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AngryBlackBitch



Practicing the Fine Art of Bitchitude



Updated: 2017-11-20T21:49:50.327-06:00

 



Up on the soapbox ...

2017-11-07T16:45:52.102-06:00

Y'all, I wrote a rant on Facebook and then turned it into a piece for the good people of Rewire!

Check it --> Mental Health and Guns: Journalists Aren’t Asking the Right Questions.

Rewire is a non-profit independent media publication. Your tax-deductible contribution helps support their research, reporting, and analysis. Donate if you are able.

Toodles!



Poetry is the gift that keeps on giving...

2017-11-03T11:58:50.633-05:00

... and Lucille Clifton is one of my favorite poets.

Happy Friday, y'all.

won’t you celebrate with me
Lucille Clifton, 1936 - 2010

won’t you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay,
my one hand holding tight
my other hand; come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.



Recap from Halloween 2017 …

2017-11-01T07:21:13.280-05:00

Happy Day After Halloween, y’all!As usual, the House of Bitchitude prepared for Halloween by prepping several large bowls of candy and toys/games for wee ones with allergies and such. A rather witchy C-Money decorated our porch and displayed a seriously creepy plastic skeleton on the lawn. Knowing us, these items will remain up through December.After double checking our treat distribution strategy, searching in vain for the scary noise maker, and getting our outdoor house light (inside joke for Ellen, Alex, and Tim Jr. - some people call it a sconce!), we sat down and waiting for crowds of children to knock on our door.And waited.And waited some more.Finally, the first wee ones … as usual, the toddler crews came out first … gave us a knock. Adorable and super polite young humans escorted by excited parents taking pictures!Yay!Following the early trick or treaters, turnout was low but those who made the effort were super excited by the temporary tattoos, coloring book packet, and creepy finger toys C-Money insisted were a necessary addition to our Halloween offerings.Best dawg costume goes to my neighbor’s badass Corgi who showed up in a snazzy lobster outfit. She got a scritch … okay, she got several and then was off to make friends elsewhere. The Most Amusing Parent Escort award goes to the man who was either tipsy, exhausted, or both … lumbering behind his crew of two and sporting a long coat, holding a large coffee mug, while half-heartedly admonishing his kids for negotiating hard over which comic book packet they wanted. Me, after praising their cute-as-hell costumes: “Would you like a coloring book and candy or some creepy scary fingers and candy?”Tick or Treater #: “Wow! Um, I’d like a coloring book and candy!”As I hand over the loot, Trick or Treater #2 tosses out: “Wait! You don’t even like Pikachu! Give me…”Father, gesturing casually with mug while standing on the sidewalk: “Oh, no … here we go again. C’mon ***mumbles child’s name***, let’s not…”ToT#1: “But …”Me, visibly confused: “Well, you can have a … what was that, again ... you can have a Pico de Choo Whatnot … which one is it?”ToT#1 and ToT#2 fix shocked eyes on me and gasp in shock.ToT#1, speaking softly and slowly as if she’s realized that she is now standing in front of some sort of alien: “Picachu is THAT one.”I hand it over.She takes is without taking her eyes off me.Father: “Alright. Okay. Now say thank you and let’s keep this moving.”ToT#1 and ToT#2, back up slowly, mumble their thanks and then turn and run to the next house with their parent strolling along after them and shouting behavior expectations.I closed the door and shared the story with C-Money who explained that Pikachu is a very popular Pokémon.Blink.I learn something new every day, y’all. Every damn day.[...]



Happy Halloween!

2017-10-31T11:01:55.010-05:00

Zelda Bear and Lars DawgHalloween devil and angel costumes2017I love this time of year, y'all! I love the chill in the air, the sounds of leaves crunching under my feet when I walk Ms. Zelda Bear, and the smell of wood burning in fireplaces at night. And yay, we also get to visit with neighborhood kids tonight as they trick or treat!In keeping with the St. Louis, Missouri tradition, we will be asking for jokes at the door. Last year’s crop of kids had some great jokes, so I’m hopeful that kids bring their A game again tonight. I hope y’all have a safe and candy filled Halloween! Lars Dawg and Zelda Bear will have to settle for biscuits …[...]



A quick update …

2017-10-30T12:50:21.477-05:00

***blows dust off blog ... cough and sneeze ... blink and then prepare to share***Shall we?Longtime readers know that my sister and I share guardianship of our older brother who has autism. Bill is doing great, thank the goddess. Over the past several years, we’ve managed to patch together a weekly routine and residential plan that he truly enjoys. He’s in a good place. Medicaid and our beloved father’s Social Security death benefit make this good place possible. We cover dental expenses and extras, but the cost of providing necessary care for a 47-year-old man is not something our family can float on our own. Knowing that in our new political reality is a terrifying thing, especially now.Like millions of other people, I’ve been dealing with the fallout from last year’s election. I’ve been juggling work and tons of related travel with time with calls to Congress followed by calls to my state legislature followed by calls to my brother’s community program administrators followed by calls to my brother’s residential team followed by more calls to Congress all balanced off by tightly scheduled time-slots reserved for staring blankly at a random spot on the floor.God bless that random spot on the floor. I seriously look forward to staring at it hard after sharing why Medicaid cuts are a horrible idea with half the damn Senate.***pause … raise glass and salute random spot on the floor … continue***This is our new reality. We share it, give or take a few specific details, with millions of other people. Somehow that is both comforting and alarming as hell.Also ...What most of y’all don’t know is that my sibling-based family now has an additional concern. Earlier this year, our 76-year-old mother required placement in a skilled nursing facility. We’re not sure what’s going on, but it may be dementia or something along those lines. Whatever it is, she is no longer able to live on her own nor is she able to live with family. My mother requires skilled care … and, as we already know, care requires funding. So, I added another name to my script, edited it to include Medicare, and continued to call Congress and my state legislature and then Congress again and again and again because they keep playing politics with Medicaid and Medicaid and Social Security again and again and again. This new role is complicated. I’ve been estranged from my mother for over a decade. Estrangement was a hard move to make, but it was the right one for me. Trust that it took a lot of inner work for me to decide that participating in organizing her care and advocating for its funding was the right thing for me to do too. But I arrived there and now here we are.***pause … take a big breath … continue***Yep, here we are.That’s what I’ve been up to in my personal life. Check out Reproaction.org for more information on what I’ve been up to on the work side of things. Stay tuned for bitchitude ...[...]



