The mark of my educated mind

Posted in Asperger's Syndrome with tags , , on 12 December 2008 by Maggie

It has been difficult sorting out how to approach what is a very sensitive issue for me.  I planned an entire rant as I headed in to work this morning.  It was a rational rant.  You know me.  It had to be rational.  But it was a rant nonetheless and assumed that certain irrefutable truths were understood by the average person.   I started thinking about that and realised, no, thanks to media hype and the rationale of some prominent entities in the news, the irrefutable truths are not understood, or there wouldn’t be a controversy in the first place.  The rant seemed an inappropriate “shoot first” approach.

After discounting the rant, I thought perhaps history should prevail first.  Then I thought science should prevail.  At one point I thought an explanation as to why this is so bloody important to me should come first.  I went back to the three-article series I wrote on stem cell research, because that is also a sensitive issue for me, but I couldn’t quite get my line of thought to follow the same path.  I thought perhaps I was too close to the subject, but that’s not it.

I considered shelving it for the time being.

Then the fall issue of Creighton Magazine hit my desk.

I went back to it again, and I downloaded more information.

It is Thursday night now.  I’ve spent all day trying to get my head round it.  This article (blog for those who are seeing it after it’s been sent) is a prologue to what is about to come.  These are statements that I will address as I go along, not necessarily in this order:

1.  Vaccines are historically important to the health of the public and continue to be so.
2.  Vaccines are not the cause of autism/Asperger syndrome, but they may very well cause an aggravation of certain symptoms in children and/or adults with autism/Asperger syndrome if those children or adults are already sensitive to components in the vaccines.
3.  Autism/Asperger syndrome cannot be “cured”.  Scientific study indicates strongly that the points on the Autism Spectrum may be the result of unexplained escalation in random deletion in the genome order, from which we acquire our individual personalities.  (Keyword:  random.)
4.  Symptoms of autism/Asperger syndrome may be, but are not guaranteed to be, reduced through special types of diet and/or behaviour modification…in some cases, but not all cases.

I am truly sorry there are so many parents who cannot psychologically or emotionally handle their children once diagnosed with the unique abilities and capabilities identified through Autism Spectrum idiosyncrasies.  It is a struggle to understand that their child or children are different from them, sometimes so different that their average brain as parents cannot handle that which is not average in their children.  These parents seem to blame themselves, and at the same time search for a reason to blame someone or something else, and blindly join organisations like Autism Speaks. 

Unfortunately, their handling of their experiences have led many of them down the same road as those who once felt peach pits would cure cancer.  It is an act of desperation at best.

I have Asperger syndrome, and I want to talk about this.

To be continued tomorrow night.

Scottish Devolution 10 years hence

Posted in Scotland with tags , , on 3 December 2008 by Maggie

I should think by now that most of you know that my first political love is for Scottish independence from the United Kingdom (the UK).  Since their sovereign state was taken from them in 1707 with the Acts of Union, Scots have been under English rule.  The word “tyranny” comes to my mind, but then, that’s simply my opinion, and the opinion of at least 5 million others.  Has Scotland benefitted from English rule as part of the “United Kingdom”?  Less so than the “United Kingdom” has benefitted from Scotland and its resources.

Something one must understand is that England does not have its own entity within the parliament of the United Kingdom.  It is not the fault of the English people that it happened this way, but it is an awareness that the Northern Irish, Scottish and Welsh have that the UK is and always has been England, and therefore in supporting the work of the UK parliament, support of England proper is assumed without the English having a delineated share.  This is a huge problem for both the English and for the rest of the countries involved in the United Kingdom.  The voices represented are misrepresented all the way along the line.  Having said that, and because of this, my reference to the parliament that sits in London is “English Parliament” and/or “the English”. 

My own work with the passing of the Devolution Referendum in 1997 made several things clear to me.  One was that without Scotland, the United Kingdom could very well fall flat – something neither the English monarchy nor English Parliament wish to see happen.  England has gone well out of its way to keep Scotland under its thumb under the auspices of the UK.  One of the reasons is because the mindset of national identity is very strong in Scotland, and Scots are quite vocal about it. 

In the news articles leading up to the Calman Commission’s preliminary report issued 1 December, the English seem to have realised that one thing they can do in order to contain the Scottish national identity and the prospect of independence is recommend a process called “assigned revenues”, rather than the requested expansion in Scotland’s taxation powers through Holyrood.  What this means is that English parliament wants to give Holyrood a certain amount of the taxes collected from Scottish taxpayers with the admonition, “Here, work with this – the rest of the money is ours.”  When the Devolution Referendum passed, this was not how it was set up.  This recommendation from the English would cause a deterioration in the current process and make life more difficult for the Scots.  (My opinion:  Yet another 1745 “clearances” behaviour from the English.)

