urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
* I guess it was only a matter of time, but ye gods...

Minefields or Coalfields: Should Big Coal Change Name For Mountaintop Removal/Strip Mining?
In a new episode of Big Coal Gone Wild last week, coal lobbyists announced their intentions to rebrand mountaintop removal mining as "mountaintop development"...

Notwithstanding the fact that an estimated 50-60 percent of the coal mining jobs have been eliminated by the shift to highly mechanized and explosive strip mining operations in the last 25 years, local economies have been left in ruin, and nearly 1.2 million acres of hardwood forests and adjacent settlements have been completely wiped by out the reckless mining operations, Rob Perks at the Natural Resources Defense Council notes:

NRDC's recent analysis found that the industry's promise of reclaiming flat land for economic development is a big, flat lie. Our study -- "Reclamation FAIL" -- revealed that of the 1.2 million acres, including 500 mountains, that have been demolished by coal companies in Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia and Tennessee, over 89% of sites have no post-mining development."

And some of Thomas McElwain's comments on mining (in still Mingo/Cherokee/Shawnee country) on Mingo-L might look a tad paranoid unless (a) you've been there, or (b) you think a minute:
Actually, mountaintop removal is not the most efficient way of getting coal. It is more expensive to repair the damage afterward than there is profit in the coal. It is part of a long-going "Appalachian Plan" that has gotten congressional approval with every bill over the last fifty years or so. Anything earmarked "Appalachian Plan" is voted through without debate. The plan is to remove the local population from the Appalachian area and artificially restructure the landscape to make the whole area a playground get-away for the eastern seaboard gentry. Look for reams of information in government archives under the title "Appalachian Plan."

Erm, yeah. History repeats.

* Better than I expect from Newsweek: Divided We Eat: What food says about class in America

Which reminds me, I need to go and drain my soaking pot of pinto beans...

With a lovely illustration of lifestyle activism:
“This is our charity. This is my giving to the world,” says Alexandra, finally, as she packs lunchboxes—organic peanut butter and jelly on grainy bread, a yogurt, and a clementine—for her two boys. “We contribute a lot.”

I would question whether that quote was made up if I hadn't met people like that. And quickly gone away to avoid yelling at them, because it wouldn't help.

* What does cultural competence look like? Ye gods. (Yeah, I'm having that reaction a lot today.) From the linked PDF excerpts of the book in question:
Food may be perceived negatively in the context of witchcraft. It is thought that witchcraft promotes intentional poisoning by food. Thus, it is important to watch carefully what one eats and who gives them food.

The strange culture in question there? African-Americans.

* And in the just plain ridiculous files, from back home: Sheriff: Man Stole Christmas Presents, Forgot Cell Phone Little more comprehensive, from the Roanoke Times: One cell leads to another: Phone lands Vinton man in jail:
Investigators needed neither fingerprints nor eyewitnesses to figure out who stole wrapped Christmas presents from a home in Carroll County last week. The burglar, the sheriff's office said, dropped his cellphone in a bedroom.

Deputies called the Vinton man's family, saying his phone had been found in Carroll County. Could he come by and pick it up?

"He shows up wanting his phone, and we were waiting for him," Investigator Shannon Goad said.

* And SW Virginia's answer to racketeering: three guys call themselves "Goonz", rob drug dealers, and get busted after they mistakenly break in on an elderly couple. That wacky ATF! They claim there are more than three in the gang, but haven't arrested anyone else; I'm not sure they exist, nor are the reporters AFAICT. Even the criminals are more prone to catherding.

ATF charges three men in alleged organized crime ring

Racketeering case lands in federal court
It is somewhat unusual for racketeering charges to be filed in Western Virginia. The charges, with maximum sentences of 20 years in prison, allege that the Goonz was an ongoing operation that affected interstate commerce.

Interstate commerce and robbing drug dealers. Erm, yeah. At least these weren't quite the ever-popular Children of the Corn gangsters:
These must be rural gangsters, the Children of the Corn variety. A proper gangster in a decent city would have no lonely stretch of highway in which to lure women in this elaborate scheme.

