Lynn Allen, R.I.P.

lynnallenLynn Allen was one of the first political bloggers I met, way back when the local liberal blogosphere was just taking shape, and while she may not have been one of the best known or most read, within our community she was certainly one of the most loved, often playing the role of den mother to our group of rowdy children.

Lynn died today at the age of 63, after a brief battle with ovarian cancer.

Politics is a mean, nasty, vicious business. But cancer is meaner.


  1. 2

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I’ve been thinking a lot about the meaning of life lately, although not necessarily in terms of my own mortality — after all, Pop Rabbit is almost 100 years old and I’m only 64 so I’ve got another 35 years or more (eat shit, trolls; if you were hoping to get rid of me sooner than later, it’s just an unfortunate fact of your miserable meaningless lives that every in my family lives to very old ages, it’s genetics) — but I just want to say that there are selfish people who live out their lives taking care of #1 and then there are people who use their lives to make this a better world … and she was one of those. I don’t know if there’s a God. Some of my liberal friends struggle with that issue. But if there is, I’ll bet the flags were waving and the brass bands were playing when Lynn went up* today.

    * In case you’re wondering where the expression “went up” comes from, it came to my attention from reading a book about the Fetterman battle in Wyoming in the winter of 1866. Fetterman was a Civil War hero who declared, “give me 80 men and I’ll ride through the whole Sioux Nation!!” So his commander gave him 80 men (including 2 civilians) and Captain Fetterman rode through the whole Sioux Nation. Only thing is, he didn’t come out the other side, like he planned. This was the second battle in American history from which there were no survivors (the first was the Alamo in Texas), and the Fetterman battle is chiefly remembered today as a precursor of the Custer battle a few years later. The takeaway is, arrogance gets you an early retirement from your job, whatever it is. Anyway, when Fetterman’s bodies back at the fort when out to retrieve the carved-up bodies after the 2,000 Sioux left the scene, they referred to their comrades’ abrupt Rapture as “they went up.” Apparently that was the euphemism for violent death in the latter 1860s. I got it from reading a book about the incident, and the phrase strikes me as both quaint and half-amusing, therefore I have used it here.

  2. 3

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    People who wear big britches and wide-bore revolvers on their hips have a way of getting their comeuppance.

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    Met her once. Talked briefly. Lovely person and passionately serious about politics. Hate to see the ones like her taken away so cruelly.

    Deepest condolences to those closest to her.

  4. 10

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I usually bash the Seattle Times, but I thought they published a reasonably balanced article about the Seattle schools “scandal” (if that’s what it is), considering it involves a former state Democratic Party chair. I mean, they gave the guy a chance to defend himself in print, and he doesn’t think he didn’t anything wrong, and neither do I, yet.

    I’m not gonna jump on the Republican Times about this one, yet. Muckraking is what newspapers do. It’s what reporters live for. Pop Rabbit was a reporter, and so was I before I became a lawyer, so I see this from a reporter’s perspective. It’s not a “get the Democrats” article. The fact Rolland charged the school district for 3 hours of work when his presentation lasted only 1.5 hours is gonna attract the attention of muckraking reporters hoping to win a Pulitzer Prize. And they dutifully reported his explanation that he charged the school district for 3 hours of work because he had to do work both before and after his presentation. That seems like fair reporting to me.

  5. 11

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I just wanna add, if a former state Democratic Party chair did something wrong — if he ripped off taxpayers — then I say throw him under the bus! I’ll do it every time, and so will my fellow Democrats.

    And that, kiddies, is the difference between us and Republicans like Doc Hastings, who was appointed to head the House Ethics Committee with the specific assignment of sweeping the vast Republican corruption that permeated the Bush years under the rug.

    Why 4th District voters keep re-electing that lightweight is a fucking mystery. I mean, that district is populated by highly educated and highly paid engineers who are cleaning up the Hanford mess, so I can’t help thinking — what the fuck are all those smart people thinking when they vote for that guy??!!

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    Not sure why I am having problems posting this, this is my 3rd try?

    This is very difficult for me as well. Barbara and I have found the blogger community brought together by Lynn, David and others a wonderful family. Lynn, was one of those people we learned the most from. Her own blog, Rebuilding Democracy, is a great example of the power of free speech offered by this new medium.

    We have a new granddaughter, her parents met through the Drinking Liberally community, another part of Lynn’s gifts to us. Tonight, with our grand daughter present, we will say the Shabbat prayers and wish Lynn peace.

  8. 15

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    More ‘Shoot Obama’ Rhetoric From The Right

    When Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) held a townhall on Tuesday, and an audience member asked him when someone was going to shoot President Obama (and other audience members laughed), Broun replied:

    “The thing is, I know there’s a lot of frustration with this president. We’re going to have an election next year. Hopefully, we’ll elect somebody that’s going to be a conservative, limited-government president . . . who will sign a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.”

    Roger Rabbit Commentary: If Broun had been a Secret Service agent instead of a gutless GOP congressman pandering to a crowd of rightwing crazies, he would have waded into the audience and arrested that person.

  9. 16

    bluesky spews:

    Wow. I’m really sorry to hear this. I met Lynn a couple of times. I sat next to her at the special luncheon and gathering Gov. Gregoire hosted at the Gov’s mansion to thank the many people who supported the election ordeal through the counts and courts in 2005. Lynn was there because she was so active a blogger for Gregoire. What a gracious but driven woman. A listener and explainer and an exciter. What a loss.

    And fucking Cheney is still breathing.

  10. 17

    blathering michael spews:

    Lynn was always the certified adult in the early days of local political blogging. A great liberal, her politics bespoke her spiritual self. She was as sweet to assholes as to the rest of you. She will be missed.

