Monday, December 31, 2007

Goodbye 2007

Seems the end of the year is always a time for reflection.

I’ve averaged about a post a week for 2007. Sometimes more, sometimes less. Another site I post on frequently asked for the best posts that bloggers thought they had done all year. So I went back through mine and here are what I choose as my own favorite posts from 2007.

Blessings to You and Yours!
Have a Happy New Year !

The Sky is Falling
About Snow Panic in Cincinnati
Forgiveness
About Forgiving my daughter and my fear of the police
Our Government as the Harry Potter Story
A comparison of the Bush Administration to the Potter Series
Chasing David Pepper
A case of mistaken identity
All or One
A tiny slice of every day bigotry
My Racially Divided Local Election Recap
My Take on the November 2007 Election

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Another Soldier Gone

Benazir Bhutto
Former Prime Minister
Pakistan


I don't claim to know the ins and outs of globabl or even domestic politics. But I follow along and one story that has interested me of late is the struggle for Pakistan's fomer prime minister, a woman named Benazir Bhutto to merely stay alive, let alone be an advocate for right's for women and Democracy for all her people.

So I go to Yahoo today to check my email and you cannot imagine my shock, anger and sadness at coming across the two-word headline "Bhutto assassinated". At first I did not understand and then my brain began to comprehend and all I angrily could say was, "F*ck!" I slammed my hands down on my desk in anger, frustration and the general futility of my even caring.

And then the tears began.

It pisses me off that the lives of women are so damn cheap on this planet. And when a bit of our cream floats to the top, the women that rise above the mundane and become advocates, not just for their own people, but symbols of what other women can be, attain and rise to - and how quickly their light can be snuffed out in the game of power and money that is world of men...it disgusts me, sickens me and it makes me fearfuly, yet more determined to never be cowed by any man, especially the men who try to preserve their own power by bullying the rest of us.

It angers me that this woman's career will be overshadowed by accusations of monetary corruption with evidence that has probably been feigned by her enemies. It angers me that what she fought for, equal treatment for women and a democratic government - is something that ANYONE in this day and age still must fight for.

Yet, we must fight. Yes, even here, in the land of so-called liberty, there are far too many who would see the light of liberty snuffed out. Unfortunately, it seems the only oil that will satisfy the Liberty Lamp is the blood of those who would not see it darkened.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

White-on-white crime is out of control

In light of the latest mass shooting in Omaha, Nebraska, I thought I'd do one of those generalizing, racial stereotyping type articles.

Sad part is, it only took me less than 10 seconds of searching google to find and article so full of generalizations that only a bit of find and replace magic from Word was needed to produce the piece below.
White-on-white crime is out of control

White people are assaulting, robbing and killing one another at an alarming rate. The violence devastates families, ruins neighborhoods, kills futures and plays into an unfair stereotype about white people. It’s as big a threat to white communities as anything.

White people aren’t the only ones who commit crime. All people, regardless of their race or socio-economic status, do. And it’s no surprise that white people commit most crimes against whites; white people commit most crimes against whites.

All crime is bad. But crime among white people, particularly young men, is out of control.

That’s a hard admission to make. Harder than you know. And it’s not because I’m African-American and would rather not air white folks’ dirty laundry.

I get many calls from misguided white people claiming “white people commit all the crime” and “white people are the source of all America’s problems,” and the like. The last thing I want to do is to appear to give credence to those bigoted, false statements.

Most white people are hard-working and law-abiding; they don’t commit crimes. But those who do commit far too many.

And in order to address the issue of white crime, particularly white-on-white crime, we must acknowledge the problem and then sincerely work toward solutions. It’s more important to stop the killing than to worry about what hard-core racists think.

Crime isn’t a white problem; it’s a societal problem that’s going to take all of us — from parents to communities to churches to government — to remedy.

There are lots of reasons why people, whether white, white, Hispanic, Asian or Native American, commit crime. Many who fill our prisons grew up poor, have trouble reading, are dropouts, are from single-family homes or have other challenges, not all of which are of their own doing.

Unfortunately, white people endured a lot of ill treatment that forced them into a number of those categories.

But despite obstacles they might face, there is no excuse for anyone to rape, rob and kill. No one should get a pass because they grew up poor, were discriminated against or are unemployed. They’re responsible; if they break the law, they must be punished. Unfortunately, our system of justice doesn’t treat everyone equally. Some people have gotten — and still do get — passes, while others have been treated more harshly. A thorough review of our justice system is among the needed solutions.

In addition, we must help remove barriers and improve conditions that make people more prone to commit crime. We must provide better education, more job training and more jobs. We must vanquish the ills of racism and discrimination. We must continue to curtail teen pregnancy and fatherlessness and douse the raging flames of gang violence.

And while we must all denounce crime, white families and communities in particular must let lawbreakers know — it doesn’t matter whether they’re family or friends or not — that crime won’t be tolerated.

While it’s legitimate and right to point out economic, social and historical issues that hinder people’s advancement and demand change, the zeal for equality and justice must not blind us from confronting crime, whomever is committing it. If someone is being discriminated against or is unemployed or impoverished, we need to find ways to help; but we must not use their circumstances to try to justify criminal acts.

It’s time to say enough is enough. We must find ways to keep people from committing crime and going into our jails and prisons. Many people are trying to find answers, but the first line of defense should be at home.

But for many, that line of defense is broken or never existed.

Why?

Excerpted and edited from the original article by Warren Bolton of
The State, A South Carolina Newspaper

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Humanizing the Enemy


OK. Even I have to admit. My heart thawed the merest trifle. Like on Thanksgiving and the turkey you thought would never thaw finally gives just a little when you press hard enough in the right spot.

Before the week is over you will have heard more than you ever wanted to know about Jenna Bush calling her Dad while she was on the Ellen Show. I watched the clip this morning on the Today Show and it is as heartwarming and genuine a moment as I have ever heard from our president.

Jenna Bush's faith in her parents is unassailable. She was nervous, as any of us might be, calling the President of the United States out of the blue. What if he had been in the middle of something - like world peace - but she caught her parents at a good moment. Laura answers and after a bit puts George on the phone.

And his love and caring cannot be faked. His voice is definitively George Bush, but it's not the George Bush we're used to hearing - the slightly baffled, decidedly uncomfortable public speaker; the unrelentingly stubborn and uncompromising President.

With his daughter, he's on terra firma and he's happy, genuinely happy, just to have her own the phone. He can't fake it; he's just not that good an actor, as we have learned over the past six years.

And the audience said, just as I did..."awww".

So after years of trying, they found the right spot to press with me. Bush is a parent. Bush's life as a rich white guy means he has lived a life I will never truly understand and I know he would never understand mine as a poor black woman. Even so, should the unlikely event occur, that we would ever meet George Bush and I have at least one bit of common ground.

After I thought about it a bit, the phrase "Humanizing the Enemy" came to mind. I immediately questioned that thought. For all that I do not like George Bush's policies, he is our President and it is hard to regard him as an enemy. It comes down to this: Are George Bush and Deb Lite fighting for the same side. In the end, I don't think we are. We have some goals in common: I would like to see an end terrorism and assurances of our continued access to oil resources as a matter of national necessity. I'd like to see Osama Bin Laden rot in jail. I'd like Peace in the Middle East.

The problem is, I'm not sure the President actually has those goals. And if those are his goals, I certainly don't like the way he's gone about trying to achieve them. He may not be an enemy to me, but he has proven to be an enemy to American ideals, to our constitution and our country; to truth and justice - and he has done it by masquerading his misdeeds as the American way.

In the end, I believe he is fighting for the privileged few to control....well, everything and everyone. And I believe in opportunity, liberty and justice for all. That does make him a foe of sorts.

