The Promise of America

While we continue to celebrate the barrier that fell yesterday as we elected our first African American President of the United States, let’s not forget that the promise of America remains denied to 52% of the US population.

So I guess today could be described as “bittersweet” for many of us. 

From today’s Washington Post:

All Men....

All Men....

Note to Tom Toles:  I’m still waiting for “ratification” for women. 

Here is a short response to Michael Gerson’s essay in today’s Washington Post:

Dear Michael Gerson:

Thank you for your essay in today’s Washington Post.  I agree that we can all be proud that a barrier has fallen and  that history has been made in electing the first African American president.  It is certainly a time to celebrate. 

However, I take issue with your statement that the election is “the most dramatic possible demonstration that the promise of America – so long deferred  – is not a lie.

It is certainly “a” demonstration.  However, please consider that the promise of America remains deferred for me and for all women.

In the US,  fifty years after women entered the workforce in record numbers, we are paid an average of 77 cents for every dollar men make.  Women in the US are greatly under-represented in our elected offices (only 16% of our federal elected offices, with no appreciable gain in this election cycle).  Although many of us have been speaking up about the misogyny in the campaigns and in the media, these issues have been ignored, or treated as a joke, by the mainstream media.  We have had to endure “Iron My Shirts” signs and “99 Problems But a Bitch Ain’t One,” aimed at Senator Clinton; pro-rape essays and videos and depictions of extreme violence aimed at Governor Palin and the “Palin is a C—” t-shirts posted on Senator Obama’s web site.  There has been an incredible barage of sexism from the media aimed at both Sen. Clinton and Gov. Palin, and any woman who dared to open her mouth and speak up against it. Hate speech and hate crime laws are generally not applicable to crimes against women because they are women.  Violence against women in America has been, and continues to be, a national epidemic and shame.

In the US, the Equal Rights Amendment for women has been at a standstill for decades.  Women’s basic rights around the world are denied as a matter of law in many countries. 

So, I’m happy to see history made, but please excuse me if I don’t celebrate too much today.


Happy Election Day!

Finally, after the despicable display of over-the-top sexism, aimed at Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin and any woman who dared to open her mouth in protest, it’s almost over.  After the “Iron My Shirts” signs and “99 Problems But a Bitch Ain’t One,” aimed at Senator Clinton; the pro-rape videos and comments aimed at Governor Palin, the “Palin is a C—” t-shirts on Senator Obama’s web site, our long national orgy of overt sexism is over. 

This means it’s all about to go underground again.  The mainstream media will once again be silent.  The only time you’ll hear about “bitches and ho’s” will be if you inadvertantly listen to the music on your teenager’s iPod.

Today’s election promises to be about as exciting as my trip this weekend to East Central Indiana – see below for the high point.

Highest Point in Indiana

Highest Point in Indiana

Here is the good news: this long election has peeled the skin off our toxic sexist culture (e.g.,  our political process, our media),  and exposed it in a way that is so obvious that it can no longer be ignored.

Those of us who have achieved a level of success at work and who have male partners who occasionally “help” with housework, had thought that all those old feminist battles had been fought and won long ago – wrong!

So, I’ll be working to make the culture a little more friendly for women, including the collaborators – the women who thought the “Sarah Palin is a C—” t-shirts were okay, because “she deserves it.”  Check back here in a day or two for my take on “Practical Feminism.”  In the meantime, check out The New Agenda, a non-partisan group working for the kind of systemic change that is needed.

UPDATE (11:30pm EST):  Congratulations to Senator Obama.  Tonight I hold him in the Light and pray that he will find strength and wisdom in the coming days, as he contemplates the enormous task before him.

The Final Puzzler

As promised, here is the Final Puzzler.  The Puzzler Team is putting it up 3 days early since we want to send out the prize early – $250 donated in the winner’s honor to Democrats for Principle Before Party.  This is so that DPBP can purchase ad time right now, in the states that count!

Thanks to all who have participated in these Puzzlers for a great cause – its been a lot of fun putting them together.  You are all impossible to stump! 

Below  is a picture of a church placed on the site where something important (may have) happened.  Our sources tell us that after reviewing many different potential sites worldwide (and, a Puzzler Team member learned yesterday, in outer space), Barack Obama has determined that this is the appropriate location for his inauguration, if he wins the election on Tuesday. 

