Current location: up north
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 28,036
Current location: up north
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 28,036
If you've clicked on my profile to see what it says, here's what you should know: The older I get, the more radical I get -- and I've already gotten pretty damn old.
Just about 20 years ago, in early July 1995, I had been living in Alaska for 6 years and decided I had had enough, and wanted to go home to Minnesota. I packed my old model Subaru (my "Bluebird" - it had an indigo blue body with a red hood) full of camping gear and headed down the Al-Can Highway with my youngest son, who had just turned 11.
We tent camped all the way down to Eugene, Oregon, where my oldest son was living, stayed a couple nights, and then headed generally northeast toward our destination, Minnesota. I had intended all along that this would a road trip of a lifetime, so there were several places I wanted to visit as we worked our way across half the continent.
We had stopped in Bozeman, Montana to visit the Museum of the Rockies to see the dinosaur bones (well worth it, it's a wonderful museum!). We found a place to camp for the night somewhere west of Billings, and got up early the next morning to head for the Little Bighorn National Monument, which meant a detour off Interstate 90.
After 20 years, my memory of the physical details of that place have gotten a bit vague, but my memory of the emotions I felt while walking over that ground are still fresh. From the moment my son and I walked up to the Indian Memorial my tears sprang up and would not stop. We left our tobacco offerings, and meandered along the pathways through the tall grasses under a benign sun and blue sky, with me weeping the whole way.
Eventually we stopped at the main park building where there was a speaker scheduled to give a presentation. He was a Cheyenne, named John Lone Deer, and we sat in a room with windows overlooking the grounds with dozens of other visitors while he related the story of the events leading up to the battle from the Native point of view, and the consequences for the Native Peoples in the aftermath. It was an awesome presentation, and although I listened with rapt attention, my tears still would not stop.
Afterward, I managed to pull myself together enough to go up to him and thank him, and he generously invited us to sit with him awhile, and my son and I had a wonderful conversation with him after the room had emptied.
Time eventually came back, he had another presentation to give, the afternoon was getting on, and it was time for us to leave, since my next goal was Bear Butte in South Dakota, and I had hoped to make it there before nightfall. As my son and I walked down to the parking lot, I noticed that the sky had begun to cloud over, and the sky in the West had become very dark. The temperature was dropping and a wind had come up.
We pulled out of the park grounds and headed East on Highway 212 - there would be no more Freeway travel for this next leg of the journey. The sky continued to darken, rain began to fall, and lightning and thunder came racing in from the West. Our route was taking us across the northern plains, with a 360 degree view of the horizon. Behind us, a deep roiling blackness lit by near constant flashing bolts of lightning, and a fierce relentless wind pushing us from the West.
To the right and the left of us bolts of lightning tore through the sky, and all around us the rain came down in torrents - a few times so heavy that I had pull to the side of the road because the windshield wipers were useless against the volume of water pouring down on us.
But mostly I raced on, determined to run with the storm and make it to Bear Butte. It was an extraordinary feeling, racing on in my little Bluebird, with the great wind pushing us from behind, the rain pouring down, and the firebolts and crashing thunder accompanying us on three sides, as I drove ahead of and alongside the storm.
My son, of course was getting nervous - "Are we going to get hit by lightning?" And I tried to remember what I might have heard about rubber tires and electrical grounding and such - but realized it didn't matter, we would be safe. I wasn't afraid, I was ecstatic - this was the most amazing thing I had ever experienced!
"There is nothing to be afraid of," I told my boy, "We are being escorted." Because that is what it felt like to me.
In the dark, in the wind, in the rain, in the lightning and thunder, we crossed the border into South Dakota. I pulled over a few miles outside of Sturgis to consult my map - paper back then, no GPS or Mapquest in those days - and then looked for the turnoff to Bear Butte State Park. I drove onto a little two-lane road, not quite sure if it was the right way.
Because I had slowed down, the back end of the storm began passing over us. I drove along in near total darkness and pounding rain. "I wish there would be a sign to show where Bear Butte is!" I said to my son.
At the moment those words left my mouth, a bolt of lightning appeared directly in front of us, coming out horizontally from the clouds, then continuing in a perfect right angle downwards, ending at the very tip of the highest point of land in all directions - Bear Butte itself, fully illuminated against the black sky. All the slope and shape of it made completely visible in the powerful flash.
It's something of a cliche to say, "It took my breath away", but it's hard to think of any other words to describe that moment. Maybe just to add that my heart felt full to bursting. All those hours of riding with the storm, and there it was.
As I drove the winding road up to the entrance of the state park, the storm moved over us to the East, the rain stopped, and back in the West the black clouds had lifted and the setting sun appeared beneath them - sending out great fiery beams of red and orange and gold and purple.
