An Amazing 12 Hours of News

I, along with an incredibly huge number of people, stayed up late last night to watch the clock count down on Wendy Davis’s amazing 13 hour filibuster against the Texas anti-abortion bill, SB5. After Senator Davis’s filibuster was ended at 10pm for some bullshit reason (in this case, that the topic of ultrasounds were not “germane” to the filibuster. “Germane” was one of the words of the evening, along with “parliamentary inquiry”), pro-choice legislators were able to stretch things out for another one hour and 45 minutes or so. With about 15 minutes left until midnight, Republicans tried to force a vote even as bill opponents protested. Frustrated with not being recognized, Senator Luticia Van De Putte asked:

Image shows Sen. Van De Putte with text overwritten: “At what point must a female senator raiser her hand and her voice to be recognized by her male colleagues?” – Source: Memographs via Joe.My.God


People started screaming, cheering; there was thunderous applause. And then they didn’t stop. At one point they started chanting “WENDY!” over and over again. They screamed for almost 15 minutes! Here are a few of my favorite tweets from that time:

Texas State Representative Jessica Farrar tweeted: THIS IS THE CITIZEN FILIBUSTER! with this photo:


Image shows part of the chamber floor and the packed balcony shouting at the top of their lungs and their arms raised in the air.

They cheered until the clock ran down. They cheered while police were hauling people out of the chamber in an attempt to restore order. And when the chamber was finally empty you could hear them chanting “SHAME!” outside the doors. In the end the diversion took just long enough to keep the vote from being called on time.


Screen cap of the datestamps of the vote.

See – the vote took place after midnight – after the special session ended. In one of many outrages of the night, bill proponents tried to fucking cheat. But in the end, the bill was dead. And we all rejoiced and praised the feminist army and donated to the political campaigns of Wendy Davis and Leticia Van De Putte and all of the other Senators who opposed SB5. Everyone was happy.

Oh…except for these people.


Image is a screen cap from, an anti-choice website.


Image is a Facebook capture of David Dewhurst’s status “I am furious about the outcome of the final day of this Special Session, when an unruly, screaming mob using “Occupy Wall Street” tactics derailed legislation intended to protect the health of Texas women and their babies. An unconscionable series of delaying actions by the minority party and their allies placed SB 5 in direct jeopardy of death-by-filibuster upon its arrival in the Senate. Pushing every parliamentary procedure to its limit, we passed SB 5 19-10, but the deafening roar from the gallery drowned out any possibility of adjourning with a signed bill. I pledge to Texas one thing: this fight is far from over.”

Lila Rose – anti-choice activist


Rick Perry haz a sad. Somebody bring him some some hot cocoa or a popsicle or something. Image shows Rick Perry looking pouty and resting his cheek against his fist. Image found at

But enough about them – How about that other big news, right???? High five for five of nine SCOTUS judges!!!

I missed the media coverage of the DOMA statement and the the Prop 8 ruling, so all I’ll say on those is:


Image has “FUCK YEA.” in rainbow font over the “fuck yea.” meme guy, and a rainbow flag on the left of the image.

Between Minnesota legalizing same-sex marriage, DOMA being overturned and SCOTUS ruling favorably in the Prop 8 case, it is going to be one hell of a party at the Twin Cities Pride Festival this weekend. Which reminds me, if you can, you should COME TO PRIDE IN THE PARK and THE PRIDE PARADE THIS WEEKEND!!!! Unless you don’t like big crowds, or you’re not in a place where you can feel safe at a LGBTQA celebration, of course. But if you can, it’s an amazing experience to be surrounded by such joy and support and acceptance. And yummy fatty food trucks and giant lemonades and way more taffeta and leather and body glitter than is usually seen on a hot July day and puppies and hippies with hoola hoops and seven inch heels and loud live music and drag shows and not nearly enough clothing on so many people and hugs and smiles and kisses and rainbow ALL THE THINGS!

Happy [social justice/civil rights/treating human beings decently] celebration day, everyone.

An Amazing 12 Hours of News

Meet the Skeptics

Earlier this month I went to a Minnesota Skeptics meetup. Drinking Skeptically takes place on the second Thursday of every month at Be’wiched Deli in downtown Minneapolis, 5pm-8pm. Afterwards some of us walk next door to Club Jager to share some drinks and more skepticy good company. Mostly it’s a chance to hang out and have fun. We share stories that relate to skepticism that we’ve read online or heard on podcasts, share announcements, upcoming events and personal projects, eat yummy food, et cetera, et cetera.

