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24th April, 2014
03:54 pm
ontd_political
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GOP Backpedals Support After Rancher's Racist Speech
What started out as a standoff over land rights may be turning into a controversy over race.

Racist comments from Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy – who earlier this month appeared to win a highly publicized standoff against federal authorities over his two-decade long illegal grazing of cattle on public land – are giving Democrats a new weapon to attack some top Republicans who earlier came to Bundy's defense.

And the controversial comments also call into question moves by Fox News and some conservative media that highlighted the story and painted Bundy as a hero in his battle against federal authorities.

Bundy, 67, won his standoff against federal rangers after armed militiamen came to his side. Even with the incident over, Bundy continued to talk to a dwindling crowd of media from his ranch, about 100 miles northeast of Las Vegas.

The comments that sparked the latest controversy came this weekend when Bundy recalled to supporters about a time he drove by a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, according to a report from The New York Times.

"I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro"Collapse )

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Total shock and surprise at this development.

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03:51 pm
biascut
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Everything is now friends-only because dickheads.

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23rd April, 2014
09:25 pm
ontd_political
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Southern Whites’ Loyalty to G.O.P. Nearing That of Blacks to Democrats
President Obama’s landslide victory in 2008 was supposed to herald the beginning of a new Democratic era. And yet, six years later, there is not even a clear Democratic majority in the country, let alone one poised for 30 years of dominance.

It’s not because Mr. Obama’s so-called new coalition of young and nonwhite voters failed to live up to its potential. They again turned out in record numbers in 2012. The Democratic majority has failed to materialize because the Republicans made large, countervailing and unappreciated gains of their own among white Southerners.

From the high plains of West Texas to the Atlantic Coast of Georgia, white voters opposed Mr. Obama’s re-election in overwhelming numbers. In many counties 90 percent of white voters chose Mitt Romney, nearly the reversal of the margin by which black voters supported Mr. Obama.


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Current Music: The Rentals - Friends of P. | Powered by Last.fm
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07:17 pm
ontd_political
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this is a good idea

Feds May Be Looking To Bail On Net Neutrality: WSJ



Net neutrality is not dead. But it may be about to take a big blow to the head.

The Wall Street Journal has a foreboding scoop that provides details on an early draft of the Federal Communications Commission's new net neutrality rules. And to put it mildly, Internet activists will not be thrilled.

According to the WSJ's sources, the FCC's plan would restructure the rules that govern online traffic by granting Internet service providers the ability to give some websites "preferential treatment" -- i.e. faster traffic -- in exchange for money.

If such rules were imposed, activists fear Internet service providers would make bandwidth-exhaustive websites -- think Netflix and Skype -- pay more for smoother delivery, which would theoretically mean higher prices for customers in turn.

According to the WSJ, companies in need of faster connections would have to pay for preferred treatment on the "last mile" of networks that connect to customers' homes. Such pay-to-play schemes were banned under the old rules.

But there is some good news. The FCC's proposal will ban Internet service providers from the most outright discriminatory practices, like blocking a legal website that offers a service that the Internet provider also offers. Unfortunately for defenders of the original tenets of net neutrality, these proposed rules will not be enough.

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in other words - you can watch a movie with no skips via Netflix as long as Netflix pays. Which will then be transferred to the consumer in terms of additional cost. And with the Comcast merger potentially on the horizon the channel is effectively controlled from start to finish with no competition to lower prices. Awesome!!

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05:15 pm
ontd_political
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Parents: 234 girls kidnapped by Islamist extremists from Nigeria school


Some 234 girls are missing from the northeast Nigerian school attacked last week by Islamic extremists, significantly more than the 85 reported by education officials, parents told the state governor Monday.

The higher figure came out a week after the kidnappings when the Borno state governor insisted a military escort take him to the town. Parents told the governor that officials would not listen to them when they drew up their list of names of missing children and the total reached 234.