It is not possible to support the prolife movement and be a feminist...

2017-04-19T09:38:14.179-05:00

I've been busy, busy, BUSY!Resistance work is demanding, y'all.One of my recent activities was to participate in a panel at Catholic University in DC on whether prolife people can be feminist. It was a fascinating look at the friction between the prolife movement and those folk who are at odds with many of the prolife movement's regressive policies...but really dig those policies that seek to shame, manipulate, and control women.Blink.Anyhoo, I want to correct one thing I said during the discussion. While attempting a clever response to panelists critique of a Teen Vogue article on how folk can support someone who has had an abortion, I had a verbal malfunction and said something along the lines of Teen Vogue gets things wrong.Lawd!Teen Vogue gets so much RIGHT and I'll gladly write that 100 times on a chalk board to atone for getting that response SO DAMN WRONG. Just look at all of these Teen Vogue articles getting shit right!Whew.Anyhoo...My opening remarks are below and you can check out a video of the discussion here.I would like to thank Catholic University for inviting me to participate on this panel. As a Missourian who grew up hearing Missouri native and infamous anti-feminist Phyllis Schlafly rail against feminism as a threat to families and peace on earth, I must admit to a certain measure of surprise that people who identify as prolife are seeking inclusion in the feminist movement. I’ve been a reproductive justice organizer and activist for over a decade, so very little shocks me anymore. This one gave me pause.Feminism is an action agenda to secure the social, economic, and political equality of women. The prolife movement seeks to deny women access to abortion, birth control, fertility treatments, give employers the right to deny coverage for the full spectrum of reproductive healthcare, and defund reproductive healthcare providers. In Missouri, the prolife movement has even pushed legislation that would require a woman get permission from a man to gain access to abortion. In its quest to make abortion illegal and criminalize providers and the women who have abortions by any means necessary, the prolife movement has aligned with regressive politicians who seek to limit access to the vote, push legislation like Stand Your Ground that has denied countless mothers the right to raise their children in safe communities, dismantle and block access to healthcare that would dramatically improve deplorable maternal and infant mortality rates, not to mention provide funding for programs that enable people with disabilities and seniors to live and participate in our communities. Prolife has lifted-up politicians who promote immigration policies that define babies as “anchors” and mothers as “illegal” opportunistic hustlers, and who are moving to destroy environmental protections that will impact the health and safety of future generations.I live in a city where a 13-year-old child was legally shot dead for ruffling through a car, where Mike Brown was murdered, and where a Black mother named Anna Brown died in agony on a jailhouse floor for having the audacity to seek emergency care without insurance coverage. I live in a region caught in the consequences of the prolife agenda, where there are neighborhoods with an infant mortality rate that is worse than some developing countries, like Uzbekistan and Vietnam. There’s a mandatory 72 hour waiting period for abortion, one provider left in the state, and over 30 bills to further restrict access moving in the legislature, but Black babies are four times more likely to die in their first year than white babies, Black mothers are three times more likely to die after or during childbirth, but we can’t get a hearing on expanding healthcare coverage to try and improve those numbers because the legislature can’t be bothered.No, one cannot be prolife and be a feminist too.I can appreciate the attraction of feminism as women seek [...]



Pondering happiness and joy in times of struggle…

2017-03-09T07:30:59.414-06:00

I recently attended the Rockwood Leadership Institute’s Art of Leadership training. This year I’m honored to be a Rockwood Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice fellow (yay!), so odds are I’ll be sharing some of my experiences along the way. Anyhoo, the Art of Leadership training was amazing and I got a lot out of it. As I listened to leaders from various progressive movements share their vision for the future, I was struck by how amazing the world will be when they accomplish their goals.  These leaders are building the kind of world I long to live in! That got me thinking about movement history, how all too often activists neglect to share our vision for the future, and that it’s important to infuse happiness and joy into our work along the way.Shall we?Longtime readers know that I’m a huge fan of the civil rights documentary Eyes on the Prize. I watch it often, and my favorite segment covers the Montgomery Bus Boycott. I love listening to regular folk, many of them women, discuss how they organized the logistics of helping people navigate their daily lives for over a year without using public transportation. I’ve always been amazed by footage from the many mass meetings that took place at churches throughout the campaign. People sang songs, encouraged each other…after a long day of work, folk would go to the mass meetings and get fired up, y’all.Tis easy to focus on the daily act of boycotting public transportation…on the harsh backlash from employers, politicians, and the police…but the emotional fuel for that work came from joyful mass meetings.Which brings me to the present…to our current national, state, and local nightmares…and why we need happiness and joy now more than ever.I went to bed stressed about the move by politicians to essentially dismantle Medicaid through block grants, a move that will put a lot of people’s healthcare access at risk. I woke up this morning to news that Trump has instructed his minions to slash billions from Housing and Urban Development funding…a move that threatens access to affordable housing for millions of seniors, poor families, and people with disabilities.   Activists must now face down a powerful political force intent on using government as a weapon against the most vulnerable in our communities.I’m worried about how these budget cuts will impact my older relatives…and I’m beyond anxious about how these cuts will impact my older brother’s quality of life and level of care. My brother has autism and, like millions of people with disabilities, relies on Medicaid and food assistance and housing assistance. The margin between making it all work and absolute chaos is very thin for my family.Sigh.This is going to suck. This fight is personal and important, and it is going to be hard. Now, more than ever, I intend to prioritize happiness and joy. I’m taking more walks. St. Louis is beautiful right now, with flowers blooming and happy dogs getting their canine on in parks. I’m making space to spend quality time with my brother and sister. We do dinner on Sundays…something yummy, soda pop, a KitKat bar or cookies or both, followed by a quick walk down the street where by brother lives. Ah, there it is!Happiness radiating from my brother’s face as he signs KitKat with us, as he hums some song that sounds very Stevie Wonderish, as he pauses mid-walk to exclaim his joy over the soda pop in his hand.That's my fuel. So, let’s dance before we march.Shit, let's dance while we march!Let’s sing and hug and make art and enjoy the good people who we get to take action with.I wish you happiness and joy......and hugs and laughter and something yummy too.Happy Thursday.[...]