This month I asked a few of the attendees if I could chat with them about who they are, why they started coming to skeptics events and if they are working on any special projects. So, with any further ado, meet some skeptics! Continue reading “Meet the Skeptics”

Meet the Skeptics

Cross-Country Connections: Supermoon

Cross-Country Connections is a Biodork weekly blog entry dedicated to telling stories in pictures of three family members – me, my sister and Mom – living in very different locations across the country. Every week we choose a different theme and then take or contribute a personal photo that fits the theme. This week’s theme is Supermoon.

From me in Minneapolis, Minnesota:

CCC Supermoon Brianne

Supermoon at about 10:45pm CST with a little tree for perspective. Alas, no tripod!

From Erin in Takoma Park, Maryland:

CCC Supermoon Erin

I am horrible at moon photography. Probably cause I’m too lazy to leave my neighborhood on Sunday night. But here we go, this was the best one.

From Mom in Carbondale, Illinois:

CCC Supermoon Mom

 This is from two nights ago. The moon through my office curtains. Not super, but kind of cool.

Cross-Country Connections: Supermoon

Cross-Country Connections: Award

Cross-Country Connections is a Biodork weekly blog entry dedicated to telling stories in pictures of three family members – me, my sister and Mom – living in very different locations across the country. Every week we choose a different theme and then take or contribute a personal photo that fits the theme. This week’s theme is Award.

From Mom in Carbondale, Illinois:

CCC Award Mom
This convinced me to go to grad school.

(Image is a framed Certificate of Honor given to Paula Bilyeu for the William A. Pitkin Memorial Scholarship, dated 2009).

From me in Minneapolis, Minnesota: 

CCC Award Brianne
Dad received this award in recognition for coaching my girl’s softball team in 1989. All of the team members signed the softball. My name is barely visible in this shot; the ink has faded over time.

(Image is a “gold” ball mitt holding a softball with a number of signatures on it. The plaque reads “Coach Don / Thanks for all your help / Hawks – 1989”)

From Erin in Takoma Park, Maryland:

CCC Award Erin
Bri and I gave this “award” to our dad back in the 90s for Fathers Day. It’s the top 5 reasons he is our favorite dad, including his having given us all his hair. I miss you every day Dad!

(Image is a trifold frame with nine inserts. Three hold photos of Dad, one holds a title ” Five Reasons Why You’re Our Favorite Dad”. The reasons are “5. You’re the only one we got”, “4. 4am cross-country road trips”, “3. Awesome Bar-B-Que”, “2. You gave us all your hair.” and “1. You haven’t sold us to the Gypsies”.

Post Note: Apparently Father’s Day was on me and my sister’s mind this week. Our dad passed away in 2006, so Father’s Day is always bittersweet; I miss him deeply, but I’m happy for the opportunity to remember him. I know he’d be so proud and happy to see how well his family is doing these days.

Cross-Country Connections: Award

Cross-Country Connections: Hard

Cross-Country Connections is a Biodork weekly blog entry dedicated to telling stories in pictures of three family members – me, my sister and Mom – living in very different locations across the country. Every week we choose a different theme and then take or contribute a personal photo that fits the theme. This week’s theme is Hard.

From Mom in Carbondale, Illinois:

CCC Hard Mom

Hard was hard – Tortoise Shell Rock at Rock City in Georgia

From me in Minneapolis, Minnesota:

CCC Hard Brianne

Sarcophagus of Prince Cheng Ching (Yuan Mi) – Black limestone coffin from the Pei Mon mountains, north of Loyang in Honan province. Exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts in south Minneapolis.

From Erin in Takoma Park, Maryland:

CCC Hard Erin

Sadly, we had to move the window a/c unit. It was hard to steal the sparrow’s safe nesting spot.

Cross-Country Connections: Hard

Saturday Escorting Stories

Note: I’ve tucked one weird image from the abortion protesters below the fold. It’s morbid, but in a fantasy violence kind of way.

I was the only escort this morning! Usually we have at least three to four escorts on the weekend, but sunny summer Saturdays are precious in Minnesota, so c’était tout moi aujourd’hui!

