Sunday, July 27, 2014

I have the right to my own pee, thankyouverymuch

Downtown Grounds
12oz Soy Vanilla Latte
Coffeecake Muffin

If you're one of those people who say that people who receive food stamps or other public assistance should have to pee in cup first, you're wrong.  If you say, "Well, I had to pee in a cup for my job - why shouldn't they have to pee for their check?" I say, none of us should be peeing for a check.  This is an artificial problem with an unconstitutional solution.

In the Bill of Rights we are explicitly protected from unreasonable search and seizure, to be secure in our person and property.  I consider my pee to be both part of my "person" and, once expelled, still my "property."  That is why I believe it is explicitly forbidden for the government to demand the right to search it unreasonably.  So, the question then is, is it reasonable?


I have a right to be presumed innocent, not to be profiled.  The government needs to demonstrate a reasonable belief that I will fail that search, that I have used some kind of illegal drug.  There is no data that has ever been presented to demonstrate such a great overuse of drugs among people seeking government assistance that it is necessary to screen for it.  In fact, in places where this has been implemented, the statistics have shown dramatically less drug use of any kind compared to the greater population.  And that does not appear to be a deterrent effect as the numbers seeking assistance did not significantly drop.  The only thing it did produce was a net loss to the states due to the cost of the testing.

And what is the remedial solution for the people who fail the test?  Does the state then press charges, remove the children, force the person to enroll in a drug treatment course?  To my knowledge, none of that.  The sole purpose is to excuse the rest of us from having to give those morally inferior people any help.  This topic is not discussed with the tone of those concerned that just giving money to addicts is not really going to help them or the rest of us sacrificing our hard-earned money.  This topic is thrown around with hot-blooded contempt at this fictional class of degenerate moochers and scam-artists.

Even if you think that it's not that big of a deal to just pee in a cup and maybe cull a few scammers if we can, then you are not appreciating the real importance of this matter.  It is not just that complying with this mandatory drug-testing would be ceding another constitutional protection, it is also accepting as valid the irrational prejudice against people in financial distress.  It is shaming innocents.  It is another form, if not another facet, of racism.

I am not guilty, and I should not have to be treated as a lesser person, a lesser citizen, just because other people believe that I am.

The only time anyone could be reasonably compelled to pee in a cup to prove they are not under the influence of some intoxicant or other, is if the real concern for public safety is so great that it should outweigh the individual's right to their person and their privacy.  If there is a reasonable concern in your occupation that allowing anyone in that job to conduct their work while impaired would result in the harm of others, then yes, I think you could make case for testing as part of their job.  Some kind of test to reasonably assure the rest of us that the person is fit to perform their duties, even if that doesn't require a specimen - you can make a case for it.  But no citizen should be required to forgo their constitutional rights even in a private employment arrangement.  These rights are there for a reason, and that reason doesn't cease to exist when the people involved stop being members of governmental bodies.

Don't let anyone try to turn you against your fellow human beings to keep you distracted for their own purposes.  Creating this myth of the immoral poor keeps the slightly-better-offs busy condemning their neighbors, investing so much energy in self-righteous hostility, instead of scrutinizing the greater economic structure.  If the so-called middle class are feeling economic strain, it's not because there is a mass movement to exploit the social safety net.  Their financial strain stems from an economic structure that produces massive amounts of people in need of the safety net.

And the truth is that the net is so underfunded that it cannot adequately assist all the people who need it.  It is not really all that exploitable - I know.  I've been in the lines, I've filled out the forms - there is not enough help to go around.  We are grateful for all the help we've received - that's the only reason we dared to have two kids instead of just one.  But we are in a lot more debt this year than in previous years specifically due to the carried-over loss from sequester cuts to food stamp programs.  The money has since been restored, but the legacy of those cuts is carried over at a 20+% interest rate.  And really, why should a working family have to receive food stamps to get by, anyway?

Okay, coffee shop is closing.  Leaving it there.  No edits.  Peace and love, my friends.

Monday, July 21, 2014

No, YOUR opinions on body hair are completely bizarre and stupid.

Mix Bakeshop
12ozDecaf Americano

Boy, nothing kills the mood like finding out your partner finds something about you completely disgusting...

And here's the t.m.i. warning for my squeamish friends and family.  Proceed or turn back now.  It is in your hands.