I did a Google search this morning on that phrase, "Humanizing the Enemy" and turned up this (LINK GOES TO BLOG: The Rudy Word):
Humanizing the enemy is not the same as giving them comfort or being sympathetic to their cause. Many in the public sphere (politicians, pundits, etc.) would like to conflate the ideas of humanizing someone and comforting them. They are very different (thus the two different words in our language). It is my belief that humanizing the enemy, in this day in age, in this war on terror(ism), is the only way to win. By humanizing the enemy you can at once begin to understand them and their motives. Demonizing them only serves to give us a blank check of comfort in our efforts, but it is a false comfort at that. We can no longer play the "they are the anti-thesis of us" game. If we are to achieve victory, it will be because we begin to see every gray area our current time has created. Anything less will only ensure complete failure, if not in the present then in the near future.
Now if we can only convince George Bush to see the human side of his three front war with the same determination that we seek out the spark of humanity left in him.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Our Town

What I saw and heard last night at the County Commissioners Public Hearing for the proposed 2008 Budget

I went to the Hamilton County Commissioners Public Hearing last night regarding the proposed 2008 Budget. I hadn't planned to. I was watching the Nov 26th County Commissioners meeting on public access. They mentioned that a public hearing on the proposed 2008 Budget would be held the next day at 6:00. But I was watching the meeting on the day they were talking about and it was already 5 pm.

I had chicken in the oven and a bag of corn in the freezer. I nearly decided not to go. In the end, I set my daughter the task of finishing dinner and headed on down to Court Street.

The main question asked last night was, anyone got a spare $35 million dollars lying around? I suppose that's why only about 6 black people showed up, including Hamilton County Coroner, Odell Owens. Black unemployment is at about 11% in Hamilton County, mirroring the rest of nation at rates double white unemployment. And if you don't have a job, you're not likely to have an extra $35 million in spare change to help the county with it's projected deficit.

It's a shame more black folks weren't there though. However, no one really planned for them or too much of anyone else to be there en masse. There were probably about 100 chairs for the 120 plus people who did show up. I stood up for most of the meeting and finally snagged a chair so near the front of the room that I was literally stage right on the dais. There were many people who decided they would rather stand than be so conspicuous. It was only that I really wanted to get a pictures of more than the back of Odell Owens' head that lured me forward.
The county is facing a $35 million dollar budget deficit. They have several proposals (I think it was 8) on how to make up the difference. They never said the words "Issue 27" or "Jail Tax" but I was to learn in the course of the evening that the code word for those two phrases were "Public Safety".

The Commissioners have stated that the only way they know to increase revenue at this time is to increase fees for County services, reduce raises for employees and also eliminate over 100 positions. Thompson's recommendation to the commissioners is that all items that are considered discretionary rather than necessary be cut.

This struck me as a tad drastic and maybe even a little dramatized. My own perception after a while was that the Commissioners were not happy with the way the jail tax went, so they were going to make funding cuts where people would see them most, not where they would be most invisible, as retaliation against the voters, mainly black folks who thought that a new jail built expressly for them, was not the answer to the county's problems.

That was my own, admittedly limited, take on things. This is what other people had to say:

The County Coroner fighting for his budget and the necessary equipment to do his job. Excerpt from my hastily scribbled notes last night:
Coroner budget is discretionary? Why the hell does the Coroner have to fight for his budget? Hamilton County Coroner's office lot an employee to BCI due to budget issues? Owens is asking for a $150,00 piece of equipment that he says will generate $1 million in revenue. Why not give it to him?

People who are a part of Hamilton county 4H and key greenhouse operators in Hamilton County fighting for the funds to keep operating their link to the OSU Extension services. The cutest 4-H members you ever saw walked to the podium and begged the Commissioners not to cut off their opportunity to participate in 4-H. Seems 4-H has some obscure rule that when you start 4-H in one county, you can't switch to another county, so they can't just join up with another group in Butler or Clermont or something. This part of the budget cut means the end of their 4-H experience. When they sat down the crowd gave them a big round of applause and a heartfelt "Awwww."

I heard a lot about a "rebirth" in Over-the-Rhine. Several people spoke about how the climate in OTR has changed for the better now that the Sheriff's deputies and litter patrols are a fixture there and how horrible things will be if they leave.

I heard a man accuse the Commissioners of being irresponsible with the taxpayers money. He stated that the deficit should be made up by increasing property taxes dramatically, end tax breaks for whites and big business. He also stated that we should release Marcus Frisson from jail and all the homeless people from the Queensgate jail. He also stated that we should scrap the Banks project.

I heard a woman state that the problem with the Commission is lack of imagination and lack of and lack prevention. That we are quick to lock people up when they break the law, but we are slow to find the causes and address how they got there in the first place. She also recommended that the Banks is full of closed door deals and commented on the irony between a $35 million deficit and the more than $35 million we've spent on the Banks.

Another man revisited the stadium deals and how the $7 million deficit in stadium operations and $51 million in cost overruns may have something to do with the County's leaking money problem. He also mentioned that in two years we will start paying the Bengals for the stadium lease. He wanted to know if we what part of the "necessary" cuts would be made to the Bengals.

It's terribly impolite to interrupt people but I wanted to remind the man that unfortunately, Hamilton County has taken the Bengals to court twice over our contract with them and we've lost both times. The bottom line is, our representation agreed to and signed a very bad deal with the Bengals and we are stuck with the contract.


One woman stated that she was sick of people claiming indigent status to get out fines. If we just enforced the stay to pay system, we wouldn't have a budget deficit. She stated that we are "paying people to criminalize" (whatever the hell that means).

I wanted to tell her that most smaller courts are circumventing stay to pay and instead going with "plead guilty and pay now" or "plead innocent and go to jail now". I really wish I could have talked to her but she left.

In several side conversations, and one in particular, I learned that affordable housing is a taboo subject around these parts. If you can't pay "market rates" you really don't count much. The push is for "young professionals" or "empty nesters". The kind of people who can pay $200,000 for a condo plus condo fees and garage parking and afford to drive to Ridge or surrounding areas to get their groceries. Or who will take the new streetcar and go on a nice little tour or bar crawl around downtown.

As for what will happen to the families and the people who really need housing they can afford. There's always section 8 or they'll get by somehow. There's always the suburbs or Hyde Park. Why would they want to live in the city anyway?

And as for the families who are already there? No one knows and no one really cares as long as the sheriff's patrols keep them in line and protect the business investments that are being made downtown in condos. Sad but true.

I saw three Commissioners and an Administrator who really, truly almost care about what happens to this county. Part of it anyway. I think they really want to do a good job, but sadly, they only know one way to do it. And all those ways have failed us in the past. And I feel, like the lady said, they have no imagination and true will to buck the corporate powers that be and give people real leadership and solutions.

I saw David Pepper listen to people. I saw Todd Portune address the crowd with warmth and humor. I saw Pat DeWine listening intently but several times he put his hands over his face as if he just can't believe how hard this all is. I saw him make the same gesture on tv. It's a sad gesture of bewilderment, confusion, fatigue. As if he's either sick of all this or maybe he has an answer but the rest of us are long past listening.

I felt that three people was far too few to make the huge decisions concerning Cincinnati and all the Villages, Townships, small cities and neighborhoods that make up Hamilton County.

I feel that the people of all those villages, townships and small cities need to do a better job of sending their representation to these meetings and getting the information back to their neighbors. Because these decision affect us all. And the more we know about them, the better.

Friday, November 16, 2007

All or One

So today I'm driving along and it's around 5:00 and 75 South is already stacked. I'm not in a big hurry, so I decide to avoid the highway and drive the long way around.

