Thursday, October 30, 2008


This is a list of Republicans who are supporting Obama

Jim Leach, Former Congressman from Iowa

"For me, the national interest comes before party concerns, particularly internationally. We do need a new direction in American policy, and Obama has a sense of that."

Lincoln Chafee, Former United States Senator from Rhode Island

"As I look at the candidates in order who to vote for, certainly my kind of conservatism was reflected with Senator Obama, and those points are that we're fiscally conservative, we care about revenues matching expenditures, we also care about the environment, I think it's a traditional conservative value to care about clean air and clean water."

William Weld, Former Governor of Massachusetts

"It's not often you get a guy with his combination of qualities, chief among which I would say is the deep sense of calm he displays, and I think that's a product of his equally deep intelligence."

Arne Carlson, Former Governor of Minnesota

"I think we have in Barack Obama the clear possibility of a truly great president. I would contend that it's the most important election of my lifetime."

Wayne Gilchrest, Congressman from Maryland

"We can't use four more years of the same kind of policy that's somewhat haphazard, which leads to recklessness."

Larry Pressler, Former Senator from South Dakota

"I just got the feeling that Obama will be able to handle this financial crisis better, and I like his financial team of [former Treasury Secretary Robert] Rubin and [former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul] Volcker better."

Richard Riordan, Former Mayor of Los Angeles

"I'm still a Republican, but I still will always vote for the person who I think will do the best job."

Lowell Weicker, Former Governor and Senator from Connecticut

"At issue is not the partisan politics of two parties, rather the image we have of ourselves as Americans. Senator Obama brings wisdom, kindness, and common sense to what is both his and our quest for a better America."

Jim Whitaker, Fairbanks, Alaska Mayor

"If we are as a nation concerned with energy, then our consideration should be a national energy policy that is not predicated on crude oil 50 years into the future. We need to get to it, and I think Barack Obama is very clear in that regard."

Linwood Holton, Former Governor of Virginia

"Obama has a brain, and he isn't afraid to use it."

Government Officials:

Colin Powell, Secretary of State under Bush 43

"...he has met the standard of being a sucessful president, being an exceptional president. I think he is a transformational figure. He is a new generation coming into the world-- onto the world state, onto the American stage, and for that reason I'll be voting for Senator Barack Obama."

Douglas Kmiec, Head of the Office of Legal Counsel under Reagan & Bush 41

"I was first attracted to government by Ronald Reagan, who lives in our national memory as a great leader and an inspiring communicator. Senator Obama has these gifts as well, but of course, more rhetorical flourish without substance would be worth little. Is there more to Senator Obama? I believe there is."

Charles Fried, Solicitor General of the United States under Reagan

"I admire Senator McCain and was glad to help in his campaign, and to be listed as doing so; but when I concluded that I must vote for Obama for the reason states in my letter, I felt it wrong to appear to be recommending to others a vote that I was not prepared to cast myself."

Jackson M. Andrews, Republican Counsel to the U.S. Senate

"Barack Obama is a thoughtful visionary leader who as President will end the decline of American law, liberty, and fiscal responsibility that are the hallmarks of the extremist policies of the current Administration, now adopted by John McCain."

Susan Eisenhower, Granddaughter of President Eisenhower & President of the Eisenhower Group

"Given Obama's support among young people, I believe that he will be most invested in defending the interests of these rising generations and, therefore, the long-term interests of this nation as a whole."

Francis Fukuyama, Advisor to President Reagan

"...Obama probably has the greatest promise of delivering a different kind of politics."

Rita Hauser, Former White House intelligence advisor under George W. Bush

"McCain will continue the wrong-headed foreign policy decisions of Bush, while Obama will take us in a new direction."

Larry Hunter, Former President Reagan Policy Advisor

"I suspect Obama is more free-market friendly than he lets on. He taught at the University of Chicago, a hotbed of right-of-center thought. His economic advisers, notably Austan Goolsbee, recognize that ordinary citizens stand to gain more from open markets than from government meddling."

Scott McClellan, Former Press Secretary to President George W. Bush

"From the beginning I have said I am going to support the candidate that has the best chance for changing the way Washington works and getting things done and I will be voting for Barack Obama and clapping."

Bill Ruckelshaus, served in the Nixon and Reagan administrations

"I'm not against McCain, I'm for Obama."

Ken Adelman, served in the Ford administration

"The most important decision John McCain made in his long campaign was deciding on a running mate. That decision showed appalling lack of judgment... that selection contradicted McCain's main two, and best two, themes for his campaign-- Country First, and experience counts. Neither can he credibly claim, post-Palin pick."

Lilibet Hagel, Wife of Republican Senator Chuck Hagel

"This election is not about fighting phantom issues churned out by a top-notch slander machine. Most important, it is not about distracting the public-- you and me-- with whatever slurs someone thinks will stick."

Columnists and Academics:

Jeffrey Hart, National Review Senior Editor

"It turns out that these political parties are not always either liberal or conservative, Democratic or Republican. The Democrat, under certain conditions, can be the conservative."

Andrew Bacevich, Professor of International Relations at Boston University

"For conservatives, Obama represents a sliver of hope. McCain represents none at all. The choice turns out to be an easy one."

