World AIDS Day

December 1 is World AIDS Day.

Or, in Welsh: Cefnogwch diwrnod AIDS y byd


Two math-related One Smoot posts in one month...

I think I may have just ruptured something laughing at this.


Romney's obsession with gay people getting a little skeevy

Gov. Mitt Romney asked Massachusetts' highest court Friday to force a proposed anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment onto the state's 2008 ballot if the Legislature fails to vote on it.

Honestly Mitt, do you think you could leave us alone already? Our marriages still haven't affected anyone but us.

But why the continued obsession with gay people? You and your cronies spend way more time thinking about gay people than, uh, most gay people do. It's really starting to disturb me.


Behold the lamb of eeka?

I was just looking at my blog view, with the post about the Jesus dolls at the top of the page, and I had this striking realization.

I look like Jesus.

Well, provided you're of the faction that thinks Jesus was a beady-eyed white guy.

Dude.


More vague reporting on the college eviction lawsuits

FYI, it seems like there are quite a lot of these suits in various stages of resolution at several colleges.

Within months of settlements by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the City University of New York’s Hunter College, George Washington University said Tuesday that it had reached a confidential agreement to resolve a lawsuit filed last year on behalf of Jordan Nott, who challenged George Washington’s policies after he said he was forced to leave the university after seeking help for depression at the university’s counseling center.

Nott’s lawsuit alleged that the university had violated the Americans With Disabilities Act and other local and federal laws by charging him through the student disciplinary process and barring him from the campus; George Washington officials have consistently defended Nott’s removal from the campus as necessary to protect other students and Nott himself.

Again, the person bringing the suit and the school have chosen not to reveal details, which is reasonable. But using only the term "depression" to describe this guy's difficulties implies that he was dealing with very commonplace depression, yet was asked to leave. Without knowing any of the details, I'd imagine that even if the college did violate his rights by asking him to leave, there was more to his presentation than what we'd normally think of as "depression." There wouldn't be any reason for a college to take action if someone went to a counselor and said they were sad and had diminished interest in things. If this were the case, colleges would be asking hundreds of students to leave. I'm guessing that he repeatedly made statements or took actions that suggested reasonable risk of harm to self or others -- which can often be a part of depression -- in order to prompt the college to believe that action needed to be taken.

I'm all for viewing any seriously atypical human behavior as a psych disability (rather than just deciding the person is an asshole or something), but then we also have to get away from the thinking that someone with a disability should be able to "get away with stuff." If your disability causes you to threaten people, I have compassion for you, I believe you're a valuable person, I believe you deserve whatever it takes to help you, but I also believe that we need to take whatever action is necessary to protect other people's rights not to be threatened.

Sure, colleges and workplaces and everywhere else have a long way to go in terms of recognizing psych issues and responding to them. But we don't need to make this point by publishing vague stories about how some college evicted a poor innocent "depressed" person.


Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center

I just learned about this website from some people involved with NAMI.

The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MBPC) provides independent research and analysis of state budget and tax policies, as well as economic issues, that affect low- and moderate-income people in Massachusetts.

Speaking of NAMI and the budget and all that, why the huge uproar regarding Mitt's cuts to DMH. Yes, it's reprehensible and unethical that he'd do such a thing. But aside from halting state hospital admissions, none of his cuts are actually going to happen. I can say with a good deal of certainty that Deval is going to reverse the rest of the cuts before they go into effect. Why haven't people been in uproar over all the other cuts he's made to community services over the past four years? Those cuts actually, you know, happened.

Besides, halting admissions to state hospitals really isn't a bad thing. Sure, it shouldn't have been done as an extreme measure without consultation with people served by the system and working in the system. But state hospitals really aren't the best place for people to be served.

What the articles say about people being thrown out on the street in an acutely psychotic and dangerous state just isn't true. The cuts didn't suddenly make it ethical or legal for a provider to discharge someone from an emergency setting because there isn't a state hospital bed available. And most of the inpatient units are not state hospitals and are still able to admit people. The people who've written these articles don't realize that state hospitals are, for the most part, places where people are sent to be warehoused after not doing well in other settings. People do not usually get admitted to a state hospital immediately after problems start or resurface.

