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. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: Good Dads

I don't like to say it, but our world has kind of a paucity of good dads.  When you have one, you are a really lucky duck.  Our culture contains far too much that makes men feel entitled to walk away from or minimize their parenting responsibilities and this is a problem.  We need good dads.  In honor of Father's Day on the past Sunday, this installment of the Subversive Children's Book Club highlights books with good dads, a group of which the world needs more.  I am not really including the genre of books where a kid has a terrible flake of a mom and dad comes in and saves the day, because I am trying to think of times in real life when I have seen that happen...thinking, thinking.....yeah, no.  So not those.  Enjoy!

Primary:
  • The Daddy Book by Todd Parr
  • Daddy Makes The Best Spaghetti by Anna Grossnickle Hines
  • Night Shift Daddy by Eileen Spinelli
Elementary:
  • Ramona and Her Father by Beverly Cleary
Teens:
  • Aristotle and Dante Discover The Secrets of The Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Prayers and Action

I am filled with sorrow for the loved ones of those lost at Mother Emanuel in Charleston; they are in my prayers and my thoughts.

We must also think about the deadly culture we have created in this country, a culture that creates mass murderers at a rate seen in no other developed country on the planet.  And those mass murderers are always white men and white boys.

Many people have cried out over the rhetoric about this tragedy that has spoken of the shooter as mentally ill - stating that these deaths are about guns and hatred, not about mental illness, and that is true in its way.  Rarely do organic mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder result in any kind of violent behavior; most are not a valid risk factor for perpetrating violence.  Those who struggle with mental illnesses are far more likely to be victims of crime that perpetrators of it. 

That said, I think it is an illness that creates these shooters and I do think they are ill. It is not an organic illness, but an illness that we, as a society, have created with our toxic, sinful culture. We, as white people in America, need to address the culture that sickens and creates these murderers.   It starts so early.  We prop our babies up in carriers, leave them to cry alone at night to "train" them, and surround them with a culture that glorifies objects over relationships and that considers women and workers just more objects to use.   We teach them that men take what they want and that those who are not "us" are a threat to us if they do not give us what we want.  That there will never be enough to go around and that others will get what should be theirs.  We throw a hefty dose of gun idolatry in the mix.  All of this makes our male children ill; so ill.  They are lonely and afraid and entitled.  They are angry that they are not the kings our culture says they should be. 

Many boys and men overcome the culture either because they are just extraordinarily good or because their parents speak out against it often enough, but some cannot overcome it and most do not have parents who speak out against it strongly enough. Or wives who do, or daughters or sisters or friends who do.  Far too often, when their football player son has raped a girl, white parents defend him, feeding the illness and making the monster.  When their CEO husband enacts policies that result in the pollution of the water that thousands depend upon to drink for his own and his shareholders' profit, white wives are proud of his business acumen, feeding the illness and making the monster.  When he uses racial slurs, white friends laugh.  When he uses his position in law enforcement to abuse little girls at pool parties, white commentators all over the internet defend him. It is easy to point to the mass murderer as deranged, but he is just an extreme variation.  The violence of the white male supremacy culture that flares into mass murderers at regular intervals is constantly churning out date rapists and batterers and corporate pirates and hazers and racists and gun violence.

We have created this madness and we can stop it.  We must.  We all are responsible.  

Hold your babies and love them and spend time with them.  Let them know they are never alone but that they are responsible for and to others.  Let the boys and men in your life know they are entitled to nothing more than anyone else in this world is entitled to and that people are not things and cannot be used and that people are more important than objects or success. Make sure they know lots of different kinds of people and that they are exposed to different cultures and different ways of thinking.  Resist "us" and "them" thinking - let your boys know that we are all one.

We must pray in these times of tragedy but we must also act to prevent future tragedy.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: Comic Books with Strong Girl Characters

This edition of Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club features comic books with strong girl characters.  My daughters and I dwell with a comic book lover of epic proportions and with a whole room's supply of comic books.  Although I probably have, as a consequence, learned way, way more about comic books than most of you would ever want to know, I do not find most of the books amusing.

Not at all.

Generally speaking, comic books have used female characters as plot devices for male character action at best and have totally, ridiculously objectified female characters in ways that make me think that geek boys might not be much nicer than frat boys after all. 

