Victory!

Apr. 2nd, 2012 05:58 pm
tiger_spot: (Venus)
Remember my unhappiness with the YMCA?

After I sent the letter, I got a nice response from the director thanking me for taking the time to write out my concerns and letting me know that it had been forwarded to the director of risk management.

When I mentioned it to my obstetrician, she thought I was being silly and should take it less personally. "Sure, it would be fine for you to make that decision; you're informed about your health. But lots of people don't follow their doctor's instructions." (That made me grumpy.)

Today I got an e-mail from the director of risk management, informing me that the policy has been changed and now they'll just use the regular waiver that they use for everything else.

::victory dance::

So I guess I'm going to prenatal yoga next Sunday!
tiger_spot: (Venus)
The other day I had a rather unpleasant surprise from the El Camino YMCA. It turns out that before one can attend any of their prenatal exercise classes, one must produce a note of consent from one's doctor. They have a handy little "Pre/Post Natal CONSENT FORM" for the doctor to fill out, which I have a copy of here. I complained about this a bit when I got home: [livejournal.com profile] chinders suggested I put dead fish on their desks. [livejournal.com profile] andres_s_p_b suggested I forge the requested paperwork. After playing along long enough to e-mail my doctor and see if there's a good time this week for me to drop in and get the form actually filled out, I thought about it a bit more and decided exactly how annoyed I was.

I am very, very annoyed.

I have written the following letter, which I intend to send to the Executive Director, both Associate Executive Directors, and the Group Exercise Director. My goals here are twofold:
1. Blister their ears so badly their hair catches fire.
2. Effect immediate policy change.
I consider 2 less likely, so I'll settle for 1 if I have to.

Have a look. See if you can spot any ways it could be improved towards either of those goals. Also, do you think I should have my doctor countersign the letter or at least review the paragraph she's in, or is that just playing into their hands? Furthermore, while I'm planning to e-mail each director a separate personally-addressed copy, should I mail four physical copies as well or just one? If just one, does "Dear Directors:" work as a salutation?

It is about a page long. )
tiger_spot: (Default)
Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples. The Constitution simply does not allow for "laws of this sort."

The particular tack the court took here is interesting. Their ruling that Prop 8 is unconstitutional relies on the fact that, in California, gay couples can get all other effects of marriage except the word by other means -- they are allowed to adopt children, they can share insurance benefits, all that good stuff -- so Prop 8 literally does nothing other than make a semantic distinction between heterosexual and homosexual couples. (Proposition 8 worked a singular and limited change to the California Constitution: it stripped same-sex couples of the right to have their committed relationships recognized by the State with the designation of 'marriage,' . . . while leaving in place all of their other rights and responsibilities as partners -- rights and responsibilities that are identical to those of married spouses and form an integral part of the marriage relationship.) Obviously, says the court, there is no compelling state interest in making a useless semantic distinction like that.

The decision can't be directly applied to a state in which a ban on gay marriage is accompanied by a ban on related civil rights, because there could, theoretically, be a state interest in limiting those rights -- this decision didn't consider that, because the particular case is not rationally related . . . to either of these purported interests [increasing the likelihood of children being raised by two biological parents and decreasing the likelihood of unintended out-of-wedlock pregnancies], whether or not the interests would be legitimate under other circumstances. Proposition 8 could not have reasonably been enacted to promote childrearing by biological parents, to encourage responsible reproduction, to proceed with caution in social change, to protect religious liberty, or to control the education of schoolchildren, since it doesn't actually affect any of those things. We therefore need not, and do not, decide whether any of these purported rationales for the law would be "legitimate," or would suffice to justify Propsition 8 if the amendment actually served to further them.

I get this sense from some of the undertones that the court is rather unhappy with the proponents of the amendment for wasting their time bringing up all this completely irrelevant stuff. We in no way mean to suggest that Proposition 8 would be consitutional if only it had gone further -- for example, by also repealing same-sex couples' equal parental rights, but because this particular amendment didn't affect any other rights, the constitutionality of affecting those other rights simply wasn't considered in this decision.

