20 December 2009

Merry Christmas (almost)

Merry Christmas! I know, not quite, but who knows when I'll get to sit my butt down at the computer for 10 minutes between now and Christmas? I have stuff to do! Seriously, not as much as many. I love Christmas, so I try not to fuck it up by being stressed out for it. Still, I have some presents to buy (kids - almost done and husband, barely started), a ton of gluten-free, corn-free, dairy-free, nut-free baking to do, and I have to work on Wednesday and Thursday morning! Crazy. And yet, I love it.

Bear with me through this post, I'm gonna ramble, fersure.

Christmas is, to me, a crazy, wonderful time. When I was a kid, it was full of awe and wonder, with presents and lights and fires in the fireplace and family and the Christmas story. Funny aside: Sing "... on a cold winter's night that was so deep" to a child in Saskatchewan, and chances are, she imagines Mary and Joseph in a barn huddling up for warmth in -30 weather. Or maybe it's just me. :) Anyway, now it's a time of watching the kids enjoy it. Crackle's face lit up like the Christmas tree itself when I asked him if he wanted to set up the tree. He remembered, that's for sure. For reference, he's the 3.5 year old. He and his little brother Pop went to see Santa. Crackle doesn't talk, but he sure enjoyed touching the Santa's (terribly fake) beard. I have since lost the pictures (dude. wtf? how am I that unorganized?!) but I assume they will turn up in August. I like going to the mall and watching the people scramble for gifts. I like smiling and saying Merry Christmas to anyone who looks at me. I like the lights. I like the songs. I like the stories. I like all of it.

Now, as to whether or not a baby was born in a stable to a teenager named Mary who may or may not have gotten it on with her fiancé Joseph, I don't know. I don't really care, to be quite honest. If it's all myth, it's all myth. The power is in the story. The retelling. The imagery. The vision. Imagine. A child born in an occupied country to woman who would have been killed if her boyfriend had decided he didn't trust her word and according to one gospel, an angel. Born in the barn with the animals. Imagine that was today. Where would that child be born? Sudan? Afghanistan? Palestine? Would the Saviour be a girl? Would anyone know?

The story of this poor child, son of a carpenter, changed the world. There's nary a square inch of the world that hasn't been touched by Christianity. Not always for the better, unfortunately, when the message was so clear. It all boils down to "Don't be an asshole": If someone needs help, help them. If someone is hungry, feed them. Try not to tailgate or cut people off in traffic. Be nice to the poor schmuck at the gas station who is pumping your gas. You know, don't be an asshole.

And what are we, as a society, doing this Christmas? Being assholes. Witness Stephen Harper and the Weasels he calls his cabinet. Actually trying to cover up the fact that they are responsible for the torture of prisoners. Torture! And their supporters, who are, ironically the loudest supporters of Christianity, are defending them. Defending them! It's mindblowing. Of course, these are the same douchebags that insist Jesus would have cast out the gays.

So I'm giving money to charities (my favourite is Our Place - go give them a few bucks, please. They do great work and there isn't a lot of advertising. I know the guy who runs it and he does a hell of a great job.) I'm talking about politics to anyone interested - the more people who know about what's going on, the better. I'm praying. I'm reading. I'm writing. 

There is so very much suffering in the world, it makes me hurt just thinking about it. And I wonder if there aren't a million little babies out there who could grow up to change the world. Or if there aren't a million ignored poor people in impoverished or occupied lands who might be the next person to change the world. God only knows.

Here are some suggestions for Christmas cheer:
- Buy some really nice warm long underwear. Or a pair of wool socks. Give it to a homeless person.
- Donate some money to Unicef - Spread the Net is a great initiative. $10 buys a mosquito net to prevent a kid from getting malaria. $10!
- Say Merry Christmas to anyone who happens to make eye contact with you.
- Give a box of chocolates to your mail carrier. Or the bus driver on your route. Or a cashier you see a lot.
- Pay for the person behind you at the parkade. You might not know how much they owe, but you can always chip in $5, and if the parkade dude pockets it, well so what? You gave him the present.
- Think 100%  tips. The holidays are stressful for the service industry workers. Tip them really well. Take it from me, nothing is more cheering than getting a huge tip.

Merry Christmas if you celebrate it. Have a great day if you don't.

17 December 2009

quick hit: stupid headline

What a drag! Virgin's Branson, AirAsia's Fernandes may dress as stewardess after racing duel

Wow. Offensive enough headline? First the stupid pun on 'drag'. What a drag... so dressing as a woman is *so* humiliating that it's what happens if you lose a bet. Then, "stewardess"? What is this, 1972? Why not throw in "oriental" or "negro" and get a trifecta?

16 December 2009

Your experience: not the be all and end all

One of my biggest pet peeves is the marketing technique, "I can do it, so can you" that usually pops up in dieting ads (OH GOD! I just realized that all the weight loss ads are due to start in a week or two - seriously, I get infuriated. I know... *sigh*) I mean, I get all useful and do things like shout at the TV.

I've seen it in so many places this week, I just had to write about it. It's not just the "I can do it, so can you", it's the "my experience is universal" attitude that I see entirely too often. For example, a certain in-law of mine likes to point out that his mother never took medications, his mother never was sick, his mother cooked with lard all the time, etc. Fine, but then he takes that to mean that her mother is a hypochondriac because she does have to take pills. They grew up in the same area, they ate the same way, they clearly should be EXACTLY the same. Right? Wrong. Another in-law of mine says that childbirth isn't that bad, and anyone who says it is is playing it up for attention. Because clearly, every birth experience is the same.

The reasoning is pretty faulty and obvious at this level, no? Do I have to write out the syllogism for you? Because lately, it seems pretty systemic. It's economic: Person X grew up poor and worked her way up, therefore everyone can. If person Y is poor, it's because he didn't do what Person X did. It's social: Person A was in an abusive relationship. She left the bastard. If Person B doesn't leave her bastard, it's her fault. It's in the marketing I mentioned above. Another one I saw this week, I don't get beaten at the border. If SciFi writer got beaten, it must have been something he did. It's infuriating.

I even saw it in the story of the autistic kid who died because he wandered off before a winter storm. People had the gall to ask "Where were the parents?!" (which is this decade's "Won't anybody please think of the children?!") and then go on to say that if the parents had just watched the boy properly, he would be alive. What shit. What utter shit, on so many levels. First there's the victim blaming. Then there's the self-righteous indignation - they insist they've never ever let a child out of their sight. Oh puhleeze. Never had to take a pee when looking after kids? Oh no, they bring all three kids in with them, right? Right? And finally, there's the "Well, it never happened to me, so therefore, it's your fault". They seem to be unable to believe in the concept of accidents. Something bad always must have someone to blame in these people's world.

On first glance, it seems like these people are just stupid. I imagine that's the problem for a number of them. It's almost certainly the problem in the case of my in-laws (I kid, I kid - but they do vote Conservative and support, I kid you not, a flat income tax). They're just too shortsighted to see anything outside of their realm of experience, and too unimaginative to fathom anything else. I think they musn't read a lot of fiction. But I think some of them are afraid. They're afraid that if they admit that something bad happened, something that was out of the control of the victim, that they too could be a victim. And that scares them into denial. At least, that's what I was thinking when I found myself in that thinking pattern. And my experience is universal. Right?

10 December 2009

Language matters, part... where's the sideways 8?

I try to be a sensitive person. I do. Sometimes I refuse to give a shit about feelings (like say, the feelings of people who are bent on being intolerant, mean, or in the case of conservatives, both), but I try not to be a douchebag.

I have two disabled kids, so I try not to use words like 'retarded' or other ablist words like that. However, I am having a hard time not using, or even understanding the reasoning behind not calling people like Glenn Beck "crazy", "deranged", "lunatic", etc.

See, ranting and raving, being irrational, illogical and paranoid all seem to be indications of a pathology. Calling Beck crazy doesn't mean that all psychologically ill people are like him. Nor does it necessarily mean that he isn't responsible for his actions. I dunno, he might not, but he probably does.

Getting upset that people are calling him deranged/crazy/insane/psycho/etc because you are also mentally ill is ludicrous. It's like me getting mad that people call Ann Coulter a woman. She presents as a woman. And although people insist that she's not, she sure looks that way to me. Does it tar me with the same brush? No, I don't think so.

So, no, I won't call Beck crazy (etc.) on the forum where this all blew up, because it's clear that it hurts some people's feelings, and I can just call him an asshole instead. But really, I think some people are a little oversensitive on this one.

Standard comment: I'm open to other arguments or having the error of my ways pointed out.

07 December 2009

So much greed...

Olimpdicks, bringing out the best in everyone, as predicted.

What a load of shit. These people are being illegally evicted for greed. Sure, if they fight it properly, they'll get twice a month's rent back in damages, but the landlord still comes up a winner. Ridiculous.

But the Olympics will benefit us all, right? Right?!

Good Samaritans


My thank you to these brave men who were injured trying to help a woman who was being abused. If more people (not just men), were so brave, abusers might not be so bloody brazen.

I'm sorry they had to see just how far these men can go.

