A Must-Read

This story made me cry:

In the chaos that was Causeway Boulevard, this group of refugees stood out: a 6-year-old boy walking down the road, holding a 5-month-old, surrounded by five toddlers who followed him around as if he were their leader.

They were holding hands. Three of the children were about 2 years old, and one was wearing only diapers. A 3-year-old girl, who wore colorful barrettes on the ends of her braids, had her 14-month-old brother in tow. The 6-year-old spoke for all of them, and he told rescuers his name was Deamonte Love.

Thousands of human stories have flown past relief workers in the last week, but few have touched them as much as the seven children who were found wandering together Thursday at an evacuation point in downtown New Orleans. In the Baton Rouge headquarters of the rescue operation, paramedics tried to coax their names out of them; nurses who examined them stayed up that night, brooding.

Transporting the children alone was “the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, knowing that their parents are either dead” or that they had been abandoned, said Pat Coveney, a Houston emergency medical technician who put them into the back of his ambulance and drove them out of New Orleans.

“It goes back to the same thing,” he said. “How did a 6-year-old end up being in charge of six babies?”

Read the whole thing.

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Good News in California

A marriage equality bill passed through the California legislature today, making one more historical step in the direction of equality for all citizens. Unfortunately it looks like Ah-nold might veto it, but it’s a good thing nonetheless — remember the whole “state’s rights” argument that the right loves to make? Well the state legislature took this one on, and they’ve come down on the side of justice and equality. Of course, the usual suspects aren’t too thrilled with fairness and justice. Their response: The Democrats are hoes. Gay hoes.

“The only word I can see here is prostitution,” said Randy Thomasson, president of the Campaign for Children and Families. “Instead of obeying the voters and the Constitution, the Democratic politicians have prostituted themselves to the homosexual marriage agenda. It’s not gay, it’s bad.”

…I thought gay was bad?

No matter. Just compare that argument (whoring perverts! homosexual agenda!) to those put forth by proponents of the bill:

“Respecting other people’s rights is peace,” [Dolores Huerta] said. “Respecting other people’s rights to marry who they want is a constitutional right, it’s a human right and it’s a privacy right. “


“This is one of those times when history looks upon us to see where we are,” [Assemblyman Tom] Umberg said. “Ten years from now, there are a handful of issues that history will record where we stood, and this is one of those issues.

“History will record whether we pushed a bit, took the lead to encourage tolerance, to encourage equality to encourage fairness,” he said.

“The constituency I’m concerned about is a very small one,” said Umberg, “and that’s the constituency of my three children, should they decide to look back on my record … and reflect on where I was when we could make a difference.”


Posted in GLBTQ, Politics | Tagged , | 13 Comments

More from the Times

Today, it’s Tom Friedman who sticks it to the President:

These are people so much better at inflicting pain than feeling it, so much better at taking things apart than putting them together, so much better at defending “intelligent design” as a theology than practicing it as a policy.

So true. And my goodness do I love Maureen Dowd:

The administration’s foreign policy is entirely constructed around American self-love – the idea that the U.S. is superior, that we are the model everyone looks up to, that everyone in the world wants what we have.

But when people around the world look at Iraq, they don’t see freedom. They see chaos and sectarian hatred. And when they look at New Orleans, they see glaring incompetence and racial injustice, where the rich white people were saved and the poor black people were left to die hideous deaths. They see some conservatives blaming the poor for not saving themselves. So much for W.’s “culture of life.”

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My professor modeled a grammar and linguistics lesson as an example of ways we can slip the boring English stuff into more exciting curriculum. She was specifically modeling a mini-lesson one could use in a secondary school that teaches the difference between denotation and connotation, using the refugee/evacuee debate that has been in news media this week. As I always do when contemporary politics are discussed in the classroom, I scanned the room to see my peers’ responses. I glanced over just in time to catch a guy turn to his friend and say

“Well, they told them to get out, so…”

He shrugged. Massive loss of human life and all he can muster is an “oh well” and a shrug. I don’t know what my face looked like at that moment, but he caught my glance for a second and likely registered my horror. He didn’t appear to care.

This aftermath of hurricane Katrina has left me feeling crazy. Livid. Violent. It was all I could do not to climb over those tables and strangle his cavalier, arrogant neck.

Anne, a friend who also attends my university, is experiencing a different but no less removed debate in her classes:

It started on Friday in my social theory discussion group. Our graduate TA started the session by asking if any of us knew anyone involved in “the situation down in New Orleans”, or if anyone would like to say anything about “the situation.” A gal raised her hand. Her sister was on her way back to university, but had to turn around once the storm hit. She’ll probably attend a local college for this semester, maybe even next semester, too.

