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Mon Jan 17, 2011 at 05:16 AM PST

"Julie Waters aka juliewolf"

by juliewolf

At some point this week, I'll be giving up the "juliewolf" moniker and switching all my blogging to my real name.  I've honestly been wanting to do this for a few years now, but haven't primarily because of the long history I have here with this user account, user ID, etc. I'm worried that I'll lose touch with Kos members in doing so, but I think it's worth the risk of that, and I suspect I'll be able to rebuild the small readership I've had given the quality of my writing as of late.

I'm writing this fairly personal piece to talk about why I've decided to stop blogging under a fake name, what risks are involved and why, at least in my case, I don't see them as "added" risks of any sort.

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Sat Jan 15, 2011 at 04:29 AM PST

I just didn't see that coming

by juliewolf

I'm spring boarding this from this excellent piece, about racism and white privilege, regarding an ongoing conflict between him and his partner regarding which deli to go to:

But finally I just confronted him. "What's up? Why don't you ever want to shop at Deli A? It's nicer. It's cleaner. I like it better."

He told me, "The owner of Deli A watches me like a hawk. He follows me around. He thinks because I'm black I'm going to shoplift."

In my teens, I was dark.  I was in the sun all the time, and I lived in mostly white parts of the Midwest.   Though I'm not a wasp by any stretch (I'm Italian and Jewish) when I was younger, I was taken for a wide variety of ethnic groups, most often from the Mideast.

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It's intensely easy for people to slip through the cracks when things get bad.  This is one of the immense values of the Greater Falls Warming Shelter, an overnight shelter that helps the homeless survive through the cold and sometimes deadly, Vermont winters. As a result, I've organized a benefit show with two other musicians, Jesse Peters and Ali Chambliss:

Here's a sample of what Jesse and I play when we jam together:

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Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 05:17 AM PST

Falling

by juliewolf

When I was young, I used to play with balance.  I started with railroad tracks, and moved on to fences and other objects: anything I could do to stabilize myself on a thin, small surface was fun to me.  I even would walk on top of guardrail fences on cliff edges.  I was that confident about it, not that I would never fall, but that if I did fall, I could control the direction of the fall.

And I was really good at falling.

There's a metaphor I like to use when I discuss mental illness with my students to try to get them a better sense of what mental illness is and how it works:

Imagine that everyone's relative state of mind exists on a plateau: the stronger, more solid the plateau, the more robust our mental state and the more able we are to cope with change.

The plateau has ladders and ropes hanging from it.  Even when we're buffeted and accosted enough to get thrown, we have ways of climbing back up and maintaining stability again.  

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Sun Jan 09, 2011 at 05:18 AM PST

In related news...

by juliewolf

Reading a piece on Think Progress about Giffords, I noticed the "related stories" list at the end.  In some cases, I followed the links.  In others, I went directly with the original story.  here's a sampling.  More after the fold:

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Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 06:09 AM PST

Whitewash

by juliewolf

So, as the Rachel Maddow show blog noted:

...the Constitution will be read in its most modern, amended form. This will prevent lawmakers from having to recite politically uncomfortable portions, notably the provisions on the "three-fifths compromise" under which slaves were counted as three-fifths of a person for the purposes of taxation and representation.

This happens just as we learn that Mark Twain is being censored as well.

I shall now paraphrase what should be a familiar phrase, and say that those who attempt to rewrite history are bound to repeat it.

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I posted this shortly after the election.  Please consider it going into the new year. --julie

This piece stems from a comment that set me on edge this morning-- I talked about Vermont maintaining its Democratic control of both houses and regaining control of the Governor's office and was told that Vermont was lucky.  Here's what I wrote:

Not Lucky.

We worked our assess off for this on multiple levels.  This was one of the most engaged and active races we've seen here since Dean's last election to Governor here.

Elections aren't about luck.  They're about extremely difficult, scrappy work and careful planning.  We have tea party groups here, but they don't have power, not because we are more left wing than the rest of the country (we are not) but because our left wing is extremely active, engaged and inspired.  

The original commenter apologized for the comment, which I respect.  This piece isn't about that or meant as a rebuke.  It just got me thinking and I feel as though the broader issue of what it takes to build movements and foster change is worth discussing.

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I originally posted this in November, and thought it was worth reposting--julie

I'm going to do something that makes people uncomfortable-- I'm going to admit to some racism that I found difficult to shake.  This was inspired by this piece by Rexy Meteorite, but it's something I've been thinking about for some time now.

So-- some twenty years ago, I found mixed-ethnicity couples difficult to understand.  It wasn't that I disliked people involved in them, but if I saw a black woman with a white man, or vice versa, I was just baffled-- I honestly could not get how that could work.

There's no question that this was racist-- not a whit of it, and I couldn't even tell you exactly where that racism came from, though I have my suspicions.  

After the fold, I'll talk about how I approached it once I realized what was going on in my head.

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I wrote this months ago, but it remains the most important thing I've written this year.  I'm sharing it again because it's worth it to do so. --julie

I came out in a small conservative college in the Midwest.  This was in the 1980's.  When I did so, I was threatened routinely and mostly anonymously.  

I am not going to dwell on this, but I will say a little about it later.  It's not the point of what I'm writing.  I'm writing about this:

It started with a Twitter  message on Sept. 19: "Roommate asked for the room till midnight. I went into molly’s room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay."

That night, the authorities say, the Rutgers University  student who sent the message used a camera in his dormitory room to stream the roommate’s intimate encounter live on the Internet.

And three days later, the roommate who had been surreptitiously broadcast — Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old freshman and an accomplished violinist — jumped from the George Washington Bridge into the Hudson River in an apparent suicide.

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Sun Dec 26, 2010 at 05:50 AM PST

Dawn Chorus: Bosque Del Apache

by juliewolf

I love Vermont.  It's one of my favorite places in New England.  It's even one of my favorite places in the country.  But there are other places with colors and patterns we pretty much never see here and from time to time it's worth a visit.  New Mexico is one such place, and specifically Bosque Del Apache.


Poll

Which?

20%14 votes
5%4 votes
11%8 votes
20%14 votes
1%1 votes
1%1 votes
14%10 votes
2%2 votes
1%1 votes
4%3 votes
1%1 votes
4%3 votes
1%1 votes
7%5 votes
1%1 votes

| 69 votes | Vote | Results

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I posted this back in April, but it bears repeating.  The new version contains some minor edits --julie

On April 7th, 2009, the Vermont legislature passed marriage equality into law, overriding a veto by soon to be ex-governor Jim Douglas and removing restrictions from marriage based on gender or sex.  

So this note is partially a thank you to the legislature for what they accomplished and a reminder that sometimes steadfastly opposing the governor when he is on the wrong side is very much the right thing to do.

It's also a plug for the Vermont Freedom to Marry Task Force, which was instrumental in the process of getting the veto overturned.

The rest of this is mostly personal, but it's not irrelevant.  Some of it I've written before.  Some of it is new.

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We begin with this:

A widely distributed e-mail written by Delgaudio for the Public Advocate about TSA, claims the pat downs are part of a "Homosexual Agenda." And he criticizes TSA's non-discrimination hiring policy.

<Jon Stewart>Go on...</Jon Stewart>

"It's the federal employee's version of the Gay Bill of Special Rights... That means the next TSA official that gives you an 'enhanced pat down' could be a practicing homosexual secretly getting pleasure from your submission," Delgaudio wrote.

Dude?  You're seriously overthinking this.

Anyway...

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