Growing up, I learned from my parents to Never Get Involved. I always felt vaguely wrong for not calling the cops if I could hear something awful going on, and I decided I wouldn't be that person when I got older. I've had to call the police a few times - neighbours usually, beating the hell out of each other. Or in one case, neighbour being beaten by her boyfriend. That situation got to the point that one morning, I was jolted out of bed by a bang type of earthquake and I thought, "Holy shit, she finally killed him. Or vice versa." I don't know what good I've done, if any. Maybe I've made things worse, like my parents said I would. But I've always had to try. The idea that someone could be beaten to death while I just sat there and tried not hear it? Unfathomable.

But Mom and Dad's idea of not getting involved is what keeps us from helping out the people in the third world, isn't it? Or is it simply apathy? Or greed? I dunno. What I can't understand is how we can stand by and let people suffer needlessly. I cannot fathom the reasoning. More of us need to be like those two guys who stepped in to help a woman they didn't know. But on a global level.

06 December 2009

20 years, and what's changed?

It's been 20 years. 20 years since Marc Lepine walked into Ecole Polytechnique and blew away
  • Geneviève Bergeron (born 1968), civil engineering student
  • Hélène Colgan (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
  • Nathalie Croteau (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
  • Barbara Daigneault (born 1967), mechanical engineering student
  • Anne-Marie Edward (born 1968), chemical engineering student
  • Maud Haviernick (born 1960), materials engineering student
  • Maryse Laganière (born 1964), budget clerk in the École Polytechnique's finance department
  • Maryse Leclair (born 1966), materials engineering student
  • Anne-Marie Lemay (born 1967), mechanical engineering student
  • Sonia Pelletier (born 1961), mechanical engineering student
  • Michèle Richard (born 1968), materials engineering student
  • Annie St-Arneault (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
  • Annie Turcotte (born 1969), materials engineering student
  • Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz (born 1958), nursing student
I won't speculate as to what drove him to kill these women - all I know is from the media, and I don't trust them to have it right.  What is clear, is that he hated women and blamed feminism for his problems.

The deaths of these women sparked a lot of debate and some changes in the gun laws. Of course, I am utterly disgusted by the repeal of the gun registry. I know, I know, that it has been expensive and stupidly managed. And I know that criminals don't register their guns. But here's why the gun registry is important: "Domestic disputes". When a report comes to the police of a domestic dispute, the police automatically check the gun registry to see if there are guns in the home. This protects the police, in that they know to expect a gun. This also protects the women in the home. If the police come in and find guns, when no gun is registered, they can arrest the abuser on grounds of having an unregistered gun, getting him out of the house.

I KNOW. I know that it's poorly managed. I know that it's expensive. I also know that it's worth it to save every one of those women. I don't know that it would have saved any of the women in Montreal. It probably wouldn't have. But if some good can come out of such a tragedy, it seems all the more the tragedy to destroy that good.

So what else has changed? Not much. Women-haters still hate (just read the comments at Broadsides sometime). They still abuse. They still kill. Women still get blamed for being victims.

So many bloggers have put it better than I can today. Go read them.

26 November 2009

Child safety

First, hotel living SUCKS. But having a new kitchen in a couple more days? AWESOME.

My sincerest condolences to the family of the little boy who fell to his death at Pearson airport. I know you will never ever be the same. May your memories of him eventually bring you comfort. May your faith in God give you strength.

In other safety news, GIANT crib recall. Now, I'm affected by this - my son sleeps in a recalled crib. The same one his brother slept in. This worries me, because I've thought for a while that this crib sucks. The latches on the drop side suck. They're crappy crappy plastic. I can't help but think that Storkcraft products went to hell some time back. Like about the time they started outsourcing to China, I'm thinking. Maybe not. But that's just my feeling.

So now what do I do? Wait for the crappy replacement kit like I did last time there was a recall? Use the crappy replacement kit when it eventually arrives (took 9 weeks last time), even though the US is saying not to, because it's also crappy plastic? Use the crappy kit and then what? Then the side won't go down. Same problem if I buy a new crib. I have a very bad back. I can barely get him into a playpen when he's asleep when I'm having a good day. On a bad day? Forget it. And what are short women to do? My best friend is 4'11''. How she'd ever get a child into a crib without drop sides is beyond me.

It really bothers me that companies don't give a rat's ass about child safety, and give even less of a rat's ass about how Moms are going to get kids into those beds. Cribs are clearly designed by men, which is ridiculous because it is women who do that vast majority of the child rearing when the baby is crib age.

15 November 2009

Rambling on about Christianity and the UCC

Holy crows. It's been 2 weeks since I posted. Where does the time go?! Oh right... the kids.

Snap, my 14 year old, is in Vancouver this weekend. She went to a big United Church youth and young adult event. She phoned last night, and told me she was having fun. Said there was one speaker who was REALLY impressive. Here's the write-up on the conference site:
Doin' Time with Peterson Toscano
Peterson Toscano In this presentation you will witness the Best of Peterson Toscano as he presents excerpts from original plays including The Re-Education of George W. Bush, Queer 101--Now I Know my gAy,B,Cs, and Doin' Time in the Homo No Mo Halfway House. Peterson will also share extracts from his newest play, Transfigurations, which looks at the stories and lives of transgender Bible characters.Mixed in with the performance Peterson shares his own story of trying to 'de-gay' himself and the process he took to integrate his sexuality with all parts of his life. You will laugh yourself silly and no doubt walk away challenged and hopeful about life, humanity and yourself.

Peterson Toscano is a theatrical performance activist from Hartford, CT. A Quaker, comic and world traveler, Peterson seeks to bring about truth and reconciliation through storytelling.
Well, colour me impressed. With the church for presenting this, him for sharing it, and Snap for being mature enough to handle it.

I've been thinking about my church and its progressive mandates. Especially in light of the nonsense Dr. Dawg is calling HUAC North and the UCC's recent controversy. Unlike the Catholic Church, the UCC is a bottom up church. The congregations make the policy. But, of course, each congregation is different, as I well know, as I go to two churches regularly (2 weeks to one, then 2 weeks to the other). A single congregation may not be nearly so affirming as to accept Mr. Toscano willingly and welcomingly. Another might feel like home to him. In Church A, a trans person may be openly gawked at. In Church B, treated like family. All in the United Church. Hell, all in one city! One of the churches I go to is full of about 100 old white people. There's one black lady, one Asian man and Iranian man. I am one of 5 regulars under 40 years old. There are two gay couples. Some people still refer to the acceptance of gay people in the church as "the big issue". It's mind-blowing. The other church is even smaller (about 40 regulars), but at least 2/3 are under 50 and there's an active youth program. It's less traditional. I suspect a male body in a dress wouldn't garner so much as a second blink at that church.

I'm not sure entirely what my point is here, except to remind the masses, and myself, that Christianity isn't a big monolith. Every Christian is different. Some are good people, some are not. All are trying. Some, in my opinion, miss the point by MILES! But here's the thing... if you know your gospel, you'll know the story of the blind man in the tree who was hollering for Jesus to help him. The people with Jesus shushed the man and told him not to bother Jesus. Jesus goes over to the man and cures him of his blindness. The point of the story that I was always taught was that no one is too lowly for God, everyone was worthy. But there's another point. Even the people Jesus chose to surround himself with missed the bloody point as often as they got it. Mind you, they didn't have two thousand years to study his teachings! You'd think that some people wouldn't be threatening to withhold food from innocent people in order to get their way. They make me sad.

So that's my rambling for the day. Hopefully I can find a few minutes to get on before 2 weeks goes by again. Especially because I'm having kitchen renos next week and my husband's parental leave will be over in 5 more work days! GAH!

01 November 2009

Pumpkin Pi and other FAIL

Why yes. We are geeks. This was totally wasted on our neighbours, who totally suck. Not only because they don't do the Halloween thing - seriously, we had 3 kids, and we live on the busiest street in our little city. No, our neighbours suck, because they lined the street to watch the stupid Olimpdick torch relay go past. Not cool. I admit, I was seriously angry as it went past. After all, they cut massive amounts of services, just to throw this stupid sporting event. One service in particular affected my family. The EIBI program that my son was on the waitlist for is done. His best shot, gone. I thought I was over it, but no, as that ridiculous display of bullshit went past my house, I was livid. I was in tears. And I wanted nothing more than to go out there and holler obscenities at them all. And yes, I thought of going out there and protesting, but I didn't. And you know why? Because as a parent of two autistic kids and an infant, I couldn't find 20 free minutes to make a freaking sign. Blog posts I can manage because I can leave them and come back. If I left the markers and paper, I'd come back to a HUGE mess. Otherwise, I'd have been out there, pissing off the neighbours. And I wouldn't care, because if they can go out and line the streets to watch an oversized joint go by, they can line the streets to scream about funding cuts. But they don't. And they never will. That's Canada.

17 October 2009

Catholicism and pedophilia

Loaded subject, right. Totally.

So in the news recently is Bishop Lahey, a bishop from Nova Scotia, who has been charged with owning child porn. Disgusting. (Though, honestly, with all the priests who are actually raping children, the "poor guy" has to be shaking his head).

