The Wreath of Victory

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I really enjoy the Olympics. There is pageantry, patriotism and performances to dazzle the senses and quicken the heart. I watch as much as I can (cursing the broadcasters decision to not televise some sports or being sexist in their coverage) and grow misty eyed at the stories of athletes overcoming much to reach the Olympics. I cheer as Team USA climbs to the top of the podium.

And climb they did!

The United States won 46 gold, 37 silver and 38 bronze medals. That puts our medal total at 121. The next highest country, China, only had 70 medals total.

And our women! My, how far we’ve come.

In 2016, almost half (44%) of the Olympic medals were awarded to women’s events. That is huge increase from the only 25% in 1984 and not even being allowed to watch, much less participate in the ancient games.

The US Olympic team was comprised of 554 members, of which 291 were women. Those women went on to earn 61 of those 121 medals – including more than half (27) of the gold medals. Sakes alive but I love Title IX!

Team LGBT had a very big presence at the 2016 games as well. A record 55 Out athletes competed. Of special note is that TEAM LGBT’s medal count beat every country that criminalizes gay sex with twenty five Out athletes winning medals.

The athletes were smart, too – there are 1,018 incoming, current and former NCAA student-athletes set to compete in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil, representing 107 countries and 223 US colleges and universities.

There are certainly problems with the games – corruption in the awarding of games, financial ruin for many nations/cities who host, issues around gender defining, use of performance enhancing drugs, marketing gone amok, etc. But, to see those smiling faces of the athletes as they hold their medals and hear their nation’s anthem play is to make it all worthwhile.

Because the Olympic ideal IS worthwhile – the best and the brightest, putting their bodies and hearts on the line and achieving excellence through competition. The Olympic motto is inspiring, too – “Citius, altius, fortius” meaning “swifter, higher, stronger.”

As the crafter of the modern Olympics, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, put it: “The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.”

Exactly.

Now I just have to get through the next four years until the next Olympics.

* The title of this blog post comes from a poem by Pindar:

Who, then was given
the wreath of victory
for his speed of foot,
putting before his eyes
the game’s glory,
achieving thought in action?

They’re trying to wash us away

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The Aaron Neville performance of the Randy Newman song, Louisiana 1927, keeps playing in my mind:

Louisiana, Louisiana
They’re trying to wash us away
They’re trying to wash us away
Oh Louisiana, Louisiana
They’re trying to wash us away
They’re trying to wash us away

That song is about the great Mississippi River flood of 1927 that left 700,000 homeless in Louisiana and Mississippi.

flooding picHere are some statistics from the August 10-13 flooding that is currently devastating much of Southern Louisiana:

Over 30,000 people had to be rescued. Eight people are dead, a unknown number are still missing and 10,000 people are in shelters (Update – 11 dead)

More than 40,000 homes were damaged including 90% of the homes in Denham Springs and 75% of the home in Livingston parish which are considered damaged or destroyed

34,000 homes and businesses are still without electricity

Interstate I-12 was closed for 40 miles in both directions between Baton Rouge and Covington. I-10 was closed for 20 miles between Baton Rouge and Gonzales.

Much of area remains underwater.

20 parishes have been declared a major disaster by the federal government

Acadia
Ascension
Avoyelles
East Baton Rouge
East Feliciana
Evangeline
Iberia
Iberville
Jefferson Davis
Lafayette
Livingston
Pointe Coupee
St. Helena
St. Landry
St. Martin
St. Tammany
Tangipahoa
Vermilion
Washington
West Feliciana

It may seem like we’re whining about being ignored by the national media. Trust me, that attention really will help the Louisiana congressional delegation in getting needed assistance from the federal government during the long recovery process ahead.

Thanks to all who have contacted me to check in and make sure that I’m okay. New Orleans escaped the flooding and while we got pretty wet from the rain, we aren’t underwater like the rest of the area.

It is our turn to help all those who stepped up to help us after the levee breaks following Hurricane Katrina.

