Monday, September 30, 2013

Ada Lovelace

“Beware of the man who denounces woman writers; his penis is tiny and he cannot spell.” Erica Jong

EVER HEARD of Ada Lovelace Day? No?

Me neither. It's coming up October 15, honors women in science and is named after the woman who wrote what is often described as the first computer program.

Guess when? 1843. And no, that date is not a typo.

Writing for the September 29 issue of the New York Times Magazine, Maud Newton interviewed software developer Phoenix Perry who said that most female programmers who came after Ada have been forgotten, and in fact women have lost ground in the field since the 1980's. 

In response Phoenix founded the Code Liberation Foundation to teach women how to program games. Her motivation was a conference she attended where numerous men asked her if there was someone who could tell them about . . . wait for it . . . the game SHE created, assuming it couldn't possibly be her. Grrrrrrr.

Thanks Ada, thanks Phoenix and thanks Maud, and fie on anyone male or female who has ever not given credit to a woman for her ability.
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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Adding insult to injury

“The public universities in general, and the land grants in particular, are moving away from their historical mission to serve a broad swath of families across the state.” — Donald Heller, dean of Michigan State University’s College of Education

WE ARE such suckers. Not only did the income for the top 1% grow by 31.4% during the years 2009 to 2012 while the income for the bottom 99% grew by only 0.4%, but the children of the rich are increasingly getting more scholarship aid than those who actually need it. 

The attached article written by Catherine Rampell for the New York Times Magazine gives us a window into yet another way the rich get favored by a process that was designed to be an equalizer, but instead now pads the pockets of the wealthy.

Freebies for the Rich
By CATHERINE RAMPELL
September 24, 2013 
Max Russell had always been a conscientious student, but when his father died during his junior year of high school, he had to take on a 25-hour-per-week job to help his family pay the bills. The gig inevitably ate into the time he spent on homework, and Russell’s G.P.A. plummeted from 3.5 to 2.5, which complicated his ability to get the aid he needed to attend a four-year college. So he ended up at Ivy Tech Community College in Indianapolis. Last year, after finally qualifying for student loans and cobbling together some grant money, he transferred to Purdue University, one of the state’s top public schools.

At Purdue, Russell reconnected with Christopher Bosma, a friend from high school. Bosma’s family was considerably wealthier, but his entire tuition was free — as will be medical-school costs. An outstanding high-school student, he received a prestigious merit scholarship that covered both. Russell told me that he believed the two friends are about “equivalent in intelligence” but acknowledged that Bosma studied much harder in high school. He was unusually driven, he said, but it probably didn’t hurt that Bosma had the luxury of not having to help support his family.

Over the years, many state-university systems — and even states themselves — have shifted more of their financial aid away from students who need it toward those whose résumés merit it. The share of state aid that’s not based on need has nearly tripled in the last two decades, to 29 percent per full-time student in 2010-11. 

The stated rationale, of course, is that merit scholarships motivate high-school achievement and keep talented students in state. The consequence, however, is that more aid is helping kids who need it less. Merit metrics like SAT scores tend to closely correlate with family income; about 1 in 5 students from households with income over $250,000 receives merit aid from his or her school. For families making less than $30,000, it’s 1 in 10.

Schools don’t seem to mind. After years of state-funding cuts, many recognize that wealthy students can bring in more money even after getting a discount. Raising the tuition and then offering a 25 percent scholarship to four wealthier kids who might otherwise have gone to private school generates more revenue than giving a free ride to one who truly needs it. Incidentally, enticing these students also helps boost a school’s rankings. “The U.S. News rankings are based largely on the student inputs,” said Donald Heller, dean of Michigan State University’s College of Education. “The public universities in general, and the land grants in particular, are moving away from their historical mission to serve a broad swath of families across the state.”

This is obviously troubling for the students who need help, but it is also bad for the state economies that public colleges are supported by and are supposed to help advance. While merit aid sounds like an effective way to combat brain drain, there is no conclusive evidence that it works. 

One recent study by economists at Cornell and the University of Chicago found that “nearly all” of the spending on state merit-based scholarships had little effect on keeping students in state after they graduated. Merit aid may not even be a good deal for those who earn it. A recent study by researchers at Harvard Kennedy School looked at a scholarship program in Massachusetts in which high-scoring students get tuition waivers at in-state public colleges. It found that taking the scholarship actually reduced a student’s likelihood of graduating because they ended up at a school with a completion rate lower than one of the other schools they could have gone to. Peer effects matter, it turns out. The long-term costs of going to school among those who are more likely to drop out could outweigh the upfront benefits of a cheap education.

