Friday, September 28, 2007

It's looking like gender identity will be removed from ENDA

ENDA hits snag over transgender inclusion
HRC 'did not assent' to dropping gender identity provision
By LOU CHIBBARO JR. | Sep 26, 4:57 PM

House Democratic leaders are strongly considering dropping anti-discrimination protections for transgender persons from the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA, after an internal Democratic head count on Wednesday found that the bill would likely be defeated if it included the trans provision, multiple sources familiar with the bill said.

The current version of the bill calls for banning employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, terms that are defined in the measure to include gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender persons.

As of late Wednesday, it appeared likely that the trans provision would be removed, setting up a potentially divisive fight within gay activist circles over whether or not to support an ENDA bill that excludes trans people.

Human Rights Campaign board members reportedly met on Thursday to discuss the situation and to debate whether or not it would support a revised ENDA that does not include trans protections.

HRC spokesperson Brad Luna declined to comment on any meetings that might be held, but did issue a statement to the Blade.

"The indication we are getting from the Hill is that the leadership will possibly move forward with a new version of ENDA that does not offer explicit protections for gender identity," Luna said. "HRC is deeply disappointed and did not assent to this position. In fact, HRC has been and continues to be on the front lines actively and exhaustively advocating for an inclusive piece of legislation protecting all members of our community."

"We are consulting with our friends in the community and allies on the Hill about our next course of action," Luna added.

The leader of one of the nation’s most prominent transgender rights groups expressed strong skepticism on Wednesday over reports that support for the transgender provision was eroding.

“I do think we have the votes to pass this bill,” said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. “We’re getting down to the wire, and whenever you get close to a vote on an important bill like this, some people always get worried.”

Keisling and other gay and transgender rights leaders have been telling their members that ENDA enjoys widespread, bipartisan support and predicted it would pass the House, with some expecting a more difficult effort in the Senate.

Members of nine gay rights groups issued several press releases Thursday in response to the news. They demanded more time to secure a transgender-inclusive ENDA.

"If the question is shoring up support for the bill as it stands, the answer is to give us more time, not to leave a part of our community behin," said Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

Sources familiar with House Democratic leaders, including Speaker of the House

Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), said problems arose suddenly during the past week when a number of Democratic House members expressed objections to the transgender provision.

The transgender objections surfaced shortly after Pelosi and House Democratic leaders agreed to a request by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops to broaden the bill’s exemption for certain religious institutions that act as employers, the sources said.

“There has been an unraveling of the bill in the last week,” said a lobbyist familiar with the situation, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“We’re hearing that Speaker Pelosi is very worried about how the gender identity issue will play on the floor,” the lobbyist said.

The lobbyist and other sources said Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer

(D-Md.), among other Democratic leaders, expressed concern that the defecting Democrats would help Republicans garner enough votes to pass a motion either deleting the transgender language from the bill or recommitting the bill to committee, which effectively would kill the entire bill.

“The speaker is committed to passing the strongest possible ENDA bill,” said

Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s press secretary.

A decision to drop the transgender language from the bill was expected to cause a split in the coalition of civil rights groups that have lobbied for ENDA for more than a decade.

Two of the largest gay civil rights groups, HRC and the Task Force, have said they would not support ENDA if it doesn’t include a transgender provision. The Task Force was among the first gay rights groups to call for including a trans provision in ENDA.

In 2004, HRC changed its position from opposing a trans provision, on grounds that it would hurt ENDA’s chances of passing, to one of opposing the entire bill unless its congressional sponsors added a trans clause. HRC’s change of position took place shortly after transgender activists staged a protest outside the HRC offices in Washington and threatened to urge supporters to stop contributing money to the group.

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who is gay, said Pelosi called for an official “whip” count of all Democratic House members at the request of Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), a lesbian. Frank and Baldwin are the only openly gay members of Congress.

Frank said Baldwin called for the count after learning that House Democrats had expressed concern that a growing number of their colleagues might join Republicans to vote against ENDA if it included a transgender provision.

Baldwin did not immediately respond to a request by the Blade for comment.

Frank said Pelosi made the decision to call for the whip count Wednesday morning during a meeting in her office with Frank, Baldwin, Hoyer and Reps. George Miller (D-Calif.), chair of the Committee on Education and Labor, which has jurisdiction over ENDA, and Robert Andrews (D-N.J.), chair of the subcommittee that recently held a hearing on ENDA.

Frank said that if the whip count found that ENDA could not pass with a transgender provision, he would strongly urge Pelosi and his Democratic colleagues to move the bill to the House floor without a trans provision, with the intent of introducing a separate transgender bill at a later date.

“I think the notion that we should let the whole bill die if we can’t pass [a] transgender [provision] is a terrible idea,” Frank said. “It’s exactly the opposite of what the civil rights movement always did,” he said, noting that legislation protecting other minorities, such as women, the disabled and Latinos, came about incrementally over a period of years.

Dave Noble, director of public policy and government affairs for the National Gay &

Lesbian Task force, said the group remains confident the House would pass ENDA in its current form.

