They make our heart sing

It’s just some funky old photo to most of y’all. Looking closer, you might guess, correctly, that it was taken on a Sunday. For the record, it was an Easter Sunday. Also for the record, I believe it may be the only (and last) photo ever taken of me carrying a purse. But if you’re from Texas, you see more. Almost certainly, in at least one of the springtimes of your childhood, you too were situated, possibly against your will or better judgement, in a field ofLupinus texensis so your parents, aunts, uncles, and/or Meemaws could snap your picture. Transcending … Continue reading They make our heart sing

Just kill it and move on to the next one

Because I’m an American, I know there’s all sorts of international folks who would gladly kidnap and behead me. On TV. I know there are white supremacists in the United States who would happily hunt me down in the woods. But that’s so minuscule—the number of people who are like that. The chances are so small. I think the bigger problem is that, on both sides, we fight people whose politics are different than ours with the worst of that. Like their efforts to equate Obama with Ayers, or to equate McCain with Timothy McVeigh. Or, you know, to call … Continue reading Just kill it and move on to the next one

Yeah, we can pretend we’re that

My favorite music of any past year is the stuff I’m still listening to thenext year and the one after that, long after all the year end lists and taking account is past.Sharon Van Etten‘sepic has been on lots of “best” lists for the last two years, and her spanking brand newTramp is already making waves. epic’s “One Day” is one of those songs that always sounds brand new, even after a couple years: She’s the real deal. Go out and get to know her. Continue reading Yeah, we can pretend we’re that

The long arm of the law, in your uterus

I feel more empowered already. “Today’s ruling is a victory for all who stand in defense of life. Every life lost to abortion is a tragedy, and this important sonogram legislation ensures that every Texas woman seeking an abortion has all the facts about the life she is carrying, and understands the devastating impact of such a life-ending decision.We will continue to fight any attempt to limit our state’s laws that value and protect the unborn.” We will, however, continue to dismantle and destroy those laws and systems that value and protect living children.Once they’re born, those little suckers are … Continue reading The long arm of the law, in your uterus

America, 1900: Subsistence Marriage

My maternal great-grandparents and children. This is on my wall at home, next to one taken around the same time of my great-grandparents on the paternal side. In both pictures, of these two families that were very different from each other, there is one commonality: an older husband, younger wife, and two sets of kids, the older set from a first marriage. Here, the two older girls and the older son were from the first marriage. My great-grandfather above married my great-grandmother less than six months after his first wife died in childbirth. Needless to say, if the shoe was … Continue reading America, 1900: Subsistence Marriage

America, the day after Christmas, 1929

My mother is the dark-haired girl sitting between her father and her older sister. They’re on the steps of her grandparents’ house in Hext, Texas. Said grandparents were probably the source of presents, the dolls, the baseball bat, a stiff new pair of overalls for the oldest boy. My great-grandfather ran a general store and while hardly well-off, at least had enough to spare. His daughter, my grandmother, on the right, isn’t even 30 in this picture. You can’t see the sunglasses underneath my grandfather’s hat. He’d been gassed in World War I and barely survived, living the rest of … Continue reading America, the day after Christmas, 1929

Because we are cursing bunch of cocksuckers around here

And because Athenae tweeted this, and I couldn’t agree more, some thoughts on the effectiveness, or non-effectiveness, ofprofanity. Best of all, one of the commenters links to this video, which, getting back to ruining children by exposing them to reality, contains one of my favorite bits ever from Fry & Laurie, at 0:45 seconds. Continue reading Because we are cursing bunch of cocksuckers around here

The kids are alright: Star Witness

Because we could all use some inspiration: These two high school students, Kate and Janelle, are seniors in the arts program at Peterborough Collegiate and Vocational School (PCVS), located in downtown Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. Earlier in the fall, district school board trustees voted to close the old (founded in 1827!) downtown fixture next year and move its highly-regarded Integrated Arts program to larger more modern Thomas A. Stewart Secondary School. The decision to close down the much-beloved PCVS sparkedprotest afterprotest in thecommunity but it didn’t seem much of anything was going to reverse the trustees’ decision. A few weeks ago, … Continue reading The kids are alright: Star Witness

Assets, not liabilities

Merry Christmas everyone! Having served various administrations, we know that politicians of both parties love this country and want to keep it safe. But right now some in Congress are all too willing to undermine our ideals in the name of fighting terrorism.They should remember that American ideals are assets, not liabilities. You may know that, General. Me, I’m not so sure anymore. Continue reading Assets, not liabilities

Idiots of America, unite!

