The Lady Speaks

Hit-n-Run Posting

Yeah, yeah, I’m still not online yet. Maybe someday…before I die.

Anyway, this was too good not to share:

Miss M, my lovely 16yo daughter, hasn’t been doing well in school this year. With ADD and the school dragging its feet on implementing an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) plus a distinct lack of caring on Miss M’s part… We’re lucky she’s passing English and Concert Choir.

Anyhoo…. these two things — ADD and school —  combined into a lovely, oughta-be-on-a-bumper sticker moment.

See, Miss M hadn’t been taking her meds. So Mom decided to be the dispensary. I very, very faithfully gave her each dose. Well, it turns out we hadn’t needed to increase her meds last month, we just needed her to TAKE her meds. So, um yeah… she had a bit of a meth rage. On the same day as the parent-teacher conference.

As the bullshit meeting went on (These people do. not. care.  unless you’re a  mindless, college-bound, automaton.  Smallest school population in the county and the highest dropout rate.  ‘Nuff said.) Miss M spoke up and said, “I’m sick of you all telling me what my future’s going to be like!”

At which point, her seriously incompetent guidance counselor asked, in that smarmy, I’m-your-friend voice, “What do you want to do in the future?”

And my daughter answered,

“Uproot the patriarchal bullshit system.”

🙂 Oh yeah. That’s my baby!


March 15, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

“Promise You’ll Protect Me From the Americans”

Omar Khadr.

Fifteen years old when he was captured by US forces in Afghanistan. Six years spent at Guantanamo without trial. Facing five war crimes charges, including the murder of a US soldier during a battle, and life in prison.

Softened up” by American interrogators prior to a visit by Canadian intelligence personnel.

This happened to Mr. Khadr just ahead of a March 30, 2004, visit by Jim Gould, an intelligence officer with the Canadian Foreign Affairs department.

“In an effort to make him more amenable and willing to talk, [blacked out] has placed Umar in the ‘frequent flyer program,’ ” says an April, 2004, report by R. Scott Heatherington, then-director of the Foreign Intelligence Division of the Canadian department. “For the three weeks before Mr. Gould’s visit, Umar has not been more than three hours in any one location.

“At three-hour intervals, he is moved to another cell block, thus denying him uninterrupted sleep and a continued change of neighbours.”

Mr. Heatherington goes on to say that Mr. Khadr would, following the visit, be “placed in isolation for up to three weeks,” then be subjected to re-interview. [National Post]

He was a child. He begged the Canadian intelligence officers interviewing him. “Promise you’ll protect me from the Americans.”

Instead, they left him for another 5 years in a hellhole being (most likely) abused with torture techniques inspired by SERE training — a program instituted as a result of torture of American prisoners of war. Techniques approved by President Bush and then-Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld.

And he’s facing war crimes charges?

I don’t know whether to cry or vomit.

July 15, 2008 Posted by | Protest, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Au Revoir

From the post that started me on this blogging thing:

A Question of Doing What’s Right — Christy Hardin Smith
Jan 6, 2006

But it isn’t enough that I want more for myself and my family. Every person in this nation needs to wake up and realize that they deserve more as well. That’s a message that Democrats could take to the bank, I’m sure of it. I know it is a message that would resonate here in West Virginia. People are hungry for hope, they are hungry for someone who will value them — and not just use them as a pawn.

More than that, they deserve to be valued. It’s a question of doing what is right, not just what is politically expedient in the moment to win the election or raise more money or whatever else seems to be driving political power these days. Let’s give the little guy a voice again — help him to stand on his own two feet and make something for his children, and you help the whole country. That goes for moms, too, I can tell you that. [emphasis mine – Jenn]

I thought it would take me awhile to figure out where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do — and whether or not I really wanted to stop writing about politics — but as often happens, the path became clear in surprisingly short time and the signs were unmistakable.

After hearing, or rather reading, something yesterday afternoon that surprised me and quite honestly hurt to the core, mostly because of the source(s), I’m making a run for it.

It’s time to step away from politics for awhile, especially Presidential politics. I’ve decided to move into the slightly safer, less emotionally vulnerable territory of parenting blog.

While I never even made the Z-list, I’ve had a good time writing, and there are quite a few posts I’m very proud of having authored. One of those is being included in a college textbook that will be coming out in August.

Not bad for a small-town girl with a big mouth.

Of course, since I do have a big mouth, this is just ‘au revoir‘ and not goodbye.

I’m sure I’ll be back every once in awhile, when something simply pisses me off so much as to demand I write about it, but the topics will most likely be geared more toward social justice and social reform issues.

