Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Updates, etc

I'm a terrible blogger but, after my too-short vacation in which I did almost no work and just spent money, I had to bear down and focus both on my then-current freelance projects, to get new ones and to try like hell to get a job.

I accomplished all of those, including the last: as of today, I'm the newest editor at Talking Points Memo.

Anyway, I'm also in the process of designing a new website, so keep an eye out, as I'll try to be better about reposting what I'm writing and will link to the site when it's up.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The view from here

Vacations are often pretty kick ass.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Catching up

I haven't posted links in a while, mostly because I was trying to get work done in time to take my first vacation in nearly three years, which I'm on right now and, nonetheless, still working. Sigh.

Anyway, for the month of May, I'll be co-hosting "Wilshire and Washington" in the place of my friend (the fabulous) Maegan Carberry every Friday morning at 10 am ET on Blogtalk Radio. We started yesterday:



Yesterday, I also ranted about Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin on Jezebel
Since When Is Hillary Clinton Less Influential Than Sarah Palin?

I was on The Mark Steiner Show in Baltimore:
April 26, 2010 Hour 2

I've also been writing for The Guardian:
Another 'reform' bill, another sideshow
Financial market regulation is a mess
Show Larry Summers the door

I was on Russia Today:


I was on RH Reality Check:
KBR’s “Facts” About Rape Case Are No Such Thing

I was, of course, on The Gloss, both with advice and a how-to video:
Bitch, Please: The Etiquette Of Vomiting At The Office And On Your Friends
The Look For Less: Hit The Red Carpet For $25
Bitch, Please: It's Time For Some Uncomfortable Conversations
Bitch, Please: How To Talk To A Friend About Her Controlling Boyfriend

And, naturally, I have totally been blogging about Dancing With The Stars:
DWTS's Sexiest Secret
DWTS Season 10, Week 6 Power Rankings
Dancing with the Stars Recap: Week 6, Results
Dancing with the Stars Recap: Week 6, Performance
Why DWTS Always Plays the Mom Card
Dancing with the Stars Power Rankings: Week 5
Dancing with the Stars Recap: Week 5, Results
Dancing with the Stars Recap: Week 5, Performance
DWTS Interview With Dlisted's Michael K
Dancing with the Stars Power Rankings: Season 10, Week 4
Dancing With The Stars Recap: Week 4, Results
Dancing With The Stars Recap: Week 4, Performance

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I was a weird kid

I was sitting here reading Silvana's really excellent (second) post about dude rock at Tiger Beatdown and came across this line and re-read it twice.
Especially because (and I can’t find a link for this, so you’re gonna have to take my word on it) women artificially raise their voices around the time of puberty, limiting their vocal range and depriving themselves of full use of their from-the-gut voice. Ever known a woman who seemed to find it literally impossible to speak loudly enough to fill a room? It wasn’t a physical problem. Also, the thing that teens start doing where you are constantly sucking in your stomach? Not good for talking loud and singing in interesting ways.
And I remembered that, when I was little, I used to take a lot of crap when I was a kid about just how high-pitched my voice was. My kindergarten teacher actually complained to my parents about it at their parent-teacher conference. When I first recorded it and listened to it back, I was pretty horrified at how much higher-pitched it was on tape as compared to how I heard it in my head. Unsurprisingly, I always sang soprano in chorus.

When I was about 12 -- i.e., in that puberty phase Silvana mentioned -- my voice changed. It got deeper, not higher, something I blamed on a series of throat infections. It's still high -- just the other night at a reading, my friend Kristal said it's just high enough that, on a voice-over, it would be hilariously funny to hear cursing the way I curse because it makes the cursing unexpected -- but it's definitely lower than it was. When I slow down and speak about intellectual stuff for an audience, it gets deeper yet. When I answer work-related phone calls, it's similarly deep.

But when I get a little sloshed, it gets higher and more girly -- I once referred to it as my "Drunken Strawberry Shortcake voice." I also find when singing along to crap on the radio or at karaoke, if I want to hit high notes without shattering ear drums, I have to take the deep breaths more than when singing low notes. Apparently, I internalized the too-high-to-be-taken-seriously thing a little too much.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

On entitlement

So what is it, exactly, that makes people on the Internet (mostly dudes, but I have definitely seen it from women) think that a comment submission button means that have the RIGHT to comment as though it was guaranteed by the founding fathers and enshrined in the Bill of Rights as an inalienable thing? Like, hey, this is my space, my blog and my writing and there's nothing anywhere that says I have to be forced to hear or listen to your opinion. You can have it, you can say it, but I don't have to read it, I don't have to listen to it and I don't have to allow other people to read it. I don't expect if I comment on the Washington Post that Gene Weingarten is reading it and taking my critique or opinion about him to heart and, I would venture to guess, neither do most people.

And yet, when it comes to people who complain at Jezebel, or Feministe, or Tiger Beatdown or Shapely Prose (to think of sites where I've seen this entitlement spring up recently), it's like people feel that their rights are being violated when one of us refuses to allow them to rhetorically spew on our laps. Like, it's my lap, dude. I prefer it remain vomit-free. I wouldn't let you in my home, I wouldn't likely talk to you at a bar, I wouldn't get in a cab with you, why would I let your words touch me if I don't want? Hell, if you said that shit in my house, I would, in fact, escort you out, delete your number, not return your calls and generally act as though you don't exist, so I'm not sure why I'm supposed to have different standards on the Internet.

Fan letter time!

A letter from a "fan" in response to my piece about why the Steve Harvey telling African-American women to settle is as stupid as Lori Gottlieb telling anyone. Please note the egregious misuse of apostrophes, the inability to form contractions correctly, the run-on sentences, racism, misogyny, weird obsession with "natural" hair (but no acknowledgment that white women quite often die ours) and that this guy wants a white woman "TOO MARRY AND HAVE CHILDREN." I think, actually, no woman should settle for this crackpot, known as "Zzelbass," regardless of race. That is all. Enjoy.



SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY ARE ATTRACTIVE, AND MAKE A BETTER WIFE FOR THE LONG HAUL.SADLY BLACK WOMAN ARE SERIOUSLY OUT OF THE MARRIAGE GAME AND SERIOUS DATING. WHITE WOMAN TEND TO SEE FARTHER INTO THEIR FUTURE. FAR TOO MANY BLACK WOMAN HAVE SOLD OUT THEIR SOUL'S ,THEIR KID'S AND THEIR MEN. SIMPLY BECAUSE BLACK WOMAN WANT TO BE WHITE, I'VE NOTICED WHITE WOMAN MORE OFTEN AND THEY IN TURN NOTICED ME.THE BLACK WOMAN WOULD RATHER BE RIGHT THAN BE LOVED. SO MANY BLACK WOMAN WEAR SO MANY FAKE PRODUCT'S YOU NEVER QUITE KNOW WHO YOUR DATING. AFTER MANY YEAR'S IN THE BLACK WOMAN'S CORNER I REALIZE IN SOME FASHION OR FORM SHE MIGHT ONLY BE INTERESTED IN SOME SORT OF PROSTITUTION. selling kids to welfare, ripping dad's for child support, skimming her mom's resource's. text her girlfriend.all so childish and when you've matured and are grown,well you,ve made it to enjoy the adult thing's in life, not carry on childhood drama's..from the court's to the bedroom's to the street's..who need's it. look around you, count how many black woman are sporting their very own hair, possibly none, check your local waiting room, none..a black woman will leave her man and child over nail's and a weave..I am not one to argue and my personal preference is not for all, however if you like authentic hair, real conversation's about matter's that actually hold weight, real future prospect's of marriage and or a family then a black woman is'nt for you either. They are everywhere in the world and can be had on almost any street corner for a nickel or dime by any man of any culture..there is absolutely nothing special about an old stretched out tramp saying she need a real man..i wonder who in the H gave her those 5 kid's and sadly she state's none of the father's were men..i disagree, i think she was not a woman, just a aging opportunist.they are hard to surprise, they intentionally sabotage their own future's, and they feed utter nonsense to too many men's kid's about their biological pop..they'll spend 21 year's telling a kid pop's was'nt shyt simply cause they could'nt squeeze a weave out his wallet. many of their goal's are short, they live fast and suffer long and too many are suffering but strangely glow in the midst of drama for they can not function outside of chaos. I AM HUMBLE, so black woman i (small I) no longer have faith in, or confidence, or trust or concern. she has sytematically destroyed the very same people she created, she birth's son's and offer's them nothing, she' sell's her daughter's to the highest bidder,her kid's to agencie's and her loyalty reamain's with the devil. she is materialistic and yet has nothing, she want's a fendi when she does'nt have a closet, her belief's are not that of society, she can not function without disrupting some man's life. She believe's not in planned parent hood, all her babie's are accident's and she does'nt believe in prevention of any sort,not even vehicle maintenance. she is nasty, and has not had a physical or been to the gy in year's, she prefer's over the counter cream's as opposed to a real doctor visit, and she cannot by any degree appreciate her very own BLACK men that she has birthed. SHE IS A TRAITOR.,SINCE WE HAVE HER TO THANK FOR OUR LOST empire, our lost children, our lost opportunity;s,so many black men incarcerated over black woman..my eye's hurt, my voice is weak and I can no longer save her.so as she has done to him, she has done to herself utter destruction..Black men are the only men on earth who have no control whatsoever over their woman, only our so called woman is with every other man across the globe. since i cannot wake up her spirit or teach her the honorable way, or worship her like the queen she was meant to be.she's so uppity she does'nt even speak to the men in her community until she fall's..holly forbid if she has a gig, the bro will never hear the end. She like's being the man and all it pertain's..she will leave her man if she cannot control his every thought process, have'nt you noticed most woman find a man they can run over or younger or less experienced or less employed. She hate's men who have their own in such a way as she cannot destroy him. she should be avoided at all cost's, she is a danger to herself and her immediate family. However why bother, she believe's she's right about not holding her man down and having several babie's from 5 minute stay's, she wont be around long time like 401k, she can't envision more than a month ahead, she live's only to serve her immediate need's..she come's first even the kid's will go to the welfare or group home before she even remotely care's. rather than argue I saw something in them, it is THEY WHO BELIEVE THE WHITE WOMAN IS BEAUTIFUL..maybe too much barbie but who care's..im not arguing..TAKE A CLOSER LOOK THE WHITE WOMAN IS BEAUTIFUL AND I WANT ONE TOO MARRY AND HAVE CHILDREN..THANK'S BLACK WOMAN..YOU WERE RIGHT ABOUT SOMETHING-THEY ARE PRETTY. DONT GET UPSET WHEN U SEE ME WITH ONE, you pointed her out to me .

Monday, April 12, 2010

A response, cross-posted from the comments

First off, I guess I should point out (again) that I didn't disagree with the substance of Matin's article, nor her decision to self-identify as a womanist. Her problems with academic feminism and the feminist movement aren't particularly dissimilar from my own, in that I think race and class (and disability and gender-identification and lots of other things) are often (and used to be exclusively) side-discussions in favor of things that affected the day-to-day lives of the people with the money, time and space within the larger society to dedicate to discussing and being active on them. Her critiques of her experience with women's studies are similar to the things that drove me away from the program at my university. She identifies as a womanist; I identify as a feminist concerned with the kyriarchy. I don't believe that women can achieve equality without everyone in marginalized groups getting equality because too many women belong to marginalized groups that lack equality.

