passerine: Picture of Sparrow from Dykes to Watch For (Default)
I really hate when I see stuff going on that makes me sympathize with people far to my right politically, because certain people who generally reside within my part of the political spectrum are being every bit as much the amoral/immoral asshats that the scary fundies THINK we ALL are.

[Yes, I know cryptic post is cryptic. I can't give too much more of the contexts in a public post, sorry. Please rest assured that it is not about me or my immediate family.]

Just some general points, though:

- Sexist commentary is not suddenly OK when it is directed at conservative women. No, not even "for their own good" to free them of their "irrational" beliefs. (And mocking people for their religious beliefs? Not OK either.)

- EVERY TIME I hear someone say, "I know I'm being politically incorrect," my brain is now translating this as, "$PERSON knows s/he's being an asshat, but believes that the asshattery is justified even though there's a minimum 98% chance that it's not."

- Not paying your child support? IS NOT OK, with possible rare exceptions involving literal impoverishment. "Connecting to my child in other ways" does not cut it, sorry.

- Having females around to have sex with is NOT a basic human right or survival need for individual males.

passerine: Picture of Sparrow from Dykes to Watch For (Default)
I remember one day when Alex was about three, she was bouncing up and down in the living room near my desk, saying, "I'm a beautiful wonderful Alex!"

I stopped whatever I was doing, gave her a hug, and said, "Yes, yes you are!" And I thought to myself:

How cool is that - she can say so without a single blip of self-consciousness?

And my next thought was:

I'll enjoy it while it lasts.

Sad, really. Because, no matter how many times anyone else tells her that, or she tells herself that in her head, it's not the same as saying it out loud.

I am significantly more "intelligent" as measured by such things as IQ tests than most people. I learned to read when I was only slightly older than Tori, and have no memory of being UNable to read. When I was eight years old, my mother took classes at the community college where my father worked, and taught me how to do some of the math problems she was doing. I thought it was great! I went to college through the Program for the Exceptionally Gifted when I was not-quite-14, and finished my undergrad degree when I was 19.

For all that, I have a very hard time calling myself intelligent, and am fighting the urge to put disclaimers all over this post. And y'know, it's part of who I am, like being female or fat or queer or a mom or dealing with the gimpy leg and the ADD are parts of who I am.

And as difficult as it is to talk about any of those other things, sometimes, or the frustrations that they cause me on a personal level (it's much easier when I'm ranting about something not-personal)'s even more difficult to just come right out and say, "Yes, actually, I AM really smart - thank you for noticing!"

It's so much easier to talk about the ways in which I suck than the ways in which I rock. That ain't right, folks.
passerine: Picture of Sparrow from Dykes to Watch For (Default)
(This is inspired/triggered by an argument I had earlier today with someone I normally have a very high opinion of, who unfortunately had a nasty case of That Guy-itis during most of our interaction.)

ranty rant rant - also, trigger warning for content related to tragic childbirth outcomes, some of it a bit graphic, and for discussion of rape and false accusations thereof )
passerine: Picture of Jiao Razel from Dykes to Watch Out for (Jiao Razel)
Those who are the victims of family violence - the abuse of power exercised by partners or parents - face many challenges when considering or making the decision to leave the abusive situation. While escaping family violence is difficult for anyone, it can be (for both spiritual and practical reasons) much more so for those who were victimized in the context of religious beliefs or practices.

The complicating factors in these cases include:

- The process of isolation often works differently in religious domestic abuse from cases that do not have a religious basis. In cases that are not religiously-based, while the victim may have been isolated from ongoing contact with "unapproved" friends or relatives, it is less likely that the victim's entire social background and context is one that wholeheartedly holds beliefs compatible with domestic violence or child abuse. In a religiously-abusive context, everyone from extended family to church leadership may approve of some forms of family violence, and an adult victim may have been raised since childhood with these beliefs.

- Children, especially daughters, raised in coercive religious groups often have significant gaps in their education. They may have been "homeschooled" in such a way as to have learned as little as possible about the world outside their particular coercive group - and what they have been taught is probably inaccurate. These knowledge gaps can persist into adulthood, further contributing to social isolation in addition to presenting difficulties with finding employment. (

- In addition, it is possible that a particular "knowledge gap" contributing to isolation may be present. A young adult daughter or a wife living in a coercive religious household may not have been permitted to learn to drive, and may be living in an isolated rural area.

- Because of the "quiverfull" or "radical pro-life" philosophy held by many coercive religious groups, many women will have particular difficulties walking away from an abusive spouse with all of their children. They may need to consider the safety of five, ten, or even more children, some of whom may have special medical needs. They may have serious difficulties finding safe and adequate housing for a large family.

- Also, because of the specifically spiritual nature of the abuse, many women who consider leaving believe themselves to be in a state of sin for the thought having even entered their heads. They may sincerely believe that they are putting their souls, and the souls of their children, at risk.