David Friedman, Economist and son of Milton and Rose Friedman

"I hope Obama wins. President Bush has clearly been a disaster from the standpoint of libertarians and conservatives because he has presided over an astonishing rise in government spending."

Christopher Buckley, Son of National Review founder William F. Buckley & former NR columnist

"Obama has in him-- I think, despite his sometimes airy-fairy 'We are the people we have been waiting for' silly rehtoric-- the potential to be a good, perhaps even great leader. He is, it seems clear enough, what the historical moment seems to be calling for."

Andrew Sullivan, Columnist for the Atlantic Monthly

"Obama's legislative record, speeches, and the way he has run his campaign reveal, I think, a very even temperament, a very sound judgment, and an intelligent pragmatism. Prudence is a word that is not inappropriate to him."

Wick Alison, Former publisher of the National Review

"I made the maximum donation to John McCain during the primaries, when there was still hope he might come to his senses. But I now see that Obama is almost the ideal candidate for this moment in American history."

Michael Smerconish, Columnist for the Philadelphia Enquirer

" Obama presidency holds the greatest chance for unifying us here at home and restoring our prestige around the globe."

CC Goldwater, Granddaughter of Barry Goldwater

"Nothing about the Republican tickets offers the hope America needs to regain its standing in the world, that's why we're going to support Barack Obama."

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


if you haven't checked out maddow's show, do yourself a favor and please do.

Monday, October 27, 2008

100 TIMES...

Meme: So What Were You Writing About the Federal Election in 2004?

Every once in a while, I get a sense of "deja vu all over again" about the presidential election. So, I went back and read my November, 2004 blog entries (if you want to read them, remember, jump to the bottom of the file and work your way up).

Hmm, I was overconfident (briefly), but not so much that I didn't work on the campaign or vote.

The post-election analysis was interesting. Fewer people voted than Democrats counted on and the youth voting rate was no higher in 2004 than it had been in 2000. I sincerely hope both of those things will turn out differently this time.

So, here's an informal meme for you - if you wrote about the 2004 election online, link to it from your blog or LiveJournal or however you write on the Internet. What were you thinking then? What do you think now? What do you think will be different this time?

Hope to see some of you at the Obama rally in Pittsburgh later today!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Obama visits Pittsburgh this Monday

You better not pout, I'm telling you why:

Obama's coming to town...

Date: Monday, October 27, 2008

Time: doors open at 3, Obama's scheduled to speak at 5 p.m.

Location: Mellon Arena, 66 Mario Lemieux Place, 15219

Cost: Free & open to the public


***Other stuff:

Parking is limited; please carpool or use public transportation if possible.

For security reasons do not bring bags or umbrellas and please limit personal items. No signs or banners allowed.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Win Free Tickets to Catie Curtis!

Are you familiar with Catie? Quick rundown: Out singer-songwriter, married mom of 2 adopted daughters, lives in Boston, just founded a youth music initiative: Her 9th studio album, "Sweet Life", was released on September 9th. She's been recently featured in The Advocate, Curve, Performing Songwriter, Timeout Chicago and is a main stay on the Oliva Cruise circuit More info:

She is performing in Pittsburgh on November 7th @ The Thunderbird Café & The Society is giving away a pair of free tickets AND a copy of her new album, "Sweet Life" on this blog.

The first READER to email wins a pair of tickets and a copy of the CD. Everyone who emails will receive a free MP3 of "Happy" This contest is not open to members of The Society.

Go readers!


i get tired.

Missing Child: Where is the media?

Pam's House Blend posits why the disappearance of a pregnant (8 months along) 12 year old African-American child merits so little legal or media attention.

There is a 12-year-old girl missing in my town. Her name is
Tekenya Wooten, and she hasn't been seen since Saturday. Investigators here in
Durham have been unable to locate the 12-year-old, who is black, 5'1", eight
months pregnant and was last seen wearing her hair in a ponytail.

I don't understand why any missing 12 year old doesn't qualify for an Amber Alert. Especially one who is 12, pregnant and in state custody (living in a group home). Pam has links to more extensive coverage which makes no bones about the fact that a white, blond girl in the exact same circumstances would be all over the national news.

What about the baby? Why aren't the fetus cultists out combing the fields to find the unborn child, even if her mother isn't worth a full out search? Where are the dogs and the flyers and the tickers on the bottom of the televisions? Sigh.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Beating A Dead Horse or Sexism?

Ledcat and I had a chat about "Wardrobe-Gate" last night. She was focused on the hypocrisy of it. I kept getting hung up on the sexism angle ... saying that Obama "only" spent $1500 on a suit as opposed to Palin's hundreds of thousands ... is it really a difference in kind or degree? I mean $1500 seems like a lot of money to spend on any clothing item, too. Right? I read this morning that Cindy McCain's outfits top $300,000 each. But it is okay b/c it is her money, not RNC money. Right?

Really? Do we really think there aren't areas in the campaign that the RNC spent even more money (think jet fuel) than they did on Sarah's outfits? No one is commenting on those excesses. I don't even want to think of the excess. It is vomit inducing.

It doesn't seem inappropriate to me that the RNC spends money on her clothing. And women's clothing is expensive. Why is this an issue? The issue should be the overall campaign excess, not Sarah's clothing. I mean do we really think a woman made this decision? Do you really think women are pulling the purse strings at the RNC? Come on.

