Thursday Reads


Good Morning!!

Tomorrow is Halloween, but the real horror will probably come next Tuesday when Republicans are predicted to take control of the Senate.

What will happen after that? Will they actually accomplish something, or will they just keep blocking everything President Obama tries to do? Even more horrifying, we may not know the makeup of the Senate for sure until next year, because two close races–in Georgia and Louisiana–will likely end up in runoffs.

Steven Brill at Reuters: Why Election Day won’t hold the answer to who will control the Senate for the next two years.

I’m not only thinking about the possibility that two close races — in Louisiana and Georgia — could end up requiring runoffs. If candidates do not get more than 50 percent of the vote because fringe opponents siphon off votes from the pair running neck and neck, Louisiana’s runoff would be in December and Georgia’s not until Jan. 6, 2015.

The uncertainty that’s more intriguing is that even after those runoffs, if they happen, there might be three independent senators who could swing the majority to one party or the other.

One, Vermont’s Bernie Sanders, is a staunch liberal who will certainly cast his lot with the Democrats, as he has in the past. But Maine independent Angus King has not said for sure that he will continue to caucus with Democrats. And Kansas’s Greg Orman, an independent businessman who is locked in a tight race with incumbent Republican Pat Roberts, has steadfastly refused to say which party he would vote with.

Another longer-shot wild card is former Senator Larry Pressler of South Dakota. He is also running has an independent, but his rise in the polls has subsided recently.

One can only imagine what Orman and King will be promised by both sides if one or both become swing votes. Beyond that, there is a Democratic senator in a red state (John Tester in Montana) and even one or two moderate Republicans in a blue state and a swing state (Mark Kirk in Illinois and Susan Collins in Maine) who might be persuaded to flip.

But most of the so-called experts are predicting we’ll ultimately be stuck with a Republican-controlled Congress. Larry Sabato, Kyle Londik, and Geoffrey Skelley write at Politico: Bet on a GOP Senate.

While many races remain close, it’s just getting harder and harder to envision a plausible path for the Democrats to retain control of the Senate. Ultimately, with just a few days to go before the election, the safe bet would be on Republicans eventually taking control of the upper chamber.

Generally speaking, candidates who have leads of three points or more in polling averages are in solid shape to win, but in this election five states—Republican-held Georgia and Kansas, and Democratic-held Iowa, New Hampshire and North Carolina—feature a Senate race where both of the two major polling averages (RealClearPolitics and HuffPost Pollster) show the leading candidate with an edge of smaller than three points.

 What makes the Democrats’ situation so precarious is that Republicans have polling leads of more than three points in five other states, all of which are currently held by Democrats: Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, South Dakota, and West Virginia. Two others, Democratic-held Alaska and Colorado, show Republicans leading in both averages, but by more than three points in just one. (These averages are as of the afternoon of Oct. 29.)


Read it and weep folks. On the other hand, Tarini Parti, also at Politico, points out that this is “[t]he most wide-open Senate election in a decade.”

It’s the largest and most wide-open Senate battlefield in more than a decade: ten races, all neck-and-neck affairs headed into the final days of the campaign.

And it’s not only that there are more competitive races this time around; it’s how close they are that has made the 2014 midterms different from previous cycles. The 10 close contests this year are all separated by 5 points or less, according to RealClearPolitics polling averages as of Tuesday….

Republicans have an edge in more than half of the competitive races, based on RCP averages, and are favored to gain control of the Senate. But many races across the country remain too close — with more contests coming down to the wire than in recent election cycles.

Based on interviews with a dozen operatives on both sides of the state of play, some of these tight races do lean toward one party or the other. Republicans — who need a net gain of six seats to win control of the chamber — are perhaps most confident about their chances in Arkansas, largely dismiss any trouble in Kentucky and remain somewhat nervous about Kansas. After a brief moment of panic in South Dakota, the state, along with West Virginia and Montana, is back to being considered safe for the GOP, as Virginia, Oregon and Michigan are thought to be solid for the Democrats.

At the outset of the cycle, Democrats saw Colorado, Iowa and North Carolina as their firewall against a GOP takeover. Today, those races are neck and neck — and Republicans are even bullish about their chances in New Hampshire. There remains some uncertainty among Republicans about Alaska, despite Republican Dan Sullivan’s edge in polls, because of a superior Democratic ground game and the difficulty of polling the state.

It all adds up to an unusually jumbled puzzle less than a week before Election Day. In 2010, Republicans won just three of the eight tight races — despite their national wave. But in 2006, Democrats won all five of the closest races.

