Tuesday, February 5, 2013

the danger of fundamental rightness

We must recognize the fact that many Nazis, Marxists and Fascists believe passionately in their fundamental rightness, and allow nothing to hinder them from their goal in the pursuit of their mission.
Dorothy Day

Wow -- that's a powerful thought

isn't that the danger of putting something so powerful
as religious belief
anywhere near our politics

that the zeal
that accompanies faith
in so many

may overwhelm
is BOUND to overwhelm

and judgement

bringing normally sane men and women
to debate
whether YOUR church
should govern MY right to contraceptives.

to debate whether
YOUR church may
interfere with my medical decisions
which should only be governed by me
and my physician

to debate whether
YOUR church may remove
MY rights
in order to further YOUR aims

In 2012 -- we have many great matters to tend to
in our personal lives

but we have more important issues to tend to
as well

we have our liberty
our freedom
our rights to defend.

is Susan B Anthony's birthday
(the fact that she was pro-life aside)
but on this day
we follow HER example of citizenship

because she never stopped fighting for what she believed in
even when she was fined
even when she was arrested

she continued to raise her voice for the vote for women

she raised her voice in a time when women felt that
they had no voice at all

she raised her voice even when 
the bible was used against her 
to declare women unfit for the vote

she raised her voice
and she fought for public opinion

and we are here
doing the same

we're here to remind you
in America

we believe in the right
to life
and the pursuit of happiness

and I have to believe
that those rights belong to women too.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Secessionists are idiots

Yes, I live in the fine state of Texas -- where the myth prevails that we are the only state that preserves the right to secede from the union.

We do not

We have not had that right for over 150 years.

move on Texans

But making headway in the news is that Texans have signed a petition to secede from the union -- and other moronic states have followed.

First off -- let's not say they SIGNed a petition.  No one has gone door knocking with petitions for us to sign -- no one has had to get off their sofa, wipe off the cheeto dust and pick up a pen


it's all online now

you can do it during a commercial.

So racking up 80K or so signatures is nothing

there are something like 28million texans

and most of us have the common sense to know that secession is the worst idea ever.

Texans do not want to pay more taxes -- so do we think the tax money we already pay is going to pay for:

border defense
a military
social security
setting up our own government infrastructure
a department of education
transportation infrastructure
medicaid, medicare and CHIP subsidies
not to mention economic issues -- will we set up our own dollar?


the whole idea is just embarrassing that such a small group of people gets national attention over what is essentially a temper tantrum in the middle of Walmart.

Texans -- it's time to wake up
put on your big girl panties and get busy

if you want to be political activists -- LEAVE YOUR HOUSE -- and go do something you believe in.

but stop sounding like a little kid who says they'll "take their ball and go home" if we don't give them a do-over.

it's embarrassing.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Fatherhood option

I have spent more time in the last year thinking about choice
and I have come to the conclusion
that while men have the right to have an opinion

they really don't have a dog in this hunt

because fatherhood
active fatherhood
is optional

and it's acceptable
to some degree for it to be optional

is much less so

now now -- I can see some of you coming up with all the exceptions
stories of brilliant fathers who do as they should
I had one of those myself

but if things had been different

if my mother had found herself pregnant in another scenario

the father of the child
has a choice

to stay or go

to be an active father or not.

and while yes
there are women who walk away from their children

society vilifies them

beyond that
society brands them as unnatural
almost perverse

how could any mother not want her child

so that when a woman gives a child up for adoption
there is a stigma
to the unnaturalness of giving up your child

rather than see it as the noble thing to do
the responsible thing
to give an unwanted child to one who wants it
we separate ourselves from it
with quiet, "I could never do such a thing"

a woman who finds herself with an unwanted pregnancy is faced with some choices

carry and keep the child
in spite of perhaps being alone
being too poor to support the child
or too young
or unsuited to the task
perhaps finding it a hidden blessing
but perhaps never quite attaching
and damaging a young life in the course of things

carry and give the child up
with people daily
telling them "they could never do it"
with the judgement
and facing the jarring separation of giving up that child
in spite of what nature tells you to do

and either keep your secret
or face judgement
and at the very least
having to walk the gauntlet of anti's
pulling at them in the most tender of moments.

but the father
can choose

he can choose to be as much
or as little of it has he chooses

and in some cases -- a woman might go to court to force some recalcitrant papa to contribute
but the burden of proof is on the mother

a man
who can walk away from this unwanted pregnancy
at any time
to be in
or out
to whatever degree he chooses

doesn't have a place
in deciding that

we women

should have fewer choices.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Could you live on 133% of the poverty level?

