Monday, March 31, 2008

The Hannaford's Savings Plan

Is when you do your grocery shopping at Hannaford's because it is a little cheaper than Shaws
But at some point Hannaford's security is breached

So In March you discover hackers have been stealing shoppers' credit card numbers

For the past 3 months

So you call the bank where the (slightly cranky) customer service rep tells you that your atm/debit card number has been compromised

Sadly she can't describe what that means

So you cancel your atm/debit card and commit to looking at your account statements with a fine tooth comb*

Then you call the credit card company

A (polite) customer service rep tells you that your number may have been taken

But you have zero liability for fraudulent purchases and their computers are monitoring the situation extra closely

At this point you are skeptical of computers

Or at least the people who interpret their data

After all it took Hannaford's 3 months to detect the hackers in the system

So on a paranoid whim you cancel your credit card too

Which leaves you with no atm/debit card and no credit card for 5-7 business days

And of course no cash in your pocket

An effective way to limit impulse purchases

The only disadvantage is that this savings plan is short-term

As you imagine your savings account growing due to decreased spending

You may fantasize that this frugalness will continue

When it is no longer forced

In the end though

The second the plastic returns, your Hannaford's savings plan will evaporate.

*mixed metaphors are a symptom of flusteredness, and by golly you are flustered right now.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Doctor Knows Best?

I certainly trust my doctor. In fact, it would never occur to me that she might withhold treatment from ME because it runs counter to HER beliefs.

My guess is that if George W. feels about the same way: He expects his doctors’ actions are guided by his health, not their ideology. If he gets sick, he surely counts on getting every medically indicated treatment necessary.

Maybe not though. His public actions certainly indicate otherwise. His administration has come out against an American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) policy that requires docs to at least let their patients know about evidence based standards of care, even if they won’t perform specific procedures. Duh.

Not surprisingly, abortion, emergency contraception, and birth control are what Bush is fine with doctors denying their patients. I find that unacceptable, both because women should be able to access those procedures, and because withholding treatment based on counter-factual ideology sets a scary precedent.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Why Aren't You Blogging?

My excuse tonight is reading Stone Butch Blues for the 3rd time (at least).

The first few times, unable to concentrate on anything but what would happen to Jess, I read for the plot. The action part of the plot. Would Jess survive? What does survival mean? Now I am savoring the emotion. Feinberg’s writing isn’t the most eloquent, or original, but it gets me every time.

Sometimes it even gets me to smile unexpectedly:

“Scabs,” we all screamed as the cops tried to help them cross our lines and take our jobs away. Hundreds of us strained at the barricades, and the cops held the scabs back.

“Faggots!” some of our guys yelled at the strikebreakers. All the butches pulled back from the police barricades. The word seared like burning metal.

“Duffy,” I pulled his arm. “What’s this faggot shit.”

Duffy appeared torn in ten directions. “Alright,” he said. “Listen up you guys. Stop with the faggot stuff. They’re scabs.” The men looked confused.

A light bulb lit up over Walter’s head. “Aw, shit.” He extended his hand to me. “We didn’t mean you guys.”

I shook his hand. “Listen,” I said, “call them whatever you want, but don’t call them faggots.”

Walter nodded. “Agreed.”

“You cocksuckers! You motherfuckers!” they shouted instead.

I pushed forward at the barricade. “You fucking scabs,” I yelled. “You have sex with other men.”

The guys looked baffled. What’s she talking about?” Sammy wanted to know.

“You have intercourse with your own mother,” I screamed.

“That’s disgusting,” Walter said.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Civil Union Bells? Wedding Bells? Which Will It be In VT?

Last night was the VT [LGBTQ] Marriage Comission’s final hearing. Testifiers addressed the semantic challenges of civil unions early and often. VT statute makes it clear: One “becomes party to a civil union” with one’s same sex partner instead of getting married, and “dissolves” a civil union instead of getting divorced. This creates challenges both serious and odd. As a particularly witty participant noted: “My [divorced] Friends get to be divorcees, even gay divorcees. [when my civil union was dissolved] I was… disillusioned?” She also pondered what to say when one has just gotten hitched, civil union style: “I’ve been… unionized? Great. Teamsters or AFL-CIO?”

