Margaret Brent: First American Woman to Request the Right to Vote Tuesday, Dec 30 2008 

  Margaret Brent emigrated to Maryland at the age of 37.  She never married, thus becoming a thriving businesswoman and landowner.   Upon the death of Governor Calvert, the Proprietor of Maryland, Margaret–not her brother Giles–was named executor of his affairs and charged with handling his debts, including those to soldiers under his command.

   She went to the General Assembly, knowing that they wished to repeal the tobacco tax, probably hoping that with her vote and voice she could convince the colony to pay the soldiers who protected them with the tobacco tax.  When she was denied a vote, she publicly protested all proceedings that took place.

 Came Mrs Margarett Brent and requested to have vote in the
howse for her selfe and voyce allso for that att the last Court
3d Jan: it was ordered that the said Mrs Brent was to be lookd
uppon and received as his Lps Attorney. The Gour denyed
that the sd Mrs Brent should have any uote in the howse. And
the sd Mrs Brent protested agst all proceedings in this pfit
Assembly, unlesse shee may be pnt. and have vote as aforesd

  Using her authority as the executor for Governor Calvert, Margaret then made a bold move: she began selling off cattle to pay the soldiers and prevent an uprising.  Lord Baltimore objected, but the General Assembly stuck up for her and wrote this letter as commendation:

We do Verily Believe and in Conscience report that it was better for the Collonys safety at that time in her hands than in any mans else in the whole Province… for the Soldiers would never have treated any other with that Civility and respect and though they were even ready at several times to run into mutiny yet she still pacified them… She rather deserved favour and thanks from your Honour for her so much Concurring to the publick safety then to be justly liable to… bitter invectives.

  Historians speculate that Lord Baltimore never forgave her over the cattle, and thus she moved to Virginia,  She acquired a large tract of land in Virginia, which she named “Peace” and lived there until her death in 1671.



Women’s History Sunday, Dec 28 2008 

As some PUMAs are beginning to work on a women’s history curricula, I thought I’d provide some really good links to women’s history.  Gale is a resource that our school district recommends, and has a wealth of activities for use in the classroom:

This website provides links to primary sources and secondary sources.  When a person does research, it is always best to go back to the primary sources:

This website links to a wide variety of sources by subject, including the history of gender construction and feminism:

This website chronicles LGBT history:

Here is the National Women’s History Project:

Ruth and Naomi: A Family Unprotected by Proposition H8 Wednesday, Dec 24 2008 

Do not press me to abandon you,

To turn back from following you.

Wherever you go, I shall go.

And wherever you find rest, so shall I.

Your people shall be my people,

And your G-d shall be my G-d.

Where you die, I shall die,

And there I shall be buried.

Thus may Adonai do to me,

And thus may Adonai add

If even death will separate me from you.

(Ruth 1:16-17)

      There are those that would use a religious argument against Proposition 8, but right above you, you have an example directly from the Book of Ruth (English translation of course) where Ruth pledges a lifelong commitment to Naomi.  Lesbian midrash views Ruth’s declaration as the love of two women who overcome differing faiths and differing generations to spend their lives together.

“A Jewish lesbian midrash on Ruth requires that we read between the lines of the text and imagine Ruth’s words as a manifestation of her sexual desire for Naomi.” (Alpert, Like Bread on the Seder Plate)

     While many people view religious texts as written in stone, they forget that for centuries, Rabbis and scholars have interpreted the intent of the words in those religious texts and have certainly not agreed on everything.  Many words are open to interpretation, and sadly, many of those interpretations have been used to fuel hate against gays and lesbians.  Many of these interpretations have also been used to hold back women from becoming Rabbis…when the very first female “Rabbi” has been viewed to be Sarah, Abraham’s wife, or Miriam, Moses’ sister.

      Rebecca Alpert, a lesbian Rabbi, does a fine job of explaining the lesbian midrash, especially of the so-called “troubling texts” in the Torah in her book, “Like Bread on the Seder Plate.”  To give a taste of what is in her book– as I believe that it is worthwhile reading for everyone, not just Jews, who have concerns about “the Old Testament” or the Torah’s views on homosexuality–she goes into detail on the prohibition read on Yom Kippur from Leviticus, which has been interpreted from the Hebrew by many to state, “Do not lie with a male as one lies with a woman; it is an abomination” Leviticus 18:22.