As soon as the subject comes up, someone always brings up the "Well, if they let priests get married, this wouldn't happen as much" canard. Excuse me while I call bullshit. For several reasons: 1) Married men are abusers too. Many a father and stepfather has abused his kids. 2) Celibacy doesn't cause pedophilia. There are plenty of celibate people who don't fuck kids or collect child porn. If suddenly you couldn't have sex again - without breaking some self-inflicted ban on it, I might add, would you decide that children were a good alternative that didn't somehow violate your vow? No? I thought not.

All/most child abusers were abused as children - not to be confused with 'all/most people who are abused as children will become abusers', I might add. If the church wants to stop the child abuse, they will STOP THE CHILD ABUSE. Find out a priest is abusing a kid? Call the cops. If you're insistent on covering it up, and clearly the church is, then take the priest out of the parish and put him somewhere where there are no kids. Break the cycle! Because right now, the church is known to be a safe haven for pedophiles. There are men who become priests simply because it gives them access to children. There are men who become priests because priests abused them and it's what they know to do.

Stop the insanity. Stop the priests from hurting kids. Stop all men from hurting kids, and within a generation or two, it won't happen any more. Or at least not nearly as much.

15 October 2009

H1N1 Fun

Well, my household is down with H1N1. I got it first, 9 days ago now, and I would say I could probably go back to work tomorrow, but because I work around a lot of elderly people, I'll give it another few days before I do. What a miserable bloody flu that was. The only one I've had that was worse was the Beijing flu that went around in 1992. That one laid me up for 6 weeks because I got pneumonia in both lungs and a sinus infection from HELL.

So, I've been looking after sick kids. Snap is okay, Crackle is grumpy, threw up once, isn't sleeping worth a damn, and has had a fever off and on, but is otherwise okay. And Pop? Oh my poor little Pop. He's 7 months old and just can't understand why he feels like crap. His one eye is goopy and his cry is so crackly and pathetic. Fortunately, he's the happiest baby on the planet, so it only really gets him upset when he's tired. Otherwise, he's pretty content.

And all that leads to, I've not been following the news or blogs much. I read some of my favourites, like Broadsides (though if they don't fix their damn code, I'm going to quit!), Dammit Janet, Canadian Cynic (even though he insists that it's okay to call specific women 'cunts', I can deal) Unrepentant Old Hippie and Dawg's Blawg pretty much without fail, but other than that, meh.

So what hit me in the news this week was how my demographic, that is, healthy, young women, is being hit hard by H1N1, and they can't figure out why. Let me provide my hypothesis: BECAUSE WE'RE OVERWORKED! We work too much and don't get enough sleep. Is it any wonder we're hit harder than any other group? Seems like a duh moment to me.

Anyway, my husband has Crackle out with him and Pop is sleeping, so now that I've had a little break and cleaned up the living room, I'm going to try to have a nap. What do you think the odds are? 300:1 against? Yeah, that's about right.

09 October 2009

What the flaming hell?

Theoren Fleury gets my applause today. It's damned hard to come out as a survivor of sexual abuse. It's even harder when the damned media keeps calling it a "confession". WTF? He has nothing to confess - he's the victim (I suppose it's nice to know they don't limit their victim-blaming to female victims.) And yes, it would have been nice if he'd have done this before, when Kennedy needed the support, but damn it to hell, he's a victim, he can tell the world when he's ready and not before.

Here's a giant FUCK YOU to the assholes out there who are giving him shit for (a) talking about it; (b) talking about it now instead of years ago.

03 October 2009

Radical hospitality

Well, I'm furious. Livid. Incensed. Absofuckinglutely ready to go on a rampage. Fortunately, I am out of the situation in which I could actually rampage.

There's a sickly looking homeless couple who comes by our place about once a week and collects our empties. While they're here, they look through to see if anyone else has left any recycling out. Our strata is trying to get rid of them. The old busybody who lives in the unit three doors down went out and told them to bugger off. They told him that I said they could come to my place to get my empties. I confirmed this with the old busybody who told me "But you don't want those kinds of people coming around here". Don't EVER tell me what I want or don't want. Ever. I said that I would ask them not to go through any one else's recycling, but that they were welcome to come to my place for mine. If he or anyone else caught them going anywhere else, fine, ask them to leave. But they are welcome at my house any time.

I will not compromise on this unless they start doing damage. As it stands right now, they walk around looking for recycling. They are poor; they are sick; they are homeless. What kind of Christian would I be if I sent them away when I'm in a position to help?

So help me GOD, I will NOT compromise my ethics just because some old asshole doesn't like the looks of "those people".

Trans-phobia and religion

In an article that actually refers to the transman by the right pronouns (for a nice change), we learn that a Catholic school board in Edmonton fired a man for letting them know he was changing his declared gender.

The Catholic school board is publicly funded, so they shouldn't be able to fire a teacher for being trans. However, if they're anything like the Regina Separate school system, they have a "conscience clause" in their contracts that allows them to fire an employee for behaving in a way that isn't consistent with the Catholic faith. So a legal challenge may fail.

On the religious issue, it violates the Catholic faith to live as a gender that doesn't match one's sex organs. (Men in dresses telling others not to cross-dress, I know). It comes down to Deuteronomy 22:5(King James Version) The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so [are] abomination unto the LORD thy God.

So, the first thing to look at when studying the Bible is the historical context. Why was this a rule in that day? Was it that God hates queers? No, not so much. Was it that the writer of Deuteronomy hated queers? Again, probably not (though he probably wasn't as accepting of it as God). So what gives? One theory is that it had to do with pagan rites in which the worshippers dressed as the opposite sex. So it is possible that the rule had to do with idolatry and worship of pagan gods, which of course, would have been an abomination. Another theory is that dressing as members of the opposite sex would be an issue with regard to the property laws of the day. Because property was very much tied into the Jewish religion, and women and men had different rights, dressing as a member of the opposite sex would be a major problem.

And then there's that word abomination. It doesn't mean what most people think. I mean, today, child molesters are abominations, right? But keep looking at Deuteronomy, and you'll see it's used 16 times (KJV), most often in terms of idolatry. And of course, there's the oft-quoted Leviticus 11:12 Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you. So, God hates shrimp, right? Right? Now, sure, it says that the water creatures shall be an abomination unto you, not unto God. But that doesn't mean that I'm supposed to go out and make all the non-scaled, non-finned water creatures into fish, or destroy them, now does it? No, it doesn't. It simply means that I shouldn't eat them.

The Jewish people who still keep kosher don't require, or wish to require, anyone who is not Jewish to keep kosher, even thought the scripture says non-kosher food is an abomination before God. So if the bible says that queerfolk are an abomination before God, it says NOTHING of you. It doesn't say you must also shun them. It says God will. You are not God. Get over it.

I do not take the Bible literally. It is impossible to live biblically, ethically, and legally. Impossible. And stupid. People who claim to view the Bible as literal truth are simply ignorant of what is actually in there, and just listen to the shit their pastors spew. Harsh, I know, when I'm a self-declared tolerant person, but I do not, and will not tolerate hate. And that is what those people teach. There is nothing more against the spirit of Jesus's teachings than hatred and intolerance.

For me, the Bible is part historical document, part transcribed oral tradition, part divinely-inspired writing. I try to live in a way that I think would make the Jesus figure happy. Beyond that, I'm just guessing, hoping, and believing. And I don't for second believe that Jesus would want someone to lose his job, his livelihood and his dignity because his gender didn't match his sex.

30 September 2009

Whoopi Goldberg, rape apologist

My thoughts on Roman Polanski are pretty much the same as the ones here. If you're too lazy to click through, the gist is "He's a rapist. Hello! Rape. Child. Not okay. Not even if he made good movies."

EDIT: Well, it looks like I owe someone an apology. Ms. Goldberg, and loyal readers (all 12 of you), I apologise. Goldberg's words were taken out of context. She was refering to the the charge against Polanski, saying that it wasn't a rape-rape charge, but rather a statutory rape charge. I was busy today and didn't go to the source. My apologies.

Whoopi Goldberg, who is now on the same list I put Mel Gibson and Michael Richards on, said this, "I know it wasn't rape-rape. It was something else but I don't believe it was rape-rape. He went to jail and and when they let him out he was like, 'You know what, this guy's going to give me a hundred years in jail. I'm not staying.' So that's why he left."**

"Rape-rape"?! Are you fucking kidding me? So what? It was unrape? It was not quite entirely unlike rape? What in the bloody hell is she on about?! That only stranger rape is legitimate? The girl was THIRTEEN! She was unable to consent. And furtherfuckingmore, SHE DID NOT CONSENT! That is rape, no matter how you hyphenate it.

**there are a few errors and omissions in that article, not the least of which is that Goldberg is a host of The View, not a guest, and that she isn't the only one on the show with such shitty ideas.

edited to fix crappy editing.

26 September 2009

More cuts

So, as I referenced in my last post, the BC government cut funding for the EIBI program for autistic kids. It's inconceivable, but they actually hit a new low. They cut the programs for domestic violence victims, including children.