I know where I'm going but it's not area I'm not familiar with the way I am my own neighborhood or areas I drive more frequently. I was making a right turn and traffic stops suddenly. It doesn't seem like a big deal except I'm stopped directly in front of what seems to be one of those long driveways, like you see in front of trucking companies.

A car comes up and since I had thought it was a driveway, I had stopped far enough back so that the car was able to get through. But I had given the car just enough to be polite driveway space not, all the way back far enough for an intersection space. It turns out that what I thought was a driveway was actually a street.

How do I know this? Because after the car squeaks through, a blonde haired, thin man walking two dogs points starts pointing at me. At first I don't understand why this guy is pointing and addressing me but he looks like it's urgent so I roll down my window. Then I realize he's yelling at me and pointing to a DO NOT BLOCK INTERSECTION sign. OK, I get it, but damn, the car had already gotten through and I'd just made a simple mistake, right?

No. That's not enough for blond guy with two dogs. I was going to explain that I hadn't noticed the sign or the street, "my bad" but he has to take it to the next level.
"The SIGN says DO NOT BLOCK INTERSECTION! You don't have the right to block the intersection just because you're black. Can't you read? The sign says..."
My expression: WTF?

I missed whatever he said next. I quickly rolled up my window and fortunately the traffic moved on. I made it to my destination and then I realized I had my digital camera and I wished I'd had the presence of mind to snap a picture of him. I went back and retraced my steps but he must have taken his dogs home.

I know this incident is not indicative of all white people just like my failure not to partially block an intersection is not indicative of all black people.

But incidents like this over and over and over, like getting called a nigger nearly every time I play yahoo hearts...

It leaves me baffled and confused and yes hurt. It also leaves me wondering...why are there still white people who act like this?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

My Racially Divided Local Election Recap



Well folks, just in case you hadn't noticed, the Greater Cincinnati Area is deeply divided along racial lines. Oh, things seem all smooth on the surface. Black folks say there's a problem. Rich white folks continue to say, "There's no problem. We treat our darkies just fine and they love us too."

Nothing highlights this more clearly than the results of the jail tax issue (fondly known as Issue 27).
From Cincinnati.com
Issue 27: Hamilton Co. Public Safety Sales Tax
880 of 880 precincts reporting

Votes Percent
No 107,276 56.1%
Yes 84,115 43.9%

It passed in only five jurisdictions: Terrace Park, Wyoming, Indian Hill, North Bend and Green Township.
That means anywhere that is decently integrated voted it down. Black folks voted no and white folks who would have to look their black neighbors in the eye and know that they would have voted to lock up their neighbors, who just maybe aren't so bad after all, voted no.

Only the outer bastions of rich whiteness voted to lock up more black and poor people instead of finding other ways to "help" them.

Then there's the council split. Three very viable black candidates, missed the field of nine by inches.

Here's how the vote went (African American candidates are listed in bold)

1. 32,663 7.80% John Cranley
2. 32,648 7.80% Roxanne Qualls
3. 30,112 7.20% David C. Crowley
4. 26,206 6.30% Cecil Thomas
5. 25,677 6.20% Chris Bortz
6. 24,163 5.80% Leslie Ghiz
7. 23,853 5.70% Laketa Cole
8. 22,906 5.50% Jeff Berding
9. 22,712 5.50% Chris Monzel
10. 21,267 5.10% Charlie Winburn
11. 18,141 4.40% Minette Cooper
12. 16,767 4.00% Sam Malone

The difference between the top white vote getters and black vote getters was only 65,000 votes. Not to mention the field of runoff candidates - there are simply more white voters than black ones and the vote was obviously very divided among black people which makes sense. The name recognition and probably even personal relationships among the voters in the field of black candidates is probably very high. The black vote was split enough to make sure that, yet again, only two black people ended up on council.

And although white folks have many myriad reasons for not voting for the jail, they also voted to keep our children stupid and the schools broke by defeating the CPS levy. It's ok if rich schools have swimming pools as long as poor kids don't have text books. Only in Cincinnati does this make sense. Hell, most whites these parts send their kids to private or Catholic school anyhow. What is to them that public schools are failing?

One thing is for certain - no matter how divided we are on every other issue, we all agree on one thing - liquor. That it should be plentiful and on every street corner, and in every grocery store and Olive Garden. Skimming the list of liquor license issues, I only saw one liquor license denied. When voters in Colerain were asked if the Olive Garden on Colerain should be able to keep it's liquor license the result was an overwhelming 76% yes to a paltry 26% no. I suppose the other 8% decided that even if they couldn't, in good conscience, vote for the liquor, they would not deny others by voting against.

And it is my own personal satisfaction that Mitch Painter got nowhere near enough votes to be considered for council. It's only my regret that Bortz, Ghiz and Berding didn't do as poorly. Why do only divisive, destructive candidates make council. Michael Earl Patton and Justin Jeffre could do a lot for this city if given a chance, but that's just too much like right.

In the wider field of issues, it's nice to know that my vote on Ohio Senate Bill 16 didn't even count. Hell I wasn't even aware of Ohio Senate Bill 16 until I got my ballot. I was determined to read my ballot carefully but even so the words 'sexually oriented entertainment' and 'nude' (pdf) were bound to get my attention, especially on a piece of paper as official as a ballot.

According to this article it was all a false alarm. Strippers will still be allowed to touch people in nudie bars and the bars will still be able to operate from 12 midnight - 6 am, despite the fact that the vote didn't count - Yes, I voted NO on the restrictions which was a yes for the rights of people to go to titty bars if they so choose.

From the Article:
Jennifer Brunner, Ohio Secretary of State, notified the state’s local election boards Thursday that the group pushing to let voters decide on restrictions at sexually oriented businesses failed to get enough signatures to let the issue remain on the ballot.

Brunner’s letter instructs election workers to post notices at polling locations saying votes won’t be counted and to hand out notices with absent voter ballots.

The final blow [<- side comment from me: I suppose this is no pun intended] to referendum supporters came from the Ohio Supreme Court, which supported Brunner’s interpretation of election law, court documents said.

Since the referendum failed, Gallaway said the law restricting hours and activities at sexually oriented businesses is effective.

If you've actually read up to this point or just skipped ahead for the point of all this, the final count was:

Liquor and titty bars - 1
Jails and schools - 0

God bless America.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Warantless Wiretapping

What's the big deal?

Plenty.

This issue is really simple.

Bush (read Cheney) asked the telecom companies to break the law, in the name of fighting terrorism, by giving out customers info and tying that info into real-time phone and other transmissions. Whatever info the telecoms have on any American citizen was handed over to the government.

All of them complied except for Qwest. Qwest was punished for not complying by having their purchase of MCI denied and not receiving other lucrative government contacts.

Bush is trying to reward the telecoms that did comply with immunity for breaking the FISA law.

We know Bush never even got the retroactive warrants for the information he was requesting because he already told us that as the Commander and Chief, he is the decider and he decided he didn't have to comply with FISA law while we are at war.

The president is wrong. The telecoms should be prosecuted. Bush and Cheney should be impeached. For this and many other reasons, but this will do.

Democrats in Congress and in the Senate, WAKE THE HELL UP! STAND UP to Bush and Cheney and get busy with impeachment.

Simple.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Driving

Fall in Cincinnati is a pretty time but the sharp change in weather from blistering heat to classic October chill left me with a bad case of bronchitis. I'm usually a lot more careful and I haven't had an attack this bad since I was a kid.

Fortunately, my daughter, who usually misses several days of school per year due to asthma/ bronchitis issues, knows exactly what to do. So now I'm the one being cosseted with chicken noodle soup and a soda on the side, jello and all my favorite movies from the video store.