That said, my critique was very specific: she said that her problem with feminism was that it ignored the contributions and voices of women of color, and then seemingly ignored the contributions of voices of women of color. Latoya was totally right that those sites are externally identified more with Jessica, Jill, Amanda and Bitch herself than the women of color who write for it, and that their commentariat is often hyper-white and eager to separate race from discussions of gender (ahem). But, calling them "largely run by white women" is, to me, not accurate -- "largely identified with" or "largely read by" are extremely valid criticisms, as Latoya said, but to say that they are largely run by contributes to the (I think inaccurate perception) that their editors or leadership are exclusively white. Martin could have even said that they focus on issues of more interest to white women than not -- and it's a criticism this site made of Feministing a year and a half ago, to an angry comment thread, so I'd hardly be one to complain that it's not a interesting point.

To me, the problem with ignoring the contributions of women of color to mainstream sites is it contributes to the difficulty of those writers to get the attention, both from readers and the mainstream media, that they deserve.

Martin, on her blog, took offense that "Jezebel" didn't comment on a piece written by Chloe of Feministing for the Guardian about why she thinks womanists should integrate into the Feminist movement. I can only point out that I've worked here about 1-2 days a month for the last 4, hadn't read the piece, likely wouldn't have agreed with it if I had and might well have critiqued if I had been writing here when it ran. I am, however, more into these kinds of arguments than anyone except perhaps Latoya, and have no special insight other than that as to whether any of the other writers at Jezebel saw Chloe's piece or felt like getting into a discussion about it at the time.

Her larger critique, however, is that it wasn't my place to point out that there are women of color leading and writing in those spaces. It's not one I plan to argue with. It is a point of view -- one I obviously didn't agree with -- but one about which she feels very strongly for her own personal and intellectual reasons.

My point was, and is, that I think the way to get people to associate these blogs with women of color is not to accept and contribute to the perception that they are largely run by white women but to highlight the important contributions made by the women of color who write and help run those blogs, and to encourage them (and others) to hire, promote and highlight the contributions of many more -- and also to link to, engage with, read and promote the writers who choose to operate in different spaces, like Martin, that are dedicated to more specific points of view.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

You know who you are

Courtesy of my friend Erica, this pro-birth control video goes out to a friend.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The most disgusting thing on the Internet this weekend

From the comment thread on this Mother Jones article on circumcision:
The white emollient under the child's foreskin is called smegma. Smegma is probably the most misunderstood, most unjustifiably maligned substance in nature. Smegma is clean, not dirty, and is beneficial and necessary. It moisturizes the glans and keeps it smooth, soft, and supple. Its antibacterial and antiviral properties keep the penis clean and healthy. All mammals produce smegma. Thomas J. Ritter, MD, underscored its importance when he commented, "The animal kingdom would probably cease to exist without smegma."[27]
Yeah, that's a defense of smegma, aka dick cheese. It's clean, ladies! It's necessary!

[shudders]

Friday, April 2, 2010

It's a sad, sad world

When even the mannequins have fake boobs.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A weird long, week

So, I went to D.C. for my first Seder, learned the joys of matzoh, had a re-blogged post about Kate Gosselin atop the HuffPo's Entertainment section and this post about insurance company regulation hit near the top of Google News and generally worked my butt off like I don't know how to take a vacation. Maybe I don't.

But, if you're wondering what I've been up to:

Dancing With The Stars
Dancing With The Stars Recap: Week 2, Performance
Dancing with the Stars Recap: Week 2 Results
Why No One Can Hate Kate More Than She Hates Herself

Jezebel
KBR Says Jamie Leigh Jones Was Asking For It

The Gloss
Bitch, Please: Show You've Got Nothing But Love For Your Family

The Washington Independent
(This was actually my last week blogging for them, as they hired some great full-time people)
Unemployment Predictions Highlight the Need for Investment in Job Training
Adjustable Rate Mortgages Won’t Be a Big Problem This Year
This Month’s Economic Update: Inflation Up, Income Holds
Administration Sends Housing Assistance to Five More States
Geithner Offers Irrelevant Solution to Coming Commercial Real Estate Crisis
Judge Overturns Corporate Patent on Human DNA
Palin Left Alaska With Debts Equal to 70 Percent of Its GDP
Private Sector Lost 23,000 Jobs in March
10 Ways Insurance Companies Will Get Out of Reforming
Agency Admits Economic Stability and Consumer Protection Not Mutually Exclusive

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

You know you were waiting for it...

And, here it is: my very first Dancing With The Stars recap.

Who knew it would be Pamela Anderson that I thought was awesomely fun (I mean, I knew I'd love Niecy Nash, but Anderson surprised me).

As if I needed more reasons...

... to be unenthused about health care reform, the Washington Post's benefit calculator tells me that, come 2014, if I happen to be laid off again (if you're counting at home, that would be for the 7th time since graduate school, assuming I don't get laid off from something in-between) there won't be any COBRA anymore, since the health insurance exchanges will be ever-so-affordable. And, supposedly, "ever-tighter" regulations will lower costs on the individual market, which I'll believe when I see.

The last time I priced it out, it was $1,500 a month for individual market insurance, and my COBRA -- were I not eligible for the federal subsidy for the unemployed -- would be nearly $700 a month even as a group plan. Either one, tax breaks aside, would have to get much, much lower for me to afford it and, if it wasn't, I'd get to pay a fine anyway.

Plus, if I purchased it on an exchange, thanks to the abortion coverage "compromise" I'd have to pay extra if I wanted to be sure some bureaucrat didn't decide that my pregnancy wasn't enough of a risk to my life so as to be ineligible.

