndrome, which affects 90% of women.”

Nope. I did not make that up.

It came from a piece in The Guardian.

I was trying to find data on how much money is spent on research about menopause, a condition that affects 50% of the people on this planet, as opposed to erectile dysfunction, a condition that affects some men, some of the time, a condition that is not necessary for the functioning of life, a condition that does not strike him without warning, interrupt his sleep, make him miserable on both hot days and cold days, a condition that if left untreated would not make him otherwise miserable, but guess what it’s almost impossible to find information on menopause research because ALMOST NOBODY IS DOING IT.

I didn’t find much other than The Guardian piece.

It wasn’t just the topic of pain that was poorly researched. The lack of evidence was a problem she encountered time and time again, which is no surprise when you look at the research gap: less than 2.5% of publicly funded research is dedicated solely to reproductive health, despite the fact that one in three women in the UK will suffer from a reproductive or gynaecological health problem.

And I thought, Why am I even surprised? I should know better by now. One third of the women in the UK need female-specific health care but less than 2.5% of the publicly-funded research is devoted to that medical care? I am shocked. Shocked that women’s health needs are overlooked.

It started when I read the story in the Washington Post about Michelle Obama talking about hot flashes and what a pain in the neck they are and I found myself agreeing with her, which is not something I have done in the past.

(But how I long for the days when I thought disagreeing with Barack Obama was my biggest problem.)

Michelle Obama said, “It’s an important thing to take up space in a society, because half of us are going through this, but we’re living like it’s not happening.”

Preach, my sister! I have tried to normalize this kind of conversation. I have tried to talk about hot flashes at work so that other women know this is something that happens and it’s normal.

And I was excited to see Obama talking about it because I thought, “She was a First Lady! She has access! She can get the best medical care! They told her The Secrets!”

Guess what oh wait this will not be a surprise to you.

There are no answers.

Which – again. Are we surprised?

In my googling, I found this:

Spending for the three most popular phosphodiesterase (PDE) inhibitor drugs to treat erectile dysfunction (ED) tops $1 billion worldwide annually.

Around the world, we – WAIT – MEN – spend a billion dollars just on the drugs for ED.

Just. On. The. Drugs.

Do you know what they do for hot flashes?

There used to be drugs.

But they found out those drugs caused cancer.

So now we don’t get those drugs.

Now there is another solution.

Now they tell me to wear  layers.

I am not making this up.

They tell me to dress in layers.

Women make up half of the population. Those of us who live long enough will go through menopause. Those of us who are unlucky enough will have hot flashes.

I don’t even have bad hot flashes, I don’t think, but I can promise you that even mild hot flashes are not a pleasant experience. During the day, they are distracting and uncomfortable. Have you ever been boiled from inside your stomach while your skin is still cold? I have! Have you ever felt your calf bone sweat? I have!

At night, hot flashes wake me up. I can feel not just my torso but my head getting hot from the inside. Mr T didn’t believe me until the night when he put his hand on my skin and exclaimed, “But you’re HOT!”

Yet we don’t have a pill to stop them?

While we have a pill for erections on demand?

I hate the patriarchy.

Twenty years ago, at my job, birth control pills were not covered by our company health insurance plan.

Viagra was.

This injustice made me angry.

A female co-worker told me I should just ask my doctor to write my prescription as medically necessary, but that didn’t solve the problem for the young receptionist making only $20,000 a year for whom a $30 a month expense was not insignificant.

I wrote to the VP of Human Resources and pointed out that having decisions like this made by middle-aged men who can’t get it up might seem unfair to the younger, lower-paid female employees.

That is probably not what convinced them to change the policy, though. I also pointed out that pregnancy was far more expensive than birth control pills.

Honestly, though? When people say “Representation matters!”

This is the kind of thing they are talking about.

Apple didn’t include a period tracker in the initial version of the Fitbit. Do you think if more (or any – I don’t know who was in the design group) women had been involved in the design of the Fitbit that perhaps a period tracker might have been included?