“Any speculation about amendments that have not yet been proposed is incredibly premature and, frankly, a distraction that’s not helpful to the efforts to line up the last votes we need to pass this bill,” he said.

Keisling said she has yet to learn the name of a single House Democrat who had expressed support for ENDA and who is now changing his or her mind because of the transgender provision.

She noted that many supporters worried about the ability to pass a hate crimes bill with a transgender provision earlier this year, especially after anti-gay groups denounced the trans provision as a recipe for promoting “cross dressing” and “she-males.”

The House passed the hate crimes bill by a comfortable margin. Supporters said the Senate was expected to vote on the bill this week in the form of an amendment to a defense authorization bill.

“I just think that all this speculation is, in fact, nothing but speculation,” she said. “The LGBT community is speaking clearly that we want ENDA passed. And every one of the Democratic presidential candidates has said they support ENDA as written. All of the sponsors have signed on to ENDA as it is currently written,” she said.

“All we’re asking as LGBT people is don’t fire us,” she said. “Speculation about what people might be speculating, about what other people might do, just doesn’t make any sense to me,” she said.

As of Wednesday night, House sources reported that the whip count conducted by House Democratic leaders indicated Republican opponents would likely have enough support from Democrats to kill the bill if it includes a transgender clause.

According to the sources, Pelosi and her Democratic leadership team would likely direct Democrats on the Committee on Education and Labor to delete the transgender provision in a markup hearing expected to be held within the next week.

Even without a trans provision, some Capitol Hill observers have said the bill, while expected to pass in the House, would likely encounter a filibuster in the Senate, requiring supporters to line up 60 votes to pass it.

If the bill clears that hurdle, observers say, it remains unclear whether President Bush would sign or veto it. Should the president veto the bill, as he has said he will do with the hate crimes measure, the bill would likely be shelved until 2009, following the November 2008 congressional and presidential elections.

Frank has predicted that the election of a Democratic president and a larger Democratic majority in the House and Senate would ensure passage of several key gay rights proposals, including ENDA, the hate crimes bill, and the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy on gays in the military.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Opal Awards

From Faith Dickinson

On October 16 Women In Film and Media, a local non-profit organization, will be hosting their first Opal Awards to honor women who have made a difference in Pittsburgh film and television. The event, which will be held at the Cabaret at Theatre Square in the Cultural District, will begin at 5:00 pm with a special VIP hour complete with champagne toasts, VIP Gift bags and a silent auction like no other.

The evening will continue after the VIP Reception with a cocktail hour and then an awards program that will begin by honoring the work of Patti Burns. The Patti Burns Award will mark excellence and achievement in local television and in future years be given to a woman nominated by her peers.

Suzanne DeLaurentis, Producer of 10th & Wolfe, will be honored with an Opal Award for her work in Pittsburgh film. Suzanne has shot two films in Pittsburgh bringing nearly $10 million into the Pittsburgh area. In addition, she has encouraged other filmmakers to bring their projects to Pittsburgh.

“I love Pittsburgh and am very excited to return to accept this honor,” stated Suzanne in a recent telephone conversation. In addition to 10th & Wolfe, Suzanne filmed the majority of “Out of the Black” here.

In addition to accepting the Opal Award Tuesday evening, Suzanne has offered to conduct a seminar about her work.

Suzanne stated, “I wish I had subject matter for more films that I could shoot in Pittsburgh. I have friends in Pittsburgh, I love working with the crew in Pittsburgh and hope that I can do more work there.”

The event will benefit Women In Film and Media, their Public Service Announcement Program and various projects such as the Talking With series and sponsorship of television and film students.

For tickets, please call 412-456-6666 or go to

For information on Women In Film and Media, go to

matthew shepard act

Senate Passage of Hate Crimes Bill Moves Bill Closer Than Ever To Becoming Law


WASHINGTON– In an historic step toward equality for GLBT Americans, the U.S. Senate voted to pass the Matthew Shepard Act, which updates and expands the federal hate crimes laws to include bias motivated violence based on a victim’s sexual orientation, gender identity, gender, and disability, and provides new resources and tools to assist local law enforcement in prosecuting vicious crimes.

"For over a decade our community has worked tirelessly to ensure protections to combat violence motivated by hate and today we are the closest we have ever been to seeing that become a reality," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "Congress has taken an historic step forward and moved our country closer to the realization that all Americans, including the GLBT community, are part of the fabric of our nation. The new leadership in Congress fully understands that for too long our community has been terrorized by hate violence. And today, the US Senate has sent a clear message to every corner of our country that we will no longer turn a blind eye to anti-gay violence in America."

The Senate in a bipartisan vote of 60 to 39 accepted cloture which ended debate on the bill and then moved to approve the Matthew Shepard Act by a voice vote -- attaching it as an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2008 Department of Defense Authorization bill.