There's also a distinction between laws that remove access to a right, privilege, or program from groups that had it and laws that create a new right, privilege, or program limited to certain groups. That is, withdrawing a right or benefit from one group but not others is more constitutionally suspect than creating a new right or benefit limited to the other groups. The kind of change in the law is relevant, even if the final results are identical. That means that the fact that marriage was previously allowed to all in California puts Proposition 8 in a less tenable position than a similar ban in a state that already explicitly disallowed certain marriages by other means.

By using their initiative power to target a minority group and withdraw a right that it possessed, without a legitimate reason for doing so, the People of California violated the Equal Protection Clause. We hold Proposition 8 to be unconsitutional on this ground.

(Bold text from ruling as reported by the LA Times.)
tiger_spot: (Default)
Go vote!

Voting

Oct. 8th, 2010 07:30 pm
tiger_spot: (Magritte)
Our mail-in ballots have arrived, as have the ancillary voter's guide and candidate statements and so forth. Also piles of advertising.

Andres has noticed that the fliers addressed to him are clearly specifically aimed at Hispanic voters -- there hasn't been such a clear demarcation in the past, so we're assuming that this is a result of the neighborhood demographics, possibly combined with his last name. It's interesting to compare the different versions.

I am sad at the voter's guide -- my usual guideline for using it to evaluate propositions I'm unfamiliar with is to see which side uses more ALL-CAPS SENTENCES, then vote for the other one. (This is not the only research I do, but to date it's lined up fairly well with my actual preferences.) This year, that won't work, because EVERYONE IS VERY CONCERNED OMG.

The arguments for and against the wee local measures (school funding, that sort of thing) are interesting because all the "against" arguments are by the same people[1], and all the "rebuttal to argument against"s begin more or less "The opponents of this measure have their facts wrong." Well, not literally all, but it's a pervasive theme.

I have no idea what to do about redistricting (do you have an opinion? share it!), but everything else seems pretty straightforward assuming it does what the summary says. Does anybody have more information about the "driving under the influence" part of the argument against proposition 19? I'm for legalization on general principles, but I'm a little concerned about some of the groups that are lined up against it. It sounds to me like the things this proposition is apparently missing should be easy enough to add in later, but if there's a reason that's not the case I may have to think about it more.



[1] My other voter's guide guideline is to vote against anything supported by a group with "Taxpayers Association" in its name, and likewise to vote for anything they're against. There may be exceptions to this rule -- I am in fact for fiscal responsibility! -- but my version of fiscal responsibility basically means "Use taxes instead of bonds, sheesh, have you heard of interest payments?" and also "Tax the rich more than the poor, we can afford it." While there are arguments to be made that a particular tax or fee or what-have-you is unnecessary or poorly designed, a group whose only purpose is to not pay taxes is not a group I trust to make those arguments honestly.
tiger_spot: (Default)
"...we the people have remained faithful to the ideals of our forebears, and true to our founding documents."

1. Note the really glorious avoidance of sexist language there. Obama's very smooth about this particular aspect of language. (There's some "founding fathers" later on, but overall quite good.)
2. The quickest way to my withered little patriotic heartstrings is to quote or paraphrase bits out of the Preamble to the Constitution, or the Declaration of Independence, or pretty much anything Thomas Jefferson ever said.

"These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics."

Data and statistics! Data and statistics! ::jumps up and down::

"We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things."

I get this really comforting sense, overall, that the grown-ups are in charge now.

"...all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness."

There's that famous documents thing again. This is a beautiful echo.

"Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things -- some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom."

Mmmmmmmmm.

"...we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals."

YES.

"And so to all the other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more....
To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to the suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect."

Or, when Kennedy said it in 1961:
"To those old allies whose cultural and spiritual origins we share, we pledge the loyalty of faithful friends. United, there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided, there is little we can do -- for we dare not meet a powerful challenge at odds and split asunder.
To those new States whom we welcome to the ranks of the free, we pledge our word that one form of colonial control shall not have passed away merely to be replaced by a far more iron tyranny. We shall not always expect to find them supporting our view. But we shall always hope to find them strongly supporting their own freedom....
To those peoples in the huts and villages across the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required -- not because the Communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich."

"Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends -- hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism -- these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history."

This is an excellent definition. There was this whole theme through the speech of change as an agent in service of old values, of progress in a direction set hundreds of years ago, of America as a vector rather than a static point. I liked it.