This is why we need to elect women. This is why we need women in positions of power in both the private and the public sector. This is why we need to talk about hot flashes – and thank you, Michelle Obama, for speaking out.

One. Billion. Dollars.

One. Billion. Dollars.

One billion dollars a year spent on ED drugs.

And the advice to women for hot flashes is to “dress in layers.”

Screw you, patriarchy.

 

 

 

Losers and suckers and who is mourned and who is not

“He just thinks that anyone who does anything when there’s no direct personal gain to be had is a sucker. There’s no money in serving the nation.”

That’s my dad in the photo, newly enlisted in the Coast Guard. He was 19 years old.

He wanted adventure and to see the world.

He also wanted to serve his country.

After his time in the Coast Guard, he took the GI Bill (which was available to him because was white) and went to college, studying Russian history, which was very relevant at the time. He was the first person in his family to go to college; neither of his parents got to go past 8th grade.

Then he joined the air force. He wanted to be a pilot in the navy and tried that first. He ate nothing but carrots for days, hoping it would help him pass the eye exam, but he still failed and was not going to be admitted to flight school, so he switched to the air force.

He went to air force officer candidate school (OCS). While he was home on break, he met my mother in the bar of the bowling alley of their home town, drove her home, got stuck in the ditch at her house, and had to wake my grandfather up at 2:00 a.m. to drag his car out of the ditch. In the Wisconsin February snow and cold.

Plus my grandfather was no fool and knew what had been going on in the car for a while before my mom and dad realized the car was stuck.

He finished OCS and became a maintenance control officer, which means he was in charge of making sure the airplanes were fit to fly. He knew how to fix things and he knew how to lead other people to fix things.

When I was four, he went to Vietnam.

My mother was 25 years old. She had three children. Her husband was sent to the other side of the world. There was no internet. There was no email. There was only the nightly news and a newspaper.

For an entire year, she went to bed every single night not knowing if the next day would be the day that the chaplain would knock on our door.

We moved to Spain, where Franco was running things. My dad wasn’t home a lot – he went to Turkey for a month at a time every few months.

We moved to west Texas. My dad coached my sister’s soccer team. (My mom coached mine.)

My dad taught me to drive stick shift and how to dig dandelions – you have to get the entire root. We rode our bikes to school and my dad insisted that we attach flags to the bikes for visibility.

We moved to the Panama Canal Zone, where Torrijos was the dictator du jour. My dad volunteered with my swim team, took my CYO group camping, and was an adult sponsor for the Sea Scouts. He took my friends and me sailing on the little sailboat he had bought, a dream he had always had.

At 5:00 a.m., my dad would blast the Boston Pops playing Sousa to wake us up to drive to the lake.

The night before my parents drove me to college, from San Antonio to Houston, my dad and I were packing the car.

“If you’re going to get laid,” my dad said, “use protection.”

“Dad!” I said. “You know I don’t believe in pre-marital sex!”

(I mean – I didn’t. I was 17.)

He rolled his eyes. “It’s going to happen. Don’t be stupid about it.”

When I was in college, my dad retired from the air force and went back to school to become certified to be a teacher. Active duty pay is low. Retirement pay is even lower. He got a job at Walmart to supplement his pension.

I was mortified.

My college friends’ fathers were corporate VPs and professors and lawyers and surgeons.

My mother, rightfully so, set me straight. Now I am ashamed of my shame. Is there any love greater than that of a parent who takes a minimum wage job just so he can feed his family?

My dad got his teaching certificate. He and my mom and dad moved to Sicily. At the age of 61, he had gotten a job teaching math and science at the junior high school on the US navy base on Sicily.

A few months later, he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

He thought he had pulled a muscle running a 10K.

He was 61 years old.

He thought he had pulled a muscle running a 10K.

It wasn’t a pulled muscle.

It was cancer.