And I’ll still be around the web, but I’ll be staying in more friendly spots with people whose progressive values more closely match my own, as well as quite a few sites where politics isn’t even worthy of a passing glance

Thanks to all of you who’ve been reading this blog since January 2006. If you feel like it, stop over at The Mom Speaks and say hello.

Blessed be.

— Jenn

July 3, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

RIP Mildred Loving

Mildred Loving passed away today.

From the Associated Press:

Mildred Loving, a black woman whose challenge to Virginia’s ban on interracial marriage led to a landmark Supreme Court ruling striking down such laws nationwide, has died, her daughter said Monday.


Loving and her white husband, Richard, changed history in 1967 when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld their right to marry. The ruling struck down laws banning racially mixed marriages in at least 17 states.

“There can be no doubt that restricting the freedom to marry solely because of racial classifications violates the central meaning of the equal protection clause,” the court ruled in a unanimous decision.


[…] she and Loving got married in Washington in 1958, when she was 18. Mildred told the AP she didn’t realize it was illegal.

“I think my husband knew,” Mildred said. “I think he thought (if) we were married, they couldn’t bother us.”

But they were arrested a few weeks after they returned to Central Point, their hometown in rural Caroline County north of Richmond. They pleaded guilty to charges of “cohabiting as man and wife, against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth,” according to their indictments.

They avoided jail time by agreeing to leave Virginia — the only home they’d known — for 25 years. They moved to Washington for several years, then launched a legal challenge by writing to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, who referred the case to the American Civil Liberties Union.

In a public statement last year, on the 40th anniversary of the Loving decision, Mildred said, in part:

Surrounded as I am now by wonderful children and grandchildren, not a day goes by that I don’t think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the “wrong kind of person” for me to marry. I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry.

Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies people’s civil rights. I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.

At the time the Supreme Court handed down its decision, nearly 80% of Americans disagreed with it and used Biblical justifications for doing so. Forty-one years later, those same kinds of Biblical justifications are being used against same-sex couples. And they are just as wrong and just as ignorant as they were then.

I pray we see the day when all those who love are free to join their lives together.

Thank you Mildred and Richard.

Blessed be.

May 5, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment


I’m still tired, and the fluague…flu-like illness I felt coming on before my trip to New Hampshire has definitely sprouted. (NH is a beautiful state, with incredibly friendly people, but damn! Cold, rain, and possibilities of “snowstahms” on the first weekend in May?! And did I mention cold? I never thought of PA as a warm, “southern” climate till now.)

So, I’m busy feeling feverish while wracked with chills. Therefore, you shall have linkys!

Death toll in Myanmar at 4000 and could reach 10,000 or more. [CNN]

Why does Dick Cheney hate whales? [MSNBC]

Federal Air Marshals being denied boarding by airlines because they have the same name as terr’ists on the [giant useless stupid] no-fly list. [Boing-Boing]

Austrian father who imprisoned and raped his daughter for 24 years, forcing her to bear 7 children, is going to use the insanity defense. [CNN]

Toxic goo from Superfund sites being used as a fertilizer. [oh goody!] [Natasha at Pacific Views]

And now… I’m going back to bed.

May 5, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Theme Songs for Hillary

Lambert at Corrente says:

Since Barack Obama likes Jay-Z so much, and songs like “99 Problems (But a Bitch Ain’t One)” and “Dirt Off Your Shoulder,” I think it’s only fair that we help her pick out some theme music.

He and the commenters list their choices, including Aretha Franklin’s Respect and Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive.

My choices are:

I Am Woman by Helen Reddy

Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves by the Eurythmics and Aretha Franklin

or – my personal favorite – This One’s For the Girls by Martina McBride.

So, what songs would you choose for Hillary’s campaign?

April 20, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Random Thoughts

Two things running through my head this morning:

First up: the Obama gaffe, non-gaffe, truth-telling, or whatever it’s being called now.

It’s been rather disheartening this weekend to see so many left-wing blogs telling me, “It’s true! Small-town rural people are just racist, homophobic, xenophobic ignorants who turn to their guns or their gods rather than voting for someone who just wants to help them.”

Or, even more fun, the “if you’re not bitter, you’re not paying attention and aren’t doing enough” group.

Spare me.

Spin it how you want. Tell me his “inflection” in the video makes a difference. Tell me all about how we white, rural, working-class, voters do vote against our own interests. It doesn’t change my opinion of what he said.

Yes, I did read the entire statement, not just the paragraph posted in Obama Insults Pennsylvanians. And I read it again. And yes, I still believe he was, in effect, calling us low-class white trash who won’t vote for him because we’re too bitter about our economic status to vote for anyone who isn’t whiter than snow and doesn’t run on a “Guns, Gods, and Gays” platform.