Phrases I expect to hear again:
* "remaking America"
* "every willing heart"
* "our patchwork heritage"
* "the price and the promise of citizenship"
* "that great gift of freedom"

Phrase the crowd didn't seem to respond to as well as I would have expected, so I may not hear again as much as I'd like:
* "a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous"
tiger_spot: (Default)
We went to a big election gathering at a friend's house, with the TV alternating between CNN and the Daily Show (then, after the speeches, local news until it became clear that prop 8 was not going to be decided that evening, at which point those of us remaining went home) and a couple of laptops cycling through various maps. Also tasty dinner!

I liked McCain's speech, but it didn't look like his audience thought much of it. The audience disturbs me.

I love watching Obama with his family.

There was quite a lot of cheering and terrorist fist-bumping and so forth from the lot of us around the speeches. Probably some other good quotes, too, but this is what sticks in my mind:
[livejournal.com profile] tiger_spot: I'd take a bullet for that man. You know, in an arm or a leg or something disposable.
[livejournal.com profile] suzimoses: You'd make a good secret service agent.
[livejournal.com profile] tiger_spot: Let me get my sunglasses.
[livejournal.com profile] chinders: You're wearing just about the right outfit!
[livejournal.com profile] tiger_spot: I need more ominous pants.

8 makes me sad. Doesn't look like there's much to be done about it right now; there are quite a few protests going various places but I don't know what they're meant to be accomplishing as public and legislative opinion have nothing to do with anything for the next little while. Keep an eye on this case; that'll tell us what approach to take where. You can sign up for e-mail updates on the court's website.
tiger_spot: (Default)
Do me proud.
tiger_spot: (Default)
1. Donate.
2. Make one of these:


Equality for all is a fantastic idea but not a very good slogan. I like this one better, and I want to see it spread.

Protect real marriages. Vote NO on 8.

(Also, if you happen to know of any place I could legally put some more of these where people might, you know, see them, that would be fantastic. I've got the cardboard, I've got the big black marker, but I don't have street-facing property.)

[Edit: Also also, here is a brand new [livejournal.com profile] no_on_prop_8 community.]

FYI

Oct. 14th, 2008 09:12 pm
tiger_spot: (Default)
The Human Rights Campaign has a few donors who are matching all contributions made today to the No on 8 campaign.

We just gave another $150, which I think means our names get published somewhere. Look, a visible political stand!

I am also considering volunteering for the phone banking at some point, although frankly the concept is terrifying.
tiger_spot: (Default)
[Warning: This post contains topics known to the State of California to be specific to the State of California and uninteresting to residents of other areas.]

I got a call this evening from someone calling around to encourage people to vote yes on Proposition 8.

"You're voting yes on Proposition 8?" I inquired, not at all sure I'd heard correctly.
"Yes," said the young woman on the phone.
"You want to prevent people who love each other from marrying?" I asked, just to be clear.
"Well, I've got kids, see, and I don't want them taught--"
"You are an ass," I hissed, and hung up the phone.

While someone who's phone banking for the damn thing probably isn't convincible, there were several more useful ways to end that conversation (or prolong it, preventing her from encouraging anyone), which did not occur to me through the blinding anger. I kinda don't think they'll be calling back here, but if you are similarly prone to outbursts of rage when people are being evil, a little advance warning may be useful. So there you are.
tiger_spot: (Default)
Hm. That was less helpful than I was hoping:

92% Mike Gravel
91% Dennis Kucinich
87% Chris Dodd
84% John Edwards
84% Barack Obama
82% Joe Biden
81% Hillary Clinton
76% Bill Richardson
34% Rudy Giuliani
23% Ron Paul
20% John McCain
18% Tom Tancredo
14% Mitt Romney
14% Mike Huckabee
7% Fred Thompson
















2008 Presidential Candidate Matching Quiz

(via [livejournal.com profile] kalmn)

Politics

Jan. 4th, 2008 10:00 am
tiger_spot: (Default)
(This'll be the only one. Probably.)

I'm not actually a registered Democrat, because I have philosophical objections to the two-party system. However, I am one for all practical purposes, and the California Democratic party will let independents vote in the primary, so I'm going to be doing that.

