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Sunday: Denise Richardson

Our friend Betty Jean at Free Us Now sends the following sad news:

Denise Ann Richardson, my beloved daughter, entered the world 9-7-63.  She made this world a better place.  Escorted by her brother Mikie, who preceded her by 9 years, and on the wings of angels, left us with a smile 3-7-09.

Denise Richardson
Denise Richardson

She battled ovarian cancer for nearly 36 months.  She spent her final 36 hours surrounded with love was comforted by those she loved and trusted including Louisa who was with her in a special way. She got to Say I love you and kiss us goodbye.  We got to say thank you.  We got to say I love you.  And kiss her goodbye.  Denise did a lot of great things, for a lot of people. Anyone that ever met Dee had something to thank her for.

The Confluence would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to Betty Jean and her family for their loss.  We also keep in our thoughts Louisa, who was callously shot by her former brother-in-law just before Christmas and remains critically injured.  We hope for a day when Betty Jean will be free from sorrow and will once again taste the sweetness of life.  We’re here for you Betty Jean.

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Sunday: Double X

I have a picture of my daughter’s karyotype.  When I first saw it, I had no idea that she would be as lively, brilliant, artistic and musical as she turned out to be.  All I knew is that she was a girl.  I just assumed that things would be easier for her in the 21st century.  How wrong I was.

The new administration would have us believe that women are “special interests”.  This is incorrect.  We make up 51% of the population in this country.  What does it mean when the country considers the majority “special”?  Do we have some kind of mental insufficiency that causes us to be less than equal in a country where we outnumber every other group?  What the hell is that all about anyway?  Why have we allowed an advantage in upper body strength to become an insurmountable disadvantage for women? Buy a taser and learn to roundhouse kick.  Even the odds, ladies.

One of the things I have learned as a blogger is that in this medium, women have the most control they will ever have in their entire lives.  They don’t even have to identify themselves as women, although it would defeat the purpose if they do not.  But if they choose to, they can snap the heads off the macho morons who try to intimidate them into silence.  A woman can choose to engage in a dialogue.  Or not.  And yet time after time, I hear complaints from women who are actually hurt and lose their courage because some little collection of black dots on a monitor told them to “f%&K off” or said they were ugly or old or fat or c^&(*ts.  One of the reasons The Conflucnce exists is because I was banned from speaking at DailyKos but there is a HUGE blogosphere out there and I was not going to let a bunch of Favreau type Obamaphiles stick a sock in my mouth.

The new administration is going to dance with the ones what brung them.  That would not be us.  When Obama and the Democrats sit down to craft legislation on the economy or any other issue, they are going to placate the ones who bought and paid for them and they are going to use the seriousness of the crisis to argue that our interests, the *common* interests, can’t be addressed because they would be a distraction.  The problem is that they will always be a distraction to the minority middle aged white guys who run this country.  We can’t let them get away with that.  Since Barack Obama seems rather fond of Ronald Reagan, he should remember one of Reagan’s most memorable lines when dealing with entities who may not have your best interests at heart: “Trust but verify.” Before Congress passes any legislation, we should insist that we all see the fine print.  We should insist that all bills are posted for public comment before they are passed.  We should see who is using their leverage to move money and mountains.  And we should make sure that our interests are addressed.

Woman are not “special”.  They are the General Welfare.

I would like to call your attention to three links today that should get you thinking about what it means to be a member of the majority in a country and world where we have not learned to respect ourselves and throw our weight around.

  • Betty Jean at Free Us Now has an update on her daughter Louisa’s condition.  For those of you new to the story, Louisa was shot in the face with a shotgun.  The monster who did it is her former brother in law, George, who spent three months in prison last year for taking a hammer to the head of Louisa’s sister, Denise.  Denise is suffering from ovarian cancer and wouldn’t give George her pain medication so he split open her scalp with a hammer.  Louisa is not going to make it.  Her brain function was severely impacted by the blast.  She has lost one of her eyes.  She is non-responsive.  Betty Jean is heartbroken and angry.  Her message is powerful in Women are Disposable Assets.  Send some positive thoughts to Betty Jean and her family during this very trying time in their lives.  No one deserves this.
  • Nicolas Kristoff of the New York Times is one of the best columnists around when it comes to the issue of human trafficking and sexual slavery.  In If This Isn’t Slavery, What Is?, he has a powerful column and  video about what happens to Southeast Asian girls who are kidnapped and sold into prostitution.  And he has a message for Barack Obama.  Bravo, Mr Kristoff.
  • In her post, The Panther, Darragh Murphy highlights the life of Rebecca West, a pioneering woman journalist of the 20th century and feminist.  I love this quote from West:  “I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.”
    Yes, indeed, that is why we’re here. We refused to be a doormat. Words to live by. Now, get out there and pick yourselves up off the damn porch and stand tall.