It’s really going to come down to turnout, and Democrats are traditionally better at that. So there’s always a chance. Let’s face it, Republicans have done very well at blocking Obama’s initiatives and appointments throughout his presidency. No matter what happens on Tuesday, we have to elect a Democrat to the White House in 2016.

Finally, Reid Wilson at The Washington Post writes that this “[e]lection could tip historic number of legislatures into Republican hands.”

Again, what will a Republican Senate accomplish? The consensus of the pundits seems to be that they’ll do very little. A few predictions:

John Dickerson at Slate: “Republican victories will prove the president is unpopular. They won’t give Republicans a mandate to govern.”

Danny Vinik at The New Republic: Republicans Have Big Plans for a GOP Senate. Here’s What Will Come of Them: Nothing.

Paul Waldman at the WaPo: Republicans will probably take the Senate. Here’s why it will be a nightmare for them.

Republican Zombies and Democratic Vampires

On a lighter note, I came across some Halloween-themed comparisons between Democrats and Republicans from a few years back. From a blog called Entertained Organizer, Movie Monsters and Political Parties: A Spotters Guide to America’s Psyche.

A good friend and colleague of mine recently sent me a link to the article “6 Mind-Blowing Ways Zombies and Vampires Explain America.”  Basically, the article looks at the bizarre fact that Zombie movies are more likely to be made under Republican Presidents and Vampire movies are more likely to be made under Democratic Presidents, and argues rather persuasively it’s that each monster represents the cultures fears of the Party in power.  Here’s a chart from the original article at

Chart zombies and vampires


The articles argument for why Zombies embody the country’s worst fears of Republicans is pretty simple.  They’re mindless killing machines (see President George W. Bush).  They have a rabid pack mentality leading them to consume (see anyone who seems to believe “The Free Market” and “God” are synonyms).  And they’re bent on destroying minorities (the living).  Now of course I have absolutely no idea where any of those ideas about Republicans came from, and am frankly shocked that anyone might think those things about our Conservative Opponents.’s argument for why Vampires pique conservatives fears of Democrats is even simpler.  Vampires are murderous immigrants from foreign sounding places like Transylvania (or Mexico).  Once they arrive, vampires start seducing everyone pretty much indiscriminately as symbols of carnal lust (you think they tried to impeach Clinton over an affair? Nope, Vampire).  And of course, more than anything, Vampires are leeches.  Sure Dracula is after your blood and Democrats are after your tax dollars but in the Howard Jarvis Republican Party, I’m pretty sure taxes are scarier than bleeding out.


The author then goes on to identify other parties by the movie monsters they represent: Green Party = Werewolves; The American Independent/Constitution Party = Pod People; Lyndon LaRouche Supporters = The Creature from the Black Lagoon; Libertarians = Mummies.

And did you know that horror writer HP Lovecraft had some choice words for the Republican zombies? From Before It’s News:

“As for the Republicans—–how can one regard seriously a frightened, greedy, nostalgic huddle of tradesmen and lucky idlers who shut their eyes to history and science, steel their emotions against decent human sympathy, cling to sordid and provincial ideals exalting sheer acquisitiveness and condoning artificial hardship for the non-materially-shrewd, dwell smugly and sentimentally in a distorted dream-cosmos of outmoded phrases and principles and attitudes based on the bygone agricultural-handicraft world, and revel in (consciously or unconsciously) mendacious assumptions (such as the notion that real liberty is synonymous with the single detail of unrestricted economic license or that a rational planning of resource-distribution would contravene some vague and mystical ‘American heritage’…) utterly contrary to fact and without the slightest foundation in human experience? Intellectually, the Republican idea deserves the tolerance and respect one gives to the dead.”

Street Harassment Follow-Up

A couple of days ago a video of a woman being harassed on the streets of New York City went viral. Dakinikat posted it in a comment on Tuesday, and JJ put it in her post yesterday. I found some interesting follow-up articles about the video that I want to share.

Here’s the video again:

At Slate, Hanna Rosin called attention to something I wondered about while I was watching the video. Where were the white men?

On Tuesday, Slate and everyone else posted a video of a woman who is harassed more than 100 times by men as she walks around New York City for ten hours. More specifically, it’s a video of a young white woman who is harassed by mostly black and Latino men as she walks around  New York City for ten hours. The one dude who turns around and says, “Nice,” is white, but the guys who do the most egregious things—like the one who harangues her, “Somebody’s acknowledging you for being beautiful! You should say thank you more,” or the one who follows her down the street too closely for five whole minutes—are not.