Trump's Address to Congress Preparedness List of Needed Things...

2017-02-28T10:14:23.406-06:00

Donald Trump is fixin to address a joint session of Congress tonight. This comes after he fed the political press with distractitude about how President Obama is behind leaks and recent protests at congressional town halls.Blink.It’s been clear from jump that myth of Trump The Fighter requires an active enemy at all times. He’s settled on the press for now…but the clock is ticking on his relationship with Congress, and that’s why this speech is important. Some may say that Trump has a lot riding on his relationship with Congress…on keeping members onboard and such…but I think Congress has more at stake here. After a week of hearing from the masses at town hall, members are now weighing the pluses and minuses of being on Team Trump against the potential political payback. Either way, the odds of Trump getting through this speech without letting his inner Yeti out are slim to none. Let’s jump on in!ABB’s Preparedness List of Needed Things for Trump’s Speech to Congress…Pre-speech happiness…Now, more than ever, it is important to prioritize happiness and joy in life. Even as we resist, we’ve got to season each day with healthy doses of what we’re fighting for. I’m in this for justice…for the human right to live in communities free of oppression and violence…and for the happiness and joy that comes with that shit.Tonight’s pre-speech happiness is all about sea otters. What?I adore otters! They have cut faces and cuddle with each other and there are tons of pictures and videos of them being happy and doing happy things online. I plan to indulge in 30 minutes of otter-based happiness prior to the speech.***pause…consider…continue***Okay, it’ll probably be an hour or so of otter-based happiness…because, OTTERS!So…damn…cute.Comfort food and school-night beverage consumption…Okay, so I’m currently in love with a local St. Louis restaurant and food truck called Guerrilla Street Food.  They cook up yumtastic Filipino-inspired street food…and I plan to score some tonight. These nice folks make magic with calamansi, hoisin, sriracha, fried garlic, scallions!Yum.So, I’ve gotta have a vodka cran or two to compliment that…but it’s also a school night, so I’m skipping bingo and opting instead for a 1-to-1 ratio of vodka-based drinks and water.I wish my Girl Scout cookies were in.A cookie-based bingo game would be fantabulous and wouldn’t mess me up on a school night!***adds cookies to shopping list***Post-speech comfort and joy…We gonna be alright…...as long as we take care, give comfort, and get our joy on.I find Trump’s voice and speaking style as grating as he is boorish, so I like to detox from exposure with some dawg time. Longtime readers may not know that Betsey the sorta-beagle and Theo the Baymaster passed on awhile back. They are truly missed. My newish canine companion is not a sorta-beagle.***gasp***I know! I went into the APA looking for two sorta-hounds from the website and came out with a large sheepdog…maybe a Kuvasz or Great Pyr mix…so not a hound. Her name is Zelda Bear and she’s a very sweet, bark loving, fur shedding, sassy large dog. Zelda loves to cuddle and get rubs…and I plan to wrap up the evening with some fluffy dog time followed by reading trash fiction until I pass out. A final note…If you’re living in the states but haven’t watched the state of the state address from your state’s governor, get to it. Trump is fascinating and he loves attention and blah, blah, blah. But politics is local, and whatever comes out of his mouth tonight must be weighed against what came out of your governor’s mouth too. State of the state speeches are often available online, or check out coverage in your local papers. Do it……and then watch another otter video to sooth your nerves.***wink***[...]



