Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Islamophobia in New Jersey's Foster Care System

In New Jersey, an employee of the state is alleged to have verbally assaulted a Muslim man (and his female dinner partner) in a restaurant, calling him a "terrorist" and an "Osama bin Ladin lover", along with several other xenophobic, racist, and Islamophobic insults. What makes matters even worse is that this state employee was an agent of New Jersey's Division of Youth and Family Services and the person he was assaulting was a parent in one of the cases he is assigned to handle.

The article on NBC's website also mentioned the fact that the state placed Mohamad Khalil's son in a Christian home where he is being raised with "Christian cultural values". The Council for American-Islamic Relations pointed out that this is not an isolated incident and that there are many cases where the state has also done this with other Muslim children.

You know, I don't understand why people feel like they should be allowed to go around converting other people's kids. Even if the state of New Jersey's Division of Youth and Family Services couldn't find enough Muslim foster homes to place all of the Muslim children in their care--and I'm not so sure that if proper effort were put forth, this would be the case--is it really too much to insist that families agree to respect the religious faith of the child and the child's family?

Children can end up in foster care for many different reasons. Being removed from whatever situation they were in before is often overwhelming enough without adding the stress of trying to adapt to a foreign religion, at the same time. Foster parents need to understand that they are simply being entrusted with looking after a child's basic care, not their eternal salvation. If you can't deal with allowing a child to practice their own religion in your home, then you probably shouldn't be a foster care provider.

When the state shows such little regard for the children in its care, is it really any surprise that we see an agent of this same system behaving like this towards a parent who simply wants to raise their child? Yet, we're supposed to believe that these agents of the state really want to keep families intact, whenever possible. Yeah, right!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

I Can't Even Say What I Want to Tell This Woman

Teabagger Kate O'Beirn thinks that we should end the school lunch program and that any parent who can't "rustle up a bowl of cereal and a banana" for their child is criminally negligent.

Could someone please tell this waste of carbon that school lunches are a public health concern? Hungry, malnourished children are more susceptible to diseases. Having an entire subset of the population that is going hungry AND can't get health care represents a danger to EVERYONE. And, let me tell ya', if things get bad enough, people with money shouldn't be too sure that the poor won't rise up and do what the French did.

I like living in my comfy, well-heated home with the stocked pantry that I can look through and still go to McDonald's if I feel like it. I love my pretty daughter and buying her pretty clothes for various social events. Even if I didn't give a dern about other people's children--I do care, but this is for the sake of example--it would still make sense for me to at least ensure those kids had enough to eat each day. Hunger is enough to make any person irrational and irrational people don't care about my suburban comforts.

Dear Gott in Himmel, Why Won't These People Go Away Already?

As soon as I see Hamsher on anything, I turn it off. Evidently, I'm not the only one who has figured out that this fool is utterly clueless.

Anyone who has spent any amount of time on FireDogLake knows that it has always been hostile to people of color. It doesn't surprise me one bit that she has this indefensible position. They want the President to fix all the problems of the world, but any incremental changes he makes are met with complaints that he's not doing enough, fast enough.

It all boils down to the fact that her and her ilk never support candidates of color who think for themselves. I mean, this is the same person whose blog regularly posts and defends the use of racist pictures. They truly believe that they are the ones who put Obama in office and now he owes it to them to make their petulant, petty whims come true all at once. This President is not their dancing monkey and the world isn't going to worship at the feet of Hamsher like her sycophant co-bloggers do.

The average Americans, be they Democrats or Republicans, have no idea who these talking-heads are nor do they care what their opinions may be. We just want to get through these hard times as best as we can. All those people counting on their Earned Income Tax Credit just to pay for an old car to get around in or new shoes for their kids have absolutely nothing in common with these self-aggrandizing jerks. The idea that they know what the average American wants from the President is simply laughable.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Woman w/stroller Cries Because She Was Forced Out of Wheelchair Space

So, last week in Ottawa, a woman with a stroller was forced to get off of a bus, because she was taking up the space designated for people with wheelchairs and someone in a wheelchair needed the space. Some folks are grumbling about it.

I have no problem with her being told to get off if she's taking up the space designated for wheelchairs. It sounds like the driver wasn't being a jerk, because he allowed the stroller-users to take up the space for as long as it wasn't needed for someone who is supposed to have it available to them. When that space became needed, it was only appropriate for it to be emptied in favor of the person who it was designed for. Even then, it doesn't seem like he just had a thing against women with kids in strollers, because his decision allowed the woman with two kids to stay on.

If the bus driver had been a jerk, he could have kept her off the bus in the first place, because there wasn't enough room for her to get on without taking up the wheelchair-designated spot. She'd have had to take the next bus anyway. His decision to let her ride as long as the space wasn't needed seems fair to me, because if her trip had been shorter, then she might have been able to get off and on without anyone else ever needing that spot.

In New Orleans, a large portion of the population used public transportation. I've ridden as a person with disabilities and I've ridden as a mother with a child in a stroller. In fact, I did it for a couple of years, five days a week, twice a day. Down here, it was illegal to leave your stroller in the aisle, so you had to be able to put it between your seat and the seat in front of you or in the area reserved for wheelchairs. If someone with a wheelchair came along, you had to move. It was as simple as that. They issued you a transfer ticket so that you could get on the next bus, and at least you were closer to your destination than you would have been if you hadn't been allowed to get on in the first place.

I hate how so many people have switched from the smaller (less expensive) strollers to using these SUV style models and just expect for everyone else to work around them. Those umbrella strollers are still on the market. Heck, there are even lots of deluxe strollers that fold flat. The only models that don't fold flat are the ones that cost a lot of money. It makes sense, though. If you're spending big money on a top of the line stroller, the manufacturers seem to figure that you must be planning to put it in a spacious, top of the line automobile.

If someone knows that they may have to use public transportation, it just doesn't make sense to get a stroller that is too big for those spaces. If you have one non-disabled kid, why should you be allowed to use the space that was designed for folks in wheelchairs? You're certainly not entitled to that space.

People with disabilities have had to fight to get these designated spaces on public transportation. If the folks who use those SUV style strollers really think they should have their own designated spot, then let them go and make their case with the public transit authorities in their region. Complaining because you weren't allowed to use the space that was meant for a person with disabilities is nothing more than ablism. As much as I love babies, I don't think that parents should be given a free pass on this.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

It's World AIDS Day: Know Your Status

So, today is World AIDS Day. I got tested yesterday. Since I have to get blood work done almost every time I go to a doctor's appointment, it makes sense to have them include an HIV test. Even though I've been w/the same partner for 10 yrs. we both think testing is important to show our daughter that it's just what responsible adults do, regardless of their relationship status.