Friday, March 27, 2009

On abortion

Vyckie over at No Longer Quivering asked a question:

I used to have all the answers ~ now, I mostly only have questions. So ~ I'd really like to hear from those of you who are Pro-life and at the same time, not opposed to birth control. Do you not believe that the difference between regulating the number and timing of children via birth control vs. abortion is only a matter of the degree of a person's anti-life worldview? How do you respond to Mary Pride's contention that family planning is the mother of abortion? Here's what she had to say about it: "A generation had to be indoctrinated in the ideal of planning children around personal convenience before abortion could be popular." Now to me, that makes sense...

My reply...

OK, first off, can we please drop the whole anti-life worldview myth? As a secular liberal I can safely say that "killing babies" is not something we do for fun. It makes it sound like we all go about getting knocked up simply for the bloodthirsty joy of killing off the child. Brunch, murder, shoe shopping, tra-la.

Spare me. Please.

Personally I have yet to meet a woman who has had an abortion who did not consider it a necessary last resort. For all of them, at a minimum, having a child would have meant losing all support, emotional and physical. And in many cases it would have meant outright abuse from the father or from those around them. And for a number of them health was an issue as well. But none of them, none of them had an abortion because they were anti-life. They took a long hard look at the quality of life, both for themselves and their child, and decided they couldn't put a child through that.

As for birth control, no, I do not believe that it's murder. Now, you can argue health risks for any drug or internal device, so for the purposes of this discussion, let's stick to condoms. If keeping the sperm from reaching the egg via a latex barrier is murder, then so is abstinence. After all, as far as I know, God only had direct hand in making one baby in history, every one else involved getting two people in the same place at the same time with the same thought in their minds. If they then say no, they are thwarting God's will and preventing Him from bringing a child into the world.

Look at it this way. God made man in His image. He gave man dominion over all the plants and animals, including giving him the knowledge and ability to split them up, to control which animal breeds with which animal. Why would he not have also given Man the ability to control their own reproduction? After all, Man is the only being in the world that does not have a heat cycle, that does not have the irresistible urge to procreate. Man is the only being in the world where God is not in direct control of the reproductive cycle. Man is the only being that can say no.

Man is also the only being that can choose to do other things that don't result in babies (not going to get more specific, kids might be reading). So the question really boils down to "Should we be applying technology to this process or not". I say, why not?

And as for how someone can be pro-life and pro-choice at the same time? If someone wants to sin, it's between them and God. If they are that determined we're not going to stop it, On the other hand, I don't want the government getting between me and my doctor, for any reason. It is not a huge step from "You cannot not have this baby" to "you cannot have any baby" or "you have to have a baby". I don't want to open that door.

Besides, women in desperate situations have been having, or trying to have, abortions throughout history. If you really want to end abortions, end the situations that make women feel so desperate. Increase the social safety net, make health care universal, and seriously, seriously, work to promote adoption as a viable alternative. The way we treat that option is shameful in this country.

Anyway, that's my $0.02. And now that I've written out this reply, I'm going to go put it on my blog too.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ada Lovelace Day

Ada Lovelace was one of the world's first computer programmers, and one of the first people to see computers as more than just a machine for doing sums. She wrote programmes for Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine, a general-purpose computing machine, despite the fact that it was never built. She also wrote the very first description of a computer and of software.

Ada Lovelace Day is an international day of blogging to draw attention to women excelling in technology. Women's contributions often go unacknowledged, their innovations seldom mentioned, their faces rarely recognised. We want you to tell the world about these unsung heroines. Whatever she does, whether she is a sysadmin or a tech entrepreneur, a programmer or a designer, developing software or hardware, a tech journalist or a tech consultant, we want to celebrate her achievements.


So, here's an unsung heroine for you: The sysadmin down the street at your neighborhood elementary school.

She's got a lot of duties. She has to keep a patchwork of generations old computers, odd chunks to technology that the principal just had to have, wiring that was installed by the lowest bidder, and software that was never designed to be used together running smoothly. She has to drop everything and run to a repair at the drop of a hat because some teacher with 40 years in the classroom, immense pull with the union and zero experience with technology will have a fit if she can't get in to the Google. She has to buy parts, keep everyone in toner and copy paper, and keep all her software legal, with zero budget because her principal keeps using her department as a slush fund. She has to do everything in at least two languages, including convincing the people who manage the filtering software that yes, Spanish/Chinese/Korean/Hmong/what have you does come with an entirely new list of terms for sex. She also has to assemble that list, which can mean asking the native speakers she knows some really interesting questions. And every time the budget comes around she will fight for her job and her department.

And none of that is what makes her a heroine.

What, I think, a lot of regular bloggers and blog readers don't realize is that in many low income/low education homes, if there is a computer it's the plaything of the boys. It's used for games or for looking up porn, or maybe, maybe Dad's paperwork. Mothers and sisters and daughters don't touch that valuable piece of equipment, ever.

So at least once a week she will walk into a classroom with a male teachers and hear the biggest loudmouth boy in the class pipe up: "You gonna let her touch that teach? Oh, man! No way man! Girls don know nothing' 'bout computers, man! She gonna break it, we not gonna have anything!" She will look up and see a group of boys, the ones who always hog the machines, forming a wall with their backs that keep the girls out, slumping in their seats and shaking their heads in disgust.

And then she will swap out the motherboard/fix the network card/install the memory so the software will run/install the latest update. And it will all work again.