I just can't get so excited about this. I hope Sarah goes home with a nice wardrobe as her consolation prize. It will help with her forthcoming career as a television pundit (did you see SNL?).

Now I'm off to Target to buy some new socks.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Gunning for action

It’s rare that I post about an issue like this, but it’s getting to the point that I feel I must comment.

Every day we’re learning of an increase in gun violence in Pittsburgh. This is affecting many innocent by standers, often women and children. I live in the city and know that every neighbor should be able to go to work, walk their dogs or stroll with their kids, in safety. That even goes for the neighbors I don’t like! (Please, people, that's a joke, don't send me angry emails.)

Last week 3 Pittsburgh city council members proposed a law to find and penalize gun owners who don’t report their weapons missing (whether the weapon’s been lost or stolen).

Why in the world does our city council have to enact this legislation?

Because, once again, our State Legislature refused to approve of the proposed hand gun reporting law - leaving the issue in the hands of PA’s cities & towns. Thanks Harrisburg

*** Important to note: All 9 of our city council members supported the proposed law that failed passage by the legislature.

Stepping into the breach left by the state legislature, 3 council members: Bruce Kraus, Bill Peduto and Doug Shields, drafted a law for the city to employ.

The law would require that anyone whose loses/gets their weapon stolen has to tell police within 24 hours, or they could get slapped with a $500 fine.

The law’s consequences would only apply if the weapon was used in a crime, found by police and traced back to the person who originally bought it. Kind of narrows it down, doesn’t it?

*** What a difference a few days makes:

2 of our 9 council members do not support the Kraus/Peduto/Shields legislation, they are:

Ricky Burgess, and Patrick Dowd,

If one of the “Unsupportive 2” is your representative, please inform him that this is an important step to take to curb rising violence in our streets.

It’s also worthwhile to let the 3 who drafted & proposed the legislation that you appreciate their efforts:,,

***Finally, our mayor has remained silent & uncommitted on the issue. Perhaps an email to him would also be in order:

McCain's Debate Coach Finally Revealed

Listen to the dialog in this debate. Sound familiar????
Does anyone else think it's scary that the substance of the Republican presidential campaign is taken from an old campy comedy from over 40 years ago?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Sleep In: Almost Home

It is 7:45 AM. The organizers woke us at 6:00 AM, offering coffee and donuts. Natasha, Matt and I spent about 25 minutes trying to fit our sleeping bags back into their bags - ah, the struggles of privilege. Then I drove Natasha home and stopped at Hoi Polloi to collect my thoughts.

I just can't go home and lay down to rest.

Last night was the coldest night in my life. The sleeping bag was pretty rugged and I was dressed warmly, but the top of my body was cold until I pulled up my little pallet from underneath the bag and wrapped it around my body. Apparently, I did sleep because Natasha complained about my snoring.

However, I woke up every hour with a start and feeling very disoriented. I would briefly tussle with the notion that I could simply get up, drag my crap to the car and be done with this whole cold, hard sleep thing. Then I turned over and tried to get back to sleep. I was grateful when 6 AM rolled around. It was over. For me. As Matt helped Natasha get her gear together, I wondered where he would go and what would become of him. He assured me with a congenial smile that he would be fine. I gave him my card and invited him to call me on my cell so we could have coffee some time. How lame is that. I was overwhelmed at that moment with the urgent need to *do* something to make things better for him. Or for me?

Because what I did not do was ask him more concretely what I could do. I made a very human connection with someone and go home knowing he is sleeping under a bridge. How is that even possible? How do you make that leap from awareness to action? Did I just say that?

This morning, folks have been asking me how it went. I don't have an answer that I can boil down to two or three coherent sentences. I find myself going on and on to the point that they get quickly bored with me. Saying "It was good" seems ridiculous. How do you measure success when you are a mere participant? If I organized it, I'd count who turned out and how long they stayed and how many letters were written.

I can't say it went well. I don't feel buoyed by my own good intentions. As I left the parking lot, I found myself irritated with the woman in front of my who didn't understand pre-pay parking. This experience left me with no sense of inner enlightenment or karmic connection with my sister and brothers.

I just feel angry and tired and cranky and cold. I want to cry and I want to email Tonya Payne and I want to go home and start getting ready for our Halloween party.

I'd sure appreciate if you could help support the good works being done by the advocates of Community Human Services Corporation. This is the place where you can mail a check. Maybe give up a latte and muffin and send your $5.00 in?

Community Human Services Corporation
374 Lawn Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
attn: Sleep In for The Homeless

As I look over the entries from last night, I see a lot of typos which I am going to leave because it reflects how hard it is to type in the dark, sitting on the porch of City Hall in 40 degree weather. All of the mistakes are mine ... they are not a literal translation of Natasha and Matt, both of whom were very eloquent and thoughtful.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Sleep In Part 40

It is 11:30 and about 30 minutes past my bedtime. I'm sleepy, but reluctant to lay down. I think cold will wear me down soon. I look around the portico here at the City County Building. A lot of people are still awke and watching documentaries on a small television. Others are reading. One duo has a large inflatable mattress, but most have sleeping bags and blankets. I see some of the CHSC staff walking around touching base with people.

It is surreal to realize that on Monday morning, hundreds of people will walk across this very spot. Almost, but not quite, stepping on the bodies of the people sleeping here tonight. The only physical traces of the event will be in the trash cans. Will anyone notice?

