keryx: (Default)
Remember that whole George Bush shoe-throwing incident, and how clever many of us thought that was? [Or maybe that was just me. I certainly thought it was clever. Bush may have disagreed; he appeared a bit thrown by it. "Thrown"? Heh, see what I did there?]

Well, exclaiming "that's a lie!" and then apologizing over that seems about on par. Maybe less interculturally educational and sillier-sounding. Definitely brought the level of discussion and debate down several notches. But still a form of dissent aimed ["Aimed"? I did it again!] directly at the president. Either both are acceptable, or neither is.
keryx: (iran heart)
I saw this earlier but didn't know what the speaking was. This version has English subtitles.
keryx: (Default)
I'm starting to do some volunteer work with Daily Planet (it's a homeless services agency here in town). Yesterday I had a conversation there about services and free will/agency of people who might need or want them. Some of the folk at the Planet are big fans of anti-panhandling laws, or at least of giving people literature instead of a dollar.

You know, because the person you give a dollar to is more likely to use it to buy something that doesn't improve their quality of life. Except. By whose standards?

The woman I was talking to implied that coercing people into seeking help is perfectly acceptable, in fact, desirable vs. people choosing to live (with what we assume is lower quality of life, measured by our own standards) without help.

This idea bothers me.

People might have perfectly valid (to them) reasons not to seek help. People might also have untreated mental illness or substance abuse issues, too - they might not be making "good" decisions, and they might be in pain as a result. I just find it very difficult to decide one decision is good and another isn't. There's just following social norms and not following social norms. I'm ok with arguing that, from experience, you know most people you push into mental health treatment and shelter are later happier and glad you did, if that comes with recognition that you might be wrong about this person - and that doesn't make them "unsaveable", just uninterested.

I suppose I'll have some homeless folk I know well enough to ask this question soon. Not that they'll be a representative group, but they're closer to the question than I am. It's easy to think in abstractions.
keryx: (Default)
At Wilderness Office Park, we have a monster television next to the coffee on every floor. I just spent the last hour standing there with nearly everyone else from the 4th floor staring and smiling and trying not to openly weep. The guy next to me periodically doing the fake-out "oh, my head hurts" whole-hand eye wipe did not help.

I love that our president (with assistance from the Chief Justice) goofed the oath of office. Someone said "He's been president for 5 minutes already! He has other things on his mind!" and wouldn't that be nice? To watch your president think like you might watch a dancer's bare feet. I love the wabi sabi, imperfection, demonstration of the work and consciousness that goes into producing leadership (or anything, really - I love the front row). I hope it means we'll care about craft and effort. I hope we'll see a line blur between the civic and the political, because really? It's not that much of a line. I hope there's something to this - grassroots action, politics 2.0, user-created citizenship, whatever it is. I hope the country is self-organizing. I hope this is a sign of a real change in the ways people think.

Mostly? I just hope.

Also, props to the man for the shout-out to non-believers, though I like to think of myself as just ethnically Unitarian. My people thank you, Mr. President.
keryx: (hawaii sunrise)
OMG you guys. The DC halau? WROTE A MELE FOR OBAMA. *

He Mele Inoa No Obama. I give you You Tube link rather than embedding so you can click on "more info" and read the text and English translation.

* You probably got this from context, but a mele (pronounced MEH-lay) is a chanted hula.


Nov. 4th, 2008 11:25 pm
keryx: (march)
Best political feeling ever: in my 90 year old house in my 150 year old neighborhood watching my city, this state and this country elect Obama.

80% of eligible people in Richmond voted, people. EIGHTY.

I don't care who you voted for (but I'll lay odds if you're on my friends list and in the city): that thrills me with hope.

The rest of y'all, non locals, whatever your political persuasion: you're pretty awesome too. I've loved reading your words through this.

Now. Californians? What happened with Prop 8? Please tell me no.

[ETA: John McCain, you, too, are awesome and beautiful. Thank you.]
keryx: (voted)
I got to the polling place (in Manchester/City of Richmond) at 6:45, maybe 7 once I figured out where to park. There were about 50 people ahead of me in line. It took those 50 people nearly 2 hours to vote (on the up side, the prior 150 people got through in an hour or less).

The poll workers were asking anyone whose ID did not perfectly align with their records (including me) to sign an affadavit that they were themselves. This is not required by VA law unless you registered by mail in the past year & don't bring proof of address with you as well as proof of ID; I don't think it's illegal to ask, but I haven't had time to look that up.

They also got stuck on a few people due to what appear to have been last minute errors as people adjusted their voter registration in the last 2 months. SEE?! This is why, when I move in SEPTEMBER, I keep my registration at the old address.

Protect the Vote people were hanging around outside asking questions & had apparently called in a couple of "incidents". Already. At 9am. But no one changed their mind and got out of line. Everyone stuck it out as long as they had to be there. Not even the dude I glared at for joking about the poll staff being "retarded": dude, not acceptable.

Others around the city are reporting long lines and disorganization. Counties, where people tend to lean Republican, seem to be line-free and efficient.


