Sunday, May 31, 2009

Oh, Mercy

I might suddenly be interested in tennis again.


Troubling Things, Troublesome Things

Drake Okusaka died on Friday, killed on his bike after being run over by a kid in a Nissan who was weaving in and out of traffic to the extent that he ended up in the bike lane. On top of Drake. I didn't know him very well, but we used to coach for the same soccer club here in Tucson, so for a while there we ran into each other pretty regularly at meetings and on the field. He loved kids, loved soccer, loved teaching the game to the tinies he coached. He always struck me as being very gentle and honorable, and seemed to make his top priority teaching the little girls and boys about fair play and good conduct. And now because an idiot teenager thought the mad driving skillz he picked up from Mario Karts were transferrable to the real world, Drake's gone. And that sucks.

Meanwhile, back at Chez Bolt, the neighbor lady reported an intruder in her back yard at 4:30 yesterday morning. Regrettably, her Perpetual Chihuahua was actually inside for the night, so the intruder escaped with ankles un-gnawed. The responding cop told us that our neighborhood and a few adjacent ones have seen a run on patio furniture, yard decor, and nice plants, because contractors have taken to appropriating landscaping and model home furnishings from people's yards rather than, oh, buying them themselves in these wretched economic times. I am fairly certain he was serious. He suggested chaining porch furniture to the posts or a bolt set in cement, and warned that high-value plants aren't safe even if they're in the ground rather than in a pot. If your expensive native vegetation can be lopped off at the ground and re-started in a bucket of water out in Rita Ranch, it will be. The cop even had a night-blooming cereus stolen from his own yard a few months ago. What the fuck, people?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Oh, Distress

I keep reminding myself that Obama cannot be all things to all of his supporters, but over the past few weeks it's been difficult. On the one hand, Sonia Sotomayor. On the other, Guantanamo staying open. On the one hand, a promise by the press secretary that Obama has a strategic intent in play of planning to eventually someday probably ask Congress to think about repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell if they get a chance, on the other, yesterday's reduction of the whole shebang to a lame-ass punchline at a fundraiser. Oh, wait. Maybe those are actually both fingers on that other hand, and maybe they're both being jabbed in our direction a la a newly crabby Susan Boyle.
A gaggle of sign-waving protestors milled around outside The Beverly Hilton, the sprawling hotel on Wilshire Boulevard. They must have caught the president’s eye when he arrived at the hotel from an earlier stop in Las Vegas because he relayed one of their messages to the crowd.

“One of them said, “Obama keep your promise,’ ” the president said. “I thought that’s fair. I don’t know which promise he was talking about.”

The people in the audience – who paid $30,400 per couple to attend – laughed as they ate a dinner of roasted tenderloin, grilled organic chicken and sun choke rosemary mashed potatoes.

The gaggle of protestors were pretty clearly displaying their dismay at the failure of the campaign-promised repeal of DADT to materialize, but maybe Cadillac One was zipping past them too quickly for Hopey to read the signs, or maybe the forcefield distorted them. Maybe it's all a carefully calculated setup for the complete package of homo-friendly initiatives rumored to be launched on Stonewall day, because gosh, doesn't elation feel extra good after several weeks of blind rage?

Meanwhile, the defenders of marriage are driving me to distraction. On my Facebook news feed? Really? Get bent. Luckily, Rob Tisinai's wonderfully modulated voice and measured delivery gave me a bresh of fresh, rational air. From Joe.My.God.:

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Unfortunately, Yes. Yes, We Do.

Nail, meet hammer; watch your head.

More Coherent Response to Come; For Now...

"Today's ruling by the California Supreme Court that some 18,000 homosexual "marriages" are valid, despite the vote of the people to prohibit such legal recognition, has frustrated and disappointed pro-family citizens who voted for true protection of marriage licenses for a man and a woman.

"While it was good that the majority of the justices ruled only man-woman marriages could be performed after Prop. 8 passed, it's wrong and unconstitutional for the judges to permit counterfeit marriages in clear violation of Prop. 8," said Randy Thomasson, president of, a statewide pro-family organization that has been fighting for natural marriage in California for more than a decade. "An arm and a leg have been cut off the natural institution of marriage in California."

