Friday, September 18, 2009

Let's All Say Hurray

And give a big round of applause to Gidget Commando for doing a helluva fill in job!

Kid and I made it, whoopee. We are still without regular internet access, though I have hijacked a laptop and wifi access at the moment. Until we get this resolved (I don't know when) I'll keep checking in as often as I can. But we are ok. Very ok. I knew that the mountains of stress I had been under was taking a physical toll (details are a wee bit tmi, even for me) but within 36 hours of landing I am back on the right path, if not 100 percent yet.

I'm getting ready to homeschool the Kid and just had a little meeting with a math tutor so I can figure out where to start him. I had a pretty good idea, but damn his old school fucked him over on the math teaching. He spent the last 2 years being an unpaid tutor and not learning much of anything. It makes me steam out the ears, the amount of wasted time and energy. But I think it will work out.

Having family around is awesome and weird. I am so used to it being just me and the Kid and quiet. But now there's 7 to 9 of us around at any given time. It's loud and crazy and there has been lots of hugs and tears. But good.

And hot. OMG people. I am a northern city girl in a tropical farm town. I love sweaters and knee high boots and trench coats in shades of black and grey. And none of that is wearable here. I may have to become one of those people that wears capri pants in sherbert colors. Stop me before I lose my gritty edge!

Much love to all of you that helped me get here, and sent good wishes. You kick ass.


A few Floridians want to make THE PILL unconstitutional?

From Tampa Bay Online: Anti-abortion conservatives are proposing a new constitutional amendment that critics claim would make it a crime to take birth control pills in Florida.

Sheesh. I think these folks really need a new hobby. Bowling? I hear bowling's fun. Knitting's made quite the comeback. Hmmm....maybe taking care of all the unwanted children now in foster care? Ding-ding-ding-ding! We have a winner!

The good news (if any) is that they need over 676,000 petition signatures by February 1 to put it on next year's ballot. Now we've had our fair share of anti-choice trolls here, but when you get down to brass tacks, even plenty of peeps who hate legalized abortion draw the line at getting rid of birth control. An awful lot of people who don't like to talk about, well, you know, down there, still use active efforts to try to prevent unwanted pregnancy. I can't see this effort getting anywhere. Can you? Or am Ijust uncharacteristically optimistic today?

ID theft: ur doin it rong

Your funny for the day. This -- -- just cracked me up. (The identity thief's bad grammar and spelling tripped him up.)

Boys and girls, it's important to study hard in school. Otherwise, someday yor bad skilz may git you bustid.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

One more woman dead. And MAYBE a ray of hope.

Good morning, all. Gidget Commando here, pitching an inning or two for the Red Queen while she's on her journey. Please forgive my relative lack of formatting--it's my first experience with Blogger, so I'm still terrified of mishandling things like, oh, hot links and such.

If you've seen or heard the news this morning, you know that police have arrested their "person of interest" in the slaying of Yale grad student Annie Le. The cops and prosecutors aren't talking squat about motive yet. But why do I get the scary feeling that this was another case of a guy who wouldn't take NO for an answer? Please, Flying Spaghetti Monster, I hope I'm wrong. I hope the guy had a pre-existing mental health condition, or a flashback, or ate bad shrooms and got violent. But anyone who's had the feminist "click" is probably feeling what I'm feeling today: unease, and anger that yet one more female life is gone because some guy thought his wants were more important than her full agency and free will.

However, I did glimpse a glimmer of hope this, of all places, the mainstream corporate media. Good Morning America had the chairman of The Forensics Panel, Dr. Michael Welner, on to discuss the case. (If you go to and scroll down to Yale Murder: Crime of Passion?, you'll find the segment.) When host Chris Cuomo asked Dr. Welner if the murder were a 'crime of passion,' I nearly threw a shoe at the TV. Thankfully, Dr. Welner shot down that 'crime of passion' crap immediately. His was the first voice of reason I've heard talking about these kind of crimes since Gavin de Becker in The Gift of Fear (a book I recommend strongly). Give Dr. Welner some love and watch the clip.

