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|Monday, September 24th, 2012|
|Thursday, March 15th, 2012|
I'm still alive. I just don't have time to write as I'm working two jobs and looking for a full-time job that actually has benefits and decent pay.
|Monday, January 30th, 2012|
A friend of mine is a professor at a community college. Yesterday she told me that she intentionally posts controversial subjects to the discussion board of her online classes in order to get her students to think, reason and write. One such subject is whether parents should work outside the home or stay home and care for their kids.
I've heard a lot of people talk about this over the years and there are a few things I think often get overlooked in this discussion, namely sexism, racism and classism.
Sexism: I want to start out saying, for the record, that almost all mothers work. The only ones I can think of who do not are the really wealthy women who neither have paid jobs nor raise their own children, but as they are very rare, I'm going to exclude them from my discussion for now (even more rare are fathers who fit this category). I recognize that raising children and running a home (including cooking, cleaning, etc) is a lot of work and, unless one is rarely paid work unless one is paid to raise someone else's children and clean their home and cook their meals. Yet when social conservatives say that a woman should stay home with their children rather than have a paid job, they mean just that: WOMEN should stay home. They do not make this demand of men. I even once heard a woman who does career counseling say that she regretted having a paid job rather than staying home with her children (and I was quite surprised to hear her say this, although, in hindsight, she is actually a very conservative person). Yet, she never said that perhaps her husband should have given up his career to raise the children while she earned money. Conservatives put this as an either-or: love your children so much you stay home with them or selfishly choose a career. Men, however, can have both No one says they are giving their children less than 100% even if the father is at work eight hours a day. Furthermore, as half of heterosexual marriages in the US end in divorce, a woman who chooses to stay home is taking a financial gamble. If she drops out of the job market she will have a hole in her resume, less money in her bank account/savings and pay less into Social Security (which will mean she'll get less per month when she retires). If she never divorces or becomes widowed young, her gamble pays off, but there's a one in two chance that she will lose this gamble.
Classism: Many women--single, married, divorced or widowed--simply cannot afford NOT to earn money. Food, housing and health care are expensive, especially if one MUST work full time in order to get health care for one's self and one's family. Conservatives trash so-called "welfare" mothers who stay home to raise their children rather than "earning" a living, yet also trash middle class women who earn a wage working outside the home rather than staying home to raise their children. Indeed, many women who used to receive public assistance have literally been forced by the government to take (usually low-paying) jobs, even if that means leaving their children home unsupervised because they cannot afford childcare because the US provides little to no financial support for childcare for parents who earn wages outside the home, nor does the US have a real public childcare system. In France, for example, any parent can enroll their child in pre-school just as they would in a public school. The pre-school is free, open to all children and open during the hours when almost all parents need to be at their paid job. This is not only a way of supporting working families and making it easier for employers to depend on parents as employees but creates jobs in the form of pre-school teachers. Remember several years ago when a six-year-old shot a girl in his class? He got the gun from his uncle's house where he was staying (unsupervised) during the day because his uncle had to work and his mother--who had been receiving welfare--was forced by the government to take a paying job. As previously mentioned, there is no public childcare, so she had no choice but to leave her six-year-old home alone. When word of the girl's shooting death hit the news media many people called for the mother to be arrested because she did not sufficiently supervise her child, but how could she have? Michael Moore in "Bowling for Columbine" followed the mother's work schedule. She had to get up before dawn to ride a bus to the job the government had assigned her--waiting tables at Dick Clarke's "American Bandstand" restaurant--work all day then ride the bus home as she could not afford a car to take her home. All her money went to pay for food and rent, so the only childcare available to her was the public school during school hours. She literally could not make sure her child had the care he needed the rest of the hours she way away. Oh, by the way, the woman is African American, which brings us to the next point...
Racism: The government forced an African American woman to leave her child home unattended so that she could work serving food to European Americans. Does this sound familiar? When slavery was legal, most plantation owners had a system by which one older slave woman would care for all the plantation's young slave children (until they were old enough to work) so that the children's slave parents* could work the fields or the house rather than spend time raising their own children. In his autobiography, Frederick Douglas said that he knew who his birth mother was, but had no relationship with her as he was raised on the plantation by the designated slave childcare provider. When his birth mother died, he therefore did not grieve. He said he did not know who his birth father was, but he may well have been the plantation owner. When applying for a job with an organization that specifically helps working women, the woman interviewing me mentioned that for African American women, there had never been a choice between earning a living or staying home to care for one's children. African American woman had always had to earn (or, as slaves, work for someone else's economic benefit). In an article I once read about women who did choose to stay home with their children, the one African American woman interviewed said that whenever she took her children somewhere on a weekday, everyone assumed she was a "welfare mom" even though her husband actually earned a LOT of money and that family could afford to have one parent not working.
