Posts Tagged ‘politics’

Letter to myself: enough moping

November 7, 2008  |  essays  |  22 Comments

Dear Mr. Sexsmith:

Enough moping already.

In case you haven’t noticed, it is day three and Barack fucking Obama is still the presidential elect. Hello, even his name is radical! None of that Franklin George James John William. We didn’t just imagine that beautiful acceptance speech in our progressive liberal little heads. He’s already started a fantastic website for his Transition Project at www.change.gov and I have never felt so connected before to my government.

Yeah, maybe the expectations are pretty goddamn low after the most unpopular president in modern history. But still, Obama is positioned to be a fantastic leader and creator of change – and, more than that, an inspiration: not only the first black man elected president but also a progressive, liberal, forward-thinking, grassroots-organizing problem-solver who is positioned to help heal the (supposed) divisiveness of the red-state-vs-blue-state divide in this country.

I, like this country and like the rest of the world, am currently crushed out on Obama – and that doesn’t necessarily last, I know. I’m sure eventually we’ll start discovering that he never eats the heel of the loaf of bread or he always leaves his socks in the middle of the floor or he forgets to put the bathmat down, but meanwhile, the honeymoon phase sure is fun, isn’t it?

And maybe, what if, just possibly, the relationship develops into a solid, steady improvement? What if we have common values, common interests, good communication, mutual adoration?

Ah, courtship. I love that feeling of such raw potential.

Speaking of adoration, I am consistently touched whenever I see President-Elect Obama with First Lady-Elect Michelle. (I bet you can’t really use “First Lady-Elect” like that, but I like it.) They adore each other, and it’s beautiful.

What? What’s that? Oh, that little gay marriage thing? Those millions of people who voted that straight marriage is different than gay marriage? That marriage is a “sacred institution” that gays would defile and corrupt?

Or how about the little bee in all of our queer activist bonnets when we realized that voters care about chickens, but not about gay marriage? Or when voters passed 9 out of 10 marijuana initiatives on Tuesday, but gay marriage is still seen as the destruction “the family”?

Yeah, it sucks.

But HELLO, did you think this was going to be easy? Remember what you’re doing here: dismantling the heteronormative nuclear family through both the institutional religion and bias and tradition of the church AND the monolithic ultimate power of the government.

Did you think that was just going to happen overnight?

Did you think the conservative bigots were just going to hand it to us?

Did you think it would be easy?

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Eye Candy: Rachel Maddow, again

October 29, 2008  |  miscellany  |  11 Comments

If I do too many more posts about the bromance I’m having with Rachel Maddow, I’m going to have to put it under aspiring stud … or I’m going to have to rename this blog “Maddow Fans.”

But I can’t resist. There are some new photos from the New York Times Magazine interview, A Pundit in the Country, and I’ve done a bit more of my homework.

First! Two things you should know:

  1. Rachel has “doubled the audience for a cable news channel’s 9 p.m. hour in a matter of days.” This is totally amazing.
  2. If you happen to not be a TV person (I’m not), or can’t seem to get home by 9pm to watch the Maddow Show (I can’t), or primarily watch all your TV via Netflix (I do), or never get to a friend’s house to watch their recorded episodes (I’m too busy drinking prosecco with the Muse to watch TV) – NEVER FEAR! As of today, the MSNBC Rachel Maddow Show is now reproducing the ENTIRE RMS via podcast at Rachel.MSNBC.com.

And now: the butchest interview in the history of butch interviews. An excerpt from the recent New York Times Magazine article:

Always on her: A handkerchief. One of my liabilities as a broadcaster is that I am little teary. Having a handkerchief is handy. My partner, Susan Mikula, buys me cute ones.

Always in fridge: Champagne. I always keep a bottle, because you might need to celebrate at any moment, and a bunch of mustard, because I am a mustard person.

Obsolete item she won’t part with: I have a little stockpile of lawn mowers, some of which it has been years since they worked. But it seems wrong to get rid of lawn mowers, so I keep them.

Clothing item a talk-show host needs: For me, it is sneakers, which I can wear 80 percent of the time, secretly behind the desk. That reminds me who I am, even though I am dressed up like an assistant principal in order to meet the minimum dress code for being on television.

She drives: I have a seven-year-old Ford pickup. Remember, I have to go to the dump.

Hobby: I am a hobbyist bartender. I have a liquor cabinet. I research classic drinks from the golden age of American cocktails and I make them for me and Susan.

Favorite obscure liquor: Rhum agricole. It is rum made from sugar-cane juice rather than molasses. It is freaking awesome.

Hat tip to the femme top, who pointed me toward the following story which describes how Maddow met her partner, Susan Mikula.