The discrepancy in the figures could not immediately be resolved.

Security officials had warned Gov. Kashim Shettima that it was too dangerous for him to drive to Chibok, 130 kilometers (80 miles) from Maiduguri, the Borno state capital and birthplace of the Boko Haram terrorist network blamed for the abductions.

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12:00 pm
cal_foxx
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My tweets

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22nd April, 2014
11:17 pm
ontd_political
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Jury says kicking handcuffed man in face was justified use of force by state trooper
A Pennsylvania state trooper accused of stomping a handcuffed man in the head during a botched 2009 drug raid was acquitted Monday of a federal civil rights violation charge.

Cheers and applause erupted in the courtroom from more than two dozen of Kelly Cruz's law enforcement colleagues as the jury delivered its verdict to U.S. District Judge Mary A. McLaughlin. It took less than two hours for the panel of five men and seven women to come to its decision.

A visibly relieved Cruz declined to comment. His lawyer, Christian J. Hoey, described the verdict as "a good decision."

"Nobody celebrates the fact someone was injured," he said. "But he's a heck of a law enforcement officer and an asset to the United States."

Cruz, 44, of Oxford, never denied that he caused the injuries sustained by 22-year-old Zachary Bare during an August raid on the man's home in Chester County. He testified Friday that he did not realize Bare was handcuffed at the time and thought he was trying to stand to attack him.

He told jurors that he pinned Bare's shoulder with his foot in an attempt to keep him on the ground - all while Bare was screaming obscenities and rolling on the floor.

"I responded the way I was trained to respond," he testified Friday. "I reacted to what I saw. If I fail, I don't come home to my family."

Prosecutors described a vastly different incident - involving a kick to the back of Bare's head, witnessed by at least one police officer, as the man lay handcuffed and prone on his kitchen floor.

The impact left Bare with shattered teeth, a broken nose, and two facial fractures.
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source: Philly.com

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07:56 am
ontd_political
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Mississippi Sex Ed Class Compares Women to Dirty Pieces of Chocolate
Mississippi Sex Ed Class Compares Women to Dirty Pieces of Chocolate

In Mississippi, 76 percent of teenagers will have sex before they leave high school. But until this year—when the state finally implemented a policy requiring schools to teach sexual education in class—many teachers refused to discuss the topic with students. Now, some parents are worried that Mississippi’s new sex ed curriculum is more damaging than just not saying anything at all.

A curriculum adopted by over 60 percent of Mississippi school districts instructs teachers to put on purity preservation exercises, like one that prompts students to “unwrap a piece of chocolate, pass it around class and observe how dirty it became.” As Marie Barnard, a Mississippi public health worker and parent, told the Los Angeles Times: “They're using the Peppermint Pattie to show that a girl is no longer clean or valuable after she's had sex—that she's been used … That shouldn't be the lesson we send kids about sex.”

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06:01 pm
cal_foxx
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I have issues....
I've been having more and more problems with shortness of breath during exercise and basically just moving around. So, my Primary Care Dr. ordered a chest Xray, and this is what they found.

Cardiomegaly with pulmonary venous hypertension consistent with CHF or
volume overload. Prominent mediastinal fat. Degenerative changes both
shoulders. Kyphosis.

Oh what fun it is to be me.

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11:46 pm
minnesattva
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Serial killers
Yesterday evening Andrew came down the stairs to where I watching a movie and said, "One not good thing about having a house is that there are lots more dark rooms that are full of serial killers when there's no Holly around."

Guess who's been watching Hannibal again.

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06:03 pm
emperor
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Rhubarb Crème brûlée
Crème brûlée is one of the standard desserts I like to make (the fact you do most of the work the day before is a particular plus, it's nothing to do with the fire); for Easter this year atreic suggested that I try doing something a little different with it. We have some rhubarb in the garden, so this was my attempt at Rhubarb Crème brûlée.