This doesn’t mean that the video doesn’t still effectively make its point, that a woman can’t walk down the street lost in her own thoughts, that men feel totally free to demand her attention and get annoyed when she doesn’t respond, that women can’t be at ease in a public space in the same way men can. But the video also unintentionally makes another point, that harassers are mostly black and Latino, and hanging out on the streets in midday in clothes that suggest they are not on their lunch break. As Roxane Gay tweeted, “The racial politics of the video are fucked up. Like, she didn’t walk through any white neighborhoods?”

Here’s the supposed explanation:

The video is a collaboration between Hollaback!, an anti-street harassment organization, and the marketing agency Rob Bliss Creative. At the end they claim the woman experienced 100 plus incidents of harassment “involving people of all backgrounds.” Since that obviously doesn’t show up in the video, Bliss addressed it in a post. He wrote, “we got a fair amount of white guys, but for whatever reason, a lot of what they said was in passing, or off camera” or was ruined by a siren or other noise. The final product, he writes, “is not a perfect representation of everything that happened.” That may be true but if you find yourself editing out all the catcalling white guys, maybe you should try another take.

But Rosin notes that Bliss has had similar issues in the past.

This is not the first time Bliss has been called out for race blindness. In a video to promote Grand Rapids, Michigan, he was criticized for making a city that’s a third minority and a quarter poor look like it was filled with people who have “been reincarnated from those peppy family-style 1970s musical acts from Disney World or Knott’s Berry Farm,” as a local blogger wrote.

Activism is never perfectly executed. We can just conclude that they caught a small slice of catcallers and lots of other men do it too. But if the point of this video is to teach men about the day-to-day reality of women, then this video doesn’t hit its target.

Jessical Williams

Rosin recommends a video from Jessica Williams of The Daily Show. I watched it, and it’s terrific–plus it’s funny. Check it out.

On a more serious note, CNN reports that the woman in the viral video has been getting rape and death threats.

What started as an expose of the harassment women face in public has turned into fodder for death- and rape threats against the woman in the viral video….

“My nonverbal cues were saying, ‘Don’t talk to me.’ No eye contact. No friendly demeanor,” she said. “But they were ignoring my nonverbal cues.”

Roberts said the video is an accurate depiction of what she faces daily. For instance, there was a time when her grandfather died “and someone told me that they liked the way I looked.”

“It is all day long. It is every day,” she said. “That’s a typical day… It doesn’t matter what you wear.”

The 10 hours of footage was edited down to a 1:56 public service announcement for the anti-street harassment group Hollaback! It was shot by filmmaker Rob Bliss, who was wearing a hidden camera in his backpack.

“I have multiple experiences of sexual assault, which is why I wanted to be involved in this project,” Roberts said in a separate interview with HLN.

Also at CNN, Todd Leopold sort of misses the point, and wonders how men should approach women on the street. He quotes a 2010 piece by a woman named Katie Baker:

“There’s a huge difference between harassing a woman and trying to start a conversation,” she wrote. “Here are some tips: talk to her, not at her. Treat her with respect: be aware of her personal space, ask her how she’s doing or what she’s reading instead of commenting on her body parts, look at her face instead of her chest. If she ignores you, drops eye contact, or walks away, back off.

“It wasn’t rude of you to approach her, but she’s not being rude if she doesn’t want to keep talking to you, especially if you initiated conversation while she was running an errand, waiting for the bus, or on her computer at a coffee shop.”

But why do men feel they need to approach strange women at all? What if women did that to men?

Leopold also calls attention to a different kind of street harassment.

On the Reddit thread, which has drawn more than 6,500 comments, one man observed that lack of respect knows no gender.

“As a fat guy who once walked around NYC for a day sightseeing I got so many comments,” he wrote. “‘Lose weight, ass***e!’ ‘Hey fatty want me to buy you a hot dog?’ ‘Hey kill yourself you fat f***’ I would have been happy with just a ‘good morning.’ “

 Personally, as I love to say “hello” to strangers out in public. I’m a Midwesterner by birth, and that’s just how we are–friendly and open. Usually they seem to like it, but if people ignore me, I don’t take offense.

So . . . what stories are you following today? Please share your links in the comment thread, and have a nice Thursday and a great Halloween!

66 Comments on “Thursday Reads”

  1. Pat Johnson says:

    I really don’t get it. After 6 years of the obstruction foisted on the public by the GOP and the emergence of the Tea Party nutcases, to think that the American voter is about to turn the entire congress into the GOP column is astounding!

    Are we really that obtuse as a nation? Do we honestly not give a rat’s ass about where this nation is heading under GOP rule? Have we lost all sense of proportion when voting rights, women’s health, and corporate takeover means nothing?

    Is the loathing for Obama that strong that the nation as a whole is willing to place their future into the hands of ignorant, religious nutcases sworn to uphold the interests of the Koch Brothers? I can’t begin to describe my frustration at this proposed outcome.

