Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Boy Scouts Vote To End Ban on Gay Leaders

Now that this has happened, I suppose I can think more kindly on parents being willing to put their kids in Boy Scouts, something I found pretty awful prior to it.  

The vote to end the ban on gay leaders is huge progress for the Boy Scouts, but they remain a culture that has lagged behind in appreciating diversity.  Boy Scout troops in the South were not fully desegregated until 1974, while Girl Scouts elected their first African American President of the Girl Scouts USA (Go, Dr. Scott!) in 1975.  Girl Scouts have long honored diversity and it shows in their organizational culture, while my little brother once brought home a Confederate flag "southern pride" patch from Jamboree.

I am truly glad at the progress the Boy Scouts USA is making towards honoring diversity but would caution parents to be aware that organizational cultures change slowly and it is important to monitor the attitudes your child is exposed to if you want him to grow up respecting people of all races, creeds, gender identities and sexual orientations.

Monday, July 27, 2015

We Need Gun Reform Laws

Instead Texas passed a slew of recent laws that make us even less safe.  How many more lives?

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Protect Justice

Whatever her cause of death, there was no cause for Sandra Bland to be treated the way she was treated in a routine traffic stop.  The Constitution does not stop at a police officer's irritation.  

Or it shouldn't.   

I have worked with countless amazing police officers and have no doubt that the vast majority of officers are just that amazing and deserve way more credit than they get for the hard job they do every day, but many also share a professional culture that shields wrongdoers and there is far too much racial profiling going on all over this country.  There need to be body cameras on all patrolling police officers, independent reviews of all incidents of alleged excessive force and civil rights violations and real consequences for police officers who abuse their positions. These are concrete steps that can be taken and that are needed.

I understand the need to band together and protect each other in dangerous, difficult, under-appreciated professions.  It is understandable that officers feel the need to do that for each other.  It is not acceptable, however,  when it results in racial profiling, excessive force and the two-tiered justice system that we have in the United States. 

I pray for peace and justice.

Happy Birthday, Americans With Disabilities Act!

Twenty-five years ago today, the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law.  The ADA was hailed by some as one of the most far-reaching civil rights laws that had ever been passed in our nation.  Like most good fights, it took a long time to get the ADA passed. Advocates struggled for years to end discrimination and provide access to education, employment and public services for people with disabilities.  

One dramatic protest in March of 1990 might have been the tipping point in the passage of the landmark legislation.  The Capital Crawl was when hundreds of people with disabilities met at the steps to our nation's capital.  Many got out of their wheelchairs and crawled to the top of the capital steps to show the obstacles they faced without comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation in place.  

Today, we should honor those activists as the heroes they are and remember not to give up the pursuit of equality for all.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Corpus Christi Boil Water Advisory Lifted

Personally, I would like to know what caused the contamination in the first place.

Also, I don't think the City should be allowed to expand any further (in its southward creep of real estate dreams) until it is providing adequate City services to the existing neighborhoods.

The Long Dark Teatime of The Soul

This has been an inexplicably difficult summer for me.  Little has happened that is extremely out of the ordinary, but the combination of things have weighed more heavily than they usually do somehow.   Sometimes things are like that, for no really good reason.

I have had to step up to take on additional responsibilities at work due to temporary vacancies which has meant that the fun summer stuff we might usually get to do more of has not gotten done and the less fun summer stuff like doctor and dentist appointments have been harder to handle.

I have upset the Lone Star Baby pretty terribly by insisting on keeping her in her hippy school, despite some real reservations, for the sixth grade when she wanted to go ahead and switch to Baker, the big neighborhood middle school this year. She is very young for sixth grade - just turned 11 in June and will be 11 all the school year - and the school bus will not bring her home to our house because we are two-tenths of a mile too close although walking home would mean crossing a major city artery and a neighborhood where muggers have increasingly targeted school kids in the last year.  There is no after school program there, while there is after-care at the school she is at.  The principal at the big middle school had a major nasty defensive meltdown at me when I mentioned some concerns I had because of the bullying that occurred at the school when my older daughter attended.  The timing, basically, is just not right for the switch, although there are definite pros and cons.  But I hate to disappoint the Lone Star Baby so much.

As the Lone Star Girl grows up into an adult, supporting her increasing independence while still providing guidance as needed is hard, and I worry about her whenever she is unhappy, and I get mad and hurt when I get so much push back yet still so much responsibility, even though I am terribly conscious that there is probably no more important role for me to have and that I am really glad she talks to me even when it stresses me out.

The Lone Star Girl had a mysterious health event that seems fine now.  I have mysterious dramatic coming and going hives that hopefully will be fine.  The Lone Star Baby is in the midst of dental and orthodontic work.  I need to get some significant dental work.  We still all have several doctor/dentist appointments pending, and I don't know how I'm going to fit it all in.

We got a new-to-us car so the Lone Star Girl can take her dad's old car back to college, a plan I have extremely mixed feelings about, meaning that we have two car payments now.  The summer is just generally expensive what with the dental stuff and all.