A friend of mine said that she was proud of me for doing this. I don't feel particularly worthy of that pride. I want to go home and sleep in my bed with my dog and my partner. I don't want the backache that's inevitable from sleeping on concrete. I want to say enough! I get it! I'm good and I don't need to prove anything.

But maybe that's part of the problem. This shouldn't be framed as solely about the individual contribution, but the collective impact of all of these sleeping bags.

Right now, the host is introducing two kids who aged out of foster care and are living under the bridge. They've been in Pittsburgh for a week. They are 18 each. Cherie is reading her letter to State Senator Sean Logan:

"It is very cold where I sleep. You may wonder why I don't choose a shelter. The reason is the way they've treate me. They've turned me away because I don't have ID. I've been homeless on and off since I was 11 when I was placed in Pittsburgh. I've been sober for 9 months and I'm afraid to be in shelters where they have drugs. I just need help getting an ID so I can get ajob"

There's more. I was a little choked up while she was reading. She spared no details.

Maybe I should lay down.

Sleep In Part 28

Interview with Matt:

Why are you here?

"Wel,, one thing is trying to become more aware of homelessness. I have firsthand experience so I try to come out to rallies. It you meet someone who is recently homeless, you can interact with them and teach them the ins and outs of homeless. Plus, people who don't know homelesssness might want to talk with someone who has experienced it."

Why do you think there so much stigma?

"Honestly, at some point in our history, we put our personal status of where we are in society ahead of our needs and desires. I have talked with people who have been homeless for 40 years, who hold jobs and make the choice to be homeless. Society needs someone to loook down on. To be homeless makes you instantly different. There are so many people who assume that homeless is due to personal fault.

I know a family who was homeless because of a house fire. It was not their fault, but everyone assumed they were crackheads. I talked to a guy tonight who said that people think he's a wino.

People don't want to see it. They don't want to another person's suffering as anything but there own problem. They don't want to connect and have to share their own stuff.

They think 'If I don't acknwoledge you as a human being, I don't have to give anything of myself to you.'

What will this event accomplish?

"If one person treats a homeless person better or helps one, then it is a success. If two homeless people band together for survival on the streets, it is a success.

One thing I notice is that the elected officials show up and don't stay. I would love to see the Mayor or an elected official spend the night out on the street, on a real blanket not a fancy sleeping bag. It won't happen unlesss it is an election year."

What do you think of local services?

"Services for women and children are better than for men. One local men's shelter requires you to give up all your posessions, wear a hospital gown and walk around in socks. You have to be there at 3:30 PM which is impossible if you have a job. Women's shelters lets you in at 9 PM. That doesn't encourage people to get jobs. Reforming welfare to help people transition to being independent --- they need a transition period. If you get a job and can't get daycare, what good is it?"

"A question I have is why is it illegal to be homeless? What is transiency a crime? How can your housing or lack of housing be illegal? Why?"

Thank you, Matt.

Sleep In Part 18

It is 44 with a "feels like" temp of 40. The sleeping bags are being unfurled and there's an interesting dynamic as folks stake their territory. When I worked in a shelter for women, territory was an issue ... everything from which set of bunk beds to the sharing of closet space. I'm sure it is an issue in other settings where people have to share their space. Homeless or not.

Now I'm worried about how to stash my laptop so it doesn't get squished.

Sleep In Part Six

Craving hot chocolate, my friend Ms. Natasha took a stroll down to Smithfield Street to purchase some supplies. Ms. Natasha is sleeping out tonight. She is 71 years old and agreed to answer a few questions.

Why are you sleeping out tonight?

"To make a statement that just because you have a job, you can still be hopeless. And homeless people sleep under bridges and in boxes, so we can sleep out one night. Homelessness is a bag thing here in Pittsburgh and the United States. There are so many vacant buildings where they can accomodate people. They should not let people in at night and kick them out during the day. They should let them come and go as they please."

Why are people experiencing homeless the targets of so much wrath?

"Society does not want to admit that there is such a thing. People are not homeless of their own free will. People should accept them for who they are. Homeless people and panhandlers are two different things. We as Americans should be able to give the homeless what they need. We need to stop being angry at people for asking for help. "

What can an average person do?

"Outreach. Go out and talk to people who are homeless. Find out what their unique needs and then help them."

"When I was coming up as a child, everyone took care of each other. There were no homeless."

What could make homeless programs more successful?

"If people get move involved, we can take action. It takes a hand up."

Thank you, Natasha.

Sleep In: Part Five

Tonya Payne speaks to men and women and children experiencing homelessness.

"I see you. You are visible to me."

Sleep In: Part Four

It is 48 degrees and the forecast predicts a low of 42. Even 48 is cold. I'm sitting on the ground on top of a pretty sophisticated sleeping bag, wearing warm clothes with a nice cup of Crazy Mocha coffee and the option of going home. I have no clue what it is like to sleep on the street or sidewalk or tucked inside the corner of a building eave. I have a laptop and a bright green extension cord, for crying out loud.

So why? Adrienne Walnoha just stood up and said it all "We are teaching the community that they can make a difference one person at a time." I would much rather be home watching Ghost Whisperer and eating dinner with Ledcat, I won't lie. But it does matter that people step up and step out.