Today's decision means every homosexual couple that wanted a "same-sex marriage" last year, got one. The decision also means some 18,000 counterfeit marriages will be held out as role models to impressionable children. "By allowing these numerous false marriages to stand, the Supreme Court is holding out to impressionable boys and girls the unnatural role model of homosexual 'marriages'" said Thomasson. "This is not what the people of California voted for. They voted to ensure that the only marriage in California is a marriage between a man and a woman."

Fuck. You.



As I sit simultaneously waiting for the California Supreme Court to announce its ruling on the Proposition 8 challenge and mulling the Sotomayor nomination, I keep coming back to two sets of words President Obama has let slip, only to have conservatives pounce on them and fling them back at us with monkey-poo abandon.

God is in the mix.

Carrie Prejean likes that one. So does everyone who opposes marriage equality on religious grounds. They are only too happy to remind us that our President, the one we threw our support to, is nominally on their side in this one.


The alleged Democratic majority should make Sotomayor's confirmation a done deal, at least on paper, at least until the Blue Dogs decide it's more important to roll over for Republicans than to advance any actual Democratic interests, and meanwhile John Boehner has already been bleating for a week that he will filibuster any nominee who intends to decide cases based on emotions and gut reactions and empathy rather than the law. Because of course that's how all the people Obama considered for the spot built their careers, on touchy-feelyness rather than legal knowledge. But none of the real legal-world qualifications matter any more, because now the opposition has the E-word to pour into the troughs for the base to snarf up and spit back over and over and over.

In a world where the sound bite has replaced reasoned discourse, and regurgitation critical thought, words are extremely precious and delicate commodities. Either the other side needs to give up their indiscriminate plucking and recoding, or our side needs to exercise a little more caution. Both propositions speak to the suck factor of our situation.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, on Obama's "intent" to "repeal" DADT:
The president has made his strategic intent very clear. That it's his intent at some point in time to ask Congress to change this law.

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. "Strategic" is spot-on, however, as the strategy appears to be sloughing off responsibility until it gets down to the White House dog shit picker-upper just in time for him to be let go during the change of administration. Yeah, at some point I'll get around asking Congress to, uh, think about doing something. Jesus, you queens are so demanding.

To the people who say this isn't the time to be worrying about this, I reply that the midst of two fucking wars that are stretching the military perilously thin is exactly the right time to be worrying about otherwise competent, qualified personnel being jettisoned for reasons not related to their job performance. Let's go, Hopey.

Memorial Day

Rangers lead the way.

Ehhhhrrrmmmm Huh?

Sam Schulman lays out the "best" case yet against marriage equality. Isaac Chotiner dissects it for you at The New Republic. Boltgirl retreats to the cabinet for a single-barrel bourbon.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ana Marie Cox FTW!

"So when can we expect a durable policy on racial desegregation in the military, since that's never gone through Congress?"

Serious. Heart.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Suck It, John D'Arcy

When even the Holocaust-denier-appeasing Prada pope tacitly smacks you down, you know you've taken things a wee tad too far.
The Vatican said Monday that President Barack Obama was clearly looking for some common ground with his speech at the University of Notre Dame about abortion.

Granted, Ratzi didn't directly say anything about the caterwauling US bishops who have been gnashing their teeth and rending their garments at the horror that is Someone Not Completely In Line With Catholic Social Teaching As Long As The Not Completely Part Refers To Abortion That Is speaking at a Catholic university, but neither did he hop onto their bloody doll-strewn bandwagon. The silence, if you will, is deafening and delicious. No word on whether His Holiness followed up with "Go Irish."

Thursday, May 14, 2009

What We Have

So much good fodder out there this week for blogging, what with Cheney running his mouth about how awesome torture has been for the US at the same time as an actual interrogator testifies before the Congressional torture committee--from behind an elegant screen, no less!--that torture doesn't actually work and made a previously compliant Abu Zabaydah clam up tighter than Cheney's puckered titanium asshole, and Obama wanting to release more abuse 'n' mayhem photos before deciding that maybe that wouldn't be such a hot idea after all, and evidence that Nancy Pelosi actually did know about the torture program until Cheney flapped jowls about that as well and indicated that the briefing in question maybe wasn't all that informative after all, and Dan Choi--who leads an infantry platoon and speaks Arabic and very much likes serving in Iraq--getting Don't Ask Don't Telled out of the National Guard in the same week that a guy on his third tour who very much does not like being in the Army kills five other soldiers in a counseling center in Baghdad.

So much to say, and every commenter out there has already said it, so I better by God jump on board and chime in, but...