Monday, March 22, 2010

And yet more

Me in The Guardian on why Stupak is so terrible:
Bart Stupak is no healthcare hero

And, of course, my Washington Independent work:
Feinberg to Look Back at (But Not Claw Back) Bank Bonuses
More Than Half of Republicans Don’t Believe Banks Are to Blame for the Financial Crisis
Geithner’s New York Fed Took Trash Off Lehman’s Hands

Oh, and I'm not done yet for today. Tonight, my first Dancing with the Stars recap should be live around the time Jon Stewart tees up on Republicans.

This is what diversity looks like

I'm all over the place today, which should be interesting.

So far:

Jezebel: Pelosi's Victory On Health Care May Not Win Over Women
The Gloss: Bitch, Please: How To Handle An Eating Disorder
Dancing With The Stars: Power Rankings: Pre-Show Edition

Yeah, that's right. I'm blogging about DWTS. Later tonight comes the recap!

Killing Bill

The thing I like about the dénouement (other than the blood and gore) of Kill Bill 2 is that they get to have the conversation. They get to calmly discuss the end of their relationship, to come to some sort of understanding and say goodbye.

Well, and then she beats the shit out of him, because sometimes admitting to, and apologizing for, fucking it up doesn't negate the damage.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Why I don't talk about boys

In my advice column "Bitch Please" for The Gloss, I don't answer relationship questions. This is less to avoid a sense of creeping hypocrisy or irony, and for one very specific reason: there is no new relationship advice. If you are having relationship problems, you either have to talk to your partner and come to an understanding/resolution with the problem, or you have to leave. Period.

Now, talking isn't nagging, or berating, or fight-picking, but it's sitting down, expressing how you feel and why, and allowing him/her to do the same, and then deciding how to move forward, if you do.

So there's my advice for every relationship situation. If you have other questions, email me and I will likely answer them.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

I feel like the Energizer bunny

But here's a piece on how big David Paterson really blew it, that I wrote for The Guardian!

How David Paterson blew it

The weekend on the Jez...

I'm covering The Daily Beast's Women in the World conference, and writing about it. I'll update this entry as I post!

'Beast' Of Burden: Congo's Survivors "Must Understand They Have The Right To Live"

My economics professor would be proud

Back in the day, we talked about how the parastatal nature of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac leads to moral hazard... and yesterday, I talked about that on Russia Today!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Back on the women's issues beat

I'm back on the women's issues beat today, covering (for RH Reality Check) how West Virginians for Life is skirting lobbying laws in their effort to restrict women's rights -- probably out of sheer hubris, but that seems to be where a lot of the anti-abortion movement begins.


West Virginians For Life Skirts Lobbying Laws, But Courts Publicity

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Two soloists....

Now up on the music-blog side of things: an interview with Chairlift's Aaron Pfenning about his solo work. Like me, someone's a big sci fi geek!

You've heard of Chairlift, even if you don't know it yet. One of their songs got picked up for an iPod commercial.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Crazy days

How much can I write? Let me show you:

A piece in the Guardian: Where Michael Moore dared... (about Iraq, Bigelow and not playing it safe at the Oscars)

My new column at The Gloss, which just launched with the inimitable Lilit Marcus at the helm: Bitch, Please: Advice About Everyone But Boyfriends

Also, a day of guest-blogging at Jezebel: Frustration Makes Pro-Lifers More Anti-Abortion Than Ever, Macking On Men Is The Only Sexual Harassment Congress Won't Tolerate, Sarah Palin Loves Socialized Health Care (When She's Paying For It), Some Thoughts On Porn Addiction, Men & Misogyny

And my still-regular gig at the Washington Independent: Another Way Obama’s Stimulus Fails African-Americans, Treasury Provides Details of New Short Sale Incentive Program, The Recession Came for Single Moms, Too

Now, it's finally time for a nap.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Behind the blog curtain

An IM to my editor about the subject of my latest piece:
it's about how shitty the economy is, but that probs goes without saying
Have you been keeping up with my econoblogging at the Washington Independent? It's a cure for all the cute puppy videos. Even this one.

Different strokes

So, there's a report out that all but condemns the blogosphere for not talking about the Real Issues in America. In it, the Pew Research Center for Excellence in Journalism reports that the top 5 news issues in the blogosphere in the last week of February were: the call for a choke-proof hot dog; a Google case in Italy; Gordon Brown possibly being an abusive dick to his staff; monogamous frogs; and the use of music to help stroke victims recover brain functionality. Traditional media was all over the health care debate, the shitty economy, the Toyota recall, the Winter Olympics and Afghanistan.

The problem, as far as I'm concerned, with these studies and the implied conclusions is this: people who write and manage blogs know exactly what people are clicking on, and how long they remain reading a page. People who publish newspapers have no idea where the eyeballs reading the dead trees go, and people who put together news programs only know what Nielsen says their viewers are doing. Also, if people are more interested in hot dog regulation than health care, what does that say about health care?

Quite frankly, if we want online media to be more health care and less hot dogs, we'd better start reading more about health care than hot dogs. But, to be really honest, in this two-blogger household, we both clicked on various hot dog related stories that week, too, despite the fact that neither of us wrote about it (though my roommate Tumblr'd something about it). This morning, the first thing I read was about the dude suing CBS over his penis surgery. Yes, I will read almost anything with the word "penis" in the headline, it's practically Pavlovian. That's the problem -- people click on stuff as a response to stimulation, so bloggers write about things that will get clicks because clicks = advertising revenue. And, since in the blogosphere -- unlike in commercials or print ads -- advertisers know exactly what is driving traffic to them and exactly how many eyeballs were subjected to their ads, advertisers pay based on what people are reading. It's a feeedback loop: write about hot dogs, get more page views because people read more about hot dogs than health care, increase ad revenues, write more about hot dogs.

