Saturday, October 23, 2010

Virginia's Gaffe

Well, she certainly got one thing right:  She doesn't "look good in this."

That's one, and I would wager, the primary, reason given by Lillian McEwen for maintaining her silence about the sexist proclivities of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Because her relationship at the time of the 1991 confirmation hearings was deemed private and not professional, her testimony was not sought -- not even to sop up the aftermath of soupy defensive declamations such as:
If I used that kind of grotesque language with one person, it would seem to me that there would be traces of it throughout the employees who worked closely with me, or the other individuals who heard bits and pieces of it or various levels of it.

Well, Clarence, when you are right, you're right.

I don't know, but I definitely do care, how you and yours silenced the Marauding Evil Females so common to the early nineties, but a few of them seem to be willing to speak up these days. There is something about having your wife ask Anita Hill for an apology that makes these women fairly spit out the sour remnants of their persistent bitterness.

Can you hear them now?

Clearly, McEwen could and should have offered her testimony, even if it had to be done in an extrajudicial setting.  [If you like, I will add a conciliatory paragraph detailing the dangers and consequences she'd have encountered for doing the right thing, but given the enormous implications of her choices, I don't respect her reasons, nor do I care for her excuses.]

McEwen's personal relationship with Thomas was cited by his supporters as irrefutable "proof" that the accusations of sexual impropriety made by Anita Hill were lies necessary to the "high-tech lynching" he suffered, because, you know -- oh, what was it? I get confused.

Oh yes, I remember now!

The Left needed Hill to secure the noose because nothing was more inflammatory than “the age-old blunt instrument of accusing a black man of sexual misconduct.” That's how the non-ideologue Thomas explained it in his 2007 autobiography, My Grandfather's Son, originally $26.95 but now $17.79 at Amazon, enticingly eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping on orders over $25.

For the record, I disagree.  It might be equally inflammatory to call Clarence Thomas an Uncle Tom.  Just a few years after his ascension, Jack White published Uncle Tom Justice:

In his written opinions, he begins with premises that no self-respecting black would disagree with, then veers off into a neverland of color-blind philosophizing in which all race-based policies, from Jim Crow laws designed to oppress minorities to affirmative-action measures seeking to assist them, are conflated into one morally and legally pernicious whole. He delights in gratuitously tongue-lashing the majority of blacks who disagree with him on almost every civil rights issue. He heaps scorn on federal judges who have used the bench to enforce and expand civil rights, accusing them of a paternalistic belief in black inferiority. His harshest critics, like Wade Henderson, Washington director of the N.A.A.C.P., even speculate that "if Thomas had been on the court at the time, he would have opposed the decision in Brown v. Board of Education," the landmark 1954 decision that struck down segregated schools. [Read more here.]
Speaking of books -- and I especially want to congratulate Justice Thomas on his autobiography, as those suckers are hard to write! -- McEwen just happens to have just published one of her own, in an amazing feat of timeliness.  Were it not an idea more twisted than Lombard Street, I'd suggest that this whole I-Want-An-Apology Fiasco is something she and Virginia Thomas cooked up as a promotional effort.

Okay, I'll publish my "tell most, if not all" book... then you call and leave a weird-ass message for Anita, strange enough that Brandeis will call in the FBI and you make the front page of The Times, and bam! An instant media frenzy, and we are media darlings!  Ka-ching!
Okay, okay.  Just remember:  Whose blog is it, anyway, hmmm?

Anyway, it looks as if the perverted and intricate public/private dance that has heretofore benefitted this Supreme Court Justice may have a heck of a fluorish at the finish.  I am thinking castanets and tauromaquia; I am thinking Flamenco. [Plus, I love the mouthfeel of saying Andalucia... almost as much as the very round and rich multicolore and salsa.]

Fabian Perez:  Gitana

In Thursday's Washington Post article by Michael Fletcher, McEwen asserts that:

...Hill's allegations that Thomas had pressed her for dates and made lurid sexual references rang familiar.

"He was always actively watching the women he worked with to see if they could be potential partners," McEwen said matter-of-factly. "It was a hobby of his..."

...[S]he said Hill's long-ago description of Thomas's behavior resonated with her.

"He was obsessed with porn," she said of Thomas, who is now 63. "He would talk about what he had seen in magazines and films, if there was something worth noting."

McEwen added that she had no problem with Thomas's interests, although she found pornography to be "boring."