Below are the quantities I used for my trial run (for 4 people); on Easter itself, I was too sick to cook, so atreic did a scaled-up version.

330g trimmed rhubarb [about 3 small stalks; see below for more discussion of quantities]
2.5 tbsp caster sugar

300ml / 1/2 pint double cream
1 vanilla pod (split) or 1.25 ml vanilla essence
2 large egg yolks
7.5ml / 1/2 tbsp caster sugar

caster sugar plus blowtorch for topping
4 ramekins

Pre-heat the oven to 180 centigrade (150 fan). Start with the rhubarb - trim off leaves, wash well, chop off the woody ends, then slice into slender bits (about 1cm). Mix well with the sugar, then spread onto a baking sheet. Put in the oven for 15-20 minutes, turning half-way, until the rhubarb is very soft. Make a layer of rhubarb in the bottom of each ramekin, then put them in the fridge. Surplus rhubarb can be eaten :) It's worth rinsing the baking sheet in hot water PDQ, otherwise you'll have a mess to deal with later.

Turn the oven down to 150 (135 fan), and start on the custards. Heat the vanilla and custard, bringing it slowly to the boil. Cover, and leave for 30 minutes to cool and infuse.

Beat the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl. Pour in the vanilla cream, and mix well. Strain into a jug, and then pour into the ramekins (not right up to the brim - you want to leave a bit of space to make caramel on later).

Put the ramekins into a roasting tin, and fill that to about half-way up the ramekins with hand-hot water. These go into the oven for 30-35m - if they start to colour on top, then they're probably done! You don't want them too solid. Take them out of the hot water, and once cool put them into the fridge overnight.

Finally, make the caramel topping just before serving. There's a knack to this that is hard to describe in text, but I'll have a go. Basically, you make a layer of sugar on top of the custard (thick enough that it looks white rather than yellow), and then play the blowtorch over the surface, creating little molten balls of sugar. As you get more and more of these, they begin to run together, and you can use the flame to "fill in" the bits that haven't yet melted. Don't worry if you brown the sugar quite a bit (do worry if you burn the custard, though!), and you can tilt the ramekin a little to get the molten sugar to run into any holes. Don't touch the rim, it gets very hot! Once you've got a good layer, put the ramekin in the fridge to chill; you want to serve them chilled but not fridge-cold, otherwise the caramel layer is too hard to get through.

These quantities resulted in rather too much rhubarb, and just enough custard - so adjust depending on the size of your ramekins. The custard ingredients scale neatly with integer numbers of egg yolks; rhubarb-wise, go with 3 tbsp caster sugar per 400g of trimmed rhubarb.

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03:40 pm
woodpijn
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My Mother's Day plant
Bethany (with the help of her Friday playgroup) gave me a plant for Mother's Day.

Obviously I expressed gratitude, but my heart sank. I thought: I am rubbish at looking after plants. I don't even know what kind of plant it is or how to look after it. I will fail to take care of it properly, and my Mother's Day plant will die and I will not like the symbolism.

I still have no idea what kind of plant it is. But so far it's growing healthy and strong and tall and beautiful. There's a lolly-stick label in the pot, but that just says "Bethany" :)
2014-04-22 15.32.58

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02:44 pm
woodpijn
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State of the sleep
A few weeks ago Zoe started moving away from three-hourly night feeds ... in the wrong direction. I'm pretty sure she was having a growth spurt, as she was feeding all the time, day and night (and I was having to eat loads to keep up with her). A common night-time pattern over the last week or two was 10pm, 12pm, 2am, 4am, 5am, 6am. Ouch.
But thankfully now I think she's emerging the other side of that. She's waiting until about midnight for the first feed, and only one or two after that. The downside is she's going back to waking even earlier. So last night she arguably had only one night feed: 1am, then 5am, then not really going back to sleep after that.
We've also started experimenting with solids. It's very early days, so she's not actually taking in much, just getting used to the concept.

