lolaraincoat: (snowshoe hare)
The Canadian health care system is a bit like our car, which is beat-up and leaks onto the driver a bit when it rains, and also is noisier than it used to be, but gets us where we're going safely and conveniently. Whereas the US health care system is like a shiny new truck that's on fire. Shiny! but not going to get you anywhere, and not safe for anyone.

People from the US are writing down their healthcare stories (what the Maoists used to call Speaking Bitterness, I think) over on one post at [personal profile] liz_marcs LJ, and people not from the US are recounting their experiences, good and bad, and responding to questions over on another post at the same journal. All this is well worth reading, but can be horribly upsetting. Still, go! talk! and spread the word! One way to counteract the lies is just to say our piece, over and over, until we're heard.






~
lolaraincoat: (leap!)
Most of you know I am a US citizen living in Canada, right? Well, I am. I moved here eight years ago, when I was 38 years old. Before that I lived most of my life in the US, sometimes with health insurance, sometimes without. So I am in a good position to answer questions comparing the US and Canadian health-care systems. Actually, I was going to post a whole long thing here making that comparison, but ... well, as some of you know, there's kind of a lot of other stuff going on in my life right now. But! Since I know there is an ad on TV right now going on, untruthfully, about how awful health care is in Canada, it seemed timely and important to say that you shouldn't believe that ad, and also, if you have any questions, please ask.

eta The discussion has magically aggregated itself on my lj, so if you want to talk about this, go here: lolaraincoat.livejournal.com .
lolaraincoat: (feminist)
So of course I am greatly enjoying the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the US Supreme Court. But I was also, unkindly, entertained by the NY Times retraction of the wording of a May 19 article about her: they had called her Puerto Rican parents "immigrants." Although it is true that PR remains a colony, not a state, Puerto Ricans are still US citizens (duh.) So calling people who were born there but live in the Bronx "immigrants" makes just precisely as much sense as referring to my Connecticut-dwelling parents as "immigrants" from Michigan, in case you didn't know. I am kind of shocked it took the Times a full week to print the retraction - unless they did it earlier and I missed it?

Well, anyhow, it was entertaining until I noticed that the 6:00 newscast on CBC radio also referred to Sotomayor as the "daughter of immigrant Puerto Ricans." Argh! CBC people, I know they just fired like 800 of you, but could the rest of you please buy a map? It wouldn't have to be a map of the whole world, mind you. Just North America would do.
lolaraincoat: drawing of phone wirse (wires)
I'm pretty sure that the title to this post - "My dreamers will wake in another America" is a line of poetry from a Patti Smith album cover from the 1970s. But who wrote it originally? Or am I just making it up? I feel a bit haunted.

So anyway. )Oh, and a guy sang a beautiful version of that gospel song whose name I never remember:

God gave Noah the rainbow sign
No more water
It's the fire next time


He banged on the poles and the overhead railing of the subway car for percussion. Not apropos, I hope, but beautiful.

We should try to sleep a bit more now or we'll be useless at the phone bank.


...
lolaraincoat: conlang script for "historian" (lit. "I have heard stories") (historian)
Meet Professor Biden.

...
lolaraincoat: (yes!)
Hey! It is [livejournal.com profile] idlerat's birthday! AND it is [livejournal.com profile] eponis's birthday! AND AND, for those of you who know her, it is also the birthday of my beloved sister S.! Happy Birthday to them!11!

AND AND AND, here's one excellent way to celebrate their birthdays, if you are in one of the thirty-two US states in which early voting is possible and you haven't already done it: VOTE! Idlerat, especially, loves democracy and cake. So go vote today, for her. And then bake her a cake. She - like all of us - deserves plenty of democracy, and social justice, and peace, and cake.
lolaraincoat: (feminist)
The Democrats Abroad with whom we watched the debate again got really rowdy at every mention of Canada in this debate. Canadian oil WHOOO!!!!! Canadian HEALTH CARE YEEEEE-HAW!!!!!1!