What's actually going to happen is that the lack of room in state hospitals is going to trickle down. People who aren't in acute crisis, but who could benefit from some stablization at a local inpatient unit, are going to be sent home. What's actually going to happen is that all the other inpatient, outpatient, and residential programs in the system are going to be to capacity or overloaded in order to accomodate as many people as possible. Programs are going to have to prioritize the people with the most acute issues.

The chronically homeless or in-and-out-of-hospitals-for-years folks who Mitt hates aren't going to see a drastic reduction in services. Instead, the clinicians at Mitt's neighborhood medical center who prescribe antidepressants to businessmen and test prep school children for learning disabilities aren't going to be able to do these things, because they'll be too booked with the people in the community with more acute mental health issues. They can't throw someone out on the street who is at high risk of being violent, but they absolutely can tell basically-stable-upstanding-community-member that it will be a year before he can come in and get a prescription refill.

As much at Mitt wishes, it isn't "the mentally ill" who are going to suffer.


Toys for Tots rejects talking Jesus dolls

A talking Jesus doll has been turned down by the Marine Reserves' Toys for Tots program.

A Los Angeles company offered to donate 4,000 of the 1-foot-tall dolls, which quote Bible verses, for distribution to needy children this holiday season.

Toys are donated to kids based on financial need and "we don't know anything about their background, their religious affiliations," said Bill Grein, vice president of Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, in Quantico, Virginia.

As a government entity, Marines "don't profess one religion over another," Grein said Tuesday. "We can't take a chance on sending a talking Jesus doll to a Jewish family or a Muslim family."


Uh, thanks?

I just got this offer on my e-bill from Providian:

Transfer higher-rate balances now at 31.74% with no balance transfer fee!

For any new balances you decide to transfer today, you'll receive a competitive variable rate of Prime + 23.49%. Using the Prime Rate in effect for billing cycles beginning in November, 2006 as an estimate, this APR would be 31.74%.

With this offer, there is no balance transfer fee!


Competitive with...what?

The 0%-for-one-year cards that I get sent on a regular basis?


A One Smoot brain teaser

The toomanycats are particularly cuddly this evening. Since they've finally gotten the point that I've had enough kitty cuddling, they're now mostly sticking to intraspecies cuddling. Which brings us to this One Smoot Brain Teaser™.

Assuming Dexter and Mirmir hate each other and won't go near each other (which I assume based on how there's a big fit of claws and hissing and running away any time they see each other), how many possible piles of at least two cats could occur chez eeka?

In case you need a visual aid:

Dexter                  Loki
Dexter icon Loki
Izzy being a dumbass 1
Izzy                  Mirmir

Bonus points if you can come up with the equation for solving this. (Yes, this problem is easy enough to do mentally, but equations are useful so you could also do the problem just as fast with 4000 cats *shudder*.)


BPD will make you jump jump

From BPDNews:

At around 12:57am, while performing Operation Criss Cross, officers in District 7 observed two males engaged in a fight behind Store 24 in Maverick Square. Officers observed the suspects punching one another several times about the head area causing a crowd to gather.

Um, is that where the cops go around with their uniforms on backwards?

I can't find a reference anywhere else on the site regarding what the operation might actually be, so I'm just going to go with it.


Worcester judge rules that a burrito is not a sandwich

"A sandwich is not commonly understood to include burritos, tacos and quesadillas, which are typically made with a single tortilla and stuffed with a choice filling of meat, rice, and beans," Locke wrote in a decision released last week.

Duh.


Liveblogging the ConCon

Over at the Constitutional Convention, the legislators are debating issues:

Senator: O RLY?

Representative: YA RLY

Senator: O RLY?

Representative: YA RLY

Senator: O RLY?

Representative: YA RL--

Speaker: SRSLY!

Lobbyist: NO WAI!

(What, did you think I meant *I* was liveblogging it? I've already done my liveblogging duty for the week. Now go to BayWindows or BlueMassGroup and hit F5 repeatedly.)


LIVEBLOGGING WILL NOW COMMENCE

8:16 PM

I've now had enough wine* that I think I'm cool enough to start liveblogging.
*not from a grocery store

8:22

The Channel 38 chick is in Bob's Southern Bistro. "I'm here asking local voters what they think about Deval's victory."

1) Ma'am, 1% of precincts are reporting. Chill.
2) By "local," you mean "Black," right?
3) Is Bob's, like, as far as you're willing to venture into *dun dun dun* peopleofcolorland?


