New: Libby K Likes To Play

Check out this new sex blog, Libby K Likes To Play. Here’s an introduction from the author:

I wanted to start by introducing myself. I am a mid twenties lady living in Brooklyn, NY. I am a cis-gendered woman, who identifies as queer, and is currently in a monogamous relationship with a cis-gendered guy. I am active in anti violence work, with a focus on sexual violence and intimate partner violence prevention. I also work to cultivate sex positivity within my communities, and see these two as inherently connected. I think of sex positivity as the acknowledgement that sex is a natural and healthy part of each of our lives. Sexual fulfillment is crucial to each of our health and happiness. Sex can be a venue in which we express our creativity and playfulness as adults. In this blog I hope to explore the links between sex positive and anti violence work. I will also include reviews of sex toys, porn and erotica. I can only speak to my experiences, which hopefully I’ve now given you some insight into, but hope that this can be a welcoming space for folks from a diversity of experiences to share theirs.

Middle Class Disappearing As Top 1% Earn 23.5% of Income

Video courtesy of C-SPAN.

It seems like Senator Bernie Sanders (Independent from Vermont) is quickly becoming a favorite of all my friends, as he called out virtually everything that is wrong with our country’s budget allocation in just over thirteen minutes. The statistic above is from 2007.

Coincidentally, I’ve been listening to The Evens a lot lately. Their song “Dinner with the President” reminds me of Sanders’ remarks quite a lot.
“Have you had enough? / Your plate is overflowing / Can’t you see? / You’ve had enough”

— Kate Wadkins

This Week: The Racial Politics of Personal Space, Defending the Secession, & more

“He Needed a Girl, and He Snatched Me Up”
American Prospect: “It’s not just the exclusive all-male, all-white clubs or obvious hate-speech but the kind of casual privilege that lets an older, white man touch a younger, black female in a sexual way, and that dictates her continued politeness in the face of such an obvious invasion.”

Art and Activism Come Together to Make DREAM a Reality
ColorLines: “Through campaigns such as Alto Arizona, Wordstrike and Soundstrike, artists were able to engage creatively in fighting the unlawful treatment of immigrants. And even though much activism has moved online, the power of the poster is never going away—it’s just in downloadable form now. ”

Randall Terry and Crew Met With Boehner’s Chief of Staff
Right Wing Watch: “And Terry apparently issued some big demands for Boehner and the Republicans now that they have taken control of the House—the complete end of abortion in America.”

Celebrating Secession Without the Slaves
New York Times: “He said he was dumbfounded by ‘all of this glamorization and sanitization of what really happened.’ When Southerners refer to states’ rights, he said, ‘they are really talking about their idea of one right — to buy and sell human beings.'”

Alastair Macauley Says Ballerina ‘Looked As If She’d Eaten One Too Many Sugar Plums”
Huffington Post: “New York Times critic Alastair Macaulay recently reviewed ‘George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker’ and he took what could be interpreted as a jab at one ballerina’s weight—and she’d previously left the ballet due to struggles with her body image.”

If You’re Black in Philly, Every Day Is a TSA Day “Further, unlike the understandably disgruntled  folks who believe the airport invasion of privacy is an outrage, black folks in Philly don’t have the option of opting out. If you’re black or Latino and walking down a Philadelphia street, you’re fair game.”

Revisiting the Civil Rights Era: Condoleezza Rice & James Bonard Fowler

I wrote this on November 16th but was hesitant to post it due to recent comments on this blog that reeked of racism and a general distaste for addressing white privilege. Upon revisiting it, I decided it is better published than sitting in our draft box.

Two articles on my reading list this morning brought me back to the Civil Rights Era in American History. First, Latoya Peterson at Racialicious did a great review of Condoleezza Rice’s new book Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family. Peterson highlighted Rice’s lucid details of the salient threats of violence that ravaged Alabama at this time, while also questioning Rice’s foreign policy more recently.