Our unnamed sources indicated that two sites in Greece – Mt. Olympus and the Akropolis – made the top five list of finalists, and that the sacred mountains of Fuji, Kailash, Nebo and Sinai were all considered and rejected. 

Sources told the Puzzler Team that the traditional location – the West Steps of the Capitol – was discarded immediatley as too conventional for such a momentous occasion.


Name the site and its location.  The first to do so will find that $250 in her/his honor will be instantly transmitted to Democrats for Principle Before Party to support it’s amazing work.  As always, just leave your answer in “comments.”

UPDATE:  1 hour and no winner yet – wow.  Here’s the clue I promised.  This is your big chance to use that Art History college minor as well as your Religion 101 class.  See below:

Jesus in the sky, with Elijah and Moses

Jesus in the sky, with Elijah and Moses

  UPDATE #2:  We have a terrific winner – sm77, who answered correctly – Mt. Tabor, the purported site of the Transfiguration of Jesus (Jesus, recognized as divine, appears to Peter and I don’t remember who else, with the prophets Elijah and Moses).  Mt. Tabor overlooks the Plains of Armageddon.  What better backdrop for BO’s proposed inauguration? No tacky Hollywood props necessary!

The id for the painting is Raphael, The Transfiguration (detail), tempera on wood, 1520 (Raphael’s last painting).  For more information and to view the full panel, see the Vatican Museum’s website

Donation Details

Confirmation number: xxxxxxxxxxxxxx161F
Donation amount: $250.00 USD
Total: $250.00 USD
Purpose: In honor of sm77 for The Final Puzzler
Donations coordinator: The Denver Group

Women of Substance

I can no longer justify what this party has done and can’t dismiss the treatment of women and working people as just part of the new kind of politics. It’s wrong and someone has to say that.

– Wendy Button, Former Democratic Speechwriter

Wendy Button, who has written speeches for Democrats for ten years – including, recently, John Edwards, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, has posted an interesting essay, So Long Democrats , on The Daily Beast.  Take a look – she correctly sums up the Democratic Party’s abandonment this year of a huge part of its base: blue collar workers and women. 

Meanwhile, at a Hollywood meeting this week of the Caucus of Producers, Writers & Directors, TV producer/creator of the show “Designing Women” and long-time Clinton supporter Linda Bloodworth-Thomason spoke out about the attacks on Sarah Palin and her supporters:

 “We should stop the demonizing,” she said, adding that Democrats have been worse than Republicans as far as personal attacks on candidates are concerned. “It diminishes us,” she said of her fellow Democrats.

Brava, Wendy! 

Brava, Linda!

Will Hillary Rodham Clinton now step forward and condemn the vile sexism that has infected this election and that gravely damages all of us?  Having with grace and dignity endured more of it than anyone, she is an inspiration to millions of women (and men of quality).  Her party loyalty is unquestionably admirable (under the circumstances almost saintly) and I personally don’t really care if she speaks up before or after the election. 

But speak she must!

I want to speak for those women in my own country, women who are raising children on the minimum wage, women who can’t afford health care or child care, women whose lives have been threatened by violence, including violence in their own homes. 

I want to speak up for mothers who are fighting for good schools, safe neighborhoods, clean air, and clean airwaves; for older women, some of them widows, who find that, after raising their families, their skills and life experiences are not valued in the marketplace; for women who are working all night as nurses, hotel clerks, or fast food chefs so that they can be at home during the day with their children; and for women everywhere who simply don’t have time to do everything they are called upon to do each and every day.

Speaking to you today, I speak for them, just as each of us speaks for women around the world who are denied the chance to go to school, or see a doctor, or own property, or have a say about the direction of their lives, simply because they are women. The truth is that most women around the world work both inside and outside the home, usually by necessity. 

As long as discrimination and inequities remain so commonplace everywhere in the world, as long as girls and women are valued less, fed less, fed last, overworked, underpaid, not schooled, subjected to violence in and outside their homes — the potential of the human family to create a peaceful, prosperous world will not be realized.