And I quote:

Maddow walked into her life after Mikula told mutual friends she needed a “yard boy” to help her manage the demands of a creaky old structure that had stood empty for almost a year as well as the 2 acres of vegetation that were threatening to take over.

“Zing went the heartstrings,” according to both of them, when Maddow, 31, a Rhodes Scholar and gay activist, arrived for the job. Maddow had moved to the area to write her doctoral dissertation comparing AIDS policies in the California and British prison systems, but also needed to earn some money. A year-and-a-half later, on Halloween, she moved in.

-from Weekday Bantering is Balanced by Quiet New England Weekends – February 24, 2005 by Eric Goldscheider

“Yard boy,” huh Rachel? Oh you kinky dawg!

8against8: Take a Picture, Take a Stand

October 23, 2008  |  essays, miscellany  |  3 Comments


The kissing is a protest against the “yes on 102″ signs – Vote NO on 102!

Take a Picture, Take a Stand: Grassroots campaign against Proposition 102 in Arizona

From their Flickr Group:

Prop 102 would amend the Arizona Constitution to say “only a union between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state”. This issue is on the ballot for November 4th, even though Arizona residents voted on, and rejected, this issue just two short years ago.

This time around, the “Yes On 102” campaign has a huge budget to spread their message. Their billboards, signs, and radio/television ads are everywhere right now. It’s easy to let that make us feel invisible, marginalized, hopeless….but now, more than ever; we cannot afford to let that happen.

Consider this a call to action! We want to counter those images and messages of divisiveness, exclusion and prejudice with images of inclusion, equality and acceptance.

If you live in Arizona take a picture of you in front of your “No on 102’ lawn sign, print a sign for your car window and take a picture of that, or stand in front of one of the “Yes” signs holding your own handmade sign that shows your support of equality and your desire to defeat this proposition. Kiss, hug, hold hands, flash a big peace sign…whatever you’re inspired to do.*

If you live elsewhere in the country, but want to show your support, make a sign of your own celebrating peace, love, acceptance, equality, love. Involve your children, neighbors – heck, get your pets in the mix too – just make sure to write “No On 102” somewhere on the sign!

Margaret Mead said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” To that we add, never underestimate the power of a simple photograph. Our pictures, taken from the heart, often speak louder than our voices ever could. Collectively we believe these images will carry our message of equality forward and outward – spreading a wave of positive energy that will help us defeat this proposition once and for all.

[Ah shit! That reminds me: Riese wanted "no on 8" photos for a photo quilt. I want to send one to her. Better do that. ]

Eye Candy: Rachel Maddow on Jay Leno

October 13, 2008  |  miscellany  |  25 Comments


Oh I just can’t resist. I don’t usually do celebrity eye candy, that’s a whole different ballgame really, but I’ve got such a bromance crush going on with Rachel Maddow. She’s been making big headlines lately – she’s got her own show on Air America, The Rachel Maddow Show, (Monday-Friday at 6 p.m. Eastern on Air America Radio, also available streaming from the Air America website), but only recently she got her own MSNBC show (Monday-Friday at 9 p.m. Eastern on MSNBC-TV, and is re-broadcast on MSNBC at 11 p.m. and on Air America Radio the next day at 7 p.m.).

Everybody’s been talking about how out and queer and visibly a bit butch she is. I can never seem to remember to turn on my TV, but I keep watching clips of her online and she is just brilliant.

She took some time to stop and chat with Jay Leno just a few nights ago, October 9th. Now that MSNBC isn’t dressing her up in lipstick and girl suits, she’s back in her own clothes and looks – in a word – hot. Those glasses? Nerdyhot. That shirt? A little bit rockabilly, a little bit cowboy, a little too big, pretty darn butch.

event: 1st Annual Sarah Palin Book Club (a Lambda Fundraiser)

October 1, 2008  |  miscellany  |  1 Comment

Some folks are throwing a party tomorrow night to watch the VP debates and raise money for the Lambda Literary Foundation at Cattyshack, the dyke bar & dance club in Brooklyn.

Hosts: Holly Bemiss & Erin Bried
Time: Thursday, Oct 2. 7 pm onward. (We’ll later watch the debate at the bar, or if its too loud, pile into our place, just a few blocks away.)
Location: Cattyshack, Park Slope, 249 4th Avenue, near President, Brooklyn
Fabulousity: 2-1 drinks, open bar on MGD beer, a back patio barbecue, and free admission. A special prize will be given to the best Sarah Palin look alike. Invite all your friends!

We’ll donate all funds raised to the Lambda Literary Foundation to help them 1) host the Lambda Literary Awards, 2) run the only LGBT Retreat for Emerging Writers, and 3) publish The Lambda Book Report.