Reviving the fine art of bitchitude…

2017-02-23T10:38:37.714-06:00

I’ve been away from this blog for a minute, tackling all manner of offline challenges and getting a new direct action organization formed to increase access to abortion and advance reproductive justice off the ground. You can check out Reproaction here…and here…and here! Anyhoo, the last year has been one heck of a wild ride. Coming out of November, I honestly pondered putting this blog on ice...mostly because I was actually too full of rage to put my thoughts together in any coherent form. Anger can be productive, but rage tends to make me either shut down or say, do, and/or obsess over stuff that isn’t helpful.I put together a list of all the reasons why I should shut the blog down...and then I realized all the reasons why I should start blogging again.I've been blogging here for 12 years (gasp) and I've come to realize that this space is what it has always been…a spot for me to rant, reflect, ponder, and share. And that’s a good thing to have at my disposal now that it looks like we’re in for two to four years of absolute bullshit in the midst of the largest outbreak of no-home-training I’ve ever witnessed.So, yeah…a bitch is back.***pause…sip morning coffee out of nifty new Spiderman mug…continue***Let’s kick this revival off with a quick reflection.Last November, America shat the bed.I mean really shat the bed...shit all over the place, from state to national and some local elections…a real poo-based election result mess. Yes, the Russians likely got their tinker/tailor/soldier/spy on. Yes, voter suppression played a role.And yes, many people decided to vent frustration with the system by voting against business as usual. The end result is a bed full of boo…and no one can say they didn’t see that shit coming.I’ll save my thoughts on how voters place far too much focus on national politics and need to look closer to home for answers to why stuff ain’t working the way it should for another day. For well over a year, Donald Trump told voters and pundits and reporters and the Twitterverse who he is…over and over and over again. What little Trump left unsaid was uncovered and revealed and discussed…over and over and over again. Now, Trump is doing exactly what he said he would do…governing with boorish disregard for tradition, ethics, the common good or basic common sense.  This is going to be painful.The sad reality is that real people will suffer the real consequences of this election for years to come. The rich will get richer, Russia will remain Russia, Mexico won’t pay for a wall, and far too many people will learn that they got played.Now is the time to build bold strategies that will allow for the electorate to learn from this and never do this again. As I see it, the purpose is to guide the masses through the current debate over who shat the bed and what message they were trying to send...help coordinate the clean-up even though some additional shitting will likely take place throughout that process…and hopefully lead folk to a point where they realize that shitting your own bed isn’t a strong tactic to send a message to a bunch of politicians who have never and will never lay down in the same bed as your ass. Sigh. Toodles![...]



That’s a win.

2016-06-28T12:22:52.211-05:00

Congratulations go out to the activists, providers, and volunteers who worked so damn hard to defeat a horrible abortion restriction law in Texas way back in 2013, and who fought all the way to the victory at the US Supreme Court yesterday!

Way to work, people!

It is too soon to tell what impact the SCOTUS victory will have on Missouri, but I am hopeful that it provides a tool to dismantle similar anti-abortion laws here and across the country.

 Go. Fight. WIN!





Why Political Platforms Must Center the Most Marginalized People

2016-06-23T07:19:12.773-05:00

I just have to share SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective Executive Director Monica Simpson’s speech before the Democratic National Convention Platform Drafting Committee on June 17.

Monica is such a gift to the movement.

And I stand with her and SisterSong in this demand.

Folk can also check out Rewire’s reprint of Monica’s remarks: Why Political Platforms Must Center the Most Marginalized People


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Pondering what happened in the room where it happens...

2016-06-22T15:45:19.511-05:00

The Missouri Democratic Party (MDP) recently held their state convention.Some shit went down.Not old school “shit”, like back in the days of Truman when folk would fist-fight and then kick a horse. I’m talking new-school shit, when people who are new to party politics meet up with folk who could run a clinic on how to get your party politics on...and shit gets real ‘cause oil and water and all that jazz.Blink.I’ve seen Facebook posts congratulating supporters of Bernie Sanders for advancing his agenda at the Missouri state convention. I’ve browsed through pictures of smiling newly elected delegates and read blog posts breaking down how Sanders supporters organized to get what was definitely an impressive turnout that garnered significant outcomes. Some articles make it seem as if Team Sanders owned the room.I’ve seen posts from Clinton supporters too, some expressing anger and frustration, others resigned to what went down.Across the board, folk seem excited to move forward to the DNC.But the thing is...and you just knew there was a thing...I’ve also been flooded with emails, texts, calls, and GChats (Lawd, give me strength!) expressing outrage that attendees failed to pass resolutions on abortion rights, LGBT non-discrimination, or voting rights.That got my attention.Missouri has one abortion clinic, a 72-hour mandatory waiting period for abortion, and a state legislature that has made it their goal to end abortion access. My state is a test kitchen for abortion restrictions...and no progressive worth their vote doesn’t know that.In Missouri, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people can be fired from their jobs, evicted from their homes, and denied access to public accommodations and services.And in November, Missouri voters will decide on a constitutional amendment that would require photo identification in order to vote. A study by Missouri Secretary of State Kander found that 220,000 registered Missourians don’t have photo ID. Y’all can do the math on just how devastating this poll tax dressed up to look like a ballot measure would be.If you want to know what Democratic lawmakers in Missouri end up spending too much time defending and not enough time advancing, these are on the top of the list and you can add in worker rights and freaky tax bullshit. So, yay...glad to see resolutions on new stuff and workers rights and taxes.But, seriously. WTF?When that many progressives gather in a space to elect delegates and pass resolutions that are being and will continue to be used to frame the state party’s priorities...and the gathering fails to pass resolutions supporting abortion rights, LGBT equality, and voting rights…Well.Whatever the fuck DID happen is not what could have or should have happened in the room where it happened.A Quick Note on Representation.The same logic that inspired Sanders supporters to organize around the state convention...the understanding that representation matters, no one can speak for you or advocate for your beliefs like one of you, and the concern that other folk may not prioritize your issues the way you need them to be prioritized…Yeah, that’s the same logic that makes me cringe at the fact that no people of color were selected as 2016-2020 DNC Members-Elect. And it wasn’t that people of color weren’t in the room where it happened.Nope, everyone isn't already on the same page.If I had a dollar for every time someone running for office in Missouri with a giant “D” by their name failed to give a full throated endorsement of abortion rights, I’d be able to finance photo ids for the 200,000 Missourians who may lose the vote in November.And I’m not even going to dive into the confusion, messed up strategy, and compromises made on voting rights.As for L[...]



I'm back!

