Archive for January, 2005

Teen Sex 411

Thursday, January 27th, 2005

My daughter had her prime time debut last night on Katie Couric’s teen sex special. There’s a little picture of her in People magazine, too, with Ms. Couric. The show wasn’t quite as wild as Maia hoped it would be; not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. (The previews were terrifying . . . like WHAT did I get my kid into?!)

The big news is that some teenagers have sex. Almost 3 in 10 kids ages 13-15 & about half of kids 16-18 are sexually active, according to their “landmark national poll.” (Am I the only one who isn’t aghast?)

Maia’s shocker was to tell the nation that oral sex is the new “third base.”

Since I don’t remember what the old third base was, I guess I didn’t find this as alarming as I was supposed to.

And, alas, Maia’s impassioned defense of rap music didn’t make the edit.

So wraps our big adventure with NBC.

Things to do

Thursday, January 20th, 2005

So, I’m not spending one damn dime today & I’m not turning on the television, but of course that doesn’t make it go away. The fact that these next four years have barely even started.

My sister sent me her to-do list for 2005:

1. Unite the left

2. Divide Iraq

3. Kidnap Ann Coulter and make her watch “Harold and Maude” over and over again.

Seems a reasonable plan, not too ambitious.

But mostly I feel like going back to bed, reading poetry about the acoustics of an empty heart; writing novels about the way things could be instead of news stories about the way things are.

I should be building houses somewhere, I should be armed, I should be distributing clean water instead of words. Always words.

“The only security that matters is the security of the imagination,” Muriel Rukeyser said. We are against war & the sources of war; for poetry & the sources of poetry.

I’m in a bomb shelter of my own making, weathering a crimson security alert: Your dream life is in grave danger today. A looming preemptive strike against your imagination.

I’m digging a well, trying to get to the source of things.

I’m making a duct tape dress to wear to my own inauguration as commander-in-chief of my one-woman surrealist army.

Annabelle Magazine

Thursday, January 13th, 2005

Check out the Mothers issue of Annabelle Magazine:

This issue all about Mothers: why we love them, fear them, and can’t get away from them:

The Lesbian Baby Boom: Sisters Doing It For Themselves!

Interview with a Hip Mama, writer Ariel Gore

A Grandmother’s Lament (Or why grandchildren are better)

Mama Rose, Mommie Dearest and Cher: Our Favorite Movie Moms

Plus: Losing The Almighty Mother: Becoming a Motherless Child  and more…


Monday, January 10th, 2005

Jan. 19, 2005

On the 19th (the night before Bush’s unfortunate inauguration) my

husband and I are going to tie black ribbon around trees, lightposts, our

car antennae, on our fence, on street signs, etc all around Palm Bay and

Melbourne. We have a few other people who are going to do this as well. We

will let the press know early morning on the 20th what they stand for.

Please join us in this act, even if you just tie one around your own

trees in your yard or on you car antennae. Tell everyone you know who might

be interested in helping.



AND THEN . . .

Not One Damn Dime Day – Jan. 20, 2005.

The anti-inauguration!

Since our religious leaders will not speak out against the war in Iraq, since our political leaders don’t have the moral courage to oppose it, Inauguration Day, Thursday, January 20th, 2005 is “Not One Damn Dime Day” in America.

On “Not One Damn Dime Day” those who oppose what is happening in our name in Iraq can speak up with a 24-hour national boycott of all forms of consumer spending.

During “Not One Damn Dime Day” please don’t spend money. Not one damn dime for gasoline. Not one damn dime for necessities or for impulse purchases. Not one damn dime for nothing for 24 hours.

On “Not One Damn Dime Day,” please boycott Wal-Mart, Kmart, Target and Pepsico (Kentucky Fried Chicken, Taco Bell, & Pepsi products).

Please don’t go to the mall or the local convenience store. Please don’t buy any fast food (or any groceries at all for that matter).

For 24 hours, please do what you can to shut the retail economy down.

The object is simple. Remind the people in power that the war in Iraq is immoral and illegal; that they are responsible for starting it and that it is their responsibility to stop it.

“Not one Damn Dime Day” is to remind them, too, that they work for the people of the United States of America, not for the international corporations and K Street lobbyists who represent the corporations and funnel cash into American politics.