 

Here are some resources:

Resources For flood Victims:

Shelter information for Affected Parishes

The Louisiana governor’s office can be reached at (225) 342-7015. The Gov Office webpage on disaster relief can be found here.

FEMA Claims Handbook

If you are are in a parish currently included in the federal disaster declaration, you can register with FEMA at disasterassistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362. If your parish is not yet included in the federal declaration, you must register by calling 1-800-621-3362.

For those who want to help:

Read this first: When Disaster Relief Brings Anything But Relief

New Orleans Moms blog on how to help

Info on preparing and shipping a cleaning bucket.

Dirty Coast is updating its famous Soul is Waterproof t-shirt, with proceeds to go to the Second Harvest Food Bank

Acknowledging all the help and support locals provided to their neighbors, $15 from each sale of the Cajun Navy t-shirt will go to the Baton Rouge Area Foundation Louisiana Flood Relief fund.

Hope this helps.

We are #OneLouisiana

 

 

Let’s Get To Work

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I wish I could say I’m surprised at the number of people who have a hate on for Hillary Clinton but, after an an almost thirty year, very well-funded campaign against her, I can’t. While the crowd’s heckling during the Republican National Convention was (unfortunately) what passes as partisan politics these days, Chris Christie’s mock witch trial was pretty low even for the new normal.

I admit I do find it surprising when the same sort of vitriol is repeated by those on the progressive side of the political spectrum. Especially by folks like Jill Stein, who has actually argued Trump and Clinton would be equally harmful to the causes she as a Green holds dear.

cartoon cave after electionFrankly, I just can’t understand those who claim there is no difference between the two presidential candidates; who assert that choosing between them is like deciding between cholera and gonorrhea.

There are miles and miles of differences between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Those who say otherwise are exhibiting a very selfish kind of privilege, the kind which lets them overlook mountains of evidence to the contrary because they think they would be safe from the negative repercussions of their support for Trump or a third party candidate.

Those of us lined up in the cross hairs, know we are targets. We know there are lives on the line this election.

  • We’ve heard his rhetoric against undocumented workers, refugees and asylum seekers. He has been plain as day with his talk of walls and banning Muslims even traveling to the United States. In contrast, Hillary speaks of a path to full and equal citizenship and how American has always built our economy with the efforts of immigrants.
  • The LGBTQ community has every reason to be concerned about how fairly we will be treated if Trump becomes president. Besides running on his party’s tremendously anti-LGBTQ platform, Trump has vowed to appoint judges to overturn marriage equality and has expressed support for the so-called First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) which would lead to more discrimination. Clinton vows to fight for full equality (including transgender equality) both here and abroad.
  • And it is of vital importance for the health of the nation and the lives of our African American brothers and sisters that we confront racial injustice and enact police reform. Can you even envision addressing systemic racism in a world where Trump is president? After Trump has encouraged his supporters to attack protestors of color and after he said Black Lives Matter activists instigated the recent killings of police officers? Clinton has had missteps but she has started a dialogue and stated she would seek to overhaul of drug sentencing laws, prohibit racial profiling, end private prisons and detention centers and “ban the box.”
  • Just think about those of the most vulnerable among us like those with impairments or disabilities – how many vital social programs will he work to cut? Remember, Trump openly mocked the differently abled while Clinton fights for expanding Medicare, protecting Social Security and disability rights.
  • Equal pay and reproductive justice are two of the many issues facing women and families in the upcoming election. While Trump may be wishy washy on abortion access, his running mate is clearly not. Hillary Clinton has been an advocate for women and families her entire career and makes such issues a cornerstone of her campaign.
  • Even the Pentagon recognizes that environmental issues impact national security. Trump, on the other hand, calls global warming a “hoax” and claims climate science is “bullshit,” while Clinton has a ten year plan to address climate change and advance clean energy.

I could go on but I’d rather have you seriously consider that even if you are personally protected from the consequences of a Trump presidency if you would be willing to risk the actual lives of your fellow Americans?

Hillary Clinton might not be the candidate you want, but she’s the most qualified candidate we have and is definitely the most prepared to work for best for the country.

