30 August 2012

Irony: The medical system makes me sick

Our medical system is so fucked up it makes me sick. There are so many stories, so many examples, and so much to gripe about. But I'm going to go with this one - alternative medicine in the big medical system. Broken.

Some background: In BC, and 4 other provinces (if memory serves), naturopathic doctors are regulated by the province. I don't mean 'holistic medicine practitioners' or any of that nonsense. I mean NDs, who went to school for 6 years and have a degree in naturopathy. Bastyr is one of the better schools - if you can find an ND from there, you're doing well. Anyway, NDs in BC can prescribe medications - not all of them, but most. Not any federally scheduled drugs (like Ritalin or OxyContin, for example). And a few others are apparently randomly excluded. It's bizarre. What NDs cannot do, is order labs through MSP. So, my ND can order thyroid meds for me, but not check my TSH. Well, not entirely true. She can order the labs, but I pay for it, and the testing is done in Alberta. WTF? It's criminal. Seriously. I cannot figure out how the government justifies this.

There is a major shortage of doctors in BC (and most of Canada). I've posted on that before, and I notice that one of the parties in Quebec has recently come up with a plan much like mine to keep doctors in Quebec. I'm naturally taking credit for that. Clearly the powers that be in Quebec politics are among the 4 of you who read this blog. So what those of us who are wealthy enough to do when we can't find an MD is see an ND, and then never go back to looking, because the care is great. Except then we run into the testing problem. Now, I can afford to see the ND once and a while. But I cannot afford the testing. It's too much. So what I do is go to the walk-in, tell them what's going on, and they order the tests. Which is STUPID and a total waste of money. In trying to save money, by not allowing NDs to order tests, they ensure that patients to go MDs who bill for the visit. It costs them money and they're too stupid to see it. The same is true of diagnostic procedures and referrals. I have no idea why an ND isn't allowed to refer me to a specialist. There's no cost. It baffles me.

NDs are regulated in 5 provinces, and need to be in the other 5. But more than regulation, NDs need to be covered under medicare. Several reasons, but here are the most important two:

1) Without coverage under medicare, we have a tier of medicine unavailable to the poor.
NDs are not absolutely essential, but they are damn good care. When I go to mine, I get a minimum of 20 minutes and usually more like 35 or 40. They provide full service care or supplementary care. Since our family doctor is completely overburdened, and appointments take 6 weeks to get, our ND fulfills most of our primary care needs. Sometimes she prescribes regular allopathic medicine (like antibiotics) and sometimes she prescribes herbs. She sells the herbal remedies there, but is quick to tell me that I can get them anywhere, and has given me tips on where to find certain things cheaper.

If I did not have the money to pay for trips to see her, I would be back in the GP game. I had a GP here. He was nice. He also missed a lot of things that the ND picked up immediately. Like my seizures. I have myoclonic seizures - they're short jerks of motion from my head and arms. My brother says it's like little wasps appeared in front of my face, scared me, and I try to bat them away. My husband says it looks like someone stuck me in the back with a cattle prod. Heh. Anyway, I had them for years. The GP sent me to the neurologist who ran a battery of tests and prescribed a drug that has a high risk for dependency and abuse, and means I'd be legally impaired while taking it. No way. So I went to the ND. She got my entire history and then figured out that I had magnesium deficiency, and put me on a high dose of magnesium. And my seizures? Went from ~50/day to ~3/week. And have been like that ever since (we're way way way past placebo effects now), as long as I take my magnesium, and don't get glutened (i.e. eat any gluten by accident). I got glutened this week, and I'm having a few more of them. Maybe 5 or 6 a day. Some of them with dystonia. Ow. If I didn't have my ND, I'd still be seizing several times an hour.

An acquaintance has breast cancer. She sees a whole swak of doctors, including an ND. Of course, she has to pay for that. And yes, it is approved by her MDs. In fact, the ND works in the same clinic as her family doc. The ND handles the side effects of the chemo with vitamin therapy and some herbal remedies. These treatments are doing wonders for her. And she wouldn't have access to them without the privilege of wealth. She's solidly middle class, and she's spending a lot of money on these treatments. And that brings me to point 2.