“Not One Damn Dime Day” is about supporting the troops. The politicians put the troops in harm’s way.

Now 1,200 brave young Americans and (some estimate) 100,000 Iraqis have died. The politicians owe our troops a plan – a way to come home.

There’s no rally to attend. No marching to do. No left or right wing agenda to rant about.

On “Not One Damn Dime Day” you take action by doing nothing. You open your mouth by keeping your wallet closed. For 24 hours, nothing gets spent, not one damn dime, to remind our religious leaders and our politicians of their moral responsibility to end the war in Iraq and give America back to the people.

California Coming Home (Or Why the UFOs Don’t Land Here)

Friday, January 7th, 2005

I wanna move back to California, man. Barbara Boxer is the ONLY U.S. Senator who deserves re-election next time they ask.

WASHINGTON — Resident Bush officially won a second term in the White House after electoral votes from all 50 states were counted during a joint session of Congress.

The normally perfunctory ceremony of counting & certifying Electoral College votes was delayed for about four hours as the few forms of intelligent life in Washington unsuccessfully challenged Ohio’s votes for Bush.

But, alas, the challenge was defeated 267-31 by the House and 74-1 by the Senate.

The objecting Democrats, all of whom are House members except Boxer, said they wanted to draw attention to the need for aggressive election reform in the wake of numerous, serious election irregularities, particularly in Ohio, that led to a significant disenfranchisement of voters.

“How can we possibly tell millions of Americans who registered to vote, who came to the polls in record numbers, particularly our young people … to simply get over it and move on?” Tubbs Jones said at a press conference with Boxer.

“This is my opening shot to be able to focus the light of truth on these terrible problems in the electoral system,” Boxer said. “While we have men and women dying to bring democracy abroad, we’ve got to make it the best it can be here at home, and that’s why I’m doing this.”

John Kerry was absent.

In other news, an unrepentant Alberto Gonzales appeared today before the Senate Judiciary Committee to hem & haw about how maybe torture isn’t ALWAYS the best policy. Gonzales, who described provisions in the Geneva Convention that protect prisoners as “quaint”, is expected to win confirmation as Attorney General.

And for those three people who still want to emmigrate to America–or at least drop by to work in unfair conditions–The Mexican government is distributing a comic-book guide that warns would-be migrants about the perils of crossing illegally into the United States & offers tips on staying safe.

The pocket-sized comic book’s introduction shows an illustration of three men huddling by riverbank bushes accompanied by the statement, “This guide is intended to give you some practical advice that could be of use if you already have made the difficult decision to seek new job opportunities outside your country.”


Friday, January 7th, 2005

I love getting comments on my blog–you know I do–but I just switched off the setting that made it possible for folks to post anonymous because I am so OVER the whining right-wingers who wanna name-call under the cloak of anonymous & acuse me of being unamerican for questioning the government that perports to represent me–or worse, get their panties in a wad about how I’m going to burn them as a heretic for disagreeing with me. Um, when’s the last time you saw me on an Inquisition horse? I’m an unarmed blogger, OK? Sorry if the switch makes it harder for thoughtful folks of any opinion (or even unthoughtful folks who aren’t afraid to leave a name) to post.

Go Stephanie & Barbara!

Thursday, January 6th, 2005

January 6th, 2005 1:05 pm

Democrats to Force Debate on Ohio Results

By Alan Fram / Associated Press

WASHINGTON – A small group of Democrats agreed Thursday to force House and Senate debates on Election Day problems in Ohio before letting Congress certify President Bush’s win over Sen. John Kerry in November.

While Bush’s victory is not in jeopardy, the Democratic challenge will force Congress to interrupt tallying the Electoral College vote, which had been scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. EST Thursday. It would be only the second time since 1877 that the House and Senate were forced into separate meetings to consider electoral votes.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., signed a challenge mounted by House Democrats to Ohio’s 20 electoral votes, which put Bush over the top. By law, a protest signed by members of the House and Senate requires both chambers to meet separately for up to two hours to consider it. Lawmakers are allowed to speak for no more than five minutes each.

“I have concluded that objecting to the electoral votes from Ohio is the only immediate way to bring these issues to light by allowing you to have a two-hour debate to let the American people know the facts surrounding Ohio’s election,” Boxer wrote in a letter to Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, D-Ohio, a leader of the Democratic effort.