I'm amazed at who isn't here. Namely, the media. Surely the City Paper is somewhere in this crowd. But no news cameras. Why is that? Isn't anyone paying attention? Sure, there is Ghost Whisperer and J-Love is cute and all that, but really ... where are you tonight?

Sleep-In: Part Three

Local musicians and activists David King and Gil Bigenho have written a song for this event. Titled "Raise the Roof" it is an account of their experiences working with some of CHSC's homeless programs. One is a violinist which just adds a lovely note to the performance. Here are some of the lyrics:

Let's Raise the Roof
A roof above their heads
Raise the Roof
For Marta and her kids
Safe housing, now's the time
We leave no child behind
We keep our promises to our kids
Let's shout out loud
Stand up tall
To city hall
Raise the Roof!
Let's Raise the Roof
Refuse to live this way
Raise the Roof
We will have our say
If not us, who will it be
It not now, when will we see
Justice for our families
Let's shout out loud
Stand up tall
From the streets
To city hall
Raise the Roof

Sleep-In: Part Deux

7 PM and it is cold. 50 degrees. Not cold enough for me to put on my down vest, but my fingers are feeling a bit nippy. I dug through our basket of winter stuff and came up with a pair of mismatched stretchy gloves. They are things of wonder to me in spite of their mismatchedness.

Jane Orie is talking about her commitment to getting this event off the ground. Growing shortage of affordable rental housing and increasing poverty are the two trends responsible for increases in the number of families experiencing homelessness. More than 2100 human beings in Allegheny County are homeless. Senator Orie says that tonight is about dignity and hope for the future. She's quoting Mother Theresa about the impact we make by responding to the needs of our sisters and brothers.

Interesting side note: I just accepted a position with Community Human Services Corporation and one of the interviewees references Mother Theresa in our interview dialogue. It was the most difficult question I've ever had to answer.

Tonya Payne just spoke to me AND she remembered me. I guess all of those email messages have paid off! She's walking around talking with people and really being present to the crowd. It does make you feel good when someone acknowledges that you are trying to make a difference. It really says something that a politician is mingling with the crowd, not working the crowd.

The committee is presenting Home is Where the Heart Is awards to individuals who have made significant contributions to the work of this project. I can't hear the speakers very clearly, but just well enough to hear how heartfelt they are ... sharing incredibly personal experiences.

I'm sad because someone brought a dog who doesn't seem thrilled to be here and the owner is waving a paper in its face to try and exert control. Poor dog.

I'm kind of hungry and wishing someone would bring me a Starbucks.

Sleep In for the Homeless: Post One

Tonight, I am going to try something a bit outside the box and liveblog from an awareness event being held at the City-County Building. The project, Sleep-In for the Homeless, is sponsored by Community Human Services Corporation and is designed to raise awareness AND funds in support of the individuals and families served by this agency.

Basically, a whole bunch of folks are going to have a slumber party at City Hall. From the number of lookie-lou's crawling by on Grant Avenue, the impact has begun. I'm horrid with estimating numbers but there must be nearly 100 people on site and it is just six thirty.

Some light music is playing on the sound system, folks are milling about and I'm regretting not wearing a hat. Fortunately, Ledcat has promised to stop by later this evening and bring said hat with her.

The crowd is interesting to say the least. Less than 100 feet from me stands a middle aged woman wearing a blue tiara, a group of students taking pictures of the architecture and some kids wearing tee shirts who are oblivious to the cold (or just young!). I see girls in uggg boots, lots of layered adults and sleepings bags piled as far as the eye can see.

I myself am ensconsed in the far corner next to the recycling bin and the only working outside outlet. I tried to be resourceful in preparing for this evening. I borrowed a sleeping bag from my coworker Sarah who is an outdoors enthusiast. I packed my beloved backpack (1998 and still going strong). I brought an industrial strength lawn mower extension cord just in case. I'm sitting on our summer picnic blanket. And I have my thermal water bottle and trusty old coffee cup to minimize contributions to said recycling bin.

And my brand new laptop. Thanks to Dell and DHL for deliving this beauty to me in plenty of time for the event. Thanks to Bill Peduto for making wi-fi a no-brainer for the evening *$7.99 isn't bad for an evening of live blogging).

So what can you expect? I'm going to post throughout the event (6:30 PM - 6:30 AM) and ask my "sponsors" to contribute by the post. I won't cheat by breaking things up. I'll be covering speeches by Senator Jane Orie and Senator Pippy, talking with participants and sharing some of the stuff I'm learning about the experience of being homeless. My goal is simply to bring attention, however small, to the human beings behind "the issue" Maybe you'll comment as I post. Maybe you'll contribute a pledge. Maybe you'll email me. Or maybe you'll just keep reading.


Obama Pictures and McCain Pictures
see Sarah Palin pictures

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Politics Is Scary - Boo!

State Rep. Chelsa Wagner & City Councilman Bill Peduto are co-sponsoring a Halloween Party & you’re invited!

DATE: Friday, October 31, 2008

TIME: 8 – 11 p.m.

LOCATION: The Priory, 614 Pressley St., Northside.

TICKETS: Buy them at the door.

COST: $10 for those of you boo-tiful people wearing costumes & $20 for those of you who prefer not to wear a costume. Proceeds will benefit a northside non-profit.

