It is late June here and as is usual for this time of year in Brockport, a quiet, little Victorian village on the Erie Canal between Rochester and Buffalo in upstate NY, there is a pleasant laziness in the air. That happens when you lose somewhere between quarter and a third of your population as the college students leave for home. The worst you usually hear around now is a complaint about the mugginess, but we will live. It is a cozy place, with a cozy sense of self. People do not like change, as evidenced by its citizens fighting to keep their distinct, village government in the name of community identity a couple of years ago. This is neither good nor bad, it just is. It is also why it is no surprise when a big change is suggested, it stirs the hornet’s nest nicely. Continue reading
I used to have a real bad temper. I rarely hurt other people, at least in my adult life, but you would not want to be a wall, chair or end table around me when my ire was raised. I could yell with the best of them and whether or not I was right or wrong about the issue at hand is ultimately immaterial, because I was so very wrong in how I reacted. I wreaked havoc on those around me and was frankly not a very pleasant person to be around. I have made peace with the demons that put in me in that place though and with the fact that I was there to begin with.
By and large I have hope for our society. I see us making progress on our attitudes, in how we treat marginalized groups, even if it is coming much slower than I am happy with. More and more Americans are opening their eyes to the damage that wealth and income inequality has caused us. Still, every once in a while we get a cruel wake up call that we are nowhere we need to be. Continue reading
The gods of the news cycle often give gifts to we social justice bloggers. Whether it is some nonsensical comment coming from a Tea Party politico, a cruel remark from a CEO, or the latest act of malfeasance from any of the woefully under-regulated industries in this country, even when they try to sweep it under the rug, they cannot help but hand us treasures. Sometimes, just sometimes mind you, they hand us a gem of unparallelled value. Gems like this: a pro-drug testing for welfare recipients Congressman getting nailed for possession. Continue reading
OK then, Christine’s got her grumpy back (don’t worry, I’ll post about Firefly, fashion or something later, and Friday Nite Poetry is coming up.) I suppose Facebook is a good place for that. The internet in general is a good place for that. I am not about to start in and give fuel to the idea that the internet is causing us to be anti-social, because I believe the opposite is true, but it is giving anti-social narcissists a stage, and some of us have unwittingly made ourselves a reluctant audience for them.
My Facebook has been lit up lately with news of various politicians cutting back welfare, or denying it entirely for people who have committed this egregious act or that. Most often it is drug addicts who are the target, but I also see “bad parents” (whatever that means,) felons, and the very occasional lesser known groups (job hoppers once and a while are thrown under the bus.) Through all this one group is consistently neglected or downplayed through extreme verbal legerdemain. Too often those that count themselves as champions of “family values” (again, whatever that means) are willfully ignorant about what their preferred policies will do to children. Continue reading
I suppose it is appropriate after writing about proper etiquette among our four-legged fellow travelers that I should revisit our attitudes about them in a different light today. Sometimes I wonder if humanity is capable of proper balance at all. We either create a false sense of balance by giving equal weight to all arguments, or they throw balance completely out the window, showing more respect for a cluster of cells or for flightless avians with brains the size of my thumbnail, than for a born human being. In particular I find it distressing because so much of this lack of balance among the left stems from an unwillingness to address our own privilege. Continue reading