Perry -- our fine governor -- doesn't want to expand Medicaid to cover to 133% of the poverty level

let's look at that -- for a family of 4 -- it's just under 31K

So really -- they make $27,600 after taxes (because yes -- they still have to pay taxes and medicaid eligibility is on your gross wages.


family of 4 -- at 31k - that means that two adults are earning just under $15 an hour for the two of them.

if they both work -- it means that they either have to have a family member watch the kids -- or they have to work different shifts -- or they have to leave the kids alone some of the time -- which happens more than you think.

Rent -- at $600/month (and you can't get an apt in my city for that) -- it's 7200 a year (20.4K left to raise your family)

Utilities -- let's assume they have the bare min -- no cable -- just electric and water -- it about $100/month here on average or $1200/year (19.2K left to raise your family)

Car -- you have to buy gas -- and we'll assume you own the car -- and have no payments -- but you'll have some sort of maintenance to do  -- or repairs plus the gas -- so let's say $150/month for gas (1800/year) plus $200 for repairs (because you'll do some of it yourself)  2K  (17.2 K left to raise your family)

Food -- this is hard to gauge - online most people who have a strict budget would say $350/month -- so let's assume that you don't have kids on formula (which costs $14/can and mine eats 9 cans a month) or teenagers -- so that's $4200/year ($13Kleft to raise your family)

Clothing -- Let's give our little family $200/person per year for clothes -- so that's $800 ($12.2 left to raise your family)

now -- let's remember -- you don't have medicaid -- so you have to pay your medical expenses.

Insurance for a family of 4 is about $200/month if you have insurance through your company (2400/year) plus -- you have to meet your deductible for care -- so let's assume that's another $1000.  Plus any medication your family might need (even at $25/month -- that's $300/year) -- so that brings healthcare costs to $3700 (8.5K left)

oh wait -- car insurance -- $900/year ($75/month) -- (7.6K left)

but we made some big assumptions there --

have childcare costs? -- then you will pay at least $400/month (4800/year)
have a major car repair? -- add $1000
have to buy tires? -- add $400
have to go to the ER -- even once? -- add $500 -- 3000K
have to make a car payment? -- even a cheap payment is $200/month (2400/year)

(heaven forbid all of these things happen -- this leaves you with $1500 at the end of a year or just $125 unbudgeted dollars a month)

oh shit


and this family is subsisting.

they live in a horrible apartment (because a 2 BR in this town costs closer to $800 even in a bad area).  This family isn't taking care of basic medical issues -- because they can't afford the time away from work.  If they are paying childcare - -it's killing them -- and $400/month is cheap -- if you have a baby it's more like $600 --$800/month  -- if you have 2 kids in daycare it's more like $800/month-- and you're likely to have a baby -- because we didn't budget in your birth control costs (crap)

this family didn't go see one single movie.  they don't have a TV.  they didn't eat at McDonalds even once.  They shop at the thrift store because our clothing budget is unreasonable for a growing family.

this family didn't pay down any debt
they didn't pay child support
they didn't take a trip
and when their kids are on vacation -- they don't have anything for them to do
they bought no christmas presents
they didn't buy their kids a toy or a book.

the reality is
this family decided that their company insurance was too expensive
so they didn't get it
they played chicken with fate
and their kids still got sick

but they went to the ER
and ran up a debt they can't pay.

this family is on the edge
they get poorer every year
they get sicker every year

and they're one accident
away from joblessness
and homelessness


Mr. Perry

before you decide that we can't do it
that there's no way

perhaps -- you should live on their budget for a year.

and see what your life is like

I am more than willing to pay more in taxes to care for my brothers and sisters.
the real question is
why aren't you?