Financial aid, however, has a hugely positive impact on whether low-income students graduate. Among needier kids, the six-year graduation rate is 45 percent when grants cover under a quarter of college costs versus 68 percent when they cover more than three-quarters, according to Mark Kantrowitz, the publisher at Edvisors.com, a network of college-planning Web sites. If you look at comparable stats for high-income students, the amount of aid makes almost no difference. Their graduation rates are around 78 percent either way.

The share of Americans with college degrees has risen significantly in the last few decades, but almost all of the growth has been among children of wealthier families. The share of 24-year-olds from families in the top-income quartile who hold college degrees rose from about 40 percent in 1970 to 70 percent in 2011. The share from the bottom quartile, however, remained pretty flat, edging up to 10 percent from 6 percent, according to Tom Mortenson, a higher-education policy analyst with Postsecondary Education Opportunity. These graduation rates also matter. Not only is the gap between the earnings (and employability) of college grads versus high-school grads widening, but an increasing amount of research shows that having a higher density of college-educated workers boosts wages of even those around them without college degrees. Economists refer to the ripple effect as the “positive externalities” of higher education.

By devoting more aid dollars to the likely college students rather than to more marginal ones, states are limiting the overall pool of residents who will be able to obtain college-level skills. Perhaps just as important, they are also limiting the economic prospects of their entire populations. The institutions that try to maintain their commitment to needy students like Russell, even in the face of state-budget cuts, recognize that extending access to college isn’t just about altruism. It’s about investing in your future tax base. And that’s thinking outside the box.
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Not necessarily the news

"The roots of Fox News Channel's day-to-day on-air bias are actual and direct. They come in the form of an executive memo distributed electronically each morning, addressing what stories will be covered and, often, suggesting how they should be covered. To the newsroom personnel responsible for the channel's daytime programming, The Memo is the Bible. If, on any given day, you notice that the Fox anchors seem to be trying to drive a particular point home, you can bet The Memo is behind it." — Charlie Reina, Former Fox News producer

I'VE BEEN writing Hey Look, Something Shiny! for two years and seven months, and I must say that no one is more surprised than I am that I've kept it up. 

To a certain extent, I write it to inform readers. If I find what seems to be a potentially VUI (Very Useful Item, an acronym we use around our house) such as the Surgery Center of Oklahoma where surgeries are performed for roughly 25% of what the same surgery would cost elsewhere — then for sure I want to let people know. 

Writing Hey Look is obviously also a means of personal expression, and lord knows I have plenty of opinions to express. 

Speaking of opinions, Facebook is chocked full of them, but in my little universe, Facebook and Hey Look are entirely different animals. 

Facebook is a reactive, spontaneous, emotional, spout-off, have-a-laugh place for me, but if I'm going to write something for Hey Look, I want what I have to say to make as much sense as possible, be readable, hopefully spelled correctly and be as factually accurate as I can make it with my limited resources.

That means I have to look a lot of stuff up all the time. As a result, I benefit more than anyone because I learn so much — and that's my favorite reason for writing.

Here's a perfect example. The below graphic was posted on Facebook by friend Sherry Toelle, who had gotten it from one her FB friends. It made me laugh because I really, really, really dislike Fox News. And since, as you may have noticed, I start writing blog posts like crazy towards the end of each month in order to maintain my every-other-day average, I screen-captured the graphic and thought that with a couple of sentences of intro, I'd be done.

I always put what I hope is a relevant quote at the start of each post, so I started digging around for something that would support our bumper sticker joke, and in so doing I found there are leaked emails written by vice president of Fox News and Washington managing editor Bill Sammon that prove our premise.

As it turns out, Fox bias is real, it's deceptive and it comes from the top down. I've screen-captured one of the leaked emails below our bumper sticker. 

And four hours later, I'm finally done writing what was supposed to be a fast, easy post. Whew.







So the answer is, yes Virginia, they really ARE trying to brainwash all of us into being afraid of and killing the Affordable Care Act because — my guess here, but I'm going to stand by it hard — money, money, money. Without affordable health insurance, the mega-rich keep getting richer and the lower middle-class and poor — heck even the middle class — remain indentured.
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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Deaf dogs


"Many people put deaf dogs down because they think they’re not trainable, or they’re going to be aggressive." — Melissa McDaniel

THE TITLE might sound sad, but these pictures from NBC News will make you feel anything but. Instead, what's likely to happen is you'll want to adopt one. Fortunately however, these dogs already have wonderful homes where they're very much loved.

Which one do you find irresistible? All of them, of course, but for me the one I'd have to have is Pirate Grayson.


Beignet
It’s National Deaf Dog Awareness Week — a time when dog lovers across the United States work to clear up myths and misconceptions about deaf dogs. From Sept. 22 to 28, animal advocates are drawing attention to the thousands of otherwise healthy dogs that get put down each year simply because they cannot hear. One such dog lover is photographer and author Melissa McDaniel, who is sharing photos from her “Deaf Dogs” book and other books here.
Beignet, the French bulldog pictured here, is an avowed social butterfly. Her inability to hear hasn’t stopped her from becoming a highly effective certified therapy dog in Colorado. 