Otherwise, three four points:

First, did anyone else notice McCain's completely unnecessary and factually inaccurate mention of the "tragedy in Dallas," i.e. the Kennedy assasination? He had to drag in some comment about Kennedy having had plans to debate Goldwater before he was killed, but that seems implausible at best because Kennedy died just about exactly a year before the election, at which point Goldwater wouldn't have been the Republican nominee, right? So why bring it up? I think it was like when Clinton's campaign, in its waning days, brought up Robert Kennedy's murder - playing on our mostly-unspoken fear that Obama is going to be killed, suggesting that we shouldn't vote for him because he might die if elected.

Second, the pundits afterward kept calling Obama "professorial" as if that were a bad thing. *sigh*

Third, John loves Joe. Joe the Plumber is clearly just a shaky rhetorical screen for his real true once-in-a-lifetime romance with Joe Leiberman. But Joe Six-Pack will do.

eta Fourth, what the hell was all that about Colombia? If you only count legal agricultural imports to the US, the "biggest trading partner" is Mexico. If you add in the value of illegal agricultural imports - some of which McCain or his debate-prep team appears to have ingested - then the biggest importer to the US would be, well, who knows, really? but my guess is, still Mexico. The biggest importer of US-grown agricultural products is Canada. Doesn't everyone know that already? Is McCain already prepping for a post-politics career shilling for South American tourism or something?



...
lolaraincoat: (yes!)
I note with interest that the stock market has rebounded immediately after Paul Krugman won the Nobel Prize. Coincidence? I think not.


...
lolaraincoat: (feminist)
This won't be a popular opinion around here, but I was moved by John McCain's obvious love for his "friend," you know, the guy towards whom McCain is always "reaching across the aisle," Joe Lieberman. I know as soon as McCain loses this election that he will announce that he's retiring from politics so that he can live out his declining years in a peaceful Vermont cabin with his beloved Joe and their forty-seven cars. And for John, as for me, that day cannot come too soon.

Okay, seriously though, the point at which actual tears truly came to my honest-to-God eyes? When Obama said "health care is a right" as though that were obviously true, a perfectly normal and ordinary assertion to make. You know, twenty years ago, I used to run around lower Manhattan with NARAL and ACT-Up and WHAM, engaging in minor but large-scale acts of civil disobedience while chanting "Health! Care! Is-a-right! Heath-care-is-a-right ACT UP!" Because twenty years ago, that was a radical claim. And there on the TV was our next president, just ... saying it. As if it were true.

It's not like this means that activism should or can stop once Obama is president. But moments like that make me believe that the arc of history might sometimes bend toward justice, after all.



...
lolaraincoat: drawing of bear, standing (standing bear)
So [livejournal.com profile] fishwhistle and I were trading comments about, yes, Sarah Palin again, over at [livejournal.com profile] idlerat's lj and then I wandered over to his desk:

me: Ah, the comedy stylings of Lola and Fishwhistle! Thank you, thank you, we'll be here all week ...

Fishwhistle, pointing to his own damn comment: And look here, this is even funnier.

me, chagrined to learn that this was true: Damnit Fishwhistle, you're always topping me - oh wait -

Fishwhistle, triumphantly: IN EUROPE! ... pity you can't post that.