Now, I will return to my regularly scheduled day of writing about unemployment, how the banks are screwing us all, politics and other things that don't generate as many clicks as choke-proof hot dogs.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I love Bjork (sung to the old NY ad jingle)

I mean, this was just so awesome, it defies belief.

Anyway, if you're curious about things Oscars-related, I did a funny, somewhat snarky round-up of the Biggest Oscar Scandals Ever at Crushable, the new, revamped women's site helmed by Erin Carlson and Amanda Ernst!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Day In The Life

This week's email correspondence, from a fan of my work at Jezebel, referencing a fact-check I did of a July 2009 Daily Show appearance by Mike Huckabee. Mind you, my tenure on the Jezebel masthead ended in August 2009, when I moved to Air America.

On Sun, Feb 28, 2010 at 4:30 PM, Zachary Lindberg (zack.lindberg@gmail.com) wrote:
do get a life, loser
Of course, I don't check my old email address very often, so I didn't see it right away, but I responded as a way to let my old colleagues know about it.
On Mon, Mar 1, 2010 at 1:45 PM, Megan Carpentier wrote:

I'm not the one scrolling through year-old blog posts on a Sunday afternoon and writing to people on the Internet to insult them. Take your own advice.

He was then roundly mocked. Apparently, he felt he had to defend himself, at 1 am.

From: Zachary Lindberg
Date: Tue, Mar 2, 2010 at 12:47 AM

Its for a research paper, ma'am and I had the displeasure of coming across your real *piece of work.* Like I said before, do get a life.
If you're curious, Zack is a student at USC. I'm sure his professors consider him a credit, since he's using Daily Show clips and Jezebel posts for his research papers.

Monday, March 1, 2010

To that point

The lovely people at "To The Point" asked me on to talk about the Greek financial crisis, Goldman Sachs and financial market regulation as part of a panel of people, most of whom are way more qualified than I am. The show is syndicated, so you can check and see when it's on in your area here, or listen to it at some point later today or tomorrow here.

Music writing, with an Irish accent

In the latest installment of Megan-tries-her-hand-at-music-writing, I interviewed the Irish punk band Strait Laces, seen in a video made by their drummer Pando (who, if you click through to the story, appears in his underwear. Yes, I had my pick of photos, but obviously I chose the underwear shot.) They say funny things, I transcribe them, they'll play at least 9 times at SXSW.


Friday, February 26, 2010

If I hadn't already done one, it would be completely different now, too

My second-ever piece of music writing, an interview with Mexican punk/rock band Division Minuscula, is online. If it helps encourage you to read, below is their totally weird video.

If anyone who speaks Spanish wants to tell me what the song's about, I'd totally be into that, as it seems like it might be awesome.

One more for the snow

Just as the slush began to freeze last night and the snow began to be driven like little ice pellets into people's faces, I was getting on Russia Today live at their Midtown studio, which is how I know what time the slush began freezing and the snow began driving. You can see it, and my snow-and-wind-affected hair below!

More things I say

Although yesterday's Russia Today appearance isn't up quite yet, you can preview my wet-weather hair from Tuesday, when I appeared to talk about bonuses!

In the media now

Yesterday, the great folks at GritTV had me by to talk this week in media-- The Enquirer, Afghanistan and health care, to be specific. Check it out!


Thursday, February 25, 2010

In my copious free time

I'm still blogging about economics at the Washington Independent, where reading each piece of depressing news I publish will make you smarter (right up until the point that you become as depressed as a stock broker in the wake of the failure of Lehman Brothers).

I did a stint on GritTV this morning and I'll make another appearance on Russia Today this afternoon (and post the videos when they are available).

And, I published an article about what there is -- and more significantly, what there isn't -- in Obama's health care plan for women at the Women's Media Center.

Friday, February 19, 2010

And now for something completely different

So, as part of my brilliant plan to pay my rent, I've been trying my hand at other types of writing. My first successful experiment: this profile of DJ Boogie Blind, a super-nice Harlem-based DJ who will be performing at SXSW 2010.

Anyway, it went well enough that Spinner hired me for a second one which, if the submission-to-publication timeline holds true, should be up in a week. In the mean time, go Google DJ Boogie Blind so you can listen to him spin, he's pretty kick-ass.

Listen Live!

At 10:00 today, I'll be co-hosting "Wilshire & Washington" with the fabulous Maegan Carberry, where we'll be talking to former Editor & Publisher editor Greg Mitchell. You should be able to listen below (but, if not, click here).



The write-up by Maegan at the Huffington Post is here.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Click-bait

Today is one of the few days in my life that I agree with Harry Reid, and disagree with Ezra Klein. Read why in The Guardian:


Dems' filibuster days a distant memory

And, if you haven't been keeping up on why Russia Today keeps asking me to talk about economics on the air, check out my work at the Washington Independent...

Apparently, I'm popular in Russia

So, the fabulous people at Russian Today seemingly think I'm awesome -- and they've had be on three times this week. Today, it was about my Washington Independent article on how little the stimulus has affected the African-American community:



The day after Valentines, it was all about how Goldman Sachs sucks:

Here, I start at 5:45:



Here, I'm right up top:



Not to belittle their intelligence, but having never seen them until I looked up these clips, my hosts are kind of completely gorgeous.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

formspring.me

When I meet new people, I always tell the same few stories -- someplace I've traveled, some experience that turned out awesome. What are your best stories?

My best story is the one no one else has heard, that has the most relevance to the audience at hand.

I'm probably more self-deprecating, so if there are stories that I probably re-tell, they are ones in which I appear more clown-like than awesome.

Express yourself.

Monday, February 15, 2010

formspring.me

It's been a long time since I saw him. How is your beaver doing these days?

Snagglepuss, who identifies as female, is doing quite well. She's currently practicing a fan dance atop the bookshelf in my bedroom.

