Friday, August 28, 2009

Yep- that's a big pet pevee of mine too

So read this

Are you back?

I never married. I never will. I could have gotten married a couple of times, but I'm totally a candidate for runaway bride status.

So my name has always been my name. And it always will be (unless I meet a dashing Cary grant type whose last name happens to be Bennett. Then I *might* consider changing my name just so I could be Lizzie Bennett. Same is true if the dude's last name is Darcy.)

But the Kid has his dad's last name. 14 years and $40k in unpaid child support later, and I regret that decision. But wevs. It's the Kid's name now.

But I have never been Mrs. Kid'slastname. And i live in an urban, progressive, West Coast city. There are lots of unmarried people with kids or divorced/remarried people with kids. Enough that no one should automatically assume that kids and parents share the same name. I know only a couple of kids that have the same last names as their moms, and at least 2 of those kids have moms with hyphenated names.

So it pisses me off to nooooooo end when people call me Mrs. Kid'slastname. Especially school people, who are sitting there with my name right in front of them, either in an email or on a form. Kid had a counselor last year who flat out refused to get my name right, and was so pissed off when I got mad about it that he called me Ms. Notexactlyyourlastnamebutcloseenough after that.

It is disrespect to refuse to knowledge someone's proper name, whether it's a woman with a different name from her kids or a person with a hard to pronounce (foreign) name or a person transitioning from one gender to another. A name is important. Things don't exist to us until we name them and refusing to use someone's name is a way of wiping out their existence.

Video Games and the Teenage Mind

The Kid is a dork, a video game playing, fantasy book reading, dungeons and dragons dork.

I am fine with this. I was a popular, non-dorky teenager. It benefited me very little in the real world (except that home was so bad- I figured the universe was giving me a break by making school and friends easier).

But it does mean I get to have a lot of uncomfortable discussions about how video games perpetuate racism and sexism in the real world.

Example #1:

Kid flops into a chair and sighs.

Me: What up dude?

Kid: I just died in my game. I have to go back and start ALL OVER.

Me: Sorry monkey.

Kid: Next time though, I'm going to play as a girl. Girls have it easier in the game.

Me: Oh really. How do girls have it easier?

Kid: Well there is this guy that steals your car, and you have to pay him a lot of money if you want it back. But if you're a girl, you can uhm, uh, have sex with him and get your car back.

Me: You do realize that is not having sex right. You realize that is rape. He's forcing her to have sex with him.

Kid: Yes. (slinks off).

Me: you know we are going to have to finish this discussion at some point.

Kid: Yes.

Example 2:

Kid: So in this game, this guy gets a rash on his little tribal

Me: You mean his junior member?

Kid: Yeah, but he calls it his little tribal

(conversation goes on about all the many euphemism for penis)

Kid: so the guy goes to the doctor in the game. And the doctor performs some painful test and then tells the guy that he needs to use this cream to clear it up. But the guy, Nanuk, doesn't trust the doctor because the doctor hurt him, so he decided to use a witch doctor's cure instead and covers his little tribal in oil and lights it on fire.

Me: Oh dude, that's horrible.

Kid: I know

Me: and it's also racist.

Kid: Oh no- in the game there are no races, just tribes.

Me: Something can be not racist inside the game, but it is racist outside the game. Remember that thing about the girl and the car thief?

Kid: Yes.

Me: You know that same thing happened to me in real life. It didn't feel like "Oh bonus! I get my shit back and all I have to do is fuck this asshole".

Kid: what happened?

Me: Well we were in the middle of moving. I gave all my money to this guy with a truck to move our stuff for us. He got everything we owned into the truck, then backed me into a corner and said to either give him more money or fuck him.

Kid: What did you do?

Me: Well I used you as an excuse. I told him I couldn't with you there, and for him just to wait until later. Fortunately I knew where his mom lived, and when i told her that he had all my stuff, she got mad and laid into him. If it hadn't been for her, you wouldn't have any of your baby pictures.

I don't want to ban you from playing video games. I don't think that would help.
But I do want you to see this stuff. I want you to understand what happens in real life when you treat someone as dumb for being tribal or treat rape as sex. I want you to recognize it when you see it.

Kid: I get it. What's inside the game isn't what's outside the game.

Me: Well that's a start.

Is that really helpful?

When the Kid was little and having a tantrum or doing something to cause problems, I would stop him ans ask "Is what you're doing helping or hurting?"

I find myself wishing I could sit large parts of the population down at the moment and ask them the same thing.

For example- do you really think death threats are helpful? (Jezebel link disclaimer)

And with so many horrible things happening in the world, is spending time worrying about the state of the presidential ween more helpful than spending time worrying about rising unemployment?