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02:40 pm
woodpijn
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Writing!
Bethany wrote a sentence which was both completely unaided and just about intelligible (if you squint a bit). Previously she's told us things she wants to write, we spell out the words for her and she writes them.

With no input from us, she wrote:

AIDEAND2EC
LIFESPAEN
BETHANY

She wrote the lines in the wrong order (starting at the bottom and writing each line above the previous line) and she malformed a couple of letters (the legs of the K came out more horizontal than diagonal so it looked like an F, the sides of the H got too close at the top so it looked like an A, and the S got reversed) so it should read:

BETHANY
LIKESPAEN
HIDEANDSEC

"Bethany likes playing hide and seek"!

I'm almost more impressed by the words she's spelled wrong than the ones she's spelled right - she's obviously remembered how to spell "likes", but she's had a good attempt at phonetically figuring out "playing" and "seek".

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02:24 pm
minnesattva
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talking too much about talking too much
This is not my problem, but the the advice-column answer is describing me:
And then there are smart women with lots to say who are also very sensitive and weird and analytical and incredibly talkative, who ALSO listen very closely. These women are often labeled "a little too intense." We think way too much, and slice and dice everything under the sun like a Ginsu knife that's been sharpened one too many times and is now capable of cutting a watermelon in half like it's made of crepe paper.

And while it's true that no one REALLY needs a knife that sharp, there we are, the sharpest fucking knives in the motherfucking drawer...Every now and then, we want to bring up tough, tangled, difficult situations and memories and experiences, and we want to slice and dice that shit up and shine a light on this or that and dig deeper and wonder and ponder and maybe even cry some tears over some dusty old loss or some injury or even something bad that happened to someone else.
This is one of the things I hate most about myself. I can't help but connect unconnected things in my head, and from this comes art and creativity and charm...in some people, but in me I swear it only leads to tangents and digressions and killing conversations.

I do not have the problem this letter-writer does because I am loved by good listeners, and I have lots of reassurance from them that my bouts of incessant talking about everything in the world, my excessive enthusiasm and empathy and weird random memories, are completely fine.

But I have all those reassurances because I need them. I need them because the first assurances didn't work, because I still keep pre-emptively apologizing for being rambly and weird. It gets really bad when I apologize for the pre-emptive apology (because I'm so conscious of how dumb and annoying they are...even as I'm also conscious that this can set off a vicious circle of apology that could end the world's energy crisis if only we could find a way to harness it).

I don't know why I do this. But I realized today that assuming it's the usual reason for pre-emptive apology -- getting the criticism in myself before anyone else can do it, so I can to some extent control it -- isn't quite sufficient.

That's probably part of why I offer annoying stupid unnecessary apologies for talking, but part of it also is that the person who hates this isn't my partner like it is for the letter-writer. It's me. I hate this about myself. I will listen to and be charmed by and even crave the intensity of anyone I care about...as long as it isn't me. And since I find myself wearying and I'm neurotypical enough that if I'm not careful I expect others to share my thoughts and beliefs based on no evidence whatsoever, I worry that I must be putting people off. And that can be a self-fulfilling prophecy once the apologies start kicking in, because people who continually apologize for their own existence are hard work.

I think I'd have been pretty bad at this talking thing anyway because I was a weird kid who read a lot -- and indiscriminately -- and didn't have anyone to talk to about most of the things the books put in my head, but moving away made it so much worse.

Because now sometimes I have to feel a bit tired and sad when I think that there's nobody around who gets some of the things about me or how I got to be this way, and that the best they can get is my explanations. The closest I get to an exception to that is people like Andrew who got the explanations long enough ago that I don't remember most of them -- and he's met my family, which helps a lot.

(Just deleted a big paragraph here about something unrelated, sparked off by a mere few words of that last sentence. Proof as if I needed it that I really am as prone to that kind of thing as I say I am here.)

