urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
I meant to write another post to clarify/supplement the last locked one (standalone enough with only a brief description), but this hasn't been the best couple of days. I've still got some things to say about nonviolence, the "violent mentally ill people" meme, and some other stuff, and hopefully will be able to get around to it soon.

Reposted from last night's Tumblr spree (which has been more to my level of concentration lately), behind a cut for space:

Funny-sounding problems that aren't so amusing after all )

Yeah, I'm pretty sure something's cracked. At least it's better than last night, but it's swollen today and one side is really sore and tender to the touch. Walking and sitting aren't a lot of fun right now. Irritating, really. [personal profile] randomswede kindly picked up some Nurofen Plus on his way home, because I didn't want to go out to a pharmacy. That's helping some. I've been trying to take it easy, but that's easier said than done. ;)

Max was sad when I was using pillows as a barrier earlier, when he was trying to be all snuggly again. Hard to tell with the angle of the shot, but his nose was jammed into my belly. He's good both at looking sad, and at snuggling. :)

And those are some strong bully legs he's got.
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
Quickie: The Conquest of our Bodies -- Which turned out less of a quick post-and-run than I'd intended. :)
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
Another addition to the Should Have Read The Label With More Care For Gluten Content list: a can of kippers. Well, Bücklingsfilets. (Yeah, I'm a weirdo who likes rollmops too, unlike the Household Swede.)

Along with the mustard seeds and bits of pepper, what did I spot clinging to the bottom of the can about halfway through lunch? A few little grainy bits, which looked suspiciously like cracked rye--definitely not barley, could have been wheat. Yep, peering at the label, the mystery grain itself was apparently lumped under "spices", but there was a "contains gluten" warning I'd missed when initially scanning it in the store--no doubt assuming that canned fish with a few spices thrown in would be safe. Yay. :-|

This is still not quite as odd an addition to the list as the Tesco spreadable cream cheese which turned out to be thickened with wheat fiber, of all things. (Thickeners in the first place? Not so great a quality indicator.) That one I only noticed when going through the "OK, what unusual things have I eaten lately?" routine a couple of days later.

With any luck, it wasn't enough to cause a problem, since I don't think I actually ate any of the little grainy bits. Luckily, I'm usually not that sensitive to small traces, but this is very unpredictable. Don't think I'll be making much in the way of plans outside the house for a few days.

More exasperating than anything else, really. Bah.

In more general news, the brain fog details have changed, at least. I'm still not doing so well at the whole "reading, then formulating a response and typing it out" thing, but have returned to my old hyperlexic ways. ("[L]earn to read whole sentences before they turn three"?#--sounds late to me. *wry smile*) I wasn't doing so well with reading for a while there. Which is handy, since February is consistently Depression Time--even more so with the more rapidly shifting light levels at this latitude, AFAICT--and holing up with a stack of books (or the still-Shiny New Android crammed with e-books, as the case may be) is an excellent way of riding it out. Yeah, this pattern is also more mildly frustrating than anything else, after 20-odd years; certainly nothing unexpected to get upset about. But, I will probably continue not to be online much for a while.
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
And on the lighter side...

Makes me smile

Hard to go too wrong with animal pics. :)

Brain foggy

Jan. 3rd, 2011 08:11 pm
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
Sorry I haven't been around much lately. I've been having a hard time with commenting, but have been reading some.

An excellent post from [personal profile] kaz I didn't have the spoons to comment on earlier: Variability, video and being a Good Disabled Person. (So it's also not just me with the commenting variability, which was kind of reassuring to see. *shakes head*) The variability is probably one of the most difficult things to deal with, IME.

Lately I've been having a lot of brain fog (pretty good description, BTW) and "migraines". Now I'm suspecting that the wonky blood sugar and possible-TLE may be ganging up together in sort of a vicious circle. The two go together a lot apparently, and fluctuating blood glucose will trigger seizures which then raise your blood glucose levels. (Nice! :-|) It would explain a lot, including why the BG levels have been so hard to manage.

(More support for the seizure idea, which I ran across while looking for something entirely different, here. The same thing happened to me multiple times as to the OP there when going off medications acting as anticonvulsants--and onto ones that will lower the seizure threshold.)