She only laughed wryly when Ye Old Matey practically had to sit on me to take my doses of Robitussin. She is amazed that I am capable of being whiny and bratty "just because I'm sick". That I am capable of feeding hated cauliflower to our vacuum cleaner of a dog and incapable of not getting caught.

She doesn't have her temps yet, but she'll be eligible in January so, before I got sick, I'd been teaching her to drive. Just around our neighborhood. She won't be doing the Indy 500 any time soon, but she's going to be a decent driver. Even so, I think teaching your teenage daughter has to be on a list of hellish experiences somewhere between a root canal with no novacaine and actual hell itself.

I let her drive as far as church last week (about 12 miles) and I've found depths and reserves of patience I didn't know I had. Despite the fact that she hasn't mastered left hand turns or at the time, was driving so near the curb, I had to patiently drift her away from looming telephone poles and fire hydrants, we made it in one heart-jumping piece with only one moment of sheer panic. I forgot that this one lane only leads to the expressway and I was NOT ready to take her on the expressway. But we weathered even that moment well and got back on track.

It's odd to have my daughter take care of me after so many years of things being the other way around. Weird to be a passenger after so many years of being her chauffer.

Driving with her takes me back to what I call our "Traveling Days". Back when she was in preschool, before I met Ye Old Matey, we would go for drives, just the two of us, with no destination and for no reason at all. I had a tiny hatchback with no radio so we sang. We sang all the songs from Barney and from church and I taught her every single song my mother and grandmother had ever taught me. One December we realized that the tuner was gone, but the tape player still worked. I picked up a Bing Crosby Christmas tape on sale at a gas station and we wore through Melekalikinaka and she must have been the only three year old to know all the words to Christmas in Kilarney.

I didn't think she remembered those days, she was so young. When we had our moment of panic on the road and finally got back on track, I started humming, without even realizing it:

Oh we ain't got a barrel of money
We may be ragged and funny


And without thinking, she joined in:

But we'll travel along
Singing our song
Side by side.


And she said, "Mama, do you remember..."

And I said, "Yes, baby. I do."

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

MoveOn.Org - Cincinnati Rally For Kid's Health Care

Rally for Our Children's Health Care" in Cincinnati
(Rally Time & Location have been updated below!)
Where: In front of the Federal Bldg downtown (550 Main St.)
When: Thursday, Oct 4 2007, 1:30 PM

Click here to RSVP


President Bush just vetoed health care for children. In only his fourth veto ever, he blocked health care coverage for millions of uninsured—and mostly poor—kids.1 The Washington Post is calling this "the biggest domestic policy clash of his presidency."2

Bush is totally out of step with public opinion—even 61% of Republicans support the children's health care bill.3 We need just 15 more Republicans in Congress to break with Bush to override the veto.

Source

*****
I am going to the rally. The new time is in the middle of my workday inconvenient (it was originally at 4:30 pm) but I'm going to nip a bit of extra lunch time and go. As a parent who knows the trials of being unemployed and having no health insurance, I can't afford not to go.

See you there!

Deborah : )

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A Good Guy

Not long ago I had an experience with Mitch Painter, who is running for Cincinnati City Council, that really left me angry.

I posted about it on my blog and I shared my experience with Jason Haap, also known as the Dean of Cincinnati. Jason runs a very popular media activism blog, The Cincinnati Beacon, which notably, may well be the first blog to actually move to a print edition.

I really like Jason. I've worked with him and he's given attention to several stories here at Deb Lite. When I told him my story about Mitch, Jason said he'd heard similar things elsewhere but also that he'd met him personally and felt that Mitch was, "A good guy." Even so, he would take my words into consideration.

He said he would write about Mitch but he hasn't and that's a shame. I gave him several items that I was willing to go on the record about as far as Mitch was concerned. Still no dice.

In addition to my personal issues with Mitch, I feel that Mitch Painter is a bigot and a slumlord. I found Painter to be decidedly unprofessional, unintelligent and a horrendous speller.

This is my own humble opinion and far be it for anyone to preach this as gospel. But I am writing it on my own blog as my own opinion and Mitch would have to go a lot further than what he has done- namely sending me a one-line email of apology- to prove to me otherwise. I loathe to think of this type of person in our City Government or really, in a responsible position of any kind.

Just to make this patently clear: I don't feel Mitch is a good guy.

As for Jason, he is welcome to feel about Mitch whatever he wants. As can Nate Livingston at Cincinnati Black Blog, who wrote in his Council Predictions for September that even though he "can't seem to get a feel for Painter," Mitch has "a chance, even if it is a weak chance."

I responded on Nate's blog with the following: Mitch Painter can kiss my ass. I also provided a link to my story saying why. Still no dice.

Now both of these men tend to go after incumbents and candidates, even ones they like, with a tenacity that pit bulls would envy. Nate and Jason both hold wide and varied opinions. They have exposed powerful truths that others would rather see swept under the rug. They are sometimes written off, I feel wrongly, as partisan to their own causes. But I have seen them read the riot act to politicians that they have supported and I have seen them praise the worthy actions of people they otherwise don't agree with.

So, I guess I write this to vent a little and also as a warning to them both. If Mitch Painter slides on to Cincinnati City Council- much as Leslie Ghiz did, because she looked nice and everyone was looking in the opposite direction- only to wreak havoc later, it will not be because someone didn't speak up.

I am asking them both to take another look at Mitch Painter. To dig a little deeper and make sure that if he gets on council, it's because Painter fought for it and has to answer some hard questions about who he is and what his agenda for Cincinnati will be. Nate has already pointed out that Mitch didn't even bother to show up at a forum for Council Candidates but the buck must go further. (See Nate's Post Grading Council Performances in Northside.)

I don't want Painter given a free pass just because he hasn't said much yet or just because he's this gay friendly guy with a nice smile and an aw-shucks manner that belies who is he underneath. Cincinnati Council needs gay friendly people, but they don't need Mitch Painter.

Just to make this patently clear: I don't feel Mitch is a good guy.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Jena or Cincinnati; I See No Difference

This article says everything I ever wanted to say to black folks in general and white folks in particular about how I feel about racism and what's happening in Jena, Lousianna.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

More Correspondence



From: "mitch painter"

To: "'Deborah'"

Subject: greenland keys


Deborah,

I need to get the keys back from you by tommorow for Greenland, both doors and mailbox keys. I'm sorry that your upset with me as I never meant to hurt you.

If I do not receive the keys to the units and mailboxes I will have no other choice but to file suit of $25,000 for loss rents, as well as file criminal theft and harrasment charges. I have the absolute best attorneys and will win. I don't mean to be mean but can't have someone steal from me. I will wait to hear from you. If not I will file the charges immediately.

Mitch


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

From: "Deborah"

Subject: Re: greenland keys

To: "mitch painter"

I don't have the keys, they are in the building. I never took them and I simply omitted telling you. I tried to make sure I covered all the bases before I left and this was a simple mistake. Gosh, for someone not trying to be mean, you sure do a good impression.

Where the keys are: In the common room off the lobby, in the small kitchen area, in the cabinets to the far right if you are facing the sink. That's where I kept the key rings and the mailbox keys ALWAYS. I would have remembered to tell Tony that if he hadn't been following me around like I was out to steal something.

To heck with you, Tony and your darn attorneys. Please do not EVER contact me again by, phone, mail or email or I will file a lawsuit against you for harassment.

Sincerely,


Deborah

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


1. He threatens like I'm one of the college kids he rents to while claiming not to be mean.

2. He falsely accuses me of THEFT without even asking me where the damned keys were.

3. He swears up and down to be gay friendly but has no problem being a bigot: accusing me of being a thief even though it was the last white girl who worked from him that actually stole from him and he hands my job to the first white guy buddy of his that asks and says I'm a bad "personality fit".