On May 3rd, the House of Representatives passed a companion bill, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act (H.R. 1592), with a strong bipartisan margin of 237 to 180. Twenty-six state Attorneys General, including 23 from states with anti-hate crimes laws already on the books, as well as 230 law enforcement, civil rights, civic and religious organizations support the Matthew Shepard Act and the LLEHCPA because, despite progress toward equality in almost all segments of our society, hate crimes continue to spread fear and violence and local law enforcement often lack the tools and resources to prevent and prosecute them. Some of these supporting organizations include the National Sheriffs Association, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 26 state attorneys general, the National District Attorneys Association, the NAACP, the Episcopal Church, the League of Women Voters, the Anti-Defamation League, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the YWCA of the USA and the United Methodist Church.

The President has threatened to veto the legislation, calling it "unnecessary." According to the FBI, 25 Americans each day are victims of hate crimes–that means approximately one hate crime is committed every hour. One in six hate crimes are motivated by the victim’s sexual orientation. It’s time to update the law to protect everyone, and this year marks our best chance yet to get it done.

"Hate crimes terrorize entire communities and violate America’s core democratic principles that all citizens are created equal and are afforded equal protection under the law," continued Solmonese. "On behalf of the millions of Americans who have waited too long for these critical protections, we urge President Bush to sign the bill when it arrives on his desk."

The hate crimes amendment was introduced by Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR). It confers authority on the federal government to investigate and prosecute crimes committed against victims solely because of their real or perceived sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, and disability when local officials are unwilling or unable to do so. It also expands existing federal hate crimes law to improve prosecution of bias-motivated crimes based on race, religious, national origin and color and provides additional resources to local law enforcement.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

i have been working for this for a long time. e-mailing, writing, pestering friends and family. i've done it,because i am a mother but more than that, i am a human being. i am not gay and i don't think of these things as gay issues. i think of them as simply the right and human things to work towards.

won't you help?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Live Blogging - The New Bionic Woman

A little lowbrow perhaps.

Eight minutes in and I'm more intrigued by the cool, pissed-off blond "old" bionic woman who just ran over Jaime with a semi. Jaime seems a bit vanilla and her BF doctor is also a bit lovey-dovey for my taste. They are having a baby and Jaime appears to be raising her younger sister.

I've been looking forward to this show since forever. I loved Lindsay Wagner as a child. I had the doll and the dog, Max. I tried to convince my dog, Jenny, to be bionic, but she was unwilling to really put that much effort into anything besides laying on the couch. The Bionic Woman was a highlight of my childhood television viewing.

Second segment. I'm mulling over the identity of the actress playing the quasi-evil government chick. Now the evil bionic woman seems to be connected with a mysterious man with a French accent. She's way more interesting than Jaime. Uh oh, Jaime's waking up ... and she's pissed.

Apparently, the anthracites are making her all better. Except for the hysterical screaming and weird glowy germy things crawling through her skin. She's assumed a depressed droop going into commercial.

So far, this feels more like a story about a man who "created" a woman to mimic the woman he loved rather than a woman action hero movie.

Oh, we are back. Blond quasi-evil government woman is reporting to the government big wigs. Oh she's the lady from Third Watch. The big wigs are debating if she can be "used." Apparently, there have been a whole series of Bionic women. And, apparently, the doctor boyfriend is the son of someone we should know. Maybe.

The blond lady from Third Watch is named Ruth and I really like her edgy hair. The evil woman are far more interesting on this show than the men. The Miguel Ferrer character is lecturing the doctor on ethics.

Uh oh, they just realized Jaime can ID the evil bionic woman. Boyfriend is helping her escape. She's untrusting and on the run as she escapes from the government people. Her bionic legs kick in and give us some of the silliest special effects ever. It is like she is flowing. "The illusion of freedom." More like the "delusion of a new Xena."

I'm sort of regretting passing on Criminal Minds for this.

And we're back ... pensive music, Jaime wandering around on rooftops to test her new powers only to be exhilerated when she doesn't fall. Wow. Now her younger sister (budding computer hacker) is pissed -- ah, family turmoil for the superhero. Plus, how long until the computer hacker figures out the bionic thing -- three episodes?

French guy is sitting in a cafe smoking in a non-smoking diner. Now he's forcing a prison guard to help him or Barbara gets it. wtf? The evil bionic woman is named Sarah Corviss. Oh, we just met the doctor's dad. He's in prison and has something to do with Sarah. Now Sarah is hitting on Jaime in a bar. Now Jaime uses her psychedelic eye to look around the room. Jamie has weird buggy eyes when she's playing superwoman. I think Jaime could use a few good cheeseburgers. Maybe a shake.

Here we go with the obligatory woman alone in the alley scene. Sigh. Why, oh why? From "Here baby I've got what you need" to "Please don't kill me." Dear God -- have we left any cliche unturned?
  • Motherhood v career -- if you want to be bionic, you can't have the baby and you will forever doubt your ability to successfully parent (in this case, your sister).
  • It takes an entire team of men to control one powerful woman. They have to resort to emotional manipulation. It works.
  • It is always good girls versus bad girls. Always. Only the men are nuanced (except they really aren't).
  • Rain. Post-coital conversation. Blah.
  • "Technolory is at the point where science fiction isn't fiction anymore."
  • "Welcome to the game."
  • "If we do this, we do it on my terms."

