Category Archives: personal

Back From Aruba!

Yes, I Really Took This Picture

Yes, I Really Took This Picture

No, I didn’t drop off the face of the earth…I just went to Aruba, which is closer to the middle of the earth, off the coast of Venezuela, near the equator and such.

I will return to more substantive postings shortly, but if you’d care to see what we were up to for the past ten days, here are my photos on Flickr.

Aruba 2009

See you soon!

Where I’ve Been…and a Bit of Good News

Well, I’ve been getting ready to do this. I dare you not to sing along! (This is for you, M3!)

So, we are actually moving to the East Side this weekend! I’ve been packing and all that good stuff, and posting will be sporadic for a little while.

The past several days have been rather scary and depressing. The economy is most likely not going to be fixed by the so-called “centrist” (i.e., Republican/Libertarian) stimulus package. Meanwhile, BothWays Barack decided he agreed with Bush on executive privilege, and may be planning to use that whole “computerizing medical records” thing as a backdoor way to implement Aschroft’s Orwellian “Total Information Awareness” program without the knowledge and/or approval of Congress. (I SO have a play in me about this, but I just don’t know if I’ll have the time!)

But I’m trying to keep my pledge to go to my happy place. So what if I’m going to be thrown in a dissenter’s prison in a few years? Might as well have a smile on my face when I’m being carted off! So here’s a bit of good news:

The stimulus package contains enough aid to New York to stave off a lot of the more draconian cuts to education and health care that our Mayor and Governor were considering. This is really good news for us Noo Yawkaz, considering that after 9/11 we were promised billions by Bush and the money either never arrived, or ended up in the pockets of, wait for it, wait for it – Big Business! Bottom line is, my state and city have been suffering for almost eight years now and we deserve some relief.

The other good news is from overseas. The Welsh National Assembly is proving that the 30% Solution works in real-time. Check out the details here.

In the meantime, take deep breaths and put your money in your mattress or roll it over to a bank like ING Direct. The stock market isn’t going to be a good place to hang out for at least two or three years, IMHO.

See you after the move….

Okay, So the Stock Market is Crashing…

Going To the Chapel...

Going To the Chapel...

but even in the darkest times, there’s a light.

HARTFORD, Conn. — Connecticut’s Supreme Court ruled Friday that same-sex couples have the right to marry, making that state the third behind Massachusetts and California to legalize such unions.

The 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.

Justices overturned a lower court ruling and found in favor of the plaintiffs, who said the state’s marriage law discriminates against them because it applies only to heterosexual couples, therefore denying gay couples the financial, social and emotional benefits of marriage.

Eight same-sex couples sued in 2004, saying their constitutional rights to equal protection and due process were violated when they were denied marriage licenses.

Bravo, Connecticut Supreme Court, bravo! Thank you for recognizing the rights of our GLBT friends and family to love and marry whomever they choose.

May more states lead the way on this important issue, and may the federal government soon realize that preventing loving couples from marrying is barbaric and cruel, and unworthy of the country we aspire to be.

Righteous Kill – See It, or Don’t?

Find out here.

A Bittersweet Experience

As some of my regular readers know, I am a professional singer as well as a politics-obsessed bloggista. Last night, I was privileged to sing in a Concert for Life, sponsored by the Project People Foundation. The experience left an indelible impression on me.

My part in the concert was small: I was there as a “backup” for the Cantor at the temple where I sing. (That temple has long been a partner in PPF’s efforts). The rest of the time, I was able to sit, snack, and enjoy the other performers. And what a show it was!

Project People Foundation is dedicated to improving the lives of impoverished and AIDs-scourged South Africans. To highlight this focus, PPF opened the concert with performances from South Africans who are part of the cast of The Lion King. They danced and sang with amazing energy, skill and passion. Then, an absolutely phenomenal gospel group sang several pieces that were so inspiring, they almost convinced me to convert. (Oy!) In the middle of all of this was a celebration of Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday, complete with a gorgeous cake.

Finally, the gospel choir closed with a knockout performance of “We Shall Overcome,” with the first verse sung in Hebrew to honor the Temple’s participation. The entire room stood up and held hands spontaneously. It was incredibly moving to touch strangers and colleagues in such a comfortable way, and sing along with that ultimate anthem of faith and resolve.

That was the sweet, and how sweet it was.

