Rumproast: the Eightfold Path

rumproast-blue-rainThis afternoon as I was pondering the eightfold path of Rumproast, I was having a hard time getting up to eight. Then one of the Rumpsters claimed (incorrectly) I had called him an Obot and ran off in a snit. Suddenly I realized I now had all eight parts of the spiritual journey of the Rumpster. Here it is:

1. When in doubt, shout “epic fail”.

2. Pretend to read. It makes you look erudite. Post the name of a book you are reading in the sidebar, something like say, Nixonland by Rick Perlstein, but never change it. No one will notice.

3. Collect grievances. If you can’t find any, make them up. When you complain about something on your grievance list, don’t use specific quotations or link to anything. You don’t want anyone to find out that you made the whole thing up.

4. Post pictures of cute little animals. Include some videos of pets doing tricks with balloons.

5. Swear. If you are posting on a blog with a child-friendly rating, swear anyhow. The F-word is preferred, but talking about genital mutilation works as a standing joke. If you use the genital mutilation one, you have to pretend someone else on a different blog said it. See #3.

6. Ridicule other people. Especially fat people, people with unusual chromosomes, and children who have been sexually assaulted. Also women who have been abused or killed by their husbands and boyfriends. Then maybe the jerks you are so afraid might turn around and ridicule YOU will forget to do it as you egg them on to ridicule someone ELSE. (For some real doozies, see some of the comments Rumproasters left over at KPFT.) When people question you about why you were making fun of them, say you know they were having icky thoughts and they deserved it. Make and wear the special inverse tinfoil hat that amplifies other people’s thoughts so you know what they are thinking.

puma7. Don’t think of anything new of your own. Find a blog or two with creative writers and post long stretches of conversation from their forums. You can probably even create a whole new blog with them as the theme. You might call it something like

8. If you can’t think of a good argument against someone, claim they insulted you and go off in a snit.

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Rumpster or Obot?

rumproast-greenbrownHow do you tell Obots from the denizens of Rumproast? The question occurred to me this afternoon as a Rumpster snarked at me that I had called him/her an Obot. Not true. Or is the Obot part of it true? I have always thought of Rumpsters and Obots as distinct critters, but now that it has been brought to my attention, there could very well be a bit of overlap. Here then is the story of how I discovered the  Obots and the eightfold path of Rumproast.

I first became aware of the bots reading straight news. It’s no secret that my first love is the Middle East. I subscribe to several international type feeds as well as the major U.S news feeds, as a feedreader lets you scan a lot of headlines quickly without trying to google all the websites. If you read just one news source, you won’t find out the truth–you have to read several.

obot-nosepickerAnd what I found in scanning the national news stories was literally armies of very obnoxious people posting hate comments at the end of the straight news pieces. The same comments over and over on one news service after another. I was appalled at their hatred towards women and the vulgarness with which they approached sexuality. It was clearly organized. At the same time I discovered a few individuals trying to hold back the tide of misogyny who signed their names with Puma. They had all discovered the Obots individually, but they blogged together collectively at They were the only ones actually trying to do something about the iron-my-shirt kind of ugliness and hatred directed against any and all women in the public sphere regardless of their political affiliation.

Who knows what direction this blog might have taken if I hadn’t seen the Obots.  I might have reread Biden’s plan for dividing Iraq and commented on it.  I might have had time to write about some amazing detail about the Palestinian state I came across in a book about something else.  I might have spent more time polishing my Arabic.  But instead someone named Geeklove left a message asking me to post a video about women.  I did.  Since then I have gotten pulled further and further away from my personal goals.  Here it is again.  Hillary ‘s voice talking about the contributions of women all over the world in her China speech against a backdrop  photo montage of the way women in public service  are treated–by Obots.

Will I ever get back to blogging about the things I love?  Or will I be forever stuck at first base, back at election 2008, defending the right of women–ordinary women like myself and extraordinary women like Hillary — to have lives and to be treated with basic human dignity.

Rumproast Leftovers

rumproast-greenA few weeks ago I got an email inviting me to dialog with the folks over at the blog Rumproast. One of the regulars there had seen some comments I made about Islam at and wanted to talk.

Sniffing around their blog, I found an odd mixture of  profanity, snarks,  politics, and grisly anatomical fantasies involving the women who blog at PumaPAC.  Instead of deleting the misogynist comments, or debating the assumptions behind them, the editors and other commenters compliment each other for every particularly vicious turn of phrase.  They seem to spend hours a day combing the pumapac blog  for something in the comments they can collect  for their complaining sessions.  What kind of “dialog” can you have with people like that?

