Victory is mine!

I successfully navigated the DHS Immigration and Naturalization Department’s rules and forms for getting K her Certificate of Citizenship!

VICTORY IS MINE.

See, the thing is, even when you adopt kids who were born outside if the U.S. and they become citizens, the fact of that adoption does not constitute PROOF of citizenship, depending on the details of exactly how said child came into the country and what sort of visa that arrived on. We in fact have some lovely documents that are STAMPED “NOT PROOF OF CITIZENSHIP” despite the fact that they make her a citizen.

No, no, what one has to do instead is file certain forms and pay certain non-trivial filing fees and submit certain evidences that the individual is now a citizen. And then, then, the U.S. government mails you a form which is, in fact, proof of citizenship.

Sigh.

At any rate, it’s done now.

VICTORY IS MINE.

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Getting content delivered to me

So, it used to be, I had an RSS-feed aggregator. I put URLs of websites whose content I mostly wanted to follow into it, and every time they updated, the link would show up in my account. When I had time, and felt like, I would go look at that page and see what was available. I would read the things that looked interesting, and delete the rest.

Then almost all of the RSS-feed aggregators either got sucky and terrible to use, or were disbanded, or stopped being supported, or stopped talking to the rest of the internet. So I stopped using them.

These days I get my information from a cumbersome work-around. I follow the Twitter accounts of blogs and people whose content I enjoy reading. When I see that they have posted a link, I save that link to Instapaper. When I have time and energy, I go open my Instapaper account and read the things that catch my eye, then delete them. Y’all can probably tell when this happens, because I tend to tweet a whole bunch of links.

Note the weak point in this plan: “when I see that they have posted a link.”

I don’t always catch when folks post links on Twitter.

So, OTHER THAN going to each website eight or nine times a day to see if they have posted new content, how do you all get the content you enjoy reading? What are the current alert systems or notification systems, or content-delivery systems out there? For Windows, I should add. Windows 8. :heavy sigh at using Windows 8:

What I’m looking for is something that replicates that old RSS-feed system, in which I do almost no work and the content I want sits patiently waiting for me until I have some free time. Like a DVR for blog posts.

Thoughts?

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Stack the Countries

I would have a blog post, full of entertainment or outrage or both, but J showed me Stack the Countries this week.

So much for that plan …

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And now, misogyny

The Great Naked Celebrity Photo Leak of 2014 is just the beginning, by Roxanne Gay.

Live Nude Girls, by Genevieve Valentine.

Emma Watson’s Tweet on the subject.

Chuck Wendig has a PSA about nude photos.

If any of you reading this think that any of these people deserve to have their privacy violated and their sexuality as human beings assaulted by strangers, please do tell me right away. Let me know if you think that consenting adult sexuality is a crime punishable by international public humiliation. Let me know that you have never done anything with a sexual partner that you would not be happy to see stolen from you and publicly mocked. Please, do tell me if you think celebrity removes all agency, choice, and intimacy from people’s lives. (And be absolutely sure to tell me that this happens to male celebrities, too.)

I am going to quote Chuck Wendig’s piece, here, because he says it perfectly:

“When you judge someone for taking nude pictures on their phone — and you suggest that what they got was, if not deserved then at least expected — you’re a sexist shit-ferret. You’re not really making a point about security or the porousness of the Internet. You’re making a judgment based on that person’s choices. You’re judging the act of taking naked photos rather than the theft of the photos. You’re putting the onus of the crime on the victim and not the criminal because — really, this is why, I swear! – you don’t agree with their choices.

[...]

Nobody deserves it.

If you suggest otherwise: congrats, you’re now part of a culture of rape, misogyny and sexism.”

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I Got Pulled Over By the Cops and Absolutely Nothing Happened

I Got Pulled Over By the Cops and Absolutely Nothing Happened: A Study in Privilege, by Sigrid Ellis

On my way to work this morning I was driving on the highway and saw the flashing lights pop up behind me. I pulled over to the shoulder, turned off the podcast I was listening to, pulled out my wallet and driver’s license, rolled down my window, and waited.