Bindi
Deafness in dogs can be congenital, or it can be acquired through trauma, ear infections, drug reactions or old age. Deafness that is congenital, or inherited from birth, is typically pigment-related and stems from a defective gene. It’s most common in white animals. 

McDaniel photographed Bindi, the Australian kelpie pictured here, after the dog got rescued from a California shelter where she was due to be euthanized because of her deafness. Bindi now lives in Nevada and “loves kids so much she seeks them out with her tail wagging,” McDaniel writes in “Deaf Dogs.”

Angel
Angel, a deaf phalene (a papillon with drop ears), was surrendered by a family who thought they couldn’t handle a special-needs dog. In addition to being deaf, Angel has epilepsy — but the couple who adopted her can anticipate her seizures because of the way she sits right near them wanting to be held. “She is a true angel and a blessing,” one of her owners told McDaniel. “We would adopt another deafie in a heartbeat!”

Dottie

McDaniel said deaf dog ownership is “not for the lazy.” “You’re constantly walking across the room to get their attention,” she said. “Usually you have to go and get them.” One of the first and most important commands to teach a deaf dog is “look at me”: “You draw a treat up to your eyes, and as soon as they lock their gaze with yours, you give them a treat,” McDaniel said. “This trains them to continually check in with you.” 

Faith
“Many people put deaf dogs down because they think they’re not trainable, or they’re going be aggressive,” McDaniel said. “It's just not true.” In fact, deaf dogs, like most dogs, can respond very well to hand signals. 

Faith, the Great Dane pictured here, spent the first part of her life being used for breeding in a Pennsylvania backyard. The breeder decided to get rid of her because “she didn’t listen and kept running off” — and the couple who took her home soon realized she was deaf. They also realized that, despite her inability to hear, Faith had a knack for tracking and agility. They took the time to train her and were astonished by how much she loved to perform. Faith went on to earn several agility titles.

Henry
Henry, a miniature long-haired dachshund who is living a happy life in Illinois, was born partially deaf. He also was born “with just one eye, which is also underdeveloped, so he is partially blind in that eye,” McDaniel explained. This happened to Henry because his breeder attempted to breed dapple, or “merle,” dachshunds together to get white dachshunds. 

“Merle dogs should never be bred together because the litters produce dogs that are known as ‘double merles,’” McDaniel said. “Double merles are often deaf and have vision problems.”

Moonbeam
McDaniel offered this important insight about deaf-dog ownership: It’s can be dangerous to let a deaf dog off leash in an uncontained area. “You have no way of calling your dog back,” she said. 

Moonbeam, the deaf dalmatian mix pictured here, is expertly trained. She lives in Maryland with a human owner who is deaf and another deaf dalmatian mix named Roxy. The owner uses American Sign Language to communicate with both of his dogs.

Neiko
People who work with and love deaf dogs often call them “deafies” as a term of endearment. Neiko, the deaf Australian shepherd-border collie mix pictured here, lives in Massachusetts and has another nickname as well: “The Princess,” because she doesn’t like to get her paws wet.

Pirate Grayson
Estimates vary, but veterinary sources indicate that 20 to 30 percent of all dalmatian puppies are born deaf in one or both ears. The woman who adopted this deaf dalmatian — named “Pirate Grayson” for the patch over his eye and the town in Georgia where he once lived — insists that Pirate is “no different than any other dog.” “He is the best dog I have ever had,” she told McDaniel.

Rascal
Rascal, a deaf “double-merle” border collie, got rescued a day before he was due to be put down at a shelter in North Carolina. Even though he can’t hear, is blind in one eye and has limited vision in the other eye, he is friendly and vivacious. Rascal loves to chase shadows in his New York home.

Scout
Scout, a terrier mix, began her life in a puppy mill. In her later years, she had trouble getting adopted because she was deaf. She finally got placed in a loving home in Canada, where she astonishes many with her memory skills and her obedience. Scout knows more than 50 hand signals, and she will remain in the “stay” command even when she’s separated from her owner by a great distance.

Sadie
A deaf Chihuahua in Florida, Thor knows so many visual commands and is so obedient that his human family members call him a “star pupil.” The well-adjusted little dog loves playing with children and making new friends. In addition to her “Deaf Dogs” photography book, Melissa McDaniel also has self-published photo books titled “Rescued in America” and “Pit Bulls and Pit Bull Type Dogs.” Her next book, “Puppy Mill Survivors,” is due out in November 2013. To learn more about McDaniel’s books, click here. To learn more about deaf dogs, visit the website of the Deaf Dog Education Action Fund.