And of course Andrew knows a lot of things about me that I haven't had to tell him, because he's known me for ten years. I'm very "tell, don't show" about myself so I have to remember that "showing" is going on anyway, that people will make up their own minds about me without or even despite what I say about myself.

Talking with a couple of friends last week about someone we all know, one of us said, "And her story of herself is..." and eventually acknowledged that she wouldn't like this story (even though it's one that I bet all of my mutual acquaintances with her would agree on, and no it's not any of you so don't worry, and that's not the point anyway) but that there might be similar unflattering stories that people have about us. I had already been wondering what people's story about me would be, and worried that it was that I am mean and abrasive (I have been feeling especially sarcastic lately, and don't know if this is because I'm encountering more douchebaggery as of late or because ive only just reached a basic level of self-awareness).

It's probably that I talk too much.

All right, I'm bored with this, I'm going for a Twix.

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07:53 am
ontd_political
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Why Chelsea Clinton’s Pregnancy Is So Baffling To Abortion Opponents
[Note to mods: I accidentally posted this without a link to the source. This post is meant to replace that one.]

Last week, the news that Chelsea Clinton is expecting her first child inspired its fair share of headlines — even fueling suggestions that it was somehow carefully timed to benefit her mother’s potential presidential run. The announcement also made the rounds in the right-wing blogosphere, inspiring several op-eds attempting to highlight the apparent contrast between the Clintons’ stance on reproductive rights and their daughter’s decision to have a child.

Abortion opponents expressed confusion that the Clintons would refer to Chelsea’s unborn child as a “baby” and not a “fetus,” suggesting that’s wholly incompatible with their support for legal abortion. “When it’s their own grandchild, it appears the Clintons see things differently, with their words most definitely betraying their true feelings on the matter. No talk of a non-person fetus, only of a child,” a Christian Post editorial noted, declaring that the Clintons must actually believe that life begins at conception.

The insinuation, of course, is that the people who support abortion rights must always opt for abortion over pregnancy. But that’s an incredibly black-and-white view of reproductive rights that doesn’t actually reflect the reality of Americans’ experiences — including the women who have chosen to end a pregnancy at some point in their lives.

Although the issue of reproductive rights typically separates people into two camps, either “pro-life” or “pro-choice,” there’s increasing evidence that those labels don’t accurately capture Americans’ complex relationships to abortion. Many people identify as both, and say their attitude about the procedure depends on the situation. Some people who tell pollsters they’re “pro-life” don’t actually support overturning Roe v. Wade. It’s possible to believe you are carrying a baby and choose to end the pregnancy anyway. Many times, personal experiences with abortion fall into what’s known as a “grey area” between the two political camps.

Furthermore, the idea that “pro-choice” women never want to give birth is demonstrably false. About 61 percent of women who choose to have an abortion have already given birth to at least one child. It doesn’t make sense to construe the women who support abortion rights as being anti-family or anti-pregnancy. But the fact that most women who have abortions are parents simply doesn’t fit into the anti-choice community’s narrative, which relies on the assumption that the women who seek out this procedure don’t value children.

In a society that understands women are capable of making complicated moral choices, there’s nothing unusual about Chelsea Clinton or any other “pro-choice” women who decides she wants to parent. Simultaneously, there’s nothing unusual about another woman who decides to end a pregnancy because she can’t currently financially support another child. But as demonstrated by the barrage of state-level restrictions attempting to legislate women’s bodies, not everyone lives in that world yet.

This isn’t news to reproductive rights supporters, who are well aware of the fact that Americans often have huge misconceptions about abortion and the women who choose it. That’s largely because of a persistent stigma surrounding the procedure that makes women feel like they’re not allowed to talk about it. In order to change the narrative — which could eventually help lead to a policy shift in this area — advocates are attempting to create more safe spaces for women to be “open” about their wide range of experiences.