I can't find a good contractor who will continue to return calls about fixing our (only) bathroom.  We are under a boil water alert and my sink is full of dishes. A million important things have happened in Texas and the world that I would normally be blogging about, but I just haven't had the energy.  As for that, the poetry and other more creative writer energy in me is sort of dried up entirely at present and that kind of spell is never a great time for me.

Really we have a wonderful life filled with wonderful things and the majority of these little difficulties would not usually throw me much, but sometimes there comes a long dark teatime of the soul when even the mundane can send one to live in the little walk-up apartment upstairs of Whelm.  It's kind of tiring north of Whelm, and we have to be kind to ourselves when we get there.  Drink lots of (boiled) water and try take walks and get a lot of sunshine unless excessive doses of Vitamin D may be giving you horrible hives, as seems to be the case with me (maybe).  Listen to good music.  Read good books. Watch silly television.  Eat vegetables.  Let go of perfection (hopefully forever).  Like most busy mothers, I know what to do in these times.  Finding time and energy to do is always the tricky part, but find it one eventually must.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Dilley Detention Center For Mothers & Children

Say a prayer for the 250 refugee children to whom La Migra gave adult doses of the Hep A vaccine rather than the appropriate pediatric dose.  They are being monitored but are reported by La Migra to be doing well so far.

Little Free Libraries

I think Little Free Libraries are another great act of Community.  I recently found out that a local homeless shelter installed several around town since so many people who are homeless do like to read.  I am making it a regular practice to go add books to them.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

First Day School: Community

Today we had Meeting and in First Day School, the Lone Star Baby and I continued our study of the Testimonies.  Today we started on Community.  We discussed the Testimony of Community and what it means and we read and discussed Beatrice's Goat, and Four Feet, Two Sandals. When we got home, we ordered a flock of ducks through Heifer International to try to spread some community to a family in need.

One Nation Under Drones

We caught the park-and-ride bus at City Hall last night and went and watched fireworks on the seawall.  It was lovely but there were three drones that I saw buzzing around the festivities like tiny lit-up airplanes.  What in the world is that about?  I do not like our celebrations of freedom being under surveillance.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Happy Independence Day!

On this fourth of July, let us remember that issues of social injustice are not, as the Lone Star Girl eloquently put it in a recent conversation, like natural disasters or illnesses.  People create injustice and people can fix it.  We have the freedom to make the world a better place.  As adults, we are not here to just chase our amusements or even to just take care of our individual responsibilities - we are our society and we are responsible for fixing the problems of our society. So let's do it.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: LBGT Families

 In honor of the Supreme Court's landmark decision on the civil rights of gay families, this edition of The Subversive Children's Book Club features books about LBGTQ youth and families. Enjoy! 
  • The Family Book by Todd Parr
  • Alice on The Outside and Alice Alone by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  • Geography Club by Brent Hartinger
  • Aristotle and Dante Discover The Secrets of The Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
  • Luna by Julie Anne Peters
  • Happy Families by Tanita Davis.

Plumbing Dental Orthodontic Summer

Fun times.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Love Wins!!!!!

How amazing and fantastic and wonderful is today????

The Supreme Court has ruled that states cannot prevent gay people from marrying so now our gay brothers and sisters all over this great country have access to the civil right of marriage! I am proud to be an American today!

I want to address some of the crazy objections that various right-wing bigots have posed to this Supreme Court decision:

  • Some justices and other dissenters have stated that the Supreme Court had no authority to so rule because they feel marriage is a state matter that does not fall under the Equal Protection Clause of the14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but marriage was clearly defined as a civil right under just that clause by the Supreme Court in 1967 when the Loving v. Virginia decision invalidated state laws prohibiting interracial marriage.  This is the very same principle, people, and our gay brothers and sisters most assuredly do have the constitutional right to marry.
  • Some  people are using the scare tactic that clerics will face legal action if they refuse to marry same-sex couples in religions that do not believe in same-sex marriage.  This is just a scare tactic and nothing more.  Religious institutions bar people from receiving their sacraments for many reasons.  Catholics can't marry in their Church if they have been divorced or if they want to marry a Protestant or if they won't go to the classes or pastoral counseling that their pastor requires or, often, if they are pregnant (although pregnancy discrimination is illegal).  In my own faith, you are supposed to apply to a Clearness Committee and have them come to a consensus that marriage is the right thing for you.  Churches are free to set their own practices and I have never met anyone who wanted to interfere with that except where church practices interfered with a minor's physical safety, as in religions that will not seek medical care for their children or who rape them.  The views of a church, however, cannot be allowed to be an excuse for the State to treat its citizens with inequality.
  • The jerks who want state benefits denied to same sex couples because of the beliefs of people working in benefit offices need to get different jobs because if you take a public position, you need to be able to discharge your duties without discriminating  against any members of the public citizenry.

I am sure there are still many struggles ahead, and that many bigoted state and local jurisdictions will fight the implementation of this ruling just as bigoted state and local jurisdictions fought integration. The bigots will lose, though.

Love wins.

SCOTUS Upholds Health Care Subsidies

One cool thing.