Archive for February, 2012

The untimely death of our Homegirl, Whitney Houston, has come as a huge shock to her fans around the world.  She was born in Newark, NJ, grew up in  East Orange, NJ, and passed away suddenly and unexpectedly today at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA.

All over Facebook, her fans are putting up tributes, many consisting of her wonderful music.  I would like to share one of my very favorite Whitney moments.  This is from  Saturday Night Live  when “the perfect Whitney”   faced off with the always awkward Mary Katherine Gallagher for a spot in the Catholic school Christmas show.  (Whitney actually was the product of  the all girls Mount St. Dominic Academy.)  You will recognize Penny Marshall and Rosie O’Donnell as the nuns.

Thank you, Whitney, for all the music and also for the laughs.    Yes, we will always love you.  Our hearts and prayers go out to your family, loved ones, and fans the world over.

Here is Whitney’s Wikipedia page.

Here is Whitney’s Facebook page where you can see from her last entry how excited she was about the Grammys.  You can leave a message on her wall if you wish.

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Having introduced,  last night,  the brilliant young woman whom I see as an up and coming leader, a powerhouse,  for the traditional principles of the Democratic Party, I thought I would share a little more about her.  Do not go looking for her on Wikipedia.  She is not there!  I have no idea why not.  But I have seen parts of her story at Mulatto.org.


The story I found at that website was poignant.  It was sad, challenging, triumphant, sweet, and hers.  The first time I read it, I welled up.

This week , in the wake of the overturn of Prop 8 in California,  where Karen grew up,  she posted her story on her Facebook wall.  Here is her story as she told it in 2010 at U.S. News & World Report.

California Prop 8 Gay Marriage Ruling a Win For American Values

August 5, 2010

Yesterday’s ruling that California’s Proposition 8 is unconstitutional reaffirms a long-held American value that no matter how you try to spin it, separate is not equal. While some may not agree with same-sex marriage, history should remind us that our Constitution calls us to recognize that the laws in it apply equally, not to be picked apart to support a political agenda or bias. The arguments being used against same sex marriage are frighteningly similar and equally offensive as those once used against interracial marriage. While a Gallup poll in 1967 found that 74 percent of Americans disapproved of interracial marriage, it’s almost hard to remember just how far we’ve come.

Read more >>>> PLEASE READ MORE >>>>

When you look at that picture of Karen on that webpage, you have to wonder what must have gone through her grandfather’s heart to have missed those preceding years of this little girl growing up.  You think about how committed and frightened her parents must have been to escape the South.  You also cannot avoid thinking how lucky we are that her parents did what they did to have and give us this remarkable young woman.

As someone who went through similar experiences in those same years,  I deeply appreciate the courage of her parents.  I have no daughter (or son)  as a legacy,  but I was part of the war against  the inhuman miscegenation laws.  I celebrate the phenomenal human being Karen’s parents produced in the face of terrible legal implications.

When I see Karen post this story – her story – in relation to Prop 8, I wonder.  What phenomenal children are being raised in same-sex marriages?   What new leader will come along who might have languished in the foster care system or might never have been born were it not for the right of their parents to marry?

Every time I read Karen’s story,  and I have many times,  I am thankful that her parents defied the system – an unfair and cruel system – so that they could have this wonderful daughter, this brilliant, cheerful, adorable, funny, young woman with insights from which we all can learn.   I am also thankful that her grandfather came to know her.  He had to be proud.  If my dad had been her grandfather, he would have known her from birth and the sun would have risen and set in her. But that was my dad. (I miss him!)

Follow Karen on Twitter and see when she is scheduled to participate on panels!

For more on this very impressive young woman, check out her public profile at Politico.

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Yes we have heard this song before, and it is no sweeter referring to women in battle than it was referring to gays in combat or to a woman in the Oval Office.   As Jon Soltz recounts it at HuffPo   (and the video is embedded, so please do hear it from the horse’s mouth),  this is Santorum’s take on female troops in combat roles.

Jon Soltz

Co-Founder of VoteVets.org, Iraq War Veteran

Santorum Insults Women Who Served in Combat

Rick Santorum has no idea what’s happening in our military.On CNN, asked by John King if he agreed with a recent Pentagon decision that would formally open up front-line roles for women in combat, Santorum said, ” I think that could be a very compromising situation, where people naturally may do things that may not be in the interest of the mission, because of other types of emotions that are involved.”