“Perhaps the text is suggesting that any heterosexual man who wants to experiment sexually with ‘lying with a man’ should consider that such a ‘fling’ might be hurtful to his current partner and should therefore refrain from this action.  Another contemporary commentator, Yehuda ben Ari, focuses his comments on the phrase “as with a woman” suggesting that the text is only trying to tell us not to make love to a male as if he were a female-that is to say, gay love and straight love are indeed different.  One should not be confused with the other, because the acts do not evoke the same feelings or fulfill the same commandments.”

      She goes into depth about the interpretation of the word ‘to’evah’ which has been interpreted to mean ‘abomination’.  Again, I have provided only a snippet:

“Biblical criticism can explain why homosexual acts were considered to’evah (abomination) from a different perspective, by examining parallel linguistic uses of the word.  ‘To’evah’ may be a technical term used to refer to a forbidden idolatrous act.  From this linguistic understanding it is possible to conclude that the references in Leviticus are specific to cultic practices of homosexuality and not to sexual relationships as we know them today.  This explanation is supported by reference to the other uses of the term ‘to’evah’, which often refers to ritual violations.”

      I am very thankful to be a member of a Reconstructionist synagogue, which prefers the interpretation that monogamy is far more important and sacred than heterosexuality.  Reconstructionist and Reform Judaism both will perform same sex marriages for just this reason.

      Last I checked, America is about separation of church and state, which is something Proposition 8 violates.

      For those who are interested in this amazing book,

Chanukah: A Time of Civil Rights Sunday, Dec 21 2008 

  This holiday season, as part of the celebration of Chanukah, Jews tell the story of the Maccabees.  However, we often leave out the fact that some Jews wanted to assimilate and give up their freedom.  Chanukah was a story about civil war just as much as it was a fight against oppressive tyrants.

There are really two Hanukkah stories — the one we tell our children, and the one they eventually learn. It’s true that Hanukkah is a celebration of the Jewish people’s victory over Syrian-Hellenist oppressors forcing them to assimilate around 168 B.C. The popular hero of the story, Judah Maccabee, hid in the hills for four years with a small band of brothers and fellow Jews to emerge victorious against a far larger Syrian army. The Jews reclaimed their holy Temple, then lit their eternal flame with a tiny spot of olive oil that they believed was enough for just one day. The oil burned, miraculously, for eight days, hence the eight-day holiday. What is often lost in the retelling is that Hanukkah is also a story of civil war. Many Jews wanted to assimilate and much Jewish blood was shed by fellow Jews. If nothing else, this back story helps us more clearly understand the sacrifices made.

  The story of Chanukah gives us hope in these dark times of oppression.  On the side of the Syrians, we have the Religious Right.  On the side of Assimilation, we have the Obots.  Above all, on the side of the Maccabees, we have the PUMAs.  We are the ones who won’t take it anymore.  We won’t accept the “selected” President-elect.  We won’t accept misogyny in any form.  We won’t accept being 2nd class citizens.  The PUMAs, like the Maccabees, are the ones who will be seen as heroes for fighting for what we believe in several centuries down the road.

  Chanukah is a time for “miracles”.  However, the real lesson behind Chanukah is that to get a miracle, you have to be willing to take a stand. 

Speaking of Words… Friday, Dec 19 2008 

    The media has fallen to a new low: “Man in shotgun case barred from contacting ill wife” is the latest in the list of examples of shoddy, biased reporting.  Do they mention he had intended to shoot his “ill wife”?  Or the entire family?  Of course not.  Do they mention his long history of violence, including taking a hammer to his “ill wife”‘s head in June 2008 where he earned a whopping 3 months of jail time?  Yes, she was dying of ovarian cancer then as well.  How did his “ill wife” survive?  A cell phone text message to some male relatives who happened to be nearby.

   Instead of questioning the system–which allows violent crime offenders back out on the streets just because the person they attacked happened to be a family member, the news outlets try to make the attacker look like a “victim”.  It’s pathetic.  Before you think that this is the only article like this, I’ve found at least 7 others: A woman was in critical condition Tuesday after being shot in the face during an argument between two estranged lovers the evening before, according to police–which makes it sound like a simple lovers’ quarrel that got out of hand; Bergen County’s prosecutor says a Hackensack woman is in critical condition after she was shot in the face by an ex-boyfriend–which doesn’t even realize that it was not her ex-boyfriend, but her brother-in-law;  Lodi man accused of shooting sister-in-law–which implies that he wasn’t caught with a gun in hand at the scene.  “Accused” implies there is a  shadow of a doubt that he might be innocent.  There is none; Tempers flared between a woman and her estranged boyfriend in Lodi last night leading to a shooting that critically injured the woman’s sister–again trying to make it sound like a simple lovers’ quarrel; Bergen County’s prosecutor says a Hackensack woman is in critical condition after she was shot in the face by an ex-boyfriend.–again, brother-in-law, not ex-boyfriend; He allegedly returned to Richardson’s home that evening with a loaded shotgun, Molinelli said yesterday–again, implies that there is a shadow of doubt of innocence; The Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office says a Hackensack woman is in critical condition after being shot in the face by her brother-in-law.–now, this article is the most objective, but again does not report on the history of the case.