Sarah (evil bionic woman" just shot Will (he got to have bionic sex first). Sarah can't shoot the hot Asian guy who was her lover before the French guy (good grief -- doesn't anyone use a name). Jaime is hunting Sarah. Now it is a girl-fight. With cigarettes. Sarah has more bionic guts, but Jaime is a newer model.

This is the worst girl fight ever. And, yes, someone fell through a glass window. They part as respected adversaries. Wanna bet Sarah kidnaps little sis one day soon?

Jaime watches Will drive away in an ambulance. Now she's tough.

Bonus -- Isaiah "Fag" Washington plays a recurring character!

This show is such a trainwreck it makes Linday Wagner's mattress-by-the-numbers infomercials seem downright artistic. Oh, Lindsay!

It almost makes me wish I had cable.

Post-Gazette Hosting Mayoral Debate

Date: Oct. 9

Time: 7 – 8:30 p.m.

Venue: Heinz History Center, Strip District.

Free, call to register: 412-263-1451

Program: P-G editorial writers Tom Waseleski, Reg Henry, Dan Simpson, Tony Norman and Susan Mannella will ask questions.

Audience may submit questions in advance to:

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

underwhelming: Police Dept./Domestic Violence ordinance

I am, again, underwhelmed by our city's government. I sent the following to Rich Lord

One of the most important duties of local government is to insure the safety of residents in their homes and neighborhoods. There is no crime more heinous than being attacked in one’s own home by a spouse/partner who is employed by the Police Department. What a betrayal of the “Protect and Serve” motto.

The recent Post Agenda meeting held in Council Chambers was sparked by the June police promotions. Now an ordinance, described as the first phase of proposed change has been presented to Council.

Unbelievable as it may sound, the ordinance doesn’t address how or if dv allegations would affect promotions. Inexplicably that will be unveiled at some future date.

The International Assn. of Chiefs of Police’s 9 page policy is being successfully implemented by PDs both big & small across this nation. It is not some useless document created by pointy headed professors in ivory towers. What is the hold up with Pittsburgh?

The ordinance will make federal law, which prohibits officers convicted of dv crimes from possessing guns, a “city policy”.

Excuse me, but doesn't U. S. federal law have to be obeyed, where applicable, by U.S. cities? Why the redundant "making it city policy"? How about they just follow the Federal LAW?

The ordinance assures us that the Police Bureau’s brass will “strongly consider” not hiring people with abusive/violent tendencies.

Wow, that’s really reassuring. Are they kidding? Any city department faced with a potential hire who has "tendencies" indicative of abusive behavior should not hire that person, period. And that
goes double for a dept. whose staff carries firearms.

I am part of the volunteer group working towards much needed change in our Police Department.

As such I want to see the PD correct itself not only on behalf of the victims of abusive officers, but also on behalf of the HUNDREDS of good officers in our PD. In my opinion we do not thank good officers enough, nor do we pay them anywhere near enough.

For their own, (understandable), reasons both victims and good cops do not/cannot speak out..

I am ever-grateful to good officers and cringe when I think of what a kick to the gut the 3 promotions in question must have been to them. I cannot fathom why so many good officers were jumped over for the promotions of the three.

As a citizen I am doing what I can to keep the light on the city & PD's leadership's lack of resolve to do the right thing. Why should all be tarnished by the criminal behavior of a few and the lack of leadership at the top?

Gloria Forouzan

Pittsburgh Resident

Run, Baby, Run founder

Monday, September 24, 2007

Going Gray - To Dye or Not?

It is a family curse for females in my maternal family ... premature gray hair. Every one of us is significantly gray in our 30s with most totally gray by 40. And it is that wiry, frizzy gray hair during your younger years -- when she entered her 50's my mother's hair turned this lovely shade of white that actually makes her look much younger than her current 64 and counting.

I've had quite a bit of gray hair since my mid-twenties. It used to look cute and frosty. Since I've been too busy/lazy to get a hair cut lately, I've caught sight of a LOT more gray hair. I look old. No wonder people often think Ledcat is my child (she's 7 years older than moi). She is young and cherubic looking. I look ... like my mother in her pre-Barbara Bush years. Gulp.

What to do? Dyeing my hair does not hold any real appeal for me. The expense. The maintenance -- I barely get it cut and dread having to get to the salon regularly for touch ups -- ugggh. The capitulation to social norms that regulate female beauty. The nagging suspicion that lathering chemicals on my scalp month after month has some link to cancer. And the big one for me - the fear that some poor rabbit or kitten was brutally tortured to make sure I have just the right shade of auburn. That would haunt me and undo every single eco-friendly bit of karma I have ever built up. Every bit. Plus ... rabbits and kittens.

Time magazine recently explore this debate (not the bunny aspect, but the rest of it) for babyboomer women --- comparing it to the working/stay at home mommy debates in its economic and social scopes. What impact does choosing to stay natural gray have on your career, even if its latter stages? What about dating and romance?

These days, choosing not to dye has become a statement rather than a casual
stylistic choice. Thus the gray wars are a bit of a grownup replay of the freaks
vs. squares and smart kids vs. populars from junior high and high school 40
years ago.