Advocates are also challenging the fundamental misconception that reproductive rights begin and end at abortion. Lawmakers are increasingly calling for a range of pro-woman policies to support people at every stage in their lives, including when they may want to have a child — comprehensive packages that include maternity care, pay equity, and the preservation of abortion access. But the anti-choice community often doesn’t take such a holistic view.

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Edited to fix html!

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10:54 am
minnesattva
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What we have here is a failure to adult
Argh. I know I just finished a four-day weekend full of tea and chatting and watching movies and ignoring chores and work and everything. But I'm so tired and worried I'm getting another sinus infection and it's raining and I'm too sleepy even to read.

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21st April, 2014
08:00 pm
ontd_political
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Barack Obama reads 'Where the Wild Things Are' to kids on Easter


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03:58 pm
ontd_political
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Alaska becomes the second state to officially recognize indigenous languages

By Casey Kelly
Posted on April 21, 2014 at 7:00 am

Supporters of a bill to make 20 Alaska Native languages official state languages organized a 15 hour sit-in protest at the Capitol on Sunday. Their dedication paid off early this morning, when the measure passed the Alaska Senate on an 18-2 vote.

House Bill 216 passed the Alaska House of Representatives last week, 38-0.

It now heads to Governor Sean Parnell for his signature.

Dozens of people of all ages and races, many wearing their Easter finest, gathered in the hall outside Sen. Lesil McGuire’s office. The Anchorage Republican and chair of the Senate Rules Committee had the power to put House Bill 216 on the Senate’s calendar. But with end of the legislative session looming, the bill’s supporters worried it was getting caught up in last-minute, behind-the-scenes politics.

The group started their vigil just after noon, singing, dancing, and playing drums, and talking about why Alaska Native languages are so important.

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12:05 pm
ontd_political
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Florida City About To Make It Illegal For Homeless People To Have Possessions In Public
Florida City About To Make It Illegal For Homeless People To Have Possessions In Public

A backpack. Spare clothes. A notebook. Some keepsake photos. Crackers.

Though they may not have a home in which to secure their stuff, homeless people still have possessions like everyone else.

Yet the city of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida is on the cusp of passing a new regulation that would make it illegal for anyone to store their personal things on public property. Specifically, it would empower police to confiscate any personal possessions stored on public property, provided they have given the homeless person 24-hours notice. If the homeless people wish to retrieve their items, they must pay the city “reasonable charges for storage and removal of the items,” though that fee is waived if the person is able to demonstrate he or she cannot afford to pay. The city may dispose of any possessions not retrieved within 30 days. One of the driving factors behind the measure, according to the legislation, is the city’s “interest in aesthetics.”

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02:44 am
ontd_political
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Hobby Lobby Leaders Hope To Spread Bible Course To Thousands Of Public Schools...
... While Claiming That The ACA's Insurance Coverage For Birth Control For Their Employees Are Infringing Upon Their Religious Freedom

The president of a company that is currently challenging Obamacare laws before the Supreme Court is also trying to bring a class about the Bible to thousands of schools.

Earlier this week, Mustang Public Schools in Oklahoma voted to adopt a Bible course developed under the leadership of Hobby Lobby president Steve Green, according to The Washington Post. Those involved with the course told the outlet they hope other school districts will soon follow suit.

The course, which Mustang schools will offer as an elective during the fall 2014 semester, focuses on the history of the Bible and the influence of the Old and New Testaments, according to the Christian Post. Mustang Schools Superintendent Sean McDaniel told the outlet the course is totally nonsectarian and was written by scholars with various religious backgrounds.

"The curriculum has been through a rigorous review to check for bias and ensure the content is neutral," McDaniel told the Christian post.


However, others are concerned the course -- which reportedly does not violate the separation of church and state -- could be more dangerous in practice.

A blog post by Americans United For Separation Of Church And State points to a 2013 speech Green gave to the National Bible Association as evidence of his religious agenda. During the speech, Green said the purpose of the course is to “reintroduce this book to this nation. This nation is in danger because of its ignorance of what God has taught.”