From the brain fog link, I ended up trying the Online Cognitive Screening Test from University of Florida, out of curiosity, the other night. The results were both encouraging and, erm, really not. On one hand, yeah, I'm not just imagining that the brain fog is a significant problem; OTOH, scoring 1st-3rd percentile "very low" on an assessment intended for people with Alzheimer's when you're tired is more than a little demoralizing. :( Not that verbal memory and task switching are my strong points at the best of times; I've been hesitant to retry it when just "normally" fatigued. But, again on the brighter side, maybe I'm not coping so badly (and/or Not Trying Hard Enough) after all. *wry smile*
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
I became aware of a situation late last night on Twitter, but didn't have enough Sanity Watchers Points left to try to write about it then.

The post referred to: Anna Raccoon's The Orwellian Present – Never Mind the Future.

I have found the Mental Health Act (England and Wales) disturbing enough, with no real requirement that people be dangers to themselves or others to be locked up. Those requirements are easily enough manipulated where they do apply. Based on personal experience elsewhere, I know how easy it can be if you are perceived in certain ways for it to be considered (under draft provisions) "necessary for the health or safety of the patient or the protection of other persons that medical treatment be provided to him". (From the previously linked grounds for compulsion page.) I am not sure what has become of drafts since then, and it's not really important here: let it suffice to say that all the draft provisions I've seen (along with the 1983 version they're meant to supplant) make it appallingly easy to twist criteria to lock up pretty much anybody, with very little accountability. And nobody's going to make a fuss if the way the person's behavior is presented and interpreted comes across as weird enough.

That's appalling enough. Being able to do a total end-run around what few protections apply to people who fall under the Mental Health Act, while claiming you're not really holding them involuntarily--as apparently happened here? I don't have the words.

I can't find much more information about Stephen Neary's situation and would like to, but--again, based on my own experience and things I have witnessed--I find what is described hideously plausible. Reading about it left me shivering and having flashbacks (which I am well aware would make me far less plausible to a lot of people, to the point that I hesitated to mention it).

More on Deprivation of Liberty "safeguards" referred to in Anna Raccoon's post. Again, I have very little trouble believing that this could be twisted to create "arbitrary decisions that deprive vulnerable people of their liberty", For Their Own Good. That's a nasty mix of disablism and institutionalized arsiness for you. (See also the Stanford Prison Experiment.)

My own reaction was rather different from what near-inevitably came up in one discussion I did find (from someone who was at least trying to maintain an open mind):
There is a massive campaign with this petition on facebook and elsewhere on the net and I have not joined any bandwagons I've seen about it because as you say this is one emotive side to a story. I too thought it highly unlikely a 'tap' on the shoulder would instigate any incident reports, and them being unable to name a Vicar was more to do with confidentiality and safety rather than being unable to recall a name or that he didn't exist.

I had no trouble believing that once certain types of stigma kicked in, everything the (not very small-looking and "low-functioning") man did was viewed through a certain suspicious lens, and the Zakhqurey Price-style punitive "you are defying me, you inferior disordered so-and-so" factor kicked in as well--a tap on the shoulder would have been very likely to get written up as assault. And very few other staff members or people higher up in the system would object, since he is autistic/mentally ill/what have you after all, and it's probably for his own good.

Insisting that this kind of thing couldn't possibly happen absolutely reeks of privilege. I have seen people written up for less in institutional settings. The same goes for predictable agitated behavior in someone who is being held against their will in unfamiliar settings--autism is not required, but it sure does help! To me, it's just a bit surprising that they didn't have Mr. Neary arrested, as per the zero tolerance BS pointed out near the end of a previous post. (I am skipping quoting that, for length.)

Actually, what I have read about Mr. Neary's case (and I bet he doesn't get called that a lot!) strikes me as an excellent example of how differently criteria can be applied depending on how a person is seen in the first place. Sometimes that means that a tap on the shoulder (or making faces at someone) is assault, sometimes it means that trying to tackle someone down or otherwise restrain them isn't. Sometimes it means that the police get called just because someone is suspiciously sitting in front of a library or beaten and Tasered by them for sitting on a curb.