I am utterly appalled. And you just know that the assholes who thought "Hey, let's cut support for battered women and traumatized children" are the same assholes who say, "Well, if she didn't want to get hit, she should have left".

How can we stop these monsters?

EDIT: Well, will wonders never cease? The government reversed its decision on the domestic violence programs cuts. Good for them. Now let's see some more reversals.

23 September 2009

Press event: autism funding cut

This morning I went to a press "event" at the BC legislature. Here's the event email I received:

In response to recent funding cuts to provincial EIBI programs, NDP critic for the MCFD Maurine Karagianis will be bringing up this issue today in the legislature during Question Period, and has planned a media event for tomorrow, Wednesday September 23rd, at 10:00 am at the legislature.

We are asking for anyone who opposes the termination of these programs to attend this event. This invitation extends not just to the families who are being directly affected by this decision, but to anyone who is concerned about reductions to autism and special needs services, including waitlisted families, former program participants, professionals, extended family, and more. VSCA believes that children with autism and other special needs need increased access to supports and therapies, not a reduction, and that discontinuing these programs will result in further costs in supporting these children long term.

Date: Wednesday September 23rd
Time: 10:00 am
Location: NDP Opposition Office, Room #201, BC Legislature

Please meet at the office shortly before 10:00am.

Thank you for your support.
So we arrived shortly before 10 and the very nice security people helped us carry the stroller up the stairs. We gave them our i.d., they gave us a visitor's pass, and off we went. The event had been moved to a larger room because they got more people than expected. That was a pleasant surprise. When we got to the room, it was already pretty full, but a very nice lady offered me her seat. Crackle squawked plenty, and finally Mr.FCS took him out. I was right behind the people giving their speeches, so I tried my best to look nice, not pick my nose, etc. I did my breastfeeding advocacy duty, and nursed the baby in front of all the cameras.

A number of people gave very good speeches. A few people gave very long boring speeches. I think the best points were these:
1) EIBI cuts will cost the government money in the long run, because children who receive EIBI are less likely to need government care, support workers, disability welfare, etc.
2) Cutting off any public option and forcing everyone into a private system, even while funding it, is seriously irresponsible because the progress of children going to these programs isn't monitored.
3) The government claims this isn't a cut. They say that because they're giving 1.6 million back to the parents (from a 4.9 million program), they're just reallocating to make it more equitable. This is bullshit because a) 1.6 is less than 4.9, and (b) because that 1.6 million will come back to the government via the HST, which is being imposed on the program next year.

I don't expect it to do a damn thing, this being the Campbell government, but at least we tried.

p.s. Order your shirt! I ordered mine yesterday.

17 September 2009

Olympics clearly more important than autistic kids

Why thank you, Mr. Campbell you sonofabitch.

"The B.C. Children's Ministry will stop funding a high-cost treatment program for 70 autistic children in order to give more money to about 800 autistic children in regular programs."

Um, CBC, why are you reporting their backpedalling as fact? The fact is, they're cutting a major program for autistic kids. The best program in the province.

"The government will drop the $5-million early intervention program in January. In April, the amount of money provided to families with autistic children under age six will increase to $22,000 a year from $20,000."

Oh, this is just a big fuck you, that's what this is. The incoming HST is going to end up sucking back all of that!

"She said the ministry found little difference in progress among children in the intensive program and those in regular treatment.

"We have to look at the outcomes and when it comes to what was occurring … we were not seeing any appreciable improvements in the outcomes for those kids.""

I'd like to see these alleged studies. What kind of bullshit study shows that 13 extra hours per week of intense therapy don't actually help? Perhaps ones funded by the group that would really like to cut the funding for that program! Talk to any of the parents of those kids. Talk to all the parents of kids waiting patiently for that program.

"Autism funding for children and youth from six to 18 years old remains the same, at $6,000 a year, she said."

And that amounts to a 7% cut because of the HST.

Good thing we can spend BILLIONS of dollars on the fucking Olimpdicks, but autistic kids can just go to hell. And you know, you can't say, "Oh, but it wouldn't have been spent on that anyway", because this is a cut, not just a refusal to fund.

Do you know what options a person in Victoria has for their autistic kid? A program called Little Steps or hiring employees of their own. Little Steps handles the paperwork for you, but is expensive. Hiring one's own employees is a paperwork NIGHTMARE, and getting the government to reimburse you for your expenses is crazy.

I don't know if I've mentioned it, but I have a kid (possibly two, depending on the outcome of Monday's meeting) with Autism. This funding cut affects me directly. My son was on the waitlist for the cut program. I was seriously looking forward to him getting into the program. It's not that I don't like his interventionist (she's phenomenal) but right now, he gets 6 1/2 hours per week. Getting him into a 20hr/week program would have been amazing for him. I've seen the good work they do in other kids. So okay, now I don't get to put him in the best program, but we've still got the other program. And what's happening there? They're being flooded with calls. They're going to be so overloaded, I am positive the level of care will go down until they can adapt. And since Crackle (my son - if you haven't figured out the naming conventions, they're Snap - 14 year old girl, Crackle - 3.5 year old boy, and Pop, 6 month old boy who looks like an old man because of his silly hair and wrinkles) only has 6.5 hours per week, and only has until he's 6, we can't really afford for his care to go down in quality. He's nigh on impossible to handle with two adults around. With one, and Pop? Hard. Very very hard. And he's not terribly severe. I cannot imagine how the parents of the kids who are already in the program are feeling today. They must feel like they've been punched.

I really and truly need to get Gordon Campbell's ear for a while. And Minister Polak. Bastards. They truly don't see what harm they're doing. Either that or they just don't care. And if that's the case, I hope they rot in hell.

14 September 2009

Parents meeting bullshit

I went to a parents meeting at my kid's high school tonight. She's in Grade 9, so it was a meeting for new parents. I hate these things, but I went because maybe it'd be interesting. Hahaha. Interesting, it was. But only because the Principal was a ... gah... I can't even come up with a decent word for it, but I'll bet a million bucks she votes Conservative.

So, she's going on about how she doesn't like Cs. The school system has already gotten rid of Ds and Es (what the rest of us call Fs). She says we should get rid of Cs too because no one should be average. That they can all get As and Bs, they only need ask for help. Okay, no. Average is what the vast majority of people are. That's why they call it average. Way to make average kids feel like shit. Way to blame the parents and kids if their kids don't excel. Unreal.

So as she's saying this, she goes Way Too Far and says that our kids need to try harder and get better grades because there are more and more international students than ever, and those students are getting As and Bs, and they're getting into University, possibly taking "our kids'" places.

Whoa. Not just whoa, but Full Fucking Stop.

So "our kids", i.e. white kids, are entitled to university, and they're getting screwed out of them by those hard working "international students" (read: Chinese and Japanese kids). "Our kids" need to work harder to keep their places. Not because, oh, it's always a good idea to do one's best.

What racist claptrap!

Harper shows his true colours

God bless the guy or gal who videotaped the scheming lizard Harper, showing him for what he is:

Dude. Where do I even start? He's seriously proud to have dropped the national childcare program, in favour of giving money directly to parents so "they could make their own decisions". Wtf decisions are there to be made with $100/month?! It's $1300/month here for childcare. I can't even hire a teenager for $100/month. The only people who benefit here are are the people who decide to stay home with the kids. And for most people, that's not a decision, that's either a last resort or unavoidable because they can't find a job!

And then there's the Court Challenges program. Oh, Harper, you asshole. Left-wing fringe groups? You mean like those lefties who wanted to stop Keegstra from teaching that the Holocaust is just a conspiracy theory? No? Then it must be the women's rights (i.e. human rights) groups that brought challenges against employers and landlords trying to discriminate against women.

That's right. You heard it here (though not first). Women are a left-wing fringe group (on facebook, even).

h/t Antonia Zerbisias at Broadsides. I am *totally* buying one of those t-shirts when they're available!

08 September 2009

Check your privilege at the door

Elsespace, I was reading a post by a woman who is frustrated with the extra funding, support and programs provided to aboriginal children in her community. I know this woman fairly well, know about her kids and her family life. Things haven't been all that easy for her, but she has had the advantage of being white and pretty.

The question she was asking, and without an agenda (near as I can tell) is do you support a kid who wants to start a White Kids club? In her child's school, there is a club for Asians (read: SE Asian), Indians, Aboriginal kids, but (of course) none for white kids. The general consensus was NO! The kids, though, are frustrated, because they see all these programs for Other kids, including lots of freebies. I can understand how the kids feel, but they're missing that these programs, handouts and extra support are only there to help give them the same advantages that the white kids get.

One of the replies to her post really got me frothing, but I couldn't quite figure out why right away. I think I have it now. What he was saying was that he, a white man, is a minority in the lower mainland of BC. He was complaining that he can't read store signs, that "everybody" speaks Mandarin or Cantonese, and lots speak Punjabi. Okay... So lemme get this straight, a group of immigrants comes in to the area you live in (and by that I mean, the entire country that you claim for all of whitedom) and puts up signs in their language, doesn't adopt your culture, but brings their own. They exclude you with their language, their schools, their churches, and you feel like this isn't fair. Okay. I'll give you that because I'm feeling extra generous. But then HOW THE FUCK DARE you complain when the aboriginal people have a similar complaint? Especially when the Chinese people you're complaining about didn't come in, displace you, kidnap and beat your kids and thoroughly destroy massive swaths of your culture!