8:26

Hey! Wine is winning!

Are we gonna be able to buy it in grocery stores, like, tomorrow?

8:30

What's a special interest group? Is, like, anything a special interest group when someone wants to bitch about it?

8:40

TV guy: "Deval Patrick would be the first elected African-American governor in Massachusetts."
Me and Molly at the same time: "Yeah, cuz there've been all those ones who've succeeded assassinated ones and stuff..."
TV guy: "Er, elected or otherwise!"

8:55

Teddy Kennedy is on my TV! Drink!

9:00

They should go into dive bars and be like "we're interviewing the locals on what they think of Teddy Kennedy's victory."

*hic* "I think it's aaaawwwesommmme" *thud*

"We're in the Pine Street Inn, asking people what they think of Grace Ross."

"We're at Andrew Detox, asking people what they think of the wine question."

9:05

Kerry Healey's hair is coming in at 2%, just ahead of Grace Ross.

GO LIEBERMAN! GO LIEBERMAN! WOO!

9:10

Jodie informs me that 4% of women voted for Grace Ross and 7% of men, according to exit polls. "Damn, her wardrobe really DID do her in!"

9:17

Mitt Romney: "We've done what no other state could do!"
Molly: "LET US GET MARRIED!"

9:21

OH MY GOD. Kerry Healey and Mitt Romney were totally sucking face there.

9:25

Ooh, Kerry Healey's giving some damn speech

"I'd like to thank my hair..."

Wait, what? You were involved with witness intimidation?

9:35

Molly says: "Whoa there, New Hampshire, I don't think I'd be yelling LYNCH! LYNCH! even if it is the candidate's name."

9:40

Dude. Teddy. You're gonna rupture something. Seriously.

9:45

OH MY GOD. Teddy. Seriously. Take some ludes.

9:48

WHAT? "My son, Christy?" Wasn't once enough for you to learn that that name makes everyone think you're a girl? Not that there's anything wrong with being a girl, of course.

9:54

HEY! Wine is losing!

9:58

Furniture store commercial.

Furniture store commercial.

My god, how many furniture stores are in this state?

Why wasn't there a question limiting that?

IF PEOPLE BUY FURNITURE, THEN THE TERRORISTS HAVE WON

I need some beer. This live blogging will resume in a moment or something.

10:03

Who's that guy?

10:04

Who's THAT guy?

10:06

No, really. Who is he, and why did he just mention pork?

10:07

Ooh, now ALL the questions are failing. That's fine, really.

10:08

DAYUM. The localities with the question about bringing home the troops are overwhelmingly voting for it. Nice.

10:09

Blah blah blah New Hampster.

10:10

"Gubernatorial loser?"

Hmm, it WOULD make a good band name...

10:12

Sheldon Whitehouse? He really needs to run for president. Just because...uh, yeah, it's funny if you're me.

10:17
Who is THIS guy?

I'll say though, he's a regular genius.

"In order to win, you gotta get votes."

Sounds like something Ron Fairly would say. "In order to score runs, you gotta get on base, then advance."

10:19

Dayum! Hynes is a zoo.

10:21

Why does channel 38 have porn music for its outro?

10:22

ARGH! Why does Christmas Tree Shop have porn music?!?!
BOWM BOWM don't you just UNTZ UNTZ love a bargain?

10:25

Um, just so everyone knows, question 3 made no damn sense. Especially the way you just phrased it, TV chick. Like, would it force them to unionize, or allow them to? Are they currently not allowed, or is it just actively discourageed? What.

10:32

Hey. These are like reruns. They already gave these speeches.

Um, Kerry Healey, stop congratulating your hair.

10:33

When are we gonna hear anything about Devens? That's at least interesting.

If you're a geek like me, that is.

10:35

Ooh, did they make this little biography piece on Deval in advance? Did they also make Kerry one? What was hers like?

Molly: I bet they didn't make them for Grace or Christy!

10:37

NO! He is NOT the second elected African-American governor. He's at least the third. P.B.S. Pinchback and Douglas Wilder were elected African-American governors in the U.S. before Deval. There were also other colonial governors, depending when you start counting "United States." Yeah, he totally makes recent U.S. history and should be commended for this, but get the past right, please.

