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Showing posts from April, 2017

Zaftig

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From Merriam-Webster: Definition of zaftig
of a woman
:  having a full rounded figure :  pleasingly plump

Isn't that a much prettier word? Fat... It just sounds ugly, doesn't it? And that's the trap.

Being overweight and being a smoker are the last two "acceptable" prejudices. There are no federal protections against discrimination. In fact, ridiculing those who don't conform to the media's definition of beauty has become somewhat of a sport.

It's okay, though, because being overweight is unhealthy we're told. Being fat will kill us. There's a whole diet industry out there making sure we know.

Many illnesses have a weight component, and many doctors tell their patients they must first lose weight. But one can be overweight and healthy. Or thin and sick.

But I digress. Like all the topics we've tackled from A to Z, we're only scratching the surface. And I've lost the whole point of why I chose this for Z.

That is body positivity.

It…

Young People

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Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...




Millennials are by and large disparaged as “The Participation Trophy” generation (ignoring the fact that they didn’t give the trophies to themselves). They’re coddled, they’re lazy, they’re irresponsible. Type in “Millennials are killing” into any search engine. They’re responsible for destroying napkins, department stores, the golf industry… Apparently free market capitalism only counts if the under thirty five set isn’t involved. Next they’ll be saying that millennials are killing dinner dates.
Wait, they’re really saying that?
They’re spoiled, used to getting everything their way and won’t even eat cereal anymore because they don’t want to have to wash a dish (actually, while they did say it was inconvenient, the reason they don’t eat it is because they don’t have time or just want to eat something else). They’re lazy, moving back in with their parents after college so they don’t have to deal with the real world (mill…

Xenophobia

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via Merriam-Webster: fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign.

Fear.

I believe that's the big difference between those that identify as conservative versus those that identify as liberal. Sure, they dress it all up in ideologies about less government and Christian values, but at the base of it is fear.

Why do they need guns? To protect themselves from some nebulous threat. Why are they against gay marriage? Because the gays are going to get them.

Why are they against letting refugees in? Because they are afraid.

Foreigners are different. Weird. They speak different languages. They look different. They eat gross stuff. They have bizarre habits.

And if we let them in to our communities, they're going to take away the familiar things that give us comfort.

They don't learn English, so we can't understand them. And that group over there? They're talking about me. I know it!

They claim their fear is reasonable. These foreigners…

Women's Rights

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Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...



Sexism does still exist in this world. Feminism is a dirty word, to the point where some people are afraid to call themselves one out of fear of being sent death threats, rape threats, threats of being doxxed, or “just” being sent pictures of male genitalia.
Admittedly, feminism isn’t without unpleasant people. If you’ve ever heard the word TERF, it stands for Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist, basically someone who refuses to include non-binary women and accuses them of being men trying to infiltrate female spaces (they’re not). These types also tend to be dismissive of the problems of POC and anyone on the Queer spectrum. They’re horrible people. But they shouldn’t be the reason to hate every feminist any more than the Westboro Baptist Church is an excuse to hate every Christian.
Feminism is about the equality taken away by sexism. The wage gap exists; women really do make less than men for the same amount of work, a…

Voter Fraud

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Voter fraud is not a problem. Not really.

Via the Brennan Center for Justice:
...most reported incidents of voter fraud are actually traceable to other sources, such as clerical errors or bad data matching practices. The report reviewed elections that had been meticulously studied for voter fraud, and found incident rates between 0.0003 percent and 0.0025 percent. If you like statistics, here are some more.

But let's take a look at who is complaining of voter fraud. Yes, they are worried about disenfranchisement. Because while they were once in the majority, they no longer have that. Rather than look at the changing face (and concerns) of the electorate, they cling to old ideals. Rather than recognize that the world is changing, they choose to believe that "the other" is committing fraud to get their candidates elected.

So, to deal with this "fraud", to get back the world they feel is disappearing, they are engaging in voter suppression.

Poll taxes and literacy t…

Uncomfortable

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un•com•fort•a•ble
ənˈkəmfərdəb(ə)l,ˌənˈkəmftərbəl/
adjective
causing or feeling slight pain or physical discomfort.
Or
causing or feeling unease or awkwardness.