Sep. 19th, 2008 02:10 pm
keryx: (march)
US gets served by Rwanda. We should seriously consider bringing it.

Smartypants friends list, is that the first country to have a majority female parliamentary body?
keryx: (Default)
I am bothered by some of the gender-focused rhetoric about Palin. I am also - don't mistake me here - bothered by her.

But. I've heard the "if Palin gets the votes for McCain, that means women are crazy and irrational and vote for people who are like them" argument. Well. DUH. Everyone votes a little bit irrationally. How else do you think Bush II got elected [Meaning, whatever you think about his politics, one of his selling points in his first campaign was personableness.]?

This seems like yet another way of accusing women of being the sole owners of a trait that is a) human and b) not inherently that bad. It's not wrong to vote for someone in part because they're relatable. In many ways being human and genuine makes a person better at leading.

Palin is human and genuine and believes a lot of things I find DEEPLY DISTURBING AND WRONG. But I don't think people/women who agree with her and also think she'd make a nice party guest are being irrational, hysterical wimminfolk. They're just being people I disagree with.
keryx: (Default)
New Orleans AGAIN?! Well, that certainly puts things in perspective.

Also, we heard about McCain's VP choice while moving on Friday. Damn. That was an evil genius move right there - like, deliberately targeting yet simultaneously insulting Clinton's voters.
keryx: (march)
Please give me a reason to be excited about an Obama-Biden ticket.

Cause it kinda sounds like "Obama for change! ...that looks astoundingly like the status quo!" - and while that makes a clever t-shirt, it doesn't get me jazzed about the campaign.
keryx: (march)
Last week I voted for Clinton. Which I did, honestly, because both she and Obama are decent candidates on many issues I care about, enough that they were essentially even in my mind. And she's female.

And someone turned her likeness into a nutcracker figurine. You know, her thighs crack nuts.
And people who don't like her often do so for the bumbling, inarticulate reason that "she's a cunt".
And every damned person in the country likes to call her by her first name and all the dudes by their last ones.
And because I live in the state of Virginia, and have never even voted in a county where a woman's name was on the ballot.
And because, when talking about her leadership ability, someone invariably brings up that she either does or does not "stand by her man" as they believe she should or shouldn't.
And because Shakesville can list 62 citations of sexist talk about Clinton in the last six months.

I understand not wanting a specific woman to be president because she has political views with which you disagree. But "BECAUSE SHE'S A CUNT"? Seriously? That's just stupid. I worry, given the overt and depressing sexism that people and the media are directing and targeting at Clinton that Obama, when he wins the Democrats' nomination, will face just the same thing - but less overt, cause I just don't see even conservative pundits getting by calling him a "porch monkey" the way they do with calling her a "she devil". Is this country backwards enough that we still can't really handle the concept of a woman (or a black man) in charge?

Some dude called my decision "sexist". Emotional, it may be. But sexism isn't just making choices based on gender, idiot: it's systematic. There are 86 women in the US Congress (out of the 425 total, in case that number isn't at the front of your mind). And 62 ways Clinton is a fulcrum for this country's sexism. Damn straight in an even-to-me contest, I'll pick the candidate who gets excoriated for looking like me.

And she has a fucking last name, okay?
keryx: (Default)
Here's an explanation of how the privilege exercise works in a classroom - which is where it was intended to be used. And more from the source. I'm intrigued by the statement that ... the people on one end of the room had to work harder to be here today than the people at the other end of the room. It's followed later in the exercise by a statement that having privilege "doesn't mean you worked less hard". So, uh. Which is it? *

The exercise seems to be, as [ profile] crafting_change (and others, but especially her) noted, coming from a pretty weird place on social vs. economic class. If you follow the source link & look at their "social class awareness quiz", you'll see questions that gain you "blue points" such as:
What are Kona and Blue Mountain?
a. Resorts
b. Hotels
c. Islands
d. Coffee

And countering, "red point", questions:
What is 10W40?
a. An Unemployment form
b. A kind of oil
c. A criminal background check
d. A truck

Dude, that quiz needs a "how do you feel" debrief afterwards. Words like "unemployment" and "criminal" do not even APPEAR on the blue point list. If the questions are peppered with social-knowledge kinds of things like WWF and Vivaldi, and with an obvious bent that WWF = poverty, criminality, etc., Vivaldi = wealth, consumption, etc. AND each has a particular set of educational biases. Ah. I'm not making fantastic sense here, but I am now bothered by this exercise. I think it sets out to point out background differences in a way that is already pretty classist.

* Which is part of the point of a meaningful class discussion - neither statement is exactly true.

PS. Y'all are fantastic at teaching me about the world and your perspectives.


Dec. 27th, 2007 12:43 pm
keryx: (red umbrella)
Benazir Bhutto was assassinated.
keryx: (Default)
Y'all, I learned something awe-striking this week. Richmond? Does not have to have homeless people.

About 1500 people don't have permanent housing in the area each day. Only about 4000-5000 people are homeless each year. A MILLION people live in Richmond and its counties (though a lot of our homeless neighbors are in the city proper - but still, 5000 out of maybe 200,000). And some of those people are kids, right? So Richmond needs like, what? 4000 decent-paying jobs and apartments that cost less than ridiculous Fan rents? We should do that.