As Senator Bernie Sanders said:

Hillary Clinton will nominate justices to the Supreme Court who are prepared to overturn Citizens United. Her Supreme Court appointments will also defend a woman’s right to choose, workers’ rights, the rights of the LGBT community, the needs of minorities and immigrants and the government’s ability to protect the environment.

If you don’t believe this election is important, if you think you can sit it out, take a moment to think about the Supreme Court justices that Donald Trump would nominate and what that would mean to civil liberties, equal rights and the future of our country.

Exactly.

Hillary Clinton has put forth achievable policy prescriptions for a lot of issues I care about. Check here for her statement of positions. Despite the accusations to the contrary, she has one of the most progressive voting records in her time in the Senate, putting her to the left of Obama and 93% in line with Sanders. As she said during one of the debates, “I’m a progressive, but I’m a progressive that likes to get things done.”

And we can get it done if we get out the vote.

As First Lady Michelle Obama said in her speech at the DNC:

In this election, we cannot sit back and hope that everything works out for the best, we cannot afford to be tired or frustrated or cynical. Hear me: Between now and November, we need to do what we did eight years ago and four years ago. We need to knock on every door, we need to get out every vote, we need to pour every last ounce of passion into electing Hillary Clinton as president of the United States of America. Let’s get to work.

Agreed. Let’s get to work because Election Day is Tuesday, November 8th – just 100 days away!

RNC to the World: “We are the Mendacious, My Friends”

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cnsbuxgwgaagzovThe first day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland was a doozy. There was plenty of fodder for a myriad of blog posts, especially when they blasted “We are the Champions” by Queen as Donald Trump brought his plagiarizing wife to the stage.

On Monday, the Republican party adopted a platform which has been called one of the most extreme and anti-LGBT in recent history. It includes planks against marriage equality (three separate statements) and bathroom access and planks supporting businesses that seek to discriminate against LGBT customers and conversion therapy for LGBT kids. Later on the same day, they played an anthem that was written and performed by the proudly out musician Freddy Mercury, who died in 1991 of bronchial pneumonia resulting from AIDS.

What did we learn from this?

That the GOP will capitalize on the creations and efforts of LGBT people while they unequivocally stand against recognizing the humanity of their gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender brothers and sisters. To that end, they’ll wrap themselves in religion to justify ignoring the parts of the Constitution they disagree with and while supporting a candidate who makes a mockery of the Christian values they espouse. This same candidate who chose as his running mate a man whose signing of an extreme anti-LGBT law seriously damaged Indiana’s reputation and economy (in the aftermath, the state lost 12 large conventions and one study estimated that the total economic cost of Pence’s RFRA has been $250 million).

In this election, being a lesbian is going to make voting quite easy. There is a party actively trying to strip from me my dignity as a human being and there is another that isn’t. Even if I could have agreed with other parts of their platform, how can I possibly vote against my own status as an American citizen deserving of equal rights and equal protection under the law?

For most Republicans, I realize that it doesn’t matter what LGBT people think of the platform, their presumptive nominee or his running mate. They know we’re not going to vote for Trump anyway.

But anyone who understands how elections are won, knows it does matter what moderate Republicans and Independents think. For many of them, using religion as a pretext for discrimination is a bridge too far.

Just look at the response over the extremist RFRA’s (Georgia, Indiana, Arizona, Louisiana, etc) that were specifically designed to protect businesses which discriminate. Or the negative reaction against North Carolina’s HB2 or the backlash to Mississippi’s HB 1523. Residents and tourists alike realize being unwelcoming is a bad idea (check out Forum for Equality’s Louisiana’s Equality Means Business page for plenty of reasons why diversity and equality is good for businesses).

This election, you need look no further than the platforms of the parties (Democrat vs Republican) when making your decision. I urge you to read them. And I urge you to vote in November.

It is about more than just the presidency. There are a number of down ballot candidates who are seeking to win on a platform of “Take America Backward Again.” (ht to HRC)

We can’t let them.