Crickets were singing and peepers were chorusing as we set up our tent in the campground, under a sky filled with a million glittering stars, as the last afterglow of sunset lingered on the western horizon.
We awoke early in the morning and, fasting, hiked to the top of Bear Butte under a clear blue sky. But that's another story for another time...
Edited to add: This is the first time I have ever attempted to put these events in writing. I have previously related them only orally to just a few of my family and friends.
Posted by scarletwoman | Sun Jun 7, 2015, 10:14 PM (0 replies)
If this trend is going to persist over the next 18 months, I think I may totally lose my shit. Not anyone else's problem, of course, but I sincerely wish people would at least try to resist the impulse to constantly check whether or not their fellow DUers are willing to promise to vote for the Democratic nominee for President, no matter what.
I've been voting for Democrats my entire voting life, starting in 1972, voting for McGovern. And I've voted in every election ever since, and always for Democrats.
However, I reserve the right to decide what I'm going to do in 2016 when I'm ready to to decide what I'm going to do. I reserve the right to make my decision based on how things pan out over the next year and a half. I reserve the right to NOT promise a damn thing right now.
So give it a rest, would ya? Chances are, come election day 2016 I'll fall in line like I've done for the previous 44 years. But I'll be damned if I'm going take some kind of pledge about it.
Posted by scarletwoman | Wed Jun 3, 2015, 12:28 AM (103 replies)
Sometime in the wee hours of the morning, I had this idea about starting a (hopefully) long-running thread where people could come and post about their favorite books that they've read this year. Obviously, since this is only the last week of May, there are still many months to go in 2015 - so my hope is that folks will keep adding to this thread throughout the rest of the year until 12/31/15. And then - if this works - we'll start a new thread for 2016.
First, I'd love to hear if anyone else thinks this is a fun idea.
Second, if you do, please post your starting 2015 BEST BOOKS list.
I'll start out - so far in 2015, the best books I've read are:
Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
So, if you've read something particularly memorable in 2015 so far, please start your list. Then, as the year goes on, please add any new memorable books to this thread - if you are so inclined.
Anyway, just thought I'd put this out here and see what happens...
On Edit: I'm going to go ahead and pin this thread - but if either of the other hosts objects I will unpin it.
Posted by scarletwoman | Mon May 25, 2015, 09:23 PM (24 replies)
Yeah, I'll accept the inevitable "real politik" of HRC being the Dem presidential nominee. And, yeah, I'll vote for her if she's the only choice against the Republican candidate in the General Election.
But please stop trying to convince me to be happy about it.
Posted by scarletwoman | Mon Apr 13, 2015, 09:50 PM (489 replies)
This poll is strictly about what age groups are present in this Group, the numbers in the poll choices are years of age. If you're under 25 or older than 66, it would be cool if you posted your actual age in the thread - but only if you want to, of course! Thanks!
Posted by scarletwoman | Sun Nov 23, 2014, 12:12 PM (61 replies)
in which Democrats, and the 2 Independents who caucused with them, held 60 seats:
Did The Democrats Ever Really Have 60 Votes In The Senate, And For How Long?
Doug Mataconis ∑ Sunday, June 17, 2012
Of course, as we all know too well, having majority control of both house of Congress doesnít necessarily mean much if the opposition in the Senate decides to filibuster your legislation, and without a consistent caucus of 60 votes to overcome a cloture vote, legislation can be effectively blocked.
That leads to the question of how long the Democrats actually had a filibuster proof majority in the 111th Congress. As this chart from Wikipedia reveals, it wasnít for a very long period of time at all: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/111th_United_States_Congress#Senate
What this shows is is that there were only two time periods during the 111th Congress when the Democrats had a 60 seat majority:
■From July 7. 2009 (when Al Franken was officially seated as the Senator from Minnesota after the last of Norm Colemanís challenges came to an end) to August 25, 2009 (when Ted Kennedy died, although Kennedyís illness had kept him from voting for several weeks before that date at least); and
So, to the extent there was a filibuster proof majority in the Senate it lasted during two brief periods which lasted for a total of just over five months when counted altogether (and Congress was in its traditional summer recess for most of the July-August 2009 time frame).
Also remember that one of those two Independents who caucused with the Democrats was Joe Lieberman, who went his own way when it suited him and could not be relied on.
Posted by scarletwoman | Sat Oct 25, 2014, 05:23 PM (3 replies)
It didn't scare me so much as it just plain fascinated me. It was my first year in Alaska, I was living with my two boys in a rental house on the banks of Willow Creek. This would have been sometime in the fall of 1989, I think. (or else it was in the spring of 1990)
Anyway, it was night and the boys were in bed. I was watching the nightly local news on Channel 2, when all of a sudden the camera that was shooting the news anchors sort of tilted sideways, and the newsreaders stopped speaking and sort of gaped wide-eyed and open-mouthed as they clutched their shaking news desk - and in the same moment the couch I was sitting on started vibrating, and everything in the house started rattling. The weirdest thing of all is that all the walls looked like they had turned into liquid - honest to gawd, they were, like, rippling!