me: oh yeah?


~~~

And I know I said, three posts ago, that I was going to step away from the wacky Sarah Palin facts, but ... I'm not. Stage an intervention if you must. But first:

From a link provided by, among others, the delightful Ms. [livejournal.com profile] djinnj, this is a collection of facts taken from Alaska newspapers by Democratic party researchers to aid opposition to Palin when she ran for Governor of Alaska two years ago. It's all good but here are some highlights:

* While Mayor of Wasilla, she presided over a wedding in the local Walmart of two Walmart employees. It made her teary. "It's so Wasilla!" she said. Among the attendees: passengers from a tour bus.

* Her brother-in-law was a losing contestant on a reality-TV show about dating. He crashed his mountain bike in the first episode.

* In 1996, she drove to Anchorage on the pretext of a visit to Costco, but really to see Ivana Trump at JC Penney's cosmetic counter. She told a local reporter how wonderful the event was because "we are so desparate in Alaska for any semblance of culture or glamour." [note Canadian spelling. More on this later. Am desperately researching possible Canadian angle. Are we sure Alaska is really in the US?]

* Either she welshed on a bet, or she has the Big Dipper tattooed on an ankle.

From other ramblings around the internet - this is somewhat less reliable - it appears that she's not a fundamentalist at all, but a member of an Assembly of God congregation, which is to say a speaking-in-tongues Pentacostalist. If there is any justice in this universe at all, there will be video of her or her family members handling snakes, and McCain will lose the entire right-wing Christian vote except for the other Pentacostals and maybe the right-wing Unitarians.

Finally, apropos of last night's speech, somebody in a comment thread over at Making Light quoted this from some other comment thread on some blog, so we'll just have to attribute it to Anonymous Internet Genius:

"Mrs. Palin needs to be reminded that Jesus Christ was a community organizer and Pontius Pilate was a governor."
lolaraincoat: (insane troll logic)
I bet you anything her husband sparkles in direct sunlight.
lolaraincoat: (rabbit (Alice))
As far as I can tell, she was the only person on McCain's list of potential running mates who is shorter than him.


...
lolaraincoat: (feminist)
Okay, so, I am powerless to control my need to read every bit and byte anywhere in the whole internet about Sarah Palin. It's not even about politics - she's like the most implausible fictional character ever, and the more I read, the less plausible she seems, and I'm fascinated.

So anyway, here are some of the my favorite random Vice-Presidential-candidate facts:

She is God's Media Rep! )

All her kids have appalling names! The youngest kid's middle name is Van because his parents are Van Halen fans! One of the others is named after an airplane! Another is named after a fishing port! And another is named after a city that never got built!

She modeled for Vogue - while pregnant!

She is more willing to throw her vulnerable family members under the national-media train than John Edwards ever was! )

She had her ex-brother-in-law fired, and then ... )

She's just as confused as I am about what the Vice-President is supposed to do all day besides waiting around in case the President dies! And I'm not running for Vice President! On second thought... )

She's very loyal to Wasilla, in the context of Alaskan politics, and to Alaska, now that she's on a national stage! This is great! We might end up with mid-twentieth-century-Mexican-style patria chica politics to go with our mid-twentieth-century-Mexican-style elections!

She only got a passport for the first time in 2007! eta: She used it to visit Kuwait! Thanks Heidi for that important info! /eta

She shoots polar bears! It's mercy killing! )

eta:She may or may not have belonged to a very silly Alaska-secessionist-movement party at some point in her past! As someone who has signed on to more than one obscure and annoying-to-others political organization in my time, I say: She really is just like us! /eta

In sum, even if McCain loses, I think we can expect to see more of Sarah Palin and her family - either in national politics, or on the Jerry Springer Show. Or both.
lolaraincoat: (elephant peace)
We didn't know about the big government raid last May on Mexican and Guatemalan immigrants in Postville, Iowa, when we drove through there last month. (A useful followup story is here, highlighting the critical, honorable role played by the local Catholic Church. See also this story on an intervention by a heroic legal translator.) It didn't make the news in Canada. All we knew was that we stopped on our way from Minneapolis to Dubuque in this tiny town that had a Productos Latinos store on the theory that it would be selling tacos - which was true, and they were excellent - and nobody wanted to answer my eager, ignorant questions about why all those immigrants were there, along with a large number of black-hat Orthodox Jews out enjoying the warm Sabbath evening. The people eating in the taqueria had jobs in a meat-packing plant, someone eventually explained, and they were from Texas. But not originally from Texas, surely, I asked. Texas, the nice guy behind the counter said firmly. Texas.