10:39

Tim Murray said "THREEDECKA"! Drink!

10:40

Yo, can he say "commonwealth" a few more times? Dayum.

10:42

HAIR (28% precincts reporting)
Kerry Healey 42%
Tim Murray 22%
Ted Kennedy 30%

10:46

OMG! Teddy Kennedy just mentioned a bridge! (The one in Concord where historical stuff happened).

Does he plan to drive off it?

10:47

The Mayflower Compact? Is he gonna drive off of that too?

10:48

Molly: Commonwealthcommonwealthcommonwealth...why can't we live in a state like everyone else?

10:49

DAYUM. I voted for Teddy Kennedy, cuz dude, it's like unamerican not to. But what's the deal with the guy? He's screeching like a mofo, and people are all cheering and waving signs. Granted most of them are Deval signs, but dayum!

10:57

Wow, Deval is such an amazing speaker. Wow. Just wow. All the people he's including in his speech and thinks of and is happy that they're part of the community. Wow wow wow.

10:58

NO THEY DIINT JUST INTERRUPT HIM WITH A COMMERCIAL

--switching to channel 7--

OK, that's better.

Continue to amaze me Deval. There we go. Thatta guy.

11:03

OMG! "I want to thank Mitt Romney for his service...*booing*--no, no, wait a minute. That is not what we are about!"

Amen. I love you Deval!

So glad to have voted for a WINNAH. About time in this dayum state.

11:05

"...and I will listen...and I will be straight with you, as I expect you to be straight with me..."

WAIT he expects me to be straight? DAMMIT I SHOULD HAVE VOTED FOR GRACE ROSS AFTER ALL.


Election results are a-comin in

I think we can safely say CONGRATS DEVAL!

For the record, I wrote in Grace Ross's clothes for auditor and Kerry Healey's hair for attorney general.


Glad to see the city has their priorities straight

From the City of Boston Public Works page [emphasis mine]:

Removal of dead animals from Public Ways is conducted by Public Works employees through a humane process in accordance with Boston Animal Control Division guidelines.


MassEquality especially needs your help right now

Legislators are set to vote on November 9th in the next step to determine whether nondiscrimination will continue in Massachusetts. MassEquality is asking for financial contributions and volunteers. Go to their website to see how you can help. Thanks!


The Christine McVie Drinking Game

When you hear a song by Christine McVie, drink.

Heavily.


Make sure polling places are accessible

Before you go to vote on Tuesday, print out a copy of this questionnaire from the Verified Voting Foundation, which allows you to assess your polling place in terms of accessibility. The information from the project will be used to inform localities about improving accessibility in terms of facilities, signage, equipment, and election workers.

The nonpartisan Election Protection Coalition will be available on election day to provide real-time assistance to anyone experiencing barriers to voting by calling 1-866-OUR-VOTE.

This form can be used to notify the Department of Justice of any sort of election violations, not necessarily related to accessibility.

The League of Women Voters has a Vote411 page, which details voting regulations and policies by state.


Why we need federal marriage ASAP. (Or would people still be illogical regardless?)

A couple months ago, I mailed Capital One our marriage license, asking them to change our names on our credit cards.

A letter came yesterday:

Dear [me with current name],

Thank you for your recent correspondence regarding updating your account. In order to update the information for the authorized user, [Molly with former name], we will need a legal document showing the name change. Thank you.

So, I called them and told them about the letter I'd gotten. I explained that the legal document I'd sent was our marriage license, and that since they had processed my name change, clearly they had the info necessary to process hers.

"Yes, I show here that your name change was successfully completed. If you wish to change the authorized user's name, we'll need a legal document showing that as well."

"The legal document I sent was our marriage license. Which documents both of our name changes."

"We're going to need a legal document for the authorized user too though."

"I sent you. Our. Marriage. License. We're both on it. Since it's, you know, a marriage license."

"Um, can you hold for a moment?"

"Uh, sure."

[muzak]

"Hi, thank you for holding. I've spoken with my supervisor, who says that since the other person is an authorized user, and not responsible for the account, you can make change on that person's behalf. You know, just like if someone called and they were a married couple."

"We. Are. Married. You have a copy of our marriage certificate. Which is how we legally changed our names."

"OK, so you can go ahead and make changes on the other person's behalf. I'll process that right now."

"Um, thanks?"