icewolf: snowy wolf (Default)
I have shamelessly swiped this from something [ profile] margoeve wrote here. It's as good a start to the next four years as anything else. It's certainly better than anybody feeling like they need to take their ball and their bat and go home.

I've been sitting on anger and disappointed expectations. Not everybody behaved as I would have liked them to. Oh-the-blank-well. Time for me to put on my big girl panties and pony up.

I'm a moderate and I have said nasty things about both Democrats and Republicans. I am sorry that I said disparaging things about your political beliefs. They were said out of frustration, but that is not an excuse.

I am sorry that we hurt each other.

I am glad that we all wanted a change from what has been going on and I am sorry we couldn't see eye to eye during the election cycle. I am hoping you will, now that things have calmed down, accept my hand and let us come up with some solutions that we can all live with. The government can only do so much. It is up to each of us to make it ok to be, not a party, but an American.

I hope you will accept my apology.
icewolf: snowy wolf (pain in the ass)
I find myself annoyed at the eight individuals running for circuit court judge in Baltimore City. Of the eight people running, only four bothered to answer the League of Women Voters's questions at all. Of the remaining four, only two did so in anything resembling a complete manner, as opposed to just forwarding along their official bio.

Deciding who should preside over a court should not hold such a resemblance to grading freshman comp papers.

icewolf: snowy wolf (Default)
Thank goodness!

However, in all of the hullabaloo of the presidential election, I think that many people have forgotten the myriad local questions that share the ballot. Judges, state representatives, and bond issues--oh, my!

At any rate, as I have posted here in the past, the League of Women Voters has an excellent, non partisan voter's guide. To find one for your city/area and state, click here.

I'm personally kind of psyched. I got my sample ballot in the mail today, and there's a bond issue for Everyman Theater!

icewolf: snowy wolf (politics)
This blog entry articulated a lot of things I've been trying to figure out for weeks.
icewolf: snowy wolf (Herself)
I'm a nicer person and a better mom when I don't get worked up about political crap I read on LJ.

In other news, water is wet.

Yeah, so don't expect to see much of me until a week after Inaugeration (I figure the celebrations/declarations of Canadian citizenship should have subsided by then). If you bury major life events in a political post, I won't see it. You've been warned.

Oh, and I bred my dragons again:

Adopt one today!

And Bones just rocked tonight. I'm really looking forward to this upcoming season. Can I say, though, that Dave Boreanaz's British accent has NOT gotten any better. *snrk*
icewolf: snowy wolf (Default)
Most of you who are on my Friends List are aware of my former life as a special education teacher. I worked most of the time (i.e., all but one of my classes) with emotionally disturbed kids exactly like those Positive Nature reaches out to.

My jokes about flying furniture and kids trying to throw each other out windows aside, emotional disturbance is a real, acute problem in today's schools, especially in urban environments. The causes vary from absentee parents to hyper-vigilant, abusive parents; from issues of sexual abuse to issues of sexual identity; from things that are all too familiar, to things you could never, ever predict. Unfortunately, emotionally disturbed (ED) kids are so often shunted to the side as "attitude problems" or "bad seeds." This is because they can be so difficult to work with (no wonder, since trust issues are usually at the forefront of the students' problems), and the payoff--both for the teachers and the students--can be a very distant light in an incredibly dark tunnel. But when even the smallest step forward is made, it makes an incredibly big difference in the students' lives.

Which is why it is a damnable shame that Positive Nature is having the financial troubles it is. Here's the article running in the Washington Post today, detailing the group's property tax woes:

As the District prepares to celebrate the grand opening of a waterfront baseball stadium, Positive Nature is preparing to close two blocks away.

The agency is a daily rest stop, almost a second home, for children, some of whom have been sexually abused, shuffled from one foster home to another or sent to counseling because they fight or act up. The nonprofit group moved into the Southeast Washington neighborhood in 2004 when it was a haven for addicts, prostitutes and nightclubs with nude dancers.

Please consider following Positive Nature's link above and giving something, even if it's only five dollars, and pass the word along to your own Friends Lists. If you are a DC resident, call your councilcritter. If you're not a DC resident, drop your Congresscritters and Senators emails, especially if they're on committees related to the administration of the District (Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs in the Senate, and Oversight and Government Reform in the House [specifically, the Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, Postal Service, and the District of Columbia]).

