Saturday, November 03, 2007

Saturday Goddess Blogging

Old White Men's Heads 'Aspoding.


What Digby said: Hillary goes to her alma mater and says that her education at the women's college prepared her to do battle with the political boys club and the gasbags' eyes roll back in their heads and they start drooling and whining that she's she's broken the rules.

Well boo fucking hoo. The rules are changing. Get used to it.

Half of this country is female and they've noticed, in case these manly men haven't, that presidential politics is a very exclusive a boys club and we don't find it all that odd to mention it. Certainly, if it's ok for politicians to literally walk around with a codpiece to show their masculine bona fides, I don't think it's out of line for a female candidate to speak to a younger generation of women at her college and take a little bit of pride in the institution and her own accomplishments --- since she does happen to be the first serious female contender for president in the whole history of the country. Excuse me for thinking she has the damned right to do it.

What Matt Stoller said: I'm going to enjoy watching the male spasms of cowardice unleashed if Clinton wins, as she's sworn in and represents the more than half the population that is interrupted on a regular basis by men.

And, what Atrios said: [W]hite males are the most aggressive practitioners of so-called "identity politics" and always have been.

I swear that if Hillary is elected, I am going to enjoy every single minute of her entire term just for the agony that it's going to cause the sexist assholes who can't understand that we are almost an entire goddamn decade into the twenty goddamned first goddamned century and it's time for this bullshit to fucking stop fucking now. Really, I am.

And I'll note that white men like Matt Stoller, and Atrios, and Son, who hate this sexist bullcrap almost as much as I do, give me immense hope for the future.

The Dead

This is the time of year when The Dead are closest to us.

I've posted some pictures of the centerpiece from the dumb supper that my circle celebrated on Samhein. GWPDA sent me pomegranates from her v. own trees. The food of the underworld, so delicious that they kept calling Persephone back for part of every year, pomegranates seemed somehow appropriate for a dinner with our beloved dead. We told stories about our dead, those who passed this year and those who passed long ago and are still remembered. We remembered both the Ancestors of our DNA and the Ancestors of our Spirit; I invoked Molly Ivins and Madeline L'Engle, who passed this year.

Then, last night I attended a celebration of Dia De Los Muertos, hosted by my dear friend, R., aka the World's Best Cook, and her friend, Javier. It was a wonderful evening, spent mostly with people I'd never met before, from an incredible variety of backgrounds, and a few old friends from my tradition. M., who led the ceremony, invoked Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and smudged everyone with incense (both of which steps made me feel right at home), before telling a wonderful story about her grandmother. Next, a v. young man told about the time when he was 14 and his grandfather let him drive the riding mower. He was enjoying it so much that he cut down some of his grandfather's flowers, but his grandfather didn't get angry at him. Each person shared a memory and then picked someone else to tell a story, share an experience, recall an ancestor. I was struck by how often the ancestor being remembered was a grandparent who was not at all extraordinary, but was simply kind. After the stories came the feasting: delicious tamales, a wonderful mole, a mango sauce for the empanadas that was out of this world, Angela's fantastic corn pudding, and on and on and on.

R. and Javier are already talking about expanding the event for next year; I was v. honored to get to attend and to listen to so many wonderful stories of the Dead. I've posted a few pictures of the wonderful altar, for which everyone brought a picture, some flowers, a small item of remembrance.


I really like Moments of Grace.

Friday, November 02, 2007

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

— Wendell Berry

Friday Evening Cuteness

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Fifty-One to Forty-Three, Bitches!

From The Pew Research Center for the Public and the Press

The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Oct. 17-23 among 2,007 adults, finds that Hillary Clinton remains the clear favorite for the Democratic nomination. Clinton leads Barack Obama, her closest rival, 45%-24% among Democratic and Democratic-leaning registered voters. Clinton holds a substantial advantage over Obama and other rivals among most key Democratic voter groups, including liberals and African Americans. College graduates are among the only Democratic groups that splits its support between Clinton and Obama.

The nomination race among Republicans is more fluid, reflecting sharp ideological divides within the party. Giuliani maintains a modest 31%-18% lead over John McCain, with Fred Thompson at 17%, among Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters. Giuliani's lead has remained fairly stable since March, while Thompson has faltered a bit recently and McCain has lost support over a longer period of time. Since September, Mike Huckabee's standing has increased from 4% to 8%, giving him virtually the same level of support as Mitt Romney (9%).

