Sunday, August 18, 2019

Song Lyric Sunday: A Girl In Trouble is a Temporary Thing

Although Michael Jackson is not mentioned in the lyrics, vocalist Debora Iyall wrote the song as a response to Jackson's Billie Jean.
Debora Iyall is one of the most underrated pop vocalists of the late 20th century. She is a member of the Cowlitz tribe. She still performs although she has stepped back from the pop scene to be an art teacher in Desert Hot Springs.


She's got a face that shows that she knows she's heard every line
Tenderly she talks on the phone
There's a way to walk that says "stay away"
And a time to go around the long way

A girl in trouble is a temporary thing 
(temporary, temporary, temporary, temporary)
A girl in trouble is a temporary thing 
(temporary, temporary, temporary, temporary)

There's a time when every girl learns 
To use her head
Tears will be saved 
Till they're better spent
There's no time for her to be afraid
So instead 
She takes care of business 
Keeps a cool head

A girl in trouble is a temporary thing 
(temporary, temporary, temporary, temporary)
A girl in trouble is a temporary thing 
(temporary, temporary, temporary, temporary)

She's got a face that shows that she knows she's heard every line
Tenderly she talks on the phone
There's a way to walk that says "stay away"
And a time to go around the long way

A girl in trouble is a temporary thing 
(temporary, temporary, temporary, temporary)
A girl in trouble is a temporary thing 
(temporary, temporary, temporary, temporary)
A girl in trouble is a temporary thing


Photo copyright Tony Smith

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Sly Speaks: Them Damn Crooked Social Service Vultures: A Cautionary Tale

My late father was a Libertarian. While I do not agree with much of the Libertarian agenda, I have come to agree strongly with his Libertarian paranoia about government agencies.
Your county human services department does not care about helping you. In fact, the likelihood is that your social worker has been trained to try and trip you up so they can deny you services or worse, fine you and perhaps incarcerate you.
The websites for social services are not straightforward. 
Unless you are completely destitute and have absolutely no assets whatsoever, do everything in your power to avoid social services. They will come after your assets.
If you are absolutely destitute and have no other recourse, this is the only time it is safe to seek assistance from social services. 
Go to food banks rather than trying to get food stamps if at all possible. Foodbank employees may be underpaid dicks who will make you feel like a shitty human being for coming to the food bank, but they are nothing compared to what the SS (that's Social Services) Gestapo are capable of.
If you need Medicaid, it tends to operate differently than other human services. Also, Medicaid differs state by state. I can only speak for the Colorado Medicaid program. There may be some similarities in your state, but you would be best advised to check for yourself.
Overall, at this time, Colorado Medicaid is fairly straightforward and, despite its problems, has been pretty fair in its treatment of me and my family.
I very much need Medicaid. I have numerous health problems and can't work a steady job. 
I believe that everyone should receive Medicaid, regardless of income, and high-priced insurance should be abolished. But this post deals with current reality.
I am also not opposed to social services in principle. In principle, I believe that every person should be entitled to adequate housing and food, regardless of their ability to work. This is not a pro-social-Darwinism rant. This is a criticism of the current state of social services and why I have come to agree with my father that agencies such as social services should not be trusted and should be avoided as much as possible.
I have cognitive and psychological disabilities as well as physical ones. I have ADD, and I tend to be scatterbrained because of it. My family is in the process of moving, and I wanted to get a jump on things instead of forgetting to do them like I often do and then three months later remembering that, oh shit, I forgot to change our address with Colorado Peak. Thus, technically, at this point, my son and I have two addresses.
My son is high-functioning autistic and has ADHD. He does not do well with filling out forms such as the Colorado Peak form and tends to become overwhelmed by them. Thus, even though I am not much better, I assume responsibility for doing this.
I have felt bad because I quit my job delivering food at the end of May so I could concentrate on helping my son's dad purchase a property about 130 miles from where my son and I currently live. My son and I, and eventually his dad, will be living in this property. It is in my son's dad's name. He lives in another state, and my son has been acting as his agent in the purchase of this property and all necessary work to be done on it. 
As far as employment goes, I have been freelancing online, but the outcome doesn't add up too much. Feeling guilty about being a drain on the household, I decided I could help out by applying for food stamps in the county we are moving to.
Medicaid allows you to declare every adult in a home to be a "separate household." My son and I are separate households, even though we both live under the same roof.
I did not know until today that human services, which comprises food benefits and disability, does not. Everyone in the household must be declared.
I was naively under the impression that the caseworker wanted to help me, so I gave her my son's information when she asked for it. I should, at that point, have apologized for wasting her time and said that I only wanted to apply for benefits for myself and would have to talk things over with my son. But I stupidly revealed our situation to her.
She proceeded to have me sign a form saying that I was withdrawing my request for benefits, told me that she was sending the case back to the county where the townhome we are moving from is and that if the county decides to audit us, we will be facing 10 years in jail and a $250,000 fine. I told her that my son has nothing to do with this, it is all on me, I was only trying to help the household as I feel I have been a burden. She told me that because he is part of the same household, he is culpable too and we could both be found guilty of fraud.
These agencies will be more than happy to send innocent people to jail for misunderstanding how a fucked-up system works. The fact is, neither my son nor I would survive prison, and this move is our last hope. If things do not work out for us here, our only other options become homelessness or suicide.
This is why I, a democratic socialist, agree with my late Libertarian father regarding government agencies.
Do not trust them damn crooked vultures.
They will fuck you from the left, from the right, upside down, and sideways, and they will feel no remorse about destroying your life.
My father also did not trust mental health agencies and people such as psychologists and psychiatrists, who, very often, are as fucked up or more so than the people they are supposed to treat.
I wish I had listened to you, Dad. Because right now I'm afraid I've fucked everything up by trying to do the right thing. 
Please listen to my dad. There were a lot of things I disagreed with the old man on, but I agree wholeheartedly with him on this one. Don't trust government agencies. They do not have your best interests at heart by any stretch of the imagination.