So, I was in the shower the other day and I popped my head out to ask my husband if he would care if let my pits go for a few more days since the skin has been a bit irritated lately.  His reply gag was almost not comical.  Apparently, he's one of those guys that thinks any body hair below the eyebrows is gross on women.

I already knew that he was surprised to initially discover where I did and didn't preserve my natural hair growth.  And I knew that he was aware of my ever-so-slight fem-stache (does that make me a hipster?), so I made sure to actually don makeup for the sake of our wedding photos.  However, I didn't realize that it was not just new to him among the females he has dated, but that it was actually repellent to him.

This left me with a dilemma in the shower because on the one hand, screw you guy, it's normal for female human animals to have hair under their pits and there are innumerable pictures findable on the internet of beautiful women with hairy pits, albeit mostly from other countries who think we are completely weird about body hair, which we are.  On the other hand, wow do I feel fucking unattractive, thanks, hon.

A while ago, I posted a mini-blog (on my old myspace blog) that read approximately:

I have decided to stop shaving my legs.  It's a hassle, it's winter, and they never come out much in the summer anyway.  Am I worried about repelling guys?  Nah.  The next guy to get down my pants will have already accepted backfat, stretchmarks, and a low self-opinion - I don't think hairy legs are going to be the deal-breaker.

Guess I was right.

Finding an unshaven woman unattractive is weird and dumb when you think about it.  As is finding an uncircumcised penis unattractive.  That is unfair to the man possessing that penis because, really, all penises are unattractive.  What if men in this country wanted women to start getting female circumcision?  What we are already expected to do is bad enough - high heels that deform your feet over time, push-up bras and Spanx and plastic surgery.  Imagine parents looking at their infant daughters saying stupid stuff like, "I just don't want men to look at her and be grossed out... let's carve up her cooch, honey!"

I am reminded that I ended a blog with a rhetorical topic question: "Dress tape - your boobs' best friend, or sticky shackles of the Patriarchy?"  The answer is both.  I am using some right now because, if I weren't, I would have to continually scoop my boobs off to the sides since this bra is so low-cut that the girls will, naturally, slide down the path of least resistance, resulting in what I like to call, "front-butt."  Without dress tape holding them back, we'd all be suffering from permanent nip-dysplasia.  If bra designers - or the fashion industry at large - knew or cared anything about real boobs, they would never design crap like this.

Any-hoo.  Back to the shower.

So, I decided to shave the pits (maybe I'll try growing my pit hair out in the winter), but I left my legs snaggly.  I've also been giving my husband crap ever since this (he does graciously allow for female arm hair), but he has also made it perfectly clear that body hair does not get in the way of him loving me, or finding me attractive.  So, while it bothers me that it bothers him, I'm standing my ground more or less, and hopefully, in time, he'll get over it.

No edits - good-night!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Unprotected Sex

Mix Bake Shop
Anise Shortbread

I don't know where to start.  I have found myself shouting and/or writing the word "motherfucker" frequently following the Supreme Court's ruling on the Hobby Lobby case.  The anthropomorphic personification of a business arrangement has been granted primacy over my body, my sexuality, and my religious beliefs.  The most sexist, slut-shaming-ist corners of a single religion have been given preference over all other interpretations of a loving and tolerant deity - or a loving and tolerant society, for that matter.  Pseudoscience has been legitimized by the same method as getting Tinkerbell fly: clap your hands and say, "I do believe that a zygote is a person even before a woman is pregnant!"


This is one of the most ridiculous interpretations of the law that I've seen in my lifetime.  First, just because it is "precedent" for corporations to be considered people, doesn't mean the interpretation was ever valid in the first place.  That interpretation can, and should, be struck down at any time.  But even the liberal justices seem disinclined to rock that boat, so it's going to have to take an act of Congress - the most inactive body of government - to explicitly undo corporate personhood.

Second, no person has the right to deny their employee their due compensation, nor to direct them in what they can or cannot do with their wages.  Not for any reason.  You can't say, "I'm not giving Phil his paycheck because he smokes and drinks and I have a deep moral opposition to those behaviors - you can't make me pay for it!"  You don't get to decide.  It's not your money anymore.  If Phil put in his time and did the work, then he is now entitled to his compensation, whatever form it takes.  Withholding it would be illegal.  Unless, apparently, Phil is a Philomena.