According to McEwen, Thomas would also tell her about women he encountered at work. He was partial to women with large breasts, she said. In an instance at work, Thomas was so impressed that he asked one woman her bra size, McEwen recalled him telling her.
Some of you may remember Angela Wright, who, contrary to McEwen, had been ready and willing to testify at the confirmation hearings, and was purportedly able to corroborate Hill's testimony about Thomas.  Wright, ironically, worked for the EEOC, which handled allegations of sexual harassment.  She was considered too much of a liability by leading Democrats on the Judicial Committee, most notably then Senator Biden, who feared her perception as a disgruntled former employee.

In a statement corroborated by a disinterested party, According to Ms. Wright, as she and Thomas entered a room dedicated to an EEOC seminar, he asked her breast size -- apparently a leitmotif in this jurist's interests.

For an examination of Wright's potential role and what exactly happened, politically, to derail her testimony in '91, see this roadmap over at Huffington Post:  Angela Wright, "The Other Woman" of the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas Hearings (Flashback). *

*  When Virginia Thomas left a message on Anita Hill's voice mail on Columbus Day weekend October 9, 2010, she reopened what many remember as a "he said/she said" debate about sexual harassment. But it could have been "he said/they said." On Columbus Day weekend in October 1991 -- 19 years ago -- another witness was waiting to testify. She could help corroborate Hill's testimony in Clarence Thomas's Senate Judiciary Committee's Supreme Court nomination confirmation hearings. But Angela Wright was never called to testify.

What would she have said -- and why wasn't she called to testify?

In 1994, Florence Graves cleared up those mysteries in The Washington Post, revealing the intricate -- and bipartisan -- behind-the-scenes maneuvering by several Senate Judiciary Committee members to discourage the testimony of Angela Wright, a woman whose information could have helped corroborate Anita Hill's allegations against Clarence Thomas. The article uncovered a surprising unwritten agreement among top Republicans and Democrats not to call Wright, apparently because they feared either that her testimony would create even greater political chaos or that it would doom Thomas' nomination. It also uncovered evidence suggesting that Thomas lied to the Committee. Several senators -- including then-Republican Senator Arlen Specter (Pa.), then-Senator Joe Biden (D-Del.), and other key players -- told Graves they believed that if Wright had testified, Thomas would not have been confirmed.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Joel Burns: It Gets Better

What a beautiful, lovely man.  I knew I'd find something uplifting over at l'astronave, Fresca's place.

The It Gets Better Project:
Many LGBT youth can't picture what their lives might be like as openly gay adults. They can't imagine a future for themselves. So let's show them what our lives are like, let's show them what the future may hold in store for them.

I haven't checked out Joel Burns' political stances, nor do I live in, or remotely near, Fort Worth, Texas.  So, obviously, I plan to vote early for Joel Burns, and often.

Here is his contribution to the It Gets Better Project:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

PAEAN: The Structural Water of Deer Creek

i fell in love with this photo the instant i saw it and cannot explain why.  thank you, ruuscal, over at american idyll, my favorite armchair destination.

deer creek
photo by ruuscal, american idyll

honk:::a [not always raucous] resonant sound


once upon a time, i ruined someone's privacy when it was most precious.  i did as asked to make it right, but felt the burn, sure that i'd never so disturb anyone again, having learned -- one.more.time. -- that it is not about me.

she was raw, she was raw in her possessiveness, she was inordinately kind, she was barely there, he was slipping and her with him, oh!

the very person whose privacy i affronted is the person i must thank for this chance to... tap the horn, but lightly, in passing mackenzie's house.

CaringBridge is a marvel.  we have followed four children in their fight against cancer via the awesome journaling of their parents, who make it very easy.  yes, that's it -- they make it very easy.  thank you, thank you.  we learn so much about good life in witnessing their love, amplified less by unspeakable fear than by the stubborn expectation of joy.

i have learned to follow the lead, and to meet at the rendez-vous.
i have learned to not define the journey.
it is important to follow instructions, and to be sufficiently in tune to recognize them when they come. 

CaringBridge makes it easier.

mackenzie's mother writes that the honking of her neighbors as they drive home cheers her heart.  we offer just the lightest touch, a mere beep, a virtual prayer for this child's Actual Healing.


a new entry from the CaringBridge blog:

MacKenzie Anne Galbraith Stuck
April 27 1997 to October 19 2010
11:15 pm

thank you, mackenzie's mom, for sharing her, and yourself, so graciously.  we have prayed for you here, yesterday, and today, and will continue to do so for many tomorrows:  first, admittedly garbled expressions of thanksgiving for her release and healing;  second, pointed and stern directives for comfort.