I'm just not sure for whom yet. It's either Obama or Edwards, I've narrowed it down that far. But I'm having a hard time comparing the two candidates. Does anybody know of a nice little chart or something comparing their voting histories and general policies and so forth?
tiger_spot: (spots)
Because I voted on Saturday. Yay early voting!

Now I'm checking assorted reporting websites and quivering slightly while I wait for the results to come in. I'm all nervous, but excited too because it looks pretty good so far! Then again, it looked good for a while in 2000 there, so I'll be sticking mostly with 'nervous' for a while yet.

Or maybe that's the drugs.

See, I got root-canaled today. It was surprisingly simple, at least after the fourth shot of Novocaine. (The first few didn't take so well.) I have discovered an entirely new level of nervous, caused by other people putting burning things! in my mouth! and producing smoke!

I now have a bit of cotton sealed into my tooth, under a temporary filling, and will be getting a crown put on three weeks from now. And then another two weeks from then (for hardening, or something). In the meantime I have antibiotics, which I am supposed to take for a week, and Serious Pain Medication, which I am supposed to take only if I need it. I must remember to bring both these things to work tomorrow.

The other exciting thing that happened today was just a minute ago. While I was poking at election returns, I heard a sudden explosion of cursing from the kitchen. This is not in itself particularly unusual, but when I went to investigate neither Andres nor dinner had suffered any harm. Instead, there was water on the ceiling, water on the floor, water on Andres, and the kitchen faucet lying in the bottom of the sink. Fortunately, it has a nice simple screw-type attachment, and seems to be more-or-less firmly back on now.
tiger_spot: (spots)
This PDF here has a really handy metaphor for comparing the loosely categorized liberal and conservative views of the world.

I found it quite helpful for providing understandable motivations beyond "stupid" or "evil" for the, er, major division I'm not in. I had about gotten to "rabidly different priorities" on my own, but I couldn't for the life of me figure out what those priorities were that didn't pretty much boil down to "evil" after all. I'm curious how reasonable it sounds to someone on the other side of the ideological divide, because I am very, very firmly on the "negotiated commitment" side, as is the author of the piece. No matter how good it sounds to us, it's not a useful metaphor if it doesn't work for those it purports to describe.
tiger_spot: (Default)
Federal taxes are no sweat, but Certain States I Shall Not Name [in this sentence] seriously need to improve their instructions. (Pennsylvania, I am looking at you, you confusing thing. Next to you New York and its whole "round to the nearest four decimal places" pales into simplicity.)

But I never have to file taxes in Pennsylvania again! Ha!

(California residents, please don't tell me CA taxes are complicated. I am going to try very hard not to think about it until at least January.)
tiger_spot: (Default)
So the other day I was having a nice chat with my sibling, which wandered over into general ranting. Here's the good bit:

Sibling: I've never understood why it has to be science vs. religion. Real science isn't even remotely trying to answer the question of Godlyness in our universe, it's just stating observable phenomenon
Sibling: It's not witchcraft (like spelling)
Tiger Spot: Well, there are two views on that. There is the 'separate realms' view, which says that anything you can observe about the real world (what *is*) is science, and anything about morals (what *should be*) is religion.
Tiger Spot: That's what reasonable people think.
Tiger Spot: The other view is known as the 'mouth-breathing dumbass fundamentalist' view, and it goes "All y'all women and animals and differnt colored folks are supposed to work for me because this book says I am of the chosen people, and no I haven't read it but that's what my preacher says and he is RIGHT, and everything in this book is literally true even though the first two chapters contradict each other in several different ways and ALL Y'ALL ARE GOING TO HELL and I'M GLAD but YOU AIN'T TAKIN' MY POOR SWEET INNOCENT CHILDREN (who don't know anything about sex and will therefore be knocked up within a year because they have no idea how not to be) WITH YOU BY SHOWIN' THEM ANYTHING THAT MIGHT MAKE THEM THINK!"
Tiger Spot: Or something along those lines; I'm a little fuzzy on the details.

It was awfully cathartic.

And then andres_s_p_b read it over my shoulder and laughed and said "You should put that on your LiveJournal!"

So I did.

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