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June 16, 2008



I agree, particularly when we have been reminded of late (via feminist websites) that the early suffragists chose to place their votes elsewhere rather than be ignored by their party.


Interesting that the latest person to use the phrase "nowhere else to go" in this context is Keith Olbermann's producer in the Olbermann profile in the June 23 issue of The New Yorker. It is Phil Griffin's opinion that female viewers angered by Olbermann's abuse of Clinton will come back to the show because, yes, there's "nowhere else to go."


[just a note: today I received an email from Hillary Clinton. Here is it:

Dear Chris,

Together, you and I changed America forever. We touched so many lives over the course of this campaign, and I can't thank you enough for the support you showed me. I met so many wonderful people out on the trail, and I wanted to share some of those memories with you.

I hope you'll take a moment to view our online album with some favorite photos from the campaign.

Thank you so much -- I'll be in touch soon.


A little comment such as, "we're going to work hard to defeat John McCain this year" or "we're going to work hard to make sure Barack Obama wins in November" would have been nice. But nothing of the sort. And that is disappointing to me.

John Petty

Hypatia, I saw that same remark. Funny, I haven't watch MSNBC for a couple of months and I don't notice my life being any the poorer for it.

Hi Chris, Hillary sent YOU an email? (I got that one too, but didn't click through to the pics.)


Wandering off topic. I don’t know much about the Monticello Association, but in their defense nobody knows for sure what happened in regard to Jefferson and Hemings and from what I can remember from old Times articles about the dispute within the family, they don’t deny the possibility outright but say the evidence is not conclusive, which is perfectly true even if it looks picayune or worse to insist on it. Perhaps some members of the Association are motivated by racism and certainly the Abeles sound like bad eggs, but I don’t think everyone involved should be tarred with that brush.

It does seem probable that Jefferson fathered some if not all of Hemings’ children, but as far as I can tell the popular press has gone from dismissing the story wholesale without looking closely at the evidence to accepting the story wholesale without looking closely at the evidence. I don’t know how many times I’ve read and heard that the DNA evidence “proves” Jefferson’s paternity when it does nothing of the sort. Not necessarily progress.

Also, strictly speaking Jefferson or whoever didn’t have any “black” children – Hemings was the half sister of Jefferson’s wife, and several of her kids “passed” for white, as they used to say, and apparently Sally herself was light-skinned. At the time, of course, such distinctions wouldn’t have made much difference, but those children weren't very black at all. Must have been very odd for Jefferson's daughters with all these light skinned slaves about, no matter who was the father.

John Petty

Ha! Good last line. My understanding is that the DNA evidence doesn't exactly prove Jefferson's paternity, but it comes pretty close. I read somewhere that the only other possibility for paternity might have been Jefferson's brother.

Many of the weird contradictions we have about race were lived out in the life of Jefferson. On the one hand, Jefferson knew slavery was wrong. On the other hand, he was, basically, a white supremacist.

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