semperfiona: American flag superimposed with "American. Liberal. Voter." (liberal)
Yesterday was gray, dull and rainy, but I was excited and hopeful. Today is bright, clear and sunny, and I am terrified, heartbroken and angry, feeling betrayed by my fellow citizens. How could so many people support hatred and bigotry?

And yet. I'm surrounded by them every day at work. "Nice" folks...who make misogynistic and racist jokes, who gloat over civil rights failures. I don't usually play music while working because it's too much of a distraction and because I can't hear people come up behind me, but today I am filling my ears with my Flogging Molly Pandora station so I don't have to hear the victorious gloating of the Trump supporters around me.

I was so looking forward to my daughter coming of age in a country with a woman president. Where her half-Mexican queer ace self would be embraced and welcome, with full civil rights, and instead we've got a place where I will be terrified that she will be harassed at best, and may be deprived of her citizenship and deported.
semperfiona: American flag superimposed with "American. Liberal. Voter." (liberal)
This election has poisoned a lot of my vocabulary. “Tremendous” and “huge” are both suspect, unless I am intentionally evoking the ghost of the toupeed pumpkinhead, and why would I want to do that. Back in 2008 I lost “you bet” and “you betcha” to Sarah Palin. Those were less painful losses, as I’ve mostly moved away from the Northern Midwest where my accent picked them up.

But now I can’t use the word “trump”, even in a card game, without cringing inwardly. Pinochle and hearts and sheepshead and euchre and even Five Crowns are dear to my competitive little heart, and the word “trump” is rather important to all those games.
Basically, if it’s a card game with trick-taking and trump cards, I’m likely to love it. (Except I never got the hang of bridge. Mostly because I stopped hanging out with the person I started to take bridge lessons with, and the only other person I knew who played was my grandmother, who had dementia by then and could no longer play.)

Pinochle was the family game. Both my dad’s family and my mom’s, even though they were from completely different backgrounds and locations. So of course they taught me and my sister to play from the age of eight or so. It was a big deal when we were both good enough at it that we could partner each other and hold our own against our parents. It’s still the default activity whenever I’m around my parents or aunts, although neither Rosa nor her cousins play, nor did most of mine ever learn, because my aunts didn’t marry men who played or were willing to learn.

Back when I was still married to Ray, we tried teaching him. He learned, sort of, but was a very bad loser, and quickly began to refuse to play. He will still occasionally trot out “I once maimed a man playing pinochle” if the topic happens to come up. He is one of those people who, having once found a phrase or saying funny, will repeat it endlessly until you are ready to strangle him to make it stop.

In high school, I taught a group of my friends to play pinochle, and we used to play every day over lunch. But I lived in Wisconsin, where the trick-taking game of choice is sheepshead, so of course I wanted to learn to play. I can’t tell you how many times I was told it was impossible to learn unless you’d grown up with it. My parents, having come from elsewhere and moved to Wisconsin as adults, didn’t play. Presumably their friends also refused to teach them. In any case, eventually I convinced someone to teach me, and played it for several years on church retreats and such, until I moved out of the state and no longer had anyone to play with.
I fetched up in Indiana, where the local game was euchre. And people were willing to teach it, even. Again, played for several years, and then moved out of state.

Now I’m lucky if I get to play cards once every six months or so, for no particularly good reason except lack of convenient flat surface to play on. Tammie knows pinochle, but there are only two of us and it’s really not that great as a two-person game. Though I did meet someone over the weekend who knows the game. Hmmm.
semperfiona: American flag superimposed with "American. Liberal. Voter." (liberal)
This is the thing that gives me hope for this election. My father, a lifelong Republican and evangelical Christian, has been speaking out against Trump since before the primary in Wisconsin, writing long essays on Facebook. When I saw him earlier this month, he said, "The Republican Party has done something I never thought possible. They've turned me into a Democrat." He went on to explain that he's not only voting for Hillary, he's voting Democrat in the downticket races as well. And he's defending her when his Facebook commenters try to insinuate things against her.

Part of his particular reasoning is that he works directly with immigrants, helping them with applications for the DREAM act, with appeals of denied visas, and so on, and the hateful anti-immigrant rhetoric from the Republicans has reached an intolerable level for him. Even though this is only true for a small number of Republicans (my mom and dad and their coworkers),

My sister, also lifelong Republican, refuses to vote for Trump but hasn't been convinced to vote for Hillary. She's planning to sit the election out, and I'll take that. She lives in California anyway.