I'm preparing to help a dear friend face down a jilted suitor who doesn't want to take her multiple NOs for answers. He's escalating. She's just issued him a firmer NO. For her safety, and mine, I hope he gets it and isn't inspired by what just happened at Yale. But if she has to face him, I'm going with her. Wish us safety and a good outcome.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Leaving on a jet plane

So my little blogfriends, in the interest of radical vulnerability, I got news.

After many many years of doing this whole single mom on her own thing- I'm tired. No, I have not found some dude to cozy up to. But I miss having a family, having other grown people to share burdens and triumphs with. After Ruth went to go stuff her brain with math in grad school, I really didn't feel like I have that here anymore. And shit is too bad and too constant for me to get through this on my own.

I could stay in a lovely progressive city with a job that I love but that after 6 long years still doesn't pay me enough to pay for both rent and food in the same month, or give me benefits, feeling stuck in a bottomless pit of crisis after crisis after crisis of poverty, and left to deal with the mechanics of crisis solving on my own when the world has worn me down so much that my phone ringing causes an anxiety attack.

Or I can go to a state I am not too fond of, a swing state with decidedly conservadouche leanings, where I can't see myself living forever, in a tiny rural town away from what us city folks like to call "civilization", but be surrounded by people I love and that love me too. And the Kid. We will still be broke as fuck, and now I will be without a job. But when the phone rings I won't have to figure out the latest disaster alone. That means the world right now.

I am not sure how internet/ computers will work there. As you all know, my frankenputer is on it's last legs and I am ripping out the hard drive and sending it off to the computer graveyard. I will be begging for time on someone else's compy or maybe finding a library.

So we are on a plane. All our stuff has been packed up and stored.

I'll write and let you all know how it's going as soon as I can. And for those of you godless whores who have done so much to keep us afloat this summer, you have my undying gratitude. You peeps were the only thing that kept me going.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Hybrid economy for me please

I promised Dead Men that if I had time I would write about capitalism, and since Gidget Commando gave me the best damn quotable quote on capitalism since Marx, here's your post. In other words- you demand, I supply.

I believe in hybrids. I believe that there are some things government should never be responsible for, and some things that business should never be responsible for. And I think there is a good way to figure out which one should be responsible for what. If the ultimate goal of profit is at odds with the welfare of society, then business should stay the fuck out of it. This is why military contracting is bad- it incentivizes war. Military contractors make money when we are at war, they have a vested interest in starting and perpetuating wars. Health insurance companies have a vested interest in supplying as little care as possible. This is how they make money. It is not a flaw, it is the system.

As for things government shouldn't be involved with, I don't want some dude in a cheap blue suit deciding what this year's hot fashions will be, or what movies should get made, or which books will be published. Governments are notoriously bad at responding to market forces. Look at the current health care debate for an example. A huge percentage (I think it's in the 70s) of people want a public option, but that's not what we are going to get. The government is not responding to the demand.

Now here's where the overlap is (and where Gidget Commando comes in.) Capitalism is, at it's root, single minded, unconcerned, and amoral. It's not evil. It's not suddenly come down with some terrible disease. It always has and will always be looking for ways to cut costs either in labor or environmental concerns or product safety, because that is how it is designed.

Government's job is to keep capitalism in check because as Gidget Commando says:
It's like a perpetual adolescent. Capable of great energy, innovation, movement--but y'all really wouldn't want to leave it to its own unchaperoned devices, lest it throw a kegger and destroy the entire house.

Capitalism will skip class, get high, shoplift lipstick, and forget to use condoms. Government is there to be the parent with restrictions that keep capitalism from reckless driving into a bus full of us regular folks. Even Adam Smith knew this (but you'd be hard pressed to find a libertarian who will admit to it). Smith urged suspicious attention be paid to any proposed new law or regulation that comes from business, because they "have generally an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public." Or the teenage capitalism will promise to stay home alone while you're gone for the weekend and then throw that kegger. It can't help it. It's a teenager.

So I am fine with capitalism, as long as it's tightly regulated and on it's best behavior with clear consequences for every miss-step, and only if we have a strong social welfare system and capitalism is kept out of issues of national or global welfare.

Very interesting......

Go read this article about the welfare state and the ethnic divide in America.

I agree with the premise, that(some)Americans (some white Americans) are resistant to social welfare programs that benefit people who they think are "unworthy", even if those programs would benefit themselves.