The GOP nomination race among Republican evangelicals, in particular, appears to be wide open: Giuliani, McCain and Thompson each draw about 20% of the vote among white Republican and Republican-leaning evangelical voters, with Huckabee and Romney getting about 10% each.

In addition, a solid majority of Republican white evangelicals (55%) say they would at least consider voting for a conservative third-party candidate if the general election is between Giuliani and Clinton. Overall, 44% of Republicans and Republican-leaning voters say they would consider backing a third-party candidate who holds more conservative positions than Giuliani on social issues like abortion and gay marriage.

Sen. Clinton holds a 51%-43% advantage over Giuliani in a general election ballot test among all registered voters. Clinton's lead over Giuliani reflects her strong backing from women (57%-37%). Giuliani runs slightly ahead of her among men (49%- 44%). Clinton's support is strongest among women voters younger than 50 (60%-36%), while Giuliani's support is greatest among men in the same age group (52%-45%). Younger women also are the voting group that most often says that, apart from their feelings about Clinton, it would be a good thing to elect a female president. Nearly half (47%) express this opinion, compared with just 34% of older women and 24% of men.

Clinton's supporters are much more positive about her candidacy than are Giuliani's. Roughly three-quarters of voters who favor Clinton (76%) say their choice is more a vote for the New York senator, compared with 20% who say their choice is mostly a vote against Giuliani. By contrast, Giuliani's support is divided fairly evenly between those who see their choice as a vote for Giuliani (46%) and those who say it is a vote against Clinton (50%).

Voters who favor Clinton more often cite her positions on issues as the reason they support her (35%), but many also mention her leadership ability (27%) and experience (24%). Giuliani's support is much more based on his leadership ability (46%), and much less on his positions on issues (15%).

In fact, Giuliani's stances on issues are cited less as a reason to support him than has been the case for any presidential candidate since 1992. At the same time, more of his supporters cite his leadership ability as what they like most about him than have the supporters of any candidate in the same period, including George Bush during his reelection campaign in 2004 (46% Giuliani vs. 41% for Bush in September 2004).

I am with my mother's mother's mother.

First Of The Month Bazooms Blogging

A v. kind monk just reminded me that it's the first of the month and I'd forgotten to do Bazooms blogging.

Ladies! It's the first of the month! An excellent time to do a breast self-examination (BSE)! It's easy to do a BSE; here's how. BSEs, by detecting breast cancer when it's in the early stages, can help to save lives. Set aside some time tonight to do a BSE. If you prefer to do a BSE at a particular time in your cycle, now's a good time to calendar it.

And, the year's almost up. Got $$$$$$ in your cafeteria plan? Had a mammogram this year?????? Schedule one and then schedule lunch with a friend, a manicure, a massage, a trip to a museum. You deserve it.


Under siege in April 2006, when a series of retired generals denounced him and called for his resignation in newspaper op-ed pieces, Rumsfeld produced a memo after a conference call with military analysts. "Talk about Somalia, the Philippines, etc. Make the American people realize they are surrounded in the world by violent extremists," he wrote.

Am I the only person in America with any outrage left? I'm amazed that revelations from today's WaPoarticle, based on documents that WaPo FOIAed out of Rumsfeld, have slipped into our collective pond, producing nary a ripple. Even if these revelations did have to compete with, ZOMG, Hillary's scary vagina and some tennis star taking drugs. Retired generals, who almost NEVER criticize a sitting admin., demand Rummy's resignation and his reaction is to insist that his aids go out and try to scare the shit out of Americans so that they'll stop daring to criticize him. Dood. Halloween was last night. WTF? Anyone want to comment on this? Pelosi? Clinton? The NYT? Harry Reid? Hello? Is this thing (America) on??? Can I get a tar and feathers mob?

In one of his longer ruminations, in May 2004, Rumsfeld considered whether to redefine the terrorism fight as a "worldwide insurgency." The goal of the enemy, he wrote, is to "end the state system, using terrorism, to drive the non-radicals from the world." He then advised aides "to test what the results could be" if the war on terrorism were renamed.

Again, am I the only one who thinks this is just amazing, shocking, absurd? Our nation is founded upon the notion that [w]hen, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them all that is necessary is that a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. And this criminal is suggesting that America wage a "war on insurgency"???? Dood! We were insurgents to the British! Fuck the motherfucking "state system." WTF is wrong with your soul?

