Blog for Choice

Today is Blog for Choice Day. It’s been 36 years since Roe V. Wade, & while a lot of feminists are breathing easier as a result of Tuesday’s inauguration of Barack Obama as our new president, you can’t really ever stop worrying about the way they get our laws all over our (female) bodies.

In a nutshell, I’m pro-choice because

  • because this planet is too crowded
  • because abortion will always be available, but it will only be available to wealthier women if it’s illegal, which is class discrimination
  • because women deserve to decide their own lives & when & how they want to have children
  • because they never, ever report on where the father is when a teenaged girl leaves her baby on someone’s doorstep (or in a local dumpster, etc).
  • because women don’t always choose when they’re having sex, even if they’re not raped
  • because younger women, especially, may not have the self-confidence to insist on safe sex

(But it really is a huge relief to have a pro-choice president. At last.)

More Wow

It’s really incredible: watching the Obamas walk hand-in-hand (which is beautiful in & of itself) to the White House just blows my mind. I’m not sure it’s actually sunk in yet that we actually pulled this off. Damn.

& What a mess he inherited, but still it’s incredible.

Here are some of the references made today, either directly or indirectly:

  • Lowery opened with the words of what’s called the “negro national anthem” – called “lift every voice and sing” – originally written to introduce Booker T Washington.
  • tanks into tractors = swords into plowshares. Interesting choice for a wartime president.
  • the reference in the poem not just to picking cotton but to picking lettuce, which was a reference to the UFW & Cesar Chavez.
  • Feinstein mentioned the ballot or the bullet, which is Malcolm X’s most famous speech.

Anyone catch any others?

Call the Pope

So here’s another bit of political history that was made today: Joe Biden is our first Catholic VP. For those of you who don’t know, Al Smith was a candidate for president in 1927, and one of the reasons he lost was the tremendous anti-Catholic sentiment expressed in this country. As the story went, a US President who was Catholic would obey the Pope over the Constitution.

Out Damn Spot

I almost feel like it’s Christmas Eve I’m so excited. Watching the coverage on MSNBC is like a reunion after this long electoral season, but wow is it exciting! Those cheerleaders yesterday were adorable. Kind of mind-blowing.

There’s a story about a guy who gets a toothache while Jesus is dying on the cross; he’s not directly involved at all, just a guy going about his day who’s aggravated by the pain in his mouth. I read it in a remarkable compilation, edited by Borges, in The Book of Fantasy. It’s what I thought of when I saw the news about Cheney in the wheelchair; I know it’s a minor injury, but the symbolism is a little rich. Now we just need Rove on crutches.

I’m so excited but I’m also a little overwhelmed with relief that Rove’s Boys are finally out.

Tomorrow Our President

I don’t think I can watch footage of Obama talking to young volunteeers without getting weepy. The teenaged girls especially crack me up, though, and I have to say I suspect I’d be just as goofy if I got to meet the man in person, too. The awe you can see in people’s eyes is so exciting.

Tomorrow I’m just going to cry through the inaugural, I just know it. We all expect it to kick ass, & I have no doubt it will. He’s walking around today like a man who’s got a good piece written.

It really is true that us Gen Xers finally understand the Kennedy thing the Boomers have been going on about our entire lives. We never had this kind of president before, someone who is really an inspiration, and young and strong and sexy, with a beautiful wife to boot.

Quitting Smoking

As Mark Twain said: Quitting is easy; I’ve done it lots of times. But actually I haven’t. They say the average smoker has to try quitting seven times before they manage it permanently, and I’ve really tried exacty once. Maybe twice.

Still, I was smoking something like 70-100 cigarattes a week – 5+ packs – when I left Brooklyn in December, and now I’m down to 20 a week, maybe 2+ a day. But wow do I enjoy those two, even in minus 45 degree weather, and especially after a day teaching.

It really is a shame smoking is so bad for you, because it really statisfies something that nothing else does. I’m chewing the gum – which helps a lot – but there’s still so much missing. The lovely smell of burning tobacco, playing with fire, the oral thing, and even fiddling with this thing between your fingers. *sigh* But I’ve decided I am best off thinking of myself as a smoker who doesn’t smoke rather than as an ex-smoker.

Whatever it takes, as they say. For Betty it took a trip to the hospital and a case of atypical pneumonia.

Cynthia Nicole

Human Rights Watch is asking Honduras authorities to investigate the murder or transgender activist Cynthia Nicole, who was murdered on January 9th, 2009.

As a leader in Colectivo Violeta – an organization working to defend the rights and health of transgender people since 1995 – Nicole had a long record of outreach work on rights with transgender sex workers in Tegucigalpa. She provided information about HIV/AIDS and human rights, and represented her community at various national conferences and before the media.

“The transgender community is terrified,” said Indyra Mendoza, director of the Honduran lesbian and feminist organization Cattrachas. “But these attacks will not silence the community in Honduras, and we will continue to work to ensure that the rights of transgender people are recognized and protected.”

Apparently this violence has been going on for years, with little or no response from Honduran authorities.