    Another example is that the ignorant, racist governor of Maine is leading in the polls. Unimaginable! Whatever happened to common sense leading the way for the common good?

    No wonder I suffer from insomnia. Just thinking about the trajectory this race may have on the future of this country is too dire to contemplate.

  2. Holy Shit! I mentioned and posted that video yesterday too BB and now to see that woman is getting death threats? Damn. But you know I was wondering where the white men were at too.

    Hey I voted today, but wouldn’t you know Banjoville is in the news again:

    The chair of a county Republican Party in Georgia was recently arrested after he was allegedly broadcast on Skype sexually assaulting and attempting to rape a woman.

    On Wednesday, the North Georgia News reported that Union County Republican Party Chairman Billy Joe Turnage, 76, was facing charges of sexual battery and criminal attempt to commit rape.

    Union County Sheriff Investigator Staff Sgt. Darren Osborn told the paper that 911 dispatchers received a report of an ongoing “assault and rape” of a 39-year-old female at Turnage’s residence last week.

    “Oct. 22, dispatch received a 911 call at approximately 4 p.m. of what was believed to be an assault and rape,” Sgt. Osborn said. “It was being viewed via Skype. Deputies responded and I responded as well.”

    and here:

    Georgia County GOP Chairman Arrested for Sexual Battery and Attempted Rape | Alternet

    The Georgia GOP is having a hard time winning over women. Its Senate candidate, David Perdue, downplayed a pay discrimination lawsuit by saying “it was less than 2,000 women” (who faced discrimination).

    This past Friday Billy Joe Turnage, the chairman of the Union County Republican Party, was arrested for aggravated sexual battery and an attempt to commit rape. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Jim Galloway writes that, “A picture of Turnage and David Perdue, the GOP candidate for U.S. Senate, is on the Union County GOP Facebook page. It’s not likely to be there long.” We screengrabbed the photo.

    Hey, the local paper (North Georgia News) did not mention the Billy Joe was head of GOP…they left that key point out of the story. Word on the local Topix gossip site is Turnage’s son and other members of the GOP party are also involved.

    .topix. com/forum/city/blairsville-ga/T91QB4GCE621SK6LF

    You can get that link and fix it if you want to see the shit these people are saying.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Sorry, JJ. I forgot you posted the video yesterday. I’m adding that to the post. Did you watch the one by Jessica Williams? I loved it!

  3. bostonboomer says:

    More Ebola panic not based on science:

    Louisiana to Top Ebola Reseachers: Stay Away.

    The state sent a letter to members of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, which is holding its annual conference in New Orleans next week. If they’ve recently been to any of the West African countries where the virus has infected more than 13,000 people, they shouldn’t attend the meeting.

    “We do hope that you will consider a future visit to New Orleans, when we can welcome you appropriately,” said Kathy Klieber, Louisiana’s Secretary of Health & Hospitals and Kevin Davis, director of the Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness, in the Oct. 28 letter.

    The letter disinvites any registrants who’ve cared for people with Ebola in the last three weeks. “In Louisiana, we love to welcome visitors, but we must balance that hospitality with the protection of Louisiana residents and other visitors,” the state officials said.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    Ebola Nurse Kaci Hickox Can Swap Quarantine for Blood Test, Gov Tells ABC News

    Maine’s governor indicated today that he would abandon his demand that nurse Kaci Hickox remain under quarantine after treating Ebola patients if she would agree to take a blood test for the lethal virus.

    Gov. Paul LePage made his comment to ABC News today as Hickox defiantly challenged demands that she remain quarantined by leaving her home this morning for a bike ride with her boyfriend.

    LePage indicated to ABC News that he was willing to abandon his demands that the nurse remain quarantined if she would take a blood test for Ebola….

    “This could be resolved today,” the governor said. “She has been exposed and she’s not cooperative, so force her to take a test. It’s so simple.”

    Does LePage know that Hickox has taken two blood tests for Ebola and they’ve come back negative? A test would only be positive if she were showing symptoms, but she isn’t. And when was Hickox “exposed” to Ebola? Presumably she wore protective garments if she interacted with patients with active infections.

    All this because Hickox had the gall to go out for a bike ride. This Ebola panic is embarrassing. Americans must look idiots to the rest of the world.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    Breaking . . .

    Plane Crashes Into Wichita Airport Building

  6. bostonboomer says:

    Boston’s long-time Mayor Tom Menino has died.