And this idiot wants to be a City Councilman?

Kiss my ass Mitch Painter.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Recent Correspondence

To Whom It May Concern:

My experience at the Rave Theater was simply dreadful last weekend.

We sat in the theater and watched several commercials after paying for a ticket. Movie trailers are one thing, but outright commercials are horrendous and I counted at least six of them. Having already paid for our tickets, I can't think why we were being subjected to this; we generally go to the movies to get away from commercials on television.

In the middle of the commercials, the sound was suddenly muted but the commercials CONTINUED while one of your employees kindly comes and asks us to donate a few dollars to the Will Rogers Institute. Fine, I give over all the singles in my wallet to assuage guilt, which I should not be feeling. I give plenty of time and money to charity and I simply do not like being strong-armed like this on a family outing.

However the employee is very personable and is able to put the audience at ease for which you should be very grateful. After she leaves, the fun really begins. The sound does not return immediately and we are left to watch the remaining commercials in silence.

A commercial with Prince (the rock star) comes on and I love Prince. I decide that it was worth all of the commercials to watch this one on a large screen and it would have been but there was STILL NO SOUND. I was not the only one displeased and there were several groans and general shouts.

Finally, the movie begins and the sound comes back. The audience settles in and Transformers begins to play. Which also wouldn't have been such a bad thing if we had not been there to see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Thinking that I might have directed my family to the wrong theater, I finally rise and ask if anyone else had been expecting Harry Potter. Everyone says yes in one accord and my husband and another woman's husband go to get help. At this point everyone applauds and they bow before they exit.

Just when Transformers gets good, the movie is cut and after sitting in the dark for several moments Harry Potter begins without sound. The two husbands make their trek again and once again, Harry Potter begins without sound. The sound comes up finally, so the movie is started again and we finally get to see it but by this time, we're all wishing we had just shut up and watched Transformers because the opening and therefore the entire beginning of the movie are pretty much ruined.

Due to budget constraints and ever rising ticket prices, my family does not get to go out to the movies often. I am 36, have been going to the movies since I was 4 and never in 32 years has this ever once happened to me. The additional time wasted put us a lot later getting home than we would have done and overall it was just not a pleasant experience.

Sincerely,

ThatDeborahGirl


**********************************************************
To Whom It May Concern:

Recently I came through the Wendy's drive through. I know that you were busy as there were several cars in the drive-through despite the late hour. However, your advertisements state, "Eat Great, Even Late" and although it is not your fault that I was simply too tired to cook dinner after cleaning all day and running several errands, we occasionally depend on you to provide our family a meal.

This was my order (all "just the sandwich" not combos):
A triple with everything add bacon
A grilled chicken sandwich
Two junior cheeseburgers no onion
Two junior cheeseburgers no onion, no tomato
3 chicken nuggets with sweet and sour sauce.

I was really worried about those juniors, because special orders can really be tricky. Alas, I need not have worried about the juniors, they were perfect, although the grilled chicken sandwich never made it into my bag at all. For all that I tried to check my order before I left the drive-through it was made difficult by the fact that every single item listed above (sans chicken sandwich) had been tossed into the same bag.

Once home, and left to explain to my mother that I had not forgotten her, the sandwich was simply left out, I decided to call Wendy's and explain that I would be coming back. This should have been simple, but it was not.

I had my receipt however the phone number printed on the receipt was not the store number but the general Wendy's 800 number. Finding this less than helpful and my dog having long ago chewed up our phone books, I turned to the internet. I was able to find the number quickly by using Wendy's website.

I called. The phone rang. No one answered after several rings. Thinking that I may have dialed incorrectly, I phoned again. I let it ring so long that eventually a recording came on saying "all circuits are busy, please try your call again". I hung up, called back. After about 15 rings, someone picked up the phone, I could hear workers in the background, and then immediately hung the phone up again without speaking.

At this point, I was angry. All I had wanted was to let someone know that I would be coming back and to please simply throw a darned chicken sandwich out the drive-through window at any red mini-van passing by. I got in my car, drove back, pulled up to the window, politely explained twice (they could not hear me the first time) that I had been missing a sandwich, upon which I was asked to "pull around" and they kindly gave me the correct sandwich to take to my mother. I did not ask if they had made a new one or if it was the same one I had left behind. I simply accepted it and left.

Needless to say, this is not the first time I have ever missed an item after coming through a drive-through, not even a Wendy's drive-though but the phone call situation was completely unacceptable on top of having to drive back in the first place.

Sincerely,

ThatDeborahGirl


**********************************************************
Dear Sirs,

When I responded to your advertisement for a Rental Manager, and after our resulting interview in which you pronounced my qualifications "perfect", I felt reasonably sure that I would be quite happy working for you.

However, several days after the interview, you presented me with a written job description that listed several items we had not discussed and that I felt may have been a bit outside duties I was willing to perform such as:

- Walking your dog
- Picking up your dry cleaning
- Cleaning your main office (not in the building I was assigned to manage) including the bathroom, windows and washing the dishes

Although I expected a certain amount of cleaning when I accepted this position - policing the common areas of the building I was assigned to, maintaining my own office and the occasional tenant clean out - I certainly did not expect to become your personal maid.

Alas, it is with heavy heart that I tender my resignation.

Sincerely,

ThatDeborahGirl

Saturday, August 18, 2007

You're Hired

The sweetest words in the English language are, 'I love you,' but two words that are almost as good: 'You're hired.'

Short and sweet but gosh they mean so much. It means my summer of unemployment is over. It means we can actually afford to do back-to-school shopping and give my daughter's room a much-needed-I'm-15-now makeover (on a small scale). It means getting the bills back up to date instead of doing my "creative financing" of our household.

In two years of blogging I've never named my places of employment while I actually worked there. Actually I've only named one place that I worked but that was long after I worked there. I know some may be feel it's a fear of being fired - in this day and age of people Google-ing or FaceBook-ing or MySpace-ing people before they hire them or even be college roomates- that's actually a healthy fear. For me it's less about fear than it is about how I would feel. I would want someone to ask me- or have sure facts about me- before blogging about me and I feel the same way about my employers.

Anyway, I'm back in the land of the employed. However being unemployed has given me some new perspective:

1. A job is just a job, not my whole life
I am capable of showing a high level of dedication to my job. I've proven that again and again. However, I've learned that no matter how hard I work, to always reserve my best efforts for my family, not the other way around.

2. I must find a way to start my own business
While I wasn't "working" I did some desktop publishing for a few friends who in turn referred me to their friends and before you could say "laser printer" I had a nice sideline going: Business cards and brochures, tickets and flyers, invitations for showers and such. Thus, Deborah's Desktop was born complete with an empty MySpace page and hope for the future. I think one day it would be nice to have my own desktop publishing business and maybe a copy shop. I must stop listening to naysayers who always try to sway me away from starting my own gig by saying, "Ah, starting your own business has it's own headaches."

Well, that may be so. But it'd still be my headache to have, not someone else's.

3. If I can help somebody as I pass along...
...then my living shall not be in vain. Being unemployed has given me the time to actually help people. Small errands for some elderly people at my church. Spending extra time with my mother and my daughter. Giving a lady walking in the blistering heat with a small crying child a ride. I had time to stop and smell the roses, but I also opened my eyes a bit wider to the world around me and saw that there is a world in need. Small things, but sometimes the small stuff needs sweating. I read somewhere once, "it's the small things that fret holes in life, like moths in cloth." I've always like sewing. If God is the tailor then we are thread. Blest be the ties that bind.