~Sly Has Spoken~

Image copyright

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Real Cie Reviews + FOAD Thursday: Harassment is Sexy and Fat People Aren't Even Human

Rating: Since there ain't no zeros, I'll give you a one

Nora Roberts' Nightshade is a trope-laden mess. Initially, I enjoyed the "hard-boiled detective narrative from a female perspective," but, fairly quickly, the cracks began to show.
I became tired of the male protagonist disrespecting the female protagonist's comfort zones and this being written as sexy rather than as harassment. She was not only supposed to endure it, but she was also supposed to enjoy it. Because nothing is hotter than a guy who won't take no for an answer.
The icing on the unpalatable cake was the "disgusting fat cat lady" who "had two chins and was working on a third," and the hero could see "at least two hundred pounds of bulk under her dress." This woman proceeds to "rub one of her chins."
I thought that Eleanor the cat lady was the most interesting character in the whole mess. I would have enjoyed reading Eleanor the Cat Lady's story. I would like a whole series of Eleanor the Cat Lady stories, where Eleanor is written as an interesting, eccentric, large human being, not a revolting, sub-human stereotype.
How hard would it have been to say that a large, elderly woman answered the door, and the hero could see several cats lying in the windows and on the furniture? The personable lady smiled and invited the hero in for cake and coffee. She was wearing a loudly colorful tunic which she may have made herself.
How easy it would have been to make the character both large and eccentric without being hateful.
Fuck Nora Roberts, and fuck every author who can't write a large character without insulting and dehumanizing them.
So done with this shit.

Cie does not recommend this book and she is unwilling to even share a link to this book even though she needs every cent she can get her broke-ass hands on.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Reactionary Left Groupthink Smells Like 1984


The keyword here is blackwhite. Like so many Newspeak words, this word has two mutually contradictory meanings. Applied to an opponent, it means the habit of impudently claiming that black is white, in contradiction of the plain facts. Applied to a Party member, it means a loyal willingness to say that black is white when Party discipline demands this. But it means also the ability to believe that black is white, and more, to know that black is white, and to forget that one has ever believed the contrary. This demands a continuous alteration of the past, made possible by the system of thought which really embraces all the rest, and which is known in Newspeak as doublethink. Doublethink is basically the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.

The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism, credited to the character Emmanuel Goldstein, is the fictional book that is a thematic and plot element in Part 2, Chapter 9 of the dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984), by George Orwell. 

When applied to the TRA madness, men are women, women have penises, biological sex is a social construct rather than physical reality, and if you believe otherwise, you will be branded a TERF and ostracized. Never mind that in a medical setting, denial of biological reality can be harmful and even deadly.
Further, women who do not want to have sex with people who have penises (lesbians) are transphobes and should be bullied and made to feel bad for their sexual preference according to the TRA screed, and the reactionary left does not seem at all bothered by the severe homophobia inherent in this assertion. 
Ten years ago, nobody claimed that trans women were literally biological women. Everyone knew that they were biologically male, but it was understood that their dysphoria regarding their sex was so severe that the only way they could overcome it was to have surgical procedures and hormone treatments to make their bodies resemble female bodies. Liberal-minded people felt that tolerance and inclusion was the best option with regard to transgender people. 
Ten years ago, no-one used idiotic and dehumanizing terms like "menstruators" in reference to women. It also astounds me that very few people have caught on to the fact that no such dehumanizing terms are applied to biological men. You never hear anyone insisting on terms like "sperm producers." The reactionary left never questions why erasure of women is okay, but no-one is insisting on similar erasure of men.
There is plenty of insistence that "trans women are women" and should, therefore, be allowed to co-opt feminism and any woman who is resistant to this notion is a TERF and deserves to be bullied.
I have never seen a "trans men are men" sign. In fact, trans men tend to only be mentioned when doing so somehow benefits certain pushy TRA women.
Not supporting the insane TRA groupthink agenda is not transphobia. It is a refusal to be drawn into a very frightening, McCarthyist level of forced conformity to harmful ideals. One can be both supportive of the very real struggles of trans people and opposed to the current TRA culture which does far more harm than good, particularly where vulnerable young people who may be questioning their sexuality are concerned.