Would being a premature gray-haired dyke impact my professional life as as social worker or my future earning power as a blogger (ha ha ha!)? Do you think John McIntire will still love me?

Seriously, I am very perplexed about this. I am not a Baby Boomer -- I'm 36 years old. I see other lovely lesbians out sporting cool hair colorings and want to be that girl. This could be my opportunity to try out some new radical colors. But I know I would use a flippant "you go girl" justification to cover very real tumult about aging and appearance.

First up, I'm getting a hair cut. Pronto.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

nobel peace laureate asks for prayers

Aung San Suu Kyi

please check out this site and see if you can lend a bit of your time to do as they asked us.

i will be.

Click Here.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

From the Pittsburgh Women in Film and Media for more information about all of our events

September 25, 2007 at Pittsburgh Filmmakers - 477 Melwood Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

6:30 pm - Network and munch
7:00 pm - Discussion begins

Peter Argentine, Minette Seate, Wil Zavala and more TBA

Documentary filmmaking is a great career and the panelists will tell you their experiences working with National Geographic, Discovery Channel. They will relay their experiences regarding their travels, how they get their subject matter and much much more....

There is no charge for this event. Women In Film and Media and Pittsburgh Filmmakers are sponsoring this event.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A real hero: Prof. Randy Pausch

From the "Real American Heroes" files: Prof. Randy Pausch

Randy Pausch, 46, is a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, my undergraduate alma mater. He has incurable pancriatic cancer. He also has the best attitude of anyone else I've ever seen at that miserable school, especially this egotistical asshole.
Yesterday, he gave his final lecture to a classroom packed full of his students and his peers. In addition to wishing his wife, Jai (right), a happy birthday, he offered some of his insights into how to live a full, happy, meaningful life.......

Read the rest at

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Lost and hoping to be found...

I think I left a brand new battery charger for my camera in the City Council Building. I know that some people out there may be happier with it this way--but where's the fun in that? If anyone knows anything-- please let me know! I'll exchange it for cookies.

My e-mail is


-Agent Ska-

PA NOW Convention to be held in Pittsburgh

Pennsylvania NOW Annual Convention

October 12 – 14, 2007

Hilton Hotel, downtown Pittsburgh

Info & to register:

PA NOW is celebrating both their 35th anniversary AND the 35th anniversary of the passage of Title IX, which mandates equal access for women in education and sports programs.

Baltimore Women Rise to the Top

Rec'd in an email from the White House project

Baltimore Women Rise to the Top

In the city of Baltimore, Maryland, women have stepped up to lead. Currently, women hold the top four elected political seats: Mayor, City Council President, City Controller and Baltimore's State's Attorney. Mayor Sheila Dixon is not only the city's first female mayor, but one of just two black women heading up the country's 100 largest cities-the other is Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin. Dixon has served as the city's interim mayor since January, and recently won the Mayoral primary. She is expected to win election in November. Mayor Franklin is thrilled about seeing other African American women join the ranks. "Women are underrepresented in executive positions across America, and have been for my lifetime and hundreds of years," said Franklin. Listen to Mayor Dixon talk about leading in Baltimore at NPR or read the story in the Baltimore Sun.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Blogged to Death - Women?

h/t to PghComet

Off The Record VII: Blogged to Death
Presented by: Trust Guest Attraction
Venue: Byham Theater
Thursday, September 27, 2007, 8:00 PM
Tickets: $60, $40, $20

Journalists and performers satirize Pittsburgh news and newsmakers in comedy and song, with rebuttals from some satirized, to raise funds for Greater Pittsburgh Community Food bank.

I'm curious as to whom the "some satirized" refers ... surely, they are including at least one female blogging voice in rebuttal ... right? Maria? Agent Ska? Ms. Mon? PittGirl? Right?


Women Sponsor Mayoral Debate

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

7:30 to 9 a.m.

Duquesne Club, 325 Sixth Avenue, Downtown

$28 per person

Registration is required:

Sponsors: Executive Women's Council, Women & Girls Fdtn. & Pgh-All. Cty. Women's Commission


Don Cheadle proves himself not to be a political activist, but a human activist.

On a related note, Green Day is a great band and this is one of the best remakes of a Lennon song I've ever heard. The media critic in me wants to say I don't like the cheesy "Instant Karma" scrawled on the backdrop in the video ... and a few other things ... but this is a case where if it gets the point across ... and even then, we're so inundated with packaged video and sound bites on the news, and so much media, all the time, too much media -- I wonder if messages like these get lost, or if we are numb to them.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Alpha Girls: A Must Read

I just finished the book, Alpha Girls, written by Dan Kindlon--the author of "Raising Cain". The book was absolutely fascinating. I couldn't put it down. The dishes are piled high, my shower still awaits, and the big project my company is working on, well...the e-mails are still sitting there. Luckily, I just finished the book.

There were a couple of aspects to the book that interested me.

1. The profile of an alpha girl- what makes an "alpha girl" an alpha girl?

The profile of an alpha girl, that was given within the project methodology section, is as follows:

"School administrators were asked to choose one or two girls from each grade who met our alpha criteria--talented, high-achieving leaders."