The action seems certain to leave Bush’s victory intact because both Republican-controlled chambers would have to uphold the objection for Ohio’s votes to be invalidated. But supporters of the drive hope their move will shine a national spotlight on the Ohio voting problems.

Underscoring that the outcome was not in doubt, Kerry, who conceded to Bush the day after the Nov. 2 election, said he would not join the challenge. The four-term Massachusetts senator was in the Middle East, thanking U.S. troops for their service.

In a statement, Kerry said there are “very troubling questions” about the Ohio voting and he would present a plan later to improve voting procedures.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan dismissed the move as politically driven.

“I think the American people expect members of Congress to work together and move forward on the real priorities facing this country, instead of engaging in conspiracy theories and rehashing issues that were settled long ago,” McClellan said.

Bush defeated Kerry by 286 to 252 electoral votes, with 270 needed for victory.

On Wednesday, Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, issued a report claiming “numerous, serious election irregularities in the Ohio presidential election.”

The report, mirroring complaints from Ohio voters, cites machine shortages and extremely long lines in minority and Democratic precincts. It alleges intimidation of voters, a purging of registration lists and other irregularities.

Many problems stemmed from “intentional misconduct and illegal behavior” by Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, the co-chair of the Bush-Cheney campaign in the state, the report argues.

Blackwell spokesman Carlo LoParo called the report “ludicrous” and a waste of taxpayer dollars.

In January 2001, a group of House Democrats protested the 2000 election because of Florida’s ballot problems. But with the country weary of that contest’s six weeks of recounts and turmoil, no senator joined in and the challenge failed. In political theater at its most ironic, Vice President Al Gore — the defeated Democratic presidential contender — presided over the session, rejecting a challenge aimed at making him president.

The last time the two chambers were forced to interrupt their joint session and meet separately was in January 1969, when a “faithless” North Carolina elector designated for Richard Nixon voted instead for independent George Wallace. Both chambers agreed to allow the vote for Wallace.

The previous challenge requiring separate House and Senate meetings was in 1877 during the disputed contest that Rutherford Hayes eventually won over Samuel Tilden.

Call Your Senators

Wednesday, January 5th, 2005

It only takes one member of the House and one member of the Senate to stop the acceptance of the Electoral College vote and force a legitimate debate and investigation.

Tomorrow, Rep. John Conyers of Detroit will object to the vote count in Ohio. He won’t be allowed to speak unless at least one member of the Senate agrees to let him have the floor.

The grounds for the objections are clear: The irregularities in the Ohio vote and vote count are widespread and blatant. If the Ohio election were held in the Ukraine, it would not have been certified by the international community.

Call your two senators today at 1-202-224-3121 or 1-800-839-5276 and ask them to join Conyers in his protest of the Ohio electors.

Some Senators to call:


Barbara Boxer (202) 224-3553, Dianne Feinstein (202) 224-3841


Richard Durbin (202) 224-2152, Barack Obama (202) 224-2854


Tom Harkin (202) 224-3254


Barbara Mikulski (202) 224-4654, Paul Sarbanes (202) 224-4524


Edward Kennedy (202) 224-4543, John Kerry (202) 224-2742


Carl Levin (202) 224-6221, Debbie Stabenow (202) 224-4822


Mark Dayton (202) 224-3244


Ron Wyden (202) 224-5244


James Jeffords (202) 224-5141, Patrick Leahy (202) 224-4242

West Virginia

Robert Byrd (202) 224-3954, John Rockefeller (202) 224-6472

Or find your senators, along with websites & email contact info here.

Judge orders mom to stop having kids

Wednesday, January 5th, 2005

ROCHESTER, New York (AP) — A Family Court judge who last year stirred debate about parental responsibilities ordered a second drug-addicted woman to have no more children until she proves she can look after the seven she already has.

The 31-year-old mother, identified in court papers only as Judgette W., lost custody of her children, ranging in age from eight months to 12 years, in child-neglect hearings dating back to 2000. Six are in foster care at state expense and one lives with an aunt.