Read more >>>>

*SIGH*  Where to begin?  New Hampshire, 2008, Hillary Clinton mists over for a moment talking about why she has taken on the punishing task of running for president, and we hear charges that a woman is too emotionally unstable to lead the country.  Iowa, 2012, Newt Gingrich chokes up á la John Boehner (pick a day and issue), and it is fine.

We heard plenty of “what ifs” in the run-up to the repeal of DADT.  OMG!  You cannot put gay troops in the trenches much less the barracks and the (Heaven forefend) showers with straight troops!  Chaos will surely ensue!

So now we have a prospective Commander-in-Chief suggesting that trained female combatants might act differently from the way their male counterparts do based on … um?  Emotions?

I do not hold the honor of having served in the military, but I know this.  Troops act upon orders – not upon head or heart – upon orders, and those orders in turn are given by those with the rank and training to make battlefield decisions.  Troops act in tandem as teams.  It does not matter if your teammate is male,  female.  straight, or gay.  There is a job, and your team is under orders to do it.

What Rick Santorum is thinking is way beyond my ability to imagine, but Soltz brilliantly explains exactly how and why female troops are especially valuable in the field given the cultural medium within which our military is currently operating.

We have a volunteer military.  It is the best in the world.  We all should be proud of every single one of those who choose to serve.  I have never had a moment of trepidation that sexual issues would interfere with action in combat.  Santorum should be ashamed.

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As any archer will tell you, there is a difference between hitting the bull’s eye and hitting the skirt.  Twice in a week now,  I see how the DNC damaged this country by contriving the 2008 nomination process.  Two issues that Hillary Rodham Clinton made eminently clear that she would own, from before she declared her candidacy for president,  were universal health care and a foreclosure freeze accompanied by restructuring of mortgage rates.  Well, we did not get HRC, so we did not see these issues addressed as she had outlined them.

Healthcare:  Yes, we did, after an 18-month battle get something, but a badly flawed something,  that continues to exclude too many, a large percentage of whom are women, and does not include the single most important factor that would  have neutralized completely this week’s argument between the administration and Catholic institutions: the single -payer option.   Had THAT been a non-negotiable part of the package, this week’s issue would never have arisen.

Now this morning, the president presents a plan to help some mortgagees in trouble.  Had HRC’s HOLC or HOME been passed, all mortgagees in trouble would have had access to renegotiation,  and foreclosures would have been temporarily frozen long enough for refinance to have taken place – years ago.

Mortgage Settlement Leaves Some Foreclosure Victims Wanting

Too little, too late for so many.

The Dems are trying to drum up some enthusiasm for an incumbent candidate whose inexperience and self-assuredness have served up insufficiency and inadequacy.  The one who was NOT ready from day one.  The unnecessary debate over women’s’ healthcare and the limitations of this morning’s settlement with the banks do little to inspire team spirit.

As usual, it is the surrogates who must argue with passion that the White House is doing the right thing by women, but is that enough?  It should be the incumbent inspiring the passion.   I find Karen Finney a particularly effective voice on the issue of women’s health care, but as I watch and listen to her, it occurs to me that,  as she inspires me,  it is not Obama I wish to follow into this battle, but rather Karen herself!  I do not know whose voice we will hear speaking for those left behind by the bank settlement, but certainly one will emerge.

In the same way that “Hillary Sent Me”, absent Obama personally reaching out specifically to HRC supporters,  left me completely unmotivated to support him (and even more passionately wanting Hillary), this continuing surrogacy strategy is doing nothing but spotlighting leaders, real ones, that I would much prefer to share a trench with than Obama.  Ms. Finney is quickly emerging as one of those.

So, as I continue to harbor hope that in some way Hillary Clinton ends up at the top of the ballot sooner rather than later, I see in some of the surrogates who defend Obama’s inadequate programs, my future leaders.  Elizabeth Warren is one, and Karen Finney is another to watch.  She has that Joan of Arc quality that HRC has.  Yes, I would follow her into battle just as I would follow Hillary.  Would I follow Obama?  No, I still simply cannot do that.  How can you follow the “leader” who leads from behind?

You only get points for hitting the target.  Obama continually hits the skirt.


*Edited to add*  It was atrociously negligent of me not to add the link to Karen’s seminal article on this issue which is one of many reasons why I point to her as a leader.  A “must read!”

Church, flock at odds


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