But I also think those people are the screaming, rabid mouthed, teabagging minority.

I think that as we all get pushed further down the ladder into poverty, more American's are thinking that social welfare programs aren't so bad. Most people want universal health care, for example. Most folks want single payer or a public option. The one thing about the downward spiral that only the wealthy are immune. When middle class white people can't get jobs with health insurance, or when that insurance fails to provide actual health care, then the cost/ benefit of racism & classism and even sexism gets to be too high. We've seen that with working class households, where dads perform more unpaid family care than dads in upper class houses and where a female bread winner not making the same wage as her male counterparts has a direct effect on their male partners.

No- I don't think we are a post- anything society. But I do think we are all rational people in the end. Industrial age capitalism ended slavery, and the last Great depression brought us social security, perhaps technology age poverty will bring us something else that is good.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Policing your area

When I was little and in pre-school, I remember "policing your area" to be a thing we did everyday, after snacktime, before quiet time. We were each responsible for picking up the bits of detritus created by a room full of 3 and 4 year olds during the course of a day in the space close around us. It didn't matter if it wasn't you that created the mess, it was your area, and your responsibility to clean it up.

I think that is true as adults too, though in more than just a tidy space kind of way. I am a feminist, that is my "area" and it is my job to speak out against other people who call themselves feminists and then do something hurtful, like claiming that transwomen aren't "real" women.

I am also able-bodied, white, hetero, agnostic and female. When someone who shares my same areas says something stupid, it is my job to speak up, to police my area.

Now I can criticize things outside my area, like religion or men for example. But it's not my job to change it. It's not my area.

If a PWD, or a POC or a wealthy white male, for example, were to criticize me- I have two choices. I can listen to what they have to say and try to do better, or I can fight it. My general rule of thumb is that if what I am doing is causing harm to another person, then I will listen. If what I am doing is trying to stop someone from causing harm, then I will fight. This is where I almost universally end up when I am criticizing misogyny or religion.

Wonder and I have had this conversation before. She is not thrilled with my anti-religion stance, and she is one of the good Christians who I admire. But I make pretty valid claims against religion, and she sees that it is her area that needs policing, not my critiques. I don't use strawmen to draw my conclusions. I'm not making up the image of the screaming hypocrites, the pedophile priests, the pro-lifers who couldn't care less about actual lives, the Jesus lovers who only know Charity as a stripper from the local titty bar. I am not making up the fact that those are the majority of voices that get heard on the Christian front. And to me, though I know there are good people like Wonder who are Christians, constantly separating them out from the screaming hypocrites feels like it's too much policing of another person's area. It's not my job to change the image of religious types from greedy god-bags to Christ followers.*

*I feel the same way about ALL religions, btw. I dislike the messages from fundy Muslims, fundy Jews, and pretty much any religion that uses God to justify violence and hate. But it is the fundys, the hardliners, the haters, that get heard most often. After 9/11 there was a huge liberal cry for moderate Muslim voices to speak out. So if we require it from them, we should require it of our own religious types.)

Why in a supposedly "free market"

Are employers responsible for health insurance at all?

I think employers should be responsible for a lot of things like paying living wages, making safe products, creating safe work environments, not scamming the government out of trillions in bail out money.

But I don't think that health care should be their responsibility. Period. It makes a business less competitive, it increases unemployment and under-employment (hello part-time workers who are that way because the cost of benefits is too high) and it makes it more "justified" to discriminate for health reasons.

Just imagine the kind of country we could have when healthcare is universal and public. How many small businesses could be started by people with great ideas who can't leave their current jobs because of health insurance? How many more people could a business hire when their labor costs are drastically cut because they no longer have the burden of health and welfare benefits to carry?

Medicare for all is good for business.

Is this how they die out now

First go read this about the rise of Christianity during the plague.

Note this quote

When disasters stuck, the Christians were better able to cope, and this resulted in substantially higher rates of survival. This meant that in the aftermath of each epidemic, Christians made up a larger percentage of the population even without new converts.

Now as we have all seen here recently, modern Christians tend to be less charitable than their dark ages forefathers. If charity made them more competitive during times of crisis, will their lack of it now make them less so? Will their meanness of spirit hasten their extinction?

One can only hope.