Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Lone Star Ma Says "Go, Broncs!"

As far as I'm concerned, it's final:  she may not have applied yet but the Lone Star Girl is going to college at UTPA.  She just found out today that while there is no allergist in Brownsville (buh-bye, Brownsville), the one in McAllen actually pioneered immunology for fire ant allergies.  Case closed.

First Day of Medical Shadowing Experience

You Say Good-Bye, Gov. Says Hello

Sine die must mean "lunch break" or something in Austin these days, because Perry has called lawmakers into a third Special Session around an hour after the close of the second.

Apparently, roads are a valid use for the Rainy Day Fund, even though the decimation of our school funding last session was not - go figure.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Go, Gina!

Gross political wheeling and dealing about appointments aside, I am so glad Gina McCarthy got appointed as EPA administrator earlier this month!

The School Supply Shop

Yesterday was the day.  I was a little worried that we had waited too long and that the things we needed would be gone, but we did okay.  We did have to get the Lone Star Baby the paper pronged folders (just sounds dirty, doesn't it?) instead of the plastic pronged folders the school prefers because the plastic ones were out of the required colors, and I also bought a generic version of the requested brand of scissors, but I think we otherwise represented our family well in this endeavor.

Lone Star Pa and I took the Lone Star Baby's list with us when we did the grocery shopping at H-E-B and got most of it.  Then the Lone Star Girl and I took it with us to Target and got her stuff plus most of the bit of the Lone Star Baby's list that we could not find at H-E-B.  Then we went to Office Depot for jump drives (both) and liquid paper (Girl).

Now we only have some special art supplies left to get for the Lone Star Girl and we will be finished.  The Girl claims she is done with clothes as well, but I probably need to inventory what still fits the Lone Star Baby and take a look at their shoes.

Have you done the dreaded back to school shopping yet?  How was it?

Medical Girl

Had to buy the Girl a lab coat for a shadowing experience she is starting next week at a doctor's office.  I almost cried watching her try them on at the scrub store.  The future keeps coming.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Summer Toil: The Study & The Kitchen

What with starting a new job and all, I have said that I have to be realistic about the fact that this is not going to be the summer of getting the house all organized.  That said, having my job interview and all the preparation before and after it  right after taking the Girl Scouts camping in May, and then cleaning out my classroom and my old car in June ... well, the mess has been way beyond our usual mess...and the house usually looks like a school, a library and a craft store exploded in it.

Some organizing is pretty necessary at this time.

Especially since the new neighbor children are moving in next door...tomorrow.

I spent yesterday cleaning up the "study" - AKA Girl Scout and School-Related-Stuff Central and Lone Star Pa spent today working on the kitchen while I was driving the long road to pick up the Girl from camp and bring her back home (scary bat story to follow).

Now, he's in That Zone of Horror in which he is sick of working on the kitchen but much remains to be done.  I am off to scrub the bathroom.

That's going to have to be enough for now. 

The Lone Star Baby did a great job on her room, though and is happy with how I organized the study and is learning how to sweep.  Sunny side up, people!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Seneca Falls

On this day in 1848, the first convention on women's rights in the United States was hed in Seneca Falls, New York, organized by Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

It's not over, Mamas.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Worse Week For Young Boys

My heart is broken for Trayvon Martin's family and terrified about what Zimmerman and his ilk will do now that he/they truly know that they can still get away with this sort of thing, even when they are caught.

As a mother of daughters, I have known the fear and humiliation involved in having to educate my daughters to try to protect themselves as best as they can from our predatory rape culture, but I know that is nothing - nothing - compared to the fear experienced by the parents of African-American male children who must be taught a host of protective behaviors to survive on a daily basis in our racist society.  I ache for the mothers.  I am so sorry that so many children have been raised to injure theirs. 

There will never be enough goodness in us to exonerate all this.

Bad Week For Texas Women

So, the Lege passed the Coat-Hanger Bill here in Texas, despite massive outrage on the part of the Texas citizenry.  While the idea of these wretched men doing this is horribly upsetting, the reality of it is probably the terrible thing that had to happen for change to occur.  While very hard in the short term for so many families facing awful, complicated, personal tragedies that should be handled between family members and doctors, in the long term, I think the net effect will be good because  

These Patriarchal People Will Never Be Elected Again.

Mind you, I do not mean that about every single legislator who voted for the bill.  I am not a one-issue voter myself and there are a very, very, very tiny number of legislators who voted for the bill (okay, I can only think of one - Abel Herrero - but there are probably one or two more) who have such an excellent voting record of voting for the rights of the poor and downtrodden in Texas, for our schools, for our children and for our environment, that I would not forget that because of one rather gigantic area of disagreement.  Given more time to hear from more constituents at more length about how this bill is not just about the morality of abortion, an issue over which our country is pretty evenly divided, I think some legislators would have come to understand the more complex issues of control and family and health involved in this bill.  I think the Republicans rushed things so fast partly so that would not be able to happen. 

 Most of the legislators who voted  for this bill need to be drummed out of office in the next election for certain, though.  

Then, with more caring and egalitarian legislators in office,  we can repeal the law and work to truly reduce the number of abortions that occur (rather than just reducing the number that occur without killing women) by increasing access to high quality, comprehensive sex ed, contraception, emergency contraception and family supports and decreasing poverty.

Look towards the future...