GCLS 12th Annual Goldie Awards

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It was a lovely evening in Washington, DC for the Golden Crown Literary Society 12th Annual Awards Ceremony. Here are this year’s winners:

Debut Author
Threads of the Heart – Jeannie Levig, Bold Strokes Books
The Diplomat – Sophia French, Bella Books
The Revelation of Beatrice Darby – Jean Copeland, Bold Strokes Books

Creative Non-Fiction
Girl Sex 101 – Allison Moon, Lunatic Ink
The Ghosts Who Travel with Me: A Literary Pilgrimage Through Brautigan’s America – Allison Green, Ooligan Press

Romantic Suspense/Intrigue/Adventure
One Last Thing – Kim Baldwin & Xenia Alexiou, Bold Strokes Books
T-Minus Two – KG MacGregor, Bella Books
Reasonable Doubt – Carsen Taite, Bold Strokes Books

Poetry
I Carry My Mother – Lesléa Newman, Headmistress Press
Furs Not Mine – Andrea Cohen, Four Way Books

Mystery/Thriller
Tarnished Gold – Ann Aptaker, Bold Strokes Books
The Red Files – Lee Winter, Ylva Publishing
Cold to the Touch – Cari Hunter, Bold Strokes Books

Young Adult
Missing Mary – Cricket Watson, Sapphire Books Publisher
The Coming of the Mojo – Barbara Treat Williams, Spinsters Ink
Finding Home – Shelia Powell and Liz McMullen, Sapphire Books Publisher

Anthology/Collections (Creative Non-Fiction)
Untangling the Knot: Queer Voices on Marriage, Relationships & Identity – Carter Sickels (ed), Ooligan Press

Paranormal/Horror
The Deadening: Book 3 of the Sisters of Spirits Triology – Yvonne Heidt, Bold Strokes Books
Good Enough to Eat – Alison Grey & Jae, Ylva Publishing
Twisted whispers – Sheri Lewis Wohl, Bold Strokes Books

Erotica
Don’t be Shy- Astrid Ohletz and Jae (eds), Ylva Publishing
The Muse – Meghan O’Brien, Bold Strokes Books
Summer Passion – MJ Williamsz, Bold Strokes Books

Dramatic General Fiction
A Small Country About to Vanish – Victoria Avilan, Shaggy Dog Stories
Wishbone – Elaine Burnes, Bedazzled Ink Publishing
Heyday – Marnie Woodrow, Tightrope Books

Anthology/Collections (Fiction)
Through the Hourglass: Lesbian Historical Romance – Sacchi Green and Patty G Henderson, The Liz McMullen Show Publications
Snake Memories and Other Stories – Diana Rivers, Hadra Books
Lesbians on the Loose: Crime Writers on the Lam – Lori Lake and Jessie Chandler (eds)

Historical Fiction
Golddigger – Hilary McCollum, Bella Books
The Witch of Stalingrad – Justine Saracen, Bold Strokes Books
In the Company of Women – Kate Christie, Bella Books

Traditional Contemporary Romance
The Right Time – Susan X Meager, Brisk Press
Locked Inside – Annette Mori, Affinity Ebook Press
Making a Comeback – Julie Blair, Bold Strokes Books

Science Fiction/Fantasy
Without a Front: The Warrior’s Challenge – Fletcher DeLancy, Ylva Publishing
Dragon War Horse – D. Jackson Leigh, Bold Strokes Books
Lady Dragon – D. Jordan Redhawk, Bella Books

Tee Corinne Award for Outstanding Cover Design
Cast Me Gently – artist Glendon Haddix, Ylva Publishing
All We Lack – artist Ann McMan, Treehouse Studio

Ann Bannon Popular Choice
All We Lack – Sandra Moran, Bedazzled Ink Publishing

Director’s Award – Mary Hettel

Lee Lynch Classic Award
Presented to Curious Wine by Katherine V. Forrest

Marie Castle, Katherine V Forrest and I

Marie Castle, Katherine V Forrest and I

Trailblazer Award
Presented to Jewelle Gomez

Congratulations to all the finalists and winners! If you want to know more about the Golden Crown Literary Society or next year’s annual conference in Chicago, click HERE.