2) Coverage under medicare protects patients from unscrupulous NDs who gouge patients.
She's paying too much. Yes, she's getting good advice and good treatment, and it's helping her. But she's paying too much for it. For her vitamin B12 shots, she's paying $60 each. My ND charges $16, and I think that's a bit much. I get the liquid prescribed, and then inject myself. Costs me about $2 each time. If medicare covered all or part of naturopathic treatment, the ND would bill the government for a specific amount, regulated by govenment, same as MDs, and profiteers like my acquaintance's doc would be unable to screw patients over. I know, she could go to another one, shop around, hope to find someone who specializes in Cancer, but SHE HAS CANCER. She's tired and sick and vulnerable. And this guy is in the same clinic, so they share info, collaborate on cases, and are all in the loop. So she either pays the big bucks, or doesn't get the treatment. It's not fair. And while life isn't fair, this is something that could be fixed.

We can fix the system. We can save money while reducing the burden on GPs. And do that while making the system more accessible to everyone. And the government won't do it.

27 August 2012

What to do when you witness a meltdown

Crackle had a meltdown today. A full-blown autistic meltdown. He doesn't have many of these anymore, because I'm really good at managing his environment. But today at about 4:30, he lost his marbles. I don't know what sparked it, but he lost it and started screaming, crying, and wailing. Hysterically. Loud enough to be heard for at least a km. Not exaggerating. Anyway, that's not the point.

I got him into his shoes, his brother into clothes and shoes, and took them out to the van (car rides calm Crackle down). When I opened the front door, there were two men standing there. They were from the company doing an engineering report for our strata. Anyway, I smiled, they smiled, and the one guy said, "How's your little guy doing?" I said, "Oh, okay. It's an autistic meltdown, is all. We'll go for a drive and he'll be okay." The guy smiled, nodded, and said, "And how are you doing?" WOW. I said, "I'm okay. He doesn't do this much any more. And I like car rides too, so it's good." The guy smiled and said, "Okay! Have a good one." [edit: Then, after I took 4 steps, gobsmacked by his class and kindness, I stopped, turned around and said, "Thank you for that. I really appreciate it." He just smiled and said, "No problem."]

That. Is. Awesome. That just doesn't happen. Like ever. It's almost always the stink-eye. Or "shut that kid up" or "What's his problem?" This is exactly what to do when you see a kid losing it. Ask Mom how he's doing. Ask her how she's doing. And if she doesn't seem to need help, smile and say 'have a good day'. If she seems to need help, say, "Need help with anything?" And then take no for an answer if that's the answer. This guy did it perfectly.

25 August 2012

Poverty you can see from space

The gap between rich and poor is so big that one can see it from space. Literally. It's stunning. And inspiring. I'm not clever enough to come up with an idea like that myself, but I can sure as hell rip it off for all it's coolness.

Canada is a very wealthy nation. Our poorest neighbourhoods in our urban cities anyway are nothing like the poorest areas of Mexico City or Abuja or any number of other places. We have a safety net, that while it has some holes, at least it's a bit of a net. It needs some darning though. So I thought I'd do much the same as the above project, but only for cities in Canada, and see if I could literally see the disparity from space. Turns out, yes, in some cities, no in others.

Toronto shows a lot of obvious differences between rich and poor.
Forest Hillhome of Upper Canada College, and zillions of trees.
You'd think I was monkeying around with the zoom, but no. It's a neighbourhood in an industrial area. Bet that's healthy.

In Ottawa, it's not as obvious from the geography. The first picture is of a wealthy neighbourhood, the second is quite impoverished. The biggest difference, apart from the trees, is the roads. Curved street slow down traffic, and are a necessity on hills - views rather rely on hills, and views are expensive.
Vanier's lots seem to be smaller, but there does seem to be a fair bit of greenery. I don't know Ottawa at all. Is this area as bad as people make it out to be? Does the river stink or something?

Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. Well known to be a area in crisis. Concrete hellhole.
 Just a few miles away, West Point Grey. The picture really speaks for itself. Look at how much bigger the houses are, how many more trees there are. The parks and the trees. Swimming pools in backyards.

Bridgeland is a poor neighbourhood in Calgary. It's not far from downtown.
 Mount Royal is a wealthy neighbourhood. Water and three golf courses. Not so many highways.

 Halifax is one of the cities where I could really see the disparity. Look at the difference in the number of trees and recreational areas.

 South End

 Winnipeg, rich and poor. There's more green, more water, and no industry in the wealthy area of Tuxedo (aptly named, I'd say).
 And here is the West End. Grid roads, lots of trees on the grid, but no obvious play areas. No parks.

Regina is the city I grew up in, and where my Mom still lives. It is definitely the city in Canada I know the most about.