Scottish taxpayers should be livid with this suggestion.  By allowing a set amount of funding without provisions for economic fluctuation, services are then limited, and based entirely on the whim of English parliament.  The services rendered by English parliament are UK-wide, and so the Scots (just as the Northern Irish and Welsh) would see an increasing amount of their tax revenues go for improvements to the infrastructure and services in England more than they see it in their own infrastructure and services.  The taxes in the United States, state-by-state, are better allocated within each state than the taxes in the UK, nation-by-nation, are allocated to each nation. 

There are so many complicated ways the English are trying to keep Scots subservient to them, and this is just one of them.  Another is the claim the English attempt to make to North Sea oil, drawing a boundary in the oceans clear around the landmass of Scotland and insisting this belongs to the United Kingdom.  Oil-based revenues are high.  Without them the English would be devoid of a rather large cash cow.

Throughout the month of December, I am going to read and comment on the Calman Commission’s preliminary report.  I want to make it clear, though, that there is no love lost between me and English rule.  I am a staunch supporter of the SNP and will continue until the day I die.  I will, however, be as fair as I possibly can in my commentary on the report.  Unlike my friend SNP First Minister Alex Salmond, I will not always accuse the English of dastardly deeds.  I realise it is a point of survival for the English. At the same time, Scottish Home Rule (at the very least) is also a point of survival for the Scots.

Thanksgiving

Posted in General with tags , , , , on 28 November 2008 by Maggie

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends.

It is a quiet day today. Because of an odd turn of events, I am not going to my daughter’s, after all. This is okay. We’re going to have a combination Thanksgiving/Christmas over a four-day period in December…the 11th through the 14th.

You must understand that I am not particularly fussed about the tradition of Thanksgiving. No one really remembers why we have the holiday in the first place, or the history of it, or how it came to be that we have it on the fourth Thursday in November. It’s an illogical choice of days by historically meteorological standards, and if you don’t believe me, look it up. If you have trouble finding the information, let me know.

The essential thing about the holiday, however, is that you get an entire day off in which you can reflect on those things, people and memories for which you are thankful. Here’s a basic list of those things for which I am thankful on a personal level:

I am thankful for the atmosphere in which I was raised. I came from an old-money family on my mother’s side, full of artists, musicians, ambassadors, diplomats, politically powerful people. I learned an appreciation for the fine arts, protocol, professionalism, the letter of the law, an intolerance for ignorance, and the importance of building a network that supports you in exceptional circumstances. I came from a long line of missionaries and charity workers on my father’s side. I learned how to handle myself in third-world situations…and about compassion, patience, understanding, the essential goodness of the human condiion, and the effect of outside forces on that human condition that create the human experience.

I am thankful that I was raised to fully appreciate my Scottish and Belgian heritage. I credit my great-grandmother with teaching me the importance of understanding where you came from in order to understand where you are going. She is also responsible for my great love of archaeology and anthropology.

I am thankful I was raised to appreciate the role of belief structures and culture in the world around us. I credit my grandfather with encouraging my search for answers to the questions I asked when I was eight years old. He taught me respect, and to resist closing my mind. After more than 45 years guided by the echo of his voice, I think I have resisted well.

I am thankful for my children, and I am grateful for the adults they have become. I couldn’t be more proud of each of them. They will make a terrific mark in this world in their own ways.

I am thankful for friends and acquaintances who have brightened the nooks and crannies of my life. Each of them, whether we have remained in contact or not over the years, have had an impact on my experiences and helped shape who I am today.

I am thankful for the men who have loved me, and who I have loved, over the years. I battled hard against the lessons these relationships tried to teach me. This year, I have finally learned how to handle the undercurrent of my own stubborn fears – fear of sharing, fear of closeness, fear of pain, fear of emotion, fear of singular devotion – all of those things that caused me to run. It has been a long road, but as Edward Albee once wrote, “Sometimes you have to go the long way around to come back the short way correctly.” I am no longer stubborn. I no longer fear. I am cautious, but content in the knowledge that loving and being loved is still a part of my future, as is one good and strong lasting relationship. It’s right in front of me. I just need to take it easy, take it slow and let it happen the way it should.

And that gives me hope – something for which I am also thankful.

A thought on Sarah Palin…

Posted in Politics in the US on 1 November 2008 by Maggie

…and then you will not hear me talk about her again.

Anyone who knows me knows that I have no U.S. party affiliation.  I have watched, read, and commented strictly on what I see and hear.  I research those things I find intriguing, and the run-up to Sarah Palin’s speech last night was no exception.