I have some hope that other people like them will have their anti-Trump breaking points as well.
semperfiona: American flag superimposed with "American. Liberal. Voter." (liberal)
Voting accomplished. I was very pleased to vote for a woman for President, for the first time ever. I voted for Obama last time around, but Hillary Clinton has impressed me a lot over the last several years and I've come to believe that most of the opinions I had held about her were based on Republican slanders from the 90's and had nothing to do with her actual record. There are things in her actual record I disagree with, but there are such with Sanders as well, and I have been disappointed by his choice of campaign staffers and the overall whiteness of his support. In addition, I feel that Hillary's experience in diplomacy is vital at this point for America's future in the world. I will, of course, vote in the general election for whichever of Bernie or Hillary is actually nominated, because Please See Icon, because Supreme Court, and because the Republican slate contains not a single candidate I can foresee doing a decent job of governing, let alone having policies I could actually support. [gratuitous and reflexive personal insults toward the available Republican candidates redacted]

When they handed me my ballot, though, I was very surprised to see NINE names on it. I've never even heard of six of these guys. O'Malley quit six weeks ago, but I guess they don't remove names from the ballot in Missouri, or it was too late to do so.

Jon Adams
Hillary Clinton
Roque De La Fuente

Henry Hewes
Keith Judd
Martin O'Malley

Bernie Sanders
Willie Wilson
John Wolfe
semperfiona: (rosa crowned)
Driving to school in the morning has been a good time for conversations with Rosa. Today she commented on the fact that someone's Christmas lights were still up on their house, and I reminded her that we still have Christmas stuff up in our house from two years ago. Then she noticed another house and said, "And some people still have their Obama posters up."

Again I said that we do too, on the car, and I added that "Some people are really happy that Obama was elected."

She said, "Henry is angry about it." At first I thought she meant her uncle Hank, whom I used to call Henry, but I realized quickly that she calls him Hank and that she has a classmate named Henry. She's told me before that Henry was the only one who voted for McCain in their classroom straw poll. "He says Obama is for abortion, but I tell him he's for choosing whether to abortion or not. But he doesn't believe me."
semperfiona: Picture of a gas cloud in space that looks like an upraised middle finger (fuck you universe)
Jerry somebody from the Cato Institute, today on Diane Rehm: "Capitalism without the threat of bankruptcy is like Christianity without the threat of hell. It doesn't work."
semperfiona: American flag superimposed with "American. Liberal. Voter." (voter)
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Hee. I was going to post about this anyway.

Tammie and I planned to go vote "first thing" in the morning. Given our slugabed nature, this does not mean six a.m. But we got the kid up and dressed, and got ourselves out the door about 7:15, arrived at the polling place about 7:20. There was a line of about sixty people from the gymnasium--where the voting machines are--to the front entry door. A poll worker was standing just inside the door asking people which precinct (of the four in our ward) each person was voting in. Precincts 1, 2 and 4: go right past the line and into the gym; precinct 3: wait in line. Precinct 3 had even more line snaking around the interior of the gym, but we are precinct 1, so no waiting.

We got to the table and went straight to signing the book. Pollworkers gave Rosa an "I voted" sticker and teased each other about letting nine-year-olds vote. (It's her birthday! We're getting her a new president for her birthday!!) But of course she didn't get a ballot, only a sticker. I got my optical ballot, waited a minute or two for a free space at the table, and went to fill it out. She sat on my lap while I voted, made sure I had correctly filled out the form for the right guy (Obama, duh), and pointed out "you didn't do that one" for races I didn't vote in (unopposed candidate, or downticket state races I honestly don't have an informed opinion on, like Lt. Gov.) I feel a little guilty about not having studied the whole ticket, but chose to leave a couple blank this time rather than vote-by-party or vote-by-silliest-candidate-name or vote-by-gender or whatever.

Voted against the racist amendment (i.e. "English Only"). On the way to school later, Rosa and I talked about that one a little, about how it's "mean people" trying to hurt other people by making their lives harder. About 2004 when we went canvassing together trying to defeat another "mean people" amendment (anti-same-sex marriage amendment). She asked me why that one had passed. I said there are a lot of mean people out there.

Then she said I shouldn't say same-sex, I should say same-gender. So we had a bit of a conversation about the difference between sex and gender. I told her, "sex is what your body parts are. Gender is what your brain thinks you are. For some people they aren't the same thing." Then we talked a bit about how "other people" have opinions on what is right for girls versus what is right for boys, but that what mattered was what *she* thinks is right for her. I told her my own take on my gender expression, that "I'm a girl, so if I like it, it is a girl thing, whether it's cars or baseball or whatever." She said, like digging in the muck? We giggled.