For crying out loud, with what white culture did to native culture here in Canada, giving them a few breaks, benefits and programs is the LEAST we can do. And so help me God, the complaining that they "don't do anything with it" just isn't going to fly with me. Perhaps that says something about how systemic the problem is, how you can't just make decades of repression disappear by throwing a few bucks at it. Yeah, every person has a personal responsibility, but damn it to hell, so does society.

And if you don't like that they don't speak your language in Richmond, learn Mandarin!

02 September 2009

quick hit: media

A small bone fragment was found on a property beside the home of a California man who was charged with kidnapping Jaycee Lee Dugard, and who is now being investigated in connection with the deaths of several prostitutes.

Lemme fix that. "... and who is now being investigated in connection with the deaths of several women."

I guaranfuckingtee you that if they were all computer scientists, that wouldn't be in the lede.

25 August 2009

"Lisa, I'd like to buy your rock."

So I was reading at Shakesville, and ran into something that interested me greatly

Town Hall reports that Crist was speaking to a group of real estate agents, and credited prayer notes in the Western Wall in Jerusalem with preventing his state from being hit by hurricanes during his time as governor.

Crist told of how he visited the Wall in 2007, and placed a note saying: "Dear God, please protect our Florida from storms and other difficulties. Charlie."

"Time goes on -- May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December -- no hurricanes," Crist said. "Thank God."
Now, the way I see it, there are a few problems with this.

1) Some of those months aren't hurricane months. Praying for no hurricanes in January is like praying for no rain on the moon.
2) Suggesting that your prayer is the reason that God didn't send hurricanes is the utmost in arrogance. Perhaps God spared the people the hurricane despite being unimpressed with you. Or perhaps IT HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU AT ALL! Sheesh.
3) "But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." Matthew 6:6.

Look, I have no trouble with the idea of praying to protect someone or somewhere. God knows I do it enough myself. But taking credit for everything going right then? Even suggesting it had to do with your prayers, blows my mind.

Of course, my God is not Crist's God. My God isn't some omnipotent, omniscient, spiteful, being in the sky. I shudder at the thought. What a horrible feeling it must be to wonder why God is mad at you every time something goes wrong! Or do they think that God is only spiteful to others, and that when bad things happen to them, it's because of Satan (whom, btw, I don't believe exists - I'm not even certain of evil, but that's another post)?

Reminds me of an Onion headline I love: "Little Boy Receives Answer to Prayer for Cancer Cure: God says, "No""

I came to a startling conclusion some time back. I tend to pray for things like grace, strength, courage, patience, healing, etc. I don't pray for stuff. Never tangibles. Anyway, I've discovered that when I ask for those types of things, I get presented with situations in which I can work on those things. So... I am not praying for strength any more. Seems that when I do, I get situations in which to be strong. No thanks. I'm going to pray for the grace to tastefully deal with my lottery winnings, and the patience to schedule my life around the demands of my many, many new friends. :)

21 August 2009

Appeal the Alves sentence!

Dammit Janet has the goods (via Dr. Dawg) on who to contact about appealing Alves' sentence.

A recap: Alves drugged, raped and beat a woman. The judge decided this didn't make him dangerous, and gave him a suspended sentence.

Here he is:
Fernando Alves - Rapist

Don't accept a drink from this man. Instead, write a letter. A polite, firmly worded letter about why his sentence is completely unjust, and why it needs to be appealed.

And in case this looks like a 180 from my previous post, let me make this clear: Alves is dangerous. Alves will rape again. Alves needs to be locked away. Should it come to the point where he is at death's door, I would support his release too (if we had such a law). Right now though, he is a threat to all women in his vicinity.

20 August 2009

Compassion in action

I'm a big fan of compassion. Big fan. If the world could take a lesson from Scotland this week, it would be a Good Thing, indeed.

One of the Lockerbie hijackers bombers was released from prison because his death is imminent. Recognising that some people might be upset by this, the minister of justice said:

"Mr. al-Megrahi did not show his victims any comfort or compassion,… but that alone is not a reason for us to deny compassion to him and his family in his final days,... Our justice system demands that judgment be imposed but compassion be available. Our beliefs dictate that justice be served but mercy be shown."

This is not someone who is going to go out and commit a bunch of horrific crimes. This is someone who is going to die a painful death. Allowing his family to be with him for this time is a gift to his family. It's living by one's values, regardless of how it feels. It's incredibly rare, and I wish it weren't so.

Christianity demands this kind of compassion. If more Christians lived by these Christian values, we wouldn't be dealing with such an image problem!

And *SHAME* shame on the US for pressuring them not to let this man out of prison. Just how much do you like it when other governments start telling you what to do with your prisoners?!

I feel for the families of the victims. I really do. This must be tearing them up, knowing that he gets to spend his last minutes with his family, when he was the one who made it so that they couldn't. A horrible feeling for them, I'm sure. I'm rather certain I'd be livid about the situation myself. But the justice system isn't supposed to be revenge. There must be room for mercy. Not for him. But for his family. I know any one of those families would give anything for another minute with their loved ones. Giving this to his family is an act of mercy and compassion that brings me almost to tears.

**edited to fix my brain-o. Like a typo, but not.

18 August 2009

This is just not my day!

I think I may just hang my head and cry.

Here's the headline: "Sexual assault victim, 12, allegedly drunk"

Are you kidding me? What the hell difference does it make? SHE WAS 12! The absolute only reasons for making this a news story is to say, a) She deserved it; b) It was her fault; c) Somehow this makes it less of a crime; d) all of the above.

Okay, I want you to imagine for a second that a 12 year old boy is beaten, raped and left for dead in a schoolyard. Do you honestly think his sobriety would be called into question? Fuck no, it wouldn't.

And here's why I really want to cry. I saw that headline when I was investigating a link in a post about sexism in the media that had absolutely nothing to do with this case.

Rape: A crime of opportunity

So let me get this straight: I can go to a bar, be drugged, beaten and raped by the bar owner, and he gets NO JAIL TIME in Canada. Furthermore, the judge will say it was a crime of opportunity and that the rapist is "not pathologically dangerous".

Let me make something clear: We need to be able to trust the bartenders. We have enough trouble watching our drinks from random assholes and our dates. This was a serious breech of trust. This is a VERY dangerous man.

I'm so pissed off about this one, I can't type coherently.

15 August 2009


Blaming the victim. Openly. Marriott hotels are NEVER getting my money.

From the article, "The hotel's court filing said the woman "failed to exercise due care for her own safety and the safety of her children and proper use of her senses and facilities.""


04 August 2009

Israel and the United Church of Canada

Well, cool. This is my 100th post.

I have a million things on my mind, as usual. But I suppose what's in the forefront lately is the United Church's 40th General Council. The way the UCC works is to send delegates from all over the country to vote on who the next Moderator should be (my kid Snap thinks this is HILARIOUS that our church has a moderator - she thinks it's a hoot that we're so wishywashy), and on resolutions that have made it from the churches, through the presbyteries and then through the conferences. These resolutions set the policy of the church as a whole. Some are controversial, some aren't. Oh, and unlike some other churches *coughCatholiccough* the UCC doesn't claim to be right. We just say what our opinion is.

This year, the big ones to hit the council (well, the big one in terms of interest from outside the church, anyway) are about peace in Israel and Palestine. I'm somewhat flabbergasted that these got through to General Council without revisions. They're... well, let's call it "troubling". In particular, I have issues with this:

Questionable positions of Canadian Members of Parliament include:
•Members of Parliament have accepted sponsored trips to Israel, which might be called bribes; some Members of Parliament are affiliated with the State of Israel;
•Some Members of Parliament are dual-citizens with Israel and have sensitive roles in Canada.

Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. They're actually suggesting that having dual citizenship is a questionable position? That accepting a trip to Israel is a bribe? WTF, people! "Are you now, or have you ever been affiliated with Israel?" Is that next?

Look, it's like this. That is some serious anti-semitism. Or at least semite-phobia. Good lord people, Israel has a right to exist, and the United Church has been saying so for years. Considering that fact, it should very much follow that any member of parliament, and indeed any Canadian, has the right to be affiliated with Israel.

Yeah, Israel has acted in a pretty shitty way. They're violating a number of human rights. They're violating Geneva Conventions. They're doing shitastic things of epic proportions. But guess what? So's our good friend the US. So are we. We're allowing our very own citizens to be tortured. We're refusing some of them their right to enter their own country. We're complicit in some serious shit in Afghanistan. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone and all that, right?

I realize that Israel has the responsibility to act in a reasonable way, especially since they are a nuclear power. I also realize that Palestine has a responsibility to act in a reasonable way. However, it is Israel who has the greater power. To badly paraphrase Peter Parker's Uncle Ben, greater power requires greater responsibility.

I also realize that if a small contingent of natives decided that Canada didn't have a legal claim to their land and started lobbing bombs at us, we'd rush in there and kick their asses. And we wouldn't be nice about it.