2016-06-21T14:36:11.815-05:00

One of the reasons I’ve been missing in action online is that I’ve been busy as hell offline with my new organization Reproaction. I’m so excited to be part of an amazing team dedicated to building a culture of direct action to increase access to abortion and advance reproductive justice!

But I've missed y'all. And I've missed practicing the fine art of bitchitude.

So, yeah...I'm back.

I'm working on a post for tomorrow, but until then...

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SOTU 2016 Preparedness…

2016-01-12T15:11:19.092-06:00

Y’all, I’ve been missing from the internets because I’ve been hard at work getting my new gig Reproaction up and running. I’m amazed at what we’ve been able to accomplish in just eight months! So exciting.Now that life has settled into a more predictable rhythm, I’ve decided to dusted off my keyboard and get my bitchitude on again. Shall we?  Tonight is President Obama’s final State of the Union address. Time has flown! It seems like just yesterday Rep. Joe Wilson was indulging in a public display of no-home-training by shouting nonsense, and now here we are in 2016 about to witness Obama’s final SOTU. Amazing.I'll be watching from the comfort of my cozy living room...with some yummy snacks and beverages too. Sadly, my beloved sorta-beagles have gone on to their blessed reward in dawg heaven. My new canine companion, Miss Zelda Bear, is a large 2 year-old Kuvasz-ish fluffy sweet-faced joy. This is probably Zelda’s first SOTU, so I plan to make it exciting for her by giving her a bone to chew.The current plan is to fry up some catfish and gather up a salad. Oh, and there will be vodka cocktails too.***rubs hands together in glee***Let the games begin! Toodles.[...]



Let me know when we get to laugh and shake our heads...

2015-09-08T16:12:13.679-05:00

Full disclosure: I was a constituent of former Missouri State Senator Jeff Smith. In 2009, Smith resigned from office, pled guilty to obstructing justice, and went to jail. Now he’s back with a new book.Let’s jump right on in, shall we?I haven’t read Jeff Smith’s new book, but I did struggle through his recent piece in Politico. I can share that the wince-worthy title ‘The Senator Be Embezzling’ should be taken as warning to readers that they are about to read some seriously entitled spin lightly seasoned with an indictment of the prison industrial complex. “The final stop was the counselor’s office. He was a compact, sandy-haired man wearing a light blue shirt and a wispy mustache. He flipped through my presentencing report, pausing briefly to absorb the case summary and shook his head. “This is crazy,” he said quietly, without looking up. “You shouldn’t be here. Complete waste of time. Money. Space.”Exactly, I thought. Finally, someone agreed with me. But now, it was too late."‘The Senator Be Embezzling’ - PoliticoI was pretty damn disgusted with Jeff Smith back in 2009. His fall from grace was only remarkable in that it was so damn pathetic and avoidable. In 2004, Smith had captivated thousands with his run for Congress. Somewhere along the way, Smith’s Congressional campaign coordinated on a now infamous mailing. The FCC eventually received a complaint about the mailing. Smith lost the 2004 Congressional race, went on to win a state Senate seat, and he ultimately pled guilty when his obstruction of justice in the investigation of the mailing finally caught up with his ambition. Pathetic…."The postcard dropped in the campaign’s last week. It was a 3x5 picture of my opponent on a milk carton. “MISSING: RUSS CARNAHAN,” it read, and in tiny print detailed his absenteeism. The design was totally amateurish—a joke, really. We laughed and shook our heads."‘The Senator Be Embezzling’ - Politico...but not exactly a laughing matter. It's one thing for a political novice to fuck up on mailings, but Smith has a Ph.D. in political science. The same background that Smith says was wasted behind bars makes it hard to swallow the idea that he didn't know better about the mailings or the perils of lying to government investigators. I voted to send a progressive champion to the Senate. When the dust finally settled, my replacement Senator was a committee-selected establishment Democrat who sometimes dipped his toe into progressive waters. All because Jeff Smith got caught on tape doing a heinous Richard Nixon impression pondering how to pin his “amateurish” violation on a campaign worker who committed suicide in the midst of the investigation into what Smith now calls ”a joke, really.”In his Politico piece, Smith goes on to talk about how locking him up was a waste of resources and taxpayer money. I agree. I’d love to have that money, along with the money spent for the investigation, back. Maybe the proceeds from Smith’s book could go into a fund to pay for a program to help formerly incarcerated people who lack Smith’s connections and education. Or maybe we could use those proceeds to pay for midnight basketball for young people in Smith’s former Senate district.Anyhoo.Jeff Smith stands as a cautionary tale for all would-be wunderkind who lust for political power.And it also stands as a reminder that when we mess up we often do damage that isn’t easily repaired or forgiven. "Mass incarceration is driven in large part by sky-high recidivism rates, and when one contemplates the myriad obstacles to successful prisoner re-entry, one grasps that the system is not, as many claim, broken [...]



I've been writing...

2015-08-07T09:39:43.820-05:00

Hi all y'all!

Things are hectic as hell as we prepare for the official launch of Reproaction on August 19th, so I haven't had a chance to get back into the rhythm of posting my thoughts here. I do plan to dust the blog off and share more...promise. I've missed practicing the fine art of bitchitude!

Anyhoo, I have been writing.

Here's an op-ed that my Reproaction partner in crime Erin Matson and I published in Rolling Stone - Why We're Losing the Planned Parenthood Debate, and How We Can Win

And here's my latest for RH Reality Check reflecting on the anniversary of the Ferguson Uprising - One Year Later: Reflections on the Ferguson Uprising

Check 'em out!

Toodles.



What I’ve been up to offline...