Monday, July 08, 2013

Everyone Needs A Plan B

I was musing to myself and the shower-creativity fairies in the shower today about the unfortunate persistence - partly the fault of the FDA's sluggishness in changing inaccurate labeling - of misunderstanding about how emergency contraception actually works.  

I didn't come up with any cutting edge policy analyses, but I came up with a great name for  a Girl Band:  Hostile Cervical Mucous.

No, wait - it should be a nail polish color.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Bad SCOTUS: Gutting The Voting Rights Act of 1965

I know this post is long overdue, but every time I have sat down to write it, I've  just gotten depressed.  I am still feeling pretty shocked and horrified over what the Supreme Court has done and scared about the consequences.

All those marches led by Dr. King?  The ones in which the brave children of Selma and so many other civil rights heroes participated?  They were about this Act.  And now so much of it is gone.  

Always I knew that there was still much fighting to be done for civil rights in our country, but I thought the fights would be new fights - fights against the racism and sexism that still exist in our institutions and our hearts, fights for equal protection for people who are gay... I did not think we would have to go back and fight again the battles that the Movement had already won before I was even born.

But here we are...repeating history in that doomed way our teachers warned us about.  So we had better learn more.  And keep fighting.

On June 25th, the U.S. Supreme Court made public their ruling that struck down section four of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  In terms of the Court's deliberations, public chatter had mainly been about section five of the Act, the section that required that nine (mostly Southern) states (as well as some additional counties and municipalities) with a history of enacting electoral laws, maps and regulations that work to disenfranchise minority voters submit any changes to their electoral maps, laws or regulations to the federal courts before proceeding so that the courts could verify that the states were not trying to obstruct or dilute minority representation.  The Court did not actually strike down section five, but it struck down section four, the section of the Act which details the formula used to decide whether a state needs federal oversight of electoral changes or not.  Without section four, though, section five cannot be implemented.

The formula has to do with the numbers of eligible citizens registered to vote and who did vote in elections in 1964 and the Court struck down the section based on that formula being outdated and it no longer being a formula that accurately represents the reality of what goes on in those jurisdictions.  That is probably technically true given the limitations of the formula but the opining of the Justices that it was just not fair to impose restrictions on those jurisdictions based upon past racist practices that no longer exist is a big load of guano.  

To be fair, I know but little about the electoral processes of other states - Texas is big enough and messed up enough in that manner to take up pretty nearly all of my electoral-processes-attention.  Texas, however, has tried to obstruct and dilute minority voting at every possible opportunity and has had to be reigned in by the Voting Rights Act so often that if the Texas Legislature were a person and the Federal Courts were a person, we'd all be suspecting pretty strongly that Texas Legislature had a secret crush and was just doing all this crazy racist stuff to get attention.  The reality, however, is that Texas has been doing all of this crazy racist stuff because crazy racism is alive and well here and there are many, many people here who do not share Lone Star Ma's enthusiasm for a diverse, multicultural Texas with equal rights for all.  Many Texans still want white supremacy, even though most of them don't exactly know it - they basically want white cultural supremacy, which they see as "America" and which they figure can encompass all the nice minority people who will learn to think and act like them and thus be acceptable to the tribe ... the sociology of racism is fairly complex but it is all about fear, of course, Mamas - fear that change will bring insecurity.  Just about everything is. 

The point being that whatever may be going on in those other jurisdictions, Texas definitely, in the very present tense, requires federal oversight of its electoral processes.  Texas was not just guilty of racist voting practices in the past.  The Republicans of Texas  fight for racist electoral processes daily and have had this very thing that has happened - the abolishing of this aspect of the Voting Rights Act - in their Party Platform every single time.

The day of the ruling Texas vowed to implement its controversial (racist) Voter ID legislation and to implement redistricting maps passed by the Legislature.

Of course, each racist thing that Texas or any of these other jurisdictions do can always be taken to court the old fashioned way, but the money and years that takes means that injustices will continue for long, long years when they happen.  And they will happen.  

The other option, one which the Supreme Court actually invited, is for Congress to rewrite the coverage formula based upon modern information.  This needs to happen.  Instead of striking down section four as it existed, I believe the Court should have, in the light of the legion current examples of the need for federal electoral oversight of places like Texas, required Congress to rewrite the formula right then, under the Court's supervision, instead of making a ruling that will lead to the years of injustice that will happen now.  

That's not what happened, though.

So now it is up to us to make sure Congress gets another formula written.  Where I live, my Congressional Representative and Senators are currently jumping for joy that they can now implement racist voting laws and maps and processes, so they are not going to be much help.  We need a national campaign.  Let's start now.  We've had a  couple of weeks to wallow in the shock and horror, but we can't waste any more time.  We've got to fight.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Summer Joy: Egg & Olive Sandwiches

My grandma's recipe spread to me via my mom:  Equal parts chopped hard-boiled eggs and chopped black olives, mixed with mayo to taste and spread on the bread of your choice.  Yum.  Summer food.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Round Two

Governor Perry called a second Special Session of the Texas Legislature to deal with the Texas Republicans' bill to bring back death-by-coat-hangers, which was defeated in the first Special Session by the efforts of Senator Wendy Davis and the people of Texas last week.

This time the Republicans are taking no chances.  The Capitol complex is littered with troops in riot gear, the Lt. Governor has stated that it will take only a simple majority rather than the traditional two-thirds vote of the Senate to bring a bill to the floor and public testimony is being limited.

So much for rule of law. But we already knew the Texas Republicans felt that way, didn't we?  They ignored all the rules last time, too.