I'll be watching this with interest. I expect that the language will be toned down A LOT and the resolution will be softened to say very little more, if anything, than what was passed at GC38.

Ya know, it occurs to me that because of the history of the church in that area, that we are a lot more interested in Israel, and hold it up to a much higher standard than we do for the rest of the world. I mean, where are the resolutions on the Congo, Sudan, Nicaragua?

Rev. David Giuliano, moderator of the United Church of Canada's response to the controversy

The press release that hit my inbox this morning regarding the four resolutions

The PDF document in which the 4 resolutions can be found

23 July 2009

C is for Co-operate

I have a subscription to The Observer magazine. It's a United Church of Canada magazine, and it's extremely well done. The articles aren't fawning or over-the-top. It's well written and well-produced. I don't always agree with the opinion pieces. No surprise there! Based on the letters, many people don't. Though I usually disagree in different ways because I'm young and the UCC is starting to fart dust.

Anyway, this months edition arrived yesterday last week (it took me a week to finish this with all the interruptions and a sick kid!) and I started to read over it. In the first opinion piece, Vanessa Hammond of Fairfield United here in Victoria extols the virtues of health care co-ops.

Here's how healthcare co-ops are supposed to work. One joins the co-op by purchasing a share, and then (usually) paying an annual fee. Government funded services are covered by the government, and then the co-op handles other things above and beyond government coverage, like physiotherapy, counselling, acupuncture, whatever. There tends to be a focus on preventative medicine, because co-ops tend to be better at math than governments (preventative medicine saves money).

Hammond's main thesis is that community-owned health-care co-ops provide the best bridge between the "overburdened public system, and private clinics that place profit before human need". I disagree. I think the public system needs an overhaul. Co-ops are good things. Take it from this socialist, I like them. I do. But not for healthcare.

Hammond says, "Co-ops are organized according to the wishes of their member-owners. Although all follow the principles of democratic governance, each responds to the needs of its community". Really? How? How can this be possible? If the members of the co-op don't democratically vote in a way that benefits the community, doesn't this necessarily mean that one or the other gets the shaft? For example, suppose there is a co-op downtown. There are a number of wealthy people, and a number of poor people who live in close proximity. From millionaires to homeless in one square kilometre. The co-op has a lot of wealthy people in it, and they discover that a disproportionate amount of the money going into the co-op is being spent on the poorer people in the co-op. What's to stop them from deciding to increase rates in a way that excludes all but the wealthy? Human decency? Don't make me laugh.

Healthcare co-ops are a surefire way to get little enclaves of good service for those who can afford it. There would be elite co-ops that are expensive to join, pay for the best doctors, and offer the best services. And there would be crappy co-ops, where the rates were lower, they offer very little, and only the bottom rung of doctors would work there. It's inevitable.

And then there's the fact that they're completely unnecessary. Our public system can do all of the things that the co-ops do if it gets properly funded. Preventative medicine would be a great start. Covering chiropractic and physiotherapy, podiatry, counselling services, offering nutrition classes and providing poor people with good quality food at lower prices (and there are humane ways to do this without it coming to the American food stamp program from Hell). Oh, and using nurse practitioners for many simple problems. Expanding the public health nurse program. Add these to the program and the number of people going to the doctor and ER for garbage visits will drop off enormously. There will be less surgeries for injuries. Less people spending weeks in psych wards for breakdowns. It is cheaper and easier to stay healthy than it is to recover.

Simply put, we'll have healthier people, and everyone will have equal access to the system.

I do have a few ideas for how to better run the system. First, to keep doctors here, set up a program with student loans and subsidies to universities. Government subsidizes medical school training right now. If a student isn't willing to work within Canada after graduating, said student doesn't get a subsidy, and pays full price for their training. If he or she wants the subsidy, then the student must work as a doctor in Canada for several years after graduating in order to repay the subsidy. Less years if the work is done in a rural area.

Second, to reduce the wait lists: let people pay to jump the queue. Stop, don't freak, there's more. :) If I have a metric assload of money, and I want to spend it to get my MRI tomorrow (during off hours), I should be able to. Here's the catch. I have to buy two. One for me, and one for the next person in line. The cost to run the MRIs is in manpower, not equipment, so we both pay to have someone there running the machine when it would otherwise sit dormant. It pays for someone to work, it reduces the waitlist, and it isn't just for the people with money. If there is a flaw in this reasoning, I want to hear it. I've been toying with the idea for years, and I can't find a hole. Tell me if you see something I don't. But I think it's win/win.

Co-ops are a dangerous idea. They allow for elite, quality care for those who can afford it, second-rate care for those who can't, and a good excuse for the government to make cuts. "Oh, well most people are covered for X by co-ops, and if they're not, there are a number of inexpensive ones they can join". Can't you just hear it now?

On a more personal note, I'm highly offended by the way she adds God to the equation, and makes it out like God supports co-ops. "Together, with Gods's grace and inspiration, we can only succeed". *snort* Puh-leeze. Like everyone who has failed in the past has just been lacking God's grace and inspiration. Yeah, sure.

21 July 2009

Greatest American Hero

Jimmy Carter. Oh, why aren't they all like you?

* Jimmy Carter
* July 15, 2009

Women and girls have been discriminated against for too long in a twisted interpretation of the word of God.

I HAVE been a practising Christian all my life and a deacon and Bible teacher for many years. My faith is a source of strength and comfort to me, as religious beliefs are to hundreds of millions of people around the world. So my decision to sever my ties with the Southern Baptist Convention, after six decades, was painful and difficult. It was, however, an unavoidable decision when the convention's leaders, quoting a few carefully selected Bible verses and claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin, ordained that women must be "subservient" to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service.

This view that women are somehow inferior to men is not restricted to one religion or belief. Women are prevented from playing a full and equal role in many faiths. Nor, tragically, does its influence stop at the walls of the church, mosque, synagogue or temple. This discrimination, unjustifiably attributed to a Higher Authority, has provided a reason or excuse for the deprivation of women's equal rights across the world for centuries.

At its most repugnant, the belief that women must be subjugated to the wishes of men excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation and national laws that omit rape as a crime. But it also costs many millions of girls and women control over their own bodies and lives, and continues to deny them fair access to education, health, employment and influence within their own communities.

The impact of these religious beliefs touches every aspect of our lives. They help explain why in many countries boys are educated before girls; why girls are told when and whom they must marry; and why many face enormous and unacceptable risks in pregnancy and childbirth because their basic health needs are not met.

In some Islamic nations, women are restricted in their movements, punished for permitting the exposure of an arm or ankle, deprived of education, prohibited from driving a car or competing with men for a job. If a woman is raped, she is often most severely punished as the guilty party in the crime.

The same discriminatory thinking lies behind the continuing gender gap in pay and why there are still so few women in office in the West. The root of this prejudice lies deep in our histories, but its impact is felt every day. It is not women and girls alone who suffer. It damages all of us. The evidence shows that investing in women and girls delivers major benefits for society. An educated woman has healthier children. She is more likely to send them to school. She earns more and invests what she earns in her family.

It is simply self-defeating for any community to discriminate against half its population. We need to challenge these self-serving and outdated attitudes and practices - as we are seeing in Iran where women are at the forefront of the battle for democracy and freedom.

I understand, however, why many political leaders can be reluctant about stepping into this minefield. Religion, and tradition, are powerful and sensitive areas to challenge. But my fellow Elders and I, who come from many faiths and backgrounds, no longer need to worry about winning votes or avoiding controversy - and we are deeply committed to challenging injustice wherever we see it.

The Elders are an independent group of eminent global leaders, brought together by former South African president Nelson Mandela, who offer their influence and experience to support peace building, help address major causes of human suffering and promote the shared interests of humanity. We have decided to draw particular attention to the responsibility of religious and traditional leaders in ensuring equality and human rights and have recently published a statement that declares: "The justification of discrimination against women and girls on grounds of religion or tradition, as if it were prescribed by a Higher Authority, is unacceptable."

We are calling on all leaders to challenge and change the harmful teachings and practices, no matter how ingrained, which justify discrimination against women. We ask, in particular, that leaders of all religions have the courage to acknowledge and emphasise the positive messages of dignity and equality that all the world's major faiths share.

The carefully selected verses found in the Holy Scriptures to justify the superiority of men owe more to time and place - and the determination of male leaders to hold onto their influence - than eternal truths. Similar biblical excerpts could be found to support the approval of slavery and the timid acquiescence to oppressive rulers.

I am also familiar with vivid descriptions in the same Scriptures in which women are revered as pre-eminent leaders. During the years of the early Christian church women served as deacons, priests, bishops, apostles, teachers and prophets. It wasn't until the fourth century that dominant Christian leaders, all men, twisted and distorted Holy Scriptures to perpetuate their ascendant positions within the religious hierarchy.

The truth is that male religious leaders have had - and still have - an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter. Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world. This is in clear violation not just of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but also the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul, Moses and the prophets, Muhammad, and founders of other great religions - all of whom have called for proper and equitable treatment of all the children of God. It is time we had the courage to challenge these views.