Let — Let this conference be our — and the world’s — call to action. Let us heed that call so we can create a world in which every woman is treated with respect and dignity, every boy and girl is loved and cared for equally, and every family has the hope of a strong and stable future.  That is the work before you.  That is the work before all of us who have a vision of the world we want to see – for our children and our grandchildren.


 – Hillary Rodham Clinton, Remarks to the United Nations 4th World Conference on Women, Sept. 5, 1995

"Women's rights are human rights."

 Visit The Confluence for Riverdaughter’s post on this subject.

For steps you can take to work against sexism, visit The New Agenda

And consider talking with your friends, family, coworkers, etc., about it.

A fellow in West Hollywood, California, thinks it is a cute Halloween decoration to dress up a mannequin to look like Sarah Palin, put a noose around her neck and hang her.

This fellow thinks it would be unacceptable, however, if he had done the same with a Barack Obama mannequin.

No need to wonder about why we have an epidemic of violence against women in this country, and it’s getting worse.  It’s all just a little bit of fun – can’t you ladies take a joke?

Will Barack Obama finally object to this?  Is this bad enough for BO to finally speak out against it?  


I’m just too sickened to write about this further.  Visit Heidi Li’s Potpourri or Tennessee Guerilla Women for more details.

UPDATE: 10/27 – Greta Van Susteren has reported on this story – she asks “Where is the Media Outrage?”

UPDATE: 10/30 – Chad Morissette has removed the Palin Lynching display from in front of his house. Congratuations on your 15 minutes of fame, Chad.  Too bad you used them to prove you’re a jackass.

The Penultimate Puzzler

Here is the next-to-last puzzler … with only ten days to go until the Election of Doom, there’s never been a better time to send all your spare change (and some you cannot spare) to Democrats for Principle Before Party

As promised last time, if you are today’s winner, this week $200 will be donated in your honor to Democrats for Principle Before Party.  Next week will be our last Puzzler – and the prize will be $250 sent to this great organization.  

So, here is the picture – be the first to name to the site and location and have $200 rushed to Democrats for Principle Before Party in your honor.   

As always, just leave your answer in the “comments” section.  It’s windy and rainy here in DC today, and like my mood, it’s not getting any better.  Enjoy what is left of your Saturday. 

UPDATE:  we have a winner – Swanspirit, once again, who recognized the picture immediately as the Megalithic passage tomb Newgrange in Co. Meath, Ireland, c. 3200 BC

Next week – The Last Puzzler  (for $250 to Democrats for Principle Before Party) will feature the location where BO would like to hold his inauguration ceremony – if he wins…  and it’s not even in DC….

Donation Details

Confirmation number: xxxxxxxxxxxx6730P
Donation amount: $200.00 USD
Total: $200.00 USD
Purpose: For Puzzler #5 in honor of Swanspirit
Contributor: xxxxxxxx

Recipient information

Donations coordinator: The Denver Group
Contact email: thedenvergroup@gmail.com

99 problems

In yet another example of the candidate’s “superior judgment,” the Obama campaign announced today that Jay-Z and NBA star LeBron James will hold a “Last Chance for Change” concert in Cleveland next Wednesday.*The announcement about Jay-Z comes a few days after he dedicated his 2003 song “99 Problems” to Senator McCain and a “homegirl,” whom he described as “the one who says ‘You betcha.’ “ 

“I’m gonna get in trouble for this,” Jay said, laughing, “but f— it, this is freedom of speech.”

99 problems but a bitch ain’t one
if you havin girl problems i feel bad for you son
I got 99 problems but a bitch ain’t one…


Since this song worked so well for him in Iowa, I’m not surprised Senator Obama would get his friend to trot it out now, with yet another “bitch” in the race.


Just once, I’d like to see Barack Obama disavow a single episode of the abundant hate-filled misogyny in this entire campaign.  He won’t, because it has benefited him plenty in the last two years.


You betcha!






See this link to ABC News for more details, and enjoy the concert!


Here’s what sexism feels like – with Today’s General Election Special of the Day, a heaping serving of the ever popular Violence Directed at Women…

Note the voiceover seems to have Couric indicating her approval, ” ooooh!”

And yet another…


Sexism and violent imagery used against women.  When you see it, it feels just like a punch in the gut. 


