Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Starting to GET How Much I Don't "Get" It (UPDATED With My Decision)

Or “Wherein Sricki Fesses to a Shameful Level of Ignorance.”

Whatever title works for you. I’m good with either.

We’ve been talking a lot about race on the blogs lately. I freely admitted in a comment the other night that I totally don’t “get it” when it comes to understanding racism and oppression. But there’s so much I don’t get, and the more I learn, the more clueless and out of touch I feel. Am I about to embarrass myself trying to talk about race? Maybe, but I can’t say that my personal sense of humiliation and shame about all this makes it any less true or noteworthy.

Millionaire's Tax: A No Brainer?

It’s amazing that there’s pushback on raising taxes on the wealthy from anyone other than the rich, but there always will be, so long as the GOP can convince the middle and lower class rank’n’file that placing higher taxes on the rich is socialism or deadly to the economy. Sometimes phrasing matters, and it’s important to note that Republicans seem to have an advantage when it comes to controlling the narrative. I’ve never been sure exactly why this is: do we just not fight back hard enough, or is the reach of Fox “News” really that broad? My guess is that it’s a combination of factors.

Just seems to me like a pretty raw deal for most of the country when the wealthy don’t even have to pay their fair share.

Open Thread: Welcome Visitors (Part 4)

Moose are tearin’ through the Open Threads! Here is another one to play in. For at least the near future, we will try to keep a fresh one up every 200 comments or so.

A hearty welcome to all newcomers. Whether you are visiting just for a week, or have landed here in search of new digs, make yourself at home. Threads are filling up fast, and I’m having trouble keeping up with everyone. Sorry I’m not doing a good job of greeting everyone individually, but there seem to be quite a few of you – which is altogether rather delightful! I think I can speak for everyone here, moose new and old, when I say that we are thrilled to see each and every one of you.  

Open Thread: Welcome Visitors (Part 3)

Approaching 200 in the other thread too, and some of our computers don’t handle loads of comments on Moose so well.

Be you visitor or resident — young or old — new or seasoned moose…

Carry on. 😉

Teach Me About Children

Hi my moosey friends, I need some help.

It looks like I may have found a job, assuming everything goes through correctly. If it does, I will be an independent contract counselor working for a counseling agency. Sounds like something someone who just finished a counseling program should be able to handle, right?

Not exactly.

All of the time I’ve spent studying the field of psychology, I’ve planned to work with adults – ideally in a hospital setting. I have studied adults almost exclusively, and all of my internship experience was done in a clinic which took no one under the age of 19.

But the woman who hired me plans to place me primarily at an elementary school working as a counselor/behavior specialist with “problem” children for grades PK-5. I am passingly familiar with the school – and its reputation. A friend of mine tutors students there after classes, and he says it is very troubled – that a lot of the kids are difficult to teach and control. The families who send their children there are mostly low income, as evidenced by data I found on the school which indicated that over 90% of the students are eligible for free lunches. My boss says there is a total caseload at the school of 52. The school only has about 250 students, meaning that an unusually large percentage of the kids are considered problematic.  

It's On! Recap and Commentary on the First Republican Debate (2012)

I don’t know whether many people (especially on the left) had the stomach to watch this 90 minute exercise in silliness and futility, but I personally am a bit of a masochist. I sat through the full thing, knowing all the while that it was over an hour of my life I could never get back. For the most part, little of interest was said, though I must confess to a few points of agreement on my part with a couple of the candidates (95% disagreement of course). There were even some laughs scattered throughout, so I can hardly call it a complete waste, can I?

Let’s have a look at what was on the table tonight.

Sleepless: A Lifetime of Insomnia

I’m not literally sleepless.

That’s not how it works, of course.

Everyone sleeps.

Eventually, anyway.

I’ve been meaning to write a diary about insomnia, but I had intended to do it first from a clinical perspective for the Mental Health Awareness group. I thought a personal account might be interesting to some, though, as a primer of sorts – or for a strange-ish perspective.

Insomnia is “common,” but mine is not. My insomnia was diagnosed long before any of my other issues – that’s because it is a rather rare form of insomnia. It has been present since I was an infant and a part of my reality for as long as I can recall. It is called idiopathic insomnia, seemingly to reflect the fact that it has no known cause, and is found in less than one percent of the population.  

HIV / AIDS and Mental Health: An Overview

I’d like to discuss HIV/AIDS as it pertains to mental health, since I think it’s a topic that deserves more emphasis. I think it’s fairly intuitive that living with a disease like HIV/AIDS would be likely to have an adverse impact on one’s mental health. This goes for living with a lot of illnesses, especially life-threatening ones, but I believe there is still a special social stigma attached to HIV/AIDS which makes the reality of coping with it in a sometimes cold and judgmental world all that much harder. For the purposes of this diary, I will not be delving heavily into signs/symptoms or statistics for the populations affected. Rather, I want to focus on the mental health concerns that go along it.

As one might expect, depression and anxiety are prevalent amongst people with HIV/AIDS. The psychological strain of dealing with the condition itself can be intense, and the added burden of trying to cope with social stigma only increases the risk of developing mental health problems. Common responses to an initial diagnosis of the disease are denial, anger, sadness/depression, fear/anxiety, and general stress. Even for those who have never suffered from a life-threatening illness, I think it’s pretty easy to understand why someone would have those reactions. Sympathizing is, perhaps, a relatively simple task – truly empathizing is not. It is impossible for someone who does not have to live with HIV/AIDS to “understand” how these patients feel.  

Growing Up Liberal in a GOP Household: Lies, Indoctrination, and Breaking Free

This is not an especially brave tale. It’s just the story of my political upbringing in the Deep South. Pretty simple, all in all – just maybe a bit unusual.

I think my first political memory is of the Willie Horton attack ad during the run-up to the 1988 presidential elections. I was born in 1985, and those ads would have been showing when I was about 3 years old. I know I have a few fuzzy memories extending that far back, and I know I saw the ad when I was very young. I know that because it provoked a very visceral reaction in me. It felt “wrong” to me, though I wasn’t sure why. I wasn’t afraid of the man in the photograph, but there was something about the ad that I knew I didn’t like. I got a cold feeling when I saw it that I couldn’t quite identify.

We have a very close family friend who I’ve known since I was only two years old – a time that seems long past, for it was when he was still youthful and affectionate and often bouncing me on his knee. A gay guy (let’s call him Sean), who – oddly enough – my whole family embraced without question, including all four grandparents. My family has never had much of a “problem” with the LGBT community, despite their political leanings. But I remember my parents sitting me down one day when I was about five years old to “explain” Sean to me, as if his nature needed some sort of explanation. They told me that Sean only liked women as friends and that he didn’t want a wife – they explained that he only liked men that way. I was confused at first, and it took a bit more explanation (the specifics of which I do not recall) before I “got it.” What I do clearly remember were the expectant looks on their faces and my reaction. “So what?” And that was that. By my nature, it just didn’t matter to me (or perhaps it was merely because that sort of bigotry was never taught to me).