*Of course, some of these kids were the unacknowledged children of Euro-American members of the plantation-owning family or their employees, but those Euro-Americans were hardly going to care for these children. Obviously, this was immoral, but it just further supports my argument about racism being a factor in this entire discussion.
|Friday, November 18th, 2011|
About a week ago Lexi and I watched "The Laramie Project." The following First Day in Meeting for Worship this message came to me:
"My wife and I watched 'The Laramie Project' recently about how the people of Laramie, Wyoming, dealth with the murder of Matthew Shepherd in October 1998. It brought me to tears remembering his death. I know at the time that my parents were terrified that if someone would kill a young gay man in Wyoming, then why not their own gay daughter, only a year younger, living in another state. In one court room scene in the film, an actor portraying Matthew's father reads the speech he really gave during the sentencing, telling Matthew's killer that the family would not seek the death penalty and that each birthday and Christmas the young man had from that day on he should be grateful to Matthew that he is still alive. It reminded me that in December of 1998, while I was homing visiting from college, I attended my home Meeting with my family and got a strong message that I should ask everyone to pray for Matthew's killers. I don't remember their names* nor did Spirit tell me what exactly we should pray for. Perhaps that they come to understand the pain they caused? That they overcome their hate and find peace? But I was so overcome that First Day in 1998 that I couldn't deliver my message. So, I'm delivering it today and asking Friends to pray for these two men."
*I later looked up their names: Aaron McKinney and Russel Henderson.
|Thursday, September 22nd, 2011|
|Troy Davis Executed
I'm sad to announce that Georgia executed Troy Davis yesterday (Wednesday, Sept 21, 2011) at 11 pm. Much doubt surrounded his case, including sworn affidavits from witnesses who said they were coerced into testifying against him. The circumstances look especially grim given that Troy Davis was an African American man accused of killing a Euro-American police officer. Even if Troy Davis did indeed kill the police officer, neither he nor anyone else should ever be executed. Killing is wrong, even when committed by the state.
More information is available at: http://www.amnestyusa.org/our-work/cases/usa-troy-davis
|Friday, August 19th, 2011|
|Mac is better!
My parents' dog Mac is better. He indeed had cancer and had to have his front, left leg removed. He still has some pain and is going through chemo, but he's not in nearly as much pain as he was before.
|Monday, June 20th, 2011|
Good news! Yes, Mac definitely had bone cancer, but the vet was able to amputate his leg and so (we think) remove the entire tumor. Now that he's in recovery and on the right pain medication, Mac is happy again. He should live another year. We still don't know if his cough is due to the cancer spreading to his lungs or if it is just seasonal allergies, but at least he's not in pain anymore.
|Monday, June 6th, 2011|
Mum called yesterday to say that it looks as if her dog Mac has bone cancer that has spread to his lungs. He's getting a biopsy from an expert tomorrow to confirm, but if it is certain that it is cancer we will need to put him to sleep so that he's not in pain any more.
Mac is 10. Mum got him the day I graduated from Northwestern (while my dad and sister were conveniently out of town). He's very good. We call him the Quaker dog because he's so quite and likes to meditate or just watch the world, unlike the puppies who bark at everything and everyone.
We originally got Mac to keep Bunky company after his brother Noodle died.
|Monday, May 30th, 2011|
|Lexi Talks in Her Sleep
Lexi talking in her sleep the other night: "They're Gozilla monsters. But they're friendly. They toast marshmellows."
|Monday, May 23rd, 2011|
A few weeks ago, two men came to my door to try to convert me. I very quickly told them we're gay. They stood there stunned for a few moments, then looked at each other. They then talked about how the Bible doesn't approve of gay men (I noticed they carefully didn't say anything about queer women) and about marriage. I told them Lexi and I had a Quaker wedding at which we made promises--not vows, because those would be oaths and Quakers don't take oaths, I pointed out. They asked if I had read the Bible and I said I had. I told them my wife's a Christian.
They told me where their Kingdom Hall is and I said I had driven past it a few times.
In the end, they handed me a copy of "The Watchtower" and left. They have not been back since, which probably indicates that we're on their "don't bother with these people" list.