Express yourself.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

formspring.me

Have you ever taken an IQ test? What do you think about those, anyways?

My parents have indicated that I took one when I was about 4: I have a late birthday, and the school wanted them to keep me in daycare for another year. They apparently came to a compromise over an IQ test, which must've come back pretty positive because I started kindergarten before I turned 5.

My parents have never told me what I scored, if they even know. The one comment my mom made about it was that, in 1981, it was very classist: she mentioned one question was about your father wearing a tie to work, for instance. Well, my father owned his own business and has always hated ties, so I hadn't ever seen one on a close family member and didn't understand the basis of the question. But, these issues have always plagued standardized tests, including the SATs, and tend to account for (at least some, if not all) of the statistical differences between some groups of students to this day.

In general, I think all standardized tests are bullshit. They're a great measure of how well you take standardized tests and, to a lesser degree, the ability to express a certain minimal knowledge base within that format. As a student, I loved them because they were easy to ace because I am a good test-taker, but even then I knew they weren't an accurate result of my knowledge of a subject or intelligence. For instance, in a required survey course for the English major I originally went to college to get, the class was so large that the teacher gave us a standardized test on either The Iliad or The Odyssey (I forget) and, despite having read no more than a few pages of the ook, I got an A based on listening to class discussion alone. That's the moment that I realized most of my academic achievements, grade-wise, were based on a house of cards and I was either really going to have to buckle down in my studies or get way worse grades that I did in high school.

So, yeah, I think they're all bullshit.

Ask me anything

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010

formspring.me

If you were offered $100, and all you had to do was get your feet tickled for an hour, would you do it? How ticklish are your feet?

I'm going to take a wild guess that a lot of lady formspringers have gotten this "question."

I would not take money to allow a person to perform what was for them a sexual act regardless of whether I categorized that act as sexual in my own life. I prefer to share my sexuality with a partner who shares their sexuality with me unencumbered by commerce.

I would also not agree to share in a sexual act with someone who first offered me money for it, as they've already indicated that they view my sexuality as a commodity. It is not.

I also don't share in sexual acts with someone who expresses an interest in only one aspect of my physical body. I'm a whole person, and I expect and demand to be treated like one.

If you are looking for someone to engage in this with you, I strongly suggest seeking out like-minded people in forums designed to connect people with specific sexual preferences or needs rather than offering to pay strangers whose interest is minimal. If you specifically wish to pay someone to engage in this with you, I suggest finding a professional sex worker who is either experienced in this particular fetish or willing to accommodate your specific needs. Your current technique for finding partners is otherwise likely to result in more rejection.

Ask me anything

Another appearance, another hair critique

Stupid weather! Here I pull out all the stops and 10 years worth of knowledge to try to explain the interconnectedness of global financial markets and why Goldman Sachs is involved in the Greek debt crisis.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Writing, writing, writing (and a little talking)

It's been a little busy, but here's the score: I'm guest-blogging at the Washington Independent through the end of the month, writing about economics and fun stuff like that. My archive is here, so you can follow along. In the mean time, a list of what I've written:

China Threatens to Dump U.S. Treasury Bonds Over Taiwan Arms Sales
Is the Greco-European Financial Crisis Goldman’s Fault, Too?
Bernanke States the Obvious About Interest Rate Hikes, Wall Street Flinches
Swiss-Based UBS Sinks Its Claws Into Bankers’ Bonuses
Why Obama Doesn’t Begrudge Bankers Their Bonuses This Year
Hawaii’s 2007 Tax Cut Turned Into a 600 Percent Increase in 2010
How Wall Street Spun the Press on Campaign Donations to Dems
Citi to Keep Bilking Customers Despite New Regulations
Journal Lambasts Menendez for Trying to Save Bank, Buries Key Facts
Ex-Merrill CEO Thain Can’t Do Worse at Bankrupt CIT Group
How Goldman Bet Against Mortgages and Got Government to Foot the Bill
With Friends Like PIMCO, Treasury Hardly Needs Enemies

And, what else? A little thing for The Guardian on Michelle Obama's anti-obesity initiative:
Obesity: Michelle Obama's lost cause?

And, if that's not enough, I'll be on GritTV tomorrow at noon, too. UPDATE: Due to an explosion and fire, that didn't happen. When they get re-situated -- the windows and everything are all blown out -- we're going to try to reboot. Instead, I'll be on Russia Today at 7 pm ET to talk Goldman Sachs and Greek debt.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The best thing to happen yesterday

The Dixie Chicks retweeted me. Yes, those Dixie Chicks.


The link is to their "Not Ready To Make Nice" video, because I hear that song when crazy right-wing people attack me on the Internet a lot.




Anyway, some days, it's the little things.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

More fun things to do with unemployment!

Write, write, write -- and I've done a bunch of it. My latest:

Latte-sipping liberals – it's time to grind some beans (Comment is free)
Budget 2011: What Will Women Gain? (Women's Media Center)

And, boy do I need some coffee right now.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

formspring.me

Your take on Barack Obama's conference with the Republicans? I thought it was quite the smackdown.

It was great political television. But if the smackdown starts and ends there, it won't matter in 9 months.

Ask me anything

Monday, February 1, 2010

Budget Today, Russia Today

Here I am, talking Gitmo trials, "It's the economy, stupid" and the 2011 budget proposal.

I did my own hair this time, and you can totally tell. I wish I could pay the lovely MSNBC lady to follow me around and make me look polished.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The view from the other side of the economic crisis

This isn't the first time I've been unemployed, but it's the first time I've had to (or been able to) apply for unemployment. Props go to NY State for putting it all on the Internet, except for the need to fax my last paystub to Albany, which is just silly. Who still faxes?