I heard the speech.

My first thought was, “What a snarky, classless bitch.”

I watched it on You Tube two more times. I read the transcript.  I still say, “What a snarky, classless bitch.” 

And, of course, I have other thoughts on the matter.  I have loads of them from the speech itself, but a few have been bothering me since she was announced as McCain’s pick last Saturday. 

I don’t care that her daughter is unmarried and pregnant – or that this daughter is going to get married and keep the baby.  I don’t care that Mrs. Palin has five kids who need her at the end of a regular workday and she’s just accepted the prospect of a 12-15+ hour work day, instead. I am not the least bit “taken in” by her having a child with Downs Syndrome.  I don’t care that she is a walking contradiction. Many people are walking contradictions – religious, political and moral preferences notwithstanding.

Except…

What this means to me is that she is not in any way deeply and personally committed to anything of substance in regard to the operation of the United States government and foreign policy – or to U.S. citizens, in general.  I want people running the country in which I live who are deeply and personally committed to those things I believe are important.  She doesn’t even come close.

She said the following:

In politics, there are some candidates who use change to promote their careers. 

She should know. She’s one of them.

It started when she became mayor, and she encouraged the Town of Wasilla to hire a lobbyist so that the town could get its own earmarks approved, thereby bringing in sorely needed funds.  Wasilla’s budget is $14 million.  Thanks to earmarks, it has $26 million.

She claims she took the state of Alaska and fiscally turned it around, not only clearing their deficit, but giving them surplus…

…on the back of the Bridge to Nowhere bill.  She promoted the bill heavily while she was campaigning for the governorship and then did a complete 180 when she became governor and said, “Thanks, but no thanks,” while eagerly awaiting the $230 million in earmarks the state would receive out of its passage.

But Mrs. Palin claims to support McCain’s position and says, “We don’t do earmarks.” 

Sure she does.  It’s just that right now it is not politically in her best interests to promote that concept.  That’s quite a trick, talking out of both sides of her mouth like that.

Mrs. Palin also knows how to use her position to take care of her family.  She almost had time to arrange for her sister’s ex-husband to get fired from his job before she accepted the invitation to run for Vice President.  I can almost hear the conversation with her sister:  “Look, I can do more for you from Washington.  Hang in there.”

She said:  To the families of special-needs children all across this country, I have a message: For years, you sought to make America a more welcoming place for your sons and daughters.  I pledge to you that if we are elected, you will have a friend and advocate in the White House.

Sure.  This is why the funding for special needs children in the Alaska school system for FY 2007, 2008 and the upcoming 2009 school terms was changed and remain underfunded.  This is a matter of public record. 

Yes, the military youth academy operated by Alaska’s National Guard was under “special schools” in 2007, but even after splitting this off, the special needs area is hampered by drastic budget limitations.  Special needs instructors are begging for funding.  Yet the military academy operated under the National Guard will receive double the budget increase at a little over $600,000 going into FY2009 that special needs schools will be receiving at $340,000.  In fact the budget for the military school for 2009 is telling at $6,082,100 compared to the budget for special schools set at $3,156,000.  Even Mt. Edgecomb Boarding School has a bigger budget, well over $7 million.

So much for being an “advocate”.  Maybe she’s planning on more of those earmarks she doesn’t “do”.

She said:  I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a “community organizer,” except that you have actual responsibilities.

Community organisers don’t have actual responsibilities?  I’ll remember she said that.  Apparently that means community organisers don’t take the work that they do as seriously as she takes hers with her “actual” responsibilities.  The next time I am asked to fulfill “actual” responsibilities for the next major organisation who asks for my assistance, I’ll be sure to make it clear that I can’t do that.  Sarah Palin said community organisers don’t have “actual” responsibilities.

Whether or not I hold any belief in any of the things she supports or pretends to support doesn’t matter.

I will say this, though:

I grew up in a little town of 6,000, where my family had a long history as city fathers and where city leadership came to them for insight and advice for decades.  I spent 10 years as the wife of a man who was the mayor of a little town, population almost 500, and to this day, 17 years later, he is still on the city council.  I live now in a small town of 250, and I know which families really run that area.  You can’t tell me I don’t know what you’re up to, Mrs. Palin.  I most certainly do.

On Snatching Children

Posted in General with tags , , on 31 August 2008 by Maggie

www.realitycharity.com/quenton

A friend of mine wrote a blog on Netlog about his missing son.  Someone complained when others picked up the message and continued to post it in the hopes of getting others to help, as well. 

Netlog called it spam and not only blocked the running blogs, but also blocked the accounts of everyone involved.