It was cancer that he got because he was exposed to Agent Orange when he was in Vietnam.

He went through months of chemo. He lost over a third of his body weight. He had to use a diaper.

At the Lackland AFB hospital in San Antonio, where he was sent from Sicily, the young airmen who would change his diapers and his sheets always called him “sir” and looked him in the eye.

The hospital chaplain would hang out in my dad’s room to talk to him, just because he liked my dad.

The students he had taught for only four months held two bake sales to raise money to buy him a copy of their yearbook. They all signed it and sent it to him.

Friends my mom and dad had made all over the world – Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Italy – called my dad to wish him well. One friend told my dad that everyone at his mosque in Ankara was praying for his healing.

After five months of treatment, we thought the cancer was in remission. (A matter of luck, not of his being a fighter. Beating cancer is all about luck and nothing but luck.)

He gained weight. He exercised and regained strength. His hair started growing back.

Two months later, the cancer returned.

“Why you?” I asked him. “Why should you have cancer? Why not someone awful and mean?”

“Why not me?” he answered. “What makes me so special that bad things should not happen to me?”

We hoped for a miracle, but the only miracle we got was that after ten days in hospice, the two pound bag of peanut M&Ms that one of my aunts had brought down was left untouched.

On the day he died, which was exactly 23 years, ten days, and six hours ago, he was 62 years and two months old.

It has been 23 years, ten days, and six hours since my dad died.

We still mourn him. We still miss him.

Nobody will miss the current president. There is not one single person alive who will say, “He was my friend” or “He was the best father in the world” or “I loved him so much.” Not one.

Who’s the real loser and sucker?

History remembers and it judges and this is why I am glad I will probably live to be 98 years old because I want to see Donald Trump’s name spit on over the next 40 years

The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.

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All these people complaining they want athletes to shut up and do their job? I can’t imagine a better role model than this guy. Source 

History will remember Donald Trump.

But it will not remember him kindly.

Pop quiz – think about the great people you remember, both in your own life and in history.

Maybe the names that come to mind include Amelia Earhart and Harriet Tubman and Joan of Arc and Copernicus and Paul Revere and Jim Stockdale and the Chinese kid who stood in front of the tanks at Tienanmen Square and Florence Nightingale and Martin Luther King Jr and Nelson Mandela and the Mothers who march in Argentina demanding to know what happened to their children and that Naval Academy guy who walked into the protest in Portland with his hands up and was beaten by armed goons and every firefighter and every cop who have ever rushed in when others are rushing out and every schoolteacher who has sheltered children with her body while a shooter stood over them with a gun.

The list is long. The list of brave people is long. The list of brave people who, at great risk to their own safety or their own financial security, have taken a stand on the behalf of right is long.

Now think about all the rich people you can remember.

I mean, people who are known for being rich.

Not for doing anything positive with their wealth.

Just – for being rich. And having gold toilets. Or whatever.

Even better, think about all the people you know who became rich through inheritance. Through someone else’s ideas or labor, not even through their own work.

I’ll wait.

And – I can’t think of anyone.

I mean, there must be people in history – lots of heirs and heiresses. But – they do not stick in my mind.

They do not stick in my mind because they are insignificant.

Who cares about them? Who cares about what they did? It’s not even that nobody cares about what they did – it’s that they didn’t do anything for anyone to care about.

The burning monk, 1963 (1)

But there are worse things than to fade into insignificance.

Even worse than being forgotten would be to be remembered as a complete failure as a human being. As a buffoon. As a waste of space.

And that is how Donald Trump will be remembered.

And that is his great fear.

His biggest concern appears to be his TV ratings. He wants to know that he is – literally and figuratively – seen.

Oh we see you all right, Donald. We see you and we know. We know you are a pathetic little man who has never once in your entire life done anything brave, done anything for anyone else, done anything on your own. If it weren’t for your father’s money, you would be working at a 7-11 somewhere and you wouldn’t even be doing that very well.

