Happy New Year!

Well, we made it through 2017 alive.  Hopefully, 2018 will show some improvement.

I’m not sure what is in store for us. Right now, I think last night’s power surge either messed up my modem or my over priced under capitalized monopoly provider because I sure have the slowest ethernet feed on the planet right now.  It just up and disappears on me even though it shows it’s coming to me.

Here’s a few reads.  I’ve been saying this line since Trump bailed on the Trade negotiations called for opting out of the Trans Pacific Pack. He’s done a bunch of things to drive the region towards China which is “Making China Great Again!” and we’re losing influence and power there.

Under the banner of “America First,” President Trump is reducing U.S. commitments abroad. On his third day in office, he withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a twelve-nation trade deal designed by the United States as a counterweight to a rising China. To allies in Asia, the withdrawal damaged America’s credibility. “You won’t ebe able to see that overnight,” Lee Hsien Loong, the Prime Minister of Singapore, told me, at an event in Washington. “It’s like when you draw a red line and then you don’t take it seriously. Was there pain? You didn’t see it, but I’m quite sure there’s an impact.”

In a speech to Communist Party officials last January 20th, Major General Jin Yinan, a strategist at China’s National Defense University, celebrated America’s pullout from the trade deal. “We are quiet about it,” he said. “We repeatedly state that Trump ‘harms China.’ We want to keep it that way. In fact, he has given China a huge gift. That is the American withdrawal from T.P.P.” Jin, whose remarks later circulated, told his audience, “As the U.S. retreats globally, China shows up.”

For years, China’s leaders predicted that a time would come—perhaps midway through this century—when it could project its own values abroad. In the age of “America First,” that time has come far sooner than expected.

Barack Obama’s foreign policy was characterized as leading from behind. Trump’s doctrine may come to be understood as retreating from the front. Trump has severed American commitments that he considers risky, costly, or politically unappealing. In his first week in office, he tried to ban travellers from seven Muslim-majority countries, arguing that they pose a terrorist threat. (After court battles, a version of the ban took effect in December.) He announced his intention to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement on climate change and from unesco, and he abandoned United Nations talks on migration. He has said that he might renege on the Iran nuclear deal, a free-trade agreement with South Korea, and nafta. His proposal for the 2018 budget would cut foreign assistance by forty-two per cent, or $11.5 billion, and it reduces American funding for development projects, such as those financed by the World Bank. In December, Trump threatened to cut off aid to any country that supports a resolution condemning his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. (The next day, in defiance of Trump’s threat, the resolution passed overwhelmingly.)

This analysis by Evan Osnos for The New Yorker looks at a lot of things China’s doing to secure their future as the main player in the region. Meanwhile, the only bargains being driven around the region appear to be for the Trump Family Money Laundering Syndicate.  The US has lost all gravitas.


I just found out that Keely’s namesake died on December 16th of 2017. We lost a lot of great people last year. Keely Smith died at the ripe age of 89.

She was hired as “girl singer” in Prima’s big band when still a teenager, and went on the road with the band in 1948. Smith and Prima married and had two children.

The duo won a Grammy in 1959, the first year of the awards, for best pop vocal performance by a duo or group for “That Old Black Magic,” which stayed on the charts for 18 weeks. They had hit albums with “The Wildest!” and “The Wildest Show at Tahoe.”

She was also Grammy-nommed later in life for the 2001 album “Keely Sings Sinatra.”

A mainstay of the Las Vegas lounge scene for many years, she was honored in the Las Vegas Hall of Fame as well as with stars on the Hollywood and Palm Springs walks of fame.

Smith also sang in several movies including “Hey Boy! Hey Girl!,” “Senior Prom” and “Thunder Road.”

She launched as a solo artist in 1957 with “I Wish You Love,” produced by Nelson Riddle, and she followed that with “Swingin’ Pretty” and “The Intimate Keely Smith,” which was re-released last year. The album was produced by Jimmy Bowen, whom she married in 1965 after divorcing Prima in 1961.

In 2005, she played a series a well-received shows in Manhattan. Variety said, “Smith’s bold, dark voice took firm hold on a handful of great standard tunes, and she swung hard.” Her final performance was in 2011 at the Cerritos Performing Arts Center.

Some of my most beloved TV and music personalities passed in 2016.  Top on that list for me was Mary Tyler Moore whose TV shows always influenced my idea of how to be a grown up. Sister comedienne and TV star of the Dick Van Dyke show–Rose Marie–also passed last month.  Of course, we also lost musicians, writers, astronauts, journos and hosts of others.

You can see a CNN gallery here.

Here’s a good view of the list from The Guardian.

A woman I met while preggers whose sister represented my mother-in-law for her divorce  is Kate Millet.  I actually got her and Bette Friedan to sit down over drinks at an English style pub in Omaha after they hadn’t talked in years in 1983 just weeks before Dr. Daughter made her entrance.  They actually agreed to go to the women’s Global Women’s conference that year and work together. Friedan was trying to recruit me to run for NOW president the entire time.  I don’t think she ever got over thinking the separatists were going to ruin the movement.  I rather hope she found out what happened to us when many gay women aligned more solidly with gay men during the AIDS crisis and post Stonewall movement.  I had spent the year trying to bring the black women of the Urban League into the conversation too as well as women of many faith traditions.  It was also a time when second wave women–like me–were facing blowback from Gen Xers. Our real enemy wore the face of Ronald Reagan at the time.