Yesterday on the way to school she caught me off guard with a question/comment about abortion. She called it 'killing babies', which ought to make it obvious what side of her family had gotten to her on that one. I didn't have a really good response; I told her that it was a complicated issue that she might need to be a couple years older to understand. Talked to Tammie later, and next time it comes up we'll talk about the bad situations that women might be in, and how hard decisions sometimes have to be made.
semperfiona: American flag superimposed with "American. Liberal. Voter." (liberal)
Never really have much disposable money, these days, but I just donated $10 to the No on 8 campaign in California. I did phone banking and neighborhood canvassing for the No on 2 campaign (Missouri, 2004), but as I can't really do that from here, so I sent some cash instead. I figure the California amendment has the best chance of being tossed out, since they actually *have* same-sex marriage already where the other two states have laws against it, and the more we can show that the world doesn't end by allowing same-sex marriage, the better chance there is of repealing the bad laws that exist elsewhere.

And I sent $10 to the Obama campaign. Me and my bumper sticker will be driving around Missouri, still a toss-up state but definitely in the running. (Gah. Overheard my ex-boss talking this morning about a McCain-Palin rally that he wanted to go to.)
semperfiona: American flag superimposed with "American. Liberal. Voter." (liberal)
In a very cynical attempt to wrest the media coverage away from Obama's fantastic acceptance speech, McCain has announced his VP pick: the first-term governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin.

Apparently McCain believes that he can pick off some of Hillary Clinton's former supporters by choosing a female VP candidate: that women won't notice that this woman is as anti-choice and anti-feminist as you can get, at the same time that he hopes those very positions of hers will reinforce his standing with the Religious Reich. Clever attempt to play both ends, but I think it's doomed to failure.

The Clinton supporters will not fail to notice her beliefs and positions on the issues, and the Religious Reich will not fail to notice her gender.
semperfiona: American flag superimposed with "American. Liberal. Voter." (liberal)
Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez appeared on the Diane Rehm show this morning stating that the US is very concerned about the inhumane treatment of political prisoners in Cuba and demands that they be freed.
semperfiona: American flag superimposed with "American. Liberal. Voter." (liberal)
After much dithering, I went with Obama. I'd originally intended to vote for Kucinich, but after he dropped out I decided to choose between the two frontrunners.

I have a few qualms about the specific positions of either Obama or Hillary, and I had a schadenfreude-esque desire to vote for Hillary exactly because of the outrageous misogyny expressed by her detractors (I overheard just such a conversation between Terry and Randy yesterday--it felt like "hostile work environment" but such a complaint would never have gone anywhere). Obama's made some missteps regarding queer issues: he campaigned with a homophobic "ex-gay" minister in South Carolina, but on the other hand he gave a very thoughtful and open-minded speech on gay rights at a black church the other day. Hillary voted for the Iraq war and the erosion of civil rights in the name of security. Etc etc.

In the end, the decisive factor for me was summed up quite well by [livejournal.com profile] pnh at [livejournal.com profile] makinglight: "Because when I watch him speak, I see fearful people becoming brave." I haven't seen Hillary inspire her listeners in the same way. Given the fog of FUD that has pervaded the USA for the last eight years, some inspiration and hope are vital for our future.

Nonetheless, if Hillary wins the nomination, I will feel no disappointment and in fact a great deal of satisfaction in voting for her in November.
semperfiona: (liberal american voter)
"Never get involved in a land war in Asia."
semperfiona: (liberal american voter)
Yesterday on Diane Rehm, they were talking about the resignation of Alberto Gonzales, and one of the Republican panelists suggested that the president should use a recess appointment to avoid confrontation with the Senate over his nomination.

I've looked around a bit, and I found some information on the legitimacy of recess appointments, but I still have a question. Can't the Senate refuse to recess and just stay in session, thus forcing the president to deal with them?
semperfiona: (liberal american voter)
I was born in 49
A cold war kid in the McCarthy times
Stop 'em at the 38th parallel
blast those yellow reds to hell
cold war kids were hard to kill
under their desks in an air raid drill
-- Billy Joel, "Leningrad"


Remember the late 70's and '80's? We didn't bother with air raid drills
any longer--everyone knew crawling under your desk was hopeless against
radiation--but we did still have many buildings labeled as fallout
shelters.

My high school and college friends and I used to have long deep
conversations about what to do if the Soviets fired ICBM's at us. Was it
better to run away from Ground Zero or toward it? Try to live through it
and hope you stayed mostly healthy and something remained of
civilization or you had enough strength and skills to survive the
post-apocalypse world, or just make a quick end of it. Did it depend on
how far you were from a large metropolitan area that was likely to go up
or for that matter how far you were from a major military installation.
Etc.

Then we had a sudden outbreak of democracy and freedom and peace in
1989-91: the Berlin Wall fell, the Soviet Union collapsed and most of
their satellite states established fledging democracies...I remember
thinking "Peace is busting out all over". It was an amazing moment.