And, of course, it wouldn't be complete without the racism and the ruling class' complaint that the "others," here, Muslims, just won't work hard enough: He also lamented that oil wealth has at times detached Muslims "from the reality of the work, effort and investment that leads to wealth for the rest of the world. Too often Muslims are against physical labor, so they bring in Koreans and Pakistanis while their young people remain unemployed," he wrote. " For more on this important topic, you really need to read Barbara Ehrenrich's Dancing in the Streets. Is his argument even logical? (Don't answer that.) They're "against physical labor" -- obviously the only kind of work for which "they're" fit -- so "they" bring in immigrants to do the hard work that their young people would, apparently, otherwise love to do (so I guess that they're not aginst physical labor). Remind you of anyplace coughAmericacoughfarmworkerscough?????

I really hope that bad things happen to this person. He's done so much evil and he's such an idiot and he's really a phenomenol ass.


NTodd talk, you listen.


Professor Glick also concedes that much of this data — like his 2000 study showing that women were penalized more than men when not perceived as being nice or having social skills — gives women absolutely no way to “fight back.” “Most of what we learn shows that the problem is with the perception, not with the woman,” he said, “and that it is not the problem of an individual, it’s a problem of a corporation.”

I actually think this "concession," reported in today's NYT, is important. For too long, women have been told that it's our fault. Somehow, each individual woman out there struggling on the job is led to believe that if she could just precisely calibrate the exact proportions of being smart -- but not too smart, aggressive -- but not overbearing, demanding -- but not castrating, ambitious -- but not grabby, etc., etc., etc. that she could run the obstacle course that it is to be a woman in the work-a-day world and still succeed. That's not true. The fault, dear sisters, to mangle Cassius, is not ourselves, that we are underlings, but in our culture. It's true, an individual woman up against an impossibly toxic mix of Catch 22 expectations, has no way to "fight back." It's not the woman who needs to change. I am just saying.


Well, then, there it was. The wheel of the year did what it always does -- it turned. The veil, although it is still thinner than it is in, say, Midsummer, is already beginning to thicken a bit. The dream images that I received this morning from the ancestors won't be coming so clearly,nor so forcefully, until the wheel winds all the way round again. From here on, it's darkness and cold and turning inward. It's introspection and waking up to the cold kitchen floor when it's still dark outside and worrying about slipping on the ice. It's the discipline part of achievement, where you just make yourself do what you've promised to do, even when it's too early to see results, when you really don't want to do what you promised, when your very own Shadow that you very carefully constructed all by yourself lunges up and suggests, in its iron voice, that you go back to sleep. Now. Just this once. Now. It will be like this through Yule, and on into Imbolc (my least favorite time of year), and it won't start to change for the better until Ostara, at the earliest. Every year, I want to love the winter, but every year I wind up longing for sun, for the Caymans, for fruit, for light, for fresh greens, for bare feet.

I've written down my goals for this new year, journaled about what I want to accomplish. I've remembered the honored dead, and recited my matrilineal line (child of a dysfunctional family, mine is simpler than my sisters': "I am Hecate, daughter of the Great Mother Goddess"), and released some things and people that I needed to release. And now it's time for me to hunker down inside my cozy cottage, cat on my lap and cup of tea in my hand, and think, reflect, plan, do magic. I'm looking at my calendar and longing for a few days in a row for an in-home retreat, time to rake leaves, think, walk, sit at my altar, listen to my own thoughts. Maybe in a few weeks, maybe when I crank this pleading out.

Winter is the time to plan a new garden, a new project, a new article, a new brief, a new way of living in the world. Will we or nill we, here we go.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Our Honored Dead

The wheel's gone round another time, and some wonderful people set sail for the Western Isles.

Lloyd Alexander, author of children's books that sustained me.

Ingmar Bergman. Director of one of my all-time favorite movies, the Seventh Seal. Jag var Doden.

Father Drinan. A v. smart guy who enjoyed living in several worlds.

Molly Ivins. What can anyone say? Lady, you are missed. A wonderful writer from Texas who tried to warn the world about Shrub. I fucking hate fucking breast cancer.

Lady Bird Johnson. What lovely grace. Thank you for the wildflowers.