Then, my attention was brought to Robbie Brown of the New York Times, who reported yesterday that Alabama state trooper James Bonard Fowler finally plead guilty to his “fatal shooting” of Jimmie Lee Jackson, a 26-year-old civil rights activist, in 1965. Fowler considers the shooting self-defense rather than murder. While I write a lot about race in US culture, both articles served as a reminder of how recent this struggle, this violent and contentious time, actually is in our history. Continue reading

Sarah Palin’s ‘feminism’

On November 23, Slate journalist Jessica Grouse wrote a scathing review about Sarah Palin’s new book America by Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith, and Flag that had me seething in anger and frustration.

According Grouse, Palin devotes an entire chapter to dissing liberal feminists past and present. She insults Betty Friedan twice; says that Hillary Clinton seems “frozen in an attitude of 1960s-era bra-burning militancy”; calls Gloria Steinem out for saying that “no woman who believes abortion is wrong can call herself a feminist”; argues that today fewer women call themselves feminists because “somewhere along the line feminism went from being pro-woman to effectively anti-woman”; and repeats stereotypes of liberal feminists suggesting that they emphasize women as victims because they’re obsessed with rape and domestic violence and are disdainful of “the joys and fulfillment we find in motherhood.”

I haven’t read the book, and truth be told, I seriously doubt I will. But I have found myself obsessed with reading anything and everything that examines Sarah Palin’s views of feminism and feminist history and discusses the afore mentioned chapter. I’m also obsessed with this whole phenomenon, so I did a quick search to see what the BloggingHeads were saying about Palin’s feminism and happened upon a series that’s really quite good.

My favorite video features Michelle Goldberg and Rebecca Traister. You can watch that video called “Why Sarah Palin calls herself a feminist” on  You can watch part two of that discussion here.

-Nydia Swaby

NY Daily News: Group of Bed-Stuy Men escorts pedestrians in wake of robberies

Members of the group We Make Us Better escort pedestrians home from the subway in the wake of robberies and reach out to young black men. (courtesy Daily News)

via the Daily News.

The idea for the group came about one night a month ago when Varlack, Simms and others swapped horror stories of friends and relatives who had recently been mugged.

For Richard Beavers, 41, the idea for the group hit home after a friend of his called him in the middle of the night after being robbed – one of 300 robberies so far this year in Bed-Stuy’s 81st Precinct, an almost 10% jump from 2009.

“She was on her way home, came out of the Utica Ave. A train station and made it onto her block when a group of young males approached her and robbed her,” recalled Beavers, who owns the House of Art Gallery on Lewis Ave.

“I decided we can’t have these people terrorizing our young women and children, and we’re not speaking up and making our presence felt.”

The group’s organizers hope to set up a mentoring program soon, and are meeting with local community organizations so they can refer people they meet to special services.

But their main strength is a street credibility that comes with being young, successful black men, said co-founder Titus Mitchell.

Read the full article here.

For My Father

My father died of AIDS in 1993. His name was Michael ‘hiv’ Norman, also known as Tanya Ransom. My father was a drag queen, a playwright, an artist, and most importantly to me, he was my father. The AIDS crisis is not over. It is 17 years after his death, and still we are fighting the disease which killed him. Still, people are unable to get medication because the drugs cost far too much. Still, we struggle to educate our youth about a disease which kills relentlessly. Still, there are those who believe that AIDS is a plague for gay people, and is sent by God to purge them from this earth.

AIDS does not discriminate based on age, gender, sexuality or creed. AIDS is preventable by wearing a condom and being knowledgeable your sexual heath.

My father was one of many artists to die in the epidemic; many of my family friends died in the 1990s. My mother attended more funerals than weddings in her 20s, and I still fear for those people I know whose lives are controlled by the disease. This is not the future I hoped for when I began educating people about the disease as a child, this is not the future I want for my children, or for anyone else’s children. This is not the future I want for our world.

Today is World AIDS Day. Get Tested. Act Up, Act Now. Fight AIDS.

— Elsa Sjunneson-Norman