Rocky
Photographing deaf dogs can be quite challenging — especially if the pups aren’t motivated by treats — because “they can just wander off,” McDaniel said. “I’ll often hold the treat and hold the camera at the same time, hoping they’ll look at the treat and therefore at the lens,” the photographer said. “I try to direct their gaze by moving the treat around.” Rocky, the deaf female boxer pictured here, lives in Chicago and wears a pink coat and little boots to stay warm in the winter months.


Thor
A deaf Chihuahua in Florida, Thor knows so many visual commands and is so obedient that his human family members call him a “star pupil.” The well-adjusted little dog loves playing with children and making new friends. In addition to her “Deaf Dogs” photography book, Melissa McDaniel also has self-published photo books titled “Rescued in America” and “Pit Bulls and Pit Bull Type Dogs.” Her next book, “Puppy Mill Survivors,” is due out in November 2013. To learn more about McDaniel’s books, click here. To learn more about deaf dogs, visit the website of the Deaf Dog Education Action Fund.

Thumper and Rimel
Thumper, left, could hear when she was born, but she became deaf after being treated with antibiotics at 5 months of age. She lives in Austin, Texas, with Rimel, right, who likely became deaf as a result of an upper respiratory infection at a young age. Thumper and Rimel’s human owners are deaf, and both dogs know numerous American Sign Language commands. “They are so well-behaved — probably two of the most well-behaved dogs I’ve ever met,” McDaniel said.

Tilly
Tilly, a border collie who is deaf, lovable and ball-obsessed, lives in Massachusetts with a couple who regularly marvel at how smart she is. The agile dog can open most crate doors, and she’s been known to spring her canine brothers and sisters from their crates as well.

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Friday, September 27, 2013

Proposing in Utah

"I’m thinking in my head it’s a really nice graduation gift, but a little weird.” — Dustin Reeser

WHEN IS a marriage proposal something much more?

When more than 10 million people watch it even though it's not on either ABC's The Bachelor or The Bachelorette.

A man proposed to his boyfriend in Home Depot with the help of a singing, dancing flash mob, and the video of it has gone totally viral. It brought tears to my eyes when I watched it. 

And here's the kicker, this all played out in of all places — Utah.

I've attached the You Tube video below in case you haven't already seen it, and directly below is a New York Daily News article written by Carol Kuruvilla that I enjoyed reading because it has some quotes from an interview with both the proposer and the proposee.

Dustin Reeser came to the Salt Lake City Home Depot to help a roommate pick out lighting for a party. When he walked over to the lumber aisle, he found a group of 30 close friends, brought together by the love of his life, Spencer Stout.

“They come out, and they’re from all the different places I’ve lived in the world, so to see them all in one place at one time was kind of ridiculous,” Reeser told Fox13. “I start to recognize people, and then I start to recognize more people, and I’m thinking in my head it’s a really nice graduation gift, but a little weird.”

Stout had wanted to propose for some time. He’s been planning the flash mob since May. The couple met at Home Depot, so he chose that spot to pop the question.

“The very first time we met, we walked through a Home Depot, and he showed me what he had built and showed me what he had done, so I thought it would be a great place for the proposal because it was kind of our first date,” Stout said.

Music starts playing on the loudspeakers and the flash mob starts dancing. Stout picked the song “Somebody Loves You” by Betty Who, an Australian-American musician.

“Not very well known, but the words just kind of amplify how I felt about Dustin, so I had seen some flash mobs online and started talking to my friend, and my wheels just started turning,” Stout said.

Reeser watched as more people came dancing in. He said he didn’t realize that his boyfriend was going to pop the question until Stout came out in a suit and got down on his knees.

When it hit him, Reeser started tearing up. And he said yes.





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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Out and about

Sometimes I can only groan, and suffer, and pour out my despair at the piano! — Frederic Chopin

ACTUALLY that's kind of how I've felt of late — minus the ability to play the piano, unfortunately.

But I haven't been entirely holed up in the house snarling at the world. Paul and I had a date night out a couple of weeks back. We were given two tickets to attend the September 14 Des Moines Symphony's season debut entitled From Russia with Ilya, and we both found the concert exquisite from start to finish.

The first piece was Overture to Ruslan and Ludmilla written by Mikhail Glinka, first performed in 1842 at the Bolshoi Theater in St. Petersburg. I've actually been to the Bolshoi Theater in St. Petersburg to see a ballet!

Then the star of the night, pianist Ilya Yakushev, joined the orchestra for Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Major, Opus 26 written by Sergei Prokofiev and debuted in 1921.


New York Times photo.
Photography isn't allowed in the Civic Center during performances.

When we arrived, we discovered that we were lucky enough to have seats in the center of the thirteenth row giving us a good view of Ilya's hands which were at times literally a blur!

The crowd jumped to its feet at the conclusion and applauded and applauded until Ilya returned to the stage.