Subquestion: are alpha girls faring better only in privileged, upper-class settings?

2. How alphas are faring in college and after college.

3. Did you know that, "In March 2005, the U.S. Congress passed a measure weakening Title IX"? (More info can be found at --according to the endnotes.)

4. The environmental impact of "EDCs" (Endocrine Disrupters) on sperm and the declining birth rate of males.

5. The difficult balance that women are still facing between work and family.

I highly recommend reading this book. Last night, as I fell asleep, I considered what it might be like if I were to truly be the breadwinner of a family. If the statistics are correct, this could easily be the case. I wouldn't really mind, unless he couldn't understand why I always needed to work (I've had this happen in the past).

I was also interested by this book because I went to The Ellis School, a place where alpha girls dominated and were encouraged to do so. My experiences after leaving Ellis have only made me more aware of the differences between alpha and non-alpha females. The reality that I had been in a rarified environment became very clear within my freshman year. It also put a lot of different worldviews that I have encountered in the past 7 years into a context. It discussed the changing philosophies within psychology and our general society dating back 50 years or more, the evolution of different waves of feminism, and the ever-changing statistics coming out about this topic. A must read for anyone even minimally interested in our society, gender differences, feminism, or the modern family and how it is changing. Four stars to this book.

-Agent Ska-

New & Improved! City's Public Safety Director

Yesterday the Mayor promoted Michael Huss, from fulltime Fire Chief & part time Public Safety Director, to fulltime Public Safety Director. (See below for excerpts & links).

The Public Safety Director’s position is readily acknowledged to have been, at best, ceremonial. According to the articles Huss intends to take it off of the sidelines and into policy making for all of the city’s safety departments.

The Post Agenda left me with a feeling of uncertainty as to what/who will be responsible for keeping the ball rolling on Police policy review, reform and, most importantly, implementation.

This is a task that cannot and should not be left just for the PD and/or other city government entities to handle internally. Successful outcomes will depend on the public’s, (our), attention & input. Neither the Public Hearing nor the Post Agenda would’ve happened without our strong voices calling for them.

I believe necessary reforms, likewise, will not happen without out our vigilance and voices.

Thank you all for keeping up the pressure, please, keep your eyes & ears open. We're not done yet. Gloria

From today’s P-G, (

“Chief Huss…now envisions changing its role from one of oversight to one of making policy for the police, fire, emergency medical services and building inspection bureaus. The safety director post had been an add-on duty, rather than a stand-alone post, since 1993.

He confirmed that he'll be involved in reworking police deployments, writing new rules regarding domestic violence by employees, and determining whether the paramedics and firefighters should be merged if a pending report recommends that.

"I'm going to rely on the [police and paramedic] command staff, but I'm going to look" at bureau policies, he said.”

From today’s Trib, (

“The mayor plans to beef up the post of public safety director, which historically has been a part-time ceremonial post…

Huss said he won't micromanage, but intends to oversee major changes such as police Chief Nate Harper's plans to tighten domestic violence rules within the bureau.”

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Electra ...

11 am - Mayor's Press Conference

He says it'll be on "the status of city government operations". I heard this on KDKA am radio & on WDUQ fm, neither mentioned whether they'll carry the press conf. live.

There's been alot of heat on the mayor this week, as the 90 day deadline for replacing acting directors is past. If you'll remember, 3 months ago he asked all dept. heads to resign & invited them to re-apply for their jobs, he also said he'd be conducting a nationwide search for replacements... Huh?

Acting City Solictor, Specter, has been "acting" waaaay past his 90 day deadline.

In light of Monday's Post Agenda mtg., wonder if the mayor will discuss planned changes to police dept. policy? Maybe there's an "acting" something or other, just waiting in the wings out there, to make necessary corrections to the PD's personnel policy.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Women Voters in the 2004 Election

I took out the book, "If They Only Listened To Us: What Women Voters Wants Politicians to Hear", today at the library. So far it is an interesting read. I thought perhaps someone else may have already read this. If you have, what were your thoughts?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


FUTURE TENANT PRESENTS: POWER - The Definition of Feminine Power
Curated by Christiane D.
September 28 - October 20

This group exhibit will collectively express the definition of feminine power through the eyes, heart and souls of twenty women. Each participating artist will have one piece on display. Why one piece? Because more often than not, that is all one gets. One chance to make an impression. One chance to express their power.

POWER will present the work of the following artists: Susan Constanse, Suz Pisano, Veronica Corpuz, Rise Nagin, Alexis S. Covato, Patricia Villalobos Escheverria, Cara Erskine, Carolina Loyola-Garcia, Vanessa German, Stacy Rae Gross, Pamela Jennings, Monique Luck, Maritza Mosquera, Renee Ruth Ickes, Staycee Pearl, Rebecca Rose, Sam Thorp, and Two Girls Working (Renee Piechocki and Tiffany Ludwig)

SPECIAL POWER EVENTS at our NEW location! - 819 Penn Avenue, Cultural District

Opening Reception - September 28, 6-9 pm
Speaker Linda Babcock,
James M. Walton Professor of Economics and author of the book,Women Don’t Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide
DJ Shorty Rock
Cocktail creations from the Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails (LUPEC)

A POWER-ful evening of Words and Women
October 12 - 7:00 pm
Featuring the literary and poetic works of Ellen Smith, Jan Beatty, Lori Jakiela, Carrie Smith, Megan Tutulo, and Stephanie Brea
Tickets are $3.00 at the door

FOR MORE INFO visit us at

Monday, September 10, 2007

Let's Pack Council Chambers today

Council Meeting on Police/Domestic Violence

Whether you can drop in for 1/2 hr. or the entire Post Agenda meeting, please try to attend & email this to your contacts. We all know that our elected officials respond better when they see that many concerned voters are present.