Green Scholars Initiative boss Jerry Pattengale, whose organization helped oversee the development of the course’s curriculum, spoke to the Washington Post about the speech, saying, “The curriculum may or may not espouse those views. The last people (Green) wanted to hire were scholars who would embellish the facts to support his religious position."

Green and his family are currently arguing they should be exempt from providing their thousands of Hobby Lobby employees with health insurance coverage for 20 federally approved methods of birth control, as required by the Affordable Care Act. The family says these requirements are infringing upon their religious freedom.

By Rebecca Klein. Posted: 04/18/2014 3:28 pm EDT. Updated: 04/18/2014 3:59 pm EDT.

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07:58 pm
minnesattva
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What's in a name
The cognitive dissonance of hearing him called a different name mostly wore off pretty quickly. Christopher's a nice name, and of course I know plenty of Chrises.

This wasn't even the first time I was visiting the parents of someone dear to me who call their son by a different name than the one I'm used to (which was funny to me because these parents already reminded me a bit of those parents even before this).

The only thing that really threw me was hearing our names paired together, as they occasionally were when his parents were talking to each other. It's just been a while since I heard anybody say "Holly and Chris" in an ordinary sentence. These days it's only my parents who I expect to say that, and always carefully. It's never just about making us toast for breakfast, or whatever other things I heard this weekend.

It was, eventually, kind of a nice thing to hear. Better to have nice associations with collections of noises than bad ones. Still, it never stopped being weird to me, and I'm kind of glad it doesn't happen that often (though I suppose if it did I might not think it weird any more...but there's enough different-people-with-the-same-name in my life already anyway, so for that reason if no other I'm glad he prefers James).

Current Music: Beatles - "Things We Said Today"
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01:54 pm
naamah_darling
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The Neverending Toil
I'm climbing out from under the rock of another depressive episode. I currently have about a dozen things on my plate, things I have to do, major things, not minor things. Projects. Ponies, book edits, covers, formatting for print. Things that will take days each. And that's on top of stuff like keeping my bathroom from looking like the guest toilet in R'lyeh and not burying myself under disposable dinnerware in my bedroom. It's a neverending cycle, and no matter how I fight, I can't keep up.


"Annnd it's still there. Lovely."
Image:
"Untitled" by Olivier Ortelpa on Flickr.

That's one of the worst things about depression -- or, I suppose, any other debilitating condition -- you're not just dealing with your own cycle of broken or not broken, you're dealing with the everyday outside world, too, and its rhythms, imposed on you with no regard for your level of ability to cope with it. It keeps running. It leaves you to catch up.

And that weight of catching up, the mountain that builds up and you suddenly have to climb, is a thing that can easily drag you back down. I'm doing well right now, I think. But the morass of stuff I have to do keeps piling up, higher and higher, faster than my ability to deal with it, even when I'm functional.
 
I need to take steps to address that, and I'm working as hard as I can at it -- and being humiliated by the fact that sometimes that is not very hard -- but the simple truth is that even though I'm doing better lately, I'm overloaded. Things are good now, but I know that they will get bad again, and I truly don't think I'll have enough time to clear this workload and deal with incoming work before that happens. I will have to do damage control and muddle along as best I can and pray that the people around me, including the people on whom my continued survival depends, are understanding.

Our concept of disability doesn't really take these cycles into account. Just because a sick person can do things sometimes doesn't mean that it's all fine and dandy during those times. Those are often busy, difficult times, when we try to both clear the backlog of shit that needs to get done, and make some progress moving forward. They are times of normal functioning but not normal workload, and very few of us are equipped with support systems that clear all that work away for us so we can move forward, unimpeded.

