Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The President's First Hangout

Note: I am writing wrote this as the Hangout happened and I watched it on YouTube. The hangout, I think, will be archived on YouTube here. (I am having tense issues, writing it as it happens knowing you can only read it later - so please pardon the ones I do not catch. Thank you!)

This was exciting! I love that this White House Administration is on top of tech trends and that they are using G+ to interact directly with the public. The people they picked to speak to President Obama are smart, have good questions, and over all are leaving a good impression with me. PotUS seemed comfortable and real (as real as a politician can be, anyhow), like you are talking to him and not the facade a lot of people in politics seem to put on in public.

The wife with the unemployed husband had a very real story. I am impressed that the President delved into it, finding out his specialty and asking for a resume. He treated it like he was dealing with lives and not talking points.

The #Occupy protester reached out and squeezed my cardiac muscles in a way I did not expect. It seemed kind of hollow to go to "grow the economy" as an answer, but I guess I understand it. But the big picture plans ring hollow when your stomach is empty.

The mom that is asking about children and learning about economics
PotUS rightfully mentioned Know Before You Owe, which is a new program from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. You cannot just have one talk about how to manage finances with your kids. While they should probably not have a lot of contact with the family's personal finances, they should know that this is something they will have to manage and get solid advice on how to do so.

I like the explanation that the President gave on foreign aid. It is less that one percent of the budget, and that needs to be emphasized in the conversation. He touched on the strategy and human interest involved. People misunderstand almost everything about foreign aid from how much we spend to what we spend it on and why. Sometimes we give money to people that, as they say, "hate us," but still have a good reason to spend money there.

The next question was about unmanned drone strikes. The President does not believe that the drones cause "large" numbers of civilian casualties. I think there is a perception problem there, but that may just be me. If it is your child killed in a drone strike, even that one death is unacceptable as an operational risk. He emphasized the information gathering that happens before a drone takes off and that they do a lot of work to make sure that they are going after appropriate targets only and do their best to minimize civilian casualties. I disagree with him here completely, but feel he answered the question fairly well.

The next subject as education and employment. Who needs what kind of training? Maybe, said the President, you want to be a graphics designer and only need a two years or a six month program before you have the skills to do your job well. Then he moved on to the changes made in student loans and cutting out the middle man in getting school funds directly to student. Then he mentioned encouraging tax credits for families with students in colleges and universities. The President has also asked the states to help more with funding schools and programs. Then he went to rewarding innovation and good ideas from schools that save money but get the job of educating done.

On the same subject, he talked about how the economic outlook is hitting people as they try to plan their future like college. He acknowledged that it is difficult to invest in a higher education if it looks like you may never be able to pay it back. He does congratulate young people for having such a keen and able eye on their future, but continues to emphasize that they will do better with a degree than with a high school diploma.

SOPA and PIPA were brought up in a question. President Obama spoke about protecting against internet piracy while allowing ideas and information to flow freely. He does seem to have some respect for the open culture of the Internet, which is unusual in our politicians. He addressed a case involving extradition and revealed that he is not involved personally involved in it.

And then came Alpha Cat! He asked his question as President Obama and it was funny but not disrespectful. The President stated that he felt that the ability to poke fun and satire political figures is important and speaks to the strength of our democracy.

The Hangout members were then given the opportunity to ask a quick personal question. The first one was about the PotUS and dancing. He answered it with grace and humor. I felt like there were uncomfortable racial overtones in asking a white person asking a black person to dance for them, let alone the President of the United States. The next questioner asked if he could be the personal physician to PotUS after he graduated. The third asked about how it felt to no be able to go get a snack at a convenience store if he wanted to - and the President talked about the nuts and bolts of just wanting to go run an errand. The forth questioner asked if PotUS would come to his school and expand the under-dog school's prestige. PotUS responded with the idea that their participation in the Hangout/Interview would hopefully help with that (as the only school participating). The last asked about the President and the First Lady's upcoming 20th wedding anniversary. He stated that there may be some logistical trouble since it is in October (near the election) and he may have to delay a big celebration. She also asked to and then put her children on camera briefly. The President smiled and eagerly told her to bring her kids out, which was pretty cool.

The Hangout was quickly and neatly wrapped up. I am really impressed at how smoothly this went. With both pre-recorded and live questioners, it could have been a big mess. Hell, I was on the page before it started and even their "Hey is this thing on" was professional and brief. Over all, I want to see a lot more of this kind of near-direct interaction with the President and his Administration. The White House already has an A+ in my book on their use and understanding of tech and social media.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Real Newt?

This may seem random, but I was a little touched by Republican Presidential primary candidate Newt Gingrich's talk of moon bases yesterday. If you did not see Rachel Maddow's take on it, you should. Now, there are all sorts of trouble with the idea of a permanent US state Moon Base - and the next time he talks about it Newt must wear a Nehru jacket and carry a long-haired cat. 

But I wonder - is this an glimpse into the real guy? Are we seeing a boy that used to doodle lunar landing modules in Literature class? Or dream of being an astronaut himself? I became politically aware in the 80's so Gingrich has always been the nightmare jumping out of the closet to me. For 80's folks, Gingrich in charge of anything is always the worst case scenario. So when I see him talking, which is all the time lately, it is the Conservatron1000 I see: he is a talking points generator, and all attack all the time monster. 