Officer walks up to the passenger-side window. This makes sense, as it is 4:30 in the morning, it’s dark, and we’re on the highway. I lean over and roll down my (manually-operated) window.

He asks to see my license, I hand it over. He asks to see my proof of insurance, I lean over and open the glove box and dig around for the piece of paper, then hand it over. The officer asks where I am coming from (home) and where I am going (work) and how long I’ve worked there (seventeen years.) What time does work start, he asks me. Five a.m., I reply. That’s pretty early, he says. It really is, I agree with complete sincerity.

The officer excuses himself, walks back to his car, and runs my license.

I sit in my car, which is still running, and wait.

He comes back, hands me my license. You were going a bit fast back there, he says. But I’m just warning you. Keep an eye on it, he says. I thank him, and we part ways.

I am a white 40+-year-old cis-woman. I speak broadcast-standard American English with an educated cadence. I spent the stop thinking how differently this could have, would have, gone were I a young black man.

To roll down my passenger window, I had to lean across the interior of my vehicle towards the officer. Was this aggression?

To get my proof of insurance out, I had to open the glove box. Was I going for a weapon?

I left my car running. Was I attempting to flee the scene?

I had a mug of tea in the car. Was this an open alcohol container? Was this probable cause for a search?

I have privilege. This is the stew we all swim in.

I was stopped by the police, I was in violation of the law, and absolutely nothing happened to me.

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It’s Labor Day in the U.S.

I actually have today off! I am pretty pleased about this, since it means I slept until eight instead of getting up at 3:45.

When I was a kid I didn’t understand the point of Labor Day. I mean, what were we celebrating? People who work? Everybody works, that’s not special! What’s the point of that? And there were no presents or candies. Not a great holiday, from my point of view.

But here’s the thing.

Income inequality is at a high point in the U.S. It’s at it’s highest point since 1928. “1928” should ring a bell for students of U.S. history — it’s the point just before the Wall Street crash that kicked off the Great Depression. Income inequality then was ludicrous.

Yet labor union memberships is shrinking.

Those two facts are probably not unrelated.

Labor unions formed to combat inequality and injustice in the workplace. Unions formed to give workers the right to work without contracting diseases that killed them. Unions formed to give workers the right to defend themselves against abuse, rape, and employer violence. Unions formed to give workers the ability to live and eat off their wages.

I wish sometimes that my union, NATCA, did not take all the actions it takes. I disagree with it from time to time. I find the political maneuvering to be tedious. But I am still a member. I still pay dues. I still vote for my union rep.

I don’t believe unions are the solution to income inequality. I think it’s bigger than that. But until something better comes along, they’re what we’ve got.

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I’ve been retweeting and reblogging things about the murder of Mike Brown in Ferguson, MO, since it happened a couple weeks ago.

I reblog and retweet posts by others about social justice issues, against misogyny, racism, homophobia, and other issues.

I was rewatching the HBO series Band of Brothers this last week.

When I hit the ninth episode, “Why We Fight,” I nodded.

In that episode, Easy Company finds and liberates a work camp. The nearby town of German citizens swear that they had no idea what was going on there.

Maybe they didn’t. I expect that vast numbers of Germans did not know the atrocities perpetuated by their government. But I also expect that they didn’t want to know.

I do not want to know about the injustices perpetuated by my government, by my culture, by people just like me. But more than that, far, far more than that, I don’t want to be the German townsperson suddenly confronted with the evil they allowed to occur.

The daily fight is not one of good versus evil; it’s good versus apathy. It’s good versus status quo, versus standing by doing one’s own thing and not looking up.

I would rather look up.

I would rather see the world in all it’s imperfections, and strive to correct those imperfections, than later discover the depths of evil I ignorantly permitted to occur in my name.

I know it’s trite to compare things to Nazis. Godwin’s Law, and all that. And I am not saying that the U.S. government is full of nazis. I am saying that I no longer find ignorance to be more comfortable than knowledge.

The world improves because we force it to do so. Good and justice prevail when ordinary people demand it.

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