~Sly Has Spoken~

Image copyright juliahenze

Friday, August 9, 2019

Fat Friday: How to Interpret Fat Liberation Completely Wrong

Cie takes a step back and leaves today's Fat Friday post to her politically incorrect alter-ego, Sly Fawkes.

I recently read a rant by a young (thin) woman proclaiming that fat liberation shouldn't intersect with feminism because fat liberation is all about desperate fat women wanting to force men to think they are beautiful.
First, no.
Second, what the fuck?

This young lady has confused Ashley Graham curvysexalicious (yes, Ashley actually referred to herself that way) Fun Empowered Free the Nipple Liberal Feminism For Plus Size Babes with real fat liberation or fat acceptance. Sadly, I thought she had something on the ball before she wrote this steaming, hateful pile of nonsense.

Real fat acceptance has fuck all to do with wanting to force men to think fat women are beautiful.
Most of us fat women give this many fucks about having some contingent of pea-brained douchebros think we're beautiful.

Here is what fat acceptance is actually concerned with, and I think these issues are very much feminist concerns. While fat men suffer too in a thin-centric society, there is additional pressure placed on fat women for not conforming to misogynistic and unrealistic standards of hotness. Racism and classism also come into play in the thinness equates with beauty while fatness equates with slovenliness, commonness, and undesirability screed. The Slender White Woman is held up as the ideal by women's magazines. Men's magazines also hold up the Slender White Woman as the ideal, while insisting that she also have impossibly large yet perky breasts.

Fat acceptance is concerned with the fact that fat people tend to not receive adequate medical care. Doctors prescribe weight loss for every problem imaginable while not listening to the patient's actual concerns. Since women's concerns tend to be dismissed as it is, this goes doubly for fat women. The case of Ellen Maud Bennett may seem extreme but is sadly far more common than people realize. 

Ellen was a 64-year-old Canadian woman who died from ovarian cancer, which could have been treatable if it had been addressed in its early stages. She had been feeling ill for years, but doctors never did anything beyond telling her to lose weight. Shame on all of them. They should all be held accountable for her death.

In my own case, I did not have a pelvic exam for close to thirty years, in part due to past sexual trauma, in part due to fear that I would be shamed for my body. I only went to an OB/GYN within the past two years because of post-menopausal bleeding, which turned out to be due to simple endometrial hyperplasia with normal cells. As this only raises the risk of endometrial cancer to 1.6 percent greater than the risk for someone who has no hyperplasia, I have opted against a hysterectomy (the recommended procedure) at this time. If I had presented with complex hyperplasia or abnormal cells, which raise the risk of endometrial cancer to 36% greater than a woman with no hyperplasia, I would have had the hysterectomy.

The appalling treatment of larger people, particularly larger women, by the current size-shaming medical system should definitely be a feminist concern. I give no fucks if some dumb dudebro finds me attractive. I want my health concerns to be taken seriously when I seek medical treatment. I do not want medical professionals to dismiss me as either "hysterical" because I am a woman or a pariah because I am fat.

Fat people tend to be passed over for promotions, that is if they are hired at all. Discrimination against fat applicants means that fat people are more likely to live in poverty. Given that women already have strikes against us when seeking employment, fat women face even greater discrimination. I would say that is very definitely a feminist concern.

Just because a small number of plus-size models describe themselves using dumb terms like "curvysexalicious" and a few (understandably) angry big women make the regrettable error of posting "real women have curves" or "only dogs want bones" types of memes does not erase the real goals and real concerns of the fat acceptance/fat liberation movement. By the way, don't post those memes. They're ignorant. Nobody should be shamed for their body type. And you can refer to yourself as "curvysexalicious" if you want, but I'm gonna give you the side-eye if you do.

All fat people face stigmatization and discrimination. Fat women get an extra helping of discrimination for not adhering to arbitrary and unrealistic standards of beauty. These are absolutely issues which should be addressed by the feminist movement. Unless feminism is only for thin women, which is what some "feminists" seem to be implying.