- In addition, the (actual or perceived) attitudes of many secular liberals who work for social services/child protection/domestic violence service agencies may be seen as mocking of their sincerely held beliefs on such topics as modest dress, which can create a further barrier to separating from abuse.

Having said all of this, I would like to make people aware of a new charitable organization: The Take Heart Project. It was founded by women who were involved in abusive marriages in the context of the Quiverfull movement, and seeks to provide both practical and emotional support to other women (and their children) who wish to leave the lifestyle, especially when abuse has occurred or is occurring. I believe a group with the expertise to address the specialized needs of this particular population will help many families create new beginnings for themselves.
passerine: Picture of Sparrow from Dykes to Watch For (Default)
[Crossposted to LJ and DW accounts.]

Since I used to work for a health insurance company, and I still work with Medicaid reimbursement rates, I know some people were interested in having me tackle this topic.

One important question in the "Health care debate" is as follows:

Are you looking at health care coverage, or at health insurance?

Universal coverage and universal insurance are not at all the same things, although theoretically universal insurance would be a way of getting to at least near-universal coverage.

This post is mostly looking at how financing a reformed but still "insurance-based" system would work, in my ideal framework. There's still plenty of stuff it doesn't fully address, both things I've thought of and things I haven't, so it's not as if I'm saying 100% yes this is what should be done. It's just the point I would start from.

Cut for length )
passerine: Picture of Sparrow from Dykes to Watch For (Default)
So, for the first time since I got my driver's license, the license has points on it, because I got a traffic ticket. (I was speeding on a mostly-deserted rural four-lane stretch of US 20, driving down it like I would an interstate despite the lower speed limit; the cop decided to give me a bit of a break by calling it "failure to obey a traffic sign" making it thus not a "speeding ticket", which makes a difference in how insurance companies and the DMV treat the ticket. The only other traffic tickets I've had were the two I got before I actually had a license and the one that went away upon proof that I had made the relevant car repair.)

My husband has NOT done any of the following in response:

- Screamed at me.
- Gotten upset with me for being late to pick him up from school because getting pulled over delayed me and because I was careful to not drive over the speed limit the rest of the way there.
- Ranted and raved about how much this is going to cost.
- Allowed me to verbally beat myself up about how much this is going to cost.
- Made rude comments about my driving.
- Made rude comments about "women driving" in general.

Instead, he poked a minor bit of fun at me because I'm usually the one telling him to slow down, and then asked if I wanted him to finish the drive home (which I gratefully accepted) and picked up my favorite take-out dinner for me.

This is all good. The part that says that society is sick is just how grateful I am for it, and how some deep down part of me is surprised that my spouse is being a decent human being in response to my having a bad day for what is really my own fault. Because, y'know, I should be able to expect that the person I married isn't going to be a jackass towards me.

But I see so many relationships around me, and have been in so many relationships in the past, where that kind of disrespect, that kind of just plain petty mean-spirited crap, is the norm. So, while I'm grateful that I'm being treated with kindness instead of contempt, I'm also angry that there's anything to be grateful FOR. Because THIS SHOULD BE THE DEFAULT between people who claim to care about each other. Really.
passerine: Picture of Sparrow from Dykes to Watch For (Default)
Am NaNoing. Eek.

I at least think I like my story idea well enough to see it through. :P


1742 / 50000 words. 3% done!
passerine: Picture of Sparrow from Dykes to Watch For (Default)
I recommend:

[personal profile] teaberryblue - she has a real gift for comic art, and her food reviews are a fun read as well.

[community profile] omnomnom - this may just be the best community on DW, and one of the best food communities anywhere. :)

[personal profile] trouble - disability advocacy that is very worth reading, and other good stuff too!

[community profile] accessibility_fail - education, advocacy, and sometimes just plain snark, all in one.
passerine: Picture of Sparrow from Dykes to Watch For (Default)
Question from my Ask Me Anything thread:

What is your actual job? I know you talk about it a lot, and I know it has something to do with CPS, and you seem to be training for some other aspect of your job, but I'm not sure what it is that you actually do at work on a day to day basis.

The trouble with answering this is that what I actually do varies quite a lot and still seems to be in flux. I work in the Rate Setting Unit of the Office of Children and Family Services. My official title is Senior Administrative Analyst, which is not terribly informative as to what I'm actually doing. (It's a fairly generic title that is often given to people who came in through the Public Management Institute program who aren't specifically doing State budget requests or human resources work.) I'm one of the few non-accountants in my department.

So what does that all mean anyway? )
passerine: Picture of Sparrow from Dykes to Watch For (Default)
Ask something you want to know about me. Something that should be obvious, but you have no idea about. (Or, because I'm totally happy to diverge from the normal -- even something that shouldn't be obvious! I don't have a problem with that.) Ask away.

I will answer any question unless it clearly violates someone else's privacy/confidentiality or clearly is being asked to stir up drama rather than to receive a legitimate answer. I reserve the right to post answers under access lock rather than publicly, though.