While property development is all well and good, it is less than useless if it comes at the expense of children's development.

Note: Thanks so much to [personal profile] thirdbase  for bringing this situation to my (and others') attention.

Ah, Joe...

Jan. 8th, 2008 11:09 pm
icewolf: snowy wolf (politics)
He's not the Official Hopeless Candidate of 'Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me', but he's mine... )
icewolf: snowy wolf (jeffrey and friend)
First, from [ profile] troyswann, on dealing with blame-flinging students: "I put the food on the plate in front of you, but, Damnit Jim, I'm a professor, not a digestive tract."

Second, from [ profile] bradrandall (or, actually [ profile] bradrandall's grandfather) on politics: "Politics are like underwear, everybody wears a certain style and we don't show it off in public."
icewolf: snowy wolf (politics)
Now I may just have to go out and find Gore's new book. Not to mention the one of Dionne's I've been meaning to read nearly forever, Why Americans Hate Politics.

Boy, it would be fun if Al Gore changed his mind and ran for president -- fun for the voters, anyway. Imagine a candidate whose preelection book is devoted in large part to an attack on the media for waging war on reason.

Heads up...

Mar. 6th, 2007 12:26 pm
icewolf: snowy wolf (politics)
Libby Found Guilty of Four of Five Perjury Counts
icewolf: (bunny facepalm)
Concrete proof that Catholics (former and current) and Jews (cultural and religious) still make up a large part of the Democratic base: the outpouring of guilt, "I'm sorry" and "I didn't do it!" in the comments of my last post. Yikes.

So let's try something different. What would be your dream policy? I'm excluding gays in the military, gay marriage, Iraq, and all abortion-related laws because they're all too easy. So, what are you all into? What dream would you like to see become policy?

Me, I'd love to see an overhaul of No Child Left Behind. Frighteningly enough, it's fairly solid policy. It needs some tinkering here and there to include the arts, physical education, and more advanced classes. It needs a complete chassis overhaul where special ed is concerned. And it needs to be fully funded. But, for a 500-page law (and yes, I've read the whole thing), it's not bad. I'd like to see politicians sit down with students, teachers and principals and find out exactly what their day-to-day lives are like. I'd really love to see every politician substitute teach for a day.

That's my dream. What's yours?
icewolf: snowy wolf (good people)
Judging from my Friends List, it took less than 24 hours of control of one branch of government for a lot of Democrats to turn into assholes.

Class, people. Let's try to have some.

I was taking Latin 110 during the presidential campaign of 2004. There was a very young, very Catholic young man in the class. We disagreed about politics politely and had some interesting discussions. When I walked into class the day after the election, I walked right up to him, congratulated him, and shook his hand. He was thunderstruck. And impressed. He told me I changed his view of liberals.

Let's be wild. Let's do something completely unexpected. Let's win graciously. Because if we don't, we're just pro-choice Rush Limbaughs.
icewolf: snowy wolf (Easter)
Randy Milholland, writer, artist, and overall brilliant creative mind behind Something*Positive, posted a challenge to Christians here.

It's interesting. And it's a fair question. And I'm going to do my best to explain my stance on obnoxious Christian fundamentalists as a left-leaning Roman Catholic Christian.

The first thing that non-Christians need to understand, though, is that we don't all hang out. I don't see Pat Robertson at Sunday dinner and have just taken a pass on telling him what an embarrassing bigot he is. I haven't refrained from smacking Billy Graham upside the head just to keep peace in the family. There is no Christian clubhouse, there is no secret handshake. Really. Think back to Western Civ. I and a little to-do historians like to call the Reformation. We spent several hundred years trying to kill each other over various dogmatic, theological, and political issues, and there are Christians out there who still would consider me a godless pagan because I am an idolatrous Catholic who worships the pope and Mary. Hell, Protestants and Catholics only just stopped trying to kill each other in Northern Ireland. So telling me to stand up and speak to Christians because they'll listen to me because I'm also Christian is not nearly as constructive as it sounds.

Another problem arises when you consider rifts within individual denominations. I'm Roman Catholic, and for many people, that statement raises images of people who don't like sex, who walk in lockstep with an old, out-of-touch Italian (or Polish, or German) man, and who are virulently insular. If you know me, you know that's not me. That's not a lot of Catholics. But there are Catholics who are like that. Many of the more politically-talented of us are entrenched in trying to reform our religions, like in the crisis facing the Episcopal Church over homosexuality. My father is nominally a Republican, but he's been so caught up in working for reform in his order that he doesn't have time to work for reform in his political party. My point is that the best people to speak up often have other priorities that take precedence.