If that sounds like an exaggeration, here are some examples of the type of comments I found over there (I have had to add some asterisks to keep my child-friendly rating):

spanish-inquisition-demotivational-poster“Tell the PUMAs over at The. Best. Mexican. Soap. Opera. Ever. that we really appreciate the endless hours of entertainment you’ve provided us with in 2008 and we’re looking forward to a lot more of it in the new year.”

“And, no, I don’t get my kicks out of “mocking” you. I get my kicks out of thwarting your purblind political agenda and actively campaigning against it in online forums and the media-at-large. I only post here for the regular check from Soros, which ain’t nearly enough.”

Kerry Reid:
“I have absolutely no problem quoting the late great Michael O’Donoghue to you disgraceful racist idiots and losers: “I’d give you all a swift kick in the c*nts to wake you up, but I wouldn’t want to ruin my shine.” Now go back to crying in the Giant Bowl o’ Fail that makes up your collective lives.”

Kerry Reid again:
“If I was really being crude, I would have suggested you f*ck yourself in the *ss with a rusty d*ldo (thereby avoiding congress with those nasty Rapist Oppressor Real P*nises) until you enlarge your *nus to the point where you can shove your head comfortably up the enhanced opening.”

“As for Guy PUMAs, they’ll no doubt have bled to death after you’ve shot all their p*nises off or whetever the next fantasy is.”

“Armed with Rusty D*ldos
On Fantasies we Ride
We Dance with Pumas Left and Right
No P*nis by our Side
Up, up, up we scream
Rise, Hillary, Rise
Until the Day that We Can See [minus corneal transplants, cataracts, shingle-related eye-disease] NOBAMA on the outside
So up, up, up with people (but only if you’re GIRLZ)
And save yourself for all the pleasures of b*tt pl*gs and d*lderzz.”

“We need to do some more pointing and laughing.”

Brad Mays
“Why do you feel that so many men feel justified in using sexual imagery and language as a way of demeaning women engaged in political discourse?”

Brad Mays, of course, is sort of a Puma, or at least used to hang around filming Pumas.

And who are the Pumas they hate so much? What is the “purblind political agenda” the Rumpsters are so desperate to thwart?  Here is the Puma mission statement Manifesto:

  • Passing the Equal Rights Amendment after 86 years of struggle
  • Monitoring the 111th Congress and advocating for legislation that supports our mission
  • Documenting and Protesting sexism in the mainstream media AND educating the public about its widespread and long term effects
  • Developing a national women’s rights curriculum for all American children
  • Researching and investigating voter fraud and campaign finance violations during the 2008 election
  • Protecting women’s lives by strengthening anti-femicide laws and drawing attention to the crisis of woman-lynching in the United States

How do you talk to someone who opposes that?

Ah, but they used the word “dialog”.   They had sucked me in.  So I opened a first thread thread for the Rumpsters, then a second thread and eventually 11 of them came to visit. Rumpster Guests in the order of their appearance: StrangeAppar8us, pumarubbernecker, kcindenver, Mrs. Polly, sean, Betty Cracker, Clownshoes the Clown, yetanotherfreakingbrit, johnd, Observer at PUMApac, zipperupus…. thank you all for your comments.

What with the new semester starting and everything, it took me more than two weeks to sort out all the comments and respond to them. Here is the final tally.

Total word count: 11071

Written by Nijma: 6172 words

Written by Rumpsters: 7450 words (average: 677 words/Rumpster)

Censorship:  15 Rumpster swear words and ethnic slurs edited.

Okay,  so the Rumpfest was exhausting. For me at least.  What did it accomplish? I don’t know.  But I remain firmly convinced that dialog is never wasted.  And what did the Rumpsters want to talk about? They wanted to repeat campaign talking points. They wanted to comment about my defense of Arabs and moderate Islam in  the comment threads.  They were troubled about the variety of opinions in the Puma website comment threads.  Some were thoughtful; some were bombastic.

And over and over again they mentioned one particular Puma commenter, JenniforHillary, who had been involved in a radio show (transcript here) and a video (transcript here) about the Pumas. Curious, I went back and looked.  If I was a Rumpster, I would not be too proud of this episode.  Wonkette and Rumproast posted photoshopped pictures of her in order to make fun of her weight.    Curiously they did nothing to refute the points she made in the interviews about election fraud in the primaries.  The posts were taken down quickly after both the Confluence and PumaPAC pointed out the difference between ridiculing powerful political figures and ridiculing private citizens because they take their civic responsibilities seriously.