It's also the first time that I've had a HD cable package with some ungodly number of channels and nothing to watch but, my goodness, daytime television is a vast wasteland. I would have thought that, with a 10 percent unemployment rate, there would be money to be made in making programming for people that don't normally stay home and watch "Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee," but apparently unemployed people don't have enough spending money to make it worth advertisers' time.

Anyway, I've been keeping busy, other than in just bemoaning the state of the American entertainment industry: last weekend, I guest-edited Jezebel with Moe Tkacik, and last night I live-blogged the State of the Union for the same (see the archives of both here). I've got a magazine piece I am writing, a bunch of pitches I need to send out and a stack of papers to go through. Since I often deal with stress by cleaning -- it's really one of the few times I go to town with regards to cleaning -- I have a feeling my apartment will look really nice in about a day. And I will probably even find room for all the stuff I cleaned out of my desk. The plushie flower from Target can, I'm sure, be worked into my decor.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

formspring.me

Do you have any tips for overcoming the sort of (mostly unintentional) boys-club atmosphere that can (in my experience) hamper young women just starting out in political or journalistic careers?

Doing your job well is always great revenge. The axiom about working twice as hard for half the credit usually applies. Lots of studies and anecdotal evidence points to the fact that women tend to be less self-promotional and self-aggrandizing than men, and it works against them, so work on being your own cheerleader. And then don't take shit work or shit talk from people if the dudes around you would or do stand up to it themselves.

Other than those work-arounds, work for social justice and gender equality, because that's the only real way to "overcome" it in the end.

Ask me anything

formspring.me

Can you & Moe do a postmortem on DoubleX this wknd? Obviously, terrible to have jobs evaporate, but I admit I was really off-put by the site. I think Moe once said XX should try to cultivate a Carolyn Hax voice, but hooo boy did they go in a diff directio

Well, I think it's a leetle early for a post-mortem, as Double X did technically just get folded back into the Slate family, and not shuttered. I'm not totally sure that anyone lost their jobs-- I know, for instance, that Jess Grose still has one.

But if I were to make an assessment of why it never went through the roof the way I do think it had the potential to, it would be as follows. The founders said that they wanted to make it something like Jezebel for an older (read also: smarter, more erudite) crowd. And, let's be frank: my writing and Moe's (to a lesser degree, I think) wasn't necessarily aimed at nor read in great numbers by the 18-25 set, especially in comparison to Tracie's video clips, or the fashion coverage or the gossip coverage. I wrote about politics, feminism, international women's issues, the violence visited upon women and, when I got tired of the horrors of the world, what it's like being a single woman over a certain age. Moe wrote a lot about economics and politics and, even though she wrote more retail pieces, wrote in a voice and a style that was, say, more literary than conversation -- and I doubt that the readers who bitched about not understanding were women in their 30s.

So, if I had been planning for the Double X launch, I would have said: if it's my goal to get a more erudite, feminist readership and write about serious and less serious women's issues, the readers I should be trying to poach from Jezebel are the ones who read Megan and Moe, who are frustrated by some of the more fluffy coverage, etc. It wouldn't have been the most awesome business decision ever -- I was rarely the most trafficked blogger on the site, even for the few months I was full time -- but between that, the Slate brand and maybe targeting the millions of older women who want to vom reading wowowow's site, I think they would've been in a good place.

Instead, their splashy launch was marred by a personal attack on Moe and I, inspiring a backlash by our readers, friends and writers-in-arms that managed to tarnish its reputation among the very readers they wanted to attract (let alone some of the writers they wanted to attract) -- even the ones who might have felt the frustration at Jezebel for which Double X was supposed to be the antidote. Worse yet, it's a little difficult to play More-Feminist-Than-Thou with a name that denotes cis-gender privilege.

I certainly understand the attraction to trying to knock Jezebel down a peg, and brand yourself as different, but the kind of different the Hirshmann piece branded them as wasn't helpful. And then to follow it up with a couple of pieces about how feminism is dead and the writer hates feminism probably made it worse. Lots of people, me included, never added it to our must-read list and I rarely looked at it even for story ideas, despite liking the work of several of the writers and having worked with Jess Grose. I'd guess that I'm not totally alone in that, and, on one level, that sucks. I think there was totally room for both publications in the blogosphere, and for the competition, and I think having a publication that claimed to be feminist fail isn't the best thing for feminism or feminist writers.

On the other hand, if the number of people who write about why I'm a "bad" rape victim for whatever reason in order to generate traffic and publicity slows because it's proven to hurt more than it helps, hey, you know, hard to complain too much.

Ask me anything

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

formspring.me

Dogs have become the new kids. And no one smart is really having many kids anymore. Why is this?

I have neither a dog nor kids.

Demographically speaking, increasing women's access to education, decreasing infant and childhood mortality rates, increasing access to birth control and increasing economic power and potential reduces the number of children women choose to have. In other words, decrease the procreative necessity to have enough children to guarantee their survival to adulthood, and increase women's ability to fulfill and define themselves outside of their biological potential, and women--regardless of background, ethnicity, religion or economic status--on the average choose to do so.

Ask me anything

formspring.me

Who has really led a good life? Can people with ordinary talent ever really live a truly great life?

What's a "good" life? And what's a "great" life? I don't define either of those by notoriety, or the number of people affected.

And, frankly, what's "ordinary talent"? A talent means you can do something out of the ordinary.

Anyway, I think anyone can lead a good life, or a great life, and I think a lot of that has to with how you choose to minimize the damage you cause others and maximize the benefit you bring to others' lives.

Ask me anything

formspring.me

What's your favorite cocktail? And more importantly, why?

I go through stages with this. Currently, if I'm in a fancy cocktail bar, I end up with an Old Cuban in hand because I love rum and champagne. In less fancy places or at home, I remain in a White Russian phase because I find dairy settles my stomach. If the bar can't do either, I have a rum and Diet Coke.