Your great fear is that you are incompetent and stupid and incapable and that you are not great and guess what?

You. Are. Correct.

You think having money makes up for all of this but it does not.

I have no idea how much money Colin Kaepernick has but I do know this: 100 years from now – 500 years from now, I hope – I hope the United States still exists in 500 years, Kaepernick will be remembered as a hero and Trump will be remembered as the worst president this country has ever had, a loser so pathetic that his father had to buy his way out of the military (seriously – bone spurs?) and into college, and who failed at everything he tried.

In 1936, at the university in Salamanca, the rector of the university, Miguel de Unamuno y Jugo, gave a speech. General Franco’s chief advisor, General Millán Astray, heckled Unamuno, yelling, “Long live death!” which I think we can all agree is a stupid and confusing thing to say.

Millán also shouted, “Death to intellectuals! Down with intelligence!” so you see where he fits in here. (Millán is the Trump figure, just in case. 🙂 )

Unamuno responded.

General Millán Astray is not one of the select minds, even though he is unpopular, or rather, for that very reason. Because he is unpopular, General Millán Astray would like to create Spain anew — a negative creation — in his own image and likeness. And for that reason he wishes to see Spain crippled, as he unwittingly made clear.

This is the temple of intellect. And I am its high priest. It is you who are profaning its sacred precincts.

I have always, whatever the proverb may say, been a prophet in my own land. You will win, but you will not convince. You will win, because you possess more than enough brute force, but you will not convince, because to convince means to persuade. And in order to persuade you would need what you lack — reason and right in the struggle.

And yes, they sentenced Unamuno to death for what he said.

But Unamuno was right. His words endure. And eventually, the fascists were overcome because THEY WERE WRONG. THE FASCISTS LOSE IN THE END, DONALD, AND THEY ARE REMEMBERED AS PATHETIC LOSERS.

 

Will this era be called “The Great Unmasking?”

At least now we know who they are. I guess.

body paint
I saw this image on twitter. I wasn’t sure whether to use it – is it rude? But – she doesn’t seem to be shy. So. There you go. People who support Trump. Even though he is doing nothing to stop the virus that might kill their loved ones, has no plan for unemployment insurance, and is killing the means by which their elderly parents get their mail-order prescription medications and their Social Security checks.(UPDATE: They are getting their checks because the checks are auto-deposited into their bank accounts.) Heck, he might even be trying to kill Social Security.

What do you do when you discover that people you love, like, and/or respect turn out to be Trump supporters?

Let me re-phrase that.

What do you do when you discover that people you USED TO love, like, and/or respect turn out to be Trump supporters?

I discovered months ago that I had friends and relatives who were racists and hence, I assumed, Trump supporters. Yes yes yes I know correlation is not causation but this one seems pretty clear cut to me.

I thought perhaps their racism was born out of ignorance. That they truly did not know that the life situations for Black people in this country are so different from the life situations for white people like them and me.

After all, I, a person who reads voraciously and who seeks information, didn’t even know until recently about sundown towns or redlining or that Black people couldn’t get the GI Bill or join unions.

I just watched Reconstruction and was horrified at how evil some people in the south were after the Civil War and how horribly Black people were treated. I was appalled at my ignorance (once again) and disgusted at my poor education (also once again).

I thought perhaps my friends and relatives were in the same situation: that they, too, lacked knowledge and information. That once they had that information, they would change their views on things.

Because how can someone with complete information have racist views?

Well guess what.

People with complete information can have racist views if they are racists.

Haters gonna hate.

Last year, I saw one of my best friends, L, whom I hadn’t seen in person for several years. “Are you a Trump supporter?” she asked.

“WHAT?” I answered. “WHY WOULD YOU ASK ME THAT? THAT IS ONE OF THE MOST INSULTING THINGS I HAVE EVER BEEN ASKED IN MY ENTIRE LIFE!”

“I’m sorry!” she said. “But you had always voted for the conservatives before!”

