Governor Mark Dayton and Lt. Governor Tina Flint Smith have declared May 23rd BEYONCÉ DAY! in Minnesota. Today marks the one year anniversary of this proclamation.

The official proclamation notes that “Beyoncé’s impact and success has been widely recognized” and that she “has influenced many young girls and women with powerful, positive messages in her songs,” which is a nice way of saying what the Beyhive has always known from the start: Beyoncé is the queen.

“On April 21st, 1967, the 100,000,000 GM vehicle rolled off the line at the plant in Janesville. A blue, 2 door Caprisse. There was a big ceremony, speeches, Lt. Governor even showed up. Three days later, another car rolled off that same line. No one gave two craps about her, but they should have. 

Because this 1967 Chevrolet Impala would turn out to be the most important car…. No, the most important object In pretty much the whole universe.
‘Discrimination Sunday’: Texas rushes to pass transgender ‘bathroom bill’ and measure allowing bias in adoptions, foster care
The bill is somewhat narrower than the one that caused such a ruckus in North Carolina, leading to business boycotts of the state.

Texas is on the verge of passing a discriminatory bathroom bill that will deeply affect the tens of thousands of trans youth living in the state. Under the banner of “privacy and security” this law would require students to use bathroom and locker-rooms corresponding to their “biological sex.” It’s not as broad as North Carolina’s HB2 (or the previously proposed SB6), but this will have a tremendous impact on a very vulnerable group of students who often have little choice in where they go to school.

No matter how frequently legislators deny the discriminatory intent behind these bills, the message from them is clear: that trans identities are not accepted, legitimate, or worthy of protection. That kind of messaging has a long history in the United States. Take it away, Democratic Representative Senfronia Thompson:

“I happened to be a part of this society during a period of time in this state and in this country when we had ‘separate but equal’ and I remember those days. You remember? Bathrooms: white, colored. Bathrooms divided us then and it divides us now and America has long recognized that separate but equal is not equal at all.”

Bathroom legislation discriminates, and it creates a school environment in which trans students (who already face plenty of challenges) are less likely to feel safe and comfortable - and are therefore less likely to succeed.

I am not sure that pressure on the Governor will do much of anything (this legislation has been championed by the Lt. Governor in Texas), but if you live in the state, please speak up.

And while this law is almost certainly going to face immediate legal challenge, things at the federal level are more than a little murky. With the Supreme Court declining to hear Gavin Grimm’s case, and the Department of Justice/Department of Education rescinding trans-inclusive recommendations, there is plenty of gray area for states and local municipalities to enact bathroom restrictions. This is certainly not the last bill we’re going to see of this kind.
Why move to Canada if you can move to Washington State?

Hey y’all. This is a scary time for a lot of people, and all those jokes about moving to Canada might be coming true. But international travel isn’t an option for everyone, and emigrating to Canada actually takes years so, I thought of an alternative - why not move to Washington State? 

Seriously! If the fact that our electoral votes went to Hillary didn’t convince you:

-we just re-elected Jay Inslee/Cyrus Habib for governor/lt. governor (democratic)

-we elected Bob Ferguson (democratic) for attorney general

-We elected Mike Kreidler (democratic) for insurance commissioner

-Both of our U.S. Senators are female Democrats, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell

-75% of our energy comes from renewable sources (hydroelectric, mostly)

-the Seattle music scene is INSANE (remember, we gave you Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain)

-We have marijuana coffee


- We have oceans, rainforests, and volcanoes OH MY

-Our tax system isn’t awesome for poor or middle-class folks, but we do have one of the highest minimum wages in the country, and we JUST passed an initiative to raise it AND require paid sick leave

- We rank 15th for fewest registered firearms

-We have state discrimination protections for sexual orientation and gender identity/expressions (although no official ban on conversion therapy)

-it’s one of the most beautiful places in the world (and as a native I’m in no way biased)

This is Palouse Falls btw.

I’m not saying we don’t have A LOT of problems and there’s a lot of things to consider before you move. That might not even be possible for you. But don’t give up on America just yet. There’s a lot left worth sticking around for. 

Besides, here we’re just a few hours away from the Canadian border anyway.

Working in the archives, and I stumbled across this fabulous punishment from the British colony of Nova Scotia, 1726. (Uploading the transcribed text rather than the scratchy microfilm of the handwritten original.) 

Our man Robert here is accused of assaulting the Lt. Governor and “offering him violence,” for which he is sentenced to “Sitt upon a Gallowes three Days, half an hour each Day, with a Rope about [his] Neck and a paper upon [his] Breast Whereon shall be Writt in Capital Letters AUDACIOUS VILLAIN…” before he gets whipped around town and sent to the army. 

Am I alone in loving this mental image? Poor bastard, but excellent story fodder. 

A Southeastern Siouan Blackfoot Nation

The Saponi Nation of Ohio is a tribal group composed of descendants and heirs of the historic Saponi Nation. We are a sub-group of the Dakota from the time when our Siouan ancestors lived in the Ohio River Valley area around 1200 A.D.