Ask me anything

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

More Britishisms

More stuff I've written for The Guardian, where my moronic commenters include a dude whose icon is a Confederate general and a bunch of truthers. Guess the Internet does make the world smaller.

Hope but no change
The new Know Nothings

Friday, January 15, 2010

formspring.me

How does one become a lobbyist? Or, how did you?

This is, to date, still one of the most popular questions I get to my old Anonymous Lobbyist e-mail address. Seriously, I wonder some times if the fact that I quit lobbying, burned bridges and wrote a column for two years about how much it sucked to be a lobbyist actually penetrated anyone who read them.

Again: lobbyists aren't all Abramoff, pulling in a few mil a year. Most people make office-type, middle management in a small company salaries when they finish moving through the ranks, if they do.

Anyway, I went to grad school full time, worked 2-3 internships a semester (i.e., 30-35 hours a week) at different places to get experience and realized when looking at my resume that most of the internships I was landing were in government affairs as opposed to the more serious think-tanking, national security stuff I was interested in, and then I adjusted by job search accordingly. Then I landed a job, got cut to part time, landed another, got laid off, landed a third where I was finally forced to register as a lobbyist, left for another that paid better, left for another than paid better, quit because that one sucked so bad, went to a think tank where I didn't lobby as much as did PR, got laid off and finally looked at my life and decided to do something else.

Most people put in time on the Hill at really low salaries for a few years in order to land a middle management gig; if they are lucky, worked for someone important for a long time and have a reputation, they'll get a bigger gig. Or else you start low, as I did, and move up. It's like any other job.

Ask me anything

formspring.me

Can people ever really be taught to write well? Or is it just something we have or don't, like being double-jointed?

I don't think that writing is about writing per se, but about how one is taught to think and express oneself. This, for me, was the great value of my hugely expensive (and paid for with student loans and scholarships) liberal arts degree and more professional Masters degree: it taught me how to think my way through things and express them well.

(Side note: the art of thinking through a problem is something I believe gets lost in our new testing-at-all-costs educational culture.)

There are also different types of writing: I consider myself a horrible poet, a decent persuasive writer, a hack reporter... So it depends a lot on the kind of writing a person wants to do, in my opinion.

That said, some people don't think clearly, even to themselves, and writing and communicating requires, for many people, linear thinking to be understood. "The Sound and the Fury" would be virtually impenetrable if Benjy narrated the entire thing, for instance. Some people aren't good at making a point, explaining a thought, making you see from their point of view, because they can't take the mish-mosh of thoughts that go on in all of our heads and translate it for a more general audience. I think that is teach-able, but maybe not to everyone.

Ask me anything

formspring.me

Is it true that women generally like to travel more than men? If so, why?

I don't believe in generalities. Most of the people I know like to travel, both men and women. I would say that people that enjoy traveling probably hang out with people who feel the same as they do, and vice versa.

If there was anything that I would say about travel that differs between genders it would be that, for reasons of personal safety learned from bad experiences, I prefer to travel either in the company of others or stay places that I feel secure in (i.e., not hostels) or with friends and find that many of my female friends feel the same way. I find some of my male friends more sanguine about that for obvious reasons. Other than that very learned difference, I'd say the differences in those that like to travel and those that don't aren't ones that break across gender, and that there are exceptions even to the difference I've noticed.

Ask me anything

Thursday, January 14, 2010

formspring.me

Which other feminist writers and philosophers published on the internet (news, blogs, etc.) do you enjoy reading the most? Which ones do you find inspire and inform your own writing process?

This is a hard one, actually. In no particular order, with a ton of people left out because this is just what I've read in the last two days or so. Latoya Peterson. Ann Friedman. Dana Goldstein. Amanda Hess. Katha Pollitt. Kate Harding. Amanda Marcotte. Lindsay Beyerstein. Pilgrim Soul and Sarah MC over at Pursuit of Harpyness. Pam Spaulding. Jill Filipovic. Katherine Joyce. Rebecca Traister. Clara Jeffrey. Katie Halper. Everyone else I left off.

"Writing process" seems like such a foolish way to talk about the job of blogging. I mean, my process is often something like "There's a good story! Must write it! Faster! Faster! Publish! Find something else! Write more!" And because I write for a more general news site now as opposed to a feminist one, some times those stories I have to write have a feminist angle, and some times they are just about news or politics. It's hard to call my process either informed or inspired, I guess. I just write like I talk, and I talk like I think.

I like women writers who can function in the vitriolic, hate-filled, misogynist world of writing for blogs and do so without fear. I like women who examine their own biases, who try to live what they write and believe, who write over and over again without resorting to cliches or bending to the rules of how women "ought" to behave or write. And I like women--because I count many of those women among my friends-- who can then, in private moments, talk honestly about the things we all struggle with, but without feeling that either of us is weak.

Ask me anything

formspring.me

Megan, FlyingChainSaw here. What was the name of the place in DC we went for the rather good caipirinha in Washington, DC. I forgot and I have to meet some people in DC and wanted to revisit the place for one meeting.

Indeed, it was Zengo. Fogo de Chao is supposed to have better ones...

Ask me anything

Monday, January 4, 2010

formspring.me

Do you ever miss writing at Jezebel?

On the one hand, yes. I loved working with Moe, Anna, Dodai, Sadie, Jenna, Maria, Anna N., Jess and Margaret; I loved writing about politics, sexuality and everything else for women from a woman's perspective; and I appreciated the mostly-supportive commenting community.

On the other hand, I must admit, I don't miss only working and only getting paid part-time, which is what happened post-election-2008. So, it's a bit of a trade-off.

But, I find that I miss writing when I spend too much time editing at Air America, and I miss having the time to think and write about women's issues in a more thorough way.

Ask me anything