Monday, Sept. 10
1:30 p.m.
City County Bldg., 414 Grant St., 5th floor.

Thank you, Gloria

useful background for today's hearing

An article on domestic violence and the Pittsburgh police was posted just past midnight on the Post-Gazette's website.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Buy My Daughter

I was just looking through some recently popular links and came across this website, which claims itself as "an introduction service assisting those following the Biblical tradition of arranging marriages for their daughters."

I don't think I've ever been so startled by a website. Apparently, it's the parents who offer up the information. Each entry goes a little something like this:

Ashlee R.
Age: 15,
Location: Midwest

Bride Price:

Ashlee is into sports, clothes, jewelry and current pop music. She is a typical teenage girl except that she is impatient to get on with her life, which she sees as having a husband and raising kids. She tells us none of the boys her own age are interesting to her because they “are still little kids” and she is looking for an adult to start a life with.

Imagine, you can buy yourself your own little girl for less than the price of used Ford Taurus.

ENDA goes to subcommittee

I was going to post something about Larry Craig, but I'm bored with him now.

However, ENDA going through the system is more interesting news. Especially that in now contains language targeting gender identity thanks to the work of the Task Force and other activists.

Witnesses show support for Employment Non-Discrimination Act
Associated Press
Thursday Sep 6, 2007
"Witnesses told the House Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions today that Congress must act to prohibit employers from discriminating against their employees based on sexual orientation or gender identity."

Task Force, Inc., applauds House committee hearing on transgender-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act

September 05, 2007

The Task Force, Inc., was the first national organization to advocate for federal nondiscrimination protections when it worked with then-U.S. Reps. Bella Abzug and Ed Koch, both New York Democrats, to introduce a sweeping bill in 1974. The Task Force, Inc., has also played a leading role in ensuring ENDA is explicitly inclusive of transgender people. Eight years ago, the Task Force, Inc., vowed to oppose the legislation if it were not inclusive, prompting criticism from some community members and allies who felt the Task Force, Inc., was hindering ENDA’s progress. The Task Force, Inc., has remained steadfast and partnered with transgender activists and organizations to defend and secure a transgender-inclusive ENDA and has strongly encouraged lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender colleague organizations to do the same.

Friday, September 7, 2007


Company Policy: Effective from August 1st 2007

Dress Code

It is advised that you come to work dressed according to your salary. If we see you wearing Prada shoes and carrying a Gucci bag, we assume you are doing well financially and therefore do not need a raise. If you dress poorly, you need to learn to manage your money better, so that you buy nicer clothes, and therefore you do not need a raise. If you dress just right, you are right where you need to be and therefore you do not need a raise.

Sick Days

We will no longer accept doctor's statement as proof of sickness. If you are able to go to the doctor, you are able to come to work.

Personal Days

Each employee will receive 104 personal days a year. They are called Saturday & Sunday.

Bereavement Leave

Bereavement is no excuse for missing work. There is nothing you can do for dead friends, relatives or co-workers. Every effort should be made to have non-employees attend to the arrangements. In rare cases where employee involvement is necessary, the funeral should be scheduled in the late afternoon. We will be glad to allow you to work through your lunch hour and subsequently leave one hour early.

Toilet Use

Entirely too much time is being spent in the toilet. There is now a strict three-minute time limit in the stalls. At the end of three minutes, an alarm will sound, the toilet paper roll will retract, the stall door will open, and a picture will be taken. After your second offence, your picture will be posted on the company bulletin board under the "Chronic Offenders category". Anyone caught smiling in the picture will be sanctioned under the company's mental health policy.

Lunch Break

Skinny/Slim people get 30 minutes for lunch, as they need to eat more, so that they can look healthy. Normal size people get 15 minutes for lunch to get a balanced meal to maintain their average figure. Chubby people get 5 minutes for lunch, because that's all the time needed to drink a Slim-Fast.

Thank you for your loyalty to our company. We are here to provide a positive employment experience. Therefore, all questions, comments, concerns, complaints, frustrations, irritations, aggravations, insinuations, allegations, accusations, contemplations, consternation and input should be directed elsewhere.



now this e-mail is funny because like most really funny things, it has a ring of truth to it. how many work places are slouching towards handing out notices like this one without a second thought?

MiLadies of Lawrenceville

I've lived in Lawrenceville for 6+ years, during the course of which I've met lots of interesting, funny, hard working & hard living women. It occurred to me that many of them travel in different circles, so most likely, didn't know each other.