You could see that families had rooted themselves there - the store windows were full of christening gowns, quincenera outfits, and toys with Spanish-language packaging - and that without them this would just be one more dying corn belt community. You could tell by the stink, even a block away, that those jobs in the meat-packing plant had to be pretty unpleasant, nothing you'd want to do yourself. You couldn't see, unless you already knew, that 400 people had just been taken away by la migra.

There's nothing more to say about this that you don't already know.

...
lolaraincoat: (yes!)
I lost a big bet to [livejournal.com profile] twotoedsloth just about eight years ago. Some years before that, I had predicted that the PRI would never allow itself to lose a presidential election in Mexico - certainly not in my lifetime. I believed that the historical patterns that held them in place were just too powerful to be overcome. Two Toes thought otherwise and we put a sizable amount of money on the question. I've never been so happy to lose $100 as I was that night, when priista President Ernesto Zedillo announced that he - and by extension the entire stinking corrupt bloated corpse of a political party that he represented - would respect the results of the election that brought the PAN to power.

I don't mean to say that President Fox and the PANista government turned out to be any good at all, mind you. Just that I thought the PRI could not be beaten.


If anyone had offered, this time last year, I would have bet much more against the possibility of a African-American with the middle name Hussein, who had lived a significant portion of his life outside the US, worked as a community organizer and written books without a ghostwriter, winning even a single primary. I would have acknowledged that sexism is a powerful force in US politics and daily life, but racism (so I would have said) is even more powerful.

And once again, I am overjoyed to have been proven wrong. The US is a different place than I thought it was. My fellow citizens are better people than I would have dared to hope. The strength of misogyny among voters in the US was not such a shock, though it pains me and no doubt pains Clinton's supporters even more.

Sorry guys.


But still. Wow. Just - wow.


.....
lolaraincoat: (not worried)
I'm sitting here surrounded by towering stacks of admissions files to a graduate program, which are more than a bit daunting, and so I cruise the internet for solace and distraction, and this is what appeared today:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/20/us/20mobility.html?em&ex=1203656400&en=fd81d8756f45e5a5&ei=5087%0A

I always look for the phrase "first member of her/his family to attend university" in letters of recommendation; those are the students I most want to admit and to fund. It's good to have a little empirical research out there as a reminder of why that matters.

And so anyhow:

Writers of letters of recommendation! Teachers and tutors and librarians and university staff and principals and deans and department chairs and committee members and high school staff and teaching assistants and teachers' aides and Montessori teachers everywhere! Crossing guards and school-bus drivers! Politicians who don't cut school budgets! What you do counts for something! It counts for so much! Thank you so much!

And now I'll get back to reading the files, all right? All right then.

...
lolaraincoat: circular brushstroke (circle)
But today is not that day.

So, anyway, we've arrived at that point in the month where pretty much anything is going to make me sob helplessly: a harsh glance, the cats looking especially cute, a harsh glance from the cats ... whatever. I'm teary, and I am not ashamed! (Or, okay, only a little ashamed.)

Thus when I say that this made me cry like a leaky faucet you should probably take my predisposition to weepiness into account. Nonetheless you should click on the link. It's a vid for your standard country-music song, except that it's Muslim country music and it stretches that whole country-music-is-the-voice-of-the-American-people trope as far as it can stretch. Brilliantly done.

So, folks with whom I was having that conversation about not assuming that the angriest or most intrusive voices of a particular religion are its only voices, or most important voices? Here's basically the same conversation, from the POV of an even more vilified religion than the one we were talking about.

And [livejournal.com profile] slit, if you're reading this, I'm sure you already know about A Land Called Paradise but just in case you don't, here's the link again. I'm really curious to know what you think.

Link swiped from [livejournal.com profile] twistedchick who got it from Will Shetterly. Thanks!

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