Thursday I volunteered at this homeless connection thing with Homeward, and I've been waiting to write about it till I could even talk about it without being flooded with emotion. The event brought together a bunch of services for folk who don't have permanent homes (this includes a fair number of people who are staying in long term shelters and transitional housing), and volunteers walked each person through whatever services they asked for. Jobs. Healthcare. Photo ID - that was a popular one. Haircuts. I about lost it when my last client, who is my age, needed a place to stay for the night [Done. 2 minutes.]. The folk I worked with were fantastic, gracious people. Yeah, a couple of them were unmotivated, maybe a little whiny (as homeless people tend to be stereotyped) - but you know what? So are some of y'all (and me, sometimes). We make poor decisions. Some people make a lot of them. Some people get caught in bizarrely bad circumstances. That? Is what community is supposed to protect and rescue you from: poor decisions & shitty circumstances.

Anyhow. It was an intense experience, and it spurred me to find out how to take more systemic action. You should do the same.
keryx: (Default)
San Diego Mayor. Thanks, [ profile] trinityva. And other people.

I know that legislative change is important, but it's the individual people processing change that really gets me.
keryx: (march)
It must be true, because the internets told me. This quiz was greatly entertaining. Enjoy.

How to Win a Fight With a Conservative is the ultimate survival guide for political arguments

My Liberal Identity:

You are a Reality-Based Intellectualist, also known as the liberal elite. You are a proud member of what’s known as the reality-based community, where science, reason, and non-Jesus-based thought reign supreme.

keryx: (morans!)
In case you didn't catch it on NPR this morning, on CNN, or on any other major national news source, here's the Post article on how racist and mean Prince William County is.

My intrepid reporter friend told me last week that they were considering the Great Stupidity, and now it's official. Thanks, NOVA, for making Virginia appear to be populated with greedy racist asshats. Nice job.
keryx: (line weight)
I'm just reposting stuff that Paul posts from now on. Cause, if I missed Fat Hate Bingo, what kind of fattivist am I?

No kind at all, I tell ya.

There are equivalent Anti-Feminist Bingo (and a subset just for comics), variants about racism and white liberals... "gay bingo", on the other hand, is a search string that nets a variety of drag-based activity. Point being, if you haven't heard of $ARGUMENT Bingo, it's a way of getting someone who's spouting the same tired arguments to leave you alone until they've at least read some of the common refutations of said tired arguments.

I've never actually used one, cause I like tired arguments, but my favorite is Fat Hate Bingo's "500 lbs!" - a number so often cited as meaning someone must be unhealthy, and being unhealthy means everyone else has a moral duty to shame you.


Jun. 23rd, 2007 10:39 am
keryx: (Default)
This started as a comment on [ profile] fatshionista, but I want to expand upon it.

PETA's talking trash at Michael Moore, and of course they're calling him a Fatty McFatterson. It's just PETA. That's what they do. And I mean, really? Michael Moore, of all people, ought to be able to take a little of what he dishes out (not the fat, just the fundamental disregard for the perspectives of others - I generally agree with him but still sometimes want to smack him).

The current state of PETA depresses the hell out of me, because some of their points are valid, we should be ashamed of the meat & dairy industry (whatever we might feel about using animals for food), we often don't treat pets with care and respect - our relationship to animals in general is out of whack. They used to have such a powerful message. PETA & ALF were the groups that really drew attention to the sheer cruelty of animal experiments (only 20 years ago, sheesh). When it was still considered (in my lifetime) totally swell to flat-out fuck with animals in order to get things like a model of chemical depression, PETA - using what would become their usual just-this-side-of-legal and overexaggerated tactics - managed to get most people angry about that.

I think, after being so successful at making fur (well, to an extent) & animal testing widely accepted as wrong, that they're grasping at straws for something else to make an issue of. They tried freaking people out about pets - they'll call you if you post an ad in the paper offering kittens or puppies, and there was a period where they picked up strays and killed them [FOR REAL; PETA is based in my hometown] - and lo, that didn't work. Though I will say, it's the same ideas as PETA holds about domesticating animals that have me currently squished on like 1/4 of my bed because one of the cats curled up in the middle while I was up - and hey, who am I to push her around just cause she's smaller & doesn't have a job?

Taking on the meat and dairy industries legislatively hasn't worked either, so they're trying to find a way to make vegetarianism popular - and they figure capitalizing on the Obesity Crisis is as good a way as any. PETA would prefer to offend people, because that garners attention - fat vegetarians aren't going to start eating meat, and maybe some people will be shamed into vegetarianism. I suspect it'll mostly turn out like my mom's meatless diet, though; once she didn't lose weight, she went right on back to the meat. Vegetarianism! The new Adkins Diet!

But more importantly, I'm sad for the people of PETA that they're turning into, or possibly have always been, asshats. If you "save" animals or reform the meat/dairy industry with such disdain for your fellow humans, what does that do to your psyche? Is it a requirement of radical, world-shifting activism that you lose touch with the world-as-it-is?

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