Friday, September 25, 2009

The fact that a person exists

cannot and should not ever make them "illegal".

It goes against the laws of physics. It goes against human rights. It goes against every strain of morality I can think of.

A person exists, regardless of what boundaries are drawn on a map or checkpoints they have crossed. A person's mere existence cannot be illegal.

The system is broken

70 percent of child support cases in this country are in arrears. That means 70 percent of non custodial parents owe back child support. In some states, 50 percent of custodial parents haven't seen a single child support payment in the last twelve months.

I'm one of them. Kid's dad owes over $40k in back support, and his monthly payment isn't huge, just $328. That's not even close to half of what it costs to raise the kid. But hey, if his dad paid that much every month we wouldn't be homeless, in debt (my total debt is way less than $10k)or needing to rely on public assistance.

As much as I would love to blame dead beat parents alone for the failures of the current child support system, when you have a 70 percent failure rate it is the system that is failing, and not the individuals in that system.

It's been more than a decade since Bill Clinton included child support reforms in with welfare reform, and despite mandatory employment reporting and better information sharing between states, we still have a 70 percent failure.

So I am glad to see that someone is talking about it.

But- and this is a big ass but- as long as women and children are still seen as property instead of people by their exes, reform will be difficult. How do you make a fair parenting system when one half of a couple thinks they own the other half? How do you get kids the things they need in life when non-custodial parents ignore them at best, and are abusive and dangerous at worst?

And would all of this be moot if we, as a society, looked at the raising of children as a necessary job for the good of society and provided the resources to do that job well, instead of looking at children as the property of their parents not dissimilar to an automobile. Why are some kids left to rust on blocks in the yard when one of their parents walks away?

I'm not usually

one to complain about obscenity on tv. I will bitch about the way women and and non-white, non-straight, non-ablebodied people are represented, but obscenity, wevs. Janet Jackson's nipple didn't bother me.

That said- Tom Delay on Dancing with the Stars is gross. And I don't watch the show, but every single news channel has posted a clip. And MY EYES! OMG MY EYES! I feel like I need a bleach bath and a thousand hours of masterpiece theater to rid me of the terrible image of Tom Delay in brown polyester pants trimmed with leopard print and sequins shaking his gross ass and lip synching to Wild Thing.

I am traumatized, peeps. Trau-Ma-Tized. It's been several days and I still can't erase the horror from my memory.

I should totes put a trigger warning on this post for anyone else who has been traumatized by Delay. He looks like the dirty old man stereotype. He gives me nightmares. For the love of god, please someone stop him before he tangos again.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I got nothin

but a severe case of malaise, or ennui, or I don't know what.

I'm not in the mood to keep writing about the thousand ways the world is awful.

Instead I give you the Last Puppet Bender. OD should be amused.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Innapropriate conversations wth children

Since we have just got internet access today the Kid is chomping at the bit for me to hurry up and give him some internet time. Having just spent several days watching newsbunnies scream on tv, this is what I said to him

Me: Dude, some conservative douche said that porn makes you gay, all porn, especially teenage boys. And since we all know that the internet is for porn, I can't let you on it or you'll be gay.

Kid: You wouldn't care if I was gay.

Me: No I really wouldn't. But conservatives think that having a gay son is the worst thing ever. So no internet for you.

Thank you conservatives, for giving me a reason to hog the precious precious internet access.

I think about food a lot too

Anglachel has been writing again. She thinks about food a lot. Us poor folks, and those who grew up poor, think about food a lot.

It can become almost an obsessive thought. When we are broke, like we have been this summer, I think about fruit. I've had exactly one nectarine, my favorite fruit, all summer. When money is tight, fruit is the first thing to go from the shopping list. It's a snack, it doesn't have enough calories to count as a meal. We should be eating5 fruits a day. We can't afford to eat 5 fruits a week.

I think about the virtuous foodies, people with the luxury of buying all organic, or who have the money to live on a raw food diet and still get enough calories that they don't spend all day in the hunger fog.I think about the Kid's wheat allergies, and I feel mountains of guilt because I can't afford to be as careful about gluten free products as I should be. Frozen pizzas are cheap, sandwiches are cheap. Make them gluten free however, and a 2 dollar pizza is now 8 bucks and half the size. I think how nice it would be to load up a pantry full of rice noodles and gluten free bread and all manner of fresh fruit so that the bottomless pit of teenage hunger known as the Kid doesn't have to feel bad about what he's putting in his mouth. I know that for him, every bite of whole wheat bread will shorten his life as surely as if I handed him a pack of smokes and told him to light up.But I have to feed him something now.

I think about how food stamps don't actually help us be healthy, just less hungry. The allotment is supposed to be for an emergency diet, just enough to get you through. All us poor people live on food stamp rations, like people in WWII, with the best and healthiest food going to those more virtuous than us, those with money. I think about how those virtuous foodies look down on those of us who can't afford organic milk for our kids, like we are some kind of child abusers because quieting rumbling bellies is a more urgent need than tracking the provenance of our produce.

I dream about out of reach foods, bloody red rib eyes, giant salads with fancy cheese, the perfect black berries, grape tomatoes so ripe you can eat them like candy. I wish that the Kid didn't worry so much about food. He has the poor kid habit of scarfing as much as he can of whatever he can in secret, like being hungry is a shameful flaw instead of a biological fact.

But I even if I tell him to slow down, not to worry so much, that it will be okay, I know that he know the truth. Having enough to eat is not a given, not even in this country of overabundance. A full fridge is as much of a fantasy to me as owning a private jet.