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Romney - it's a matter of character

I've been reading this morning about Romney's alleged attack on a classmate in school -- holding him down with his friends -- and cutting off his hair

and yes

I call it alleged.

because the family denies it - and a bit of the story was misreported

but it's interesting to me that Romney simply "doesn't recall it"

I recall small slights that I did at that age
I have things I deeply regret

things we said or did
that haunt us

and should haunt us

this is an age when we often do things impulsively
but as our character matures
most of us look back
and cringe

If the report were completely false
completely out of character

I would have denied it

so I ask myself
is such a thing so completely out of character for this man?

he is a practical joker
there are several stories about that
and when I think about practical jokes

they are always
mean spirited

I'm not talking about people who mutually engage in a prank war
I remember my ex husband and his brother conducted a several year long confetti war
that culminated in the filling of his brother's car air conditioner with confetti that covered him in a cloud on day one
and would occasionally send a stray flake out years later

but pranks
meant to embarrass
humble the victim

let's consider that at the time
this was acceptable behavior

let's face it

until not so very long
this was all put aside as "boys will be boys"

and boys can be terrible things

but lest we put this down
to being a prep school joke

and I wish that I thought this was out of character
but the man who puts his dog on the roof
the man who pulls pranks on a visually impaired teacher?
the man who "doesn't recall" if he held a boy down and cut his hair or not?

seems like a sociopath.

sociopath  [( soh -see-uh-path, soh -shee-uh-path)] 

Someone whose social behavior is extremely abnormal.Sociopaths are interested only in their personal needs and desires, without concern for the effects of their behavior on others. 

and I imagine that being a sociopath IS a great ingredient to being successful in business -- in LIFE....because it's all about getting what you want

does he get to be my president?

I would far prefer a man who remembers such a horrible thing
views it with modern eyes
and regrets it
learned from it
changed from it

than someone for whom it was just a Tuesday.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Some sins are bigger than others

I've been reading about the high school coach who just got fired for getting pregnant out of wedlock.

and there are arguments to be made that she's not living the life they wish to exemplify to the girls
that her mere existence erodes the moral fibre of their world.

but I am struck -- by how often women are more punished for their sexuality than men
and for that matter -- how one particular sin (good ole' number 7) seems to be way more important than any other.

So -- yes -- please fire the pregnant girl

fire anyone who swears by saying "God" or "Jesus"
fire anyone who mows the lawn on Sunday -- or shops in any store -- or cooks a meal
fire anyone who has ever had a harsh word for his or her parents
fire anyone who takes your pen -- and never brings it back
fire those who envy others -- who has a fantasy about someone else -- or who wishes they had your sports car
fire any person who has sex -- outside of marriage -- man or woman.

and then her firing would be just.

When I read the big 10
it strikes me that God's message is more than a list of rules
it strikes me that God is saying

that we're imperfect
that sin is inevitable.
and that is why grace and forgiveness and humility should be our goal.

We should not shame her
we should be aware
that the rest of us
are breaking a lot of the big 10
all the time.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Are employment benefits a gift? or are they earned?

At the core of the debate about birth control
and whether or not a company
can dictate the medical care choices of their employee
on religious grounds

should be a discussion of the nature of employment benefits.

Are the medical benefits your company offers you

a gift from the employer?

are they a part of your compensation.

Did you earn them?

Most companies require employees to pay a portion of the premium.
as well as deductables and co-pays

it's a nominal percentage of the cost of healthcare for the employee
usually 30% or less of the total cost of care.

Mine comes to about $1100 a year for my part
so yes -- my company pays a huge amount of my premium

in addition to that

we are self insured -- which means that if I go to the doctor and services are covered
the company picks it up

but that doesn't answer the question

is it a gift
or is it compensation

If it is a gift
I can understand the company wishing to dictate the exact nature of the gift

but as compensation
how does the company dictate how I use it?

the company doesn't ask me for a list of my receipts
and the end of the month
to see how I spend my paycheck

it does not provide me with guidelines
it does not require me to give a percentage of it to charity
or save in my 401k
although it encourages me to do so

So why
do we think it's ok
to remove legitimate heathcare
from the table.

healthcare which is
by the way
universally considered preventative care?

If I earn my benefits
then they should be mine to do wish as I wish

and if I share in the cost of the benefit
I should be able to do as I wish with it as well.

even religious ones
do not belong in medical choices

this is a benefit we've earned
once we've earned it
you don't have a say in it.