A vignette: Many years ago, left to my own devices, I turned to gardening and fancied the idea of tomatoes. I dutifully started seeds in an egg carton on the windowsill, delighted in the tiny sprouts, and--certain that prime gardening time was zooming by and leaving me in the dust--planted them in a backyard plot way too early. They were dead within three days. I spent the next several weeks muttering and raking around the aloes, occasionally spraying the hose in the general direction of the fence, and then one day I walked out and happened to glance at an abandoned and semi-forgotten clay pot that had been shoved up against the wood. A vagrant seed had taken up residence sometime when I wasn't paying attention, when I was distracted by the umpteen doomed little seedlings I was hell-bent on making work. And now it had turned into a very perky, foot-tall tomato plant that was doing just fine on its own. Hiya, it said. What's a girl gotta do to get a drink around here?

Anyway. Forced writing is about as pleasant to read as forced gardening is to eat, that is, pretty dry and gritty and unpleasantly crispy. As soon as something bubbles up on its own, you'll see it here first.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Because It's My Day

I mulled a report on the dog of a match turned in by the Red Stars against Sky Blue this afternoon--seriously, Stars? Bring it down the flank and fling it to the middle where Sky Blue have five, six, seven players packed into the box, time after time after time, and still let Sky Blue run counterattacks with the two players up top going against and usually beating your three in the back line? And how many times were you offside in the first half? Ten? And not offside on a hair's breadth decision occasioned by a well-timed trap, but wings and strikers just wandering around and standing three or four steps behind the Sky Blue defense and then flinging their arms up in frustration at the AR? Jesus, Sky Blue put on a clinic when it came to perfectly timed five-yard through balls deftly touched through the line to players making clever runs behind the defense. Just stellar.

But! I am not going on and on and on about that because it was the only eh spot on an otherwise lovely day with my kid, who washed my car and went to the gym to lift with me and baked brownies and cooked up an enormous pot of jambalaya for dinner and shot hoops with me after. Now the iPod is charging and the swamp cooler has finally caught up after 100+ degrees in the afternoon and the dogs are asleep and life is good. I will fix the Red Stars later.

Friday, May 08, 2009

WPS: Interesting Reactions to Actions and Non-actions...

The WPS disciplinary committee huddled and--one two three break!--handed out two suspensions in the wake of Sunday's St. Louis-Washington match. One went to Washington's Abby Wambach for the tackle on Daniela that landed the Brazilian a broken leg and Wambach a yellow card; the other went to Athletica defender Kia McNeill for repeatedly introducing Wambach to the turf via body checks that would have put an NHL player in the box for charging but did not draw any cards on the pitch.

It's an interesting precedent for the league to set, what, four weeks into the inaugural season, and I say "interesting" rather than "troubling" pending the ripple effects it proves to have league-wide. Both suspensions are clearly intended to send the message that chippiness is not the way to go, particularly when an infant league is relying on big-money international stars to pique fan interest and put butts in the seats, but I hope the suspensions have been accompanied by a stern talking-to directed at the center referee who allowed the overly physical play to go on unchecked. One of McNeill's tackles on Wambach was card-worthy on its own, and certainly by the time that one happened--the third such foul on Wambach in the first half, two by McNeill--a yellow should have been shown for persistent infringement. Retroactively showing two yellows, which the committee has effectively done in meting out the suspension to McNeill, is a huge nonconfidence vote from the league for that referee. And I still maintain that while Wambach deserved yellow for the careless tackle on Daniela, it was not straight-red-worthy, contrary to the implicit message being delivered by the league's suspension of her.

Let's hope for more consistency this weekend. I will be very interested to see how this ref handles his next assignment, should he be given one. Should he be given one? Based on last week, that's a great big no.


While I was busy with other stuff, somebody else built the career I thought I might have. This distresses me. I landed a book contract with the University of Utah Press, and midway through the rough draft the other guy published essentially the same book. I couldn't bring myself to read it, but I hear it's good. He's since cranked out another book or two and papers in journals that cheerfully reject my submissions. I don't read those either. The other half of my department is braver and tells me that we are essentially clones, soulmates, sharing a single stone tool-based brain and writing the same stuff in the same style.

I guess I'm glad I'm not the only person who thinks about our subject matter the way I do, and that the ideas are getting out there to a wide audience. I'm just bothered that it's under his name rather than mine.