“Well yeah,” I answered. “But I’m not a f*ing idiot!”

For what it’s worth: I voted for Rs for president until the 2016 election, when I voted for Clinton. As I said, I am not a f*ing idiot and I love my country. And after what has gone on for the past four years, both at the national and at the state level with the Rs, I will never ever ever vote R again.

“WHEW!” she said. “I was worried. My mother has gone off the deep end and is a Trump supporter and I don’t even know what to think anymore.”

She explained, “My mom won’t watch anything but Fox news. She says she is a ‘trusted advisor’ to Trump – she even has a wallet card they sent her! But all that means is that they send her surveys with biased questions – ”

L knows what a biased survey question is, BTW. She has a master’s degree in sociology.

” – surveys with biased questions and then they lift her language and use it in their campaigns! I have tried to tell her the truth and give her the facts, but she does not want to listen.”

Last week, I was messaging with another friend. We were both bewildered at friends and relatives who have turned out to be Trump supporters.

“What do you do when otherwise good people support Trump?” I asked him.

His response was direct and hard to hear.

That the goodness is flawed.

That there is hate and selfishness at the heart of the “good.”

That Trump supporters are not “otherwise good.” You can’t be “otherwise good” if you support Trump and all his works and all his empty promises.

Which I suppose I knew but didn’t want to admit.

His situation is heartbreaking – he barely talks to his mother now.

I am relieved that at least the people I need to cut off are not close to me. I can do without the woman in my book club and some of my cousins.

But I still don’t get it. I don’t understand how someone can appear to be such a nice person – my cousins are lovely in person! LOVELY! – and yet support that man. How does that happen? How do they become racists in the first place? I don’t understand. I just don’t. And it breaks my heart.

 

 

 

I want to be as nasty as Kamala Harris

Also if sleeping your way to the top is possible how can I do it because I am tired of being at the bottom

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And it starts. The sexist attacks on Kamala Harris.

Are we surprised?

No. No we are not.

This is the way it goes – the way insecure, pathetic, weak men discredit women and yes, I am talking to you, Mr President, who has very very small hands that his own wife doesn’t even want to hold, and you, Rush Limbaugh, who called Harris a “hoe,” and any man who thinks that the fact that he has a penis makes him superior to a woman and makes him fit to run the world.

We are shrill. We are emotional. (Because anger is not an emotion so therefore men do not get emotional.) We have hormones and you know what that means.

And we use sex to get what we want.

(How does that even work? How does a person – a woman – even use sex to get ahead at work? Do you write a contract? How does the quid pro quo get established? Do you discuss the terms before the sex? Or is it just understood? Why isn’t there a handbook for this? Why have I done my whole life wrong? WHY WASN’T THERE A CLASS ON THIS AT BUSINESS SCHOOL? UT-AUSTIN YOU FAILED ME.)

A person I used to respect sent me a link to a story from January 2019 claiming that Harris had “slept her way to the top.” This was his triumphant proof that Harris is not qualified to be vice president.

I will save you the trouble of reading it. It says that Harris dated Willie Brown, who was the mayor of San Francisco, for a short while, when she was in her late 20s. He appointed her to two state commissions.

This is “sleeping your way to the top.”

My acquaintance thinks Trump is the epitome of brilliance and accomplishment and that Harris, who got into and graduated from Howard and got into and graduated from Hastings and was elected San Francisco DA and was elected California AG (twice) and was elected California senator and won huge court cases as a prosecutor, is the person who has done nothing on her own merits.

How many people did she have to sleep with to accomplish all that LORD HAVE MERCY SHE MUST BE EXHAUSTED.

So Trump, who didn’t take his own SATs, whose admission to Penn was facilitated by personal connections and a bribe, who inherited his money and has never accomplished anything on his own except drive businesses and an entire country into the ground, is the standard by which we should measure success?