Pray for Louisa

Dear Conflucians and PUMAs.

I just received an email from Sheri Tag that Louisa, our sister Betty Jean’s daughter, has suffered a brain hemorrhage.  Betty Jean asks that we pray for Louisa. It is the only thing that will help Louisa now.

Psalm 139

1 O LORD, you have searched me
and you know me.

2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.

3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.

4 Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O LORD.

5 You hem me in—behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?

8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, [a] you are there.

9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,

10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”

12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

17 How precious to [b] me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!

18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand.
When I awake,
I am still with you.

19 If only you would slay the wicked, O God!
Away from me, you bloodthirsty men!

20 They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.

21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD,
and abhor those who rise up against you?

22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.

24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

Sunday: Live from Scranton

In the Democrats for McCain Office in Scranton

In the Democrats for McCain Office in Scranton

If you’ve been wondering where I’ve been, let me just say that my navigator has 2 different addresses for N.Main Ave. in Scranton and neither one was the one I needed.

I am at Democrats for McCain Headquarters in downtown Scranton and this place is buzzing. There are a LOT of people in this little office. We are waiting for the canvassers to return. Harriet Christian is trying to catch McCain at the airport. She and her bus posse tried to get into his rally here in Scranton earlier this afternoon but were turned away by the fire marshall. The place was overflowing.

The canvassers tell me that direct contacts are going very well but that phone banking is more difficult. Well, phone banking always sucks. It’s hard to know what to say and it’s even harder to not take it personally when someone hangs up on you.

Harriet Christian takes a break

Harriet Christian takes a break

I recognize a lot of the volunteers here from Denver. They are the die hard PUMAs who were determined that the DNC were not going to get the best of them. But the manager of this office, Carol, made her decision when Hillary suspended her campaign. Carol realized that she had to make a decision between Obama and McCain so she took a good look at the resumes of both candidates and found Obama’s lacking. She was concerned that Obama had only 142 days on the job before he decided to run for president. Carol knows that country is going to go through a very rocky period of time in the next four years and she was very concerned that Obama’s lack of experience and thin knowledge base would make it difficult for him to know how to mobilize the mechanisms of government for the benefit of the country. As a Pennsylvanian from the Scranton area, she was offended by Obama’s remarks regarding bitter small towners who cling to God and guns. Obama hasn’t reached out to the working class and the sexism really got under Carol’s skin. She decided in McCain’s favor. Then, this former Hillary supporter approached the McCain campaign and convinced them to open an office for Democrats for McCain because she felt this area of Pennsylvania would be receptive to McCain’s message.

Carol, Hillary campaigner, feminist, McCain Supporter

Carol, Hillary campaigner, feminist, McCain Supporter

The message that appeals to Carol has a lot to do with the local economy. This is coal country and the past decade of outsourcing has devastated local industry. She likes McCain’s message on clean coal and believes that McCain will work across the aisle to help opportunity come back to the Scranton area. She’s also concerned that Obama is making promises regarding healthcare that he can not fulfill. She doesn’t know what Obama believes. She can’t pin him down and this worries her. Carol feels she knows McCain, his character and she has confidence and trust in his ability to lead. So, Carol is a believer. She’s probably a little more conservative than the typical PUMA but she believes that the loss of Hillary in this race is a tragic loss for the country.

Harriet and Betty Jean are back from the airport. They were turned down at the rally for McCain because there wasn’t room. So they high tailed it to the airport with their signs in the hope they could see him. They saw McCain’s car drive onto the tarmac and were despondent when the car headed away from them. Then, the car abruptly turned around and John McCain leapt out of the car and he ran over to the group with a huge smile on his face. Cindy and Joe Lieberman quickly followed. Betty Jean said McCain was quicker than the Secret Service who had to run to keep up with him. McCain thanked them enthusiastically and hugged Betty Jean. It made her day.

[UPDATE by Katiebird]

Riverdaughter sent me this link to an Australian publication that’s covering the election.  The 6th photo is from the Democrats for McCain office.

Saturday: Obama wants to do it himself!

The Self-Esteem Puppets, coming to a school near you!