  7. janicen says:

    Thanks for posting the video of the woman walking through NYC. I’ve been hearing about it but hadn’t seen it. I think the points about the race of the men who are talking to and at the victim are meant to distract from the point of video. Nothing jumped out at me about the race of the harassers. What jumped out at me was how unsettling and downright terrifying it would be to experience that on a daily basis. Who gives a damn about the race of the men? Let’s not change the subject. Just as described, the woman did not dress provocatively nor did she give any indication at all to encourage the attention she got. That’s the point.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I did notice there weren’t any white men in the video. The problem that Hanna Rosin pointed out is that white men could watch that video and dissociate themselves from the behavior.

      I seriously doubt that Hanna Rosin, a feminist writer, “meant to distract” from the video’s point. She argued that the video allows white men to assume they aren’t also targets of the video.

      Most women have experienced this kind of harassment on the street and at work. It can get terribly stressful and dispiriting. When I was in my early 20s, I worked in a place where I was the only woman on the job at night. The constant harassment got so exhausting and depressing that I finally had to quit the job.

      • janicen says:

        I just watched it again and I’m seeing white men or at least what I think are white men in the video. I can’t tell their ethnicity because all I hear are NY accents. They might be part Hispanic or part Italian, I just can’t tell. In other parts you hear a voice but can’t tell who is saying the comment. That’s my point. The race of the harassers is not the story here. I also can’t tell the ethnicity of the guy whose face is pixilated.

        • bostonboomer says:

          No, it’s not the story per se, but the fact that the filmmaker admitted to editing out most white harassers is a story too. According to him only one white guy made the cut and it was very quick. The ones who look white are Hispanic men.

          Why not have her walk down Wall Street for a little contrast?

    • Sweet Sue says:

      Thank you for that, Janicen. It is a distraction and, yet, another way to say “but what about the menz?”

      • bostonboomer says:

        So there’s no need for rich Wall Street and corporate harassers to be called out then?

        • Sweet Sue says:

          Maybe, not in this video.

          • bostonboomer says:

            You do understand that there were many white harassers during the time this woman walked around NYC? They were all edited out of the video. I guess I just don’t understand your reasoning on why white men should have been dropped from the footage that was published.

            I thought both the viral video and the one from The Daily Show were excellent, and I fail to see the need to edit either white men or men of color from any video about street harassment. That just doesn’t make sense to me.

        • janicen says:

          It might be that they need to make another video in a more wealthy section of town if the point is to play equal opportunity “Gotcha”. It’s an unpleasant fact that poorer sections of cities have more minorities and unemployment is higher among minority populations therefore there might be more minorities hanging around in neighborhoods. It does become a distraction when a victimized woman has to cover all bases in order for her point to be validated. Men harass women. The fact that this small video clip makes that point but fails to accurately represent racial and ethnic percentages was more likely a result of there not being enough time to capture the right percentages and should not diminish the woman’s victimization. I certainly never said that rich Wall Street and corporate harassers should not be called out but parsing a woman’s complaints about being abused tends to put her on the defensive and less likely to call out anyone in the future. It’s happened to me many many times, I’m all too well familiar with the technique.

          • bostonboomer says:

            Well, I did post a link to another video that I thought was outstanding. I hope someone else watches it too. Here’s the link again, in case anyone missed it.


            There have been other videos like this in NYC that did show white men. I’ll see if I can find one of them.

            The article I posted had to do with the filmmaker, not Shoshanna Roberts. She didn’t edit the footage, as far as I know.

          • Sweet Sue says:

            I don’t know, maybe white guys don’t harass women on the street as much as they used to do.
            When I was young and living in NYC, macho Latino men were notorious-notorious for cat calling-including those disgusting “puss, puss” sounds- and getting way too close.
            Plus this: I also think the focus on the men’s race is a tangent from the real problem of what women have to live with Tip of my hat to NW Luna.

        • janicen says:

          Sorry. I didn’t watch your link because I had seen the show. It was a great piece. But I’m glad you encouraged me to watch it again because I did. It was absolutely edited so we have no idea what was edited out.That doesn’t dilute the message. As well, I didn’t notice any “Wall Street douches” actually harassing. The piece flashed a clip of them, pixilated, but you couldn’t hear what if anything they said. I’m not about to criticize the Jessica Williams piece just because one of the very few actually harassing comments you can hear starts with “hola”. I’m sure she gets harassed by men of every race color and ethnicity. Frankly I think the “10 Hours” piece was far more powerful because the men could not see that it was being filmed and the woman walking was very deliberately not drawing any attention to herself. The Jessica Williams piece was making a serious point but I think the fact that it was presented as a comedy piece diluted the message. I imagine that several of the men in the audience who were laughing at the piece didn’t recognize how terrifying it can be for a woman to be harassed by strangers on a daily basis. Whichever piece one prefers, I’m glad attention is being called to this problem.