Jimmy Carter was president of the United States from 1977 to 1981.

Wow. Just wow. This is a man who Gets It. I am incredibly impressed.

h/t to my friend Jenn. Hi Jenn! :)

13 July 2009

Hung out to dry at The Star

So, let me get this straight (pun snarkily intended):

Bernie Farber of the Canadian Jewish Congress wears a t-shirt to a gay pride parade that reads "Nobody knows I'm gay".

The parade is the same parade he tried to keep Queers against Israeli Apartheid out of, but failed.

Antonia Zerbisias, i.e. the Star's only interesting read, cracks wise in a comment on her blog, "I didn't know he was gay. Not that there's anything wrong with that", clearly meaning, "He's not gay, so if he was there, it was a political move".

Farber blows a gasket, shoots off a letter to The Star, whining that he was misrepresented as gay. (No, he wasn't. And why is that a problem unless you're homophobic?)

The Star doesn't tell him where to stick it, but instead writes this ridiculous apology, hanging Zerbisias out to dry.

Is that correct? Am I missing something? Because that makes NO. FUCKING. SENSE. I don't for one second believe the "Jews run the media" shit that anti-Semites toss around (If that were true, Jon Stewart would be on prime time!). So what is it? Is the CPC that powerful?

There are so many problems with all of this, not the least of which is why an apology was needed at all. Suppose for a second that Zerbisias wasn't talking tongue-in-cheek. Suppose she really was saying she didn't know he was gay. Why would that require an apology? He was at a Pride parade wearing a shirt that said he was gay! He was photographed wearing it. She wasn't outting someone who wanted to keep his homosexuality a secret. Farber's complaint that she was misrepresenting him as gay is clearly bullshit. Clearly.

So it's political then. What motive could he have for wanting a smackdown on the Zerb? Perhaps the answer is in the question she asked in that very post (the actual post, Kathy English, the actual post. Not the comment). "Excuse me but since when did the interests of Zionist lobby groups determine who or what Canadians can see and hear?"

Well, I'd say that pissed him off nicely. Ironically, the answer is "since now".

This story is seen practically everywhere, but I saw it in these places first:

10 July 2009

Mash up

I have *so* not been interested in blogging lately. Too much going on, I guess.

For starters, I built a new computer in my copious spare time. YAY! TOYS!

I love that case. I love the two case fans, the bottom-mounted power supply, the quietude. Nice. The mobo is sweet. Not top of the line, but still nice. I haven't had a new machine in quite some time. Built one for Snap (my daughter) right before Pop was born. What a nightmare that was. I had a case with a short. OMG. It took me forever to figure out wtf the problem was. I took it to the good guys over at Gizmo's computers, and they got a kick out of the gigantically pregnant woman who dragged in the gamer box she'd built cursing and swearing about what a piece of shit it was. Ended up being me who figured it out though. Go me! Mind you, it was simple process of elimination...

Anyway, beyond box building, looking after my autistic 3 year old and my infant, working, baking (god, the baking just never ends when you're Celiac), cleaning, dealing with an insurance claim (*sigh* water damage from a leaking faucet while we were at that fucking wedding), I just haven't had time to get to the blog.

And it's not like I haven't seen a dozen stories and thought, "OOOOH! That's blog fodder" :)

Stephen Harper takes communion. *gasp* I'm not even Catholic anymore, but when I saw him hold out one hand, rather than both, and then not immediately eat it, I just gasped in horror. It's all those years of Catholic school. And he's not even Catholic! Damn dude.

And if that's not enough, there's the whole Stephen Harper is saluted story. It's in a number of places, but this one is the one I saw first.

Doesn't this guy know protocol? Or doesn't he care? Is it ignorance or disrespect? Must be one of the two.

In feminist news, there's the BC Supreme Court ruling that refuses to force the International Olympic Committee to add women's ski jumping as a sport. Okay, I have to agree with the ruling to the extent that it's not really on the government to force an international event to add a sport, but OTOH, it's an event being held in BC, and therefore shouldn't be so blatantly sexist. I hate the Olympics approximately as much as I hate Fred Phelps (I admit to some irrationality on that point), so on one hand I don't give a rat's ass. On the other hand, it pisses me off just how sexist the IOC is being. And don't give me any shit about how there aren't enough women doing it. That doesn't fly. There are other Olympic sports with less people in them.

Oh, and then there's Sarah Palin's baffling resignation. Oh Sarah Sarah Sarah, please run for President. The comedy fodder alone makes it worth it. And Tina Fey needs the work. (Okay, so she doesn't, but so what). The best part of Governor Palin's resignation was the riotously funny bit about how mean the media has been to her. OMG. I mean, she was the one who told Hillary Clinton to shut up about it and suck it up. Wasn't it something to the effect of "she needed to suck it up if she was going to run with the big boys"? (Too lazy/busy to hunt up a link) At some point, the other shoe is going to drop (or hit her in the head). I'm sure it wasn't just so she could do a run for president. Or does she think that that's why she had such a hard time running for VP? Because she was still trying to run Alaska? Hard to say. It's not like she's a strategizing genius. I mean, when I hear people say, "Well, this doesn't make sense, so it can't be...", I have to chuckle. Palin never makes sense. She makes sense as often as Cheney is compassionate. It might occasionally seem that way, but no. Just never.

There are a ton of other things I want to talk about, but alas, the 3 year old is hopped up on sugar and his sister Snap is understandably sick of looking after him so Mama can blog. :)

27 June 2009

Language Matters

Mother-blaming is a major problem in our society. Mommy-bashing, Mommy-drive-bys, and my favourite, "But she's a mother!" as a horrified gasp at a woman's behaviour.

Lately, one of the themes seems to be shots at mothers for drinking alcohol. A woman in North Dakota was arrested for breastfeeding while intoxicated. A felony arrest, I might add. She was charged with neglect. Okay... here's the thing, the amount of alcohol in breastmilk is the same as in the blood. So, assuming she was flat out loaded, her blood alcohol was maybe .2%. There's more alcohol in Gripe Water! (yes, there is alcohol in Gripe Water unless otherwise indicated). So why in hell can she be arrested fro this?! Because Moms shouldn't drink, of course.

Right. So I was reading the cbc.ca site and ran into the article about the racist whackjobs who drew swastikas on their daughter's arms and sent her to school. Now it seems that the woman has been charged with fraud, for impersonating her mother and using her credit cards to the tune of $20,000. And how did cbc phrase it? (Emphasis added)
The mother in a controversial Winnipeg custody trial, involving a girl who was sent to school with white supremacist symbols drawn on her skin, has been arrested.

The mother has been in jail since Thursday, charged with a number of fraud-related crimes, news that came just as the custody hearing was set to resume with lawyers for Child and Family Services wrapping up their case.

According to court documents obtained by CBC News, the mother is accused of stealing her own mother's credit card last fall and racking up charges of more than $20,000. It is also alleged that she impersonated the woman for a few days last October in order to commit the fraud.

The court worked Friday for several hours to arrange to get the mother transferred from the remand centre to the courthouse. The judge in charge of the hearing wanted her present but it took some time for bail to be granted.

The mother appeared in court in shackles Friday and testified in the custody case that she wants a relative to get custody of the child, not the father.

Okay, the first one makes sense. She's the mother in a custody case. But after that? It's just another case of Mommy-shaming. She's a woman, first. Then a mother.

I think that's what so many forget. Women aren't people in the eyes of a lot of people. At church, on Father's Day, a man in my congregation got up and said, "Happy Father's Day! I think just about everyone here is a father!" Um... So one of the women hollered out, "I'm not!" There was an uncomfortable laugh. And here's the thing, the congregation is about 75% women. He just simply didn't view us as people.

You hear about murdered prostitutes, school teachers, mothers, etc. When it's a man, it's a murdered man. When it's a woman, it's about her job, her profession, her choices. Never just about her. Because women just don't seem to matter.

h/t on the arrest to Jill at Feministe

24 June 2009

Booze on the bus

So Mr.FCS and I rarely disagree on political issues. Today we found ourselves arguing loudly about the Victoria Regional Transit Commission's decision to not allow alcohol (open or otherwise) on buses on Canada Day.

His take is that it's only for one day, and will save a number of people bringing booze downtown to the fireworks display. No big deal, and might prevent some drunken idiocy.

My take is that the drunks will get loaded before going, that the cops tried this shit last year, and were told it was illegal, that there is nothing illegal about transporting alcohol, and that giving up your rights for perceived safety is idiocy. Furthermore, the people who want to get shitfaced later, should be the ones on the bus!

Your thoughts?

Compassionate Conservatism... until a recession

Then we can fuck 'em good. They're just whores, right?

The van that patrols Vancouver's downtown east side is at risk of losing their funding. This van provides condoms, clean needles, coffee and juice, and an ear to bend for the people, primarily women, who are prostitutes in that area. These extremely vulnerable people live on the edges of society, and work in a very risky profession. They are beaten, raped and even killed in record numbers. Rapes and beatings are considered to be just par for the course. "Bad dates", i.e. rough johns, and johns who don't pay, are reported to the people in the van. Then other workers can look out for these guys. This is practically an essential service! It costs about $265,000 per year to run. Practically a drop in the bucket in the BC budget.