   Is the media trying to quell a public outcry against a system which allows repeat violent offenders out on the streets?  Sure, prisons are overcrowded, but violent offenders need to be there.  I’ve seen two very logical ideas for legislation come out of this, and I’m sure there are many others.  One being the use of a GPS as an alert system for restraining order violations.  Another being barring those with histories of domestic violence from owning guns–and this is from someone who accepts hunting deer.  However, the only way we will have solutions to such horrible problems is if the media reports these problems accurately and without bias.

  See Betty Jean’s full story here:   She is one of the few PUMAs that I have gotten to meet in person, and believe me, this is a tragedy–not just that it happened, but the way it is being swept under the rug.

Dyke: What’s in a Word? Thursday, Dec 18 2008 

     One of my students broke my heart today.  She asked me, “doesn’t it bother you when people say things?  People call me a dyke because I used to be one and it hurt.”  In our tiny little community in rural Pennsylvania, being different in any way is cause for verbal taunts.  Bigotry runs rampant despite teachers’ attempts to quell it because the students receive the message at home that bigotry is acceptable.  Teachers are limited at every turn by the outcry of “promoting a homosexual agenda” when all we want is for our children to see school as a safe place.  According to the 2003 National School Climate Survey:

An overwhelming majority (92 percent) of GLBTQ students reported frequently hearing homophobic slurs, such as ‘faggot,’ ‘dyke,’ or ‘that’s so gay.’ Moreover, schools’ faculty and staff contributed to the problem by either making such comments themselves or failing to intervene when they overheard such remarks.

  As someone who works in the public schools, I hear these words many times a day.  Why is the overwhelming use of these words a problem? 

1) In a recent survey, 33 percent of gay, lesbian, and bisexual high school students reported attempting suicide in the previous year, compared to eight percent of their heterosexual peers;  in another study, gay and bisexual males were nearly four times more likely to attempt suicide than were their straight peers.  GLBTQ youth often internalize negative societal messages regarding sexual orientation and suffer from self-hatred as well as from social and emotional isolation. They may use substances to manage stigma and shame, to deny same-sex sexual feelings, and/or as a defense against ridicule and violence.

2)  Thirty-nine percent of gay, lesbian, and bisexual students and 55 percent of transgender students reported having been shoved or pushed. Transgender youth were about one-third more likely to suffer physical harassment on account of their gender expression than were gay, lesbian, and bisexual students on account of their sexual orientation.

  In other words, verbal harrassment leads to violence, either through physical attacks or attempts at suicide.  This is the same progression that occurs with domestic violence.  Words matter.  Calling someone a “dyke” or a “faggot” is never acceptable.  So, why would many adults not comment about hearing these words?

Many adults  fear discrimination, job loss, and abuse if they openly support GLBTQ youth.

  Just look at the harrassment the future Secretary of Education has endured for suggesting the creation of an GLBT friendly high school (bigots not welcome).  Note that he was not recommending segregation, just tolerance and the ability of teachers to make these students feel safe.  Yet, there was a huge public outcry.

  Thus far, I have only addressed the first issue: “People called me a dyke”; the second issue is the “I used to be one”.  As most of us know, your sexual orientation doesn’t just magically change overnight.  People simply go into the closet or participate in risky behaviors trying to “prove” their heterosexuality.

In one study of 15- to 22-year-old men who have sex with men, 23 percent reported having had at least five male sex partners in the past six months and 41 percent reported unprotected anal sex. Seventeen percent of men of mixed race/ethnicity and black background were HIV-infected, as were 14 percent of African Americans/blacks, 13 percent of men of mixed race/ethnicity, and seven percent of Hispanics. HIV prevalence among whites and Asian Americans was three percent each.

In one study, nearly 17 percent of bisexual women reported unprotected vaginal or anal sex with a man during the last two months.

   The quandary I ran into: how can I respond to such a comment sensitively and still maintain my job?  I chose to sidestep the issue and say that people always say things, but that you can’t let them get to you and that it is different in big cities than it is in small towns.  I feel like I didn’t do enough.

   I protest for equal rights so that our children will feel safe and grow up in a climate of love rather than hate.  People need to stop hiding behind their religion as an excuse for bigotry because that is all it is: an excuse.