          • NW Luna says:

            “we got a fair amount of white guys, but for whatever reason, a lot of what they said was in passing, or off camera” or was ruined by a siren or other noise.”

            The white guys were slower?

            I don’t care what color they are when they harass — it’s all harassment. And certainly I’ve got it from plenty of white men too. Seems to be in proportion to the proportion in the male population at large in the area.

            I also think the focus on the men’s race is a tangent from the real problem of what women have to live with.

      • janicen says:

        This is the only link I can find where I can respond directly to you, Sweet Sue but thank you for your response. I love the reference to “Jezebel Generation”. You’re exactly right. Women must curtsey first, then ask for some consideration. That just pisses me off.

  8. bostonboomer says:

    Nato jets intercept Russian warplanes following ‘unusual level of air activity’

    • janicen says:

      What’s that all about? Putin seems to want some attention. It’s very strange.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I’m not sure. I just thought it sounded important, especially after that Russian plane buzzed the White House recently.

  9. bostonboomer says:

    What the Viral Street Harassment Video Doesn’t Show

    What strikes me is what people are not saying about this video….

    they’re not talking about how very limited this video is. How the cat calling and leering and stalking never reached the levels of invasiveness or aggression that street harassment often achieves.

    Let’s talk for a minute about what it’s like to be a female passenger on a commuter train, to have strange men run their genitals on you or leer at you as they put their hands into their pants.

    Let’s talk for a minute about the men who don’t stop at standing centimeters away, whispering into your ear. Let’s talk about the men who grab, grope or lick women who wander into their paths in a public space.

    But even more, let’s talk about the other side of this kind of street harassment. The side of harassment experienced by older women, heavier women, women who don’t conform to our society’s ideals of beauty. Let’s talk about being leered at by men who follow up being ignored, not with a, “You should be more grateful,” but with a, “Stupid b*tch!”

    There’s more, for anyone who is interested. I think this is a vitally important conversation for our society to have. Jessica Wilson’s video addresses some of these issues and includes some women discussing their experiences.

    I’m just trying to take the discussion further than the latest viral video. This is not just a matter of rudeness. It’s part of the rape culture and the general acceptance of violence against women.

    • janicen says:

      I had an old man who was riding one of those scooter-shopping carts ride behind me and rub his arm against my ass while I was picking out some produce the other day. When I looked up he grinned back at me. What was I supposed to do? Make a scene and start yelling at a disabled man? It happens everywhere, all the time and we are sometimes powerless to do anything about it. That’s one of the reasons why I don’t like it when a revealing and informative piece like the “10 Hours” piece is picked apart. The discussion has to start somewhere.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I didn’t know I was picking it apart. I thought I was discussing it.

        I had terrible experiences with harassment when I was a young woman–some of them still bother me a lot; why should I have to carry that around for all these years?

        I’ve had men rub up against me on the subway and once a furniture salesman grabbed my breast. Once when I was a young woman, a man on the subway stared at me in way that was truly threatening. He was across from me, and I didn’t know what to do. There’s no way to escape when you’re on a moving train. The man sitting next to me even commented on it. I’ve been groped on buses and in crowds. I could go on, but I think every woman has been through this. I have all the sympathy in the world for any woman who experiences harassment in public.

        I wish I hadn’t written about it now, because I’m feeling really put down.

        • janicen says:

          I’m really sorry. My issue was with the person who wrote the original piece complaining about the ethnicities included in the video, not with you bb. I was wondering why the discussion seemed to be going sideways. My reaction is to the people who pounce on the victims forcing the victims to defend themselves, certainly not to you for calling it to our attention.

          • Sweet Sue says:

            That piece was so Jezebel Generation.
            You may be a woman and a feminist (that’s your life cause) but eradicating sexism should always be last on your to do list.
            First, you must secure the rights of gays, people of color (well, the men) and transsexuals.
            Oh, and cure cancer and eradicate world hunger.
            Then, and only then, can you speak up for women and girls.

          • bostonboomer says:

            Women of color get harassed too. And based on my twitter feed, they feel left out of the conversation because of the way the video was edited. Even the Boston chapter of Hollaback agreed it was a problem.


            And I’m definitely not in the “Jezabel generation.”

            “You know what? I’ve changed my mind. I’m not backing down on this. I won’t be put in my place any longer. I thought I wrote a good post this morning. It’s hard work to do this day after day–sharing my inner thoughts and accepting it when they are dismissed with the wave of a hand. I have no problem with people disagreeing with me, but when they won’t even engage with me, I get bothered.

            Thank you Janice for noticing my feelings were hurt. I’ll get over it. I always do.