Another gal raised her hand. “I think that what is happening down there is horrible and totally unexcusable. Our government has totally failed.”

A guy raised his hand. “My major is emergency management, so I’ve been talking about this for a few days now. What people need to understand is that this isn’t an easy situation, and all that can be done is being done.”

Another guy: “Yeah. Plus, those people had what, a week’s notice that this storm was going to hit? They had plenty of time to leave.”

A gal: “Look. The government knew New Orleans was vulnerable because of the levees, but they never got repaired. Plus, all the response teams are in Iraq so there’s no one left to help these people.”

“There are response teams to help people; they just don’t want to leave. People have been shooting at the helicopters that are trying to bring food and water!”

A debate ensued between those who saw the situation as a failure at the government level and those who view it as a failure of the individual to leave when told. Many sat quiet. The discussion took up the entire meeting.

Yesterday, my history instructor started class by asking if anyone would like to say anything about “the situation in New Orleans.” A guy raised his hand.

“Well, this is certainly a bad thing that happened, but those people had what, a week’s notice to evacuate?”

Another guy added, “Two weeks.”

“Yeah, they had two week’s notice, and they didn’t leave.”

After the third person to talk echoed the same thought, the instructor said it is important for us to pay attention to what is really going on in New Orleans. Then he started his lecture.

Posted in Politics | Tagged | 21 Comments

The Hurricane of Poverty

The New York Times editorial page gives Bush & Co. the one-two punch. Herbert, Dowd, Kristof, Rich and Krugman are on top of it.

Continue reading

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Help Katrina Survivors

And if you need another reason, get a cute t-shirt too. 100 percent of the profits go to the Red Cross.

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Busy, etc.

My apologies (yet again) for the lack of posts. Life has been crazy lately. Luckily, Lauren holds down the fort exceptionally well.

The first week of law school has been good — incredibly interesting, stimulating, and really friggin hard. I have more reading than I’ve ever had in my life. My professors are fantastic, and the other people in my classes are all really smart. It’s a big change from high school and even from undergrad, where there were always at least a handful of kids who really didn’t have their shit together. Here, everyone is on top of things. All the comments made in class are well thought out. No one has said anything particularly dumb yet. It’s an interesting experience, and I definitely feel like the small fish. But that’s a great motivation.

In other news, I finally found an apartment, and spent the weekend moving in. I’m living on the Upper East Side, which is a big change from downtown. I do miss the Village, but I love my new neighborhood. Once I make the apartment pretty, I’ll post pictures! The only bad thing is that we haven’t been set up for internet yet, hence the slow blogging. But that should be going sometime soon. Until then, I’ll try and make at least one daily stop at the NYU library to use their computers.

I also don’t have a TV at the new place, which is good. Watching the news lately is just way too depressing. My mom called me on Saturday night and told me that Rehnquist died, and basically said, “We are fucked.” The more I see, read, and hear about Katrina’s aftermath, the angrier I become at the complete ineptitude of our various government agencies in dealing with this issue — particularly because I sincerely believe that if it were thousands of middle-class white people left stranded, they’d have their shit together.

So, despite the general depression I’m in because of the state of this country, I’ll be back to blogging on and off, hopefully with some consistency at least this week. Next week, once I enter the age of wireless internet, blog-life should be good.

Posted in Blogging, Domesticity, Education, Vanity | Tagged , , | 5 Comments


Thoughts on “looting” by Dr. B. who grew up in Detroit with the history of the race riots:

The best story of the the Detroit uprising was the story of a friend’s mother. On the day the rioting started (before things got going) a young African American mother went to a fabric store to buy thread. She was made to wait while the sales clerk waited on white folks and told not to touch things (yes this was Detroit in 1967!). She left without buying anything. Almost 20 years later when this mother passed away the son that she gave birth to 2 years later found a box of untouched thread in the attic. It turns out that once the uprising started later that day the woman went back to the store and got thread. Thread that she never used, but thread that probably made her feel better. Thread that made her feel empowered in a world of racism and oppression. So, can I understand why folks are stealing t.v.’s and other electronics even though they can’t use them now and may never be able to? Absofrigginlutely! You take what has been denied to you for so very long.

Posted in Politics, Race & Ethnicity, Recommended | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Lott’s Vacation House

This really shouldn’t have cracked me up, but it did. Go read more of the inimitable Twisty’s ideas on BushCo.

Posted in Politics, Recommended | Tagged | 5 Comments

Pushing the Envelope

If we isolated the last two weeks and replaced Bushco with the Clinton administration, everything done exactly the same, the Republicans would be all over Clinton like stink on shit. That Bush has a 46% approval rating for the handling of the hurricane crisis is un-fucking-believable.