Want to just riff a bit on A’s excellentHow, Exactly Would We Know This? post from yesterday, as well as some of the comments, because I believe it’s a critical conversation, central to our very own little First Draft neighborhood and the larger community, our shared net-rooty identity, to the extent we have just one. Here’s the deal. We are all, every one of us, the Idiots of America. This idea that we on the left, and the people we elect to represent us, are in the position to serve as some kind of missionaries to the beknighted knuckledraggers out … Continue reading Idiots of America, unite!

I guess Nancy Grace is more what they have in mind

This. Times a thousand. Yes, it’s just a stupid tv show and I get that there are traditional aspects to the art form but over and over, week after week, this is about some invisible rigid construct of “pretty” and “feminine” and “sexiness,” one single recognized standard for the “natural sexiness” of a woman. “I think it came out in moments …you had glimpses of this beautiful, vulnerable girl.” Fuck that shit. Continue reading I guess Nancy Grace is more what they have in mind

For the crafty types

No kittens available in your neighborhood? Too poor to buy your own cat? Or maybe you want something very specific, like, say, one that looks more like a giant rabbit alien? No problem. Make your own! Start with about a yard of cat, as above. It goes without saying that it should be cut on the bias. Stuff with the best chow you can afford. Voila! Leave your stuffed cat laying about likely cat environments, no one will be the wiser. Unless they try to wake it up. Continue reading For the crafty types

Frank Kameny, big damn hero

In Washington, DC yesterday, a man namedFrank Kameny died quietly at home. He was 86. Fittingly enough, Kameny’s death happened onNational Coming Out Day, something we’ve been celebrating since 1988, when it was created to commemorate the great 1987March on Washington, that October day when a quarter-million LGBT citizens came to their nation’s capitol to remind the rest of the country that they too were Americans and wouldn’t accept being treated as anything less. That such an event took place at all, that we still celebrate it nearly a quarter of a century later, that more people than ever before … Continue reading Frank Kameny, big damn hero

Innocent families trapped onboard plane with kissing lesbians

When the bits of information aboutLeisha Hailey’s experience on a Southwest Airlines flight first started trickling out yesterday via Twitter (which I was of course on at the time), I had two simultaneous reactions. One, I assumed without knowing any other source information that the airline was at fault. Two, I snickered at the PR ramifications because, I mean really, could you not find someone more adorable to pick on, Southwest? She’s one of theYoplait bridesmaids fer chrissakes, not to mention the only remotely likeable character on theL Word. So yeah, as noted by a Twitter friend, maybe I rushed … Continue reading Innocent families trapped onboard plane with kissing lesbians

Winning the internet, all of it

It’s not often, lately anyway, that we read a story that makes us want to fistbump the whole interwebs and shout, “Fuck yeah humans!” Butthis is one of those stories. Video-game players have solved a molecular puzzle that stumped scientists for years, and those scientists say the accomplishment could point the way to crowdsourced cures for AIDS and other diseases. “This is one small piece of the puzzle in being able to help with AIDS,” Firas Khatib, a biochemist at the University of Washington, told me. Khatib is the lead author of a research paper on the project, published today … Continue reading Winning the internet, all of it

Dope on the table

Okay, so someone at a conference asked Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld what he thought ofThe Wire. Watch the video below and see if you can tell exactly when the Commissioner makes his first mistake: If you answered “As soon as he opens hisfuckmook mouth,” you’d be right. Bealefield says heknows David Simon. If so, then he was probably not surprised by this: Publicly, let me state that The Wire owes no apologies—at least not for its depiction of those portions of Baltimore where we set our story, for its address of economic and political priorities and urban poverty, … Continue reading Dope on the table

