Katha Pollitt’s recent column in The Nation, “Lipstick on a Wing Nut,” proposes that we skip all the Sarah Palin family saga & simply ask her a dozen questions instead:

  1. Suppose your 14-year-old daughter Willow is brutally raped in her bedroom by an intruder. She becomes pregnant and wants an abortion. Could you tell the parents of America why you think your child and their children should be forced by law to have their rapists’ babies?
  2. You say you don’t believe global warming is man-made. Could you tell us what scientists you’ve spoken with or read who have led you to that conclusion? What do you think the 2,500 scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are getting wrong?
  3. If you didn’t try to fire Wasilla librarian Mary Ellen Baker over her refusal to consider censoring books, why did you try to fire her?
  4. What is the European Union, and how does it function?
  5. Forty-seven million Americans lack health insurance. John Goodman, who has advised McCain on healthcare, has proposed redefining them as covered because, he says, anyone can get care at an ER. Do you agree with him?
  6. What is the function of the Federal Reserve?
  7. Cindy and John McCain say you have experience in foreign affairs because Alaska is next to Russia. When did you last speak with Prime Minister Putin, and what did you talk about?
  8. Approximately how old is the earth? Five thousand years? 10,000? 5 billion?
  9. You are a big fan of President Bush, so why didn’t you mention him even once in your convention speech?
  10. McCain says cutting earmarks and waste will make up for revenues lost by making the tax cuts permanent. Experts say that won’t wash. Balancing the Bush tax cuts plus new ones proposed by McCain would most likely mean cutting Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security. Which would you cut?
  11. You’re suing the federal government to have polar bears removed from the endangered species list, even as Alaska’s northern coastal ice is melting and falling into the sea. Can you explain the science behind your decision?
  12. You’ve suggested that God approves of the Iraq War and the Alaska pipeline. How do you know?

I’d really like to hear her answer these.


Our friend Lynne pointed out this interesting article from The American Scholar about the problem of elite schools. I particularly liked this section, since it’s so rare we actually talk about class in this culture:

Elite schools pride themselves on their diversity, but that diversity is almost entirely a matter of ethnicity and race. With respect to class, these schools are largely—indeed increasingly—homogeneous. Visit any elite campus in our great nation and you can thrill to the heartwarming spectacle of the children of white businesspeople and professionals studying and playing alongside the children of black, Asian, and Latino businesspeople and professionals. At the same time, because these schools tend to cultivate liberal attitudes, they leave their students in the paradoxical position of wanting to advocate on behalf of the working class while being unable to hold a simple conversation with anyone in it.

He goes on to talk about types of smartness, the goal of liberal arts, and the uses of solitude.

Let’s Start with Seven, in Seven

In a week’s time, straight Americans will be standing up for LGBT Rights – here in New York, including Brooklyn, but also in California, Colorado, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, etc. The basic idea is that straight people will attend vigils – and other media-making events – in order to bring attention to the political issues facing LGBT Americans.

This is a damned good idea (and it’s brought to you by Atticus Circle, and Soulforce).

You can get involved by signing up here, and you can email your friends about it, too.

Healthcare Proxy Forms

A couple who’ve been together for 18 years went on vacation, on a cruise, with three of their four children. One of them had a massive stroke as their ship was about to leave port, which meant she received medical care at Miami’s Jackson Memorial Hospital, where her partner was told the couple made the mistake of being in “an anti-gay city and state” and refused to let her partner in to see her, but for five minutes, as she was dying.

She died about 18 hours later. Both women were only 39 years old.

This is what DOMA & all this other anti-gay bullshit leads to, but please queer folks, fill out your healthcare proxies. You can find NYS’s here, and here in .pdf format. If people have or find links for these forms in their state, please post them below, or send them to me via email & I can post them.

More instructions and state-specific forms below the break. Continue reading “Healthcare Proxy Forms”

Help the Burmese

Many of you know how much I loved visiting the country of Burma when I got to. Now, after the military junta cracked down on more democracy uprising, there’s been a horrible cyclone that has killed tens of thousands of people.

You can donate directly to the network of Buddhist monks who are doing a great deal of the work in these early days before a lot of international help can get there.

Do donate if you can :


It’s as if the places I love most have been targets of natural (and unnatural) disasters these past few years. The Washington Post has a beautiful and heart-breaking collection of photos from the cyclone that just devastated Burma.

My only hope is that somehow Mother Nature just accomplished what even Buddhist monks couldn’t: Burmese exposure to the rest of the world.

There is Nothing Like a…

… No, not a dame. (Or a Dane, for those of you who saw Betty’s performance with the Butch McCloud cast).

Rather, there is nothing like a resume for making you aware of what exactly you’ve been doing with your time. There are moments, reviewing and updating mine, that I want to put things in parentheses

  • 2008: survived Wisconsin winter
  • 2002: wrote unpublished novel
  • 2001 – 2008: played Sims for sanity’s sake
  • 1993 – 1997: traveled extensively through SE Asia
  • 1991 – still: worked on novel that I still can’t seem to get right

… stuff like that. It is interesting to see things drop off as time goes by – my job with NYPIRG in the early 90s is gone, as is my time working as an office assistant at CCNY. A long time ago my jobs at RKO Video and at my sister’s bakery disappeared.

Though sometimes, you know, I still want to mention that I was a paperboy: nothing like delivering papers to develop strong thighs and self-motivation. (I know you’re out there, fellow former paperboys! & If there are any female fellow paperboys, say hello!) I did come to suck at it because I developed a healthy fear of dogs. Amazing that I still went on to canvas door to door years later. It’s amazing what you can do to avoid the 9-5 grind.

No job yet.

Goddess Worship

The Times of India ran an interesting story about a crossdressing religious tradition:

They are about to take part in the Kottankulangara Sridevi temple festival. The ancient temple in Chavara, Kerala, has a unique tradition. On the last two days of the festival, regular men, common office-going professionals, dress up as women for the chamayavilakku (chamaya is make-up, vilakku is lamp). Bedecked with flowers, lamps in hand, they wait patiently till the wee hours of dawn for the goddess to bless them.

It’s also become a gathering for “feminine men,” or Kothis – which the article identifies as homosexuals and transvestites.

(Thanks to Veronica for the link.)