Is Chambers the one for District 81?

A number of years ago, I had the then pleasure of interning/working with State Representative Jill Chambers. I met Rep Chambers because I wrote all of the members of the Georgia House of Representatives asking them to pledge support to HB 885–The Nondiscrimination Act of 2003. When a Representative didn’t respond to my letter within 2 or 3 weeks I sent a follow-up letter that let them know I understood they are busy–bla-bla-etc—“but a number of your peers found time to write me.” Well, I had to send one of the follow-up letters to Rep Chambers, and she responded quickly to the letter. I continued to send occasional letters and emails to reps regarding bills that caught my interest, and Rep Chambers always responded. Before long I was in her office finding a way to be involved with her service to District 81.

Rep Chambers was the only Republican to vote no against the GA constitutional amendment (regarding gay marriage). I still admire her vote; however, as she said in her Capitol office– she voted the way she felt her constituents wanted her to vote. If memory serves me correctly, after her vote, GA Equality sent Rep Chambers a t-shirt with a spine printed on the back with a quote of “I’ve got backbone” or something of that nature. Rep Chambers says she wore the shirt proudly to the Atlanta Pride Festival after the whole debacle of amending the constitution. Not that attending an Atlanta Pride affects how Rep Chambers does her job, but I am curious as to how many festivals she has attended since she wore her “backbone” t-shirt. I would assume if she is so accepting and supportive of her LGBT constituents she might make at least a brief appearance each year. Maybe she goes only when she has something “to wave” in our faces.

I remember when I became disappointed with Rep Chambers. It was during her 2004 re-election bid. One of the gentleman she hired to manage her campaign asked me to attend a fundraiser for Rep Chambers’s opposition to count how many drinks the opposition consumed during the night. When does interning/assisting with a campaign come to counting alcoholic beverages? I am sure Rep Chambers would say she never knew I was asked to do such, and I think that would be ironic since during that campaign, if memory serves me correctly, her campaign sent out fliers about the opposition receiving a DUI during his college days.

And now, more disappointment. I read in the AJC’s Politic Insider that Rep Chambers tried to intimidate the man who filed a complaint on her with the State Ethics Commission. (Click here for the complete article.) Let me share some info from a police incident report:

According to [Jeremy] Tanner, last Tuesday, Chambers herself came to his residence, took pictures of his house and yard, knocked on his door, and told him “you are in serious trouble.”

….The resident said Chambers also told him that it was “a very serious offense to accuse an elected official of bribery.”

Tanner said he told Chambers to leave the property, and closed the door, after which he said that the state representative continued to knock and say,”Come on out and talk to me, Jeremy.”

After working with Rep Chambers, I believe she did exactly what Tanner claims. Rep Chambers seems to likes to use intimidation when she feels she needs to show her power wants to “defend” herself. Read some of her fliers from previous re-election bids if you think I might be a bit of course with my thoughts. When will Rep Chambers learn that intimidation is a bully tactic most people outgrow after middle school?

Mentioning middle school, let’s talk education for a moment. On Rep Chambers’s website she touts, Jill re-wrote the charter school laws in 2005 to allow more tax money to be used for direct student instruction. In 2008, DeKalb Schools will get a $250,000 grant to retrofit school buses for cleaner diesel emissions. Isn’t that $250,000 grant lovely. Why doesn’t Rep Chambers mention the $8,788,912 in austerity reductions the Dekalb County Schools have battle during the 2008 fiscal year? Dekalb County citizens, keep austerity cuts in mind because they basically equal increases in property taxes.

Also, on her website, Rep Chambers touts, MARTOC – Committee Chairman – Jill is Chairman of the Committee to oversee MARTA spending. Is that all she has to say? What has she done as Committee Chairman? Seriously, don’t brag about being chairman of committee if you can’t list off some accomplishments. For me, titles mean nothing– actions do.