And, given the amount of abuse and disregard for basic human rights that people with certain disabilities run into every single day, insisting that the only sane and sensible thing to do is to wait for information that's less "one-sided" reeks even more of privilege. Very few people want to hear about the shit that does go on, and it's rarely considered "one-sided" when the people and institutions mistreating them are the only ones allowed to speak.

So, yeah, I would like to know more about Stephen Neary's situation, but I have very little trouble believing that something like Anna Raccoon describes could happen. And I went ahead and signed a petition, as little good as I suspect it will do--because there's really not much else I can do about it. I hope that some of you reading this will do the same, and possibly come up with some better ideas.
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
I'm trying to put a longer blog post together tonight, but thought I'd post something shorter on the disability-related concerns in the meantime here.

With the cold spell the UK is in now, I've been feeling extra-lucky to have a warm house and no serious financial worries. Especially after seeing reports like this: Britain is freezing to death:

People really suffering from the cold )
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
It is frustrating to have to choose between (a) taking a shower, (b) cleaning the fish tank, (c) going grocery shopping, (d) getting some writing done, or (e) cooking a decent supper, as a plan for the afternoon.

Today I went with the grocery shopping option (not entirely happy without the shower first!)--with a GF frozen pizza, some pre-cooked chicken to help balance it out, and some broccoli to dip into dressing for supper. On the brighter side, as of today Ingvar is now using up holiday time instead of losing it for the rest of the month before starting the new job, and he came along to help carry stuff home. Also, the bus drivers for both trips were less maniacal than I've come to expect, and I at least managed to get braced before the bus jerked into motion. So, less resulting pain (and/or falling over). And the post-shopping pain meds have kicked in now.

I'm looking forward to spending more time with Ingvar, with less stress. :)

On the not-so-bright side, Neighbor Weasel has the devil's own luck at avoiding the cops. Four of them were looking for him this morning, so he's up there now making a lot of noise. I may not like the legal system (or the whole "let's set up a state" thing) much, but I hope he is gone before long--whether they pick him up or he runs off to avoid them. Not quite enough to call them and say, "Hey, you were looking for the guy upstairs? He's up there now, being a noise nuisance. Please come and get him ASAP," however. :/ I just avoid him as far as possible.

Oh yeah, from another hard-not-to-overhear phone conversation, he apparently also does have a drug problem as suspected. (This is not a reason to look down on him, per se, but when it's some kind of stimulant that seems to make him act more violent and generally obnoxious? Yeah, I'll object.) From the way he keeps suddenly starting hacking and then bouncing off the walls--literally, a couple of times--I suspect meth. Whatever it is, it really doesn't seem to do him a lot of good.

ETA: We also had a power cut overnight, which killed an aquarium filter powerhead. Thank goodness that wasn't the main filter on the tank, or I'd have been heading to Tranquility Aquatics (good independent shop!) up the road instead of buying food. And I finally picked up some bird seed today, and want to make another feeder or two tonight, which should actually be pretty fun.
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
Not to inflate the last post too much, here's Amnesty's report: Stolen Sisters: Discrimination and violence against Indigenous women in Canada, which I unaccountably forgot to link.

And, yeah, similar factors are pointed out:
According to a Canadian government statistic, young Indigenous women are five times more likely than other women of the same age to die as the result of violence.

Indigenous women have long struggled to draw attention to violence within their own families and communities. Canadian police and public officials have also long been aware of a pattern of racist violence against Indigenous women in Canadian cities – but have done little to prevent it.

The pattern looks like this:

* Racist and sexist stereotypes deny the dignity and worth of Indigenous women, encouraging some men to feel they can get away with acts of hatred against them.

* Decades of government policy have impoverished and broken apart Indigenous families and communities, leaving many Indigenous women and girls extremely vulnerable to exploitation and attack.

* Many police forces have failed to institute necessary measures – such as training, protocols and accountability mechanisms – to ensure that officers understand and respect the Indigenous communities they serve. Without such measures, police too often fail to do all they can to ensure the safety of Indigenous women and girls whose lives are in danger.