I invited several to the first-ever MiLadies of Lawrenceville Happy Hr., which took place in my backyard. 15 of us blabbed it up last night, from dusk to 11 p.m. [Aside: candles on the picnic table are a very flattering light source]. Some showed up in their work duds, some in their work out clothes, others in cut off shorts & t-shirts. I served a very delish drink. [Aside: the glasses were rimmed with crushed graham crackers].

The best part was women meeting others who live just a few blocks away, or one street over. We had plenty of stuff in common, living in Lawrenceville provides lots of fodder. And we had plenty of stuff not in common, which kept it lively.

Crass jokes, Lawrenceville gossip, dissection of local politics, news, the media - it was all going on. [Aside: for some unknown reason we have quite a few former & current reporters living in Lawrenceville, hence the media gab-a-thon].

The MiLadies loved it. I'll do it again in a few months, mixing it up with some new MiLadies.

Thursday, September 6, 2007


Ah, the potpourri of junk -- scratch that -- "good reads" that are thrust upon me when I log on to my computer every morning, courtesy of my AOL homepage. (Yeah, yeah, there are other homepages. But I gotta keep in touch with the pop culture ... )

Being a first-born child (of a first-born child), I was compelled to click on this link:

First-Born Kids Become CEO Material, courtesy of America's favorite McNewspaper.

Seems innocuous enough, at first glance. But they always do, don't they?

Sure, they mention a token female CEO in the first paragraph of the first page as part of the formulaic political correctness protocol, but the remainder of the first page of the article cites only men. Men are the CEOs, and the experts on the CEOs.

The last paragraph of the first page is very telling -- it offers an exception to the first-born example, and how this exception, in part, occurred because of two older and nurturing siblings -- who happened to be sisters.

If you click on to the second page -- and those of us who work in media know many of you won't (which is why I keep referring to "first page, first page" ... so call me Rain Man if it makes you happy) -- they do mention two more females.

The McArticle surmises the findings of the study: "The domination of older children in business appears to have no gender or international boundaries."

To which I say phooey. It's kind of why I read USA Today now and then. I love saying "phooey." Or writing it, anyway. But that's beside the point. Which is where I often find myself before three cups of coffee ...

Take a look at the wiki page for a list of well-known CEOs and see how far you have to scroll down to find a female on that list ...

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

MISSING! (Any balance whatsoever)

I was watching the repeat of yesterday's MSNBC Live with Dan Abrams this morning and you all need to drop everything because there's apparently a missing young, pretty blonde, white woman somewhere in the country.

Don't get me wrong. I hope they find her alive and well, but:

1) This is not national news
2) It's become a sad joke that missing persons only become national news when they are pretty blondes.

Meanwhile, here in Pittsburgh, a black woman was found severed in half and stuffed in garbage bags.

Her disappearance did not make the national news, yet she had family and friends. There were people who knew her, cared about her and loved her.

Like I said, I really hope they find that college student featured on MSNBC last night, but I also hope that if the MSNBC and the rest of the MSM continue to do missing person stories, that they would occasionally broadcast one about, say, a not so pretty, older white woman. Or how about a black woman, or children of all colors, or, hey, how about a missing man?

This brings to mind that two years ago on August 31, I blogged the following:

WTF? Rita Cosby (MSNBC) is still in Aruba?

I couldn't believe that she was there yesterday and they still haven't yanked her out of there?! Can one missing white woman trump an entire city? I'm sure there's some missing white women in New Orleans or Biloxi...

Yeah, two days after Katrina made landfall and the levees were breached and the MSM couldn't tear themselves away from reporting on another missing blonde to give full coverage to 1800 mostly people of color who were dead from an epic hurricane.


Saturday, September 1, 2007

Online Organizing Skills Needed! (and other stuff)

You may or may not be aware, but the Thomas Merton Center is in dire financial straits. I was browsing around their website when I saw that they are looking for skills as well as money. I thought maybe some writers or readers of this blog may have some of these skills, if not the money.

TMC Wish List – Share Your Skills or Time!

Do you have computer skills you’d like to share? Some members and staff at the Thomas Merton Center are looking for volunteers to lead a workshop or two this summer who are proficient with Adobe Illustrator (and other Creative Suite applications) and Access database software. We’d also like to learn from folks who know how to put together those charismatic, new fangled e-blasts. If you have the skills, and a free day or two, and would like to volunteer to lead a workshop, please contact Etta Cetera (for Adobe and e-blast) at or 412-802-8575 or Edith (for Access) at or 412-361-3022. We'll coordinate days then advertise to volunteers and members of the Merton Center.

We’re also looking for folks with some extra time on their hands to help with the following: to stop by on a weekly basis to pick up items to be taken to Construction Junction for recycling; to paint the front of our building (located at 5125 Penn Avenue); to paint the inside walls of our office space; to help out with receptionist duties during regular business hours (Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm); or to deliver The NewPeople to the West End Carnegie Library distribution center every first Thursday or Friday of each month (between 10am and 2pm) when the paper arrives. If you can help with one or more of these items, contact Edith at 412-361-3022 or

--Agent Ska--