Madeline L'Engle. For me, this was the greatest loss of this turning of the wheel. L'Engle's fiction saved my life when I was a young child. When I was a young woman, she taught me how to write, how to take writing seriously, how to be a woman leading a spiritual life, how to integrate family and writing. Over and over throughout my life, I've come back to her work to ground myself, to remind myself of what's possible, to relive the person (Meg/Madeline/Mrs. Murray) that I wanted to be. I'll be placing her book on my circle's Samhein altar, toasting her as the mother of my writing self at our dumb supper, sending my energy to help her to find her way to the Summerlands where, I've no doubt, she'll hear them playing the Tallis Canon. Lady, thank you. I will remember you. The witches say, as I imagine you knew, that what is remembered does not die. I will remember you.

Remembering The Salem Dead

At Samhein, we remember our dead. The population of Salem, Massachusetts, location of many of America's witch trials, swells during Samhein. Which is odd, because the people tried and, generally, executed at Salem almost certainly were not witches. And, yet, I find it somehow appropriate, as a witch, to recall their names at this time of year. According to the Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive and Transcription Project, the following people were executed as witches.

Bridget Bishop
Rev. George Burroughs
Martha Carrier
Giles Cory
Martha Cory
Mary Easty
Sarah Good
Elizabeth How
George Jacobs Sr.
Susannah Martin
Rebecca Nurse
Alice Parker
Mary Parker
John Proctor, Sr.
Ann Pudeator
Wilmot Redd
Margaret Scott
Samuel Wardwell
Sarah Wilds
John Willard

Additionally, these people died in jail:

Lydia Dastin
Ann Foster
Infant Girl (daughter of Sarah Good)
Sarah Osborne
Roger Toothaker.

Now, when the veil is thin and all times are one time, is a good time to to say: May the Goddess guard them. May they find their ways to the Summerland. May their friends and families know peace. It's also a good time to say: Never again, the witch trials.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Never Blog About What You Ate For Lunch

In one of those, "this is what I love about my life" moments, I had lunch today with my wonderful, wise friend B. at Kaz Sushi Bistro. She was coming from getting her nails done. I was coming from (and going back to, sadly enough) trying to turn co-counsel's unmitigated mess into an actual legal pleading. We talked about mothers-in-law and grandchildren and grammar -- and planned the Dark Moon ritual for next month. B. had a plum wine sakitini; I, virtuously, abstained (I probably should have had a drink; it would have made the afternoon's chore less painful).

I just want to say: the Plum-Wine-Infused Foie Gras w/Plum Wine Jelly was one of the most amazing things that I've had in my mouth in some time. If you can possiby get to Kaz, order about half a dozen of these. (B. and I contented ourselves w/ two apiece, but I wanted several more all afternoon long.) I love my life.

Twisty, come to DC and order some of these. You'll never brag about Austin ever again!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Robin Givhan Is A Complete Idiot And A Talentless Hack

Lilith on a lamb chop! Why does anyone let Robin Givhan, aka the world's worst writer and stupidest person, anywhere near a keyboard? What a load of rehashed, trite crap. If there's a point to this article, it's buried so deeply as to be completely impossible to locate. Old feminists = bad/Hillary Clinton=fake, is I guess, her message, not that you can really tell.

They Will Help Us Get Peace

There's a really interesting article in today's NYT Magazine concerning the crack-up of the xian right. It may be overly optimistic; reports of Mark Twain's death and all that. I'll have more to say as the election heats up about a group of supposed "values voters" who, as the article notes, will vote overwhelmingly for thrice-married, estranged from his children, mobbed-up, abortion-favoring, gay-loving Rudy Guiliani over Hillary Clinton, who honored the part of her marriage vows that say "for better or for worse," whose Methodist religion actually has influenced her entire life, who raised a lovely daughter, and whose elderly mother lives with the Clintons. What I'll have to say will be mostly: See? I told you that it was always about patriarchy and never did have anything to do with "values" or "family" or the "culture of life."

But what really struck me was this quote from former president Jimmy Carter -- who, lest we forget, has always been an evangelical xian. Carter said: “I think that a superpower ought to be the exemplification of a commitment to peace,” Carter told Hybels, who nodded along. “I would like for anyone in the world that’s threatened with conflict to say to themselves immediately: ‘Why don’t we go to Washington? They believe in peace and they will help us get peace.’ ” Jimmy, I'd like that very same thing and I'd like it very, very much.