Amanda expresses my thoughts quite nicely.

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A Shoelace, A Bike, and Finally A Piano

I made the mistake of falling asleep at 9pm this evening, waking up from my apparent nap at 11:30. I’m wide awake and it’s way too late to do much other than watch infomercials or blog.

Thus let me take a moment to brag. In the last two weeks, Ethan learned to

  • tie his own shoes,
  • play the piano, and
  • ride his bike.

This evening I took him out to a walking/riding path so he could show off his new biking skills that Grandma taught him. In the beginning he couldn’t start himself off — I had to hold the bike up while he pushed of and got his feet situated on the pedals. At the end of the half-hour, he could start and stop with little difficulty.

The most lovably painful part was watching him, his little bike and little body, wobble all over the path and into a double stroller pushed by a very concerned mom. Every once in awhile he would stop the bicycle to assess his shoelace situation, climb off the bike, and retie his shoes with a look of severe concentration.

My baby’s growin’ up.

Since Ethan has started taking piano lessons, I finally had a decent excuse to move my piano from the parents’ house to my own.

Piano Keys

This beauty is a Roland electric piano that I got for my sixteenth birthday. Until this point I had played on an antique, hand-me-down upright bought for my oldest uncle. The old piano is at least eighty years old, with a broken pegboard, still situated in my parents’ dining room. The switch of instruments was enormous for me — going from an actual instrument with strings and hammers to an electric version with weighted keys — but I took off soon enough and was pleased that I knew what the songs were supposed to actually sound like instead of imagining the songs on the out-of-tune upright. Then again, I missed the upright.

One little-known fact about me: I can play Stairway To Heaven on the piano. I learned that lame party trick on the old upright.

Growing up, my piano influences apart from the classical masters were the Gershwins and Tori Amos (much respect for the lady, but I’m over her music after years and years of replay). There was something that Tori said that has always stuck somewhere in the deep recesses of my brain: Each instrument is different. You must approach each instrument with respect. Listen for the differences and play to them.

As I grew older and began to discover my penchant for low-fi music I would return to the old upright, a family heirloom, and play certain songs on it, songs that didn’t sound right on the infintely, perfectly tuned Roland. I thought of my grandfather and how pleased he was that his granddaughters learned to play, my parents who would occasionally request songs by yelling through the house, and perhaps my future sons and daughters and how I wanted them to take on my love of music.

Piano or no piano, Ethan has definitely inherited my love of music. Yesterday he requested that I make him a CD to take along in the car. The quick CD I made included AC/DC, Queen, and Skynyrd, songs that he already knows and loves and sings along to in the backseat. (Parenthood is nothing if you haven’t heard your child singing along to Hell’s Bells.) For some reason, music has always meant family to me, something that I have consciously passed along. Maybe it’s the thirteen years of lessons, the generations of old sheet music I have inherited, learning to play the songs that I knew my mother, my father, my sisters, and my grandfather loved so much. Hearing today that my mother told my boyfriend that she wished I would play again, that I once played beautifully.


Ethan’s father, too, got an electric piano for Ethan to learn on. With our crazy custody schedule Ethan will have to practice at both our houses. Having similar instruments will help in the beginning, though there is something in me that wishes he too could learn to play on that old, broken instrument.

One day, I hope to have that old piano.

I set up the Roland in our little house this afternoon and sat down to play, trying to shake the rustiness from my inflexible fingers. The boyfriend sat down on the couch and looked through the piles and piles of cheesy sheet music, requesting everything from Desperado to the Muppets theme song to Horse With No Name, but I turned to my old favorites, dragging out fragile pages of forty-year-old sheet music and my deceased grandfather’s thirty-year-old issues of Sheet Music magazine. Bach’s fugues, Chopin, Singin’ in the Rain, the Gershwins, jazz and blues standards, Joplin, La Vie En Rose, Jerome Kern, Cry, Smile, Tenderly.

I tried to play, cursing through every song, stop and start and retry, all of it slowly coming back to me, but jilted and screwy. It will take awhile for the five years without practice to be undone. When it was time for me to go pick up Ethan from his afternoon at his dad’s, I stood up from the piano and suveyed the room, furniture akimbo to make room for the piano. For the first time, my house truly felt like my home.

Related: If you too are interested in vintage music, scroll down this page to a slew of links to old sheet music available for fair use. For example, can you tame wild wimmen? And, Eve wasn’t modest ’til she ate that apple. That old apple was to blame.

Posted in Music, Vanity | Tagged | 7 Comments

Devastation In Mississippi

This harrowing photostream takes us out of NOLA and into Mississippi.

via Culture Kitchen

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