As an encore he played Chopin Nocturne in C Sharp Minor No. 20 Op. Posthumous. Oh my goodness, it was utterly breathtaking. Do yourself a favor and download it! The name of the piece wasn't announced either before or after the encore, so afterwards I asked some of the violinists what it was. I had guessed Chopin, but the neighbors behind us and next to us and even Paul disagreed. Ha. I was right.

During intermission I found that Ilya was selling and signing CDs. I chose the Bach.

In the second half of the concert, the symphony played Sergei Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 2 in E Minor, Op. 27, debuted in 1908. You just don't get more lush and romantic than Rachmaninoff.

Afterwards Paul and I headed over to the Continental, a little jazz bar and restaurant to hear some of his buddies play. Paul said it was a great date night.

The month before, we attended the Children and Families of Iowa Tango Ball benefiting the domestic abuse shelter. Paul snapped a picture of me in our driveway. We had our picture taken together at the ball, but we haven't gotten the photo back from the photographer. Hmmm. I'll have to see if I can track him down. Paul wears a tux well, I must say. 




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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Eight signs

"Animals are such agreeable friends - they ask no questions; they pass no criticisms." George Eliot 

IN AN ATTEMPT to cheer us up, and by us, I mean me, I offer you this charming video.



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Friday, September 20, 2013

Please save us, Robert Reich

"Hence, the top 1% captured 95% of the income gains in the first three years of the recovery." Emmanuel Saez

HEY LOOK has been in a very sour mood for the last few days, and the capper is that yesterday our shameless, Republican-majority House of Representatives passed a bill that would cut more than $40 billion from the food stamp program.  

Meanwhile, we've learned that from 2009 through 2011, the first three years of economic recovery, 95% of the financial gain went to the top 1% of the wealthy in this country.

Below is part of what University of California, Berkeley, Professor of Economics and Director of the Center for Equitable Growth, Emmanuel Saez had to say about the US "recovery." 

"Top 1% incomes grew by 31.4% while bottom 99% incomes grew only by 0.4% from 2009 to 2012. Hence, the top 1% captured 95% of the income gains in the first three years of the recovery. From 2009 to 2010, top 1% grew fast and then stagnated from 2010 to 2011. Bottom 99% stagnated both from 2009 to 2010 and from 2010 to 2011. In 2012, top 1% incomes increased sharply by 19.6% while bottom 99% incomes grew only by 1.0%. In sum, top 1% incomes are close to full recovery while bottom 99% incomes have hardly started to recover."

He's no fly-by-night chalkboard scribbler. The MacArthur Foundation Fellowship Program describes him as "an economist whose quantitative analyses, behavioral experiments, and theoretical insights are enhancing our understanding of the relationship between income and tax policy and reinvigorating the field of public economics."

I'm hoping that Robert Reich can save us. Check out his interview on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.




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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Blurred Lines

"No men were harmed in the making of this video." — Olivia Lubbock, Zoe Ellwood and Adelaide Dunn, University of Auckland law students 

THIS PARODY of Robin Thicke's extremely sexist song and video is bitingly, sarcastically, f***-you funny!! It was created by three University of Auckland law students who call their group Law Review. They're the bomb!!! 

The lyrics are a little X-rated, but who cares. PS: Watch it full-screen for greatest enjoyment!



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Saturday, September 14, 2013

I lied

“It isn’t clear the citizens wanted to forgive me.” Anthony Weiner, September 11, 2013

I KNOW, I know. I said I was going to stop talking about A. Wiener, but the guy just continues to amaze with how utterly delusional he is!

When the New York Times reached him on his cell phone Wednesday, the day after the primary vote, Carlos Danger said, “It isn’t clear the citizens wanted to forgive me.” 

What? WHAT?!!! It's completely clear to everyone but you that the citizens do NOT want to forgive you, you ding dong — with extreme emphasis on the dong — literally.

Asked if his troubled past was responsible for his defeat, Weiner said, "There's no doubt that I made that harder to happen." 

Harder? Are you nuts? (I'm sorry, but the puns are too obvious to ignore.) You made it impossible.

But get this next one. Asked if he regretted running, he thought for a moment and said, “I don’t. I regret the decisions that I made while running to some degree."

Words fail. He regrets to some degree? Decisions he made while running?

I'm telling you, the guy is Cleopatra, the Queen of Denial, and not even a little in touch with reality.

“Maybe I’m kidding myself that it was ever going to happen.”

Ya' think???

And finally, when asked if he felt better off than he did before entering this year’s race, he said, “I don’t know. Perhaps not. Perhaps not.”

If he had any capacity whatsoever for healthy shame, he would feel awful. 

Please, please go away, put yourself into some psychiatric treatment program for years and years and shut the f*** up.