Monday, August 13, 2007

MC Rove, Exit Stage Left

Picture links to MC Rove's infamous
hip hop performance on YouTube.



The treasonous maggot who was responsible for outing a CIA agent, thereby killing many operations and blowing the cover of other agents globally, has announced that he will resign at the end of August.

For those who love to divide all things political into left and right you will find that either way, there isn't going to be anyone who's really sorry to see him go. When Rove finally carries his final box of crap from the White House, I'm quite sure every eye will dry.

Unfortunately, he hasn't resigned as any sort of comeuppance for the havoc he wreaked and the Democratic Republic he has helped to all but destroy.

Don't breathe a sigh of relief folks. Rove isn't leaving simply because there's not much more damage to inflict on America. Rove's exit has been rumored for months, even on his own Wikipedia page. However, many thought he'd be gone long before now and only those everyday citizens like me were foolish enough to think that Rove would escape the axe many saw coming after the 2006 Election.
In the January 29, 2007 issue of Newsweek, GOP activist Grover Norquist ...was quoted as saying "I think some people had given him up for dead, but he was good old Karl, upbeat and enthusiastic."
Cheney and Bush Sr.'s (and by default Bush, Jr.) had a dream of a conservative Executive, Legislative and Judiciary and it almost came true. The fact that it did not was not Rove's fault who gave his all to make sure it happened.

If not for the Republican sex scandals that continue to plague the party as recently as this summer, things would have gone a lot better for Rove. Not that the Democratic party has proven to be much opposition for a now minority Republican Congress. Even so, a pound of flesh must be exacted for anything less than total victory and Rove, who was once untouchable finds himself nearly as expendable as his own aid Scooter Libby.
"I don't know anyone who holds him personally responsible for what happened to us in the election", said a GOP national committee member, who declined to be named talking about the inner circle. "But his stature isn't quite the same.
Libby took the fall for everyone and was rewarded with commutation of his sentence. Still guilty but he doesn't have to go to jail. Unlike Libby, Rove actually worked his way Cheney's good graces enough that he doesn't even have to testify let alone be found guilty of anything.

Good riddance Karl Rove. May you be tried for treason one day when Bush's Executive Privilege Protection Charm wears off.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

What's Wrong With This Picture?


Everything.

Click on the picture or this link for the article at Huffington Post about this ad.

From the article:
Intel has already apologized over its advertising campaign and is withdrawing it. Now Intel must recognize the insensitivity of its attack on class action system, where the rights of victims of discrimination are vindicated. Denny's Restaurants never would have gotten the message to stop discriminating against African Americans, but for a class action lawsuit.
Sometimes, a picture is truly worth a thousand words.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Chasing David Pepper

Two weeks ago I sat in Sunday Service, enjoying the singing and the overall feeling that is joy in Church on Sunday; of being with family and friends and the sense of God and prayer and the anticipation of our upcoming Sunday dinner.

I was sitting in one of the lower balcony seats and as I'm listening a man walks into the service and takes a seat a few rows from the front.

I turned to the man next to me and ask, "Am I trippin' or is that David Pepper?" We could only see the back of the man's head but the bearing, the hair, the moderate view of the profile we could actually see...

"Yeah. I think it is. Wonder what he wants?"

Now I've seen David Pepper in public several times, but this time, Mr. County Commissioner was on my home turf. This church has been my second home since before I could walk.

I was going to give that man a piece of my mind.

I took out a pen and started scratching out my top three issues I have with David Pepper. Once I outlined them, I prioritized them thusly:

1. The Jail Tax
Election Day, November 2006, Hamilton County Voters said no to a new jail and the tax increase that the Commissioners asked for to build it. County commissioners David Pepper and Todd Portune, waited about 6 months and in a 2 - 1 vote against their fellow Commissioner Pat DeWine, they voted to institute the tax anyway. Amid cries of foul play and "taxation without representation" Pepper and Portune merely pointed out that as elected representatives of the county, they were entirely within their authority to enact this tax. Their reasoning is that people here want a new jail but a) don't understand why a new jail is needed or b) want a new jail but don't want to raise taxes to build or maintain one. Unfortunately, Pepper and Portune will not point to reason C, which is...

2. The Pot Law (and other Kangaroo Court issues)
You simply cannot go to traffic court or civil court (for evictions) in this city without noticing that the majority of people there are black people and the remainder are white folks who are poor. Racial profiling is alive and well in Cincinnati with poor whites coming a very close second as the cops main target. David Pepper drafted and still supports his unsuccessful "pot law". Despite a promise to retire the law if it could be proved to lead to unnecessary arrests (it has) and to unfairly target minorities and the poor (it does), David Pepper not only has not pushed for the law to be retired, but pushes forward for a new jail, not taking into account that the supposed "overcrowding" may be caused by draconian unjust laws and jailing folks who shouldn't be there.

3. Spreading Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt
Using buzzwords and phrasing to make affluent citizens afraid of minorities and the poor is wrong. Every time David Pepper and Todd Portune threaten that violent criminals will have to be released in order to make room for new prisoners, they spread FUD unnecessarily. They know, I know and you know that violent criminals will not be released no matter how "crowded" the jails become. They also know that they've done a poor job of proving that the jails are crowded in the first place and that much bandied contract with Butler County to house Hamilton County prisoners isn't just a ploy to "prove" that Hamilton County jail space is lacking.

Pepper and Portune think we need to build a whole new jail in order to provide counseling and treatment to prisoners. They fail to recognize that Hamilton County voters have no need to trust them after the Stadium Tax issue, the Drake Hospital fiasco, the failed and still failing Banks Project, the "misplacement" of millions of Department of Human Resources funds and lastly, their refusal to listen to the voters last November when we voted NO on the Jail Tax issue in the first place.

David Pepper and Todd Portune are WRONG for not listening to the voters and dead wrong for doing an end run around them. It's only through the hard work of the Anti-Jail Tax coalition that this issue will be back on the ballot in November and the Commission need not bother threatening to cut other programs because the don't get to build their jail. They need to go back, dig deep, cut the cord from their corporate buds and get back on the side of the people.

And so, there it was. What I wanted to say in a nutshell. And I was going to buttonhole him until he heard everything I had to say.

Service ended and he walked up to shake hands with the pastor and then quickly walked toward the back of the church. I raced from the balcony, took the back way past the choir room to avoid the crowd. I glanced across the lobby and saw him headed out the door! All Sunday decorum lost, I literally sprinted across the lobby. "David!" I shouted, and everyone turned to look at me but the man I was pursuing.

I finally reached him, put a hand to his shoulder, he turned and smiled...

It wasn't David Pepper.

I felt a little sheepish, but I realized immediately that he had no idea why I'd touched him. I simply apologized as if I'd brushed him by accident, which he obviously though I had done.

"Excuse me, sir."

"No problem," he smiled again and went, not through the outer door, but into the other vestibule where the bathrooms were. No one else was even looking in my direction. Everyone was greeting family and friends as always after church, gathering children who were daring each other to dip a finger into the fountain and lamenting the heat. I crossed the vestibule to my own waiting family, smiling...

Next time, David Pepper.

Next time.

Friday, July 27, 2007


The sorting hat says that I belong in Ravenclaw!


Said Ravenclaw, "We'll teach those whose intelligence is surest."

Ravenclaw students tend to be clever, witty, intelligent, and knowledgeable.

Notable residents include Cho Chang and Padma Patil (objects of Harry and Ron's affections), and Luna Lovegood (daughter of The Quibbler magazine's editor).

Take the most scientific
Harry PotterQuiz ever created.

Get Sorted Now!


Monday, July 23, 2007

Finished

Minor Spoilers, No Real Details, Just My Reaction
YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!