But as moments are prone to do, it ended. The tension between two big
powers is now replaced by the animosity of the entire world against the
one remaining power, instead of "yellow reds" now we have the "Muslim
menace", and McCarthy is back, only this time he's in the blogosphere
and on rightwing talk radio, advocating the death penalty for such
"treasonable" activities as dissenting from the present administration's
policies on torture.

I have a tendency to say things like "this is not the America I grew up
in," in reference to the administration's myriad of offenses against the
Ideal America I dream of. But it is, isn't it. Fear, uncertainty, and
distrust: only the Other has changed.
semperfiona: (Default)
This has been sitting in my Drafts folder in Outlook for several weeks now, and is now longer timely to the news story that inspired it, but it might as well get posted.



Hey, [livejournal.com profile] bbwoof, here's a couple links on the "marriage fraud" story I was talking to you about. The first is the story itself; the second is a letter to the editor.

http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/stlouiscitycounty/story/635C51E228B306F9862572EE00131C0A?OpenDocument

http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/editorialcommentary/story/4D26615043D9AAB3862572F90082AF0A?OpenDocument

Not-very-long story even shorter, a local public defender (Althoffer) wanted to keep his Peruvian same-sex partner (Cerna-Rojas) in the United States. So he convinced (asked?) a willing coworker (Lewis) to marry the partner. Now Althoffer, Lewis, and Lewis's boyfriend (O'Leary) have all lost their jobs, Althoffer is free on $50,000 bail (having surrendered his passport), Cerna-Rojas is back in Peru and may be permanently barred from visiting the US. Lewis and O'Leary haven't been charged.

My favorite part is the quote from the US Attorney: Lewis and Cerna-Rojas "did not act like a married couple".

----
I find this story very distressing. I can't think of any good reason why the government should be in the business of verifying people's marriages against some standard of behavior.

Even more so after I looked at a few websites on marriage fraud. There was one with a list of typical questions that might be asked in a fraud interview. Not unlike the questions that were on the annulment filings, lo these many years ago, really...but at least the church has some reason to be in that business for its own adherents.

Even if "thousands" of people are getting married in order to get residency in the US, I really can't believe that it's a real problem. So what? The new resident still has to pass all the US-entry background checks and so on.

Can you answer these in your own relationship? )
semperfiona: (liberal american voter)
Two first amendment Supreme Court rulings this week. One undercuts the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform law, and the other upholds a principal's right to tear down a student banner--not even in the school--because he didn't like its message.

So. Corporate free speech? Unrestricted. Individual free speech? Subject to restrictions.
semperfiona: (liberal american voter)
Alan Dershowitz on Morning Edition this morning talked about his belief that torture is sometimes valuable and necessary, however disgusting it might be (his word). He proposes that torture should remain illegal but still be available in special circumstances if the president signs a "torture warrant", and under "rules" for what kinds of torture are allowed. He continued by saying we should define whether waterboarding is allowed, whether to allow inserting a sterilized needle under someone's fingernails, etc.

He claims that being up front about the United States' use of torture will somehow alleviate the international scorn that has accrued since the discovery of the Abu Ghraib scandal. "Everyone knows" (his words) that torture is being endorsed from the top.

He kept insisting that it was actually possible to gain useful information by torturing "obviously guilty suspects", that there were cases where the Israeli military had prevented bus bombings and the like by using torture to gain information, but now that they're "not allowed to", the bombings have resumed.

I cannot agree with his premise--innumerable studies and the weight of history have proven that people will say anything to end the torture, from admitting to sex with the devil to making up terrorist plots out of thin air.

But even if you accept that it might work, if you don't care about the "obviously guilty" subjects of torture, what about the effect that inflicting torture has on the torturers?! The president, sign a "torture warrant" though he might, is not going to be the one who inflicts extreme pain and degradation on a prisoner. That's going to be a 19-year-old enlistee from Nebraska, who if they *did* sign up to join the Torture Service is clearly psychopathic, and if they did not, will become so after being forced to engage in such immoral and horrifying behavior.
semperfiona: (higgledy piggledy)
Nosily posily
Homeland Security
Agents find terrorists
Too hard to hook;

Concentrate efforts on
Antipornography,
Cameras, stickers and
Readers of books.

I've been trying and failing for weeks to come up with a double dactyl about Cheney's hunting accident "Pellet Surprise", so I leave it to you as a challenge.

In a second challenge: I can't find the story I meant to link on "books". A guy was reading a book in the airport with cover art of sticks of dynamite, and the airline refused to let him fly. He came back the next day with the latest Harry Potter, but they still wouldn't honor his ticket.
semperfiona: (demon baby)
Anyone else notice that this is the second Bush to have vice-presidential issues related to quayle?

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