So, I hear you saying to yourself, "Self, Icewolf is doing a bang up job of making excuses for Christians." I'd call it background information, but I see your point. To that end, I will make some suggestions.

Churches who oppose the "vocal minority" need to cross denominational--and even religious--lines to work together in the community. The "good" Christians have always been bigger fans of action example over rhetoric, so let's put that belief to work, so to speak. Those pesky corporal works of mercy, you know. We're never going to out-scream the other side: it's neither possible nor becoming. It's certainly un-Christian.

But, even more importantly, we must be proud of who we are on an individual level. We need to work for peace and understanding in our communities, in our country, in the political arena, and in the world, and we need to be perfectly transparent about our motives: "I'm doing this good/understanding/peaceful/constructive thing because my faith tells me it's the right thing to do." Many of us avoid saying so because we're afraid to be lumped in with the crazies. We're frightened and embarrassed by our faith in front of our political allies, so we keep it under a bushel-basket. Then we go to church, and sometimes are told we're not good Catholics, Baptists, Lutherans, what have you, so we stash our political principles under the basket, too.

Maybe it's because I come from a family of religious dissenters. I'm the latest in a long line of rabble-rousers in the Catholic Church. But I remember my confirmation. I was sprinkled, anointed, and given a new name, Brigid. I was also given a light, symbolic slap across the face by the bishop. The gesture stood for the possible persecution I must be willing to face as an adult in the Church. Jesus never promised us a rose garden--He got Gethsemane himself. But He absolutely does require us to have the courage of our convictions. All of them.
icewolf: snowy wolf (politics)
Yay! I have a politics icon! *snrk*

And, ooh!

You Belong in Dublin

Friendly and down to earth, you want to enjoy Europe without snobbery or pretensions.
You're the perfect person to go wild on a pub crawl... or enjoy a quiet bike ride through the old part of town.
icewolf: snowy wolf (politics)
No, I'm not leaving my husband and coming out as a lesbian. A 'queer duck' is what my grandmother Lenore Lyden Belzer would call an odd person, despite her daughter's, my Aunt Lenore, growing agitation through the 1960's and 1970's as the word's colloquial meaning slowly but steadily changed. Aunt Lenore is not, as we would say today, anti-queer but she worried that my grandmother would be embarrassed by an explanation of the "new" meaning, or that the duck in question would be angry or take offense and confront my grandmother.

Personally, I think my grandmother knew exactly what she was saying. She just liked flustering her somewhat uptight daughter. Grandma could have a strong shit-kicking streak when she felt like it. Sadly, this seems to be a genetic defect which my father, brother, and I all inherited.

Anyway, what I am coming out as is a queer political duck. I was raised by fairly, though not rabidly, conservative Republicans. The same grandmother above ranted about Franklin D. Roosevelt and his Evil Red Ways almost literally until the day she died at 92. My younger brother is a fairly conservative Republican.

My father's youngest sister, on the other hand, is a fairly rabidly Liberal Democrat. My Aunt Betty strenuously protests the death penalty and just as strenuously supports all the other Democratic party planks (except, I think, on the issue of abortion--as a devout Catholic I think she just does a lot of tongue biting on that subject, politically). Dad's other sister, the aforementioned Aunt Lenore (for those of you keeping track, she was named for her mother, and, for bonus points, I am jointly named for her) is more of an intellectualist. I don't know for sure, because she didn't like upsetting her mother and she doesn't like upsetting her sister, so I don't know as much about her political beliefs. I do know, that she shares my dad's disdain for the, ahem, less intelligent among us, and I suspect that George W. Bush's C+ at Yale wasn't good enough for her. On the other hand, neither was John Kerry's. I do know she liked Bill Clinton, but honestly do not know how she came down on the whole perjury/Monica Lewinsky/Republican Conspiracy mess. 1

What's really amusing about this potluck of political ideologies is that my father is equally disgusted with both parties these days. He still thinks Democrats tend to be sloppy thinkers, but he has been distinctly disenchanted by the Republicans slipping brainpower and ethical problems.