Here are the curves I was talking about. Even in a city like Regina that is built mostly on a grid, there is this neighbourhood, called The Crescents. It's an older neighbourhood, but it's been very well maintained. It may not be the richest area of Regina, but it does have the highest property tax rate.

 Actually, I couldn't come up with "the richest" in Regina, because Regina isn't a really rich city. While there is a big disparity between rich and poor in Regina, it's not like that in Vancouver or Toronto, because there are simply no billionaires in Regina. The VERY rich don't live in Regina.

But the poor do. This is North Central, an area called "one of Canada's worst". It doesn't look that bad from space, but I wonder how much of that is because Regina is a pretty socialist city in a province that is often run by socialists. That's my speculation for the day. :) The green area, that looks like it could be a park (2nd row from the bottom, 6 columns in) is a high school. There's really nowhere for kids to play in this neighbourhood.
 Just for fun, this is the neighbourhood I grew up in. It's pretty middle class (Mom stayed home with us kids until we were old enough to come home from school on our own, and then worked for the city in a administrative assistant type job. Dad worked in farm equipment, and then as a Commissionaire). The schoolgrounds are larger than in North Central (bottom middle below and the two rectangles in the bottom row of the grid in above), it's not on a grid, and there's far more greenspace.

 Victoria is my new home. We moved here in 1998 when I got a fellowship at UVic.

This is my neighbourhood. It's most certainly not a wealthy neighbourhood by Victoria standards, but it is solidly middle class in most areas.
 The little A below is George Jay elementary school. It is an inner city school with lots of poverty issues. However, in this area, there is also some heavy-duty gentrification going on. There are lots of trees, but not by Victoria standards. The stadiums have very large fences so no one can play in them.

This is the richest area of Victoria. It's zoomed out for perspective. Look at how much of the richest real estate is wasted on a golf course. It's sickening.

Tell me about your city! And if you're from one of these cities, tell me what you think!

Update: Check out Uphill's take on Montreal. You can see the difference between rich and poor divided by a boulevard! http://caitlinuphill.wordpress.com/2012/08/16/wealth-and-inequality-seen-from-space/

23 August 2012

My God wants me to be pro-choice

Fern Hill over at Dammit Janet set upon me a task, to see what the Bible had to say about abortion. Short answer: Nada. I could not find a single reference to "abortion", "caused herself to miscarry", or any variation of those. Even "unborn" got me a single reference, and it was to "a people yet unborn". But there are references to babies in wombs, pregnant women, and so here are some of them. I left out the ones that weren't relevant to "personhood" or the equality of the babe in womb to the mother. Things like curses upon women that they'll miscarry, and references to war atrocities like ripping pregnant women open (because ew). That last one has some relevance.

Psalm 139:13
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

Lovely image, that. Of course, we know that's not quite right, but it is a lovely image.

Isaiah 44:2
This is what the LORD says— he who made you, who formed you in the womb, and who will help you: Do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen.

Same idea, God actively forming the fetus.

Jeremiah 1:5
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

Jeremiah 20:17
For he did not kill me in the womb, with my mother as my grave, her womb enlarged forever.

Okay, Jeremiah definitely feels like he was an individual in the womb, and that in the womb, he could be killed. And God said he knew him in the womb. Okay, I am definitely onboard with the idea that this is an argument for the fetus being a separate entity from its mother. But so what? Does that mean that his mother, or any mother, is morally obliged (never mind legally obliged) to allow it to continue to develop? Then? Certainly. Because the fetus belonged to her husband. Though many a woman found herself a way to abort. Seems if that were a big deal they'd have mentioned it. Now? No. Not for a woman who isn't Christian, certainly. Christians? I think that's between them and God, because there's nothing in here that is completely clear.

Luke 1:44
As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.

Oh boy. A fetus with emotions. Or maybe he just decided to kick. Mine liked to do that when I ate spicy food. Joy? A pretty image again, but I see no evidence of anything other than wishful thinking. Interestingly, this this the only reference in the New Testament bestowing any sort of awareness on a fetus.

Amos 1:13-14 This is what the Lord says: “For three sins of Ammon, even for four, I will not relent.
Because he ripped open the pregnant women of Gilead in order to extend his borders, I will set fire to the walls of Rabbah that will consume her fortresses amid war cries on the day of battle, amid violent winds on a stormy day.