According to archaeologists and others, the original Native population of the Ohio Country was wholly or mainly Siouan. Anthropologists generally agree to on a great Siouan occupation of the Ohio lands.

At the beginning of historic time, the great Ohio Valley had been emptied by Iroquois invaders. The Siouan people were separated, going to the four directions. Some the Siouan tribes were driven toward the southeast and found refuge in Virginia and the Carolinas. They then emerged on the pages of history as the Tutelo, the Saponi, the Monacan, the Occaneechi and others.

Lt. Governor Alexander Spotswood of Virginia sought to protect the various Siouan people by inviting them to settle in 1713 around Fort Christanna in Brunswick County, Virginia. From the western history’s point of view these groups were consolidated as the “Saponi Nation”.

During this period the various groups migrated back and forth and across the Virginia-Carolina Piedmont Area seeking safe refuge as English settlements overwhelmed the Piedmont area. The Eastern Siouan tribes as well as the other Native people were pressured to cede their lands and move west. A band went North and was ultimately absorbed by the Six Nations. Another group went Southeast and became associated with the “Five Civilized Tribes”. A third group stayed in the Piedmont area while a fourth group went South and joined the Catawba Nation. Our group returned to the Ohio River Valley, the ancestral homeland of the Siouan people.

The Saponi people returned in mass into southeastern Ohio in the early 1600’s. The English and Christian surnames that they had taken on begin to appear in Gallia, Jackson, Lawrence, Pike, Ross and Highland counties.

Our present day Saponi community encompasses only a fractional portion of our ancestral territory and is located primarily in Gallia, Jackson and Lawrence counties in Ohio.

The Siouan Saponi, one of the oldest groups of indigenous people in the Ohio River Valley, have upheld the proud heritage of their people and have struggled defiantly to preserve their Indian community.


Compiled by Cindy Stillgess-Fite


The Ohio River Valley Sioux (related to the Dakota tribe) were located in what is now southeastern Ohio, including Gallia, Meigs, Vinton, Lawrence, Jackson, Pike, Highland and Ross counties.


The Ohio River Valley Sioux became so large in population that their settlements spread to the eastern slopes of the Allegheny Mountains, in what is now Virginia and West Virginia.

During this time, the Tutelo/Saponi and other tribes related to the Sioux made first contact with European colonists. Because of attacks by the Iroquois from the north, these Siouian tribes were forced to move to North Carolina.


The language spoken by the Siouian tribes was Tutelo, and a part of the people called the Tutelo, while others call themselves by other names, including Saponi.

In 1711, Governor Alexander Spotswood of Virginia offered sanctuary to the Tutelo and related tribes, who were still being attacked by the Iroquois. The sanctuary was located at Fort Christanna, Virginia. So the people returned to Virginia. The Iroquois attacks stoped at the signing of the Treaty of 1722.

The tribe began to move north to Pennsylvania and New York under pressure from white settlers coming into Virginia.


They were adopted into the Six Nations of the Iroquois by the Cayuga (one of the Six Nations) and lived in Cayuga villages in New York. During the American Revolutionary War, some members of the Tutelo and Saponi, together with the Cayuga and Mohawks, crossed the Canadian border and settled in the valley of the Grand River in southwestern Ontario. The area is still known today as Tutela Heights.

The Saponi people who lived in the region adjoining the Ohio River Valley near Pennsylvania under the rule of the Six Nations of the Iroquois were called Mingoes.

In 1770, a group of Mingoes (Saponies) fled from white settlers and moved into Chillicothe, Ohio. This group splintered again as white civilization forced them onto the reservation. Some of the people who refused reservation life fled west to Missouri Indian Territory. By 1780, the Saponies were driven out of Virginia by whites from the east and Iroquois from the north. Some were found living in Mount Airy, North Carolina in 1780.


Saponi Indians of Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Southeast Kentucky, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania referred to themselves as Catawba or Blackfoot of the Saponi Nation. About 1870, a small number of Saponi known as the Catawba Indians, settled on the Saponi Reservation in Greenville County, Virginia.


The Indian Removal Act became law. This law made it legal to remove Native Americans from their land in the southeast. Indians were rounded up by soldiers and forced to march long distances to reservations. Many Indians died on these journeys.

Because of the Indian Removal Act, many Native Americans began to refer to themselves as “colored” or “mulatto” to avoid removal. Therefore, the former Saponi were forced to take English names. The descendents of the Ohio River Valley Sioux are now called Blackfoot Band of the Saponi Nation of Ohio, Inc.

Following is a partial listing of family names, which are included in the bylaws of the Saponi Nation of Ohio, Inc. If you or an immediate family member carries one of the following names, the chances are very high that you are descended from Indians who survived removal by merging into the mainstream culture.

CORE FAMILY NAMES: Burnett, Chavis, Chavers, Shavers, Coker, Croker, Craddolph, Dungey, Harris, Howell, Long, Marsh, McKeel, Keel, Keels, Scott, Stewart.