The Self-Esteem Puppets, coming to a school near you!

RealClearPolitics has the latest on Clinton’s comeback and they wring their hands in angst for Barack Obama:

But the deal Obama struck with Mrs Clinton must have stuck in his craw. The contention, moreover, that it was his idea that her name should be placed into nomination is an insult to our intelligence. By allowing the roll call, Obama has ceded control of what happens on the convention floor.

No doubt Obama decided that a bad agreement was better than none at all but the outcome reeks of appeasement and indicates that, with the polls showing John McCain, improbably, almost level, his bargaining position was weak.

But he was outmaneuvered and the Clinton show in Denver will help lay the foundation for a 2012 presidential bid or, if Obama does emerge victorious, possibly in 2016, when she will still be four years younger than McCain is now.

Even the plan for the former First Lady to cast her own vote for her erstwhile rival and direct her delegates to swing behind the Illinois senator – being spun as a magnanimous gesture of unity – risks undermining Obama. Despite the closeness of the primary battle, he won the nomination; the image of Mrs. Clinton graciously anointing him is exactly what he does not need.

What was Hillary thinking?!  Didn’t she take a whole bunch of child development courses?  She is wrecking Obama’s self-esteem.  How is he ever supposed to feel good about himself if Hillary is standing there all of the time stealing his limelight?  The poor dear.  And what’s worse is that she might even “graciously anoint” him {{gag!}}.

Stand back, people, I think there is a temper tantrum coming on.  Make room for the little tyke and his friends so they don’t hurt themselves when they thrash and roll on the floor screaming, “I WANT TO DO IT MYSELF! I WANT TO DO IT MYSELF!”

Little male egos are so fragile in this developmental stage.  One harsh word could just crush him and damage his self-image forever.  Does Hillary really want that on her conscience?  Oh, we know that he bullied and pushed her voters around and stole her delegates so he could “win”, but boys will be boys, right?

I wonder why no one is worried about Hillary’s self-esteem. After all, the two candidates are separated by less than 100 pledged delegates when the FL and MI contingents are restored to full strength. If it weren’t for the Superdelegates folding at the first sign of Obama and his pals screwing their faces up for a good, long, noisy howl, they might have done the right thing and thrown their weight behind the candidate who actually *earned* the nomination.

Ah, woulda, coulda, shoulda. Well, I sure as heck wouldn’t want to be the Superdelegates 2 years from now, wracked with guilt, waking up in the middle of the night, reaching for that bottle of scotch and wondering where they went wrong. Did they not show enough love? Were they too easy on him? Too lax in their discipline? My guess is that they will think back to that June in 2008 when instead of giving in, they should have given him a four year time out.

Kids: you can’t live with them and you can’t spank them anymore.

**********

On another note: Heidi Li had a perceptive post yesterday.  If the vote is symbolic, it doesn’t count and the voters are just as screwed as they were before.  But we all know that Obama and Dean wouldn’t have even agreed to such a thing if they weren’t forced to by the rules of the party and the process itself.  So, why is Dean allowing the meme to percolate through the media that the vote is “symbolic”?  His attitude is reminiscent of the same passive-aggressiveness that he displayed at the height of the misogynistic media frenzy on Clinton.

Look, I realize that he seems to loathe Hillary Clinton with the same intensity of Sally Quinn.  I think we can all see that he gets more bang for the buck with Barack because, let’s face it, Obama owes the DNC “leadership” big time.  There is no secret about that.  But if Dean cares at all about the party he “runs”, doesn’t he have an obligation to act like he’s impartial?  Isn’t it his responsibility to see that all votes are given equal weight?  Or is it that “All votes are equal but some votes are more equal than others”?  I know it takes the public a couple of days to have one of those, “Hey, wait a minute!” moments, so why not get out in front of it now?  Dean has an opportunity to atone for himself and his party for not standing up for Hillary while the media shredded her during the primaries.  It’s time we held his feet to the fire to make him do it.

Howard, stop the meme now.  We aren’t buying it and it’s strengthening our resolve to take you down in the fall.

**********

It appears that we have spawned a new species: the sustainable cat.

**********

Our friend, Betty-Jean, got some rather bad news recently.  Her daughter who is living with ovarian cancer hasn’t responded to her latest round of chemo.  Last March, Betty-Jean made this moving video about universal healthcare and what it means to her and her family.  Betty-Jean, our thoughts are with you and your daughter, and we pray that her next round of chemo is more successful.