Yesterday, though, I think we may have actually seen a little bit of the real human being. This is not Newt's first instance of space love. I think we are seeing a tiny, fragile, abused and emaciated boy-soul in there when he talks about this moon base. Now he seems like the little boy in the Despicable Me flashbacks, dreaming of the moon to the displeasure of his mom.

And I hate seeing that little boy-soul. Because I know that Newt and people like him never see the human being behind my political, social, philosophical, sexual, deviant beliefs. That ability or even willingness to acknowledge our shared humanity is completely one sided. There is no way that the Gingrich that wrote that language memo is going to give a damn about my humanity. So it kills me to see his.

Side note: I keep hearing the Space Sphere from Portal 2 when this subject comes up.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Ask the Reader: What Do You Want?

I am looking through my old notes and working on some new content for you, Dear Reader. You know I am guessing over here, right? I did not get any SuperCrip abilities when I got sick. I know, right? And while I can read faces, body language and voices and tone - I am not actually psychic.*

What I want to know is this: what do you want? I have never actually asked you, the people I am actually reaching, what you would like to know about me and my situations. So take a moment and write a comment (they are moderated for your sanity and mine, but yours should show up pretty quick) and let me know. 

Here is a list of some of the things on my mind that I am currently scribbling about. Some may even live to see the light of day the Web! You can add to this list with new things, or just say "Hey, I would really like to see #4!" or "I have always wondered about that #2." I am feeling energetic about this blog again, and I want your help to keep that going.

  1. Gaming while disabled (and female, and lots of things!)
  2. Playing Star Wars: The Old Republic.
  3. Wheelchair modification or maybe even building from scratch.
  4. Poly families and Newt Gingrich.
  5. Engery drink reviews! I really dig energy drinks.
  6. Internalized ableism (thank you, Marcus!).
  7. Plan B.
  8. The a very brief history of abuse by the medical community of the marginalized and how it continues today.
  9. Some of my fandoms and how even some of my favorites treat disabled folks, you know, me, very badly.
  10. Cripdrag and why it is a bad thing.
  11. Occasionally I will ask you for advice or opinions.
  12. I want to write about being aviodant. If you know what that is you know that it is a kind of funny contradiction...
  13. Parenting while all of this is happening.
  14. Considering Buddhism.

* Yes, this means I know when people in front of me lie to me. Every time. I do not always same some thing, and if I cannot prove it to doubters, I may even have to still go along with your lie... for a while. But never, ever doubt: I know. Hell, maybe I could write or do videos about that...

Friday, January 20, 2012

On the Word "Lame"

Transcript below the break.

Thank you to everyone that has sent me notes about this video. Your thoughts are greatly appreciated by me.

It is nice to be back.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Internet Blackout and #TeamBlackness

Tomorrow is a day of Internet Black outs in order to spread awareness, action, and anger over SOPA and PIPA. I know I want you aware, acting, and angry over it. Essentially these pieces of legislation are like the Lupus of the Internet - damaging or destroying the body of the Web in an effort to over zealously protect IP ownership. You can, and should, since you are consuming content on the Web, find out more and sign the petition.

Today I worked on a small project, a simple web page for #TeamBlackness. You can see it in the side bar over there ->, and I think you should.

So poor timing on the relaunch/'net black out. See you Thursday, if all goes according to plan!

Monday, January 16, 2012


Hallo! It has been quiet some time, no? Well, the silence coming from my little corner of the Web is done. This is my official relaunch of my blog! While my silence has been due, in part, to laziness; I have also been writing a lot, and thinking even more.

What do I want PatientC to be? I want it to be a tool for making the world a better place - even if it is just a tiny bit, a teaspoon at a time. I want to talk about what is on my mind freely, without fear. I have spent no small amount of time looking at the history of social justice bloggers that have been bullied out of the Internet and talking with my family about the possibility of that sort of thing coming to our door.

I have decided that I will post about whatever is on my mind. So not every post is going to be about disability or related things or maybe even social justice. 

  • I may talk about gaming, especially video games. 
  • Hell, I have a stack of energy drink reviews - I could justify those as being a defense mechanism against both my internal fatigue and the fatigue produced by a couple of my medications. But I also simply like them, and like trying new ones. 
  • When my hands can manage it, I knit, so that may come up. This is an election year, so you can bet that I am going to talk about that. 
  • I may post consolidations of the days action items for you to participate in or not as you choose. 
  • Other social justice stuff will definitely come up. So you can expect posts on sexism, sexual orientation, race, class/poverty...
  • I am studying Buddhism, so expect that to be a subject that comes up with some regularity.

The truth of the matter is that I am a human being, along with being a woman, being disabled, being bisexual, dealing with poverty* issues, or any number of things. So a lot of things come up in my life and in my addled brain, and I may share any of them with you at any time.

If you see a story, issue, or item of some sort, and you think I might be able to write about it in a worthwhile way, let me know.

I will be expanding my efforts to include more regular writing, some videos, and expanding my concept of what I can do and share with you.

*I am a poor person lucky enough to live as a middle class person. It is complicated.