Ugh, it's that ugly ripping open pregnant women I mentioned. There's a fair bit of it in the Old Testament (Hosea and 2Kings especially). Looks like this is a worse crime than just killing the women or the children. Why? Because of a few things: Biggest reason is that pregnant women were property carrying other property. Children, in utero or not, were property of their fathers. Women, property of their husbands. So those pregnant women were especially valuable.

Genesis 38:24
About three months later Judah was told, “Your daughter-in-law Tamar is guilty of prostitution, and as a result she is now pregnant.” Judah said, “Bring her out and have her burned to death!”

Well then. Nice guy. Guess that fetus is worthless. Doesn't seem to have any value to Judah at all. And when they do have value, well, we're back to property value:

Exodus 21:22-23 “If people are fighting and hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows. But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life. (Gives birth prematurely = miscarriage, as in those times, preemies didn't have a chance - in the King James version, it reads "her fruit depart from her" - Good News bible says "loses the child")

There are lots of laws set out in Exodus about what you can do to slaves, children, people who curse their parents. And this one is right smack in the middle of it. It is absolutely clear in this passage that they did not believe fetuses to be of equal value to women. Killing a woman (accidentally, that is - go ahead and beat her to death if she cheated on you) was punishable by death. Killing a fetus, but not the woman, punishable by fine. A clear reference to the value of a fetus being less than the value of a wife.

So is this another example of the Bible contradicting itself? Not really. Okay, so assuming you take everything in there to be golden, and completely relevant today, what this says is that God forms life in women's wombs, little lives, capable of experiencing joy. And that these lives are just not as valuable as fully formed ones. They're valuable, certainly as property, with property value. God never really says anything about their inherent value as souls - oh sure, he had plans for some of those fetuses, and God's plans can't be thwarted by mere women with inconvenient pregnancies. Though maybe that's why he bothered to send angels to Mary and some of the other women, so they wouldn't find a good herbalist.

Okay, I'm being a bit facetious, because as I've said before, I think the Bible is an interesting set of tales that show us what our ancestors thought of God, not God's Law, enshrined in paper, divinely translated and transcribed perfectly for all eternity. We can learn from it, learn from them. So no, I don't think that Exodus's law for killing a fetus really proves what God thinks (because I'm pretty positive God doesn't want us keeping slaves and beating them - same book, same chapter), but it does show clearly that the people of the day didn't value fetuses like the anti-choice crowd now do, and claim God does (using scripture as backup). They're the first to jump on the likes of me for cherry-picking quotes, but they're leaving out a pretty damning one themselves.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: My God values human life: fetal life, child life, adult life, elderly life. My feeling is that God would really like our world to be such that no woman ever felt the need to abort, and that we are fucking it up royally. But my God is not an idiot. He knows that women will do this, for all sorts of reasons, some good, some terrible (for God to judge though, not me!). And he'll want them to be safe about it. Because he loves them. He'd rather lose one precious life than two. And so I am vehemently pro-choice. Because abortion restrictions do not prevent abortions. They push them underground, and instead of one life lost, there are two.

And that's what the anti-choicers miss. They're so concerned about the "right" of the fetus to live (I disagree with that too, but on different grounds), that they forget to give a shit about the mother. They say horrible things like, "If a woman doesn't want to die of an illegal abortion, she shouldn't have one". Which is short form for "You get what you deserve, slut". They don't care that there are situations where it is definitely a better choice to abort - abusive marriages, mother's health - mental or physical, the care of other children, just for starters. They live in this world of black and white, right and wrong. And that's just simply not reality. We live in a world where there's wrong and more wrong. Right and more right. Where children starve if Mom can't work, and Mom can't work if she's on bedrest. Where husbands beat women for being pregnant, even when they're the ones who got them that way. Where fragile minds would breakdown if the body had to carry a fetus to term. Where crappy Dads beat the shit out of kids, so maybe it's a bad idea to give him more victims. Where 9 year olds are impregnated by their stepfathers and don't have bodies built to have babies.

And NONE of that shit is God's plan. That's us fucking up God's plan. So we can make it worse by limiting women's options, driving them into situations where they feel like they're willing to risk death to end a pregnancy, and blaming them for their predicament, or we can make a world where every pregnancy is wanted. Where every child is cherished. You tell me, just how could God not want that?

21 August 2012

Solidarity forever

There's a lot of union bashing going on today, as it was released that unionized workers make an average of about  $5/hr more than non-union workers.