We also celebrated the lives of those from the lesbian literary community who have passed since our last conference:

Lost Sisters
Nikki Rashan
Sheila Connolly
Denise Marshall
Honey Lee Cottrell
Nene Adams
Sandra Moran
Inez Rieder
Jeanne Cordova
Jen Wright

Golden Crown Literary Conference in DC!

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11828583_1605559089708114_2398618113482835871_n

I’m very excited that I will be hopping on a train at the end of next week to take me to Washington, DC and the 2016 Golden Crown Literary Society Annual Conference.

While there, I will be catching the 4th of July fireworks, seeing the White House and getting a tour of the Library of Congress. However, I’m most looking forward to the horde of literary lesbians who will be descending on our nation’s capital.

I’ve waxed lyrical before on what the GCLS means to me; suffice to say I can’t wait to catch up with all those readers and authors and publishers whom I’m honored to call friends. And buying books. Lots and lots of books!

If you want to catch me at the conference, I’ll be doing the following:

I will be moderating a panel discussion on Sci-fi and Social Justice on Thursday, July 7th from 9:30am to 10:20am. My panelists include: Jewelle Gomez, Elizabeth Hodge, Lise MacTague, MB Panichi, and Tiffany Shamaly. Since speculative fiction allows a reimagining of the universe, we’ll be looking at just what is the writer’s responsibility for creating diverse, inclusive, and just worlds as well as discussing how we as readers and writers use science fiction to organize for social change.

I will be moderating the Author Spotlight on Thursday from 4:40 to 5:30pm with the following authors: Julie Blair, Jessie Chandler, Bev Prescott, MJ Williamz, and Sheryl Wright

On Friday morning at 8:30am, I will on the panel titled Blood and Gore I. The moderator is Justine Saracen and my fellow panelists are Ann Aptaker, JD Glass, Elizabeth Parmer and Allison Solomon. This panel will focus on violence in the setting of the lesbian novel.

At 9:30am, I will be participating in the Author Spotlight alongside these great authors: Lynn Ames, Marie Castle, Fay Jacobs, Susan X Meagher and moderated by the marvelous Melissa Brayden. I will be reading from my latest novel, Bitter Heart.

I will be signing my books (and anything else a person could want signed) during the author autograph session at 4:30 on Friday afternoon. This session is open to the public so come on down!

Rise early and join me at 8:30 on Saturday morning for Blood and Gore II. Moderated by Alison Solomon, my fellow panelists are: J.L. Gaynor, Laydin Michaels and Justine Saracen. This panel will focus on violence with the protagonist or in the relationship of the lesbian novel.

 

I’m also looking forward to the always funny and insightful Fay Jacobs who will be delivering the Keynote Address at 10:40 on Saturday morning. Later that night, we’ll all get dressed in our finery for the GCLS Awards Ceremony.

I can’t wait to see y’all there!

 

 

JBE Moves Louisiana Forward

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Today was a historic day in Louisiana. Our newly elected Democratic governor signed an inclusive Executive Order providing employment protections for state employees and employees of state contractors to include sexual orientation and gender identity. He also rescinded former Governor Bobby Jindal’s executive order extending the provisions included in Mike Johnson’s Marriage and Conscience Act after it failed to pass out of committee last year.

These are things we’ve been working hard on for a while and I was so pleased to be able to watch him sign it.

Gov JBE signs LGBT EO

LGBT org and allies before signing

Here are the major LGBT organizations standing shoulder to shoulder with the governor – Equality Louisiana, Forum for Equality, Louisiana Trans Advocates and PACE.

Group pic with Gov JBE after signing EO

Here is the press release from the Governor’s office. Here is a copy of the Executive Order.

Here is the Forum for Equality eblast.

Please take a moment to thank Governor John Bel Edwards for signing this inclusive Executive Order. Follow this link for an action page to send your letter.