So what gives? Why are they cancelling this program? Would the upcoming Olympics have something to do with it? Can't have it look like the province condones this, can we? Such bullshit.

I hate Gordon Campbell. I fucking hate him and his ilk. Seriously, what kind of a fucking scumbag do you have to be to cut this service? And stupid too! Without the free clean hypodermics and condoms the AIDS rate will jump. Even if 3 people per year are prevented from contracting HIV, this service pays for itself. So it's clearly not money.

Too infuriating. I cannot believe the assholes in this province voted these fuckers in again.

21 June 2009

As you all should know, I was in Saskatchewan for the last couple of weeks. I took my camera, because if nothing else, it gives me something to do other than keep my kids out of trouble. I find the prairie and small towns to be remarkably beautiful. I tried to capture some of that on this trip, and I think I got a bit of it in these pictures. They're unretouched.

20 June 2009

Rape is not something to feel flattered about - Duh!

A dangerous offender is released, pending appeal, and this is the comment the cbc lets through, regarding a woman who is scared that the guy is living in her neighbourhood:

"the guys more than likely innocent and either way wouldn't be interested in this lady anyway,,,typical liberal skank"

ARGH! I don't know where to begin with this. How about let's boil it down to this:

Rape is not about finding someone attractive. It is not about "being interested" in someone. It is about causing pain, misery and humiliation. It is about power. 90 year old women are raped. 5 year old girls are raped. Fat women, thin women, disabled women, fit women, redheads, blondes, brunettes. Rapists may have their "preferences", but rape happens to women of all categories. All.

What does this asshole think? That a woman should feel flattered that the guy found her hot enough to rape?! Probably.

15 June 2009

Jon and Kate Plus Cameras

Okay, I confess, I've seen this show. I find it repugnant. My daughter, OTOH, watches it like the trainwreck that it is. She also reads People magazine (I know, what kind of kid am I raising?! But she says, "Celebrity gossip is my guilty pleasure", so at least she isn't trying to defend it). So, being stranded in Central Hell, I decided to read the latest People. Now, I don't let too much offend me (many things annoy me, but few offend me), but Jon's description of his kids was fucking disgusting.

Joel: "He's the youngest of the six and a womanizer. He's like, 'Oh, ou smell nice. I love your hair.' ...

A womanizer? Seriously? WTF kind of thing is this to say about a child? It's repulsive. The kid says something nice to someone, and he's a womanizer? He's trying to use her? WTF?! Would he say something like this about his daughters? Well yes, he would.

Cara: "... She also has a lot of boyfriends, which I don't agree with."

Uh, wtf, dude! The little boy is a "womanizer" and you clearly find that cute. The little girl has boyfriends, and that isn't cool with you. Double standard much?

Why are you sexualizing your kids? It's icky. Stop it.

Still in Hell...

At least the temperature makes it feel that way. Gah. So hot.

I'm in Regina, back in the land of internet access, and I'm trying to figure out what to write about, as all that's been on my mind lately is how annoying my in-laws are, how I suck for thinking that, as really, they're pretty decent people, how frustrated I am with my Mom and her demonspawn doctors, how worried I am about her (holy shit, she's thin!), and how fucking much I hate traveling with Celiac Disease. I am so sick. What's worse, so are my husband and my kids.

I did see something that I thought, "WHOA! There's a blog post". Well, a few things, but I haven't managed to download my pictures to make fun of some of it. Seriously, I mean, "World's Biggest Paperclip"? Lame. However, what I was thinking of was how a very nice Catholic lady reacted when I asked her opinion on the new legislation in Alberta. She's a teacher, so I thought it was a gimme. Apparently, I was picking a fight. Oops.

First of all, she hadn't heard about it. So I explained it as neutrally as I could. I said that the new legislation allowed parents to take their kids out of classes that were considered controversial, and that teachers were required to send notice to the parents when any of these topics were coming up. Also, that students who were pulled out wouldn't be required to learn the material, and therefore couldn't be tested on it. Fair enough?

No. Certainly not. First of all, she said that it clearly wasn't Christians who dreamed this up. It was the Muslims. (Now, remember, she hadn't heard about the issue before.) Oh, and the Hindus. Seriously. Hindus. Where she came up with this, I have no idea. I suspect her ass though.

Then, she said that evolution is only a theory, and shouldn't be taught as fact, and that the Christian view should be taught along side of it, like they do at her school (!). I said, "But there's no scientific evidence for that side. So why should it be taught in science class?" That shut her up. She sputtered for a minute, and I knew perfectly well that it was a good thing I said "evidence" and not "proof" because I could totally see where her mind was going. Ha. Point for me.

Then she said that people were welcome to take their kids out of classes anyway, so why was this a big deal? I said that it was because students wouldn't have the same education, that Christian kids wouldn't have to take tests on certain topics, to which she had the fucking audacity to say that it was the Muslims again, and that students aren't tested on these subjects anyway. Bwuh?

I said that teachers were worried, because topics can come up in class without being scheduled, and that they were worried they'd be in trouble if they talked about it. They were worried about the definition of "controversial". She didn't know what to say about that. She is a teacher, after all.

Oh, and you know what? She only stopped teaching The Lord's Prayer to the kids in her classes 3 years ago. Wow.

Batshit crazy. I'm starting to understand why some people think religious people are all batshit crazy. I'm religious. Please, if I start sounding like her, TELL ME! :)

Here's the thing I really don't grok: the Catholic Church isn't anti-evolution. Why is she doing this? Why would she roll her eyes when I said, "Well, I'm certainly Christian, and I don't see any problem resolving Christianity with evolution?" I can't figure that one out at all. I mean, the Pope says the same thing, so again, bwuh?

Anyway, pictures of the amazing prairies and silly shit along the way to come when I get home.

04 June 2009

Off to visit Hell. I mean, Saskatchewan

Gonna be gone for a couple of weeks. My SIL is getting married, and we figured we'd do some family visiting. I'm going to try to update the blog a bit, but for the first week at least, there will be no internet access. I know... how do they live like that?! After that, I'll be back in Regina, and can update from Mom's house.

So, off to Hell... er... Saskatchewan I go. I'll be sure to give Delisle the finger as I drive through it. :)

Wish us luck! Travelling with two autistic kids (one with ADHD as well) and an infant. Fun.

01 June 2009

Not so skin deep

Humans really are just skin-deep: "Buddy, it's just skin. Whether it's on my hands or my shoulder blades, it's still only dermal. Whether it's the new mocha or the old speckled white, it's still just presidential skin."

No. It really isn't. It's a collection of experiences. A background. A heritage. He grew up differently than a white kid. With racism and the knowledge that if he'd been born a hundred and fifty years earlier, he'd have been enslaved by whites. It's growing up invisible to popular media (how many black faces did you see on TV before the Jeffersons?) It's growing up afraid of the police. It's growing up with a different culture in the same society.

It's not just skin.

31 May 2009

RIP Dr Tiller

My heart is breaking for the family of Dr. Tiller right now. Here was a man who put the lives of women above the safety of himself. That is commendable. He did NOT just provide abortions to women who showed up 7 months pregnant and decided "yeah, I just didn't get around to it before". The women whom he helped were desperate; their babies had life-threatening illnesses, their pregnancies were a danger to their lives. He saved those women.

This was a Christian man. He was killed at church. (Seriously, does no one read Shakespeare anymore?) What kind of monster does one have to be to kill this man?

Right. A "pro-life" monster.

I don't give a flying fuck if you think he was killing babies, you don't kill him. If you think he was a mass murderer, you go through the proper channels. Vigilante justice is NEVER justified. I can understand it, of course. And I've engaged in it the odd time (I beat the crap out of someone who tried to rape my friend - wasn't right, but I did it). But murder? That's just proof those fuckers don't give a shit about life. They care about controlling women, and nothing more.

So that explains it!

All the conservatards are infected with a disease!

Dusty Rhodes. Best blogger/columnist ever. Go read. And go buy his books too.

obligatory disclaimer: I am not related to and have not personally met Dusty Rhodes. I just like his writing.

30 May 2009

Things that piss me off. Part 1 of Many

All right, I admit it, I occasionally eat at a food court. Not often, and only NYFries (because we have Celiac Disease and there is nothing else safe anywhere). So, the odd time, I buy the fries, and produce a bunch of unnecessary garbage. It makes me feel guilty, so I really should stop, but I have kids, and NOTHING is a better bribe reward than fast food fries. Not when said kids don't get to eat any other food I don't make. So we were at the Mayfair mall today, buying shoes for an upcoming wedding and we stopped in at the food court for some fries and a blueberry/blackberry Julius.

The food court was busy and pretty much full. What we found there was this picture. People leaving their litter on the table for the poor schmuck who makes 8 bucks an hour to pick up. For the love of chocolate, people, put your garbage in the garbage can! The overworked minimum wager doesn't need extra work. S/he has enough work keeping the floors clean and the tables wiped.

Luna says: Don't be an asshole. Put your shit in the garbage bins!