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Weiner bites the big one

"Get used to it." Anthony Weiner, September 10, 2013

ANTHONY WEINER'S quest for greatness has shriveled. (Goodness, the pun possibilities are truly endless.) He received a mere 5% of the vote in the NYC mayoral primary. 

But still. Really? Hey 5% — who are you???!!!!

I almost titled this post "Run, Huma, run" and I don't mean for political office. You're married to a narcissistic, five year old. You still have time to build a life with an adult. 

Eliot Spitzer also lost. I can't help but be glad about that, too.

As we bid farewell to A. Weiner, I feel this insatiable urge coming over me. I can't stop myself! 

No, not to sext a picture of myself, but to share two short articles since, if we're lucky, we won't hear anything more about him ever again . . . so this might be our last chance!




Sydney Leathers Stops By Anthony Weiner’s Concession Event

Uinterview NEWS
09/11/2013


Sydney Leathers attempted to crash former sexting partner Anthony Weiner’s party in Midtown Manhattan on Tuesday night, where he conceded defeat in the New York City Democratic primary race.

Leathers, clad in a skintight red dress with black blocking on the sides and platform pumps, waited outside Connolly’s bar in the hopes that she could come face-to-face with Weiner, reported The New York Daily News. As was likely expected, a swarm of reporters and photographers descended to ask Weiner’s onetime sexting paramour what she was doing there.

She answered the question with a variety of different answers. “Why not be here?” she responded to one reporter before adding, “I’m kind of the reason he’s loising. So, might as well show up.” To another, she replied, “I feel like it’s my obligation.”

Earlier in the day, Leather’s had stood outside Weiner’s campaign office with a protest sign, which read, “Don’t Vote Weiner, Download Weinerizer,” which conveniently featured an iTunes sticker. “Weinerizer” is Leathers’ new single – a parody of Britney Spear’s “Womanizer.” “Weinerizer” is the brainchild of Adam Barta, who also produced Patricia Krentcil’s “It’s Tan Mom,” and accompanied Leathers’ on her Weiner stakeout outside the Midtown pub.

Clearly proud of her takedown of the New York City mayoral hopeful, Leathers says that Weiner should “stop being an embarrassment to the city of New York," according to Fox News. "He’s going to continue this behavior. If it’s not going to be me, it’s going to be some other girl.


Weiner Ends Primary Bid Like It Began: Defiant
NBCNewYork.com   9/11/2013
By JON SCHUPPE

For five months, Anthony Weiner tried to make New Yorkers believe that he was worth giving another chance.

His mayoral campaign, he said, was a bet that they would look past his mistakes and listen to his ideas.

He lost that wager. Badly.

Weiner ended the Democratic primary on Tuesday in fifth place, with about 5 percent of the vote, according to unofficial returns. On his way to give his concession speech in Manhattan, he had to duck into a side entrance to avoid Sydney Leathers, one of the women with whom he'd once exchanged lewd online messages under the alias Carlos Danger. She showed up outside and declared primary night was the ideal time for them to meet in person.

From the stage, he told supporters: "We had the best ideas. Sadly, I was an imperfect messenger.”

And now his political life is likely over.

For most of his career, Weiner wasn't the guy everyone laughed at. He was charming and funny -- and grating and temperamental. He was a grandstander and a fighter. He seemed to genuinely love public service, and the spotlight it brought him. He served as a city councilman from Brooklyn, and then a congressman.

But what he always wanted was to be was mayor.

He ran in 2005, and nearly forced a runoff against Fernando Ferrer, but conceded in the name of party solidarity. He planned to run again in 2009, and was considered a leading contender, but dropped out after Mayor Bloomberg chose to run for a third term. He started raising money for 2013, when Bloomberg would finally be out of the way. He raised about $4 million, enough to be taken very seriously.

And then, in the spring of 2011, Weiner was caught using Twitter to send provocative photos of himself to women. At first, he claimed he’d been hacked. But he eventually confessed, resigned from Congress and went into virtual hiding with his wife, Huma Abedin, a senior adviser to Hillary Clinton. At the time, Abedin was pregnant with their first child.

He re-emerged in April of this year in an intimate set of interviews with The New York Times Magazine in which he said he'd salvaged his marriage, received forgiveness and was ready for politics again. He entered the race in May, and shot to the top of the polls in June. In July came revelations on a gossip website named The Dirty that he'd continued his online escapades after his resignation. Abedin appeared with him at a news conference to defend him, but didn't show up again. Carlos Danger jokes fed the late-night talk shows.

Weiner always insisted that he was running because he thought he had more to give his city. Some, including his former congressional constituents, stood behind him, out of loyalty to the work they’d seen him do.