No need to rsvp & please bring friends!

Agent 99 is coming to town - Get Smart she says

My friend Christine Stone has given the o.k. to circulate widely. As I'm a child of the '60s it sounds like fun & I plan to attend:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Christine Stone
Date: Tue, Oct 14, 2008 at 1:04 PM

Hi everyone! My friend Laurel Rosenberg and I were asked by the Obama
campaign to host former Pittsburgher and Obama surrogate Barbara
Feldon. Of course, you may all know her from her days on "Get Smart"
as Agent 99. She was also a winner on the 'The $64,000 Question'.

So please consider joining us for an informal cocktail party with Ms.
Feldon this Friday - it will be fun to hear how she has gotten
involved in the campaign as well as to talk about what we can do to
help in the next few weeks to get Barack Obama and Joe Biden to the
White House! Thanks, Christine Stone.

Date: Friday, October 17, 2008
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: Christine & Andy Stone's house, 1309 Shady Ave., Squirrel Hill
PLEASE NOTE: Space is limited, you must rsvp to 412.422.6378, or


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Rally with Michelle Obama this Thursday! UPDATED!

Thursday, October 16th, 2008
Michelle Obama Rally

Rally at noon, doors open at 11:00 10:30 a.m.

Fitzgerald Field House
Allequippa Street & Darragh Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15261

Soldiers and Sailors Memorial
4141 5th Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

UPDATE: (It's official now, folks!)
Michelle Obama Hosts Change We Need Rally in Pittsburgh

This event is free and open to the public.
Tickets are NOT required but an RSVP is strongly encouraged.
To RSVP, please visit
Space is available on a first come first serve basis.

For security reasons, do not bring bags and please limit personal items.
No signs or banners permitted.


Self-Defense Classes

I just saw this in the Pgh Women's E-mail Inbox:

Good morning. My name is Joshua Ryer and I am the owner of Ryer Martial Arts Academy located on Centre Avenue in Shadyside. I would like to let you know that on Saturday, October 18th from 2 to 3pm we will be hosting a Women's Only Self Defense Workshop.
This workshop is held once, every month. The purpose of the workshops are to build awareness, confidence, and the physical self defense skills among women in our community.
If you or any of your contacts are interested in attending, please contact Kristy Ryer at Thank you for your time and consideration.
Joshua Ryer

Ryer Martial Arts Academy
5440 Centre Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15232
(412) 621-KICK

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i know what i call it.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Tampons, Part Deux

So, okay, we are gonna have a meeting on Sunday, November 9, 11 AM at Hoi Polloi on the Northside. Hoi Polloi co-owner Jessica graciously offered us space and complimentary coffee. The meeting is for folks who might like to chat about the issue of women in our community needing access to feminine hygeine products. Deserving access. When I think of all the tampons I have shoved into unused purses, pockets, totebags and so forth, it is really disheartening.

So, if you would like to join us to talk about this particular social issue and potential remedies, that would be great. It could be anything from helping to do a tampon drive at your workplace to organizing a more large-scale awareness campaign. Folks from the Greater Pittsburgh Community Foodbank and Community Human Services Corp will be there to help us contextualize the issues with regard to women and girls living in poverty and/or experiencing homelessness.

The working title of the project is "Flow" which is clearly a play on words (both the flowing of menstrual blood and the visit from Aunt Flo) and a word that evokes the sense of a life force flowing from one woman to another, essentially our connection and responsibility for one another. Believe it or not, I was inspired by a gay man -- think the Margaret Cho skit on that one.

Flow is just my suggestion. It is definitely open to discussion.

It would be great if you could RSVP if you can attend. And bring a box of tampons or a bag of pads if you'd like. I'm sure they will be put to good use by our friends from the agencies. Spread the word.


I'm tossing around an idea in my head about organizing some sort of effort to raise awareness about and donations of feminine hygeine products (what an awkward phrase) to the foodbank. This came up on my blog and I recalled meeting women in Kentucky who used real rags because they couldn't afford pads or tampons. I started telling other women in my church partners about this problem and the donations came flowing in. I think it really touched a place in the hearts of other women.

I realize there are a lot of issues around health and safety issues about using these products, as well as the stigma of menstruation in our society. But there's clearly a difference between choosing to purchase a cup or organic reusable cloths and being forced to use actual rags with no other choices.

I buy organic tampons and pads, but every Sunday there are tons of coupons for mainstream products in the paper so it wouldn't really be inconvenient to purchase a supply and donate them to a food pantry, a shelter, etc. Right?

I had a dialogue with the folks from the food bank and learned that this is not an uncommon experience here in Pittsburgh and that donations are far and few between. So what could this look like? A blogging event to raise awareness? A live event at a woman owned establishment asking people to bring tampons and pads as the price of admission? Something with the dual purpose of raising the donated items and promoting a healthy attitude toward menstruation? Sending flyers to women's groups at local faith communities asking them to include this need in their ongoing efforts? I don't know.

Perhaps you have an idea?


we've got a pdf file anthology up
for national poetry day(u.k.)

it will probably draw a few thousand readers a week tho it is available to 10 thousand a day. we go to colleges and libraries and such as the arts council (u.k.)
sustains us.( it's called piece WORK )

we are an international group.

so, i'm in there and so are a few of the terrific poets in the group along with their bios. it's a good read. stop by and check us out.

thanks, and many thanks to dr. jim bennett for pulling this altogether.