Comments are screened, anon comments allowed.
passerine: Picture of Jiao Razel from Dykes to Watch Out for (Jiao Razel)
This is in reference to the "Schroedinger's Rapist" post and some of the commentary that ensued.

First, I 100% agree with the commenter who pointed out that every unknown adult is "Schroedinger's Kidnapper" when it comes to kids. Yes, I know just how unlikely stranger abductions are.

However, and second, and in response to a lot of the Nice Guy(TM) types who started complaining about how their need to be socially validated trumped the need of the women they are bothering to feel personally safe, I have this to say:

EVERY stranger is Schroedinger's Scary Person. For that matter, every person who is moving from a previous less-intimate context to a current more-intimate context (online friend to offline friend, person I hang out with in public to person I'm OK with bringing to my house, person that I permit to be alone with my children, etc.) is, in a sense, Schroedinger's Scary Person when that move is first made.

That doesn't mean that the person IS scary - it means that when I first meet you (or when context changes, as above), I DON'T KNOW. I don't have enough information to judge. However, if the information I have to judge tells me that you don't believe respecting other people's boundaries or personal space is important, that moves you the step from, "Probably this person is fine, but I want to do some basic common-sense verification to make sure I'm not wrong about this," to, "This person IS a potential problem."

Therefore, you REALLY don't want to give that impression if what you WANT is an increase in positive interaction.

What does this mean? It means that most of us have certain rules if you want to interact with us at a closer level than before. For me, personally, it means the following:

- If I don't know you at all, be polite when you first introduce yourself to me, or I'm not going to invest in getting to know you further.
- If I know you from online and I'm meeting you offline for the first time, regardless of the context of the meeting, then "first time public place" and a safecall WILL occur. The last time I made an exception to that was for someone I'd known online for nine years when [personal profile] invisionary and I went to stay at her house - this person had also been vouched for by someone I knew offline who had previously met her offline as well.
- I'm not leaving you alone with my kids without witnessing how you interact with them in my presence first.
- Lots of other things, but those are a good starting point.
passerine: Picture of Sparrow from Dykes to Watch For (Default)
1) Help the Hamiltons. I hate seeing families with kids who have severe special needs fall through the social-service cracks. Part of my job is to prevent this from happening - these people aren't in my state, so there is little I can directly do to intervene, but I sent my dollar via PayPal and am getting the word out.

2) Fifteen Minute Festival. All about giving and receiving anything that can be done in about 15 minutes, because we can all use that kind of thing, right?
passerine: Picture of Sparrow from Dykes to Watch For (Default)
I don't know why, but I've got this head full of modern-day Mary Sues who make brilliantly wonderful lives for themselves against the most devastating adversity. And I don't ever write their stories. No, that would be too easy and too silly. Instead, I keep on figuring out how they *could* accomplish these miraculous feats of luck-mixed-with-determination, using knowledge that I don't know how they could have gained. And the space they take up in my head is taking away from using that sort of resourcefulness in my very own life, and then it gets worse because I berate myself for failing to be a Modern Mary Sue.

I guess this is something I need to "call the Thought Police" on. :P
passerine: Picture of Sparrow from Dykes to Watch For (Default)
I was actually going to post about a related topic anyway, and then seeing examples of what I wanted to talk about as part of the SurveyFail response gave me more of a reason.

cut for NSFW language )
passerine: Picture of Sparrow from Dykes to Watch For (Default)
I admit I got to this late, and I haven't read every last bit of every last post. I have at least read the screencaps of the Survey Of Fail itself and some of the linkspam links.

Here be my thoughts and they are cranky thoughts. WARNING for NSFW language, discussions of sex, fictional incest/fictional sexual abuse, and mental health issues. )
passerine: Picture of Sparrow from Dykes to Watch For (Default)
Dear everyone who is complaining that the economic stimulus did not magically make unemployment go away:

Projects, especially those that can make use of low-skilled or technologically unemployed workers, do not just spring into being overnight. There are competitive bids, Request-For-Proposal processes, and final decisions to be made regarding which projects can be funded at what level of funding and with the coordinated efforts of what level of government.

Once projects are greenlighted - which some have been but many more aren't even that far along yet - there are plans to finalize, most likely municipal permits to obtain now that this project isn't just hypothetical, and a workforce to hire and train. Hiring that workforce probably involves interviews, background checks, and otherwise finding people who are a respectable match for a job rather than just giving any random person any random job.

In other words: it's a process. Yes, it's irritatingly slow, and yes, it seems like a lot of red tape. It's still better in the long-run than a lot of alternatives.

And in my corner of the world I'm seeing a lot of jobs listed as "paid for by ARRA funds." I've also seen some construction projects with that specific notation. Things ARE happening.
passerine: Picture of Sparrow from Dykes to Watch For (Default)
Disclaimer: I haven't read all of the health care bill. However, I doubt very many people have. I just want to debunk some of the obvious nonsense that is going around.

Ranty rant rant )


passerine: Picture of Sparrow from Dykes to Watch For (Default)
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