The fear forwards about rape prevention always come from other women. The myth of the rural gang bangers however, usually comes from law enforcement. We call it the Children of the Corn syndrome because it’s just gotten that stupid. Except for a few skinny white boys in baggy pants stealing Christmas lights and tipping cows, there are no gangs around her. What self respecting machismo wants to live in the middle of nowhere hiding in corn fields? Tagging the sides of barns? Even prison would be more appealing.

ETA: Maryland, Virginia, and the hate crimes stats gap
Virginia reported 150—97 based on race, 27 based on religion, 18 based on sexual orientation, and eight based on ethnicity, and zero based on disability.

Now disregard those figures! Both states harbor dozens of local law enforcement agencies that don't report bias-motivated crime statistics to the feds at all...

While the Virginia numbers include reports from cities as small as Bluefield (population 5,122) and Bedford (population 6,335), it's missing stats from Blacksburg (population 42,047), Herndon (population 22,078), Petersburg (population 32,966), and over 100 other Virginia cities. Also missing: Reports from the University of Mary Washington, James Madison University, and Virginia Commonwealth University; reports from the Virginia state police forces; and an account from police at Reagan National Airport. Did zero hate crimes occur at National last year? The world may never know.

Hate crimes are already an under-reported phenomenon—even in a bias-conscious place like D.C., many hate crime victims won't come forward at all, and those who do won't always see their crimes categorized correctly. In the District, reliable hate crime stats often depend upon police officers remembering to check the "bias-motivated" box on police reports; the least these local jurisdictions can do is make that box available at all.

Actually, having spent time in some of the listed cities, I would expect to be taken much more seriously as a victim in Bluefield or Bedford (which do report) than Blacksburg (which is crappy in a number of ways).
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
I'm doing better with responding to other people's writing at a distance, than at putting together posts of my own right now. So here are some more links and mushrooming commentary. ;)

Via [personal profile] dingsi: [redirect profile] transfinite's deviantART, binarism, and transphobia

I can't come up with any reasonable summarizing quote there, the whole series of interactions with deviantART staff was so chock full of fail. Another instance of trying to mentally edit people out of existence, which seems to be quite the theme today.

And I wondered a bit why I hesitated so much to mark my gender as "Other", when signing up for a hair forum which offered that choice (among other clueful ones). *sigh*

In the huge freaking surprises file, ISTR via FWD/Forward: World of hurt: Minorities get less treatment for their pain

A recent study by Green of 200 chronic pain patients in the University of Michigan health system found that black patients were prescribed fewer pain medications than whites and that women were given weaker pain medications than men were given. The research published in the Journal of Pain showed that, on average, a minority pain patient would be prescribed 1.8 pain medications compared to 2.6 drugs for non-minority sufferers.

And once they do get a prescription, they have a harder time getting it filled, Green found in an earlier study, also in the Journal of Pain. Only 54 percent of pharmacies in minority neighborhoods had the most common painkillers in stock; in majority-white neighborhoods, 87 percent of pharmacies did.

If you are deemed not very believable in general, you can't be believed when you say you're in pain. And I am appalled enough at the 87% figure for stocking the "most common painkillers", BTW. These are both basic and important medications for people's health; you may as well not stock beta blockers, and try to 'splain that one away.

"Green said the best thing that any pain patient can do, regardless of race, is to keep searching until they find a doctor who will listen and take their pain seriously." This is after it's sapped your energy, medical professionals have already given you huge loads of shit, you're depressed from dealing with the pain, you very possibly don't have enough money for essentials (especially if you're a member of a minority group), etc. Privilege? Nah. I am reminded of amandaw's Second Shift for the Sick.

See also Gender and pain management. On a personal level, it had already occurred to me that apparently giving the impression of a certain kind of rude health, even when I'm not healthy at all, has probably led to some problems. I wouldn't have thought of the “healthy is beautiful” stereotype as applied to women the doctor in question finds attractive, but it makes a certain twisted sense.