2015-07-20T10:34:48.699-05:00

Hi, y’all!I’m super excited to announce that Erin Matson and I are forming a new direct action group forming to increase access to abortion and advance reproductive justice.***pause...do happy dance in office-based area...continue***Reproaction will officially launch August 19, 2015. Click our nifty new logo to get the 411 and sign up for alerts etc. Whew.Life is super busy preparing for the launch. And sadly, every damn day there are reminders of why this work is so important. Stay tuned…[...]



10 Years? Lawd, no wonder I'm tired...

2015-02-12T15:21:49.406-06:00


Happy anniversary to me!

The internets just reminded me that this blog is 10 years old today.

***Pause...sip iced green tea...continue***

And they said it'd never last.

Many thanks to Brother Rob Thurman for gifting me a blog 10 years ago...and telling me to get my write on.

I shall celebrate with a vodka cran...or two...tonight!





Give us a twirl and tell us about your outfit...

2015-01-23T14:41:25.123-06:00

Confession...I’ve been enjoying the hell out of Deflate-gate. What?At least ESPN doesn’t sound like an Dateline NBC survival story anymore! And hey, deflate-gate was just about the get boring, but then Tom Brady held that Nixonian press conference and pumped some life back into it. Had a sistah popping corn, pouring a vodka cran, and getting comfortable to watch SportsCenter!Good stuff.Anyhoo, in the midst of the mega-scandal over deflated footballs and what Tom Brady knew and when he stopped knowing it...emerged Twirlgate!Mmmhmm, some fool asked more than one woman to “twirl and tell us about your outfit” during on-court interviews at the Australian Open.I kid you not.Others have already weighed in on the sexism and "EEEEWWWWW, as if!!!" factor, but my mind immediately went to how this twisted mess would play out if it were applied during this weekend’s NHL All Star game.Just imagine...instead of the same boring kiss-ass interviews where some former hockey player asks Jonathan Toews how cool it is to be totally awesome or asks Steven Stamkos whether it is hard to be the hockey player NBC Sports announcers most want to clone...instead of that mess, the hockey talking heads could kick things off with "Can you give us a twirl and tell us about your outfit?"Or should it be "give us a spin"...cause of the ice?***cough***Whatever...it would be MAGICAL.And it'd be totally worth it just for the looks of absolute horror that would greet that mess. Maybe then...I mean, obviously we'd have to wait until after Twitter melted down from all the "Did that just happen?!?!" tweets followed by several million "Did Stamkos actually twirl for that dude?!?!?" re-tweets...but after all that settled down, maybe then we could have a discussion about why the hell something that is beyond comical to imagine going down at the NHL All Star game happens to women in professional sports.Blink.And yes, I’ll be asking everyone and their mother to give me a twirl and tell me about their outfit...at least until Tom Brady holds another press conference.......or until the Colts release video evidence that Gov. Chris Christie deflated all those footballs.Until then, happy NHL All Star weekend![...]



On why I stepped away...and why I'm back...

2015-01-22T12:58:57.771-06:00

Hi y’all.It has been forever and a day since I posted anything up on this blog. I took a step back...and it has made all the difference.See, late last year I found myself in a very negative space. Not my normal everyday bitchitude...no, this was more along the lines of the kind of negativity that fuels the wrong kind of people and inspires the wrong kind of action.I think the best way to explain it is through Father Karras from The Exorcist.Hold my hand and walk with me on this one.Father Karras was mourning the loss of his mother and questioning his dedication to the priesthood. I've been mourning the loss of...well, my sense of community. With everything that followed the killing of Michael Brown, the scab was ripped off our regional wound and all the muck expose...people I thought I knew were exposed as strangers and other folk as gleeful bigots. I was reeling not just from the loss of life and unstable nature of all things in St. Louis city...but most profoundly from the lack of humanity far too many people seemed way too comfortable expressing.And no, I’m not naive. I know that the there are a lot of people in this world who casually dismiss the pain of others. In my decade of blogging I’ve encountered tons of them. But this time it touched off something in me that I really didn’t like...it triggered a reciprocal response that dragged me down emotionally to a level I simply couldn’t tolerate. Kind of like Father Karras raging at the devil...only to find to his horror that the devil was within him.Being possessed by a negative frame of mind is NOT a good look for me, so I did what any forward thinking activist would do and took a step away. Oh, I’ve been active as hell offline. But real world interactions, even the rough ones, are often healthier than going toe-to-toe on the internets.One interesting takeaway from my brief dance with the Dark Side of The Force...once you stop seeing the humanity of others, you can justify almost anything. But that mindset isn’t empowering. It doesn’t fuel anything other than more rage and hate and dismissive blah. Twas like walking through knee-high mud, y’all!Thankfully, after I walked through that sea of blah and came out on the other side, I realized I'd re-learned one precious true thing - even as we fight, we must take care to not become what we’ve been fighting against.***pause...sip iced green tea...continue***Anyhoo, that's why I stepped away. And yes...I'm back.[...]