UPDATE 10/20/08

How to Stop It –


Don’t just sit there feeling like somebody punched you – take two steps:


1.  Go to www.CBSNews.com then scroll down to “comments”and fill out the form.

Sample:  I strongly protest the disgusting Terry Tate video depicting extreme violence against Gov. Palin.  Tate uses CBS news anchor Couric’s footage of her Palin interview and portrays Couric as approving of the vicious attack on Palin.  Please act to ensure your news footage is not a vehicle for hate speech and violence against women.  Thank you.

2. Reebok may or may not be sponsoring this ad (we’re trying to find out), but maybe the company wouldn’t want its fairly old and awfully lame “concept” used in this way?  Email or write to them and protest:

Reebok International

1895 JW Foster Blvd.
Canton, MA 02021
Phone: 781-401-5000
8:30 AM – 5:00 PM (EST) corporate@reebok.com

These two actions will take about 8 minutes of your time and you’ll feel good all day, I promise!

For more information on this “Terry Tate” fellow and Reebok’s involvement with him, go to The New Agenda website: http://thenewagenda.net/


I spoke with Daniel Sarro at Reebok publicity dept.  He says Reebok is absolutely not responsible for the video, nor does the company retain rights to the “concept.”  He said that he felt that a statement from Reebok would just generate more publicity for the “Terry Tate” fellow.  I told him that he might want to prepare a statement anyway, because it is possible one of the campaigns would pick it up and talk about it.  (It would certainly be better if Reebok did this proactively!).

Thanks to The New Agenda for digging up the contact numbers for Reebok’s publicity department!


Saturday Puzzler #4

Thanks to the loyal following that is keeping these Saturday Puzzlers going – for a great cause -Democrats for Principle Before Party’s ad campaign.  Check this great organization out – the Obama-Nixon television ads are terrific.


As promised last week, if you are today’s winner, this week $150 will be donated in your honor to Democrats for Principle Before Party.  The donation will continue to go up $50 each week right up till the Election of Doom.

So, here is a picture of the doorway to a site that purports to be the birthplace of somebody famous.  Be the first to name the site, plus its location, and $150 will be sent to this great cause. 

As always, just leave your answer in the “comments” section.  Enjoy what is left of your beautiful fall Saturday!

UPDATE: We have a winner – Swanspirit, who correctly identified the location of the birth of the (famous) JC himself, in Bethlehem.  The Church of the Nativity. 

$150 in honor of Swanspirit goes to Democrats for Principle Before Party:

Donation Details

Confirmation number: xxxxxxxxxxxxx593G
Donation amount: $150.00 USD
Total: $150.00 USD
Purpose: Saturday Puzzler #4 – in honor of the winner, Swanspirit
Contributor: xxxxxxxxxxx

Recipient information

Donations coordinator: The Denver Group
Contact email: thedenvergroup@gmail.com

Thanks all for participating in the Saturday Puzzler –   just two more Puzzlers to go until the Election!

Saturday Puzzler #3

I know I promised you a more difficult puzzler…. but this is not it!  It was a long week dealing with clients and the US government, and I’m drained of all creativity. 

If you are the winner, this week $100 will be donated in your honor to Democrats for Principle Before Party.  The donation will go up $50 each week until the Election of Doom.

So, here is a picture of an artifact, taken on one of my trips -be the first to name it, plus its location, and $100 will be sent to this great cause. 

While you’re at it, check out Democrats for Principle Before Party’s terrific ad campaign, it’ll be going full swing at the World Series.

Same process as always… just leave your answer in the “comments” section.  Good luck and enjoy your beautiful Fall Saturday!



UPDATE – 3pm and still no winner – HINT: it’s domestic, not foreign and  the ROCK says 1620 on it.


UPDATE #2 – We have a winner – lililiam – who sends her regards to Heidi Li.  Thanks to all of you who support Democrats for Principle Before Party. 

Donation Details

Confirmation number: xxxxxxxxxxxxx652P
Donation amount: $100.00 USD
Total: $100.00 USD
Purpose: Donation from Saturday Puzzler #3 in honor of lililam

Recipient information

Donations coordinator: The Denver Group
Contact email: thedenvergroup@gmail.com