Some are better than others, though, and here are some that merit mention:

  • Wonder Woman:  Obviously there are problems here, like the costume and all the creepy fetishism and her ridiculous jones for that Ken doll Steve Trevor, but...Amazon Princess of truth and power!  I can't deny that I love Wonder Woman.
  • Spider Girl:  We have costume problems here, too, but this teen-aged super hero typically managed to end up bringing her enemies around to being allies and I am so down with that.
  •  Arana:  First mainstream Latina super hero with her own book.
  • A-Force:  All-female Avenger-y team book.
  • Ms. Marvel:  First mainstream Muslim super hero with her own book.



What comic books would you recommend for girls?

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Summer Reading Club

The Summer Reading Club started on June 8th at our library.  I was on the road that day, but as soon as I had a chance the next day, I made sure the Lone Star Baby got signed up.  Now she has turned in her first reading log and gotten her name on the wall and stuff and we continue on with summer reading and weekly library trips.  

The Lone Star Baby is far past the point of being interested in the craft times and story times and movie times that the library hosts as part of the summer reading club and, while she is a reader,  she has really never been motivated to read more by filling out reading logs and getting stars next to her name on the wall; this is mainly an annoyance to her.  However, while I stopped making her go to the programming a few years ago, I still make her sign up and fill out the logs and go to the library every week to turn them in and look for books.  This is because it is all part of the Lifetime Library Socialization Plan I have for the kids, which started out with Pajama Story-time when they were toddlers, moved into Summer Reading Club and sampling every kind of programming the library offers and eventually moves into "volunteering" (not all that voluntary when your mom insists) there as they get older.  I want the library to be a weekly part of the fabric of their existence, something that is so much a part of them that thy can't imagine not carrying it with them as they grow up, like brushing their teeth.  That's my goal. A person who has a relationship with libraries is a person who is a lifetime learner and who is connected to their community. It is just that important.

Is your child signed up for the Summer Reading Club at your local library yet?

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Happy Birthday, Lone Star Pa!

The Lone Star women folk love you very much!

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: Summer Themes

This edition of the Subversive Children's Book Club features books about summer and travel and family visits.  Bear in mind that Lone Star Ma does not think you should travel at all given recent weather in Texas.  Lone Star Ma thinks you should stay home, build an ark, and enjoy these books with your children, glorying in summer at home instead.

  • Beach Babies Wear Shades by Michelle Sinclair Colman
  • Three Days In A River On A Red Canoe by Vera Williams
  • Just Us Women by Jeannette Caines
  • My Aunt Came Back by Pat Cummings
  • The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant
  • The Raft by Jim Lamarche
  • The Sea House by Deborah Turney Zagwyn
  • One Crazy Summer & Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams Garcia
  • Revolution by Deborah Wiles

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

McKinney

The behavior of Officer Casebolt in McKinney, Texas on Friday was not only completely inappropriate, it was illegal.  He assaulted a child who was sitting on the ground saying she needed to speak to her mother, and threatened other children with a gun when they expressed alarm at his assault, although they were unarmed and had not touched him.  He should be fired and arrested and the racist neighbors who called police should be ashamed of themselves.

Do you know what you do when you are an adult if kids are getting too noisy and out of hand?  You go tell them to settle down and behave.  

Maybe you call their parents if you do not have enough adult presence to handle the matter yourself.  

You do not call people with guns to come and assault them.

Thank heavens for the teenagers at this party,who did not share the racism of the adults and who tried, African Americans and whites together, to help and protect and look out for each other. I pray that is a sign of hope for the future, since the present is so, so, so frightening and bleak.



Back

I'm back.  I went to see family in Dallas at the end of last week, as my grandmother's ashes were being interred and family was gathering to pay their respects.  Then, I had to pick up the Girl from her program in San Antonio on Sunday night and bring her back for her Monday morning allergy shot and then back to San Antonio and then come back here myself.  

I am very tired of driving just now. 

I have also been somewhat absent from the blog before that because things have just been very, very busy - I am juggling a lot of stuff this summer.

I mean to be back now, though.  I will be catching up on posts soon!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Texas Senate Has Freaking Passed Campus Carry - House Votes Tomorrow - Call, Call, Call!!!!

The dangerous insanity of this bill is astounding!  Please call your State Representative tonight, right now, and leave them an eloquent and informative message about why they should vote Against SB 11 tomorrow. Call, call, call Mamas!