Thoughts, emotions, and awareness…

2014-08-18T07:31:31.692-05:00

Longtime readers know that I’m a bit addicted to the history of social justice movements. After this week, I can’t help pondering how the distance of time informs the way events are viewed. I have lived through more than my fair share of before and after events…those moments that shift everything and never fade away. Ferguson now joins that list…and the only thing I’m certain of is that nothing will ever be the same.Thoughts…Nothing like a rapidly unfolding social justice happening to remind the masses why the press matters, that black radio has a unique and important role in our community, and that citizen journalism matters.  For folk following around the world, coverage from journalists on the ground have helped them better understand what’s going on in Ferguson and how we got here.For those of us who live in the St. Louis area, many of us are grateful even as we accept the reality that this level of coverage will not hold…even as the fear of what the eyes of the world shifting away hovers over every day.For now, the whole world is watching and that is a good thing.Emotions…Last night I finally took a moment to have a serious cry.Not quiet or delicate, but ugly and intense. I let all of the emotion of the past week roll over me until my lungs hurt and my hands curled into a fist so tight my nails left marks. I needed that…even though it didn’t make it all better, even though it didn’t purge a damn thing.I just needed to release the pressure, because we’ve got another week ahead of us, and long road left to march.Awareness…Years ago, I wrote about the death of Anna Brown, a young black mother who was denied healthcare at a local hospital then arrested for trespassing only to be left to die in agony from blood clots on a jail cell floor. When I shared the post on Facebook, I also linked to an article in our daily newspaper and cautioned readers not to read the comments. One reader asked why I added that caution…why I didn’t read the comments to find out how other folk felt about the incident. And I told her that my experience was that many comments were awful, callous and cruel celebrations of oppression, assault, death or humiliation…and I added that it is extra painful, somehow more jarring, to know that the people saying horrible things are my fellow St. Louisans.Fast forward to the now…and I can’t dodge those comments. There is no filter at the grocery store, waiting at the Walgreens, reading Facebook or Twitter hashtag feeds. And its more than just a lot of opinions about the killing of Michael Brown or the events still evolving in Ferguson…there’s more here than just a difference of perspective.There is that same celebration of oppression, assault, death and humiliation that dominates the comment section of my local daily newspaper…offered up without shame sometimes by people I’ve known for years.This past week I’ve seen the best of many and the worst of more than I would have predicted.Kind of sums up the whole happening that is Ferguson – our best and worst, our accomplishments and our failings, what we are getting right and what we need to fix, and why we can’t all just agree to disagree then move on as if nothing happened.So…Ferguson is now on my list of before and after happenings……and the only thing I’m certain of is that nothing will ever be the same. [...]



Meanwhile, in Missouri…

2014-08-14T07:07:22.955-05:00

Hi, y’all.I’ve been busy offline, but you had to know that I’d be back to write about the events taking place in my hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. Last night, Ferguson was filled with more protests…more teargas, rubber bullets, and the violent arrest of at least two journalists and one St. Louis city Alderman. As I write this, Alderman Antonio French is still being held in a Ferguson jail.I woke up this morning pondering one of my favorite quotes… “Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forgetfalls drop by drop upon the heartuntil, in our own despair, against our will,comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.” ― AeschylusShall we?I am a St. Louisan. I grew up here…left for college as soon as my ass could…and then I moved back in my 30’s to be close to my family.St. Louis is my home…all of it…the good, the bad, and the ugly.This past Saturday, 18 year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson, Missouri police officer. Ferguson is a suburb of St. Louis city, just north of where I live. Michael Brown was unarmed. Witnesses report that he had his hands up and told the police that he did not have a gun…and then he was shot dead. What has followed the killing of Michael Brown is a public demonstration of oppression – racism, abuse of power, denial of the right to assemble, and denial of freedom of the press, all wrapped up in one horrific happening.I’m disgusted…alarmed, fearful, and angry.  But I am not surprised. This level of disdain and disrespect aimed at certain communities within the metro area ain’t breaking news for folk who live here. Thisis business as usual.This is our America. Where people of color are harassed for walking down neighborhood streets… Where far too many of those charged to protect and serve call us animals, pull us over for the crime of driving while black, use teargas against peaceful demonstrators, and muster in our neighborhoods prepared to shoot first and then play the odds that no one will bother with questions later. It is important to note that St. Louis County and Ferguson authorities are well aware that the whole world is watching.They know that national and international journalists are on the ground covering this story. Yet, here we are…watching unarmed residents confronted by teargas, tanks, rubber bullets…tools used by a ragtag wanna-be army of police officers against the very population whose tax dollars pay their salary.A lot of people are asking…if this is what the police do when the whole world is watching, what do they do when they think no one is watching?The answer? They do whatever the hell they want to do.After watching what has followed the shooting of Michael Brown, it isn’t hard to believe that a police officer approached two teens walking home without cause…it isn’t a stretch to believe that the shooting that followed was an overreaction, because it appears that hyper-aggressive overreactions are par for the course in Ferguson.The takes us back to this being business as usual…to a history of unchecked authority, escalating harassment, and a total lack of accountability.People are angry. We’ve been angry. We expect the killing of Michael Brown to go unanswered by a system unfamiliar with justice. Folk are condition to anticipate another sorta-investigation…another sensational trial (if there is a trial), complete with a strategic change of location to anywhere but North County and an artfully selected jury that will then hand down yet[...]