In the middle of all this, a woman who was kidnapped 18 years ago (just a few miles from my home at the time) is finally free from the wankstain who kept her as a rape slave. Yay! In the mean time 9 women are missing in North Carolina and no one gives a damn and I post about a missing girl and the only comments are either crickets chirping or racist drivel. Is that helping or hurting?

And people are bringing guns to town hall meetings and wishing the president harm. Is that helping or hurting?

The Kid got the concept at 4 years old. The people in the stories above are grown ups who would rather cause harm and (as Wonder put it so well, once upon a time) "stand there in their wrongness and be wrong" than do something useful or helpful or good or kind or thoughtful.

It makes me sad and angry and embarrassed to be part of this planet, all at once.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Where Is Aniysah?

I wrote in an email today that "white privilege means not having to do much while still feeling righteous". I'm part of that problem. I don't do enough.

But I want to do more. White privilege also means that white people are more likely to listen when I speak. So I will speak, or in this case- copy and paste.

Black and brown children are way more likely than white children to be taken from their mothers by "the system" and we are the system. Just like we treat poverty as a criminal act, we treat blackness and browness as criminal acts, and judge parents of color with much harsher lenses than we use for white parents.

This is an action item. Do something. Repost this, show up. Don't think that just "not being a racist" is enough. It's not. This is someone's baby girl who is missing. This is a mother who feels the loss of that child like it's a missing limb. If you're a parent and you've ever had that panicked moment where a kid wanders off in the grocery store- imagine if that feeling went on for 6 months or longer.

Where Is Aniysah?

From Document the Silence:

On March 3rd, 2009 six year old Aniysah was taken from her mother’s arms and thrown into a legal shuffle of unaccountability, instability and discrimination. There were no records verifying that she would be taken to a safe living environment or that she was enrolled in school. Questions about her health and well-being went unanswered. That was 150 days ago. To date, Aniysah remains lost in the legal system. A system where black and brown children go missing everyday. A system where black mothers like Aniysah’s are often left to fend for themselves in a brutal, dogged battle just to make sure their children are safe.

It’s time to hold the legal system accountable. Document the Silence asks that you join them in the “Where’s Aniysah?” campaign by posting information about this case on your blogs, online social networks and throughout your community. You can find out more about this campaign to stand against injustices against our children in the legal system by visiting the Document the Silence website .

Where’s Aniysah? What you can do!

* Show up! – Are you going to be in the NYcity area August 24th? Come to Aniysah’s court date and show the judge and the law guardian you care! Even if you can’t make it, invite your friends who can! The deets:The next court date is August 24th, 2009 at 11AM and the address is :IDV PartCourtroom E-123, Annex BuildingJustice Fernando M. CamachoQueens County IDV Court,Queens County Supreme CourtCriminal Term 125-01 Queens BlvdKew Gardens, New York 11415

* Spread the word!- send this website out to everyone you know. tell them why this is important. post to your facebook account. forward on your many list serves. post Aniysah’s mom youtube clip on your facebook page. write a blog about her story. email everyone you know and don’t know.

* Speak up! – do you know of other children of color who have been lost in the legal shuffle? Let’s document the silence of court sanctioned kidnapping that is happening to black and brown women and children across the country! email us at and we will add your story to the website.
Via Elle Phd

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Since it's religon week

A few metric shit ton of random, rambling thoughts

I don't think Jesus said anything about passing laws to punish people who disagreed with him. Actually, I'm pretty sure that his entire message was about striving individually to be better people. I'm pretty sure he said to leave the judgment up to him. The old testament is pretty confusing with it's weird contradictory rules about what you can eat and the types of fabrics you could wear and how to properly stone your wife, but Jesus was pretty clear. He was all "be good to each other, and I'll take care of the naughty/nice list".

But aside from the Quakers and the UU- I don't see much of that attitude in Christianity.

I'm not unlearned about religion. Sure, I've never read the Koran so my knowledge of Islam is a bit lacking, and everything I know about Hinduism or Jainism or Shintoism is less than I know about quantum mechanics . But when I was little I went with my grandma to the Kingdom Hall. She was a Jehovah's Witness. Even as a little kid, I thought their rules were pretty dumb. Why wouldn't god want you to celebrate your birthday or play sports? But I got to wear shiny shoes and new dresses and go out to lunch afterwards.

I went to a baptist summer bible camp. It was cheap daycare while mom was working, and they had good snacks. But it still seemed pretty fake to me.

By the time I hit high school, I was in full religious experimentation mode. There was the summer I was a Buddhist. I still use the meditation stuff when i can't sleep, and I can sit still with my eyes closed and my breath slowed for 8 hours. But 15 year olds have social lives, and boys and friends and things to distract them. I figured my middle path involved less meditation and more keggers at the reservoir.