    (Speaking of assholes, SHUT UP ROGER RABBIT)

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    W/O Michael’s acromny, I agree.

    Someone really dear has passed on. We need to use HA as a place to celebrate her life.

  12. 19

    Zotz sez: Teahadists are Koch suckers! spews:

    It’s “acrimony” and I agree: damn, Roger, not cool man…

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    Steve spews:

    I never met her, but it is obvious to me from reading Goldy’s post and some of the comments above that Lynn must have been a very lovely lady, and an extraordinary person who inspired and quietly led a number of good people. My thoughts and prayers go to her family and friends who I’m certain are deeply pained by her passing and who will miss her most dearly.

    @2 “I don’t know if there’s a God. Some of my liberal friends struggle with that issue. But if there is, I’ll bet the flags were waving and the brass bands were playing when Lynn went up* today.”

    I will say that, for my part, I do not struggle with the question of whether or not there is a God. It is the nature of God that I ponder. I will say here that I wonder if God notes the fallen sparrow because God is the fallen sparrow.


    LMFAO! I love the guy, Michael, but if you only knew how close I came to telling him that in person once.

    @18 “damn, Roger, not cool man…”

    I agree, my friend Zotz, but I choose not judge him too harshly. My time is far better spent judging myself. But I will hope that someone will come along and delete any off-topic comments as this is not an open thread. This thread is for Lynn.

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    samson shillitoe -- 'I still got it!' spews:

    re 19: Mark Twain observed that God sees the sparrow fall, but it falls nonetheless.

  15. 23

    Zotz sez: Teahadists are Koch suckers! spews:

    I agree, my friend Zotz, but I choose not judge him too harshly

    Me neither. It was meant as an elbow in the ribs to my buddy…

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    helpmerhonda spews:

    sj @13, i thought you were an atheist?
    shabbat is the first of the holidays, which are remembrances of the exodus from egypt.
    “For You have chosen us, and made us holy from all the nations, and You gave us Your holy Shabbat with love and pleasure;
    Blessed are You, Holy Master, Who sanctifies the Shabbat.”
    shabbat is about praying to god.
    if you don’t believe, why bother?
    seems pretty hypocritical of you.

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    I can not be at the demonstration in Olympia tomorrow but I hope those who are there will add a bit of volume in shared tribute to Lynn Allen!

    One thing Michael hood said above struck as being very important. He lauds Lynn by calling her a “certified adult.” I am not sure what “certified” means nor do I actually think that “adult” is a very good term for people like Lynn .. at least given the behavior we see today by Tea Baggers like Glen Beck or some of our own “adult but puerile” contributors here.

    There us, however, a word in Yiddish and a related word in many Native American languages. The Yiddish word is “mensch.” A mench, or a “human” in native languages, is more than just a person. A mensch is a person who has the best properties of our species.

    My Mom was a mensch.
    MLK was a mensch.
    Michelle Obama is a mensch.
    Jesus, at least the version some Christians see, was a mensch.
    Even Republicans used ot be “menscgen.” Dan Evans and Ed Brooke were both “mensches,” in their day.

    Lynn was a mensch.

    Shabbat Shalom.

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    We are all, progressives, conservatives, moderates alike, poorer for the loss of Lynn, but richer for having had the chance to know her, and learn from her.

    Lynn represented the best of what this country, and those that care for its well-being, are all about.

    She was a quiet fighter to the end, and exhibited a level of dignity few of us could ever match.

    It was an honor to be her friend, and she will be greatly missed.

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    For what it’s worth, I wrote a diary-remembrance of Lynn over on Daily Kos.

    As SJ points out, Lynn was without question a mensch. It’s interesting, then, that she meant her dKos username, nudger, to be based on the Yiddish term usually transliterated as noodge. She wanted to be a noodge-er much more than a nudge-er.

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    countrygirl spews:

    Lynn was a dear friend and mentor. She graciously invited me to a series of “Ladies Who Lunch” events. It was a diverse group of women who wanted to capture the positive energy of the campaigns of 2008 and carry it into the future. Under any other circumstances I probably would have felt as if I didn’t “fit in” with her friends – who are a lot better educated and well-read than I am. But as Lynn was the organizer, she always made us feel connected and we were. She is sorely missed. I’m just sorry I wasn’t able to make it to Seattle to help our group care for her in her last days.

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    Carol Friends spews:

    Lynn was a great soul. It was a privilege to work with her in the politial arena because she made politics a noble game. Her good sense, compassion and commitment will continue to guide us and she is sorely missed.

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    Lynn first wrote on Evergreen Politics and later wrote her Rebuilding Democracy blog. She was an issues person and was involved with the Democratic Party,

    She filed her paperwork to be a Democratic PCO in January in the 36th LD in Seattle and was on their Executive Board as a Neighborhood Officer.

    She was involved with the Institute for Washington’s Future working on agricultural issues. You can read some of her posts on Lynns Blog on the IWF website. She wrote about things like farmer’s markets, water supply, eating locally, climate change, stormwater runoff and sustainability.

    Lynn’s previous posts for both Rebuilding Democracy and Evergreen Politics are archived at
    Rebuilding Democracy. There are many good reads here that transcend the time written and are great commentary and full of wisdom.

    Thanks Lynn for all you did.

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    Lisa Allen spews:

    wow. Thank you all for your kind words and acknowledging that you saw what I saw in my sister. Our family just got a lot bigger!

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    Di Irons spews:

    Lynn’s picture could be next to ‘activist’ in the dictionary. She was so full of spirit, was very inspiring, and worked hard for what she believed in. I will miss her but will not forget her.