There were “only” thirteen protesters, but they always seem to adopt a bit of mob bravery when the ratio is that off; there are a few more pointed remarks, upturned noses, snide statements. Most of them walked up and down the sidewalk praying their odd prayers to God, asking him to please baptize the unborn children before they are to be murdered so that they might enter the kingdom of heaven and sit at the right hand of…

And I do heartily beg your indulgence for the impending side rant, but isn’t that bending the rules? Doesn’t the person – or the person’s proxy – have to do the whole asking for baptism thing? Is that the point? If God is willing to baptize people without their (or their proxy’s) asking, why require baptism at all? Just baptize everyone, God, you big jerk. And if all you have to do is pray for God to baptize someone else, quit spending shitloads of money to go on expensive “Come to Jesus” missions to foreign lands. Just get on the phone with God and take care of all that, and then send all the monies to humanitarian efforts that might stand a chance of making a difference in the lives of those you want to save. Sheesh. It’s mental acrobatics of the highest order when it comes to justifying what particular tenet of the mythology one wants to believe or ignore.

And back to our story.

Continue reading “Saturday Escorting Stories”

Saturday Escorting Stories

Counseling Ignorance

My apparently neuro-typical, white, male-identified, married to a woman, father to two kids, upper middle class, Midwestern-born and raised by a loving and supportive family, science PhD-holding and apparently healthy, happy and successful coworker – whose social circle consists of mostly the same – is an extremely friendly, nice, generous and socially-minded moderate liberal. He’s a great listener and conversationalist and an intellectually challenging and supportive coworker; I LOVE to work with this guy. But he just asked me – in all seriousness with hope that he’d get an honest answer –

I don’t understand psychologists. You know, I don’t think I know of anyone who has been to see a therapist for counseling. I can’t imagine letting anyone tell me how to interpret my emotions. Why would someone need that?

This led to a long discussion (well, a diplomatic, coworker-appropriate rant from me, with pauses for him to nod or make minor comments):

  • You probably do know people who have been to see a therapist, or even who routinely see a therapist. 
    • These friends likely don’t tell you that they’ve been or go to counseling because there is still a stigma against those who have mental illness or who seek counseling to improve their quality of life (i.e. – help managing stress, relationships, decision-making, personal/professional/educational development, etc). 
    • “Invisible” illnesses and internalized struggles and stress tend not to come up in everyday conversation, especially if your friends – or the people with whom you spend much of your time thanks to grad school or work – are also your professional contacts.
    • (And by the way, you’re looking at someone who’s seen a therapist, who’s married to someone who takes drugs daily to manage his clinical depression, and who has more friends than she count count on both hands who either deals with a mental illness or seeks counseling.)
  • Psychologists don’t “tell you how to interpret your emotions”. They try to give you the tools that can help you work that shit out because ultimately only you can do that for you.
  • You’re a neuro-typical, healthy and happy person who has pretty much succeeded in life, as far as many people would define success. How much harder would it have been to get where you are if you’d had to struggle to get out of bed every day, or argue with jerkbrain morning to night, or been born without the ridiculous amount of privilege with which you’ve lived your life? Counseling can help some people work through that stuff.
  • Don’t make assumptions about why someone would speak with a therapist. There are different kinds of psychologists – people receive different therapies and counseling for all sorts of issues. Whether a person is struggling with a major mental illness, emotional distress brought on by a particular situation, wanting guidance with making life decisions, or anything what the hell ever – lots of people seek professional help. 
  • Wanting to talk to a psychologist is normal and healthy. Applied psychology is a tool that we have at our disposal to keep us healthy and happy or to help us get there, and it’s a tragedy when it’s seen as anything other than one more type of medical specialty. Bravo to people who make use of counseling when they want or need it (and have access to it).

What do you think? I’m certainly no expert on counseling, so what else could I tell him? He’s not trying to troll, he’s not being willfully ignorant – but he’s obviously not had a lot of experience with psychology or counseling. Also, and this is the biggie, he’s willing to listen.

Counseling Ignorance

Cross-Country Connections: Up

Cross-Country Connections is a Biodork weekly blog entry dedicated to telling stories in pictures of three family members – me, my sister and Mom – living in very different locations across the country. Every week we choose a different theme and then take or contribute a personal photo that fits the theme. This week’s theme is Up.

From Erin in Takoma Park, Maryland: 

CCC Up Erin

Doing CCC on the run, I simply followed the directions and looked up. 

From Mom in Carbondale, Illinois: 

CCC Up Mom

Mexican Acrobats UP the pole that they would very graceful spin down from.

From Brianne in Minneapolis, Minnesota:

CCC Up Brianne

Attack from the skies!

Cross-Country Connections: Up