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"...another reason I'm intrigued with the hanged of Salem, especially the women, is that a number of them aroused suspicion in the first place because they were financially independent, or sharp-tongued, or kept to themselves. In other words, they were killed off for the same sort of life I live right now but with longer skirts and fewer cable channels." Sarah Vowell, The partly cloudy patriot.


I'd like my hour back, thanks

The combination of losing an hour and having insomnia (and being up till 4am, and then only sleeping because I took nyquil), has left me in bad shape. I feel sleepy and aimless, and can't get myself to do anything.

One of the things I did while I lay in bed not sleeping last night was draft a letter to Hillary. I feel like she could really position herself well if she focused strongly and explicitly on domestic issues. I'd like to see her take strong positions on Darfur and on Iraq in terms of improving things for people in both those regions - and then I'd like her to say that although those are quite important*, what we really need to do as a country is to focus on ourselves and on doing things to improve conditions for citizens in our own country.

An article in yesterday's NYT highlighted issues of poverty in Great Britain, especially insofar as they affected kids. Am too lazy to look up the article, but as I recall, it said that GB had the second worst conditions for kids in a developed country - second only to the US, which is the worst in terms of kids' wellbeing.

And I think this should be Hillary's focus (and I'd really like to see the NYT follow-up on this and focus on poverty and kids in the US), and not just on kids - but on poverty in general.

* I would like to see welfare as we know it shift to a focus on actual welfare. Bill Clinton succeeded in reducing the numbers of (mostly) women and children on welfare - but that increased the numbers of homeless women and children, and the numbers of women and children with no assistance but who still live in poverty. It also caused women to have to resort to not healthy options for making a living (there's been some interesting research on the illegal activities women have had to resort to in order to make a living). Women also were forced into jobs that lead them nowhere, and that do not pay well enough to lift them out of poverty, and also that leave them without good benefits, and that are often fairly poor in terms of consistency and hours, and schedules, and without the funds to pay for childcare and other needs.

* We need mental health parity. Another article in the NYT highlighted the issues of prisoners with mental health issues. And indeed that is important - but we also need to focus on the mental health issues of the general populace (and in doing so, this may prevent some of those from going to prison in the first place). Soldiers are getting PTSD at alarming rates, and I worry we are creating a generation of veterans who cannot cope. Many people are having to go without mental health care because they cannot afford it, because insurance denies adequate treatment or denies treatment period. Those with insurance too may find the rules and regs and restrictions so confusing so as to make it impossible for them to navigate, and may themselves opt out. We need to ensure that therapy is covered, not just medications. In fact, therapy should be better covered to avoid masking symptoms with medications or overmedicating. Most disorders are very well treated with therapy alone - and for those for whom medication is warranted, therapy is an important adjunct to ensure adherence, longer term success, and to improve coping and well-being. Medication alone is typically not helpful.

* Everyone needs health insurance. I know it seems like we should focus on kids - but I honestly believe that if kids have insurance, but their parents do not, that the kids' needs will still not be met. In order to best take care of kids, adults need to have their own basic needs met as well. Kids need healthy and happy adults around them to ensure their own well-being. This is not an either/or kind of thing - both adults and kids need health care.

* And focusing on education should also not just focus on kids. Research shows that the very best predictor of kids' educational attainment is the mom's level of education. Moms who complete high school are more likely to have kids who do; moms who finish college are more likely to have kids who are college graduates. Thus, if we want to improve education for kids, we need to ensure that parents get educations too.

* This goes back to welfare - welfare needs to create a true safety net, and it needs to support good education and training. Women on welfare do not need to be trained to work at mcdonalds - that gets them nowhere. They need to be trained and educated for high wage, high benefits jobs. They need support, therapy (maybe), childcare, food, and actual help. If you want them to be able to focus on their kids' needs, you need to ensure that their needs are being met. I will note, however, that I don't think Hillary should utter the words "Welfare" or "Tanf" in her speeches - instead she should focus on the things people don't have prejudices about - healthcare, education, jobs, training, ending poverty, etc.

There are other things I think she should focus on (make every child a wanted child; rights for the LGBTQ community; women's health; violence against women, etc.), but I think I'd rather see her focus on the above as a strategy. I will also say that I like Obama and Edwards - but I cannot deny that the thought of Hillary for President concomitantly gives me chills and makes me cry with happiness.

* I really care about international issues - but I think we are flailing here at home. I also think that people are just getting tired of so much money going out of the country - so I additionally suggest this as a tactic to get people on board.

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At 8:34 PM, Blogger Ianqui said...

I don't know who to support yet, but I worry that Hillary is too much of an ass-kisser and a centrist. I'm tired of someone who tries to appease all parties at all times. That just doesn't work, and ends up polarizing the country even more, somehow.

As for veterans--mental health parity is just the tip of the iceberg. I fear that we're never going to be able to right the wrongs that we've caused with the veterans coming back now.

Hmmm. I'm in a particularly pessimistic mood tonight.

At 8:16 AM, Anonymous c'trix said...

I can't get excited about her either, probably because I don't think she can win. I fear that having her as the nominee will bring people out in droves just to vote against her. For whatever reason she seems to trigger as much kneejerk vitriole among some Republicans as W does for Democrats. I liked her a lot better during the Bill years than I do now..not sure what happened in between. She lacks charisma, for one. And I hate feeling this way about the first female candidate to have a serious chance at being the nominee.


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