Thursday, November 13, 2008

Assistance Por Favor!

Many of you are regular Shakesville readers. I am a junkie there. Melissa McKewan is one of the smartest writers I know, and why she doesn't have a paying gig while dimwits like Arriana Huffington and Maureen Dowd do is beyond me.

Melissa is also a huge part of the reason I got enough donations to get the Kid and I into a safe house and out of couch surfing.

She does all this, full time, for free, with no income other than donations. And she is soooooo worth the donations. She has made me a better person and a better feminist with her clear writing on ideas that had just been hazy fog in my head.

So if you are a regular Shaker- now is the time to show some love with some cash. If you aren't a regular, you should check it out. Shakesville is a harbor in the storm of assholery that is the internet for many of us.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The More You Know

For the less health care wonky out there- a pretty damn good explanation of why we need sinle payer universal healthCARE and not Obama's half-assed, non-mandate, gimme gimme to the insurance companies.

We want health care, not health insurance.

Health care is a right.

What can closing the gender gap do?

It could increase the GDP of the US by 9%.

9 fricken percent.

That's about a TRILLION dollars.

I guess that means our measly little 77 cents on the dollar really does hurt everyone, and not just our own pocket books.

Paying for what we don't want

Americans spend a hell of a lot of money paying for things we don't want, especially those of us on the left side of the country.

We paid for the hideous bailout that did nothing (and will be paying more, just you wait)

We pay for the prison industrial complex, the military industrial complex, the Iraq war. We pay farm subsidies so giant agri-business farmers can pump us full of genetically modified corn. We pay for executions and Guantanamo bay and Kangaroo courts. We pay for wire-tapping and eaves dropping and torture.

So I have been thinking about Obama and health care. First, thank god for Max Baucus and Hillary, without whom Obama might easily slide universal health care under the rug.But I am also thinking about Obama's wishy washy, couldn't give a damn attitude towards choice.

In the brave new world of healthcare reform, can we finally include birth control and abortion services in our coverage. Only a few states (WA included) cover abortion under Medicaid. They figured out that it was cheaper to pay for abortions than it was to pay for unwanted children. But more than just as a cost effective measure, when do we women get to have full rights to access the healthcare we need?

We pay for things we hate all the time. I think it's about time that the wingnuts of the country had to pony up and pay for things they hate too. Like healthcare access for women. Even us dirty sluts who have sex and get pregnant and don't want to be turned into a brood mares.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Go read

or listen and cry.

The big reason why I am a feminist is that no matter what particular oppression affliction you suffer from, that oppression is ALWAYS worse for women. We can;t fix racism or classism or bigotry or abelism if we don't address the ways we continue to hurt women, here and there and everywhere.

It cannot be an either/ or fix. It must be all or nothing will ever change.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sometimes the best insight comes from assholes

Someone is giving me grief in comments for my aural abuse of metro bus passengers in defense of my kid.

And it's got me thinking.

First, I'm a girl (you peeps might have noticed) and as a girl I am often given grief for my colorful language. So anyone who wants me to shut up and take a shit sandwich with a grin pisses me off. Cussing actually has sociological value. In the work place, cuss words are used to bond employees together over shared sentiments. Which is why it's a double whammy when women are belittled for using the same kind of language as men.

But beyond that is this idea that politeness trumps humanity. Now I am a big one for manners. Manners are the little social rules that make society function. We wait our turn in lines, cover our mouths when we cough, don't spit on the sidewalks. These are behaviors we have because it makes things work better. They differ from culture to culture (in Spain line-cutting is the only way to ever get through a line). But a majority of people in a place will understand what those unwritten rules are and follow them.

However, we have taken the rules for politeness into the extreme of apathy. Much like the asshole in comments, who thinks it is better to let doochebags get away with humiliating children than to offend bus riders with a 30 second take down of said doochebag, we have let inaction become the glue that holds society apart.

And in this case, it was just a dooche picking on a kid. But in other situations, like say the woman who was raped on a train platform while the guard sat in the guard booth and watched, that inaction has caused real damage. What if someone had thrown a public tantrum at the rapist dude before he actually got to the rape point. What if he had been publicly humiliated for groping or even just ogling the woman? Might we have stopped a worse abuse? Might we have stopped some of the watchers from thinking that kind of behavior is ok.

When you humiliate people for treating others badly, you make it harder for people to treat others badly. When you stand up for people, you make it easier for others to stand up. When you sit quietly on a bus and ignore assholes, you make it that much easier for them to be assholes.

In short, when you treat people like human beings, other people will treat them as human too. This is why it's important for men to be vocal feminist allies and for whites to support people of color and for straights to push for gay marriage.

In WWII in a village in France, the local Huguenot minister treated Jews as humans. He and his congregation hid them, fed them, and kept them safe from the Nazis. The Nazis, seeing Jews treated as human beings instead of vermin, warned the minister before raids were about to take place.

When you treat people as human beings, it makes it easier for other people to treat them as human too. When you call out bullshit and hurtful behavior, you make it easier for other people to call it out too.

Inaction is not really politeness. We have to stop seeing apathy as good manners. We have to start treating people as human beings so we all can be treated as human beings. Stand up, yell at assholes, make a fuss and humiliate those who would do harm.

For Quin

Who likes jazz.

I've posted some Maria Rita videos before, but she is awesome and so i will do it again.

The Education Plan

Like Anglachel, I worry when people start talking about "disadvantaged youths". I worry especially when they talk about disadvantaged youths in the context of higher education. It often ends up being code for "shove them into programs that will continue to give them not enough to get a real education.

And even one of my favorite presidents was guilty of screwing the poor when it comes to education. Under Bill Clinton's welfare reform, poor mothers could no longer receive welfare if they were in school to get an academic degree. If they wanted to get a certificate to be a home healthcare aid (about $8 an hour) they could stay on welfare while they did it. If they wanted to get a nursing degree ($21 an hour to start) then no welfare for them. Also no food stamps or medicaid. Vocational and certificate programs almost never provide the same kind of salary that an actual degree does. And vocational educations become outdated long before a BA or BS ever does.

So Obama has a plan to get disadvantaged kids college money in exchange for community service work. (I won't even get into how we are facing high unemployment and that work might be better left to market rate pay scales for people who need to feed their families). What I wonder is why can't we just do as all other civilized countries do and pay for people to go to college? Why is higher education not a universal like primary education is? Why do we send so many people into massive debt for something that is so vital for our country?

And I have to wonder, when we are desperate for engineers and doctors and nurses, how many of those positions could be filled if those disadvantaged youths were given the ability to go to college without also needing to juggle 3 part time jobs to pay for tuition and living expenses? Adding community service requirements doesn't get them enough money to pay for school and living expenses. It just means that one of their jobs will be through the school. They will still have to supplement with waiting tables and lots of loans. And when they lose a job or the money comes up short, the first thing to go is college. When it's a choice between taking a midterm or not getting fired from the job that keeps you from being homeless, you skip the midterm. And after a week of working 40 plus hours and taking 3 full time classes, there are simply not enough hours in the week for showering or sleep, let alone homework.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

The neverending move

Yep- still moving out of the downstairs. Yep, still don't have a bed. Yep, back still fucked up.

It must end sometime, right. Right?

In the mean time I think I shall become an alcoholic.