One I ran across more or less at random, through WordPress: Nerdy Apple Bottom's My son is gay

If you think that me allowing my son to be a female character for Halloween is somehow going to ‘make’ him gay then you are an idiot. Firstly, what a ridiculous concept. Secondly, if my son is gay, OK. I will love him no less. Thirdly, I am not worried that your son will grow up to be an actual ninja so back off...

But it also was heartbreaking to me that my sweet, kind-hearted five year old was right to be worried. He knew that there were people like A, B, and C. And he, at 5, was concerned about how they would perceive him and what would happen to him.

Just as it was heartbreaking to those parents that have lost their children recently due to bullying. IT IS NOT OK TO BULLY. Even if you wrap it up in a bow and call it ‘concern.’ Those women were trying to bully me. And my son. MY son.

This whole post is an excellent illustration of why kids can be so cruel: their parents will honest-to-goodness bully a 5-year-old over perceived deviation from their precious social delusions. While claiming the behavior produced by their meddling is the natural order of things--and scapegoating their own children for their cruelty. It honestly boggles the mind. Again, see also Neurononsense, and the status quo.

I continue to be amazed at adults who could possibly feel that the foundations of their reality are threatened by--and become very hostile toward--a little kid in a costume. That's kinda tacit admission that they're living inside a mental house of cards. When I have the energy, I will write more about this, and the perceived need to edit other human beings out of this "reality". And some of the ways that the concept of "believing" gets used. From one comment, and not to pick on the commenter, you get a sentence like this: "I strongly believe everyone should be treated equal not matter what you believe in." (As a scary experiment, search on "believe in" on that page, in the huge mess of comments. I made that mistake to try to find the one below again, since it got overwhelmed by the flood of new ones--actually, don't even try searching! And how often do all these different usages get confused?!)

Which reminds me of one comment reply on that post, which I could not track down after all, as fast as the new comments were pouring in (as in, a page full within two minutes' time). The previous commenter had trotted out the tired old "I don't believe in homosexuality, but you should still treat people decently" (to paraphrase)--and someone just stated, in a delightfully succinct way, that this is the same as not believing in, say, African-Americans. They exist, whether you "believe in" them or not. The original comment was a lot more incisive than my paraphrase here. ;)

From Tiger Beatdown: The Problem With Policing Someone Else’s Mental Health
For marginalized people, it is in our best interest to defend ourselves from the blunt, unstudied ‘splaining of people for whom Psychology is a weapon. You say we’re irrational, we’re unhealthy, we’re sick, we’re hysterical. I, for one, would like a second opinion.

Besides, it's none of your business unless you care about someone and honestly want to try to help--respectfully.

One comment there that pretty well sums up my attitude:
Betina, I totally agree that it’s kind of a fine line to tread. Really it’s about basic respect, which shouldn’t be that elusive but consistently seems to be. It’s not respectful to negate other people’s suffering, but it’s not respectful to treat them like they’re fucking less than you because they have a diagnosis. Which is what I myself have experienced from many doctors, although I’ve had/have fantastic doctors, too. I think treatment saved my life too, but the idea of “treatment” is different than a “cure,” you know? It’s not something you eradicate from your life experience for me- it’s something I try to integrate.

And there is abundant research that indicates that the mentally ill in the US do poorer than in countries where they don’t stop and end at a medicalized model of integration. I’m the last person to say that means treatment isn’t valuable, but I do think that it’s incredibly important to acknowledge that it’s fundamentally inadequate in of itself. There are people that treatment is never going to “cure,” people like my cousin who only respond so much to the available drugs. And if “curing” the mentally ill is the only goal on the table, then those people have to be seen as failures. Which upsets the hell out of me because I care about a bunch of those people, and they make my life a lot better just the way they are.

What it boils down to: I want people to suffer less, period. And throwing a bunch of any kind of rigid ideology into the pot doesn't help with that goal. More bullshit false dichotomies thrown up there.
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
Here are a few interesting things that showed up in my RSS reader, from blogs I don't read as often as some others. (Which reminds me, I still haven't gotten around to setting up Google Reader; the one built into Opera irritates me to the point that I've stopped adding feeds and don't read the existing ones very frequently!)

Behind a cut, since it grew longer and longer ;) )

September 2011

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