If you can’t attend, please help spread the word!

Here’s a description of the event in Time Out New York; on Queerty; the evite; or donate directly to the LLF.

Carrying the torch: Obama ’08

September 25, 2008  |  miscellany  |  4 Comments

It’s hard to admit, but I’m terrified about the upcoming election. I know, many of us are, especially the liberals who so desperately want Bush out of office, who want the democrats to regain power and attempt to undo some of the changes that are eroding our civil rights.

It is no small thing to write about politics on a public forum like this one – it is probably safe to say that my readership is primarily progressive liberals, but certainly not 100%. It is not impossible to get death threats.

Though I was raised by parents who are registered independents and who vote Green, who say the democrats are too conservative for them, who have been activists for decades, who believe in grassroots organizing and social change and that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world, I have been often disillusioned with the political process in this country.

I grew up in Alaska, where the polls close last and we have three electoral votes. This means that as the polls closed around the country, my parents would watch the results roll in and would wait to vote, often until the president had already been announced.

Clearly, our votes really mattered.

I understand now that it was a political strategy – that they would be certain Alaska would not be any sort of swing state or tiebreaker so they could comfortably go vote for the third party. But at the time, it was confusing. I believed that voting was a key important part of a democratic process, that by not voting you’re showing apathy and disinterest, and the only way to contribute is to make your position known.

This is how I witnessed voting until I was 18 and began voting in my own presidential elections – two so far – 2000 and 2004. Which, as certainly you remember, were a disaster. 2000 did not help to restore my faith in the political process of this country. Hanging chads? Seriously? And what happened to all those missing ballots? Oh, they were found in the dumpster out back? Really? Why did all those people get turned away from the polls? They were voting democrat … I see. And someone could win the popular vote but not the electoral vote? Isn’t there something wrong with that? And 2004 … I was kind of excited about Howard Dean and Dennis Kucinich for a minute there, but who’d we end up with? A cardboard cut-out. I don’t remember a single thing the guy said, he was so flat and boring. I could for a while quote some of the things Dean and Kucinich had said, but nothing memorable ever came out of Kerry’s mouth.

Maybe I’m being too harsh. I did support Kerry simply because he was the democratic party candidate. Although I resent that part of this system, too – that the political parties to which I am closest aligned do not have serious candidates, or, if they do, they are blamed for the democratic loss of the election, having “stolen” votes away. (This is another can o’worms entirely that I’m not willing to open – debate whether or not the third parties are valid or detrimental somewhere else, please.)

My point is, ever since I was old enough to vote, I’ve lived in George Bush’s America. And even since I was a kid, though I had a brief babyhood with Carter, I’ve grown up in Reagan-Bush-Clinton-Bush America. Capitalism rules – votes are for sale, influence is for sale, lawmaking is for sale. It’s depressing!

I grew up in the shadow of the civil rights legacy – social change through grassroots activism that clearly worked, that stopped the Vietnam war, that changed women’s gender roles, that shattered segregation, that united queers around the country. Parents and teachers who taught the political movements of the 1960s and ’70s like scripture, and I was – we all were – the next generation, the new movement, those who would pick up the torch and carry on.

And yet … and yet. The Right has been incredibly well-organized and effective. This country is divided on issues vs values. I find it so goddamn hard to believe that the election is so tightly close – I mean really? There are really just as many people voting for Obama as are voting for McCain? How can that be possible? It’s so hard to believe. Just like it’s so hard to believe that Bush Jr. was elected – twice – and took office – twice – and we didn’t stop him – twice.

However much those elections were fixed or rigged or fairly won or a systematic corruption of our voting system, we didn’t do enough to make it stop, did we?

I’m not a political scientist, I hesitate to even write about this because I feel like so many other people are so much more well informed than I am. That was one of the things I loved so much about The Ex, actually, was that she was a political scientist and could engage with me about political issues in ways that really helped me understand. So I know enough to know that I don’t know very much. (Which is why I’m linking like crazy, not only to source myself, but to encourage information gathering from other places. And to put all the links and resources I’ve been collecting in one spot.)

Oh jeez, and then there’s Sarah Palin. And the nonsense about Palin vs Hillary Clinton, which I don’t even want to speak to.

I do have some information about Palin, being that the Alaska Governor’s mansion is down the street from my mom’s house and my aunt works for the legislature. But if you’re paying any attention to the email forwards that are going around about Palin, then you probably already know what I know: basically, she’s vindictive. You’ve probably seen the Kilkenny email, the commentary by Gloria Steinem, and Women Against Sarah Palin. I probably don’t need to tell you about Palin’s anti-feminist, anti-woman, anti-choice, anti-LGBT, anti-freedom philosophies: pro-gun. Anti-abortion. Against same sex marriage. Bans books. Anti-evolution and pro-creationism in public schools. Against sex education in schools. The list goes on.