But Harris, who has a resume that is so bright I need to wear sunglasses to look at it, is the loser who parlayed a few dates with Willie Brown into membership on two state commissions into a brilliant career but IT’S ALL BECAUSE SHE SLEPT WITH WILLIE BROWN?

She must be amazing in bed is all I have to say./sarcasm

Also – I have been on a city commission and I was just appointed to another one. Trust me when I say commissions are not the route to power. You serve on a city commission because you care deeply about the issue, not because you value your free time, not because you enjoy sitting in a windowless room until 11 p.m. on a work night listening to citizens testify in two-minute increments about a deeply controversial issue as they glare at you and imply that you are in favor of disemboweling kittens and puppies when the real situation is that the city just doesn’t have $15 million in spare cash lying around and you personally also do not have that in your checking account.

Commissions are work. That is all. They do not benefit the members personally. We do it as a labor of love because we care about our communities.

So.

  1. Sex is currency that can result in career advancement
  2. There must be rules somewhere
  3. That I have never known about
  4. Commissions are a pain in the ass

Which means that the commissions are a smokescreen and it was all the sex Harris must have had with Brown only he didn’t control the juries or the voters and I AM SO CONFUSED.

But the real takeaway is that very powerful men are scared of Harris and that? Is a very good thing.

Rock on Kamala. We are with you.

 

 

 

 

Who died and made men the default for everything?

women statue
“Of the 100 statues in Statuary Hall (in Congress), two from each state, only seven are of women (and yes, the states could replace statues if they wanted to). A marble statue celebrating the suffragettes was gifted to the U.S. Capitol by the National Woman’s Party in 1921, only to be moved underground to “The Crypt,” where it remained until 1997, when Congress voted to move it back to the Rotunda.”

And another thing that has me so, so angry about how that guy treated AOC and how her response to him was analyzed – even the analysis is sexist.

Warning – this post is kind of a mess because I am writing it in bits and pieces throughout the week. I sort of have a point but this is not one of those thesis/three supporting paragraphs/restatement of thesis posts. It’s rambling. Forgive me.

Here’s a quotation from The Cut’s analysis of the sexism in the Times’ piece:

As the Times put it: “Republicans have long labored to cast Ms. Ocasio-Cortez as an avatar of the evils of the Democratic Party, a move that Ms. Ocasio-Cortez has used to bolster her own cheeky, suffer-no-fools reputation.”

She’s “cheeky?” When is the last time a male politician was described as “cheeky?”

And another quotation, this one pointing out that it’s unusual for women to challenge men. Which – isn’t that what the entire women’s movement has been about? For the past few centuries?

The Times’ story on the speech bore the headline “A.O.C. Unleashes a Viral Condemnation of Sexism in Congress” and kicked off by noting that Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest woman in Congress, who arrived there in 2019, “has upended traditions.” It called her speech on Thursday “norm-shattering” and described supporting speeches made by her colleagues — including one in which Pramila Jayapal recalled being referred to as a “young lady” who did not “know a damn thing” by Alaska representative Don Young — as a moment of “cultural upheaval.

All these words somehow cast Ocasio-Cortez and her female colleagues as the disruptive and chaotic forces unleashed in this scenario, suggesting that they shattered norms in a way that Representative Yoho’s original, profane outburst apparently did not. (Perhaps Yoho’s words weren’t understood as eruptive and norm-shattering because calling women nasty names, in your head or with your friends or on the steps of your workplace, is much more of a norm than most want to acknowledge).

You know what this reminds me of? This idea that AOC is shattering the status quo?

(Which – considering they didn’t have a women’s restroom in the Senate building until the early ’90s OMG don’t even get me started on women’s restrooms – maybe she is. )

The cover article that Time magazine ran in the early ’90s called, “Why Are Women Different?”

And now when I google the article, I find that it was called, “Why Are Men and Women Different?”

But I could have sworn when the story was published, it was called, “Why Are Women Different?”

There was a huge backlash – we were so angry.