No Hate in My State

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Ten hours.

That is all it took for the extremists in the North Carolina legislator to craft HB2 to overturn the city of Charlotte’s LGBT non-discrimination law and include an anti-trans bathroom measure to up the awful quotient.

Here is what the law does:

what nc law does

Despite businesses and corporations like Red Hat, Biogen, Dow Chemical, and others coming out in opposition, the bill passed the NC House by 83 to 25 (the yes votes include 11 Democrats) and 32-0 in the Senate after all the Democrats walked out. At around 10pm that same night, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed it into law.

The special session cost North Carolina around $42,000 and that is before costly legal challenges begin (it is likely the bill violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and Title IX of the Sex Discrimination in Education).

I’ve already had someone respond to a post I made asking why don’t I just move. They wanted to know what’s keeping me from leaving the South to her backward thinking and hateful laws.

Not only is this my home but the ones who would gladly use their bible and their bigotry to discriminate need me here.

As a mature Caucasian woman of progressive beliefs, living in an island of blue in the sea of red which is the great state of Louisiana, it is vital that my voice be raised to say #NoHateInMyStateno hate in my state hrc

Those who care about the future we’re creating need to stay and work on making things better. Get involved if you don’t like what you are seeing/hearing. Fight for what we know is right.

And, even more importantly, we must vote! Our vote is our voice. Vote in all elections and not just in Presidential ones.

Because in the final analysis, the only questions that matter are the ones asked by John Lewis:

If not us, then who?
If not now, then when?

Trailer for Women in Sports!

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Check out this cool trailer for the Women in Sports Anthology:

Stories by Lee LynchJeanine Hoffman, Pat Cronin, Jessie Chandler, Mb Panichi, Erica Lawson, Verda Foster, Tonie Chacon, Sharon G Clark, Nann Dunne, AL Duncan, and Kate McLachlan and me!

Women in Sports is published by Regal Press and is scheduled to be released in April.

Saints and Sinners 2016

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saints and sinners cover

The 2016 Saints and Sinners Festival is scheduled for Friday, April 1 through Sunday, April 3 in New Orleans.

The Festival was founded in 2003 as an innovative way to disseminate HIV/AIDS prevention messages via the writers, thinkers and spokes-people of the LGBT community as well as to bring the LGBT literary community together in celebration.

I will be giving a reading from my new book, Bitter Heart, and will be on a panel. Info for my appearances is below:

Saturday, April 2 @11:30 AM
SAINTS AND SINNERS READING SERIES: WRITERS READ
Authors Rich Barnett, Jameson Currier, Jewelle Gomez, Mary Griggs, J.D. Horn, and Gregg Shapiro share their latest works in our annual reading series. Enjoy a mix of Festival favorites and promising new voices.
Hotel Monteleone, Cabildo Room
Sponsored by The John Burton Harter Charitable Trust.

Saturday, April 2 @1 PM
CREATURES OF THE NIGHT
If writers are supposed to “write what you know”—how do you create supernatural beings like vampires and werewolves and witches, oh my? Can you make up your own rules, or do you have to follow in the footsteps of those who have gone before? Join us as we talk about redefining the field of paranormal fiction, and the difficulties LGBTQ writers face as they work to get their voices heard.
Panelists: N.S. Beranek, ‘Nathan Burgoine, Mary Griggs,
Jerry Rabushka, and Jeffrey Ricker.
Moderator: Candice Huber.
Hotel Monteleone, Royal Salon C

The book fair for both Saints and Sinners and the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival is located on the mezzanine level of the Hotel Monteleone. Tubby & Coo’s Book Shop is the 2016 Saints and Sinners book seller.

I hope to see you there!

Geaux Vote On March 5th, Louisiana!

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On Saturday, the Louisiana Presidential Primary will be held. It is very important as not only are state party officials on the ballot but the 51 pledged Democratic delegates and 43 pledged Republican delegates for president will be determined on March 5th. Learn more about the value of your primary vote here.

Check out the 2016 Presidential Preference Primary information sheet from the Louisiana Secretary of State’s office.