  Some helpful websites for those GLBT youth:


   Advocates for Youth (including pamphlets like, “I think I might be a lesbian”):

Press Conference Sunday, Dec 14 2008 

The Alan Keyes Legal Team will hold a press conference tomorrow Mon. 12-15-08 12:30 PM at the CA State Capitol in Sacramento, CA. Please help spread. Attendence is needed for media coverage. Official Info is as follows:

Location: CA State Capitol – Corner of “L” and 11th Streets, Sacramento, CA 12:30 PM

1. Attend
2. Bring signs with out sticks.
3. Bring your birth certificate and show it to the media.

Official Press Release Follows:

RE: AIP/Electoral College Capitol Press Conference set for Monday

For Immediate Release – Event Notice – Press Conference

Time: Mon 12-15-08, 12:30 PM
Place: California State Capitol, Sacramento California at the Corner of “L” and 11th Streets

Topic: Unlawful Occupation of Presidency and Invalid Electoral College Process

Conference Contact: Tony Andrade, 916-230-2123;
Media Contact: Markham Robinson, State Chairman, American Independent Party; Party HQ 707-359-4884 Home: 707-448-7062; Office: 707-451-8985; Temp Cell: 707-761-3009; Fax: 707-222-6040

Questions from Press following statement.

Questions from Press following statement.

The American Independent Party insists that Barack Obama prove that he is a “Natural born” American citizen. There is no personal testimony that Obama was born in Hawaii as there is that he was born in Mombasa District, now part of Kenya. The burden of proof is on Obama.

Hawaii’s unique laws allow for birth certificates to indicate foreign birth. Is that what his indicates? We have not seen it. Instead of spending tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars resisting its production and even defying a court order to do so, why not spend the $12 to produce a copy for us all to examine? Is the answer, just possibly, that Barack Obama is afraid of what it would reveal?

Similar doubts concerning possible Indonesian citizenship exist. These, too, urgently need to be resolved.

What is about to occur in the State Capitol is fatally flawed in three ways:

1. The likely result is that a man whose qualifications to assume the office of the President are quite dubious will receive our California Electoral College vote because of a judicial disinclination to give the People their right to be heard.

2. Electors apparently not individually nominated by Democratic Congressional Candidates as required by the California Election code will vote in the Electoral College.

3. Electors will be constrained to vote as a block rather than individually as is their right and duty according to procedures set down in the Constitution and will thereby deprive California of a legitimate voice in the Electoral College.

On all these grounds and more, I fear greatly for our People. Unlawful occupation of the Office of the President means no new valid legislation. No valid nominations, including to the Supreme Court. No valid Executive Orders. No lawful commands as Commander in Chief.

Such a situation paralyzes legitimate government. The longer the imposture is maintained, the worse it becomes. Reliance upon eventually voided legislation is extremely perilous. Reliance upon the actions of appointees unlawfully occupying offices will prove equally disastrous. But worse is the debilitating distrust of our democratic processes that will ensue. Our democratic system depends upon trust. As Obama swears to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution, if he thereby takes office unlawfully, he is actually attacking it. This puts our entire Constitutional order in peril and may destroy the Republic.

Law Office of Gary G Kreep, Esq., Representing Alan Keyes, Wiley Drake and Markham Robinson
932 D St. Suite 2, Ramona CA 92065
Office: 760-787-9907; Cell: 760-803-4029

Action Item: Election Watch Sunday, Dec 14 2008 

Why is Early Voting a Problem?

  First of all, the biggest problem with early voting is that people could vote more than once–early and on election day.  Second, early voting makes it difficult to ensure that voters are not intimidated or harrassed outside the polling place and that election materials are not placed in voting booths.  ACORN workers targeted drunk college students for registration in PA: what would stop them from “helping” these drunk college students vote?

And The Chaos Continues…

Here are a few stories that have gone under the radar in the last few hours:

In Georgia, it appears that 100,000 residents who are registered to vote in their own state are also registered to vote in either Ohio or Florida, both key swing states (Georgia isn’t). Also in Georgia, it appears that three people who cast early ballots voted twice. The Secretary of State has launched an investigation.

Problems continue in Pennsylvania as it election materials have been found inside voting booths in Philadelphia.

And in Louisiana, names of people who registered through the Baton Rouge Department of Motor Vehicles are not showing up on the voter registration lists.

  So, why make voter fraud easier?  “Shorter lines”.  Voting is important enough for most people who follow the news to wait in those “long” lines.  Why not just increase the number of polling locations?  Oh, yeah, money: and how much money would it cost to pay the poll workers to man the polls for early voting?