It's my fault, not his, of course. I never wanted to go back and polish up the hoop-jumping and ass-kissing skills that are necessary tools for navigating a PhD, nor did I want to sit through another introductory physical anthro class with a bunch of 20-ish baby grad students, nor have I ever had any interest in an academic career that would require teaching. So I toil in obscurity and wonder if I really have any idea what I'm doing after all after the drawing's done.

My only reliable skill set. Shh, don't tell the boss.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

A Note on Maine and New Hampshire

As noted earlier, Maine's legislature comfortably passed a bill mandating equality in civil marriage, a bill quickly signed into law by the governor. And later this afternoon New Hampshire's legislature followed suit; their bill now awaits the governor's signature.

Commence the anti-gay screaming. Comments on the Bangor paper's story ran about half-and-half, which is standard fare for the intertubes, and a recurrent theme among the anti-equality set was the contention that the legislature was not doing its job properly, and a "People's Veto"--Mainese for "referendum," as far as I can tell--is going to be mustered.

First they howled when the Massachusetts and Iowa state supreme courts mandated equality, because they were prima facie examples of activist judges legislating from the bench. Why, they sputtered, laws should come from the legislature, not a bunch of black-robed social anarchists! Who may or may not have been appointed by a Republican! And now that the legislatures have enacted equality laws in Vermont and Maine (and are almost there in New Hampshire), they're sputtering that duly elected representatives of the people aren't actually representative enough, and that this particular question of this particular civil right should be decided only by the people themselves, the more foam at the mouth the better.

What happens if the people actually fail to overturn the enacted law? The NOMmers will run to that same supreme court full of activist social anarchists and demand that the will of the people be overturned. And there will be more signature-gathering and more out-of-state money flowing in and more busloads of retirees from Provo overloading the Denny's at the state line, round and round and round.

Their opposition has to end somewhere. How awesome if it would simply end here in the face of the amazing tide rolling across the Northeast over the past week.

Gayin' Rain Falls Squarely in Maine!

Maine hopped on the train whose tracks bend inexorably toward justice this morning when Governor John Baldacci signed a civil marriage equality bill that was passed with strong majorities by the state Senate and House. In a belt-and-suspenders approach to church-state separation, LD1020 contained a sop to religious conservatives reminding them that civil marriage equality doesn't mean churches will be forced to perform weddings or canonically recognize marriages their dogma disapproves, just like Catholic churches are not currently required by law to marry one man and one woman if they're not Catholic, or if one or both got divorced without an annulment, or if the couple doesn't promise to have truckloads of kids and raise them Catholic. In other words, churches will experience no change from previously existing marriage law. So knock that shit right off before it starts.
"In the past, I opposed gay marriage while supporting the idea of civil unions," Governor Baldacci said. "I have come to believe that this is a question of fairness and of equal protection under the law, and that a civil union is not equal to civil marriage."

"Article I in the Maine Constitution states that 'no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law, nor be denied the equal protection of the laws, nor be denied the enjoyment of that person's civil rights or be discriminated against.'"

Good on you, Maine. Much of the testimony given yesterday in the Senate was eloquent and moving. I haven't found transcripts yet, but several on-the-fly excerpts can be found on the liveblog here and here.

The Wonders of The Google

"abby wambach girlfriend" has surpassed the cupcake picture as the number one search bringing new readers to the Boltiverse, so I feel compelled to issue a mini manifesto:

(1) Recent sporadic speculation on Datalounge is that the Wombat is no longer with the former girlfriend, since said former girlfriend is on the roster of a different WPS team. Since at least three snuggly signings are evident around the league (LA, Bay area, and Boston, I'm looking at you), you'd think Abby would have had enough pull to bring Megan Rapinoe to Washington rather than seeing her go to Chicago.
(2) I am not complaining about that a bit. Come on you Stars.
(3) The shine fell clean off the Wombat for me after l'affaire Solo in the World Cup.
(4) Did you think that one was over? It just got fresh batteries on Sunday. Pissed Solo + microphone = Katie bar the door!