The one thing all these folks have in common is that they're none of them "knee-jerk" Republicans, Democrats, or What Have Yous. They're all constantly re-evaluating what's going on and what they think about it. Now, in some cases, they do keep coming up with the same answer, but they do try, and they raised me to try, too.

To quote an acquaintance of mine who quoted Bill Cosby, I told you that story so I can tell you this one.

Me, I'm an independent. Party undeclared. The queer duck. My mother calls me a fence-sitter. I identified strongly with the Democratic party through the 2004 election. I voted for John Kerry, if somewhat grudgingly. But like my father's growing disappointment with the Republicans, I am becoming increasingly impatient with the party I had identified with so strongly. Largely for the same reasons I wasn't Kerry's biggest fan. They're worried about looking good and not worried about being good. Now, maybe Medieval Latin and Anglo Saxon have cut into my media time, but I haven't heard about Howard Dean doing much of anything aside from running around, pointing at the Republicans, and generally running his mouth on how awful things are. Yes, things are awful. In every sense of the word. Terrible. Heinous. Mind-boggling. Get away from the inconvenient traffic and tacky drapes concept of the word and wrap your brain around a 300-year-old city melted like a sand castle and complete anarchy--however brief--ruling what's left of its streets. A foreign war that undoubtedly removed a homicidal megalomaniac from power but that was entered into dishonestly. A foreign war in which the arguments for staying and fixing or minding our own business and leaving are equally compelling. Yeah. That awe.

So. Howard Dean. What are you going to do about it?

Who am I to challenge the head of the DNC? Let me tell you, the hardest I have ever physically worked in my life I worked for Howard Dean. 20 hours on my feet. I helped assemble a stage. I organized volunteers. I herded rally attendees. I generally ran around being a human "Blackberry" for the head of the NYC office of Dean for America. Back then, Howard had a vision. He had alternatives. I gave my sweat and a few drops of blood (friggin' stage clamps) and sore feet and a wrenched back and a nifty case of dehydration. Howard Dean, you owe me. Not because you didn't become president, but because you changed politics. Or, rather, you changed politics back. At least for me. As I stood there in Bryant Park two years ago, I remember thinking that this is how people felt hearing William Jennings Bryant speak. Howard, you urged people to stand up,to be counted, to call a spade a spade, and to challenge how things are run. I liked you because you were for something.

Howard Dean, I am standing up and challenging you to change the status quo. Stop being a mouthpiece for the liberal branch of the Democratic party. Especially when you've never been much of a liberal to to begin with. You said it yourself when you quoted the first Republican president this country ever had.

The biggest lie that people like me tell people like you during the election season is "If you vote for me, I'll solve all your problems." The truth is that the power to change this country is in your hands, not mine. Abraham Lincoln said that a government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from this earth. ... And you have the power to take this party back and make it stand for something again. You have the power to take this country back.

I'll do my part, but you have got to tell your fellow Democrats that they have to stop playing Karl Rove's games. They can't win. Bless them, they're not mean enough. And if, on chance, one of them is (Kerry sure as hell can be--remember those nasty attacks during the primaries?), all he or she manages to do is look petulant because the DNC yanks the choke chain because the latest poll has said that Americans don't like negative politics. Americans are tired of sex scandals, too, but that doesn't stop newspaper sales from jumping more than 50% when one makes the front pages. Take a page from the most astonishingly successful political career of the last hundred years. Yep, you got it, George W. Bush's. Have a clear message. Have a plan. Stick to the plan. (You can skip the part about staying on vacation when a category 5 hurricane hits, though.) These powers can be used for good. Really.

There's a difference between a compelling, righteous anger and temper tantrums. You knew that, once. Know it again.

Thanksgiving's at my house this year. Come on down. You can talk to my dad.

1. For those of you wondering where my mother and her family are, my mother is a shade more conservative and an entire color wheel more cynical than my father, politically speaking. But she can peg a corrupt politician at 100 yards, whatever his or her party. She was very disappointed when Bill Bradley lost the Democratic primary in 2000--it was going to be the first time she'd ever voted for a Democrat for president. And her family didn't talk about politics much, I suspect mainly because they either all tended to agree on them or were smart enough to ban them from the Thanksgiving table, so they're not getting any air time.


icewolf: snowy wolf (Default)

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