Pa. lawmakers want to allow early voting


PITTSBURGH (AP) Several state lawmakers plan to introduce legislation that would allow voters to cast their ballots before elections, a move that proponents say would make it more convenient to vote and help avoid long lines at the polls.

”We want to make it more flexible for working families, for senior citizens, and for avoiding long lines on Election Day,” said Rep. Eugene DePasquale, D-York. ”We need to make it easier for qualified voters to vote in Pennsylvania.”

Early voting is allowed in more than 30 other states, including Arizona, California, Colorado and North Carolina.

Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Centre, said early voting in other states helped ease lines in the last presidential election.

”Advance voting has grown in nationwide popularity and value,” he said. ”Unfortunately, in Pennsylvania, while absentee ballots are permitted under a limited set of circumstances, advance voting is not an option. We should make voting more convenient for those whose schedule or circumstances present a challenge to getting to the polls on Election Day.”

Absentee ballots are available to voters who will be of town, incapacitated, or hospitalized on Election Day.

Rep. Mike McGeehan, D-Philadelphia, plans to sponsor a related bill that would expand absentee ballots.

Charlie Gerow, a political consultant with Harrisburg-based Quantum Communications, said he thinks early voting will grow in popularity. But he said it carries potential drawbacks if done too early.

”Suppose an important issue developed late in a campaign, one that would impact the voting, such as a financial meltdown occurring just before an election, and people had already voted,” he said.

Find your representatives at with just your zip code.  You can also find their contact information as well.

Representative Scott Conklin:
Capitol Address
101B East Wing
Post Office Box 202077
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2077
Phone: 717-787-9473
Fax: 717-780-4764
Representative Eugene DePasquale:
Capitol Address
111A East Wing
Post Office Box 202095
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2095
Phone: 717-787-7514
Fax: 717-780-4765
Representative Mike McGeehan:
Capitol Address
221 Irvis Office Building
Post Office Box 202173
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2173
Phone: 717-772-4029
Fax: 717-787-4923

Flashback: Sexism is still ALIVE in 2008 Thursday, Dec 11 2008 

     TV addressed sexism even in th 80s.  Degrassi, which has a reputation for “going there” put sexism on the forefront in the “Censored” episode of Degrassi Junior High.

Alexa: L.D., they’re only pictures.

L.D.: No, it’s how people look at women.  It’s important.  If we don’t battle sexism, who will?

    So, are “pictures” a problem?  Absolutely.  Just as the image of feeding beer to a cardboard cutout is disturbing.  Women’s rights faded in importance for awhile, but this election season caused many women to wake up to the sexism we currently face.  If women and enlightened men work together, this guy, Jon Favreau, would be fired for his disgusting facebook already.  In case you were wondering, yes, the picture is still up on his Facebook, clearly nullifying any “apology”.

Speak Out:

Email Valerie Jarrett Co-Chair Transition
Call Transition Headquarters:
202-540-3000 press option # 2 for a live person
Email Media:;;;;;;;;; ; ;;;;

Election Promises or The Real Deal: Sarah Palin Wednesday, Dec 10 2008 

Governor Palin announced her health priorities for Alaska and is continuing to work on them…seems her focus on special needs children was not a campaign stunt after all. (Note the sarcasm: I never believed it was a campaign stunt unlike my colleagues)  Her ability to work with foreign companies and knowledge of energy is evidenced by her most recent funding of a natural gas pipeline.  Governor Palin remains popular to the media’s extreme frustration and confusion.  The people overwhelmingly believe that John McCain made the RIGHT CHOICE in Sarah Palin.

America has let the media pundits spin the truth for far too long.  Has anyone actually asked Sarah Palin why she went to multiple schools before finishing her degree?  Maybe she simply wanted the *best* education for her major and kept switching because she was dissatisfied with the lack of difficulty.  At least she finished her degree, which is more than I can say for millions of Americans.  Of all Americans who enter college, only about 53% graduated (2000 statistics from The Educational Trust).

In many cases, experience trumps education.  Governor Palin makes decisions everyday that affect millions of Alaskans.  Her real world experience far outweighs her lack of a Harvard degree.  In fact, her lack of a Harvard degree makes it easier to relate to her as wanting to serve the people rather than just seeking power.

Caroline Kennedy has power and name recognition and a Harvard degree, but minimal experience as an elected official.  Thus, there are many more qualified women available to fill a high level New York Senate position.    Once she gains some of that experience, maybe I would consider voting for her–but I would never vote for someone just because I recognized his/her name.

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