Not much later (16, 17 maybe) I discovered wicca. Ohhhhhhhh a religion where girls aren't considered 2nd class (true for Judeo-Christian faiths and Buddhism). But I am not a nature girl. Not even a little. And again, the ritual of the thing seemed so false, just like baptisms.

I toyed with the idea of Zoroastrianism. I like their funeral rituals. I seriously considered marrying a sikh, but their ideas of equality don't exactly translate into real life action.

What kept popping up is the idea that if you are good- if you say the right prayers (or spells) or believed the right way, then god or the universe or whatever would have your back. That good would come of believing the right way and there would be justice or fairness or something that came out of it. What also kept popping up was the way that women were treated as less than, in everything but wicca. I couldn't imagine how there could be any sort of supreme being who would automatically subject one half of the population to greater hardships just because of a piece of flesh.

And that's a big one, but it's not the biggest reason why I just don't buy it. I don't believe the world is just. I don't believe that people get what they deserve. I don't believe that some cosmic entity is up there balancing the scales. I don't believe in kharma. I think terrible people get away with horrible things all the time, while good people get punished for uncontrollable things like race or sex or class or physical ability or sexual preference. And I think that those who believe that you get what you deserve make the lives of those at the bottom worse.

I do believe in striving for a better, more just, world. I believe that if we are here for any reason, it's for that. It is to prove that we can do better for everyone. If there was any one philosophy I had to pick, religious or otherwise- I'd say I'm a Rawlsian. I believe people are more important than ideas. I believe it's easy, too easy, to kill for an idea, for a religion, for a belief, for a country. I see a lot of calls to killing in religion. I believe that you should never trust any group who puts their ideas above the welfare of actual people, whether that group is PETA or Operation Rescue.

But back to Jesus, since that seems to be the dominant flavor of religious types I get around here.

Jesus was cool. A dear friend of mine, a brilliant, beautiful, brainy gay man, once wrote a poem about how he and Jesus could totally hang out, if Jesus' followers weren't so hell-bent on stoning gay men to death. I see that, we've all seen it. The hypocrisy, the purposeful misreading of the bible, the claims to faith without any examination.

Jesus said some good stuff. The whole rich men/ eye of the needle stuff is good. It's not because having money is bad- it's because the actions required to get and keep money are sinful. You have to ignore the suffering of others to do it. The whole stone throwing thing- also good. But as we see with his followers, they aren't ready to put down their own stones yet. There are too many of us harlots for them, I suppose.

And it keeps getting repeated in comments around here- but "know them by their fruits" is one that Christians like to throw at others, but I haven't seen them using it on themselves much. I see a lot of hate, a lot of judgment, a lot of fake "god bless" coupled with embarrassingly bad logic. But not a lot of evaluating their own deeds for rottenness.

And then I go back to my days with Grandma at the Kingdom Hall. Now the women in my family may have a tendency to be bat-shit crazy, but also really damn smart. When I asked grandma why Witnesses didn't vote, she quoted the "render unto Caesar" line to me. She explained that law making and politicking had nothing to do with Jesus. He was the one and final judge and that making laws on earth was bad because Jesus already told us all how to act.

Now- I vote. But I'm not Christian. And i don't have a problem with Christians voting. But I do think it's hypocritical and wrong in the eyes of Jesus for Christians to try and force their views on everyone else through the law or the government. (Do they think they get bonus points or gold stars in heaven for most number of non-believers oppressed by the church?) And I think it's wrong in a Rawlsian sense to limit individual liberty to a specific religion.

And with that- I have to end my philosophical ramblings for the evening.

To Shamelessly Steal

From Blue Lyon. This is her fab email sig

Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. I am not afraid. ~ Marcus Aurelius

But if I used it, I would have to replace this:

The trouble with being poor is that it takes up all of your time.
Willem de Kooning

So I am just going to post it here instead.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


How are you all liking the shared items section?

Have you clicked on any links there? Do you think it's in an awkward place? Have you not even noticed it?

I'm loving it. It means not having to write a blog post every time someone phrases something more elegantly that I can. But maybe it makes me slack a wee bit in posting.

Come on- tell me whatcha think.

From the mailbag

I have no idea who this person is- but I just got this little bit of joy in my mailbox.


(Whoever wrote this one deserves a HUGE pat on the back!)

Like a lot of folks in this state, I have a job. I work, they pay me. I pay my taxes and the government distributes my taxes as it sees fit. In order to get that paycheck, I am required to pass a random urine test to show I am clear of drugs, with which I have no problem. What I do have a problem with is the distribution of my taxes to people who don't have to pass a urine test. So here is my Question. Shouldn't one have to pass a urine test to get a welfare check because I have to pass one to earn it for them?