What the Rumproast did to Jenni was tacky at the very least.  When Jenni first started writing at PumPAC she was just excited about Hillary, and her posts conveyed her thrill in being part of it all, but after she was baited, she started getting nasty and writing in ALL CAPS: what a surprise! And as someone once said, what fun it is to bait people until they turn nasty! If you did that to someone’s face, they would probably punch you, but since it’s on the internet all they can do is get angry.  What cowards to bait someone until they get angry and then write post after post ridiculing them for it.  Did I say coward?  No, comic! It’s funny to bait someone until they turn nasty, yeah, that’s the ticket. Bullying tactics are funny.

JenniforHillary Radio Transcript

The following is a transcript of an interview between Jenniforhillary and Darragh Murphy of Puma PAC on KPFT November 13, 2008. The first call-in listener is also on the transcription.

JenniforHillary: Hello, first of all I want to thank KPFT for giving me the opportunity to speak tonight. My name is Jennifer and I am an American. I have always voted for the Democratic party, but this year something happened. In the general election, the democratic party lost its way.  Instead of encouraging one of the finest candidates ever to run, who happened to be a woman, the national Democratic party told Hillary Rodham Clinton to quit. They told her to quit when she was winning and they told her to quit when she was losing. The Democratic national party and the media told her this over and over and over, describing her and her following, which numbered over eighteen million Americans in terms that were misogynistic and downright unAmerican. they kept telling us to vote for Barack Obama,  but they never really told me why.  In the end, even though Hillary Rodham Clinton had more people vote for her than any candidate ever in the history of the United States of America, I was told that Barack Obama won.  Because my mother raised a smart girl, I decided not to believe them and I found P.U.M.A.  The day after Hillary Clinton suspended her campaign speech in Washington D.C. From that day on, my life will never be the same.  Puma started fighting that day, and will never stop fighting, until the massive media fraud, voter registration and actual voting fraud, delegate selling, the lying,   and the misogyny are exposed and ended.  I probably voted a straight Republican ticket this year and I’m now both independent and P.U.M.A.  I am very concerned about the lack of democracy and the dumbing down of the American voter, and because of this I have asked Darragh Murphy, the founder of P.U.M.A. to speak tonight on KPFT and tell us about her group, and what PUMA plans to do to save America.  I would like to introduce Darragh Murphy.

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JenniforHillary Interview Transcript

isiah-carey-500pxThe following is a transcript of an interview by Isiah Carey for Insite Houston News and Information with JenniforHillary posted 10/22/08.  (The video of this interview is the one that was photoshopped by Wonkette and Rumproast but quickly taken down after Pumapac and the Confluence wrote about it.)

This appears to be a hostile interview. The camera zooms in and out wildly during the whole thing and at the end the questioner does not address the issues raised but merely labels them “emotional”. I have tried to show the camera movement in the transcript. [See more Carey on video here (NSFW-language) and here harassing coworkers behind the scene while live on camera by recording them on his cellphone.]

Isiah Carey: Tell me your situation. You have McCain and Palin posters there (camera zooms out) or billboards and you said you were a  (camera zooms in) Democrat only a couple of months ago (closeup shot of face)

JenniforHillary: Yeah (crosstalk)

Isiah Carey: What happened?

JenniforHillary:  What happened was Hillary Clinton won the primary but the Democrats decided that they didn’t like her (camera zooms out quickly) and wanted Barack Hussein Obama so they (camera zooms in) fiddled with the votes in Florida and Michigan and then (quick zoom to closeup) they strongarmed people at the convention and I’m a member of Puma, People United  Means Action,

Isiah Carey: Um Hum.

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Peggy Agar’s sweetie rematch

agar-rematch-4-cropt2It is probably the best kept secret in the blogosphere, but remember back when Presidential candidate Barack Obama called a reporter Sweetie? Then he apologized and promised to give her an interview later. Well, someone left a message on a thread here earlier today saying Agar was going to get her interview. But when I googled it, I found out the interview had already taken place–back in June.

What did Peggy Agar want to ask a presidential candidate back in May?

I wanted to ask him what he plans on doing for, you know, auto workers in America, which of course specifically means Detroit…. you know, he’s shaking hands with auto workers, he’s running for president, he hasn’t been here in ten months, you know. That’s the time to say what you’re gonna do for these people, how you’re going to help them keep their jobs and keep their homes.

agar-head-shotWhen the interview did take place on June 2, that’s exactly what Agar asked him about. Then she went on to ask about seating the Michigan delegates at the Denver convention, about education for Michigan’s children, continuing with questions about how his answers for Michigan differed from McCain’s.