REDNECK. HILLBILLY. MORON. FANATIC. OBSTRUCTIONIST. FRINGE WING NUT. MISOGYNIST. RACIST. ZEALOT. EXTREMIST. IDEOLOGUE.

LIBTARD. HIPPIE. LIBERAL. ELITIST. CRONY. BLOWHARD. LOON. CUCK. SNOWFLAKE. BETA. CRYBABY. SJW (SHORT FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE WARRIOR).

First, we have the Oxford Dictionary’s list of the most commonly used “slurs” used by left-leaning internet users, when confronting right-leaning internet users. Followed by the list used by right leaning toward left leaning. It is interesting to me that while the majority of the Left’s insults are recognized as universal language (Oxford’s study found that the words most used by the left are also used by the right, just in fewer instances), more than half of the Right’s insults are rooted in the Alt-Right movement. Please be sure you understand this: The “Alt-Right” is just the newe…

Trigger Warnings

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Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...


Trigger Warnings
Trigger warnings have a bad reputation that is completely unjustified. They’re called stifling of free speech, the special snowflakes controlling what people can say by making “safe spaces”.
Except…that’s not what they’re about. At all. Even close.
A trigger warning, or content warning, is simply that, a warning. Like, say, a movie or a television show having a PG rating and a warning that “viewer discretion is advised”. It’s simply a courtesy that people ask for. For example, a man who suffered abuse growing up now suffers from severe PTSD. He takes a required sociology class at a college when he sees a warning for a certain day that they’re going to discuss child abuse. He can prepare beforehand or, if he’s feeling particularly unwell that day, skip the class entirely so as not to aggravate his condition. The rest of the class he’s fine over, he just can’t handle discussing abuse, especially of childr…

Syria, #MOAB, and North Korea

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Does the administration know what they're doing? Obviously not. Why else play chicken with a country that's led by someone as crazy as he is? (I'm talking about North Korea.)

Before that, it was the #MOAB. (News I spent a lot of time avoiding, truth be told.) Yes, the promise was to go and bomb ISIS into oblivion. But did it do any good? Was is successful?

And then, of course, before that was the attack on Syria. Because he has been itching to do something about that for... Wait. What? He's been against any action there? Since when?

So, one of two things is true. Either this administration is wildly unfocused and has no idea what it's doing, or it's cannily trying to distract from something else that's way bigger. (cough, Russia, cough)

Whatever they're doing, they're making a mess of it. Or is that the whole idea...?

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...

Religious Fundamentalism

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Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...



PLAYING GOD AND THE FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEM OF FUNDAMENTALISM originally appeared on Andrew Leon’s Strange Pegs and was reposted here with permission. Go visit Andrew’s blog for more astute analysis.
Let's have a bit of a thought experiment, shall we?
If you espouse at all to Judeo-Christian mythology (because that is the correct term to use in this case, so don't go getting your undies all twisted in a knot and stuck in your bunghole) and, actually, to Islam, since it has the same roots, then there is a basic premise you have to acknowledge. Actually, it is the basic premise, the one without which there is no Judeo-Christian mythology, no Judaism, no Islam. That premise? Free will.

Yes, the basis of Christianity is the idea that God gave us choice. This is the fundamental concept of Christianity: God made man so that man could choose to love Him. Or not. Love has no meaning without the power to choose not to love.

Or to…

Queer

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I have identified as Queer since the age of 15. Back in 1990 I would say "I'm Bi" because I liked girls and guys. Then I met my husband, and things got weird but so easy. I fell in love with a man, and as a cis normative female, we made the perfect heterosexual couple. It's weird to think that I really never expected to have anything resembling "normal" in my life - and in 1997, heterosexual relationships were the norm.

As time has gone on, and I've stayed married to my husband, had five children with him, and kept my toe in the LGBTQ community (through friends, social justice causes, marches, working as an ally), I now realize that I would not be classified Bisexual, I'm Pansexual. Gender doesn't matter to me. I've always fallen in love with a person based on intellect, humor, compassion, generosity, and work ethic or responsibility. I just happened to find a life-long partner that has a penis and with my vagina, equals a pretty easy, privi…

Planned Parenthood

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In the wake of the recent elections and the threat that the current administration poses to the health of men and women who utilize Planned Parenthood's services, I became a volunteer at my local Planned Parenthood office.  And I proudly wore pink to the Women's March on Washington, to represent Planned Parenthood.