(okay, so storming heaven is not our forte... life, at least, promises to provide scads and scads of practice...
until i am an accomplished prayer warrior, if ever, god does not seem to mind that i farm out my obligations
-- to brother-units, to beloved readers, to the odd benificent animal.)

Mackenzie's Mother suggests that "in lieu of flowers, please consider making donations to one of MacKenzie's favorite causes":

Cool Kids Campaign Learning Center
c/o Cool Kids Campaign
9711 Monroe Street Cockeysville, MD 21030

Casey Cares Foundation
3918 Vero Road, Suite C Baltimore, MD 21227

**********     **********     **********     **********     *********     **********     **********

About CaringBridge
CaringBridge provides free websites that connect people experiencing a significant health challenge to family and friends, making each health journey easier. CaringBridge is powered by generous donors.

CaringBridge websites offer a personal and private space to communicate and show support, saving time and emotional energy when health matters most. The websites are easy to create and use. Authors add health updates and photos to share their story while visitors leave messages of love, hope and compassion in the guestbook.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"I would love you to consider an apology..."

In the Totally Weird news category, we have this report from The New York Times about a spontaneous and clearly guileless attempt to elicit an "apology" from Anita Hill -- or what passes, in Virginia Thomas' world, at least, for "an olive branch."

Better an olive branch on Hill's answering machine than a pubic hair in the Long Dong's Coke, I always say.

Thomas’s Wife Calls Anita Hill on Charges
October 19, 2010

WASHINGTON – Virginia Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, left a message last weekend on the voicemail of Anita Hill, who accused her husband of sexual harassment during his confirmation hearings, a spokeswoman for Ms. Thomas confirmed on Tuesday.

In a message left at the office of Ms. Hill, who is now a professor at Brandeis University, Ms. Thomas apparently brought up Ms. Hill’s accusations against her husband during the 1991 hearings.

In response to questions about the call relayed through a publicist, Ms. Thomas confirmed that she had left a message on Ms. Hill’s voicemail.

“I did place a call to Ms. Hill at her office extending an olive branch to her after all these years, in hopes that we could ultimately get passed what happened so long ago,” Ms. Thomas said in a statement provided to The New York Times.

“That offer still stands,” her statement went on. “I would be very happy to meet and talk with her if she would be willing to do the same. Certainly no offense was ever intended.”

Ms. Thomas did not explain why she had reached out to Ms. Hill at this time.

ABC News quoted from the voicemail.

“Good morning, Anita Hill, it’s Ginny Thomas,” she said, according to ABC News. “I just wanted to reach across the airwaves and the years and ask you to consider something. I would love you to consider an apology sometime and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband. So give it some thought and certainly pray about this and come to understand why you did what you did. Okay have a good day.”

While Ms. Thomas described the call as an attempt to reach out, the university appeared to be taking the matter more seriously....

Ms. Thomas has long been active in conservative circles in Washington, and in the past year has rose to greater prominence as the founder of a new nonprofit activist group, Liberty Central, which opposes what she characterizes as the leftist “tyranny” of the Obama administration and congressional Democrats.

Her activities with the group have raised questions of judicial ethics because the group, which pays her, has accepted large contributions from unidentified donors. She began the group with two gifts of $500,000 and $50,000 from undisclosed contributors, tax forms show.

perception in the absence of

image courtesy of fanaticist

this is a new one.  i think.  blogging while hallucinating!

okay, *mildly* hallucinating.  as in:  swirling cat tails 'round my purple feet, the tails perhaps real but the cats definitely not, given the three actual felines reclining over there on the master bed, eating grapes and sharing their supply of spiced pecans and sugared walnuts with that well-behaved squirrel. 

you know what is also fun?  baking while hallucinating!

yesterday, my culinary adventures met with great success.  today?  not so much, but then, am i in any condition to judge?  I am waiting for the human arseholes around me to wake up -- arseholes only because they mock me with their sleep. 

worse yet?  they mock me IN their sleep.  just listen:

"pssssssst!  hey, retired educator!  yoo hoo!  yeah, that's right, over here, under the duvet, nestled in softness, wrapped in warmth, fast asleep!  if you don't snooze soon, dahlink, we're breaking into choruses of glossolalia, we're gonna praise the lord, yesh, bébé, charismatics r us!"