That's why things like laundry, or vacuuming, or lawn maintenance can pile up for me. And by the time I get to it, it's a much bigger task than it would have been if I'd just been able to take care of it at the outset. The nature of many mental illnesses and other disabilities is that they can not only screw your ability to buckle down and get things done, they can screw up your ability to do just a little here and a little there. One of the signs that I'm doing better is that I'm cleaning up in five-minute spurts a few times a day. That's an improvement. I'm now stuck with all the work of cleaning up after myself, clearing away the mess left over from all the days I couldn't do anything. I stop, when I am depressed or ill, but the world goes on around me. And it's the same for others who have to deal with this shit.

Another frustrating side effect for me is feeling guilty for doing anything fun, anything for myself. Anything that is not productive. Even at my very best, I feel like I don't do enough. Now, I know that's bullshit, that the idea that I have to earn my place is bullshit, but it's an intellectual knowing, not a knowing-in-my-heart knowing. And I know that not being able to work consistently hurts me. It worsens my circumstances. It makes life harder. It makes my odds poorer. And because that scares me, doing things for myself gives me anxiety. Because mostly, all I have the energy to do is low-impact stuff. Stuff that makes me happy when I'm feeling well, but when I'm not, just provides background noise to cancel out the constant depressive roar. So I look like I'm doing bullshit and fucking off, when . . . really . . . that's all I can do. So when I could choose to do something else and I choose to do what makes me feel good instead (because it's finally actually making me feel good instead of just whiling away the time), I feel terrible.

I do my best to navigate the web of obligation, guilt, and survival, but it's hard. I'm having more good days than bad lately, but even on the best of days it's a lot of work. I'm not miserable today, but I have a hell of a stone to roll uphill, and it sucks that it's never going away.

I want to be able to wrap this up in a pretty bow. I want to give an answer, or say something supportive.

All I can say is that for everyone like me, you aren't alone, this is a normal part of the cycle. And to everyone else, this is what we have to deal with, so please try to understand where we're coming from. X-posted from Dreamwidth. Comment count: comment count unavailable

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06:30 pm
emperor
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Anathem, Neal Stephenson
I was inspired to read this by Russ' rave review, and fanf's offer to lend me a copy. It's quite a brick (the paperback is nearly 1000 pages), so I started reading to coincide with a couple of long train journeys. Anathem is an engrossing, fascinating novel, let down by a late plot twist and ending that are very unsatisfactory.

In the world of Anathem, the philosphers, mathematicians, scientists, etc. have been locked away from the rest of the world, and live monastic existences away from modern technology. Unable to reproduce, they swell their numbers by recruiting outsiders, who commit to staying for varying lengths of time. Thus, the main cast are very intelligent characters who have dedicated themselves to understanding the universe better through rational debate.

This results in a story that loves to digress, as the characters debate a point of geometry, quantum theory, philosophy or similar for pages at a time. There's a real joy of understanding something new that leaps off the page. So, it takes a long while for the plot to start going anywhere, but you don't mind because you become immersed in the world that Stephenson is constructing, and the things that he's saying about the relationship between science and society.

All that said, the ending is a let-down, both from a structural point of view (the pace shifts very suddenly from the earlier parts of the book where its very discursive to a much faster speed and then oops its over), and because it feels like the author has cheated to resolve the plot and not really bothered to even justify the cheating. Which is a great, great shame. Even with that significant complaint, though, this is a really excellent, thought-provoking read.

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06:08 pm
minnesattva
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Fargo
Of course everybody wanted to know what I thought of Martin Freeman's Minnesota accent. But they all talked way too much and too fast for me to think they sounded Minnesotan!

Ironic for a weekend when I was worried I was talking too much. (My brain felt so Full Of Things by the time I went to bed last night I thought I wouldn't be able to sleep.)

He was doing the accent as well as he could've been coached to do. Clearly there were a few things they'd all been told to concentrate on -- and it wasn't the actors' fault how unbelievable most of the dialogue was!

I enjoyed the first episode a lot and can't wait for the next one, and it's been a long time since I said that about anything on TV!

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