Attending the hearing last night affected me more than I expected it would. Several people exposed civil unions for what they were: a good step in 2000. And what they are: a second rate substitute for marriage that makes sense only from a standpoint of fear or bigotry. In addition to showing clearly that civil unions aren’t equal to marriage, the testimony affirmed LGBTQ people, and partnerships. One woman opened by noting the state couldn’t make her 11 year relationship any stronger, she and her partner were the only ones who could do that. But, she asserted, the state should give them legal rights because their relationship was equal to that of their heterosexual neighbors, and to remove barriers to their taking care of each other. Of course she said it all better than I just did. Gray haired parents got up to talk about their gay children, their same-sex partners, their gay friends. The litany of stories made its mark. I left with a warm and fuzzy feeling.

But the warm and fuzzies were tempered with mild discomfort**. Even though most of the testimony was pro same-sex marriage, it is inherently hard to sit through debate about whether your relationships are worthy of legal status heterosexual couples can take for granted. As more than one married straight person said, it is embarrassing that we even have to have this conversation.

* As the legislature saw it when they passed the law, the only other difference between civil unions & marriage is that one has to be 18 to enter into a civil union, but minors can get married. In practice, it turns out there are other differences.

**Another source discomfort: That I get so fired up about marriage at the expense of devoting energy to more pressing social justice issues. It's realted to my annoyance that the pro marriage equality crowd so readily appropriated the language of civil rights movement. This is a whole 'nother topic , however, so i'll go there another day.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Monday: A Good Lazy Post Day

For example: is witty so I don't have to be.

I'll write a real post someday soon. . .

ps. more on gay tofu. Makes you want to give attractive straight women tofurky doesn't it?!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Latte Math

Seattle WA: pop 572,600. Number of Starbucks: 27

Chittenden County
, VT
: pop 150,069 Number of Starbucks: 4.

They may have more Starbucks stores per-capita, but I am quite sure that this corner of VT has more Starbucks per starbuck- drinking-capita. Take that Seattle!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Happy Blog For Choice Day

A government that serves women’s interest must acknowledge that it is a women’s right to decide for herself if and when to bear children. Without this right our sexuality, morality and citizenship are automatically constrained.

Americans can’t count on the Supremes to protect our reproductive rights. If there was any question after the appointment of Roberts and Alito, Gonzales vs. Chart et al. made that abundantly clear. The court okayed the federal abortion ban on the grounds that: we need to protect women from decisions they might regret, and besides, abortion is yucky.* To me, the decision was a wake up call: the continued legality of reproductive health care from abortion to birth control depends on our ability to elect pro-choice candidates.

Here’s the catch: we can’t just vote pro-choice and live happily ever after. Reproductive rights are a necessary but not sufficient condition for reproductive justice. 35 years after Roe v. Wade legal abortion is still a practical impossibility if you live hours from the nearest abortion provider in a state with mandatory waiting periods. Simillarly, to a woman who lacks money for food, daycare and healthcare parenting can become a non-option. We must work for a world in which all women can access comprehensive reproductive health care as well as the resources necessary to parent. In this atmosphere of reproductive justice reproductive rights can achieve their full significance.

*This was the wisdom of Kennedy---- our new swing vote!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Not Quite Sex Ed. Quite Funny

Midwest Teen Sex Show: if you haven’t seen it, check it out. You’ll laugh in an enjoyable way, not those nervous giggles you remember from health class. Host Nikol Hassler’s dead pan delivery, and turn of phrase make the show funny in its own right.

The show is entertainment, not real sex-ed, and they’re semi-up front about that. Even so, I can see your average teen, especially your average teen who has been fed abstinence only sex-ed, confused by statements like “never wash your vagina” and the false implication that everyone is having sex. But teens are bombarded plenty of confusing messages around sex in these united states. It is refreshing to see something sex positive, potentially informative, and created to encourage “frank discussion about . . . teen sexuality” not shame.