And now, for the bitter.

The performance took place at a large, prominent, mostly African-American church. Barack Obama’s name was mentioned twice by various speakers, both times in the context of how inspiring it was as an example to children and adults that an African-American could be nominated as a Presidential candidate. (He hasn’t clinched the nomination yet, but I knew where they were coming from.) The folks in the room seemed to agree (I saw a few nods and heard a quiet “Yes!” or two), but there was no applause or loud affirmation of these statements. (And believe me, this crowd was not shy – if you’ve ever been to a service in a black church, you know what I’m talking about.)

In fact, both of these statements were made by men, and I saw some female faces around the room freeze a little, as mine did. I wondered if the two thoughts that went through my head were running through theirs:

1) Women of color could have been inspired by Hillary as well as Obama; and

2) Why isn’t he better?

Let’s address #1 first.

Reverend Jeremiah Wright mentioned Hillary Clinton in his controversial “God Damn America” sermon, and his remarks were instructive. He asserted that Hillary hadn’t had to work twice as hard as a white man to get the same job. It was a laughable and hugely ironic statement in the context of this primary, considering that Hillary has now all but lost the nomination to a man, although she was the winner of the popular vote and has a resume that, by any objective measure, dwarfs Obama’s.

Clearly, gender equality is not a part of Reverend Wright’s awareness. As every woman in his congregation could have told him, women do have to work twice as hard as a man in order to get the same job. Of course, even if they are fortunate enough to get such a job, they are paid, on average, 77 cents to the man’s dollar.

Is there any reason to assume that Hillary Clinton would not continue her work to gain gender equality as President? No. The only way to beat Hillary was to smear her with false accusations of racism and race-baiting, and that is exactly what his campaign did. Out of an understandable sense of community, only a brave few African-Americans stood up for her or Bill Clinton in the face of Obama’s divisive tactics, and those who did were intimidated with primary challenges or, in some cases, death threats from the Obama camp.

As frustrating as #1 is to me, #2 is what really hurt. Why is he The One, as Oprah famously dubbed him? What has he ever done for the black community? What has he promised to do for the black community? Why does he talk down to the NAACP and perpetuate white stereotypes about his own people?

Why doesn’t he appreciate how much his community needs a figure of great stature, a person who aspires to be a fighter for social justice for all Americans, a person who strives for peace and an end to institutionalized racism and bigotry of all kinds – yes, even unto sexism and homophobia? Why isn’t he humbled a bit by what the unqualified support of the black community means?

It breaks my heart that Senator Obama was not asked these questions by the Party Leaders before they decided to elevate him to national status. Fair or not, an African-American candidate will bear the burdens of his long-suffering community on his shoulders, just as Hillary would be expected to bear the burdens of long-suffering women on hers. And as I looked at all the faces around me last night, holding hands with a beautiful stranger and pledging to overcome, I could only think: African-Americans deserve better. They deserve so much better than vague platitudes about hope and change. They deserve a deep understanding of their plight and a lifelong commitment of time and resources, of heart and soul, towards mitigating that plight.

For all of our sakes, I hope they get what they deserve from America and, should he prevail, Barack Obama. As we all know, it’s been a long time coming.

Aruba Pix – Just a Few For Now…Enjoy!

Mr. and Mrs. Madamab on our Sunset Sail

Papiamento – A Delicious and Romantic Restaurant

The Beach

Iguanas!

Shhhhh….

be vewy vewy quiet. My husband is napping. Heheheheheheheheh!

So, SOME people seem to, like, want beach blogging and stuff! Well, normally I would have done more by now, but believe it or not, the weather has been sucky! It is so incredibly rare to have rain in Aruba that everyone on the island is in shock. Luckily, the last of the storm seems to have passed, and the rain this morning will probably be the last, for the next four months!

I have a newfangled Blackberry and have taken some fun photos, which I hope to [ahem] figure out how to download tomorrow! But I wanted to wait till I had some great beach shots first. We haven’t even seen a lot of iguanas this year – they’ve been hiding from the rain! Jeez!

On the upside, we are winning at the casinos and eating some incredible food. Our hotel is very nice and the room opens right onto the beach. So it’s all good…and tomorrow night, the Sunset Sail awaits, with champagne and delicious Dutch chocolates.

Sending you all lovely breezes and starlit nights!