(I am almost positive it was called, “Why Are Women Different?”)

And men didn’t even understand why.

Fish don’t see the water.

We were angry for the same reason I get annoyed that only non-white characters in a story have their ethnicity identified. How often do you read a description that includes that someone is white?

(And what is it that Black men are so often characterized as “dignified” and Black women are “sassy?” Isn’t that a bit stereotypical? Not to mention bad writing? Show, not tell, people.)

That I get annoyed that it’s only when the person is a woman that her sex is defined: a female judge/pilot/detective/coroner.

The default is assumed to be male.

The default is assumed to be white.

If you don’t know the sex and color of the person in question, the default is white male.

The Times story (did they change the title of the story? WE WERE FURIOUS) – or at least the title – implied that men are the standard against which women are measured.

And white male power – or, as it’s called in the piece in The Cut, “power” – is looked at the same way. It’s the standard against which other power is measured and it’s the power pie from which others (not white, not men) take it.

White male power is so assumed as to be wholly indistinguishable from what we simply recognize as “power,”

I mean, we know men are the standard to which the world is built. Thank you, Caroline Criado-Perez for writing that amazing book, Invisible Women, where she shows us how – where she confirms what we already knew! – that the world, including furniture, seating in public transportation, gym equipment, temperatures in public spaces, medication, medical research, and pretty much everything else is designed for men and not for women.

We know it’s true.

It’s just that we are so tired of being reminded about it and having to fight it.

 

Same old sexist crap as always

1910 circa Ole Johnson with daughter, Aga
How dare a woman chastise a man? How dare she?

I was gone for a while and I come back and the world is not better.

You guys.

This crap is getting so, so old.

A man calls Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez a “f*ing bitch” and “out of [her] freaking mind.”

He disagrees with her opinion.

Instead of countering her opinion with facts, he goes straight to ad hominem attacks that include a sex-based insult and an assertion that she is not sane.

This tactic of not countering a statement with facts is so, so common. That one I can almost overlook. I frequently get facebook comments claiming that what I have posted is not truthful.

I ignore those comments. The links I post lay out clear arguments with data. If the commenters (soon to be ex friends) think they are not the truth, they may respond with facts that disprove the argument. It is not on me to convince people who cannot even construct a decent argument.

And this tactic of sex-based insults is also so common that I don’t even notice it anymore.

Except now I do.

And it makes me angry.

The only thing he left out was questioning whether she was on her period and telling her not to be so emotional. (Except you know – she wasn’t the emotional one – he was.)

We women have been discredited for millennia. Women who dared to speak their minds have been called crazy and burned at the stake and committed to mental institutions against our will.

In 1893, police admitted Agnes to a local mental institution because of complaints from her neighbours. It seems she told them that people were plotting to steal her money and she ‘believed her life to be in danger’. This led to a diagnosis of paranoia. Increasingly angry and ‘non-compliant’ with her incarceration, she was transferred in 1895 to Hubertusberg Psychiatric Institution near Dresden.

[Question: Who among us would not be “angry and non-compliant” at being unjustly imprisoned? Who among us does not get angry when reading a news story about police brutality related to someone “resisting arrest.” WHO AMONG US WOULD NOT RESIST AN UNJUST ARREST?]

Women are called shrill and emotional. Our hormones make us unstable.

Men tell little boys, “You throw like a girl!” (Instead of just, you know, teaching girls how to throw a baseball properly.) When men want to insult another man, they call him a “p*ssy.” One of the very worst words you can use on a woman in the US is a word I won’t even type out but it’s a term that has caused me to gasp when I have heard it on a TV show.

The very fact that being called anything related to femaleness is considered derogatory – why? Why is it so so bad to be a woman? Why do some men hate us so much?

Ted Yoho went straight to the “but I have daughters” argument.

Which – dude? That makes it worse as far as I am concerned.

But then, it shouldn’t matter! It should not matter that he has daughters.