For the union bashers:
Okay, let me say this in small words that assholes like you might understand: Unions raise the standards for everyone. Don't believe me? Go work in the oil fields in Nigeria. Then go work in them here. If there were not a threat of unionization, if there were not unions in other trades, raising the bar for other workers, the rig pigs would be treated like their porcine namesake.

The reason that workers are treated better here than in other countries isn't because of the magical market adjusting itself - the US "right to work" states show that people will work for poverty wages. The reason is that we have strong unions that raise the bar for everyone else.

And what about all that money? Oh, those poor corporations. They have less money to pay giant bonuses to executives. Oh no. Instead, that money is in the hands of people who will actually spend it in the economy, instead of hoarding it, to make it make more money for them.

Unions are GOOD for the economy.

Oh sure, they banter back and forth, demanding too much, knowing that's how they'll get what they need. And yes, some of them are corrupt. Like corporations. Like any organization of people. But they are good for our economy, good for our people, and good for society as a whole.

17 August 2012


So, it occurs to me that I'm a bit weird. There are a lot of reasons *ahem* feminist AND christian, but there are a lot of little oddities to me. Maybe the kids come by their autism kinda honestly. As opposed to dishonestly, I mean, where they stole it from other kids walking down the street, leading their mom to believe that what she fed them for breakfast that morning cured them

I have listened to exactly one CD (West My Friend) pretty much continuously for the last... um... 5 months. Oh sure, I listen to the radio and to MP3s at home, but in my van (which is named Halen the Loser Cruiser) there has been one CD in the player since the day I got it. Seriously. I have listened to it hundreds of times. Sometimes skipping between my favourite songs. Sometimes not. I'm starting to hear things in it I didn't before, like messages from Satan, instructions to watch SunTV, harmonies I didn't hear before, and cool things like "the accordian is one of their major percussion instruments". And while I obviously love this band, I'm going to require them to release a new CD soon. However, they are on tour right now, so I'm thinking that's not top priority for them at this point. I'll tell them though. Bands love it when you demand they provide you with fresh music, right?

16 August 2012

Small Things Count

I've been watching the General Council meeting of the United Church with some interest. New moderator, new policy, it's all very interesting. Today, the new moderator was announced. The Reverend Doctor Gary Paterson was elected on the final ballot. He is the United Church's first openly gay moderator, which is a beautiful step forward for us. Go read at the link. Or this one (pdf). As @REVocable on twitter said, "This is not my grandfather's church. And thank God for that!"

I liked Mardi Tindal, and I suspect I'm going to like Gary Paterson too. God is good. I hope we were listening. :)

p.s. My daughter thinks it's HILARIOUS that the United Church has a "moderator". She says we were so far ahead of the curve to come up with an internet term. :)

15 August 2012

This is feminist?

UGH. Amanda Marcotte just told me that because I'm a SAHM my husband should give me an allowance, because "it would be a lovely gesture of love and respect for your privacy and autonomy". I am so disgusted by this idea, it's just not even funny.

The fact that I have full access to every cent he makes and all the credit in his name isn't enough. I apparently should be expecting that he's going to leave me, take my money, or get abusive, and that I should keep a private account for that apparent eventuality.

It all started over an article that said that people shouldn't keep secret bank accounts from their spouses and she said that everyone should get their own money. I said it's a matter of trust. You don't keep secrets from a spouse in a healthy relationship.

There's more, but I just got smacked upside the head with Snap's craziness, so I'm going to have to go deal with that. There's enough here for a post.

I hate hate.

A man with a gun shot a security guard at the Family Research Council today. While the Family Research Council is a hate group, no one deserves to be shot. Especially not some dude hired to guard the place.

You know what Penny? I didn't see you and your kind praying for the families of the dead and injured at the Sikh temple, or praying for their shooter to be delivered from the evil that motivated him. And how, pray tell, does this prove that the FRC is not a hate group? Hate groups can't be targeted by domestic terrorists? The only victims are completely innocent, totally righteous victims? Puhleeze. No one deserves to be shot. Ever. That includes the likes of the KKK. If someone went after them with a gun, I'd condemn it too. And it wouldn't make them any less of a hate group.

And ya know, there's been one "source" that claims the guy walked in there with a problem with their policies. And guess what, it's an unnamed Fox News source. It might as well be someone's brother's barber's cousin's dog groomer's sister, for all the credibility that holds. I'll wait until I hear it from the FBI. 

I do find it interesting that the shooter, Floyd Corkins, may have recently in the military. Seems to be a lot of that going around in the losing one's mind and shooting up the place types.