Deep rooted patterns of racism and discrimination in Canadian society have contributed to this violence in a number of ways. These include pushing Indigenous women into situations of increased vulnerability to violence, denying many Indigenous women adequate protection of police and the justice system, and sending a message to Indigenous and non-Indigenous men alike that they can likely get away with acts of violence against Indigenous women...

It is also clear from these stories that all Indigenous women – whether or not they have ever had involvement with what police and politicians sometimes label “high risk lifestyles” – may be targeted for violence or denied protection from violence simply because they are Indigenous women. The 1991 Manitoba Justice Inquiry concluded that racism and sexism intersect in dangerous stereotypes of Indigenous women as sexually “available” to men.

I cannot readily find stats on how many of these crimes are committed by non-Indigenous men, unlike the 86% figure for the US.

But, in the previous post, we're talking about more than 500 missing and murdered women, "half of them since the year 2000...the equivalent of 18,000 missing and murdered non-aboriginal women". And this is still getting treated as a few isolated cases.

ETA: See also Jessica Yee's Making the connections: Sexual Violence in Native Communities, now that I've located the link. She goes into how little attention this usually gets, and asks some excellent questions:
HOW is it that you don’t know?...WHY don’t the women in our Native communities measure up in priority?...WHAT are YOU going to do with this information now that you know about it?
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
I felt like I needed a bath in Clorox after making the mistake of reading some comments on a commentary piece by Renee Martin at the Guardian, "On Canada's 'Highway of Tears': Violence against indigenous women is not only a crime, but a reflection of Canada's refusal to repudiate its colonial history".

Yeah, I usually avoid comments on larger news sites. I almost wish I had this time. I have noticed hostility before whenever colonialism is brought up, but the attempts at derailing and nastiness on this one are something special. (Throw together misogyny, willful ignorance*, and enduring colonial racism, and that's not really a surprise.) They seem bent on proving her main point:
These murders and disappearances will only be seen as the great loss that they are when Canadians acknowledge the value each indigenous woman has.

The way defensiveness and general arsiness overrides any sense of humanity is probably what bothered me the most. No colonialist attitudes there! *headdesk*

An example of the kind of internal sense even the not-so-blatantly-trolly ones make:
The cases mention raise several points for me -

1) Truck drivers and the roads they operate on are inextricably linked with the murder of lone, vulnerable women. This is true the world over.

2) Women from ethnic minorities are more likely to be poor and therefore more likely to be victims of this type of crime either because they are sex workers or because they are put in position where the only means of transport avaiable is hitch-hiking. Again, this is true the world over.

3) The Highway of Tears does not demonstrate Canada's "failure to stem the tide of violence that aboriginal women face". Rather, these are isolated and extreme cases. I'm sure most of the violence committed against these women is perpetrated by partners and family members who are themselves indigenous.

4) There is no clear, tenable link between these crimes and Canada's "colonial past". That's a leap too far.

Yeah. You get a lot of poor, desperate indigenous (now minority) women spontaneously appearing out of thin air to get killed by their Own Kind, or inevitably by truck drivers, in some kind of economic and social vacuum--no colonialism required. And that was from one of the less blatantly trolly comments.

And this isn't even the Daily Fail.


* Like the bit that says:
According to the US Department of Justice, in at least 86 per cent of the reported cases of rape or sexual assault against American Indian and Alaska Native women, survivors report that the perpetrators are non-Native men. [similar holds for stalking, etc.- U.]

Sexual violence against Indigenous women is the result of a number of factors including a history of widespread and egregious human rights violations against Indigenous peoples in the USA. Indigenous women were raped by settlers and soldiers in many infamous episodes including during the Trail of Tears and the Long Walk. Such attacks were not random or individual; they were tools of conquest and colonization. The underlying attitudes towards Indigenous peoples that supported these human rights violations committed against them continue to be present in society and culture in the USA. They contribute to the present high rates of sexual violence perpetrated against Indigenous women and help to shield their attackers from justice.

Those factors don't somehow vanish once you cross the Canadian border. And with the hateful denialist shit that people feel like it's OK to say, no damned wonder the situation is the way it is.

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