What I’ve been up to…

2014-05-20T11:02:31.873-05:00

Hi, y’all!I know, I know…I’m the worst.I’ve been gone forever and a day, but I’ve got a good excuse!I was working to protect regular folk from wretched policies being foisted upon my beloved Missouri by über-conservatives and their in-state minions.Blink.No, really.Anyhoo, I’m back. Shall we?Shark-Fu’s quick review of a few of the horrible proposals passed this session…#1 The failure to pass Medicaid Expansion…and why there’s a special place in hell for people who support taking a dumb ass stand…The Missouri legislature failed to pass Medicaid expansion…again. Because…um…freedom?Yep, apparently the “brave” wanna-be patriots who killed Medicaid expansion this time are dedicated to defending the right to die from lack of access to health care.Hundreds of people will die due to lack of access to healthcare…access that the legislature had the opportunity to extend and chose not to because they hate Obama more than they love their fellow Missourians.This shit would be amusing…if we weren’t two years in on a life and death situation.The fight continues...#2 Tis like watching a 10-vehicle car wreck in super slow motion…all the while knowing that the very people elected to prevent shit triggered the “accident” like this…In a move that Missouri will likely suffer from for years, if not decades, to come…wince…the Missouri legislature passed a massive tax cut that will benefit rich folk while leaving average Missourians with a devastating financial crisis.One need only look west to Kansas for proof that politicians can make all kinds of promises…but tis reality that comes knocking on the door when bad proposals become law.I’m particularly concerned with the ripple effect of this mess. The immediate impact will be to schools…but pretty soon Missouri’s lack of income will hit programs that my autistic brother depends on.Heck, we haven’t seen an increase in SNAPS funding in a decade…he qualifies for several really cool programs but transportation for stuff like that hasn’t been funded for years, so…And now they’re taking more money out of an already underfunded system, and…I just can't bring myself to imagine what's left to cut. I know I'll have to soon. We've only got two years to plan for this mess, but...damn it.Let's continue...#3 The same folk who sleep well having denied thousands of Missourians access to heath care costing hundreds of lives in the name of less government, also decided to shove government all up in people’s lives by tripling the mandatory waiting period for abortion…I had the honor of leading the communications crew for the Women’s Filibuster in Jefferson City last week. It was a truly amazing experience, seeing my fellow Missourians stand up and speak truth to power…and we all drew strength from the support we received from all over the world. The legislature passed a bill that triples the mandatory waiting period for abortion care in Missouri.  So, we stood at the Capitol and conducted a citizen’s filibuster for 72 hours…from Monday at 2pm until Thursday at 2pm.  They passed the bill, but we hope Governor Nixon will veto it.  Because, freedom.Stay tuned, friends![...]



On a disturbingly regular basis...

2014-02-16T08:34:23.888-06:00

You know that scene in the movie Love Actually?The one where Emma Thompson goes into the bedroom she shares with her husband, after having found proof that he’s likely cheating on her, and collects herself so that she can go to the Holiday event at her children’s school without freaking them the hell out?I repeat a scene much like that…on a pretty regular basis.Not because I’m in a relationship with someone who is unfaithful.Or maybe I am…in a way.I repeat that scene…a deliberate pause, tears threatening and heart pumping, followed by a visible resolve to soldier through despite the pain…on a disturbingly regular basis, because I live in a country where a black man is seen as a threat simply for being a black man.Longtime readers know a bit about my brother…that he is the older of my two older siblings and he has autism. He is aphasic, and he makes loud funky noises…he gets excited when he likes a song and he twirls and dances.  He looks “normal”…a lot younger than his 43 years, but still “normal” in presentation if not behavior.So, I know that his behavior could get him beat up or shot.He likes to look in car windows.He doesn’t understand “the rules.”He likes people…and the smell of freshly washed hair or French fries on someone’s plate.We work on it with him…we watch him closely.Because we live in a country where black men get shot and killed for seeking help after a car accident…or refusing to turn down music…or walking home after going to the corner store.I don’t know how to guide him.I just don’t know what to do!Do I tell him to seek help if he gets lost?Do I tell him to find a police officer?What will happen when he can’t speak or explain?Will strangers try to understand?Or will they open fire and ask questions later?And so, on a regular basis…at least once a week, and sometime more often than that…I find myself in the bathroom preparing to go to work and I pause to grab the counter, take several deep breathes and then smoothing my hands down the front of my outfit.I breathe in.Exhale.Repeat.Because I have to go about my day despite the anxiety and fear.I don’t want to become that sister who won’t approve any community outings. I've come up with this ritual so that my brother can have some semblance of a life despite the world we live in and the dangers it presents.Breath in.Exhale.Grab car keys…tell self to move forward.Walk, damn it.Drive.Get out of car.Smile.Greet others.Please, please, please…oh, please.Log on and check email.Lord, I give him up to you…again…always.Work.At least once a week, and lately far more often than that.Sigh.So much has changed and so much remains the same."In thinking of America, I sometimes find myself admiring her bright blue sky—her grand old woods—her fertile fields—her beautiful rivers— her mighty lakes, and star-crowned mountains. But my rapture is soon checked, my joy is soon turned to mourning. When I remember that all is cursed with the infernal spirit of slaveholding, robbery and wrong,— when I remember that with the waters of her noblest rivers, the tears of my brethren are borne to the ocean, disregarded and forgotten, and that her most fertile fields drink daily of the warm blood of my outraged sisters, I am filled with unutterable loathing, and led to reproach myself that any thing could fall from my lips in praise of such a land. America will not allow her children to love he[...]



RIP Betsey the Sorta-Beagle...

2014-01-30T13:35:49.935-06:00

It is my sad duty to report that Betsey the sorta-beagle, my beloved pet-companion for over a decade, passed away yesterday morning. She was 15 years old. Longtime readers will remember Betsey as a badass bundle of joy who often kept me centered when all things were anything but balanced.Our house is a little too quite without the click of her nails on the floor, the strangely soothing rhythm of her loud as hell snoring while napping, or the sharp clap of her outraged bark when the mail comes through the slot. She will be dearly missed. If you are so inclined, please donate to Stray Rescue of St.Louis in her honor. Adopting a rescue dawg was one of the best decisions I ever made in life...and I encourage anyone who is considering adding a pet to your family to do the same.  Betsey was two years old when she joined our family and, since she was far from perfect, she fit right in! Many thanks to the wonderful staff at Hillside Animal Hospital for their loving care and support over the years and during Betsey's final moments. And special thanks to my sister C-Money for everything. Rest in peace, happiness, and endless joy, Betsey the sorta-beagle! Forever in my heart...always.[...]