And I say this as someone who has used this same argument against a man and am only now seeing how wrong it was.

When I was 19, I worked as a waitress in a bar over Christmas break one year. One night, as I was leaning over a table, wiping it off, a man grabbed my butt.

I was so shocked that I said nothing. I didn’t know what to say. This had never happened to me before.

But a few minutes later, I figured it out.

I marched over to him and said, “Don’t touch me.”

His eyes flew open. “But your butt was so cute!”

“Don’t touch me!”

He laughed.

Which – also Step One of How to Infuriate a Woman: Discredit Her Emotions by Laughing at Them.

“How would you feel,” I hissed at him, “if someone treated your daughter like that?”

(Did I not mention he was old? Like at least 40?)

He shrugged. “I don’t have a daughter.”

I was undeterred. “Well IF YOU DID.”

But now, I realize this was the wrong argument.

The argument is not that men should treat women with respect only because they want other men to treat their own daughters with respect. They should not treat us with respect out of fear that some other man might mistreat their daughters.

They should treat us with respect because we are human beings.

Sheesh.

It should not be that complicated.

But that’s the argument that Yoho resorted to. Sort of. Except not really.

He just implied that because he has daughters, he is incapable of sex-based insults.

“Having been married for 45 years with two daughters, I’m very cognizant of my language,” Yoho had said, in a speech in which he did not mention Ocasio-Cortez’s name, and in which he nonsensically refused to “apologize for my passion, or for loving my God, my family, and my country.”

You guys, I am so tired of this crap. I am so tired of these men. I am so done with them.

Love, life, and death in the time of COVID-19 or anytime, really

How do you say goodbye to a friend who is dying?

1936_Lloyd_with_cat_B
My dad as a little boy. Who knew he would get only 62 years and two months? Thanks, Agent Orange.

I just got off the phone with my friend Doc T. His wife, L, was my first friend when I moved to Milwaukee. I met her at the Y in body pump. I admired her haircut, got the name of her stylist, Carol (who became my stylist and remained my stylist and Mr T’s stylist until she retired last fall), and voila we were friends.

L is dying.

She has had cancer for a few years now.

They are done. There is no more treatment they can do.

L is direct. Last week, she had her daughter post for her on facebook that she had spent a week in the hospital and was coming home to go into home hospice. “Thanks to COVID there are not currently plans for a service.”

I asked Doc T if L was in any pain.

No, she’s not, he told me.

At least there’s that.

“It’s going to be a slow process,” he said.

What do you say to that?

He continued. “But that gives me more time with her.”

Why don’t the jerks get cancer? Why is it the nice people who suffer? I have a whole list of people we could do without in this world.

My friend is not one of them. She is a nice person. Doc T had finally retired and they were going to do retiree stuff – travel, see the world, enjoy their grandchildren.

And now that won’t happen.

I am working on a project for my city’s anti-racism group. I have an intern who is 19. Last week, on Thursday, I had asked if she could meet on Friday, July 3.

She hesitated. Her family was taking a short weekend vacation, leaving Friday morning.

“But I might have some downtime where I can work on the project the rest of the weekend!” she said.

Nonononono I told her. No. No.

You spend your time with your family while you can.

Work is never more important than your family. Never.

I didn’t want to tell her that I would give anything to spend time with my dad again. That I treasure my memories of our family vacations and time just hanging out on the porch with him. That I still think about the sound of his voice when he would tell us stories when I was a kid. That when he was in hospice, we prayed and prayed for a miracle but the only miracle we got was that the two-pound bag of peanut M&Ms in his room remained unopened and untouched for an entire week.

I didn’t want to warn her that the people you love can be taken from you. That you are not guaranteed a long time with anyone. That fathers can die at 62, an age I now really realize is absurdly young. That friends can die or go into hospice at 67, which is also – it’s way too young.

I just told her to enjoy her weekend – that the work would wait. Work will always be there. Your loved ones will not.