Early in the interview, she even got a laugh from him

AGAR: Most people I think are probably saying now that they think you’ll have the nomination. If that does come to fruition, do you think Hillary Clinton will vote for you?

OBAMA: Yes, I do.

agar-rematch3cropt3Not a difficult or hostile interview, and not one that asked any tough questions, but to the point and done in a way that let him give his prepared answers to the issues. About what you would expect from a local reporter in a major metropolitan area–if one who got an unexpected 15 minutes of fame.  And since everyone wants to comment on how women look these days, let me just say that Agar looked very put together and so did Obama.

Transcript and video here.

On Chicago’s South Side, “You got a check comin.'”

I get all my best rumors from McDonald’s on the South Side of Chicago. Today I was drinking my coffee while at the table on the other side of the tray return area came the following conversation from a group of African Americans:

“I’m a Republican.”
“You shoulda voted Democrat, you’d have a check comin’.”
(The Republican leaves.)
“Whether he’s Republican or Democrat, he’s got a check comin’.”

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Will the “historical” candidate have a “historical” cabinet?

no-girls-sign-200pxLast night I turned on the television long enough to hear McCain’s concession speech and Obama’s victory speech.  And of course between speeches the pundits had a little time to fill.  “A historic candidate”, they said about Obama.  Changing channels, “…historic…”  Changing channels again, “..historic…”.  Well, at least they all agree.

Today the pundits are asking who will be on the staff of the executive branch. Good question. Currently the the United States ranks 69th in the world with regard to women in government.

Surely the new president who says he wants to unite people will have an inclusive staff? Doesn’t look like it. Obama’s people say there “aren’t enough qualified women” and call the idea “stupid”.

After the last Democratic Primary was over and it was clear Senator Clinton was not going to get the Democratic nomination, myself, and a small group of Clinton supporters met with Senator McCain.I personally explained to Senator McCain that women comprise well over half of the population, yet you will not see a single picture of a woman on paper currency. Women are underrepresented in every branch of government and there has never been a female president or vice president. I personally asked Senator McCain to choose a woman for the Vice Presidential slot and to increase the number of women in the cabinet and on the Supreme Court. Senator McCain listened respectfully to my request. Little did I know then that he heard me and the millions of women of this country who have gone unrepresented in the Executive branch of government for far too long.

When I made similar requests of the Obama campaign, I was laughed at by the canvassers outside my home, told there weren’t enough qualified women by a member of his Finance Committee, and asked by a member of a policy committee why I was making such a stupid request.

But that’s just the finance and policy staff, right? Obama himself really stands for fairness, doesn’t he?  Maybe not.

Obama’s female staffers, on average, make just 83 cents to the dollar his male staffers make.

Ooops.  And it looks like Vice President Elect Biden’s pay practices are even worse. Despite the fact that Biden employs 27 women and only 14 men, very few of the women and men share common titles.  The one job where there is overlap is staff assistants.  These are traditionally entry level low-wage jobs in congressional offices.

So how do Biden’s salaries stack up?

The average male staff assistant in Biden’s office (based on the most recent salary figures) made $39,162 in the time period.

The average woman in that position made $21,323.

McCain’s promise:

By the end of my first term, I promise you will see a dramatic increase in the presence of women in every part of the government. You have my word on it.


For those of us who don’t have a trust fund, this could be a looooong four years.
(Thanks to Madamab at The Confluence)

History, if faced with courage, need not be lived again

Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
For this bright morning dawning for you.
History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, and if faced with courage,
Need not be lived again.
Lift up your eyes upon
The day breaking for you.
Give birth again
To the dream.
Women, children, men,
Take it into the palms of your hands.
Mold it into the shape of your most
Private need. Sculpt it into
The image of your most public self.
Lift up your hearts.
Each new hour holds new chances
For new beginnings.
Do not be wedded forever
To fear, yoked eternally
To brutishness.
The horizon leans forward,
Offering you space to place new steps of change.
Here, on the pulse of this fine day
You may have the courage
To look up and out upon me,
The rock, the river, the tree, your country.

This is part of a larger, more well known poem, Maya Angelou‘s “The rock cries out to us today.” The themes of hope, change, self-determination, and new beginnings, are of course cyclical in American politics.

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An electoral map to color while watching election returns

Waiting for the election results can be tedious.  And how to keep track of those pesky electoral votes as the states are called.  Here is a little electoral map with plenty of space for doodles.  You can color the states in as they turn red or blue.  If you prefer jpeg format, for importing to a Word document or whatever, a slightly higher resolution is here.

Me?  The weather is perfect for a little stroll by the lake.


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