I bet this entry earns me a spot on Rep Chambers’s crap-list. She might even regret or forget all the lovely comments she made about me to some Log Cabin members at a fundraising event at the now closed Red Chair. She might even regret the nice recommendation
she wrote for me when I applied for a political internship with HRC. Oh well, I have to speak my mind.

I recall, from those days of old, Rep. Chambers stating she needs 10% of the Democrats in District 81 to vote for her to win. Yes, I voted for Rep Chambers in the last election because at that time I did believe in her, but those days are gone. I will NOT be part of the 10% Rep Chambers needs to keep her seat. I will NOT cast another ballot in favor of Jill Chambers. District 81 is need of change in the Georgia House of Representatives. Come on Chris Huttman!

WHY DO I WRITE ~ Matthew Hittinger

WHY DO I WRITE ~ Matthew Hittinger

It’s not like I’m writing a poem every day. Far from it. But when I do, when some image or idea has so stuck itself in my head that I have to keep turning it over and over, attacking it from as many angles I deem possible, when I’m in those writing jags and the work is coming fast and fully formed after months of contemplation, when I’m in “that zone” as my first writing mentor used to say, I feel more present and grounded than at other moments in my daily life, as if the true self, call it mind, call it voice, is suddenly struck in high relief (or is suddenly striking a pose) by this concentrated act of pulling and placing words together.

And though I do not write poems every day I remain engaged with the process every day whether that means testing out sentence rhythms in the million and one emails I feel get composed, or the notes I jot down on the backs of my bookmarks when a snippet of overheard conversation seems to resonate or an image I have witnessed burns itself into my retina, or even the reading I do on the subway on my way to and from my day job to see how others go about the dance.

So even though I do not write in that concentrated way every day, if I had to pinpoint what it was about writing that keeps me doing it I’d have to say the process. Don’t get me wrong, I love the end product when the formal choices of word-music and rhythm and imagery all click together, but I love living in the process for as long as I can. The white page never terrifies me as I always work from notes. As long as I have those raw materials, a handful of words, I can spin in any direction, rhyming and chiming, arranging their placement like the seating chart for a dinner party to see which order is the best order, which cadence conveys the meaning best, all the pleasures of crafting a form that captures the actual process and takes the reader along on all the twists and turns of thought, the choices made along the way.

For ultimately that is why I write: to create snapshots of the brain in motion, to document the process of thinking, thinking about feeling, about the emotional states in which one finds him or herself, making sense of the experiences we have with each other, with the world at large, and that ongoing conversation with the self that on some level is in constant marvel at being a sentient being, of having consciousness and conscience. And doing this all within the constraints of form, setting down our individual way of seeing in a construct that will last, that will allow another to step behind your eyes in that ultimate empathic act. This is why I write.

Update: LIMP WRIST Scholarship/Poetry Contest

Hello Blogosphere:

You might have already received information regarding the Limp Wrist scholarship/poetry contest for LGBT youth; however, there have been a few changes, so please take a moment to read the details portion of this post. I apologize if you fill pestered; however, ever bit of publicity helps make this scholarship a success, so PLEASE, take a moment to share this information via a blog, Myspace, Facebook, and/or email list.

As many of you know, in April 2008, I started Limp Wrist, and I am proud to promote Limp Wrist as an e-zine with queer sensibility. I am also proud to announce that Limp Wrist is offering a small scholarship to a LGBT High School Junior or Senior via a poetry contest. Even more exciting than the small scholarship is that the scholarship recipient wins a spot at the 2009 Juniper Summer Writing Institute. A huge thanks to the talented Dara Wier for making Juniper possible.

~ NO entry fee required.
~ Student must identify as a member of the LGBT community.
~ Student must be a high school junior or senior for the 2008-2009 school year.
~ Only one poem of no more than 75 lines may be submitted in the body of an email. The poem should be submitted to, and the subject line must read “LW Sholarship” with the student’s first and last name.
~ The poem submitted should not be a previously published work or have won a previous contest.
~ The email must include the following statement: “The poem submitted is my own original work and has not been previously published.”
~ The submission email must also include the student’s name, mailing address, and name of high school attending.
~ All submissions must be received by 1/31/09.