It all happened in the space of probably less than a minute, but it felt much longer than that, of course. I just sat there on my vibrating couch thinking, Wow! Far out! A real earthquake! Damn!
A few minutes later - after the walls had solidified once more and my couch stopped behaving like a rogue sex aid, I had a huge attack of guilt that I hadn't once thought of my precious sleeping children - nor lept into action to save us all from dire destruction and certain death from an earthquake bringing the house down around us. Nope, I had just passively sat there, taking it all in as exotic entertainment. I am a terrible mother, I thought.
But the kids slept through it - although they were both irritated that they had missed the fun when I told them about it the next day.
For the rest of my 6 years in Alaska I only felt a few negligable temblors now and then - and half the time I wasn't sure if they were very small or very distant earthquakes, or if it was just a side effect of some of the Matanuska Thunderfuck I had just smoked.
Posted by scarletwoman | Fri Sep 26, 2014, 07:32 PM (1 replies)
I've been on DU since sometime in 2001 - I don't remember which month I joined. I know I began reading DU in the spring of 2001, and was a registered member by the time of the 9/11 attacks. My registration number is 106679, which means I was the 6,679th person to sign up on DU.
I doubt many people are familiar with my username these days, since I have never been a paricularly profligate poster, and these days I maybe post a comment in the main forums no more than 2 -3 times a week, and post an OP less than 3-4 times a year. But I've been here reading all along, through all these 13+ years. I've seen countless DUers that I knew from the early days drift away or get banned - and there are many of those who got banned whom I dearly miss even today. Not to mention those very precious DUers who shuffled off this mortal coil - to the grievous loss of us all.
Anyway, the last time I marked a milestone in my post count was when I reached 1,000 posts, ages ago. Back then I was in a friendly race with Jackpine Radical for reaching the 1,000 mark - I think I may have won, but I honestly don't remember for sure. What matters to me now is that he is still here and still posting, and is still my good friend. Thank you, Jackpine! And if you won that race, please be sure to correct the record!
I totally missed noticing when I made my 10,000th post, and totally missed noticing when I made my 20,000th post - so I've been sort of half-assed watching for this 27,000 mark - just for the heck of it. I noticed I had reached 26,999 on Monday, so I started thinking about what I might want to write for #27,000, to mark the occasion.
So, this is it. This is how I'm marking my 27,000th post on DU.
I still love this place - even as I despair about many things that go on here, even as I miss how it was in the early days, even as I feel anger, disgust, despair about how people have come to treat each other here - I mean, come on, can't some of you at least TRY to be kind to each other?
DU is my home on the internet - literally, it's my homepage, has been since 2001. After all these years here, I can't imagine my life without DU. And I've "met" so many wonderful, extraordinary people here - some in real life, for which I will always be grateful.
Please be kind to each other. Please don't automatically assume ill intent on the part of those with whom you disagree. When your first instinct is to respond to someone with anger or snark, please take a moment before you click "post" to consider the possibility that you might have misinterpreted their intent. Please take a moment to consider that your reflexively moving into combat mode will only result in defensiveness and combativeness in return.
I think that most of us are here because we care about the state of our country and its governance, and we hope that, through our discussions with each other, we can share and promote ideas for creating a better future. What else is the point?
Really, this is all I have to say for my 27,000th post: please treat each other with kindness.
Posted by scarletwoman | Tue Aug 26, 2014, 10:15 PM (69 replies)
Senate Roll Call: Iraq Resolution
Friday, October 11, 2002
Following is an alphabetical listing by state of how each senator voted on President Bush's Iraq resolution. A "yes" vote was a vote to grant President Bush the power to attack Iraq unilaterally. A "no" vote was a vote to defeat the measure. Voting "yes" were 29 Democrats and 48 Republicans. Voting "no" were 1 Republican, 21 Democrats, and 1 Independent.