I still believe that he was trying to explain to a bunch of rich donors just why he wasn’t doing as well as expected here, and his explanation to them is, “See these blue-collar folks are just too bitter and too dumb to understand that I’m all about Change and Hope© and they seem to actually want policies and positions and information. They don’t understand, because they’re dumb, rural, white trash, that I’m all about Change and Hope© and part of that is not saying anything that isn’t about Change and Hope©.”

But, apparently, to say so – to believe that this candidate insulted my state and my fellow Pennsylvanians – is also a white trash, homo- and xenophobic, racist belief.


I have to say I feel a little less welcome in a few of my favorite blogs today, after reading all the “It’s true and people who are insulted are just too dumb and too bitter to understand it” comments from people who do not live in rural Pennsylvania.

Gee, thanks, for helping me see the light. It’s good to know just how many blogs and their commenters actually believe they are better than those of us living in small-town America because they’re more “enlightened,” more “sophisticated,” or just plain smarter than we bigoted trash.

I should point out that in 2000, PA was one of only 20 states (plus DC) that went for Gore. In 2004, we were one of only 19 states (plus DC) that went for Kerry.

Second: the Bush-approved-torture non-flap:

Yep, I am well aware of what happened Friday, that our President – a man who stood before us twice and vowed to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States” – admitted that he approved torture.

And, I am well aware that the MSM has more or less ignored the same in order to cover the “blow to the Obama campaign.”

Why haven’t I said anything? Well, for one, because there are far smarter people who know far more about this who have already said everything. Short of cribbing all of Emptywheel’s posts on the subject, what I have to say on it amounts to this:

“Son of a bitch! He admitted, on television, that his legal team created justifications for torture, that members of his Cabinet (Cheney, Ashcroft, Rice, etc) knew and approved of said tortures, that he knew and approved said tortures, that human beings were tortured as a result — in contravention of the Geneva Convention and American law.

There is now absolutely zero doubt that he, members of his Cabinet, and his legal eagles are as guilty of crimes against humanity as any Nazi prosecuted at Nuremberg.

And the response from America was… *crickets*

The fucking media ignores it because Obama can’t keep his foot from his mouth.

Heckova job, BushCo!”

That is my response.

I could have made a post of it but, as always, Digby says it better:

I thought I was long past the point of being shocked at anything the Bush administration did. They suspended the constitution after 9/11 and set forth a series of legal opinions that said the president can do anything he deems necessary to “protect the country.” Once you truly absorb that fact, it’s hard to be emotionally affected by anything else you learn.

But I was wrong. This shocks me. The president of the United States casually admits on television that he approved of his national security team personally deciding which specific torture techniques should be used against prisoners:


The vice president, national security advisor and members of the president’s cabinet sat around the white house “choreographing” the torture and the president approved it. I have to say that even in my most vivid imaginings about this torture scheme it didn’t occur to me that the highest levels of the cabinet were personally involved (except Cheney and Rumsfeld, of course) much less that we would reach a point where the president of the United States would shrug his shoulders and say he approved.

April 13, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments


… Now, it doesn’t matter, now. It really doesn’t matter what happens now. I left Atlanta this morning, and as we got started on the plane, there were six of us. The pilot said over the public address system, “We are sorry for the delay, but we have Dr. Martin Luther King on the plane. And to be sure that all of the bags were checked, and to be sure that nothing would be wrong with on the plane, we had to check out everything carefully. And we’ve had the plane protected and guarded all night.”

And then I got into Memphis. And some began to say the threats, or talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers?

Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop.

And I don’t mind.

Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!

And so I’m happy, tonight.
I’m not worried about anything.
I’m not fearing any man!
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!!

Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr
April 3, 1968

April 4, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

When Silence is Betrayal

On April 4, 1967, one year before his death, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke out against the war in Vietnam.

One of his reasons for speaking out was the horrible irony of a nation that segregated whites and blacks at home, but integrated them when it came to killing:

Perhaps the more tragic recognition of reality took place when it became clear to me that the war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home. It was sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population. We were taking the black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem. So we have been repeatedly faced with the cruel irony of watching Negro and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools. So we watch them in brutal solidarity burning the huts of a poor village, but we realize that they would never live on the same block in Detroit. I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor.  [my emphasis]

His speech, entitled “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence” remains one of his least known speeches, though it is gaining more visibility as the war in Iraq drags on, especially now that it’s been added to YouTube.



January 21, 2008 Posted by | America, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Uncategorized, World Peace | Leave a comment

Teaching Our Daughters To Love Themselves

TRex had a great Late Night post at FDL last night, which I missed until tonight, and since it’s a tad late to be commenting there, I figured I’d post my thoughts here. (That is why I have a blog, right?)