As mentioned above, the winner of the poetry contest will receive $150 and a spot at the 2009 Juniper Summer Writing Institute. Airfare to and from the ’09 Juniper Summer Writing Institute is also covered by Limp Wrist.

Dr. Beth Gylys will serve as the inaugural judge. Dr. Gylys’s work has been published in numerous magazines/journals (including Limp Wrist), anthologies, and she has received a mention in Drury’s POETRY DICTIONARY as well authored two award winning poetry collections: SPOT IN THE DARK and BODIES THAT HUM.

All this isn’t possible without out a price– if anyone is interested in donating please click here for more information on how to make a tax-deductible donation.

Feel free to contact me with any questions, concerns, or comments.


Dolly’s "Jolene" on NPR

All Things Considered, October 9, 2008 – When Dolly Parton launched her career on a country-music television show in the late 1960s, she says, she used to sign autographs every night after the broadcast.

“One night, I was on stage, and there was this beautiful little girl — she was probably 8 years old at the time,” Parton says. “And she had this beautiful red hair, this beautiful skin, these beautiful green eyes, and she was looking up at me, holding, you know, for an autograph. I said, ‘Well, you’re the prettiest little thing I ever saw. So what is your name?’ And she said, ‘Jolene.’ And I said, ‘Jolene. Jolene. Jolene. Jolene.’ I said, ‘That is pretty. That sounds like a song. I’m going to write a song about that.'”

Parton says that she got the story for her song from another redhead in her life at the time — a bank teller who was giving Parton’s new husband a little more interest than he had coming.

“She got this terrible crush on my husband,” Parton says. “And he just loved going to the bank because she paid him so much attention. It was kinda like a running joke between us — when I was saying, ‘Hell, you’re spending a lot of time at the bank. I don’t believe we’ve got that kind of money.’ So it’s really an innocent song all around, but sounds like a dreadful one.”

200 Words

When Parton released “Jolene” in 1973, it became one of her first hit singles. The song has only 200 words — and a lot of those are repeated. But Parton says that that very simplicity, along with the song’s haunting melody, is what makes the character of “Jolene” memorable.

“It’s a great chord progression — people love that ‘Jolene’ lick,” Parton says. “It’s as much a part of the song almost as the song. And because it’s just the same word over and over, even a first-grader or a baby can sing, ‘Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene.’ It’s like, how hard can that be?”

“Jolene” has been covered by more than 30 singers over the years, and in several languages around the world.

Jack White’s emotional rendition of “Jolene” has been a staple of The White Stripes’ concerts for years.

“I thought to take the character and change the context and make this red-headed woman my girlfriend, and that she’s cheating on me with one of my friends,” White says. “Then, that would be what I could really get emotionally attached to.”

White says that the character of Jolene has fascinated him for a long time.

“I love the name, first off,” he says. “I thought that was an interesting name when I started hearing that song as a teenager. And I guess later on, as a songwriter, I started to think about names starting with ‘J,’ like that could be used almost accusatory, like Jezebel… Jolene.”

“Jolene” launched country singer Mindy Smith’s career five years ago, when Parton said that it was her favorite version of the song.

Smith says she could relate to the vulnerability of the woman pleading with Jolene.

“I think the main character is really the person singing about Jolene,” Smith says. “Jolene’s a mess. She just steals things.”

A Universal Character

Parton says that Jolene is so popular because everyone can relate to her feelings of inadequacy— competing with that tall redhead in the bank who was after her husband.

“She had everything I didn’t, like legs — you know, she was about 6 feet tall. And had all that stuff that some little short, sawed-off honky like me don’t have,” Parton says. “So no matter how beautiful a woman might be, you’re always threatened by certain… You’re always threatened by other women, period.”

Parton says that “Jolene” has been recorded more than any other song she’s written — in styles that range from Olivia Newton John’s 1976 disco version to the Goth rendition of the post-punk band The Sisters of Mercy.

Click here to see the article on the NPR site.