This stuff depresses me. About now I start thinking, wtf can I do?

Check out the Action Center on barackobama.com for more ideas about what you can do to get involved.

Donate to the Obama campaign.

Encourage everyone to register & vote – voteforchange.com has registration, absentee & early vote info.

If you want Obama buttons for your own site, they’re at /downloads – took me a bit of poking around to find them. I even downloaded an Obama wallpaper for my work computer, which is going to be slightly controversial in my conservative office, but I don’t care.

Meanwhile, fivethirtyeight.com‘s electoral projections are keeping my hopes up.

“Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity”

February 7, 2008  |  miscellany  |  6 Comments

I have much to write about, I’m working on a couple pieces for you, more rantings on re-valuing masculinity, something about butch stubble, and of course there’s the aforementioned “Therapy session” where Miss DD & I got kicked out of a bathroom at a gayboy club.

Also, I’ve slightly changed the settings on my WordPress template so that it no longer produces /#/ in the URLs. If you’ve linked here, and you have that in the code, you might discover that your link no longer works. Just sayin’.

Also, for that matter, some of you are still linking to my old blogspot address – please check your linkrolls and update to www.sugarbutch.net.

Meanwhile, I’ve been a bit caught up in all the politics of the presidential race. I, like so many, am going back & forth between Hillary and Obama (interesting that we call her by her first name, isn’t it? I know she’s perpetuated that in her campaign, but still). My inner brain argues, She’s so experienced! She could really fix some of the bad stuff that’s happened! But – he’s such an orator! An inspiring leader! I get so inspired by his politics, in a way that I never get riled up when I hear politicians speak!

(Apparently my inner brain speaks primarily in exclamation points.)

I’d be pretty happy with either one, honestly. There are benefits and drawbacks to each. It hit me this week that we will, most likely, I really believe, either have a woman or a black man as president next year. That’s phenomenal. I remember hearing the rumors a few years back that Obama and Hillary would likely be running and I thought, really? Are we ready for that? This country seems so bass-ackwards and I can hardly believe we would elect a minority, of any kind, after we elected W twice. TWICE! Sometimes I think this country deserves what it gets.

I’m sure you’ve seen it by now, it is certainly making the rounds, but just in case you haven’t: the “Yes We Can” speech Obama made was set to music by will.i.am of the Black-Eyed Peas and overlayed with some celebrity singers, and it’s brilliant. The speech by itself is even brilliant, but lord, I love this so very much.

And hey, help me out here: who is the white chick with the fabulous mouth and the plunging v-neck showing off her cleavage who is singing in the “Yes We Can” video? Someone told me this was one of the Pussycat Dolls, but I think that’s the other girl, not the one I mean. There’s a list of all the celebrities on yeswecansong.com but I don’t recognize enough of the names to figure it out.

Sometimes lately I’ve been thinking that we need a great leader even more than we need someone who will be able to navigate the system, because hell, I and so many people I talk to are so disillusioned with politics right now. How many times did I hear “I’m moving to Canada” or “I haven’t been able to watch any political speech or debate or a word that W says since 2002″ or “why even bother? this country is run by the elite” or et cetera in the last eight years? We – the liberals, the radicals, the social change fighters – need some hope and inspiration.

A few other links, before I stop ranting politically:

And: if you’d like to follow some of the articles and blog posts that I’ve been reading lately, you can either subscribe to my Google Reader RSS feed, or add me as a friend on your own Google Reader (I’m under aspiringstud (at) gmail (dot) com), or look over in the sidebar, now, where I added a clip of my shared items.


While I’m doing some housecleaning, let me also let you know that I’ve been invited to join the Lesbian Bloggers Blogads Hive (thanks Kelly!), which means that you may be seeing some ads appear on this site in the near future. I have such grand plans for Sugarbutch, and I love the ways that people are responding and contributing and communicating with me – and with each other – about so many of the things that I’ve brought up here, and I want to be able to do more, but I currently can’t devote as much time to it as I’d like. I’m hoping that, if it begins to make me some money, I’ll be able to clear more time in my schedule for it, write more, make some changes, keep it up better. I hesitate, though, because I really do think that ads compromise a blog’s integrity, but I’m trying to remember that these labors of love are expensive and time consuming, and I – we all – deserve to be compensated for our time and hard work.

I’ll keep you updated as the quest for compensation progresses. Ideas are always welcome.

That concludes your random political/community post for today … we will return you to your regularly scheduled smut on Sugarbutch Chronicles soon.