From TRex:

I can’t imagine what it must be like to raise a daughter in this media climate. I just can’t.


I don’t think I need to run this down for you guys. You know the deal. The world of fashion and fashion publishing (and the movie industry, and TV, and music videos, and on and on) present an ideal of “beauty” that is an image of sickness, of starvation.

He also quotes author J.K. Rowling writing at her website last year.

From the Telegraph:

Waif-like models were condemned by JK Rowling yesterday as “empty-headed, self-obsessed, emaciated clones”.

The author of the Harry Potter novels said she did not want her daughters, Mackenzie, one, and Jessica, 12, to emulate women whose only function was to support the trade in “over-priced handbags and rat-sized dogs”.


“I’ve got two daughters who will have to make their way in this skinny-obsessed world, and it worries me, because I don’t want them to be empty-headed, self-obsessed, emaciated clones; I’d rather they were independent, interesting, idealistic, kind, opinionated, original, funny a thousand things, before ‘thin’.”

Amen and hallelujah.

I have a beautiful fifteen-year-old daughter. She’s everything I – and J.K. Rowling – could want in a daughter.

This is one of my favorite photos of her, from this past spring. I just love that expression. You can tell she doesn’t suffer fools lightly. (She was trying to take a nap while Mom kept snapping pictures and annoying her with the flash.)

Gorgeous, talented, intelligent, kind, thoughtful… she’s all of that and more.

But, she thinks she’s fat.

Why? Because she’s 5’7″ (and still growing!) and 130 pounds. She is no Mary-Kate-and-Ashley-sized pixie, folks. She’s strong and active and, yes, she can take on both of her older brothers, including the football player. I call her my Amazon princess. But, fat? Hardly.

Unfortunately, despite what I say, despite what her dad says, despite what her grandparents and brothers and aunts and uncles and cousins say, despite what her doctor says, despite what the boys who want to date her (ugh!) say, she believes she’s fat because she’s not an anorexic twig.

Gee, thanks, ultra-thin-obsessed media. Bad enough that our “news” media spends more time talking about Paris and Nicole and Britney and Lindsey – rather than actual … y’know … news.

But this kind of nonsense doesn’t help:

This is the cover of the newest issue of a women’s magazine (name and other items blacked to prevent the possibility of lawsuits) .

What’s the first thing you notice? That big-ass cake, right? And what’s right above it? Yeah, that headline.

Anyone else ever notice this? Magazines marketed to moms or the over-30 woman do this every month. Big dessert taking up half the front cover, while “LOSE WEIGHT” headlines dominate.

Can you say, ‘mixed message’? I thought you could.

Then of course, there’s the checkout-line tabloids, with covers pointing out every little flaw in various swimsuit-clad celebrities. (This, after other magazines have air-brushed and Photo-shopped them within an inch of their lives to eliminate those very same flaws.)

I think the best things we can do for our children, but especially our daughters are:

1) Eliminate or severely restrict television viewing. I can tell you, the Disney show Lizzie McGuire did nothing but teach my daughter to be an air-head more concerned with popularity than getting good grades and being a kind person. Getting rid of the TV was the single most-effective way of eliminating that “role model.’

If you do allow TV, talk to your kids about what they’re seeing. Counteract the negative messages that anorexic models are sending out while pimping make-up and clothing.

2) Stop buying women’s magazines! You think your daughter doesn’t get the messages that you’re also being sent? “Eat cake, but…” “Only thin girls get the boy.” “Be sexy at an early age – preferably before you even hit puberty!”

3) Teach your children to be loving and kind and empathetic – and praise them for showing those traits! “What a kind boy you are for sharing your crayons with _____!” “What a great grade! I’m so proud of what a smart girl you are!” “What a good helper you are!”

4) Teach your daughters that being a “good girl” has nothing to do with being submissive, or silent, or accepting of bad things or bad behaviors. That it doesn’t mean acting like a brainless twit or never sweating (popular when I was young – a caution against being ‘too physical’) or being emaciated.

5) Teach your daughters to be proud of their accomplishments in academic and physical activities.

6) Teach them to stand up for themselves – even when it causes you headaches. (Yes, nothing is worse as a parent than when your daughter stands up for herself against you, but dear goddess, it’s a blessing when they stand up against injustice and against the abuse of themselves and others.)

7) Teach your daughters that it’s what’s inside that is beautiful. And that beautiful insides create beautiful outsides.

Shorter me: Teach your daughters to be more like Hannah Lundquist and her classmates.



October 2, 2007 Posted by | America, Children, Daughters, Family, Life, Parenting, Sisters, Uncategorized, Women | Leave a comment