The threat to Planned Parenthood is very real, the organization is in the fight of its life.

The focus of anti-Planned Parenthood arguments, is, of course, abortion.  Roe v. Wade has been the law of the land since 1973.  Most of us are too young to remember life before abortion became legal. We cannot relate to the subplot in movies like Dirty Dancing, it's beyond our frame of reference. But yes, desperate women sought out back-alley doctors to obtain abortions, doctors who performed painful, unsanitary procedures that often left women maimed, or dead.  Roe didn't create abortions, it created safe and legal abortions.

For 44 years, the Right has attempted, …

Overdose

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Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...



In the last seventeen years, the rate of death from drug overdoses has increased 137% and most of those deaths are from opioids. Heroin is one of the only opioids that’s actually illegal, which is funny considering it’s far from the most dangerous. Fentanyl is an especially deadly addition that has been popping up more and more. It not only causes overdose in mere minutes, it can do it in much smaller quantities than other drugs. Funny how the law works sometimes.
Most opioid addiction starts by people taking medication bought/taken/stolen from someone else, but the real problem is in the over prescribing, which was why the CDC’s guidelines are trying to reduce the amount opioid prescriptions for chronic pain patients. Too bad very few of the people who overdose are chronic pain patients and this means that people who are already suffering can’t get relief even though by and large they aren’t the problem.
Still, it can’t…

Neurodiversity

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Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...




Neurotypical is basically having a brain that society would call normal. Neurodivergent…is everything else.
Autism. ADHD. Dyslexia. Depression. Bipolar disorder. Something you’re born with. That’s what neurodiversity is. It’s a pretty broad subject, but they do have one thing in common: being dismissed by society. And a hundred years ago, they would have been thrown in an insane asylum and tortured or lobotomized until they learned to behave in a way that wasn’t embarrassing to their families. When they weren’t just abandoned by them outright.
A lot has changed, but unfortunately not nearly enough. People are still convinced vaccines are linked to autism even after the study suggesting it was discredited. Including people in the White House. Not to mention those “thinking moms” who would rather their child risk death than possibly become autistic. And one of the most prominent organizations focused on autism is Autism S…

Medicare for All

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According to a Kaiser Family Foundation report, “between 1999 and 2009, health insurance premiums rose 131 percent, a much faster rate of increase than general inflation (28 percent) or workers’ earnings (38 percent).” The report also had this shocking statistic about the amount spent by employers on group health insurance policies: “The amount grew over twenty-fold from $25 billion in 1960 to $545 billion in 2008.”

While many citizens of the U.S. still cling to an outdated belief that somehow capitalism equals for-profit healthcare, many more are beginning to realize that healthcare should not be something that a few companies make billions in profit on; but instead, it should be a fundamental human right.

A 2009 report from Health Care for America Now shows: Profits at 10 of the country’s largest publicly traded health insurance companies in 2007 rose 428 percent from 2000 to 2007, from $2.4 billion to $12.9 billion, according to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings. In 2…

Lifelong Learning

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When did people start taking pride in ignorance?

College isn’t for everybody. Some people do everything they can to get out of school as quickly as possible. And that’s okay. No one ever said that everyone should have a degree.

There’s no shame in manual labor. There’s no shame in never having attended college. Everyone has a different expertise. Once you find your place in the world, as long as you are comfortable and happy there, there’s no reason to feel like you should be something different.

(Although, that doesn’t preclude making a change later in your life. Things change. Life changes you.)

But when did it become a point of pride to be ignorant? When did people stop listening to experts in their fields? When did people start to turn a blind eye to ugly truths just because they didn’t fit in with their worldview?

I guess that’s always been the case to a certain extent. Confirmation bias. We’re told things at a young age by people we trust, and we don’t want to change those comfo…

Kindness

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Why are people so mean and cruel to one another? Simple. They’re in pain.

Kindness is easy when you’re feeling good. When you’re happy. You smile. You wave. You say hello and mean it when you’re saying you’re having a bright, shiny day.

But when you’re at your lowest, when all is wrong with the world, you get mean. Cruel. Angry. You take out your misery on everyone around you, especially those who are being the kindest.