(sometimes ya just gotta go for it. thank you for letting me)

Friday, October 10, 2008


Connecticut Says Gays Can Marry

HARTFORD, Conn. (Oct. 10) - Connecticut's Supreme Court ruled Friday that same-sex couples have the right to marry, making the state the third behind Massachusetts and California to legalize such unions.
The divided court ruled 4-3 that gay and lesbian couples cannot be denied the freedom to marry under the state constitution, and Connecticut's civil unions law does not provide those couples with the same rights as heterosexual couples.

Fred Beckham, AP
Joanne Mock, left, and Beth Kerrigan were among eight couples who sued the state of Connecticut over gay marriage rights.

"I can't believe it. We're thrilled, we're absolutely overjoyed. We're finally going to be able, after 33 years, to get married," said Janet Peck of Colchester, who was a plaintiff with her partner, Carole Conklin.
"Interpreting our state constitutional provisions in accordance with firmly established equal protection principles leads inevitably to the conclusion that gay persons are entitled to marry the otherwise qualified same sex partner of their choice," Justice Richard N. Palmer wrote in the majority opinion that overturned a lower court finding.

"To decide otherwise would require us to apply one set of constitutional principles to gay persons and another to all others," Palmer wrote.
Gov. M. Jodi Rell said Friday that she disagreed, but will not fight the ruling.
"The Supreme Court has spoken," Rell said in a statement. "I do not believe their voice reflects the majority of the people of Connecticut. However, I am also firmly convinced that attempts to reverse this decision — either legislatively or by amending the state Constitution — will not meet with success."
The lawsuit was brought in 2004 after eight same-sex couples were denied marriage licenses and sued, saying their constitutional rights to equal protection and due process were violated.
They said the state's marriage law, if applied only to heterosexual couples, denied them of the financial, social and emotional benefits of marriage.
Peck said that as soon as the decision was announced, the couple started crying and hugging while juggling excited phone calls from her brother and other friends and family.
"We've always dreamed of being married," she said. "Even though we were lesbians and didn't know if that would ever come true, we always dreamed of it."
Associated Press reporters Pat Eaton-Robb, Stephanie Reitz and Larry Smith in Hartford contributed to this report.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Kathy Dahlkepmter for US Congress, in Erie, PA

Kathy Dahlkemper is a candidate for U.S. Congress in the Erie district. She is running against incumbent Congressman Phil English. To learn more about Kathy check out:

Dahlkemper is doing well in the polls, amazing considering she’s an outsider, running for the first time, against a well bank rolled 14 year incumbent.

Just got info on a fund raiser/lunch reception for Kathy, to be held in Pittsburgh, here’s the scoop:

Date: Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

Time: 12pm – 1:30pm

Location: The Rivers Club, One Oxford Center, Suite 411, Pittsburgh 15219

Guest Speaker: Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House.

Hosts: US Congress members from PA – John Murtha, Mike Doyle, Allyson Schwartz & Patrick Murphy

Cost: $250/person.

Info./RSVPs to: Eben DuRoss at (814) 456-0987 or

I realize $250 is a bit rich for many – Kathy welcomes smaller contributions:

a. PERSONAL CHECK, mail to :

Kathy Dahlkemper for Congress

PO Box 1045, Erie, PA 16512

b. CREDIT CARD, via her website:


i found this over at the burg blog.

i love it. just love it! i needed a smile this morning.
maybe you do too.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Mexican "femicides" on the rise in 2008

I just read about an incredibly disturbing phenomenon in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico: women killed just for being women.

This week, the body of 25-year-old maquiladora worker Guadalupe Diaz was discovered in a vacant lot two weeks after her disappearance. A second victim was discovered in her home with at least ten gunshot wounds.

Already this year, Ciudad Juarez registered at least 75 cases of “femicides," the worst year in recent memory. At least 544 women have been murdered in Ciudad Juarez since 1993.

A 2002 article from Salon begins with a description of one of the murders and goes on to say:

However horrific the details, they were numbing in their familiarity. The body of a woman who had died in similar circumstances was found in the same dusty lot a couple of months earlier. The bodies of eight women were found in a lot not far away a little more than a year ago. So many women have been murdered here in the past 10 years that there is no reliable count. Most experts place it close to 325, an average of 32 a year, nearly three every month. At least 90 of the deaths are believed to be the work of one or more serial killers. Hundreds more women have simply vanished.


"A lot of girls were picked up here," [a Nike outlet security guard] says in a voice of calm resignation. "But really, it's the girls' fault. It's because even though they weren't prostitutes you know, they were more like easy women. They didn't have to get into those cars if they didn't want to."

How has this not been more widely reported?


Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Obama Pictures and McCain Pictures
see Sarah Palin pictures

Sarah Palin's Comin' to Town

Well, well, well, Gov. Sarah Palin’s comin’ to town.

She made it to Philly last week & was met by hundreds who came out to protest the Bush/McCain/Palin policies. Here’s the video:

Keystone Progress is organizing a warm Pittsburgh rally/welcome for the Governor & they’re inviting everyone whose able to join in the fun.


WHAT: Gov. Palin’s doin’ a fund raiser, you betcha!