Kate Millett was one of the pioneering voices in the women’s movement, whose work helped lay the foundations of second-wave feminism. She wrote the groundbreaking bestseller Sexual Politics, which developed the theory of the institutional power that men have over women. “A revolution needs leaders, and with Sexual Politics, Kate Millett came forward to give the Women’s Liberation Movement a national voice and a strong connection to higher education,” said cultural critic Elaine Showalter. Millett, who published several books after Sexual Politics and was also a sculptor, died of a heart-attack in Paris in September. She was 82.

Here’s an article about her last interview showing how important gay woman are to both the women’s movement and to the GLBT civil rights movement and the AIDS crisis.  It also mentions the rift I tried to heal as I put together a women’s festival asking “Where Do we Go from here?” given the failure of the ERA and the movement afoot by radical Christianist religionists to remove women’s rights from the Republican Platform.

When feminist activist and author Kate Millett died on Sept. 6, at the age of 82, tributes poured in from around the world. One of them, a final interview with Millett published in the New Yorker, serves as an important reminder about the divisive relationship between queer women and feminism throughout the history of the movement, and how Millett helped to bridge that gap. Millett is best-known today for her work Sexual Politics, published in 1970 and still highly relevant to today’s struggle with the patriarchy, but the short New Yorker interview presents another aspect of her work: what Millett, who was bisexual and married to a woman, thought of Betty Friedan, author of The Feminine Mystique, whose homophobic views of women in the feminist movement were well known.

These conversations continue to be important as the legacy of feminism’s second-wave continues to make its mark. For one, acknowledging who second-wave feminism did and did not include gives us a good insight into what still needs to be done. For another, queer women in particular have had a complicated relationship with mainstream feminism. Looking at the issues between Millett and Friedan as a mere personality clash, as previous scholars may have been wont to do, ignores the vital lesson to be learned from their relationship as two leading figures of second-wave feminism: that homophobia and transphobia are incompatible with the fight for women’s rights.

Anway, I was in my 20s and full of mothering hormones, what can I say?  Another woman on the front of change died although her face was not well known until after some time.

At age 22, in 1969, Norma McCorvey became an icon of the feminist movement as Jane Roe, the anonymous plaintiff in the landmark Roe v Wade case that established a constitutional right for women to end their pregnancies. But by the time of her death at the age of 69 this year her views had undergone a dramatic reversal and McCorvey had become a mainstay of the anti-abortion movement. The 22-year-old McCorvey wished to terminate her pregnancy and sued the government for the right to do so, prompting one of the most hotly contested supreme court rulings in recent American history.

We lost Chuck Berry who was one of the grand old men of rock and roll. We also lost Al Jarreau who brought jazz to the pop charts.  The most notable music losses were Fats Domino, Tom Petty and Glenn Campbell. All were major chart toppers over may decades.

For all the video game lovers the p4r gaming team started to offer one of the best services to boost video games like league of legends, it was definitely a good year.

The literary world lost playwright Sam Shepard,  poet Derek Walcott, and mystery writers Sue Grafton and Colin Dexter. Additionally, British novelist and playwright David Storey and Robert James Waller, the American novelist best known for The Bridges of Madison County passed on.

And here’s to the recently retired President who still could find some good in 2017.

Let’s hope 2018 brings us justice and peace.


16 Comments on “Happy New Year!”

  1. NW Luna says:

    Thanks for the 2017 wrap-up. Lots of good commentary, excerpts and links in your post in spite of that slow internet.

  2. RonStill4Hills says:

    My grandfather was a jazz trombonist with Count Basie and Duke Ellington.

    In his study he used to have hundreds of pictures of people that he worked with, one of which was Keely Smith.

    I did not really know who she was or how great she was until later in life, but I came to admire her work very much.

    I will miss her.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Another notable death: Recy Taylor.

    NYT: Recy Taylor, who fought for justice after 1944 rape, dies

    • bostonboomer says:

      Rosa Parks of the NAACP investigated the case. Women were highly instrumental in starting the Civil Rights Movement, although men got most of the credit.

      • dakinikat says:

        I know you’ve read a lot about that. It seems a lot of the movements of the 60s and 70s were built on the backs of women. I watched independent lens last night that ran a film of Armistead Maupin. I’m still reminded of how much work lesbians did for the Aids crisis. It really built the idea of having a family based on who you was there for you when it mattered. I lost another friend to Aids related complications not too long ago even though the cocktail helped him a lot. It always brings that time back.

    • NW Luna says:

      What a brave woman.

  4. Enheduanna says:

    Happy New Year everyone. Back to work today – luckily I work from my home office. It is a VERY cold day here in ATL.

    I’ve noticed my cable TV is doing weird things lately – I have trouble streaming a couple of channels. I can’t help but wonder if it’s something to do with my over priced under capitalized monopoly provider sticking net neutrality to the wind.

  5. Minkoff Minx says:

    This was highly appreciated Dak, thank you.

  6. palhart says:

    I read both Friedan and Millet, but Millet laid out the systemic nature of sexism which was an
    “ahah” moment for me. I thought of Freidan as speaking to educated, disgruntled housewives; Millet raised my and other women’s consciousness which, in part, clarified the “system.” I look at Mrs. Roy Moore, and women Trump voters, like my dug-in cousin, and ask why? Why do you support men who debase and ignore you? As one young woman told me when the ERA was being voted on, “I’ve never needed it (women’s rights).”

    • dakinikat says:

      I think they are partially motivated by fear because they feel safe but every wife has always been one mistress away from losing it all. Millet was an important voice for me too. Seeing a system laid over institutions made such sense of senselessness!

    • NW Luna says:

      She hopes she never needs it. If she observed more carefully she’ll find out she does need it.