yes, i am ashamed to say that this babbling brainstem belongs to none other than my sweet fred.  he would just die if he knew that his dreaming neural net was so crazy insulting.  harrumph.  at least his diatribes are publishable.  blogger has yanked every tentative transcription i've made of miss madame bianca's trash talk.  it is "sacré bleep bleep bleep" and "va te faire bop bop bop," with nary a bon mot in between.

anyway, just ignore them, if you can.  i am gonna plug into my mp3 player.

unless the psychic powers of that nutty diva overpower my playlists.


well, anyway.  yesterday, i baked bread.  white.  bread.  okay, with a pinch of rosemary.  it came out lovely, tasted lovely, had a lovely crust. 

i like to bake bread using kosher salt, which often embeds itself nicely, sparingly, in the crust, giving it a wonderful quality.  sure, it sounds like i am suggesting a salty crust, but i am not.  a beautiful ratio is what i am advocating.

this morning... at 4 am, to be precise... i decided to make scones.  bleck:  that's all i have to say.

oh, you didn't believe me, did you?  of course, there is more to say!  i found an odd recipe for a cream scone -- that is, i needed a recipe for which i had all the ingredients, and this one fit that bill.  bleck, again. 

i've gone over and over the recipe, trying to find where i went wrong.  obviously, the problem lies with my oven.

do you really want to see chuck liddell fight again, even if that fight might offer you the chance to see a bloodied, whimpering, sissyboy like tito ortiz begging to be allowed to tap?

wow.  that came from nowhere.

must be the bleck-y cream scones i'm munching on. they have special powers.  they came from my oven for a reason, with a purpose, sent by their scone leader to stop unwarranted mixed martial arts madness.  dana white is their human incarnation, which explains why he said:
I don’t want Chuck to fight anymore. Chuck’s one of my good friends, and I don’t want him to fight anymore. Chuck’s been a warrior, he’s been a great champion, and a great friend and a great partner. I don’t want to see it anymore.
i think we all can understand how the scones feel about this, chuck has been a scone stalwart, but it's time to put his considerable talents to work in other aspects of the sport -- teaching, coaching, training upcoming baked goods. 

i think i hear a doughnut calling.

it's a good thing that i don't have financial dealings to totally screw up this morning.  errr, this afternoon.  if my present state of disequilibrium, which i am not even sure is a word, is anything like my past flirtations with sleep-deprivation, i am likely to make extremely bad decisions regarding money. 

probably not what you assume, though at the moment you have sealed your mental meanderings from my incisive laser mind reader, so who knows?  what do i do?  well, i pay my bills.  which would not be a problem if i paid one bill, one time, and then moved on.

for some reason, and i put my money on unerring stupidity, i pay the same bill, over and over, usually by as many means as are possible.  let's say i have a natural gas bill.  i may pay it online by charging it to a credit card.  then, five minutes later, i might decide to also pay that bill with an e-check debiting my checking account.  you know, the checking account with an endless supply of magic euros, regularly visited by golden geese. 

just to cover myself, i often will also write out a good old-fashioned check, and pop it in the mail.

of course, with my well-documented obsession for accuracy and faithful recordkeeping, i make sure to only enter one payment in my various registers and accounting do-dads.  that way, i can be surprised a few days later when my bank tries to impune my visionary payment plan with ridiculous claims of overwithdrawal and insufficient funds. 

word to the wise, however:  after years of hallucinatory experimentation, i have concluded that credit card companies, in particular, will not forward my natural gas payments when i include them with my credit card payment coupons.  neither will they follow my instructions to divert 17% of their payment toward the mortgage, not even if doing so will save a stamp, or perhaps even a tree.

well, fred is up, and i am glad for the company, even though he denies responsibility for the utterings of his brain while he, the proprietary soul for the organism, slept.


it's time to face the day.  i've been in this wheelchair entirely too long, according to the excess dozen kilograms pooling so attractively around each ankle.  at first, i confess that i found my go-to-guy's doctorly pronouncements that i keep my feet above my head somewhat perverse but the daily experience of watching my legs transmogrify into pontoons (just like a washing machine is sometimes known to morph into a guitar)
-- well, that changed my tune.

so it is into bed i go, hoping that fred left some untapped dream fodder under the covers, some hypnotic, tranquilizing coma crumbs.  failing that, i have a couple of internet courses which i've ignored, a few cookbooks to peruse, cats to comb and brush, emails to write, and -- if i can just find my checkbook -- a few bills to pay.