DATE: Friday, October 10

WHERE: Westin Convention Center, 1000 Penn Avenue

TIME: If you’d like to give Gov. Palin a piece of your mind, be there at 3:30 pm

(Palin’s fund raiser begins at 5:00 pm)

INFO: Keystone Progress Director - Michael Morrill, 610-568-0469 or

(Please don’t contact me, this is the only info. I have).

Monday, October 6, 2008


Lehman gave execs millions just before going bust, Congress told

By Julie Hirschfeld Davis
Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Days from becoming the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history, Lehman Brothers steered millions to departing executives even while pleading for a federal rescue, Congress was told today.

As well, executives who feared for their bonuses in the company's last months were told not to worry, according to documents cited at a congressional hearing. One executive said he was embarrassed when employees suggested that Lehman executives forgo bonuses, and cracked: "I'm not sure what's in the water."

The first hearing into what caused the nation's financial markets to collapse last month, precipitating a $700 billion bailout, opened with finger-pointing and glimpses into internal company documents from Lehman's chaotic last hours.

Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said the giant investment bank was "a company in which there was no accountability for failure." Lehman's collapse set off a panic that within days had President Bush and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson asking Congress to pass the rescue plan for the financial sector.

Richard S. Fuld Jr., chief financial officer of Lehman Brothers, was among witnesses called to testify.

"What has happened is an absolute tragedy," Fuld said in prepared remarks. "I feel horrible about what happened."

Waxman read excerpts from Lehman documents in which a recommendation that top management should forgo bonuses was apparently brushed aside. He also cited a Sept. 11 request to Lehman's compensation board that three executives leaving the company be given $20 million in "special payments."

"In other words, even as Mr. Fuld was pleading with Secretary Paulson for a federal rescue, Lehman continued to squander millions on executive compensation," Waxman said.

The government let Lehman go under Sept. 15, only to bail out insurance giant American International Group the next day, in a cascading series of financial shocks and failures that put Washington on track for the multibillion-dollar rescue starting the end of that week.

Waxman described that plan as a life-support measure. "It may keep our economy from collapsing but it won't make it healthy again," he said.

That sentiment echoed on Wall Street, where the Dow Jones industrials sank below 10,000 today for the first time in four years. Investors fear the crisis will weigh down the global economy and the bailout won't work quickly to loosen credit markets.

The rescue plan, now law, was so rushed that the usual congressional scrutiny is only coming now, after the fact.

"Although it comes too late to help Lehman Brothers, the so-called bailout program will have to make wrenching choices, picking winners and losers from a shattered and fragile economic landscape," said Rep. Tom Davis of Virginia, the committee's senior Republican.

Waxman said that in January, Fuld and his board were warned the company's "liquidity can disappear quite fast."

Despite that warning, he said, "Mr. Fuld depleted Lehman's capital reserves by over $10 billion through year-end bonuses, stock buybacks, and dividend payments."

Waxman quoted Fuld as saying in one document, "Don't worry" to the suggestion that executives go without bonuses.

That suggestion came from Lehman's money management subsidiary, Neuberger Berman. Waxman quoted George H. Walker, President Bush's cousin and a Lehman executive who oversaw some Neuberger Berman employees, as responding with a dismissive tone to the idea of going without bonuses.

"Sorry team," he wrote to the executive committee, according to Waxman. "I'm not sure what's in the water at 605 Third Avenue today.... I'm embarrassed and I apologize."

Fuld said in his statement that the company did everything it could to limits its risks and save itself.

"In the end, despite all our efforts, we were overwhelmed, others were overwhelmed, and still other institutions would have been overwhelmed had the government not stepped in to save them," he said.


Please circulate the following info.



Or go to

Or contact your County Election Office: 412.350.4500

Today, (Monday October 6, 2008, is the last chance you will have to re-register if you find a problem. (or to register if you are a new voter).

Just because you've been voting for a long time, don't assume that your voter registration is OK. The new databases, (required by theHelp America Vote Act), have resulted in people all over the USA finding their records purged, lost, or just screwed up.

See you at the polls.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Friday, October 3, 2008

Viva Civil Discourse

It is great to see the spurt of posts popping up of late. And the spirited discussion. We've logged more than 600 posts over the past 18 months. Groovy.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Obama & Ayanna


Women for Obama invite - Wanna be on CNN? Tonite only.

They just received exciting news - CNN is doing a live feed the entire evening from their VP Debate Watch Party. They'd like to pack the venue. If you can't make it - tell your friends!

Date:Thursday, October 2,

Where: Schenley Park Ice Rink Meeting Venue

Time: Doors open at 8:00 p.m. .

Cost: Free - Men & kids are welcome too.



Ayanna Lee, Democratic candidate for the State Legislature in the 44th District is marking the last 30 days of the campaign with a fund raising push:

They’d like supporters to contribute $30 dollars in the remaining 30 days.

You can learn more about Ayanna or contribute on line at
Checks can be made out to and mailed to:

Friends for Lee
PO Box 558,
Coraopolis, PA, 15108

Any questions? Contact Sam at

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Sarah Palin and Sexism

I read and hear repeated references to Palin as "Caribou Barbie" and "Bible Spice" and it makes me queasy. It was funny for that first "ha ha" moment, but tapping into stereotypes about dumb/vapid women shouldn't be part the electoral discourse. Right?