          • BB, btw I thought your post from Tuesday was awesome, the comparison thing you did…xoxo

        • janicen says:

          I’m really very sorry that you were groped and victimized. I know how horrible it can be.

          • NW Luna says:

            I need to do banishing rituals to get those ugly memories out of my head. I won’t let them still have power over me.

          • bostonboomer says:


            Thanks. I’m sorry for what happened to you too. What I’ve experienced is probably about average or less. I’m very tall–5’11”, so I’m a little more intimidating than shorter women. I need to do some of those banishing rituals that Luna uses.

            I really appreciate your taking the time to share your point of view on the street harassment video. As always, I respect your opinions. As I’ve said repeatedly, I agree that the video is powerful and important.

        • NW Luna says:

          It is horrible, and what’s even more so is that many men think it’s no big deal.

          Once nice thing about getting older is that less of this happens. Although then you do just get different expressions of misogyny.

        • I agree with you BB…all that stuff about safety on public transport made me think of the stories of women in Egypt and the groping they deal with on a regular bases. However…

          This reminds me of something:

          When my Nano was at the ER one time, this was about a year before he died, the nurse who was taking his vitals was bending over to get the blood pressure and he started to rub her ass…she was about 55 years old and looked like she was used to that kind of stuff. It was something to see, he was smiling at her…rubbing her ass like he was a rubbing a Buddha belly for luck. All the while she was asking him the usual ER triage questions… He was so completely gone with the Alzheimer’s, you know he had no idea he what the hell was going on. Only that there was a woman in front of him, and she had an ass that needed rubbing.

          • bostonboomer says:

            That happens a lot with old men who have cognitive impairments. But do old women do that? I’ve never heard of it happening.

      • NW Luna says:

        I had something like that happen to me in a grocery store. I instinctively reacted without thinking — swung around and slapped the jerk hard. He’d come up behind me and I had no idea what he looked like. He backed off and apologized and headed out the door.

        I’ve trained in self-defense and karate in a women’s school, and at first it was hard to break the conditioning — women are supposed to be nice, even when we’re threatened and assaulted. But we need to turn fear into anger, and not put up with it.

        I suppose if I’d seen the man was in a scooter I might have moderated my force at the last moment. But I probably would have yelled at him. Easy for me to say — I wasn’t there in your situation. Yet just because he has an ambulatory deficit doesn’t make it OK for him to harass you. Men who are harassers count on women not making a scene. I think they need to be confronted.

        • janicen says:

          Yes they do. I wish I had studied a martial art before arthritis settled in. I have taken a one day self defense course but that’s not really enough. I’m glad that my daughter has studied martial arts for several years and continues to do so. She too is very quick to react. I’ve noticed myself because I tease her that she should brush her hair more often and she’ll just respond that her hair looks the way she wants it to look and I will jokingly grab a brush and approach her, offering to brush it for her like I did when she was younger and I have to say, I can’t get anywhere near her with that brush, lol. She has really learned some quick techniques for defending herself and I could not be happier about that. 🙂

  10. bostonboomer says:

    That plane crash in Wichita was really bad.

    Four dead, 5 hurt, 5 missing after plane hits Flight Safety building at Wichita, Kansas airport

  11. NW Luna says:

    Galway Kinnell, Pulitzer-winning poet, dead at 87
    Galway Kinnell, who was recognized with both a Pulitzer Prize and an American Book Award for a body of poetry that pushed deep into the heart of human experience in the decades after World War II, died Tuesday at home in Sheffield, Vt. He was 87.

  12. NW Luna says:

    Apple CEO Tim Cook says he’s proud to be gay.

    The public declaration, in an essay written for Bloomberg Businessweek, makes Cook the highest-profile business CEO to come out as gay.

    Cook said that while he never denied his sexuality, he never publicly acknowledged it, either. The executive said that for years he’s been open with many people about his sexual orientation and that plenty of his Apple colleagues know he is gay.

    Cook wrote in the column, published Thursday, that it wasn’t an easy choice to publicly disclose that he is gay, but that he felt the acknowledgement could help others.

    “I’ve come to realize that my desire for personal privacy has been holding me back from doing something more important,” he wrote.

    Three days ago, Cook challenged his home state of Alabama to better ensure the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

  13. bostonboomer says:

    Bill Maher has been invited to serve as keynote speaker at UC Berkeley at their December commencement. For anyone who still like this horrible man, check this out.


    Maher likened the sexual assault of reporter Lara Logan to dating and suggested that she ought to have expected it from Arabs: “Talk to women who’ve ever dated an Arab man. The results are not good. They have a sense of entitlement.”

    Maher again waxed misogynistic in 2014 when he Tweeted: “Dealing with Hamas is like dealing with a crazy woman who’s trying to kill u – u can only hold her wrists so long before you have to slap her.”