Because, when you’re not feeling good, you want the rest of the world to feel your pain.

We’ve gotten mean in our political discourse. No one is willing to compromise. Everyone wants to shout at each other. And we point fingers at each other. That other side is to blame.

But casting blame doesn’t make the division go away. All it does is make everyone angrier. And then no consensus can be reached. We continue the yelling match, neither side making any progress.

Well, they did it first, you say. Uh huh. And that resistance you feel is them pushing back at you.

So, take …

Jewish Center Threats

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On February 27, 2017, the news became personal.
On February 27, 2017, a bomb threat was phoned in to the Mid-Island Y Jewish Community Center, in Plainview, NY. That’s about 15 minutes from my house.  I’d been to the Y for an event just a week earlier.   The threat was virtually in my own back yard.
That call to the Mid-Island Y was one of over 100 similar calls placed to Jewish community centers, schools and other institutions around the country in the early months of 2017.    Coupled with other bias incidents, such as the myriad of threats against Jewish journalists; the vandalism of Jewish cemeteries in St. Louis and Philadelphia; and swastikas and other graffiti appearing on college campuses and in public parks, the calls instilled a palpable fear in the Jewish community.
Anti-Semitism has always been with us.  But recent years have seen an increase in the number of anti-Semitic incidents.  In November 2016, the FBI reported that while previous years had seen a decrease in such c…

Immigration

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Our nation was founded on immigration. Unless your ancestors are Native American, your people came from elsewhere. Yet, immigration continues to be a source of debate.

And this has been true for every generation.

Haven’t we all heard the stories? No one wanted the Irish to come. Nor those from southern Europe. Then it was the Asians. And now it’s those from South America or the Middle East.

But, aside from the racism inherent in the arguments, there’s fear. People are afraid that these newcomers are going to change the fabric of the U.S.

They’re right, of course. Without immigrants, we wouldn’t have Halloween, spaghetti and meatballs, and fortune cookies. Different cultures impact us. Whether we choose to see that as harmful or helpful is a matter of perspective.

But the big thing people worry about is jobs. What’s going to happen to their jobs?

The thing is, most immigrants take jobs that the rest of us don’t want. What happens when there’s a crackdown on illegal immigration in farmi…

Holocaust Memorial Day

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Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...


January 27 is Holocaust Remembrance Day. This year, the White House didn’t mention Jewish people. On Holocaust Remembrance Day. Jewish people. Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Over eleven million people were killed in the Nazi genocide, including Romani, people who were disabled (mentally or physically), people we now call LGBTQ, and many others. But more than six million of those eleven million people were Jewish and not mentioning them as the primary targets or the anti-Semitism that gave rise to the genocide isn’t just insulting, it’s reprehensible. The White House said they wanted to be “inclusive,” (one report has them mentioning Jewish people before taking it out for some reason) but they aren’t being inclusive. They’re erasing everyone.
The fact of the matter is, the chief adviser to the “president” has been accused of antisemitism. Under him, the website Breitbart became a haven for the alt-right (Nazis; they’re Nazis …

Gun Control

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In the June 26, 2008 District of Columbia et al. v. Heller US Supreme Court majority opinion, Justice Antonin Scalia, LLB, wrote, "Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. From Blackstone through the 19th-century cases, commentators and courts routinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose… nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms."

Scalia was known as a believer in Originalism, meaning that the Constitution should be taken as it is written, in precise language, without any undo interpretation. As one of the most conservative Justices in our nation’s history, his o…

Flint, Michigan Water Crisis

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Let us start with some facts:

Flint, MI is located 70 miles north of Detroit, is a city with a population of 98,310, 41.2% of residents live below the poverty line and the median household income is $24,862, according to the US Census Bureau.

The median household income for the rest of Michigan is $49,576.

The city is 56.6% African-American.

Until the 1980s Flint was a thriving city due to one of the nation’s largest GM auto plants that gainfully employed most of its residents.

2011 was the year that the state government took over Flint’s finances, in the face of a $25 million deficit.

Most Americans will agree that when their local government fails, the State should step in to save the day. When Michigan’s state government took over Flint it was a fair assumption on the part of the residents that the circumstances in their community would improve. The problem is that they were in need while Black, which to a GOP majority equates to expendable, and unimportant.

Years ago, the water th…