I know the Jehovah's Witness church (if that's the word they use?) isn't gay friendly and I was wondering if they, like the Mormons, are not even allowed to speak to gays, which I why I said it in the first place. I've heard that's an easy way to get rid of people trying to convert you. Lexi told me afterward not to give the missionaries a hard time. I said that I had been polite the whole time.
|Friday, March 4th, 2011|
Today is my and Lexi's fifth wedding anniversary.
|Tuesday, February 1st, 2011|
We got two inches last night. The meteorologists predicted that the snow-pocolypse would begin this afternoon but I haven't seen anything yet. We had to cancel tomorrow's demonstration about cutting the Pentagon budget in anticipation of the bad weather.
|Saturday, December 18th, 2010|
|Further freaky news from the sea
I have recently learned that small squid can use jet propulsion to propel themselves out of the water and into the air for as far as 60 feet. They do this to escape predators, although sometimes they get eaten by birds while in the air or fall onto the decks of boats.
This just goes further to prove my theory that cephalopods and sharks are out to get us!
|The saga of the furnace
Our furnace broke. We live in Michigan where the temperature was one degree F the other night.
The first night after our furnace broke we called our friend who was able to come over the next day to take a look at it. Since it only got to 50 degrees F inside the house that night we toughed it out and slept under a lot of covers. 'Cause we're survivors! Our friend is an engineer and was able to diagnose the problem so we wouldn't get cheated but he couldn't fix it. So we had to call repair people who couldn't come the next day.
My parents paid for us to stay at the hotel that night and thank goodness they did because the house got down to just above freezing that night. The dogs did not like the hotel. We left the water running in the taps so the pipes would not freeze.
The hotel was a new environment for the dogs. This required a lot of barking. So, while I was warm and therefore able to relax my muscles I did not get a lot of sleep on account of the barking. We watched "Marley and Me" on the hotel cable, which may have given the dogs bad ideas.
The furnace is now temporarily fixed but will have to be replaced either when it next breaks or in the spring, whichever comes first. Since replacing it could be a multi-day process I'm hoping for spring. At least now I'm not freezing.
|Thursday, December 9th, 2010|
|The Whovian Universe
Lexi and I finished "Doctor Who" Season 5 this week and now we're watching "The Sarah Jane Adventures" Season 2. You can really tell the latter is for kids because no one dies.
Lexi thinks the new doctor, Matt Smith, is funny looking. I think he's got a great last name. :)
I heard there is supposed to be a new "Torchwood" set in America and produced by Fox. It's supposed to have Jack and Gwynn in it. He's hoping it actually takes off as a series, unlike Fox's attempt to revive "Doctor Who" in the 1990s.
|Saturday, November 27th, 2010|
|School of the Americas
Last weekend I attended my first School of the Americas protest. SOA (now called the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation or WHINSEC) is where our military teaches soldiers from Latin American countries how to torture and kill people. Graduates of SOA/WHINSEC have killed tens of thousands of people throughout Latin America. They were involved in the disappearances in Argentina and the genocide in Guatemala in the 1980s. This year was the 30th anniversary of the rape and murder three American nuns and an American lay minister in El Salvador.
Joining the protest was a way to say "not in my name" to the torture and murder.
One torture survivor spoke from the stage during the rally. He said that unlike George Bush's assertions that water boarding is not torture. The man on stage said he had survived water boarding and so he knew for sure that it's torture.
The central and climactic part of the weekend of protest is the reading of the names. All the names of known murder victims are read like a Catholic liturgy and after year name we sing "presente," which is Spanish for "present" to signify that their spirits are here with us in this witness against murder. The names rolled over me like a tidal wave; so many, many of them. I carried a sign with the picture of the church women killed 30 years ago and I put it on the fence of Ft. Benning, which had been turned into a shrine of remembrance.
I don't remember all the names because there were too many but I do remember Christina, age 9 years and Concepcion, age 3 days. I would like to know why my government teaches people to kill children. How can this possibly make the world safer or protect my freedom?
I want the killing to stop.
|Monday, November 15th, 2010|
We need Congress to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) in this lame duck session, because it sure won't happen once the Republicans get their hands on the House.
If you have not already done so this month, please contact your senators (www.senate.gov) and your rep (www.house.gov) and ask them to pressure the leadership to bring this bill to a vote and ask them to vote for it.
This is our best chance at getting employment non-discrimination for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people for a long time.
|Wednesday, November 10th, 2010|
Lexi and I watched the first episode of season 5 today. I don't like the new doctor nearly as much as the previous one. No spoilers!
|Wednesday, October 27th, 2010|
I had an interview today at a bakery to be one of their clerks selling bread. I have another interview this Friday. It will be with the local gay paper "Between The Lines."
Since I'm on unemployment I'm required to take the first full-time job offer I get.
I'm very nervous about getting a good job and I'm also nervous about what that would mean for my current part-time job.
|Tuesday, October 26th, 2010|
I had an interview with the University of Michigan Friday, one with the Red Cross today and one with a bakery tomorrow. Keep holding me in the Light, everyone!