That Gun Don’t Make You No Hero, Mister

“If I’d gone down there sooner, maybe I could have shot him myself,” Mr. Zamudio, age 24, said in a phone interview Sunday night. … By the time Mr. Zamudio was in close range, others had wrestled the suspect to the ground. Mr. Zamudio helped hold him down. And young Mr. Zamudio deserves all due credit for his assistance during the chaos. But what the WSJ leaves out in their storyBystander Says Carrying Gun Prompted Him to Help (yes, that’s the real title) is this part, via Slate andDigby: But before we embrace Zamudio’s brave intervention as proof of the … Continue reading That Gun Don’t Make You No Hero, Mister

More Texas Lege preview: two to watch

We’re six days out from opening day of the82nd Texas Legislature, and for those unfamiliar with the local players, let’s take a look at two dudes that have gotten a lot of press lately and bear watching during the session. By this time next week, the biggest, or at least loudest, pre-Lege controversy will be settled. Incumbent Speaker of the House Republican Joe Straus will either have retained his gavel, or will have been ousted during an opening day vote by far-right Rs who find Straus “insufficiently conservative” to handle his job duties given the midterm Republican groundswell in the … Continue reading More Texas Lege preview: two to watch

Listen to the ones that care. Believe them when they say: It Gets Better

It’s a new year and an auspicious time to remindeveryone that it DOES get better. Whether that’s a message FOR you, or a message that might be FROM you to someone younger who needs to hear it, please be brave. Listen and pass the good news on. Depending on where you work, this is probably NSFW, at least without headphones. The vid’s creator and star is genius comic/writer/performance artistRebecca Drysdale. Continue reading Listen to the ones that care. Believe them when they say: It Gets Better

Just chalk … or fire

Maybe it’s a shortsided response on my part, but it’s still jarring to be reminded there are plenty of people who doubt the extent of community online or at best qualify its existence as some kind of cold flat reflection of “real life.” I look back at just this past week: coming together in the Crack Van and on Twitter to bear witness toDADT repeal, the pain of finding out I havetwo more deadfriends in my Facebook list, and another reeling in griefbecause how do you go on when half of you is gone? And then there was yet another … Continue reading Just chalk … or fire

Done. Next?

For the record, I am happy tohave been wrong about the administration being able to overturn DADT. They earned their political capital and I hope they are able to use it to somehow chip away at the Republican majority’s brick wall next year. Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep pushing, expecting more, calling them out when our gut tells us. It’s a long fight, almost certainly longer than this administration, and we can’t lose sight of the end. There are avoices clamoringthis week for anyone who everpublicly doubted Obama and the Dems, anyone on the spectrum from the “professional left” to … Continue reading Done. Next?

DADT repeal vote imminent

According to some DC sources via Twitter, the House vote on the standalone DADT repeal should be around 3 p.m. but it may come up earlier, so keep your eyes and ears onCSPAN’s live stream. In a related story, Lt. Dan Choi, who became one of the public faces of DADT, was hospitalized in a Veteran’s Administration mental health facility yesterday. Choichose to make his breakdown and hospitalization public via email: I did not initially want to publicize this but I now realize it is critical for our community to know several things: veterans gay or straight carry human burdens, … Continue reading DADT repeal vote imminent

A different paradigm

Even aside from fan squee (I was so loud the cat looked at me funny), this resonates. THIS is what I want from my government when the going gets tough. Fight like hell and if you have to sacrifice, make it worth it. The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c Big Brother, Where Art Thou? Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog</a> The Daily Show on Facebook Continue reading A different paradigm

The underlying message

Love it, hate it, dismiss it, you can’t deny thatGlee‘s made a splash.Conservatives love to hate it, a clear signal thatthey fear its power; at the same time, hipsters argue that the show is acelebration of mediocrity, retreading the lamest recesses of American popular entertainment. Content-wise, two seasons in, it’s still a little tough to sort out the truly inspired bits from the merely good (a lot), the mediocre (also a lot), and the marketing onslaught (a shitload). The show’s a pastiche of all pop culture that has come before it: it eats and replicates the same stuff it’s transforming, … Continue reading The underlying message