Also, the assertion that fat liberation only concerns itself with forcing men to think fat women are beautiful makes me wonder if the individual making that (inane) statement is unaware that there are fat women of the non-straight persuasion. 

Guess there have never been any fat bisexual or lesbian feminists. Nope, can't think of a single one.

Radass Badass Andrea Dworkin (26 September 1946 - 9 April 2005)
Apparently a figment of fevered feminist imagination.

As Andrea Dworkin once said, "if an ignoramus you are, speak you should not."
Oh, wait. That was Yoda.

~Sly Has Spoken~

Image copyright juliahenze

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Sly's FOAD Thursday: To All The Asshole Ex-Boyfriends Who Abused Me: Fuck Off and Die

This is my response to a post on Feminist Current. One of the topics was misogynistic behavior towards pregnant employees at Google. 

The tech industry is guilty of a lot of misogyny. I worked in tech for a little over a year back in 1997. I tried to be "one of the guys" because I had very low self-esteem and wanted to fit in. I also had as yet undiagnosed type 2 bipolar disorder and was drawn to chaos, possibly because I really had never known anything else. I was in my early 30s, but I was very naive.
 I fell in with a very interesting crowd. They all watched a lot of porn. The only other female in our little group was in an open marriage. She came from a very messed-up background. Her mother prostituted herself sometimes and had sex in front of her young daughter.
I made two big mistakes. The first was going to a Halloween party at this lady's house, but the bigger one was bringing along my ex-boyfriend whom I'd just broken up with because I wanted to be "open-minded" and show that we could "still be friends." He had been verbally abusive to me, but I felt guilty about breaking up with him.
Sometime during the party, one of my co-workers kissed me. The kiss was consensual, although I wouldn't have done it if I hadn't been completely smashed. My ex-boyfriend started making a scene, and I made two more big mistakes.
I didn't want my ex-boyfriend to get in a fight with my co-worker, so I drove drunk back to my apartment. I thought my ex-boyfriend had left. I crawled into bed with my clothes on. I woke up with my clothes off and him on top of me. I yelled (or slurred) at him to stop. When he was done, he said: "well, now we're back together again."
I had horrific panic attacks one after another for a year afterward. The doctors tried to medicate me, but I tend to have paradoxical responses to medications and most of them only made the panic attacks worse. Xanax made me suicidal. My family told me "well, you got over this sort of thing before, you can do it again." (I had been sexually assaulted when I was 18 by a guy I met while waiting in line for concert tickets. That one told me he hoped I would get pregnant so we'd have to stay together.)
I never went to the police. I knew they'd only say I deserved it because I was drunk and I let him into my apartment.
I was in an extremely vulnerable state of mind, and that's when another pervert predator struck. I've mentioned that one before. He is the one who would force me to watch bestiality videos and to kiss his feet under the threat that he would withdraw his "love" from me. He flaunted another girlfriend in front of me. I ended up with scars on my arms that will be there for the rest of my life because I couldn't imagine life without this creep and I cut my wrists.
Not that other industries don't have their creeps and abusers, but the tech industry is rife with them. The guy who raped me was in school to get a degree in programming as well.
I'm not saying every man in the tech industry is guilty of misogyny. I am saying there is a lot of misogyny in the tech industry.

~Sly Has Spoken~

Image copyright

I didn't want to
I didn't want to
I didn't want to!

I know this song could never be made today, and I know that some of the lyrics are not politically correct, but their heart was in the right place and the song made me laugh when I really needed to. R.I.P. Brad Nowell and Lou Dog. Hope you're having fun on the other side, writing more bawdy songs with heart.

Real Cie Reviews: From Liberty to Magnolia: In Search of the American Dream

Rating: 5 of 5 stars

The following is a duplicate of my Amazon review for this book:
Dr. Ellis does not hold back when telling the story of growing up in the racist South during the years leading to the Civil Rights movement. As a black woman, she faced double the prejudice and was warned not to aim too high. Through hard work, she was able to be successful in many areas, but it did not come without cost, and she often saw less qualified white male colleagues being promoted for positions that she was suited for.
The issues that Dr. Ellis faced are issues that society still struggles with today. 
The author's style is very detailed and academic, and, occasionally, the flow of the narrative slows because she becomes a bit too detailed about subjects which will not hold the interest of the general public. Specifically, the chapter where she describes meeting her journalistic hero, Walter Lippmann, is not likely to hold the interest of a person who is not themselves deeply engrossed in political journalism. 
Overall, Dr. Ellis' story is deeply compelling and will be especially inspiring to women and minorities who continue to face prejudice in the post-Civil Rights era.

You can also read my exclusive review for the Online Book Club here.
Read my Goodreads review here.