    But it’s not just slapping. When NFL star Shawn Merriman was accused of choking model and television personality Tila Tequila, Maher had this to say: “New rule: stop acting surprised someone choked Tila Tequila! The surprise is that someone hasn’t choked this bitch sooner.”

    And it’s not just physical abuse against women that Maher is mouthy about. He offers an array of sordid words and phrases to describe them, like bitch, cunt, and “dumb twat.”

    In an interview with Larry King, Maher said: “I’m for racial profiling… I talk about it.” When King asked if Maher would stop a black man driving a Porsche in Beverly Hills, Maher backtracked: “Not a black — no, no, no, no — not a black man. I’m talking with a terrorist situation.” He then proceeded to talk about profiling Arabs and Muslims.

    He’s said that Arabs only understand force.

    Apparently, “real” black men only understand force, too, according to a comment he made about President Obama and the BP oil spill: “I thought when we elected a black president, we were going to get a black president. You know, this [BP oil spill] is where I want a real black president. I want him in a meeting with the BP CEOs, you know, where he lifts up his shirt so you can see the gun in his pants. That’s — ‘We’ve got a motherfu**ing problem here?’ Shoot somebody in the foot.”

    Maher has expressed alarm that Muhammad is the most popular baby name in the United Kingdom because he doesn’t want “the Western world to be taken over by Islam.”

  14. bostonboomer says:

    The Intercept gives the background on why Matt Taibbi left First Look Media. The entire Omigyar-Greenwald venture is shameful and a blot on journalism.

    Omidyar was supposedly going to be a hands-off publisher and allow writers complete freedom. Not so much, it turns out.

  15. bostonboomer says:

    Ginsburg Was Right: Texas’ Extreme Voter ID Law Is Stopping People From Voting

    A disabled woman in Travis County was turned away from voting because she couldn’t afford to pay her parking tickets. An IHOP dishwasher from Mercedes can’t afford the cost of getting a new birth certificate, which he would need to obtain the special photo ID card required for voting. A student at a historically black college in Marshall, who registered some of her fellow students to vote, won’t be able to cast a ballot herself because her driver’s license isn’t from Texas and the state wouldn’t accept her student identification card.

    There are plenty of stories like this coming out of Texas in the early voting period leading up to Election Day. Texas’ tough voter ID law, signed by Gov. Rick Perry in 2011, requires voters to show one of seven types of photo identification. Concealed handgun licenses are allowed, but college student IDs are not, nor are driver’s licenses that have been expired for more than sixty days.

  16. Sweet Sue says:

    BB, disagreeing with you is not putting you down.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I have no problem with anyone disagreeing with me. I just wish you would engage with my points instead of just dismissing me as if I’m completely irrelevant.

  17. Fannie says:

    Some years ago this rape led me to several schools to help girls be more assertive, and help them understand what to do if they are faced with sexual harassment, or assault. First was acknowledging how scared they would be, how we all really have a fear of the attacker. Often times we don’t take this seriously, and that has got to stop, because yes it can happen to you. Or if they see some other women, that they should make it their business to help stop the harassment. Some of them did not even have the voice power needed to say stop, they need to learn to yell out, I’ve called the police, and they are on the way. We all have a role to stop it. Women and girls need weapons, or other items to defend themselves. I’ve been sexually violated, and we need to help to teach them to be brave, to scream for help, and realize that sometimes even that might not work.

  18. bostonboomer says:

    Grand jury assembling in civil-rights case involving George Zimmerman

    ORLANDO, Fla. — A federal grand jury will meet in downtown Orlando on Wednesday to hear testimony about whether Trayvon Martin’s civil rights were violated when Neighborhood Watch volunteer George Zimmerman shot him in the chest, according to court paperwork.

    A U.S. Department of Justice attorney from Washington, D.C., Mark Blumberg, has issued at least one subpoena for Wednesday in the case.

    Blumberg would not comment on the grand jury session, but the federal panel is to meet at 9 a.m. at the federal courts building in downtown Orlando to hear evidence in the case.

    It’s not clear how many witnesses have been ordered to appear, but at least one, Frank Taaffe, Zimmerman’s former friend and longtime defender, has been.

    Following Zimmerman’s acquittal on a murder charge, Taaffe has reversed his position and now says that he believes Zimmerman was motivated by race the night he followed then shot Martin in 2012.

    • NW Luna says:

      Damn obvious Martin’s civil rights and more were violated by Zimmerman. Wonder what the grand jury will conclude.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I hope Trayvon’s family get some kind of justice. I didn’t even know the Justice Department was pursuing this until I saw that story.