I will be praying. For the shooter, for his family. For the security guard who got shot in the arm. For the RWNJs who work at all these places and think that God wants them to spread hate and intolerance. And especially for the people who are victims of the FRC's nastiness.

"Thomas, you are causing confusion and delay"

What, two posts in a row? No...

So, I'm not quite understanding the process at GC41. First, it seems like the motion has passed to support the boycott on occupied Palestinian territory, now it seems like it wasn't. This video is supposed to help, but doesn't. Twitter is aflutter with IT PASSED! tweets, and I'm already seeing responses to it. Hell if I know what's going on.

I had to write a fuck off letter this morning. Okay, it was more of a please won't you kindly fuck off, but it was still fuck off. Gist: Our strata likes to keep fees low by organizing work parties. I don't go. I am too busy with my children, and childcare is impossible on Saturday mornings. I offer to pay for supplies, and last time I bought the work party two boxes of doughnuts. This morning, a snippy email arrived, addressed to everyone, but clearly a shot at me and my family in a few places. So, I did a reply-to-all smackdown that started with, "With all due respect, NosyNeighbour'sName, when some of us don't show up to these things it's for a very good reason, and I don't appreciate this heavy-handed email."

Ya know, the world would be a lot better place if instead of assuming that people who don't do their fair share are lazy assholes, that people assumed there was some reason why they aren't, and wish they could. It'd make everyone happier. And correct, far more often than not. Most people do what they can. Those who don't are rarer than most people think.

Someone on the internet is wrong again, which means I have to spend hours arguing with her. :) Anyway, she says this about Obama: "he is taking over powers and controls that will render us w/o freedoms, eventually, if he continues." Any idea what theocon or neocon bullshit talking point she's trying to parrot here?

14 August 2012

They celebrated with joy the Festival of Unleavened Bread

Forgive me, internet, for I have sinned. It's been two weeks since my last blog post. Since that time, lots of interesting things have happened, but I have not blogged on them. My penance? I dunno. I think the interesting things might have been the penance in and of themselves. :)

My inlaws were in town for a few days, which put a serious crimp in my plans not to watch a single second of the olimpdicks. It was my birthday - I got a subscription to a gardening magazine, $100 toward my trip to MA[1], and a compliant daughter for 3 days (Seriously, that's what I asked her for. Good behaviour for 3 days and she didn't have to buy me anything for my birthday). It was lovely.

The United Church is having a general conference, and I haven't posted about it. Some highlights:

  • Motion to stand with Canada's native peoples on the impact of bituminous oil sands passes
  • Church "categorically rejects" the Northern Gateway pipeline.
  • They're still debating the boycott on products from Israeli settlements. It is NOT a boycott of Israeli products. It is a boycott on Israeli settlement products. Interestingly, many Jewish groups are also in favour of this boycott.

The PQ wants to ban overt religious symbols in the public service. So civil servants wouldn't be able to wear crucifixes, or I assume, turbans? That is so not going to fly. And it shouldn't. Now, I agree, you don't put up a cross in a DMV (though the symbology might actually fit ...) but banning civil servants from wearing a cross? HELL NO. Even elected officials should be able to wear whatever they like in terms of religious paraphernalia. Look, it's better to know what you're voting for. If a person is religious but has to hide it, it will not change their religious beliefs - and beliefs make a person who they are. If someone's religion is so weak that it is overrun by their political ambitions, they're not worth voting for. And if their religious beliefs are going to contribute to their political values, then it's best that we know what those religious beliefs are, no?

I've noticed something weird lately. A lot of people are quoting scripture in their email or post signature lines. It's a sign of the very weird times, I think. I also think it would be HILARIOUS to pick out random lines and quote them and make people wonder what I'm on about. Something like, "When Naomi heard in Moab that the LORD had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, she and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home from there."
Ruth 1:5-7  But I'm weird that way. Still, wouldn't that be fun? And if you've read this long, maybe now you know the point of the post title, i.e. that there isn't one. :)
[1] If you would like to donate to my trip, the widget is up on the right. I cannot begin to tell you how much the program has already helped me and my boys (not so much the girl, but it has helped me deal with her, so that's a start). If you're donated out, that's okay. Save it. At some point, I may want to take Crackle there for an intensive program. And that costs $15,000. It sounds crazy stupid expensive, I know, but I did a breakdown on the cost of it, considering the staff they employ to do it, and it's actually quite reasonable. Seriously.