EXTENDED FAMILY NAMES (partial list): Bass, Bolling, Brown, Branham, Byrd, Collins, Corn, Cousins, Dempsey, Dixon, Garland, Gibson, Goings/Goins, Griffin, Guy, Haithcock, Hart, Haskins, Hawk, Hawkins, Henson, Holly, Hughes, James, Jeffries, Jeffreys, Johnson, Jones, Keeton, Liggins, Martin, Mason, Matthews, McDaniel, McKinney, Moss, Newman, Nichols, Parker, Pettiford, Ragland, Rickman, Richardson, Robbins, Robinson, Saunders, Sanders, Shumake, Simmons, Spears, Stills, Valentine, Vaughn, Viney, Watkins, Watson, Whitt, Winborn.  

On April 21, 1967, the 100 millionth GM vehicle rolled off the line at the plant in Janesville. A blue, two-door Caprisse. There was a big ceremony, speeches, Lt. Governor even showed up. Three days later, another car rolled off that same line. No one gave two craps about her; but they should have.

Because this 1967 Chevrolet Impala would turn out to be the most important car… No, the most important object in pretty much the whole universe.

She was first owned by Sal Mariarti, an alcoholic with two ex-wives and three blocked arteries. On weekends, he’d drive around delivering Bibles to the poor. “Gettin’ folks right for judgment day,” that’s what he’d say.

Sam and Dean don’t know any of this, but if they did, I bet they’d smile.

After Sal died, she ended up at Rainbow Motors, a used car lot in Lawrence, where a young Marine bought her on impulse.

This is, after a little advice from a friend.

I guess that’s where this story begins…and where it ends.

The Impala, of course, has all of the things other cars have…and a few things they don’t. But none of that stuff’s important. This is the stuff that’s important: the army man that Sam crammed in the ash tray. It’s still stuck there. The LEGOs that Dean shoved into the vents. To this day, the heat comes on and you can hear ‘em rattle. These are things that make the car theirs. Really theirs.

Even when Dean rebuilt her from the ground up, he made sure all these little things stayed. Because it’s the blemishes that make her beautiful. The Devil doesn’t know or care what car the boys drive.

In between jobs, Sam and Dean would get a day, sometimes a week if they were lucky. They’d pass the time lining their pockets. Sam used to insist on honest work, but now he hustles pool like his brother. They could go anywhere and do anything. They drove a thousand miles for an Ozzy show. Two days for a Jay Hawks game. When it was clear, they’d park her in the middle of nowhere, just sit on the hood, and watch the stars for hours without saying a word.

It never occurred to them that, sure, maybe they never really had a roof and four walls, but they were never in fact homeless.

So what’s this all add up to? It’s hard to say. But me, I’d say this was a test…for Sam and Dean. And I think they did alright. Up against good, evil, angels, devils, destiny, and God himself, they made their own choice. They chose family. And well…isn’t that kinda the whole point? No doubt — endings are hard. But then again…nothing ever really ends, does it?

—  Chuck Shurley, 5.22 Swan Song 

A year ago today, I got up at 4am, called in to work, and drove to Austin to sit in a crowded gallery full of people wearing orange and listen to Wendy Davis speak.

She stood for 13 hours, speaking for most of it.

We sat in the gallery and listened as the Republican leadership got more and more desperate. The state mandated pre-abortion sonogram was deemed ‘not germane’ to the discussion about further abortion restrictions.  Same for Planned Parenthood.

Much like a few nights earlier, when 700 people signed up to testify against SB5, we were told our voices didn’t matter.  That we were 'repetitive’.

Wendy didn’t sit down, even when they called a final–bogus–point of order against her (a colleague helped her put on a back brace, and it was said she 'leaned’ against him in contravention of Texas’ filibuster rules).

As other senators brought points of order to keep the filibuster going, Senator Leticia Van De Putte–who had driven to Austin for the vote immediately following the funeral of her father and was now being utterly ignored by the Lieutenant Governor in spite of the rules–asked the question that finally set off the crowd that had sat in respectful silence all day:

“Mr. President, at what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over the male colleagues in the room?”

The gallery exploded.  All three levels of the Capitol rang with shouting as the people of Texas did the only thing left to them: blocking the vote by any means necessary.

It was impossible to call roll over the noise, even as DPS troopers dragged protesters out of the gallery.  It was even more impossible to vote before midnight, despite the fact that Lt. Governor David Dewhurst changed the timestamp on the vote.

My State Senator, Chuy Hinojosa, snapped a cell phone photo of the log book and immediately uploaded it to Twitter and Facebook–that vote did not occur before midnight.

Despite pulling out every trick in their arsenal, SB5 failed.

Thank you Wendy, thank you Leticia. Thank you Kirk Watson & Chuy Hinojosa.  Thank you Judith Zaffirini, Sefronia Thompson, Jessica Farrar, Sarah Davis, and everyone else who stood up for Texas women.

We’re still standing.