He insisted that the media was undermining his efforts to talk about his ideas. Perhaps that was true. But Weiner also seemed unable to escape ridicule. He called a 69-year-old Republican candidate "grandpa." He made fun of foreign journalists. He faked a Caribbean accent on a parade float. At the Dominican Day parade, he jogged Sixth Avenue in slim-fitting red pants while waving a flag. He got into a shouting match with a man at a Brooklyn bakery who insulted him and his wife.

It was sometimes hard to tell if loved the attention, or hated it.

He did interviews for "Meet the Press" and the "Today" show last weekend and complained that his campaign had been reduced to a "soap opera." He vowed not to stop when things got "a little tough."

On primary day, Weiner got into an argument with a woman in Harlem who ridiculed him and told him to drop out.

"You are all about you," she said.

"Get used to it," he replied.

A few hours later, the returns came in.

One last time, Anthony Weiner had asked his city for another chance. And New Yorkers told him to scram.

Then, when it was all over, as he drove away from his concession speech, he flipped a reporter the middle finger.

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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A. Weiner — both creepy AND delusional

"I'm convinced that I'm gonna be the next mayor of this city." Anthony Weiner, September 9, 2013

GOTTA GIVE Anthony-Look!-I-have-a-penis-Weiner credit for one thing: getting the rest of the country to pay attention to the New York City mayor's race. 

It was necessary to include the date for the above statement offered by A. Weiner because you might, with good reason, be tempted to think he made this prediction before his second sexting revelation. But you would be wrong. He said it yesterday. 

The primary that takes place today will determine who will be on the ballot in the fall, and Weiner is currently poling, oops, make that polling at 7%. Who in the heck are these 7%, that's what I want to know!

I'm rooting for Bill DeBlasio.





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Monday, September 9, 2013

Iowa Women's Hall of Fame

"A strong woman is a woman determined to do something others are determined not be done." — Marge Piercy, American poet, novelist and social activist

SATURDAY, August 24 was the 39th annual Iowa Women's Hall of Fame induction ceremony. I love sleeping in on a Saturday morning, but since one of my Consortium sisters, Mary Chapman, was selected as an honoree, I wanted to be there in celebration and support. I'm so glad I went! Wow, what extraordinary women!! 

Mary, Patty Judge, Barbara Mack and Deborah Turner were inducted as IWHF 2013 members, and the Christine Wilson Medal for Equality and Justice Award was awarded to Sharon Malheiro

The acceptance speeches were gracious, passionate, articulate and moving, and in Patty's case also funny. Since Barbara Mack's selection was posthumous, her husband Jim Giles spoke on her behalf, and hardly a dry eye remained. If there were any left, the last speaker, Dr. Deborah Turner who dedicated her award to her deceased sister, took care of that

Here's how each woman was written up in the program.


Sharon Malheiro, recipient of the
Christine Wilson Medal for Equality and Justice 

Sharon Malheiro has worked tirelessly for civil rights in Iowa, leading the campaign for marriage equality in the state. As a senior shareholder at the Davis Brown Law Firm, she practices in the areas of employment law, including employment discrimination, litigation and corporate employment policies and practices, as well as media and communication law. In 1991, Malheiro was appointed by the Iowa Supreme Court to serve as a member of the Task Force on Gender and Racial Bias in the Judicial System. After the completion of the Task Force’s report, she was asked to serve as a member of the Iowa Supreme Court’s Monitoring Committee, which was charged with ensuring that the recommendations made by the Task Force were implemented. In 2003, Malheiro acted as co-counsel for Alons v. Woodbury County, which upheld a district court decision dissolving the Vermont civil union of a same-sex couple. In 2009, she served as an expert witness in Varnum v. Brien, a landmark case that declared the Iowa Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. Additionally, Malheiro served as co-counsel in Gartner v. Iowa Department of Public Health, which ruled Iowa parents in same-sex marriages must be allowed to have both of their names listed on their child’s birth certificate, consistent with Iowa’s spousal presumption of parentage. Malheiro founded One Iowa in 2005, a statewide organization seeking full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Iowans, and currently chairs the One Iowa board. She also provides pro bono legal counsel for Aids Project of Central Iowa and is one of the cooperating attorneys for Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund.

Mary Chapman, my Consortium sister

Dr. Mary Louise Sconiers Chapman’s relentless dedication to underrepresented and underserved Iowans has opened the door for many to obtain previously limited resources in the areas of continued education, economic advancement and housing. Chapman joined Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) in 1990 and was the first woman to serve as an executive dean at the college. She went on to become the vice president of community and workforce partnerships. Through her work at DMACC, Chapman has created programs for women and at-risk youth, including the establishment of face-to-face college credit programs for the inmates at the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women in Mitchellville; engineered strategic partnerships to support Des Moines Public Schools’ Teacher Quality Program, which successfully placed dozens of minority teachers in Des Moines; and worked to develop the Evelyn K. Davis Center for Working Families in Des Moines, a first-of-its-kind, community-based, integrated service delivery partnership between education, business and community that connects families and individuals with education, support services, career pathways and employment. She has served dozens of community and statewide boards and other civic organizations, including chair of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission and past president of The Links, Inc. and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. She is the recipient of many awards, including the Young Women’s Resource Center Visionary Woman Award, The YWCA Women of Achievement Award, Iowa African American Hall of Fame and the Iowa Commission on the Status of African Americans’ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Achievement Award. She was born in Chancellor, Alabama, in 1948 and has lived in Des Moines for 44 years.