After I bought the book on the 21st, it was a day before I could even open it. I read the first half of the chapter titles and the two poems in the beginning and then, that was it. I couldn't bring myself to turn the first page and I got too emotional every time I tried.

At around 2:00 am last night, I finally got brave and opened the book. I read all the way up to Chapter 24 and went to bed. I woke up around 10:00 am, got some breakfast and read straight through until 10 minutes ago when I just finished the book.

I wrote down some of my stronger reactions as I was reading, my first being-

Fuckety, fuck, fuck, fuck: I hate Polyjuice Potion.

Next: Dumbledore did not invite confidences.

Next: Harry should trust Dumbledore more. Dumbledore loved him.

Next: On a fucking Dragon! Wow. Just wow.

Next: O.G. Granny Longbottom, holding it down!

Next: Finally. we get to go into the Ravenclaw Common Room. I like the Ravenclaw Common Room. (I consider myself a Ravenclaw and I have an Outstanding on the W.O.M.B.A.T. to prove it.)

Next: J.K. Rowling, you are an absolute bitch. I can forgive all the rest but I can never forgive you for...

Next: Bitch, you even killed the fucking...what sort of sick twisted bitch does this sort of thing? All this time I thought Rowling was Dumbledore but now I know the truth...She IS fucking Voldemort.

And finally: J.K. Rowling, I'm sorry for calling you a bitch and for thinking that you're Voldemort (although I'm partly right because he belongs to you just as much as Harry and Ron and Hermione and Dumbledore although we fans don't like to think about that much, now do we?).

But anyway, I love this book and even though I'm very shaken and angry and sad and full of a whole bunch of emotions it's going to take me simply ages to sort out.

And since that's whole point and you do that with just your own brain, a pen and a lot of love, the gods will shudder whenever you choose to pick up a pen again: You can write your arse off and I can give you no higher praise than that.

Friday, July 20, 2007

New York Times Angers Millions of Potter Fans

Clark Hoyt
Public Editor
New York Times

What were they thinking?

The New York Times printed a review about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on the front page of their paper Thursday, July 19, a full two days before the official release date. (That there will be no link to the NYT article here should be understandable.) What's more, many fans feel that they were duped into reading an article that they believed was about the hype surrounding the release and instead were shocked to read a review full of spoilers.

Potter fans have been outraged at the NYT ever since. It seems the phones at The Times have been ringing off the hook and their email servers are taking a big hit as thousands of Potter fans from around the globe are calling or writing in to voice their displeasure. Fans are angered not only at The Times, but also at Michiko Kakutani, who wrote the article and the unnamed bookstore that broke the embargo by giving her a copy.

New York Times Public Editor, Clark Hoyt, posted a response to the furor on his online journal entitled Did The Times Betray Potter Fans? Sadly, he never really gets around to addressing that question or meeting his readers' demands for an apology to them or to J.K. Rowling (author of the 7 volume Potter series). Hoyt settles for describing how he handed out this assignment and that really had no legal obligation not to publish an early review. From Hoyt's journal entry:
Some readers said they thought it was unethical of the The Times to break the book’s official publication date.

I disagree.

Rick Lyman, the books and theatre editor, said, “Our feeling is that once a book is offered up for sale at any public, retail outlet, and we purchase a copy legally and openly, we are free to review it.”

I think it’s important to remember that there was never a contract or an agreement between The Times and Rowling or her publisher. The publisher set the release date unilaterally as part of the brilliant marketing campaign that has propelled the entire Harry Potter phenomenon. Neither The Times nor any other newspaper had an obligation to help enforce the release date.
Hoyt's off-handedness seems to imply that any other newspaper or journalist would have done the same, however this is refuted by the fact that many newspapers and journalists are doing the exact opposite and are determinedly respecting Rowling's requested embargo, as detailed by this professional reviewer:
#26. July 19th, 2007 9:02 pm
I believe this was a dubious decision. There was an understanding, usually respected in such situations. You may have a legal excuse for what you did, but you have no moral excuse. Many reviewers, I am one, have respected the request of the publishers involved, but, above all, respected the author who has shown so much respect for all of us.

I will get my copy after midnight on Friday, like everyone else, and I will spend most of the weekend reading and then writing my review so that it will appear as soon as possible. I would not dream of jumping the gun, nor would any of my colleagues I have spoken to. We are all very very angry with you.
— Posted by Ann Wright
Potter fans are not accepting Hoyt's non-apology. They're also not buying Hoyt's excuse that the novel was up for fair game merely because it was for sale. From the comments on Hoyt's Journal entry:
#27. July 19th, 2007 9:11 pm
...you are correct that the Times did not have a contract with Scholastic or Rowling, However the store you bought if from did. Even if it isn’t illegal for you to use it was WELL known that it was not supposed to be available for sale. We deserve an apology, not person after person telling the fans that we have no right to be outraged.
— Posted by James Alexander
#70. July 20th, 2007 10:06 am
Whether or not the Times is legally or ethically permitted to report a story is not what the editorial board should be primarily concerned with — rather, the question is whether the public is well served by running it. Those who have little interest in the Potter series could only be marginally interested in reading the review in advance of the book’s general release; but those who have been dedicated fans for years could reasonably be expected to suffer outrage and disappointment by seeing even the review’s title printed here so long before they’d have an opportunity to read the book themselves.
— Posted by A. Boykowycz
Fans have also questioned The Times' motives on everything from the placement of the story- on the front page of the paper, when book reviews normally go in the Arts section- to the NYT double standards in reporting about Harry Potter and other stories.
#37. July 19th, 2007 11:14 pm
Whether or not it was ethical for the Times to publish a pre-release-date review of the book is less of an issue, I think, than the fact that editors decided to include the review in the news section rather than the arts section of the paper. As a regular reader of the Times I’ve come to expect book reviews—-and all the “spoilers” they may entail—-to be in the arts section or Sunday Book Review.

I would be interested to hear the justification for publishing this review in the news section, and to find out if this has ever been done before with another book. Certainly the Times realizes that the packaging of an article (its headline, photo, location in the paper, etc.) can be a just-as-powerful conveyor of meaning as the article’s text itself.
— Posted by L. Kruempel
#61. July 20th, 2007 8:58 am
The Times is trying to have it both ways. You want the headlines by beating other newspapers to the review of Book 7, yet you refuse to include the Potter books in your NYT Bestsellers list.
— Posted by Susan Fillippeli
(For more on this, see the article, Why Harry Potter Won't Be a Bestseller, from Huffington Post.)
#50. July 20th, 2007 5:10 am
Once again, annonymous sources are the only explanation for unprofessional behavior: days in advance of the embargoed release of one the most anticipated books in history, some unnamed NYT employee happened to be in some unnamed bookstore and find the book for sale over the counter at retail price. You insult the intelligence of your readers. From this point forward, I count Rick Lyman every bit as creditable as Judith Miller and Jayson Blair.
— Posted by party-of-one
As a long time Potter reader, I am squarely on the side of the outraged fans. For sheer the volume of global interest, J.K. Rowling has created a literary phenomenon. I am well aware that many people regard the Potter series as something of a fad akin to pet rocks in the 1970's. However, many in the industry agree that their hasn't been this much literary anticipation since Dickens' The Old Curiosity Shop, created it's 19th Century buzz with fans literally waiting for ships to come into port to get the latest installment. That Deathly Hallows publication is important to many is indisputable.

Never being one to miss an opportunity to lament George Bush's unfortunate administration of our country, I can't help but think of the NYT suppressing the White House wiretapping scandal for an entire year. Yet, they couldn't bear to hold a gentleman's agreement with Rowling and her fans for a mere two days. For those who are not Potter fans, this may seem trivial. I, for one see it as yet another footnote in the New York Times' slide from its place of honor as the "paper of record" to mere tabloid spoilsport.