The youngest child and two others tested positive for cocaine at birth and all seven “were removed from her care and custody because she could not and did not take care of them,” Judge Marilyn O’Connor said in a December 22 decision made public Tuesday.

“Because every child born deserves a mother and a father, or at the very least a mother or a father, this court is once again taking this unusual step of ordering this biological mother to conceive no more children until she reclaims her children from foster care or other caretakers,” O’Connor wrote.

In a similar ruling last March, O’Connor ordered a drug-addicted, homeless mother of four to refrain from bearing children until she won back care of her children. The decision, the first of its kind in New York, is being appealed.

Wisconsin and Ohio have upheld similar rulings involving “deadbeat dads” who failed to pay child support. But in other states, judges have turned back attempts to interfere with a person’s right to procreate.

O’Connor said she was not forcing contraception or sterilization on the mother, who had children with seven different men, nor requiring her to get an abortion should she become pregnant. But she warned that the woman could be jailed for contempt if she has another child.

The New York Civil Liberties Union maintained that the opinion cannot be enforced because it “tramples on a fundamental right — the right to procreate.”

“There is no question the circumstances of this case are deeply troubling,” said the group’s executive director, Donna Lieberman. “But ordering a woman under threat of jail not to have any more babies … puts the court squarely in the bedroom. And that’s no place for the government.”


Monday, January 3rd, 2005

Pregnant woman can’t get a divorce, judge says

By The Associated Press

SPOKANE — A Spokane woman trying to divorce her estranged husband two years

after he was jailed for beating her has been told by a judge she can’t get

out of the marriage while she’s pregnant.

The case pits a first-year attorney who argues that state law allows any

couple to divorce if neither spouse challenges it against a longtime

family-law judge who says the rights of the unborn child in this type of

case trump a woman’s right to divorce.

“There’s a lot of case law that says it is important in this state that

children not be illegitimized,” Spokane County Superior Court Judge Paul

Bastine told The Spokesman-Review newspaper.

Further complicating things, Shawnna Hughes says her husband is not the

child’s father.

The judge argued that the paternity of Hughes’ child needs to be determined

before a divorce is finalized.

But the bottom line, says Hughes’ attorney, Terri Sloyer, is that there’s

nothing in state law that says a woman can’t get a divorce if she’s


“We don’t live in 15th-century England,” Sloyer said. “I am absolutely

dumbfounded by it.”

Hughes’ husband, Carlos, was convicted in 2002 of beating her. She

separated from him after the attack and filed for divorce last April. She

later became pregnant, and her baby is due in March.

Her husband never contested the divorce, and Court Commissioner Pro Tem

Julia Pelc approved it in late October.

However, the approved divorce papers didn’t note that Hughes was pregnant.

Sloyer filed amended papers to correct the omission, and the next day, she

spoke with the judge by phone. Bastine said he planned to rescind the

divorce, and then did so after a Nov. 4 hearing.

“It’s not the child’s fault that mom got pregnant,” Bastine said. “The

answer is, you don’t go around doing that when you’re not divorced.”

Sloyer has appealed.

“This is a very dangerous precedent to set — particularly in this case,

with a woman who is a victim of domestic violence,” Sloyer said.

In comments submitted to Bastine, Hughes said: “If this court vacates my divorce and requires me to stay married to a man I have no desire ever to have a relationship with and who has brought significant physical harm to me over the years, I would be emotionally devastated. If the court vacates my divorce and stays it until the birth of my child, it will prevent me from marrying the father of my child prior to her birth.”

The state’s Uniform Parentage Act sets the rules on who cares for children, including those not yet born in cases of divorce. A husband is presumed to be the father of any child born up to 300 days after a divorce.

“One of the problems here was that the child was not made party to the litigation,” Bastine said. “There are statutory provisions that deal with paternity. Those are the statutes that are critical ones that determine the rights of the child.”

Hughes has stated in court records that the father is her boyfriend.

“She has the right to divorce and be free to marry whoever she wants,” Sloyer said. “It’s about the choice, the fundamental right to choose.”

James Hardisty, a professor at the University of Washington School of Law, said he had never heard of a judge rescinding a divorce because of a woman’s pregnancy. But he noted that a 1981 state Supreme Court ruling gives courts the right to put divorces on hold when matters like child custody and division of property still need to be resolved.