Next, by what logic does this particular belief get its special exception?  Logically, how does this differ?  Because this person behind the corporate person thinks that contraception is a form of abortion?  So what?  First, that's not accurate.  There are numerous articles out there circulating that explain the real science behind all these forms of contraception.  Second, abortion is a legal right and should be protected, though it is continually infringed or outright assaulted.

If we all agreed that the abortion of a fetus was murder, then it would not be legal.  But we don't.  Hence, it is still nominally legal for a woman to decide what happens in and to her own body.  To be clear, I don't believe that a fetus is devoid of personhood, but I do not believe that it is of equivalent personhood to that of a born child.  And I certainly don't believe that whatever rights it has are superior to those of the mother carrying it.  I believe that we need special "grey laws" that try to address the interests of the potential person and the undeniably real person carrying it.

And a woman is more than just a baby incubator.  That developing fetus that will one day, if all goes well, become a child is altered continually by the conditions of the mother's condition.  And vice versa.  The mother's diet, physical activity, her worries, affect the developing fetus, and the very act of carrying the child alters the woman in profound ways.  Her chemistry, her mental health, her physicality all change in unknown and dramatic ways.  And who best to say whether or not those changes or conditions should be continued for the mother and the one-day-maybe child?

Certainly not the abstract legally-incarnated bogeyman withholding her paycheck.

Here's a little insight for you sexist bosses who want to pretend that depriving a woman of her healthcare will prevent you from being complicit in her "consequence free sex" life.  If she can't prevent her unintended pregnancy from happening through not-actually-abortive contraception, she's going to use the money you give her in her paycheck to pay for the real, actual abortion a few weeks later.  Which is costlier in every possible way...

And I'm just gonna leave this little link here to one of my earlier blogs, wherein I totally demolish any opposition to the idea of contraception: To the new pope...

As was noted by Justice Ginsberg and others, the Pill and other contraceptive devices are frequently used for other medical purposes (right here, guys!).  The not-able-to-get-pregnant feature is a side-effect the woman and her healthcare provider have to take into consideration when deciding whether or not to utilize it.  What about other medical treatments that cause temporary or permanent infertility?  Should we allow those treatments to be denied as well, even if we could cure somebody's cancer?

The day after this decision came down we immediately saw, not just the hypothetical ways in which this ruling would enable "non-favored" (non-Christian) religious beliefs being imposed on workers by for-profit corporations, but the new actual legal challenges by employers trying to deny workers various rights because of "sincerely held beliefs."  Specifically, they're goin' after the gays.

And why is it that sincere religious beliefs are imbued with a variety of protections, but my sincere beliefs founded on reason and empathy get bupkis?  How many people just go along with what they were told to believe when they were little?  Somebody hundreds or thousands of years ago came up with a story full of dos and don'ts and somebody else just said, "Okay," and, ta-da! - you're exempt.  I put years of thoughtful consideration into the guiding principles of my life and it's, "Pay your taxes and burn in hell, hippy!"

Again, motherfuckers.

(Yes, I know many devout people do reflect upon the tenants of their faith.  I'm just saying there are millions mailing it in and still getting preferential treatment.)

I have the right to believe and do as I choose, so long as it does not infringe upon the rights of others.  The burden of being an American is protecting the rights of those you disagree with.  It doesn't matter to my employer what I choose to read or watch or listen to, just as long as I'm polite to the customers.  It doesn't matter whether or not I eat a vegan diet and go hiking, or if I love bacon and barely leave the house, so long as I can lift box A and put it on shelf B.  My employer doesn't get to dock my pay if I get drunk one weekend, make out with some random lesbian at a party, and show up on Monday with a new neck tattoo, so long as I show up and do my job - in a turtleneck.

As other great thinkers have said:

If I wanna take a guy home with me tonight
It's none of your business
And she wanna be a freak and sell it on the weekend
It's none of your business
Now you shouldn't even get into who I'm givin' skins to
It's none of your business
So don't try to change my mind, I'll tell you one more time
It's none of your business

But, alas, sex is not a protected right in this country.

Sexism, however, has just been thrown a box of Trojans and a bottle of Viagra.