Please understand, I have no problem with helping people get back on their feet. I do, on the other hand, have a problem with helping someone sitting on their rump --doing drugs, while I work. . . . Can you imagine how much money the state would save if people had to pass a urine test to get a public assistance check? I guess we could title that program, 'Urine or You're Out'..

Pass this along if you agree or simply delete if you don't.
Hope you all will pass it along, though.
Something has to change in this country -- and soon!!!!!!!

Oh look- let's make it even harder for poor women with children to get help. Let's require them to submit to tests that we don't require for anyone else except criminals. Cause being a poor female with children is a criminal act- doncha know.

Let's put aside that it's racist, classist, and sexist and just focus on fairness.

Do we require people to take a drug test when they get a tax deduction or rebate? How about when they take a driver's test? When they apply for a FHA loan program? Or Stafford or Perkins loans for college?

No. But for poor people applying for Welfare (which means overwhelmingly female, with children and often WOC) getting assistance from the government means subjecting yourself to criminal investigation that other people aren't subjected to.

(FTR- I don't do drugs. Haven't since high school. Testing me would just be one more in a long line of humiliating acts that I have to go through to make sure my kid is housed and fed. But for women who do use drugs to self medicate the stress from a life lived in poverty and despair- CAN YOU REALLY BLAME THEM?).

ETA: I just forwarded this entire response to all 61 people who got this email. How much haterade do you think is going to be clogging my inbox in 3...2...1...

If this is your god- I'll pass

But you know- wingnuts aren't all about preaching the hate and violence and murder. NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOPPPPPPPPPPPPPEE

Contest Update!

Godless whores and the Christians who read the bible: 12 donations, $564.78

"Good" Christians: Nada. Zilch. Apparently the devil has infested their paypal accounts and things can't be cleared up till an exorcism is performed on the whole internet.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Must bookmark for future trolls

Evo psych bingo!


And just for Bob- our current troll-in-residence

(FTR and for evo psych blowhards- I have better spacial relation skills than anyone I've ever met- male or female. Rotating 3d objects in my head is a piece of cake. Try recreating entire floorplans from a handful of real estate porn photos or packing a 3 bedroom house into a 10 foot Uhaul. Or making custom clothing patterns from scratch. I think in 3d pictures.)

More inappropriate conversations with children

I'm just waiting for the "THAT'S DISRESPECTFUL!" comments to come rolling in

Kid: Bye Mom, I'm off to the library

Me: Aren't you going to eat your sammich?

Kid. I'll eat it later.

Kid: Don't you eat my sammich.

Me: Oh I'm going to eat your whole sammich, and mine too. And when you come home from the library I am going to be covered in crumbs, rubbing my belly and complaining cause I ate too much of your sammich.

Kid: You're evil

Me: And then I'm going to tell you that I am just a momma bird. I was pre-digesting your sammich for you.

Kid: that's sick and wrong and wrong and sick and sick and wrong and wrong wrong wrong.

(FTR_ the Kid's sammich is safe and sound. But I am covered in dorito dust. If only I lived in my mom's basement (and hated women)- I'd be a real internet troll.

Why I am and always will lean Dem

Because the left leaning types don't shoot doctors.

Or blow up buildings.

Or bring guns to meetings.

That's why I wouldn't vote for McCain. That's why even though I think we have the second most useless president in history, he's still a hair's breadth better than the alternative (mind you- I think we deserve much better than either of them.)

But I am not impressed or amused by violence as a political tool. Actually- there is a word for when non-governmental agents use violence as a tool for political gain. It's called terrorism.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


I keep running into this certain type of fauxgressive dude-bro- the communicator.

They are big on communicating, they just wanna talk things out, have a little chat, etc.

Except they don't really have 2-way conversations. They talk at you, over you, interrupt you, around you. They don't listen when you speak cause they are too busy planning their next barrage. Basically their m/o is to talk for so long that you are finally worn out and agree with whatever they are saying just to make them go away.

And I am over it. I no longer have any sort of strength to summon politeness when dealing with them. I hang up on them, slam doors on them. The conversation wasn't mutual anyways, they can keep babbling at a slammed door if they feel the need.

I could give you the run down

on how much we spend on health care per capita vs. every other developed country. I could give you child mortality rates and life expectancy rates. I've worked in the insurance field managing benefits packages and in medical billing, so I can give you the ins and outs and nitty gritty on the horrible ways our system works.

But I think I'd rather you had a view of a system that works really well.

They spend less per person than we do and they cover everyone. And their system has something that a free market system can never include- common decency.