Patty Jean Poole Judge


Born in Ft. Madison in 1943 and raised in Albia, Iowa, Patty Jean Poole Judge began her career in Albia as a registered nurse and as a partner with her husband in a Monroe County farming operation. She purchased her parents’ real estate business in the early 1980s. As she built the business, Judge became aware of the looming farm crisis. She soon began helping hundreds of farm families and their creditors find solutions to financial troubles through the Iowa Farmer Creditor Mediation Service, which led her to be a strong advocate for rural families. Active both in her community and throughout southern Iowa, Judge was elected to the Iowa Senate in 1992 and re-elected in 1996. In 1998, she became the first woman elected Iowa Secretary of Agriculture and was re-elected in 2002. During her administration renewable energy grew to become an integral part of Iowa’s economy, new international markets for agricultural products were developed, Iowa’s wine industry began to flourish and the swine disease pseudorabies was eradicated from Iowa hog herds. In 2006, Judge was elected Iowa’s Lieutenant Governor, serving with Governor Chet Culver. During her term in office she also served the state as the Homeland Security Advisor and was instrumental in coordinating critical response operations during the historic floods of 2008. While in office she worked to create a task force designed to address issues of racial disparity in Iowa prisons, took a critical look at gender gap in wages and championed the expansion of the state’s children’s health insurance program and wellness programs. Since leaving the state capitol in January 2011, Judge has created a consulting company and has assisted many candidates in their bids for elected office.

Barbara Marie Mack

Barbara Marie Mack was a journalist, lawyer and teacher who shattered glass ceilings, inspired women and gave generously to many people throughout her life. Born in Des Moines in 1952, she put herself through college in just three years, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree with Phi Beta Kappa academic honors in journalism from Iowa State University in 1974. Long before college, Mack was at home in a newsroom. She started as a copy courier at age 16 with the Des Moines Register and Tribune, then rose to reporter after graduation, blazing a trail for Register women covering courts and crime news. From those earliest days, she was passionate about First Amendment issues. She helped found the Iowa Freedom of Information Council in 1975. Her growing interest in the law drew her to Drake University Law School, where she received her Juris Doctor in 1977. By 1982, at age 29, Mack became the Register and Tribune Company’s first female corporate secretary and general counsel, making her the highest-ranking woman in Register corporate history and its youngest executive. After overseeing the sale of the company to Gannett interests, she was of counsel at the Davis Law Firm briefly before returning to Iowa State University as a professor in journalism and mass communications. While at ISU, she taught classes ranging from basic to advanced and was a teacher, academic advisor, mentor and role model for thousands of students over a 25-year career; but Mack also made it a personal priority to tutor students who needed to pass the fundamental language usage exam required for entry into the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communications. She died in 2012, mourned by family, friends and those many students who have taken her lessons to heart. Her legacy is a generation of young people, particularly women, poised to have positive impacts on Iowa and on the world beyond.

Dr.  Deborah Turner

While growing up in Mason City, Dr. Deborah Ann Turner often heard her mother say, “There is only one race: the human race.” And her father always told her, “I never met a stranger.” Turner has lived by those words since her birth in 1950. Turner was the first African-American woman to integrate a sorority at Iowa State University, be certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the specialty of gynecologic oncology and be hired as a gynecological oncologist at the University of Nebraska, University of Iowa and Medical College of Wisconsin. In 2000, Turner moved to Des Moines and became director of gynecologic oncology at Mercy Cancer Center, where she currently continues her practice. At that time Turner decided she could have greater impact on health policies, as well as education and social justice issues, if she had a law degree. So she studied nights and weekends to obtain a Juris Doctorate degree, all the while maintaining her medical practice. In addition to making contributions in her field of medicine, Turner has made civic responsibility a high priority, including on the Iowa Board of Regents, where she served until 2005 (while simultaneously pursuing her law degree), and as vice president of the League of Women Voters of Iowa and president for the Metro League of Women Voters in Des Moines. She continues to educate as a clinical professor at Des Moines University Medical School and as adjunct clinical faculty at the University of Iowa. She has expanded her medical mission to work in Tanzania with Outreach, Inc., a nondenominational non-governmental organization out of Union, Iowa. She has found this work rewarding and humbling; however, her greatest commitment is to her children, son Daniyel and niece Danielle.

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