You’ve been Fluked! & other common search terms



I’ve confessed before to avidly checking the stats on my site.  You know, just so I can keep an eye on things.  It makes me feel like I know something sort of important that I can slip into dinner party conversation.  Believe me, we go to lots of dinner parties so I need to be armed with interesting tidbits.  For some reason, people’s eyes tend to glaze over or they excuse themselves with a hairball-coughing fit when I explain that I’m a poet and a housewife.  Go figure.

But I digress.  I was checking my site stats last night before heading off to bed and noticed that people had found my site when searching the name “Amir Hekmati.”  I wrote about Hekmati back in January. Hekmati is the former Marine who was arrested in Iran for being a spy and sentenced to death.  Hekmati holds dual American-Iranian citizenship and had made his first trip to Iran over the summer to visit family.  For more of Hekmati’s story, check out the website his family has created.

My heart dropped when I saw Hekmati’s name come up in the search engine terms.  So I quickly Googled and the news is potentially good.  He’s being given a new trial.  There aren’t a lot of details, but then again, we are talking about Iran.  So maybe there’s hope that Hekmati will be home soon.

This got me thinking that I should check in on a couple of other stories as well.

The Girl Scouts have been in the news again lately.  The Girl Scouts celebrate their 100th anniversary on March 12th.  They’ll have to hold the party without Indiana Rep. Bob Morris though.  Morris decided not to sign a resolution congratulating the Girl Scouts for their milestone.  Instead, he condemned them for being a tactical arm of Planned Parenthood and a radicalized organization seeking to destroy American values through promotion of homosexuality and abortion.  Yeah maybe, but what’s weird is that his daughters were Girl Scouts at the time he made these comments.  Morris has since apologized for his comments and he’s been openly ridiculed in the Indiana House (someone brought in the Thin Mints).  His daughters are no longer Girl Scouts.  He’s stated that for him and his family “abortion is the biggest evil of our time.”

Remember those words: abortion…biggest evil…of our time. Now we’re going to take a quick look at some of today’s headlines.  Here are two from the NY Times front page: World Powers Agree to Resume Nuclear Talks With Iran & Obama Tells G.O.P. Critics War With Iran Is ‘Not a Game.’
From The Guardian: “Syria has again refused to allow aid into the destroyed suburb of Homs amid mounting evidence of human rights abuses, including the torture of victims at a hospital inside the city.”
From the BBC: Priests held in sex abuse inquiry.

I don’t need to say anything else, right?

And in following up on the GOP and birth control, there’s a lot of great material to tackle with Rush and his rude comments to Sandra Fluke.  But my soapbox is out being polished so I’ll keep it to this–Let’s introduce a new verb into colloquial speech.  “You’ve been Fluked!”  As in, you’ve made such an outrageous and blatantly false statement that even your advertisers have left you.  Or closer to the wording of such definitions in one of my favorite resources,–You said some f–k’d up s–t and now you got ditched.

Incidentally, Urban Dictionary defines a slut as “a woman with the morals of a man.”  Do you suppose that’s what Rush meant?



Thin Mints Anyone? The Girl Scouts Controversy

Girl ScoutsI was a Girl Scout for a while, earned some badges and made a paper maiche globe in our den as part of some project I can’t remember.  It was the 70’s in South Jersey.  My mother experienced the often contentious problem of finding a leader for the troop.  (Thanks mom!  She bit the bullet.)  I dropped out because I just didn’t dig uniforms and probably decided  that I just couldn’t wear that goody-two-shoes green color.  My connection with the scouts didn’t run very deep, but that was as close as we got to controversy.

Last May I wrote about the Volanski sisters and their public outcry over what they’ve called the GSUSA’s pro-choice, radical feminist agenda.  Their website Speak Now Girl Scouts is worth checking out just for some good suggestions on strong women role models for our kids.  The list of women the Volanski sisters dismiss is a Who’s Who of women movers and shakers.

The Girl Scouts are in the news again for their “radical agenda.”  As cookie sales kick off, a Girl Scout from Ventura county has released a video condemning the GSUSA for allowing transgender children into the organization.  She’s calling for a boycott of Girl Scout cookies and has started a website called Honest Girl Scouts that details the evils of the GSUSA.  (She could have saved herself time by just promoting the Speak Now Girl Scouts site.)  Here’s the video:

Back in October, a Colorado-based troop admitted a 7 year old transgender child into their troop after an initial rejection.  Here’s an excerpt from the GSUSA statement:

“Girl Scouts is an inclusive organization and we accept all girls in Kindergarten through 12th grade as members.  If a child identifies as a girl and the child’s family presents her as a girl, Girl Scouts of Colorado welcomes her as a Girl Scout.”

There’s been some outrage over this and jokes and now the video/boycott.  I don’t think the boycott will be very successful.  To my mind, the Girl Scouts are setting an example of inclusiveness that’s fitting given the consistent role they play in many girls lives.  There’s more to it than selling cookies once a year or earning badges for camping.

As I think about this story, I try to imagine being born as a boy and knowing by the young age of 7 that I am truly a girl.  What does that mean at age 7?  I jump to gender stereotypes–girls play with dolls, wear dresses, like to dress up and wear jewelry.  But then I admonish myself for caving in to stereotypes and think of my daughter Izzy.  She spent more time climbing trees, playing in the mud and digging in the garden at that age than she ever spent playing with dolls.  What makes a girl, a girl? And conversely, what makes a boy?