During this busy campaign season, review this handout on How to Pick A Candidate from the League of women voters

Visit GeauxVote.com for polling place, ballot and other election information. Or, if you’re not opposed to strong language, you can find your polling place here.

The Independent Women’s Organization has a number of members running for Democratic party positions. Check out their list for suggestions on who to select on Saturday.

On election day, the Krewe of Hillary will be doing campaigning and phone banking for Hillary Clinton at the Hillary for Louisiana Office at 1516 Thalia Street. Here is the Facebook event information.

 

Women in Sports Anthology

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I’ve got a story in the Women in Sports Anthology! Look for it to be coming out soon!

Hot. Sweaty. Tight shorts. Sports bras. Six-pack abs. What sparks your imagination? Muscular legs? Hands that are strong and sure? Baseball, soccer, hockey, track and field…does it really matter? She’s sexy, she’s incredible and she’s all yours. Sit back, relax and enjoy some wonderful tales from this group of talented authors. Women in sports–does it get any better than that?

This amazing collection of romance and erotica includes stories from: Lee Lynch, Jessie Chandler, Mary Griggs, MB Panichi, Tonie Chacon, Kate McLachlan, A.L. Duncan, Jeanine Hoffman, Erica Lawson, Sharon G. Clark, Nann Dunne, Pat Cronin and Verda Foster.

WomenInSports_v2

Hill YES! Or why I support Hillary for President

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Hillary Clinton at a the Louisiana Leadership Institute on 9/21/2016

Hillary Clinton at a the Louisiana Leadership Institute on 9/21/2016

I’m supporting Hillary Rodham Clinton for President of the United States. I believe she is the most qualified and I want to share some of my reasons for supporting her candidacy.

I was first made aware of her during the sh*tstorm which followed her comment about staying a home and baking cookies during Bill Clinton’s 1992 run for the presidency. My nascent feminist consciousness was outraged by those who ignored that she was fiercely and vocally supportive of women having the choice of full-time career, full-time motherhood or some combination thereof.

I watched her during her time as First Lady, bucking against the trend of merely being a host for state dinners by taking a proactive role in trying to pass health care legislation in 1993. Later, I cringed at seeing her the butt of so many jokes when she decided to honor the vows her husband abused.

Every time she was mocked, her spine got a little straighter and she became more determined. While pundits called her calculated and ambitious, I saw the courage it took to keep going, to keep putting her considerable skills to work for this nation despite all the efforts to tear her down.

I was very impressed by her actions at the 2008 Democratic Convention when she stopped the roll call vote. Not only was that a class act, it shows the limits of her ambition. She choose party unity around Barack Obama instead of forcing a floor fight. See the video here:

As a feminist, I find her passion for women rights throughout her career inspiring. I was just out of graduate school when she delivered her remarks to the U.N. 4th World Conference on Women in Beijing. She kept women and family issues on the forefront while in the Senate including protecting access to family planning and abortion, pay equity, and defending the Violence Against Women Act. As Secretary of State, her actions in defense of women and girls and her call for fair and equal treatment and an end to violence against women were much needed on the international stage.

It takes guts to evolve and she has definitely done so on issues important to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, most notably on marriage equality and transgender rights. I was very proud of the speech she gave as Secretary of State on LGBT rights being human rights. She has continued to make non-discrimination and justice for all a cornerstone of her campaign.

Hillary Clinton has the most experience of all the candidates. She can win in November and she’ll be the leader the United States needs.

I’m going to be voting for her and I hope you do, too.

The Louisiana Presidential Primary is Saturday, March 5th. Early voting is February 20-27.

Check out the 2016 Presidential Preference Primary sheet from the Louisiana Secretary of State’s office.

Go to GeauxVote.com for polling place and other election information.

If you’d like to get more involved with her campaign, they’ve opened up an office in New Orleans. Sign up to volunteer (and donate) today! Follow her on Twitter and tell the world #ImWithHer

On the Death of Antonin Scalia

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Clarence Darrow famously said, “I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.”