She will look up with a smile, politely ask the teacher if she may interrupt his class, and inform the boys students that their computer is working, and that girls can do anything. She will watch the boys chuckle and shake their heads in disgust and disbelief.

She will meet the eyes of the girls, and see them glow and smile as their minds open to the possibilities.

She just became their first role model for women in science and technology.

And in that quiet moment between Social Studies and lunch, she just became a heroine.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

52 books in 52 weeks

So I finished
Polgara the Sorceress, went on to finish Belgarath the Sorcerer, and now I'm a few pages from finishing Pawn of Prophecy, all by David Eddings. Since these are re-reads I should be able to keep up nicely. I now plan to finish the Belgariad and then switch over to the Mitford novels by Jan Karon, with 3 re-reads and then a new one, #4, to take in. I plan to finish that series and the follow up to the Belgariad, the Mallorian, simultaneously, as the used bookstore has them available.

I was reading Cousin Bette by Balzac for the 18th Century Romance Novel group, but, no. Too much adultery, too much sacrifice, too many buttons being hit. I felt far too much for Adeline Hulot, and it's just not going well for her at all, poor woman. And you do all realize that Jenny Cadine was all of 13 when the Baron took her for his mistress? I know it may have been acceptable for the age, but that's just wayyyyy too triggering for me, sorry. I'm just dropping the group at this point. Anyway, sidebar is updated. Now, moving on....

Saturday, March 07, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today...

Outside my window... It's bright and sunny and the trees are full of waiting buds. I have a cherry and a quince tree out there, and if the weather stays kind, any day now they will be full of blossoms.

I am thinking... That I am blessed to have this beautiful room to work and play in, and that I am doubly blessed to have a loving, supporting husband who helped make it all possible.

From the learning rooms... I need to start my lessons, but we've spent the past week deep-cleaning everything, from the garage out, so everything has been put on hold.

I am thankful for... A chance to deep-clean everything, all the space left behind, and for being healed enough to let go of the clutter in my life.

From the kitchen... Yesterday was my birthday, so my husband made me tiramasu, entirely from scratch. Total yum! Here in a little bit I'll go make the weekly batch of granola.

I am wearing... A denim jumper, black tunic, a green calico apron, yellow headband, and my usual around the house shoes

I am reading... Cousin Bette by Honore de Balzac, for the 18th Century Romance Novel group on Ravely. It's also counting toward my 52 books in 52 weeks group total.

I am hoping... That is doesn't snow on the valley floor in the next few days. As much as we need it on the mountains, it's a dangerous time of year for the fruit trees.

I am creating...The first embroidered square for the Geeks Cottage Tea Cup Quilt. Ten embroidered teacups with flowers, set with pastel calico trims, interspersed with pastel calico nine-patch blocks (unless I decide to try something else),two paper pieced teapots, and 5 more embroidered blocks with sci-fi quotes about tea. "Computer: Tea, Earl Gray, Hot." The blocks are the Tea Party series by Crabapple Hill Studio, the first block I'm working on is Linda. The paper pieced teapot can be found here.

I am hearing... Songs from the Labrynth by Sting. It's gentle and lovely to hear.

Around the house... We got the sewing room organied, at least the first pass. Now I have a stack of things to put in my binders, three teddy bears to sew up for the hospital, and a pile of scraps to cut up for a charm quilt, all of which was unearthed from my closet.

One of my favorite things... is all of the wonderful light in this room, streaming in through the lace curtains. Just lovely.

A few plans for the rest of the week... More waymarking...Some medical tests on belated birthday breakfast on Tuesday...finishing organizing the kitchen cabinets.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

Three, actually. All three are from Jackson and Perkins. Now I just have to decide which I want for my birthday.:

The Perfect Moment hybrid tea rose

The Diana, Princess of Wales rose

The Peace rose

Skewed Views

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

An inspiring quote

From Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management -
SUCH ARE THE ONEROUS DUTIES which enter into the position of the mistress of a house, and such are, happily, with a slight but continued attention, of by no means difficult performance. She ought always to remember that she is the first and the last, the Alpha and the Omega in the government of her establishment; and that it is by her conduct that its whole internal policy is regulated. She is, therefore, a person of far more importance in a community than she usually thinks she is. On her pattern her daughters model themselves; by her counsels they are directed; through her virtues all are honoured;—“her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband, also, and he praiseth her.” Therefore, let each mistress always remember her responsible position, never approving a mean action, nor speaking an unrefined word. Let her conduct be such that her inferiors may respect her, and such as an honourable and right-minded man may look for in his wife and the mother of his children. Let her think of the many compliments and the sincere homage that have been paid to her sex by the greatest philosophers and writers, both in ancient and modern times. Let her not forget that she has to show herself worthy of Campbell’s compliment when he said,—
“The world was sad! the garden was a wild!
And man the hermit sigh’d, till woman smiled.”

Let her prove herself, then, the happy companion of man, and able to take unto herself the praises of the pious prelate, Jeremy Taylor, who says,—“A good wife is Heaven’s last best gift to man,—his angel and minister of graces innumerable,—his gem of many virtues,—his casket of jewels—her voice is sweet music—her smiles his brightest day;—her kiss, the guardian of his innocence;—her arms, the pale of his safety, the balm of his health, the balsam of his life;—her industry, his surest wealth;—her economy, his safest steward;—her lips, his faithful counsellors;—her bosom, the softest pillow of his cares; and her prayers, the ablest advocates of Heaven’s blessings on his head.”