Update: I'm not the only one who has drawn comparisons to the Bush administration! Infamous leaker Judith Miller is now on the record as defending The Times' right to leak out the Potter information. Outrageous.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Wish Me Luck

Seven come eleven, I'm on a roll folks. Just when I thought I was sending out all those resumes for nothing, I'm getting call backs. Daily. I got one yesterday, on a Sunday even.

However, the two folks who left comments on my last post were quick to chip dents in the armor that is my self-esteem. They quickly let me know, that far from finding the humor in my situation, I should take myself far too seriously, thus guaranteeing that I'll never find a job.

The person posting as
hr office made sure to spell out clearly to me that if I don't get a good job it will always and only be my own fault. And most certainly, it would definitely have nothing to do with race. Not ever:
There's any number of reasons that you're getting passed over & I suspect it isn't the color of your skin. It's time to take serious stock & inventory.
FYI guy: I'm still in the 'sending out resumes' phase of my search, so I don't expect much in the way of discrimination yet and I've only been interviewed once so I haven't yet been passed over yet. I also suggest that you read Barbara Ehrenreich's book, Nickel and Dimed, so you can put paid to any such notions for people of any color.

But just in case there's something I missed, let's start with my resume.

My name doesn't send up any red flags so I don't have the Shaniqua/ Shaquon factor in my way (you can read more about that at this link). It took me much longer than it should have to realize that one of the reasons I get called back for nearly every job I apply for is that my full name is one people assume belongs to a white woman.

Calling my house doesn't screen me out either. I trained my daughter from an early age to answer the phone properly so there's no, "MOM-MEEE! Come and get the PHO-OWNE! She knows how to answer the phone properly and people are surprised to find out that she's my teen daughter, not an adult.

Even after speaking with me, I find, that most white interviewers register that particular brand of surprise unique to white folks when they unexpectedly come into contact with black people. It's only a look, a glance, a remark, a shuffle but it's telling and then I know what they are trying hard (and failing miserably) to hide - until the moment I showed up, they didn't realize I was black and they were glad that I wasn't.

Until suddenly I am, and then they have to compensate. I have a variety of techniques, as do all black people, that are designed to put white folks at ease. It's usually a joke, or a bit about some point of white culture - sports for men, fashion or a professional reference for women - and then suddenly they feel as if they can go on and at least get through the interview. At that point, either one of two things will happen. They will knuckle down, get over their shock and interview me as they would "anyone else".

Less frequently, but in my experience has happened distinctly as least three times that I was aware of, there is nothing I can do or say that will get me or anyone else who looks like me hired. I just got in under their radar that's all.

But back to my resume. My address and zip code don't spell out H-O-O-D or P-R-O-J-E-C-T-S, although I learned from a previous experience that if you do live in the hood or the projects to use a more affluent friend or relative's address.

In my earlier years, I worked as a front desk clerk at a Howard Johnson. I had previously applied at the Hamiltonian Hotel (formerly, now the Courtyard Marriott Hamilton), which was a scant 15 minute walk from the housing project where I lived. I never got a call back, let alone an interview despite much follow up. I finally applied at Howard Johnson, where even there it took them over a week to get over the shock that, no, I was not applying as a housekeeper, I expected to work the front desk.

I finally got that job only to find later that both hotels were owned, at the time, by the same parent company, BriLyn.

Both bloggers made points about appearance as I described myself, especially my comment that I may have smelled like a candy factory by the time I hit the interview, due to combination of raspberry lip gloss, vanilla perfume and nervously popping peppermints beforehand.

Anon 3:54
One word of advice - ditch the vanilla "perfume" fragrance. Your next interviewer may have horrific allergies & you won't make the cut!
and
hr office
Allergies are an entirely different path than migraines. Some fragrances cause very threatening reactions in people with allergic conditons. A neutral bath powder will solve the Summertime conditions. Some companies have put the brakes on colognes, "perfumes", & after shaves.
Their points about my perfume are well taken, although I do object to the statement that "allergies" and "migraines" are that far apart when it comes to scent triggers. As with this woman, I too understand what it means to have a strong reaction by merely being in the detergent or candle aisle, let alone the illness, nausea, skin reactions and headaches that can ensue when people overindulge in perfume. You'll simply have to take my word for it, that I'm not a "douser" and that the one scent I do wear is undetectable unless you are a really close talker, hand shaker or you hug me.

Both posters take issue with my use of the phrase "business casual".
Anon 3:54
You also need to be careful with the "business casual" threads, too. That sort of attire is OK after you get the job, not before.
Despite my assurances that I dressed quite professionally for this first interview, the second poster couldn't resist a quick admonishment either, while going on to describe exactly what I think of as business casual:
hr office
BTW, you could take a hint from
Anon 3:54. A black or blue skirt properly fitted with a conservative blouse and a jacket or sweater will make a much better impression. If you have hard-hitting, proven skills & a solid track record, you'll want your dress to reflect that.
I'll risk sounding a bit defensive and not quite nice to make my point clear: From that description of acceptable clothing, I am quite certain that my standards of job interview dress are higher than his. I was taught that a matching suit and sharply coordinated blouse for women- and for males, a matching suite and sharply coordinated shirt and tie - are professional dress.

Anything less is business casual - of which their are varying degrees but all are business casual nonetheless. I shudder to think of anyone showing up at a job interview in a cardigan, especially a woman. A cardigan denotes a schoolgirl, not a professional woman.

hr office also assured me that race isn't any factor as to whether I get the job (actually I'm more worried about my weight being a factor than race but please, no diatribes on weight loss) however he went on to say:
Diversity - buzzword du jour? There are very few companies in Cincinnati that promote & foster true diversity. The offices & plants just have a bunch of black & white people in them. That isn't diversity. I'm very fortunate to have an employer who has a United Nations of people in the place. It's been a wonderful ### of years. I wouldn't trade it in for what is now pseudo-diversity.
I could go write an entire other post on how he swings the difference between the contradictoray ideas of "race not being a factor" and "very few companies in Cincinnati that promote & foster true diversity" in the breadth of a paragraph or two. I will settle for simply shaking my head and commenting thusly: I think you'd be surprised at how many black folks will settle for pseudo-diversity if it means the difference between being employed or unemployed. By the same token (no pun intended) I can tell how well versed in "diversity" a place is by walking in the door or taking a short tour.

But really, what does it matter without a job? As with any job, you have to get in the door and work your but off proving yourself. Just know that if you're black, proving yourself is always going to be harder. Accept that and keep on trucking.

And black folks have to realize that sometimes desperation at getting a keeping a job, should not always override what you know to be true. We tell school children every day that they know the difference between a "good touch" and a "bad one" or how to recognize bullying and abuse. Yet somehow grown people, when black, suddenly don't know or recognize discrimination or subtle racism when it's right in front of them. Had I followed my instincts this time last year, I would never have had that awful experience working for Girl Scouts.

Lastly, just to prove that people don't always read
hr office had this to say:
You need to "interview" the company before you submit your resume & get an interview, to see if they're a good match for you. Then you present your solid, proven track to them so they can "interview" you.
But I had already told Anon 3:54:
They're not just interviewing me, hon, I'm most definitely interviewing them.
I know that "everyone" is not a racist. I know that every decision to hire me or other black people hasn't been made on the basis of race alone or even in spite of race. But it is folly for black people to surrender all notions of race playing no factor in the hiring decisions of many businesses in Cincinnati and across this nation.

It seems to me that even taking into the account the opinions of hyper-critical people who've never met me, I'm keeping my employment game pimp tight.