How much do Bobby Montoya and other transgender children think about being an adult?  For Bobby, born with male parts in spite of being female, does the idea of being a parent enter into the equation?  Sex, kissing, fashion, thought patterns, feelings, child bearing–what makes a woman?  What are the essential elements that Bobby has identified?

I recognize and appreciate the differences between women and men.  I’m not always comfortable listing these differences because it’s so very easy to slip into generalizations and stereotypes.  We who lived through the era of Political Correctness were well warned to tread lightly or risk ire.  And that all went too far.  Hopefully we’re reaching more of an equilibrium with diversity and respecting differences, but there are still empty buzzwords, racism and discrimination to be dealt with daily.  I don’t claim to have the answers or be able to fully explore this issue here.

I do want to express my gratitude to the GSUSA for teaching girls (and their parents) about the strength girls have.  For guiding girls through hands on, community building experiences where they learn about themselves, others and the world around them.  I’m grateful that the GSUSA has provided age-appropriate sex education, a place for girls to express themselves and taught them about philanthropy, discipline and self-discovery.  The GSUSA has grown with our society and its relevant social issues.  They worked with GLAAD on this issue.  There’s a real opportunity for education with Bobby Montoya’s story.  While many of us may not encounter a transgender child and the subsequent issues, I can’t help but think that stories like this encourage us all to think and feel our way out of whatever narrow boxes we’ve constructed about “the way things should be.”

Taylor, the girl in the video, speaks clearly and uses rhetoric from Girl Scout literature in building her case against the GSUSA.  Unfortunately, she’s missed one key lesson that runs through the Girl Scouts, religions, family and school–empathy.  For any Girl Scouts who knock on my door, I’ll take 5 boxes of Thin Mints and a couple Samoas.




Girl Scouts’ Hidden Agenda?

Comments are flying on The Daily Beast today!  Alizah Salario’s piece entitled, Why Are Pro-Lifers Targeting the Girl Scouts? has raised a storm of reader comments.  Salario writes about Speak Now Girl Scouts, a website created by two teenagers who grew disenchanted with the Girl Scouts claiming that the GSUSA has a radical feminist, pro-choice agenda.  Tess and Sydney Volanski are sisters who left the Girl Scouts in March 2010.  I took this quote from their website:

Will we stand for our beliefs, for the dignity of life, the sanctity of marriage, modesty, purity? Or will we remain true to Girl Scouts? We cannot see any way to truly do both.

After reading Salario’s article, I checked out the Volanski’s website.  It’s a fine example of how to lift things out of context to emphasize a point.  The girls are upset that GSUSA issues a statement of neutrality on abortion rights, but then has affiliated itself with Planned Parenthood.  I’ve just spent a good portion of the last hour looking for an official program or relationship between the two groups.  The majority of what I found on Google is from anti-choice, religious groups criticizing the Girl Scouts over a Planned Parenthood pamphlet that was present at a UN conference last year, but not specifically distributed to the Girl Scouts in attendance.

Here’s Kathy Cloninger, CEO for Girl Scouts:

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Planned Parenthood lands in the news on a regular basis.  They are regularly a target of the right wing.  With their high profile on controversial issues, it’s easy to forget that Planned Parenthood also provides age-appropriate information for teens about sexuality, reproduction and birth control.  If you look on their website, there’s even a lengthy discussion of abstinence and strategies for maintaining that choice.

Aside from the pro-choice stance the Girl Scouts is accused of promoting, the Volanski’s also take umbrage at the choice of strong women the USGSA has included in their literature.  Mary Oliver is probably the best selling and one of the best known poets in America, but she’s a lesbian so the Volanski’s have deemed her an inappropriate role model.  Same for the Indigo Girls and Billie Jean King.  But here’s my favorite (quoted from the Volanski’s website):

Barbara Jordan: member of House of Representatives from 1973 to 1979, first black woman to deliver keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in 1976, supported Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 requiring banks to lend to poor and minority communities, had same sex partner of more than 20 years named Nancy Earl.

Sigh.  Sydney and Tess Volanski are in their early high school years.   At ages 15 & 16, they’ve publicly judged and dismissed women who have spent their lives helping others, speaking out against injustice and cultivating their talents.  Courage, discipline, creativity, integrity and intelligence are cast aside.  What do these girls know?  They are teenagers learning about the world.  They should be struggling with their beliefs, morality and questions of human dignity.  Creating and promoting a website that lists distortions from Girl Scout literature doesn’t count as actively engaging in that struggle. 

The Volanski’s object to this poem by Anna Swir (1909 – 1984), poet and member of the Polish Resistance, because some of Swir’s poetry deals with motherhood, the female body and sensuality.

The Same Inside

Walking to your place for a love fest
I saw at a street corner
an old beggar women.
I took her hand,
kissed her delicate cheek,
we talked, she was
the same inside as I am,
from the same kind,
I sensed this instantly
as a dog knows by scent
another dog.
I gave her money,
I could not part from her.
After all, one needs
someone who is close.
And then I no longer knew
why I was walking to your place.

I think the Volanski girls need a little coaching on how to read a good poem.  At least that would be one place to start…