This is one of those times.

I won’t pretend to be saddened by the news that Antonin Scalia has died. I will not mourn someone who actively used the power of his position to deprive me of my civil rights, who equated me to a murderer and animal abuser and who reduced my loving relationships to nothing but sex.

I am sorry for those who will mourn him and feel for his family in their time of loss. However, I believe our highest court and our nation is better off without him.

I could fill this blog with nasty quotes (or these) from him on all manner of issues beyond those of homosexuality and marriage equality. Remember, this is the justice who wanted to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision on women’s rights to privacy and he dissented on the decision that it was unconstitutional to execute mentally disabled or teenage prisoners, among many others.

Instead, I want to remind folks that Justice Scalia’s approach to reaching his decisions was an originalist. This is the view that says there is an identifiable original intent or original meaning, commonly known at the time of  passage or ratification, which governs all subsequent interpretation of the law.

However, before even 24 hours had passed after the news broke of his death, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stated, “This vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President.”

This, of course, the same guy in 2005 who defended the absolute right of Presidents to nominate judges and even went so far as to say, “For the first time in 214 years, they have changed the Senate’s ‘advise and consent’ responsibilities to ‘advise and obstruct.'”

Ironic much?

From the New York Times:
“The question now is whether the Senate will honor Justice Scalia’s originalist view of the Constitution by allowing President Obama to appoint a successor, and providing its advice and consent in good faith. Or will the Republicans be willing to create a constitutional crisis and usurp the authority of the president to ensure that the Supreme Court functions as one branch of this government?”

As Hilliary Clinton said, “The Republicans in the Senate and on the campaign trail who are calling for Justice Scalia’s seat to remain vacant dishonor our Constitution. The Senate has a constitutional responsibility here that it cannot abdicate for partisan political reasons.”

I think that Scalia would be forced to agree.

It Matters!

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Iowa has done its national, quadrennial duty of putting the candidates for President of the United States through their caucus system. The turnout was pretty high (180,000 Republicans and 171,109 Democrats voted) and the results (Hillary Clinton only 1 percentage point ahead of Bernie Sanders and the GOP top 3 being Cruz, Trump and Rubio) means that things are heating up between the frontrunners.

In only a few short weeks, Louisiana has its presidential primary (March 5) and it is very important that you check your voter registration. Presidential primaries are closed meaning only Democrats can vote for Democratic candidates and only Republicans can vote for Republican candidates. Voters not affiliated with a party will not be able to vote for a presidential candidate (although they can still vote in the general election on November 8).

Wednesday, February 3rd is the deadline for registering for the March 5th primary. Go register online at geauxvote.com or go visit your registrar of voters.

we didn't vote

Our democracy would be a lot more representative (and more progressive) if more people voted – read this report for more details. The census data bears it out:

Census data on the 2014 midterm elections quantifies some of these gaps. While 52 percent of those earning more than $150,000 voted, only 24 percent of those earning less than $10,000 went to the polls. That divide is further magnified by age. Among 18-24 year olds earning less than $30,000 turnout was 17 percent in 2014, but among those earning more than $150,000 and older than 65, the turnout rate was nearly four times higher, at 65 percent. There were also racial gaps in voter turnout. In 2014, 46 percent of white voters turned out to vote, compared to 40 percent of black voters, and just 27 percent of Asians and Latinos.

Less than a hundred years ago the suffragettes won the vote by showing they were prepared to die. A little over fifty years ago, civil rights activists were beaten, arrested and murdered before the passage of the Voter Rights Act in 1965 applied a nationwide prohibition against the denial or abridgment of the right to vote. And, right now, in countries around the globe, people are literally dying to vote.

Please don’t throw away your hard fought rights by not registering or by not voting.

There are fundamental differences between the parties and between the rhetoric of the candidates. Listen to what they say, what their chosen mouthpieces say (Sarah Palin for Trump and Phil Robertson for Cruz, for example), fact check them and then get out there and exercise your right to vote!

It really does matter.

 

 

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