Imagine that.  When people take up the call to retrieve a snatched child, it’s called spam and you are shunned.

I don’t think so.

Thank god that is not the case on MySpace or here on WordPress. 

Here’s the original appeal written by my friend, but please don’t stop reading.  There’s more:

For the last month I have been trying to get my son home from a visitation with his mother. My 12 year old son was supposed to be returned on July 28th 2008. On the 27th my ex’s mother called me and asked me to let him remain in Indiana and I stated at that time it wasnt in the best interest of my son, then I recieved a call from her new husband with the same request, again I said no. Finally my Ex wife called and asked herself and again the reply was no, she then stated she couldnt afford to send him home , at which point I bought a ticket to for him to be flown home.

She didnt put him on the flight and refuses to send him home still. She has been court ordered to send him home and still refuses.She has violated several laws in Florida as well as Indiana in reguards to custody and will be charged tomorrow in Florida with felony Interference of custody on 2 counts.
 
Legally I have custody per the divorce papers, this is the second time she has tried not to return him. Thankfully last time she was still on house arrest. For selling drugs among many other charges. I believe that they will most likely have my son (law enforcements hands) in the next couple of days.

Parental child abduction is a major problem in the US and a growing issue I am only writing on here to ask if ANYONE knows where to go for financial aid in recovering my son from Indiana. This ordeal has left me broke to begin with trying to get him home with the wasted plane ticket previously and attorney’s fees.
If anyone knows where to go for help please left me know ASAP.

Damon
 
PS
 
Take even idle threats about keepin your child or taking your child from you very serious.

This cuts me to the quick in ways that I cannot even express, but for a couple of different reasons.

First, as a non-custodial parent whose children were raised by a very good father, this is inconceivable.  I could not imagine taking Matt, Diana, and Stephanie away from their father for any reason.  I credit him with the fact they are good world citizens, and this is why I have written a Mother’s Day blog about him every single year.

But, then, I am not a drug addict with an arrest and conviction record as long as your arm.  Damon’s ex does.

I am also not in Indiana and my ex in Florida, which is how she is getting away with not having an “interstate flight with a minor” charge against her.

Another reason this cuts me to the quick is because of how Dave was treated when he and his first wife divorced.  At the time, his son was old enough to make his own decision as to who to live with.  His daughter was not.  There’s a reason Dave’s son opted to live with his father.  Dave should have also, by rights, been given his daughter.  The woman called Dave’s son and told him he was a bastard and he could never come to see her again because – in her self-centered modus operandi – if he would choose Dave, then he was a pretty lousy child, anyway.  She took the daughter, left the area, and that was the last either one of them saw of her.

Imagine losing your child in this way.  Imagine having your child snatched from you.  Imagine living in desperate worry for the health and safety of your child and it seems you can do nothing about it.

Since Damon first wrote his blog asking for help, he has found an attorney who will take an IOU.  The fact of the matter is, he doesn’t have the ability to pay for this.  It is expensive to get your child back, no matter how illegal the situation.  You get zero help from the government.  You fight these things on your own and this all gives the appearance that your love and dedication to your child is dependent upon the amount of money you have. 

This has been a horrendous struggle for him.  This is one time I can at least pass the world and hope others can help.  Damon has an account set up at Realtiy Charity for this.

www.realitycharity.com/quention

If anyone can help by contributing even the smallest amount, it will be helpful.

Dave and I will be contributing.  We’re hoping word gets around.

Damon’s son Quenton is a beautiful boy.  I hate to see him get caught up in a very bad situation living with his mother and her new husband.  Besides, the law is the law.  Damon is the custodial parent.  In this case, I will honestly say he is like my ex – a very good father.  The sun rises and sets in Quenton, as far as he is concerned.  He needs all the help he can get to bring his little boy home.

I have more information on this case beyond what I’ve disclosed here.  If you would like to know more, just ask.

If anyone can help, thank you.  It means alot to Damon and Quenton…and it means alot to me and to Dave.

Thank you.

www.realitycharity.com/quenton

 

On Orientalism

Posted in World History/Stereotyping with tags , , on 15 June 2008 by Maggie

Many thanks to my friend Pierre for pointing me this direction.  It is very important that we understand this.  This video will launch a re-examination for me, and culminate in a series about our perception of the world, and how we, to this day, stereotype others.

 

 

I’m voting Republican

Posted in Politics in the US with tags , , , on 15 June 2008 by Maggie

…and if you truly believe that, there’s property in the Sudan with your name on it….

 

If you don’t register to vote, this will happen, people.  Many thanks to the very brilliant Charlie Steak.