Alabama Jeff Sessions (R): Yes - - - - - - - - - Richard Shelby (R): Yes
Alaska Frank Murkowski (R): Yes - - - - - - - - Ted Stevens (R): Yes
Arizona Jon Kyl (R): Yes - - - - - - - - - - - - - -John McCain (R): Yes
Arkansas Tim Hutchinson (R): Yes - - - - - - - -Blanche Lincoln (D): Yes
California Barbara Boxer (D): No - - - - - - - - Dianne Feinstein (D): Yes
Colorado Wayne Allard (R): Yes - - - - - - - - - Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R): Yes
Connecticut Christopher Dodd (D): Yes - - - - -Joseph Lieberman (D): Yes
Delaware Joseph Biden (D): Yes - - - - - - - - -Thomas Carper (D): Yes
Florida Bob Graham (D): No - - - - - - - - - - - -Bill Nelson (D): Yes
Georgia Max Cleland (D): Yes - - - - - - - - - - -Zell Miller (D): Yes
Hawaii Daniel Akaka (D): No - - - - - - - - - - - Daniel Inouye (D): No
Idaho Larry Craig (R): Yes - - - - - - - - - - - - -Mike Crapo (R): Yes
Illinois Richard Durbin (D): No - - - - - - - - - - Peter Fitzgerald (R): Yes
Indiana Evan Bayh (D): Yes - - - - - - - - - - - -Richard Lugar (R): Yes
Iowa Charles Grassley (R): Yes - - - - - - - - - -Tom Harkin (D): Yes
Kansas Sam Brownback (R): Yes - - - - - - - - -Pat Roberts (R): Yes
Kentucky Jim Bunning (R): Yes - - - - - - - - - -Mitch McConnell (R): Yes
Louisiana John Breaux (D): Yes - - - - - - - - - Mary Landrieu (D): Yes
Maine Susan Collins (R): Yes - - - - - - - - - - -Olympia Snowe (R): Yes
Maryland Barbara Mikulski (D): No - - - - - - - Paul Sarbanes (D): No
Massachusetts Edward Kennedy (D): No - - - -John Kerry (D): Yes
Michigan Debbie Stabenow (D): No - - - - - - -Carl Levin (D): No
Minnesota Mark Dayton (D): No - - - - - - - - -Paul Wellstone (D): No
Mississippi Thad Cochran (R): Yes - - - - - - - Trent Lott (R): Yes
Missouri Jean Carnahan (D): Yes - - - - - - - - Christopher (Kit) Bond (R): Yes
Montana Max Baucus (D): Yes - - - - - - - - - -Conrad Burns (R): Yes
Nebraska Chuck Hagel (R): Yes - - - - - - - - - Ben Nelson (D): Yes
Nevada John Ensign (R): Yes - - - - - - - - - - -Harry Reid (D): Yes
New Hampshire Judd Gregg (R): Yes - - - - - -Bob Smith (R): Yes
New Jersey Jon Corzine (D): No - - - - - - - - -Robert Torricelli (D): Yes
New Mexico Jeff Bingaman (D): No - - - - - - -Pete Domenici (R): Yes
New York Hillary Clinton (D): Yes - - - - - - - -Charles Schumer (D): Yes
North Carolina John Edwards (D): Yes - - - - -Jesse Helms (R): Yes
North Dakota Kent Conrad (D): No - - - - - - -Byron Dorgan (D): Yes
Ohio Mike DeWine (R): Yes - - - - - - - - - - - George Voinovich (R): Yes
Oklahoma James Inhofe (R): Yes - - - - - - - -Don Nickles (R): Yes
Oregon Gordon Smith (R): Yes - - - - - - - - - Ron Wyden (D): No
Pennsylvania Rick Santorum (R): Yes - - - - - Arlen Specter (R): Yes
Rhode Island Lincoln Chafee (R): No - - - - - -Jack Reed (D): No
South Carolina Ernest "Fritz" Hollings (D): Yes - - - - - Strom Thurmond (R): Yes
South Dakota Thomas Daschle (D): Yes - - - -Tim Johnson (D): Yes
Tennessee Bill Frist (R): Yes - - - - - - - - - - -Fred Thompson (R): Yes
Texas Phil Gramm (R): Yes - - - - - - - - - - - -Kay Bailey Hutchison (R): Yes
Utah Robert Bennett (R): Yes - - - - - - - - - - Orrin Hatch (R): Yes
Vermont James Jeffords (I): No - - - - - - - - -Patrick Leahy (D): No
Virginia George Allen (R): Yes - - - - - - - - - -John Warner (R): Yes
Washington Maria Cantwell (D): Yes - - - - - -Patty Murray (D): No
West Virginia Robert Byrd (D): No - - - - - - - Jay Rockefeller (D): Yes
Wisconsin Russell Feingold (D): No - - - - - - -Herb Kohl (D): Yes
Wyoming Mike Enzi (R): Yes - - - - - - - - - - -Craig Thomas (R): Yes
© 2002 The Washington Post Company
Posted by scarletwoman | Sat Jun 14, 2014, 09:12 PM (59 replies)
Inspired by this post in Good Reads: http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1016&pid=91011
He will be 91 years old this May.
(Edited to belatedly add "All of the Above" option - you may change your votes at will.)
Posted by scarletwoman | Sat Apr 19, 2014, 06:11 AM (37 replies)