Yesterday I read Gene Nichol’s great piece in the N&O about poverty in North Carolina. But, don’t worry, I don’t want to talk about that! I want to touch on the very first comment on the piece, which reads simply: “birth control.” Cryptic, yeah? I can only assume it’s offered in the same spirit with which a woman of my acquaintance (I swear, that’s all) told me that the birth control implant should be “given when people sign up for welfare.” I wish I could tell you that I replied brightly, “Free birth control sounds great!” Or, “I don’t think it’ll do much for the gents!” Or, even, “Huh?” The sad truth is that I sat there staring dumbly, wondering to myself who in the Sam Hell could think a Prius driver from Chapel Hill would be receptive to welfare mom smackdowns? People! Read More


It’s so nice to be back among you, posting again. Or, in my mother-in-law’s words, sending my comments to the Internet. (Congratulations, you’re the whole internet now!) I’ve been in a bit of funk about the state of things lately. When we have elections and we can’t agree on the issues, I get a bit worried. I know we don’t all agree on gun control, for instance, but it turns out that it’s entirely possible to deny that gun violence is even a problem in our country. Likewise, climate change. It seems some people still think it’s either a) a hoax, or b) not caused by human activity if it is real, which makes me wonder how we’ll ever get serious about changing it. This is not even to speak of the “women’s issues” like contraception and abortion. Silly me thought those were for-real economic matters that affect the whole nation, but obviously they’re just for girls. Economics is for big, strong men and a lot of them are wondering why us gals can’t shut up about our hoo-hoos. Finally, even in the middle of a meningitis outbreak that, hello, demonstrates the crucial need for national and state inspectors, we’re still talking about how “government” is “too big.” I thought government comprised a lot of different people doing a wide variety of important work, but, no, it’s just a thing that provides too many jobs to people who don’t deserve them. Is that right? I’ve never been real clear on the whole philosophy. Read More


Hey, Pulsies! I’m sorry I’ve been gone so long. Where to start with the excuses? I turned 40 – an unspecified number of years ago – and was stunned by my precipitous decline. Suddenly the skin on my legs loosened, like a pair of stretched out stockings, and started pooling around my ankles. Seriously. Then my knees, which had long crackled charmingly on staircases, expressed their general displeasure more volubly, eventually requiring surgery. Plus there were deaths in the family, suspensions and an expulsion (ADHD is a gift that just keeps giving!), and, let’s face it, “Dallas” reboots don’t watch themselves. Alls I’m saying is, I was really busy.

Now, let’s talk about wimmin. Specifically, the state of gyno-North Carolinians. We’re poorer, less insured, paid less, and underrepresented in the Legislature. WOOOT! Give it up for the ladies! There has been progress: teen pregnancy rates are down, infant mortality is down (though still higher than the nation as a whole), educational achievements are up, and there are more women in “managerial and professional occupations” than two decades ago. Overall, women in North Carolina are faring well. However, if you’re a single mother, especially a poor one, you’re not doing so hot. Thank God you have me to tell you that, you might have been too busy to notice on your own. Read More


Hi, folks! Don’t y’all miss that guy? I won’t ask if you missed me, that’s tacky. I’m moved to write today by one of the more unbelievable flubs I’ve witnessed in local news history. Such is the state of local television journalism that I’m reduced to indignation every time I happen to catch some late local news, but indignation is so tired and sharing it so common now that everyone sounds like Julia Sugarbaker all the time. Nevertheless, I must share last night’s travesty with you, my Pulsies. Naturally, our man Johnny led the 11:00 news, as well he might, and the trusted anchor introduced a reporter who “has been covering this story for two years.” There was a lot of blah-blah about the indictment over numerous shots of Edwards, accompanied by his oldest daughter, arriving at and leaving the federal courthouse in Winston Salem. Then there was some chat with a former federal prosecutor that did nothing to illuminate the rather intricate questions of campaign finance law on which the case will hang. Finally, the experienced reporter so well versed in the case summed up by noting that we had seen our former senator accompanied by his oldest daughter, Cate, “and he has two younger children as well.”

Just take a moment with that, people, if you need it. Because as I recalled instantly (such is my perspicacity) he has THREE younger children, one of whom is pretty central to the case. Can a sentient human really have spent two years following this matter without realizing that Edwards had a child with his mistress and gallantly denied it on network television? I’m pretty sure nothing could be as callous as having your father publicly deny you, but must reporters perpetuate his cold up-ness? Seriously, Quinn is a person who exists. She is every bit as much John Edwards’s child as the children born within his marriage. Someday, more’s the pity, she’s going to be reading and watching all this because who wouldn’t? She deserves to be counted.

I guess you could argue that it was just a slip. That no one on the program appeared to notice. Even though they’re alleged journalists. But I’m not buying it. Are we supposed to be so grateful that they led with an actual story, one that didn’t involve violence, that we’ll overlook the shoddiness of the reportage? Probably, in which case I have to wonder why you bother to have a news program at all. Why not just show sports and weather on the TV and keep a tiny corner of the website for news that citizens might need to know in order to participate fully in their glorious democracy. Just a thought.


It seems like just yesterday that I read this in the New Yorker:

Carl Paladino, the Republican gubernatorial candidate in New York, … described gay-pride parades as ‘disgusting’; denounced his rival, Andrew Cuomo, for taking his children, aged twelve and fifteen, to the gay-pride parade in New York City; and declared his hostility to same-sex marriage. You don’t have to argue for any kind of equivalency between, say, the lynching of three gay men and the intemperate remarks of a politician to acknowledge that, in the use of a word like ‘disgusting,’ something ugly and fundamental is being revealed, the id in the ideology.”

That’s probably because I did read it yesterday. Thanks to the heroic properties of the fish oil and green tea I imbibe daily, I can retain information that long. All New Agery aside, I thought of it when I read the first comment on the N&O’s report that a Raleigh man has been arrested on child porn charges. Courtesy of CityofOaksBoy, here it is in its glorious entirety:

Hey, why arrest this guy? He was just born that way. Just let him join the army.”

On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog (don’t ask, don’t tell!), but they sure know when you’re an ignorant bigot. Equating homosexuality with sexual predation of children is foolish and cruel. It both demeans gays and makes light of the suffering of children forced into sexual acts. Not only that, but the Vatican got there first. Lucky for us, though, part of CityofOaksBoy’s problem is that he’s getting lonely in his sad prejudice. As the New Yorker goes on to point out:

[T]here is plenty of evidence that Paladino-like sentiments are in eclipse. … Sympathy for the right to marry and other civil rights tends to go along with a growing acceptance of the proposition that homosexuality is not a choice but something close to inborn, making it more like race or gender and less like the breezy life-style ‘option’ that Paladino’s remarks suggest.”

While that may bother some Internet commenters, it’s the dawn of a better day for the rest of us.