In other soccer news, Daniela indeed had her knee thoroughly shredded on Wambach's tackle Sunday after scoring two beautiful goals and is most likely done for the season. What a shame, and what a sad ending to what had been an entertaining match. The league is considering disciplinary action against the Wombat for the reckless tackle--eh. As a referee I feel the yellow card was warranted, but I didn't see it as a two-footed studs-up straight red, nor do I particularly believe that Wambach was intentionally attempting to injure Daniela as retribution for St. Louis defenders repeatedly smashing Wambach to the turf throughout the game. The Abbster can be a controlling freakshow on the psychological side and a bruising presence on the physical side, but I have not seen her deliberately hack an opponent. My call is that it there was some carelessness in the tackle brought on by a combination of the wet field, end-of-match fatigue, and a touch of frustration. Yellow, yes. League sanctions, no.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Soccer Interlude

WPS teams had something like five weeks to prepare for the season, with some teams losing significant players from their rosters during that time to international tournaments (say, the Algarve) and friendlies, so it's no shock that some of the early games were shaky at best. The girlfriend and I have seen a marked improvement in play over the past couple of weeks, though, including an absolute gem of a match last week between Washington and Bay Area that FSC has already replayed a couple of times, and then today's damp but sparkly Washington-St. Louis match.

Washington's passing game was superb, with through ball after through ball delivered with such precision that we howled oh my god did you see that ball? And this one was another goalfest with plenty of last-ten-minutes drama, although only one of Athletica's three goals was really a quality strike rather than a biff by the second placeholder keeper who's trying to keep the box warm until MacLeod's visa problems get resolved (visa problems? for a Canadian who's not even half Muslin, as far as we know?).

The only downside was the officiating, which was generally crap. I'm a ref, so I'm allowed to say that. Athletica decided to play the Brazil defense against Wambach, meaning she got hammered hard four times with only two whistles and one card resulting. The most egregious was a full-on fucking body check in the box delivered by Kia McNeill, who should have received a second yellow rather than seeing a goal kick awarded. I went into the game kinda pulling for St. Louis since they hadn't even scored yet this season and I kinda like their uniforms, but I quit on that once it became apparent that they decided to take the hacking route.

Anyway. Come on you Stars!

Shaking Down Some Thunder

Seriously, guys?
This week, Bishop Thomas Wenski of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orlando, Fla., will take the unusual step of celebrating a Mass of Reparation, to make amends for sins against God.

The motivation: to provide an outlet for Catholics upset with what Wenski calls the University of Notre Dame's "clueless" decision to invite President Obama to speak at its commencement and receive an honorary doctorate May 17.

Gotta hand it to Notre Dame--love the place or loathe the place, it usually manages to bring out passions on both sides. As the university reels toward graduation with giant abortion posters sailing overhead and bloodied dolls in strollers being trundled around South Quad by Randall Terry, lesser-light bishops are coming out of the woodwork across the country to get their 15 minutes in before the diplomas get handed out. John D'Arcy of Ft. Wayne-South Bend-via-Boston said his piece a couple of months ago, and about 55 others have chimed in since then to ensure their place in the storied history this little kerfuffle has blossomed into, riling up the faithful and deeply annoying undergraduates who would really like to be able to study for finals in peace, thanks.

The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform keeps it klassy.

Randall Terry keeps it klassier.

My simple question remains the same. Where were all of you strident defenders of Catholic social teaching when George W. Bush spoke at the 2001 commencement and got his honorary degree? Granted, this was a couple of years before he violated the doctrine condemning unjust war, but why did we not see the Knights of Columbus marching down Juniper Road carrying posters of Karla Faye Tucker and denouncing Bush as a murderer, inspired to a holy rage by the Church's teaching against the death penalty?

The simple answer, of course, is that abortion is the ultimate litmus test, the issue that establishes righteous indignation hellfire cred like no other, the trump card that renders the million shades of gray on your moral resume to stark black and white. As a gay woman who has had her identity helpfully reduced to a single sex act to be summarily denounced by perfect strangers, I guess I should sympathize with the university to some degree. Oh Notre Dame, you really are about so much more than whether a ten-week blob of cells should be removable or should be accorded a status greater than the woman in which it resides, but people don't want to let you be complex. They'd rather use you as a flashpoint to denounce, to pontificate, to assert their own righteousness and ratchet up their own personal power over others a couple of notches. Half the students think Obama's going to roast in hell. Half are thrilled to have him speaking at commencement. All of them are probably ready for some peace and quiet.

Thomas Wenski, please go to a bar with your fellow bandwagon-jumping bishops and shut the fuck up. Clean up your own houses and demand transparency in sexual abuse investigations, work for justice for the poor, demand justice on behalf of those who have been tortured in your name, and just shut. the. fuck. up.