Precognition or Just Bad Luck?

To Sleep was a hard book to write. It started out in one direction then the logistics of it (a reader can only suspend so much belief before the book becomes airborne) got too tangled. I set it aside for a year or more then tried again, this time going in a different direction. But some tangles lived on.

When I first wrote the draft for To Sleep in ’09 (it was called The Awakening back then), the MCs were given these touchscreen devices to interface with the System. They were called the Individual System Access Device. They played with what to name them ISAD was, well, sad so they decided to call them their PADs. In 2010 Apple came out with the iPAD.

Another part of To Sleep that was dropped was the initial scout ship was kinda shaped like an egg, smooth with no visible markings whatsoever, and had been in orbit around Saturn, hidden as one of that planet’s many moons. I dropped that part for various reasons but kept the description for one of the main ships that first arrive. In 2012, prior to To Sleep being released, Saturn’s moon Methone was finally imaged up close. It is perfectly smooth with very little visible markings.

In the Earth I created for the Soliloquy series (To Sleep, To Dream, Perchance, To Die), the Religious Right had gotten a firm hold in the US gov’t to the point they are a political party on their own. If you have read the first book, you know what the Religious Right attempt to do.

Tonight, as we wait for the numbers to start getting counted, I hope and pray that yet another bit from that damn book does not come true. Let us come back together as a species and heal the mental wounds we have inflicted on each other. Followers on both sides have gotten nasty. We all need to move on, one way or another.

The Pig Didn’t Fly Because….

I finally found something I was looking for! An article from the perspective of the woman with the pig on the plane. If she were legitimate, one would exist. On my one hand, perhaps she is. Perhaps she does have issues and truly desired to have this animal with her on her trip. And that is her right according to the Air Carriers Access Act (links at the bottom) which covers planes which the ADA does not.

She (I’ll call her RB) is upset from it, of course. RB has had to take her Facebook page down. Photos of RB’s face were posted on a news site and people who were in photos with RB on her Facebook page prior to the incident were not happy to be identified with her. Go friends and co-workers! Love to you, too!

I tried to read the article in a way that I would understand her side. RB must be miserable and even more mentally pushed back. And I did try. I always do. Because I always hold out the hope that there was a mistake somewhere, you know? That surely to shit someone really did not take a pig on a plane, faking it as an emotional support animal!

But there are a few things that stuck out. And this was someone who was not with her but speaking from elsewhere but it does make me wonder even further. Anyway, Victor Kinoian, the owner of My Pet Piggy LLC where the woman bought her pig, says she (the passenger) worked with the airlines to ensure the airlines was aware she was arriving with her pig. Then he says:

“American Airlines knew they needed to accommodate my customer, so after calling & triple checking for approval to make sure a pig as an ESA (emotional support animal) was allowed to fly, she received no help from them that day or placed in an appropriate seat to ensure safe travels & proper accommodation for her ESA.”

Red flag. For one, it is not the airlines that determines the seating. The passenger does. Why did SHE pick a seat in the middle of the plane? Why not the bulkhead? As a person who has flown with a Rottweiler, I didn’t expect the airline to appropriately seat me when I got there. I expected me to pick out the best seat ahead of time. I’m not a child. And she’s not mentally ill, she’s not mentally challenged, she has a need for emotional support. That means she has the mental capacity to determine this for herself. Ahead of time. This wasn’t Southwest she was flying.

And she didn’t need help from them. She could walk to her seat by herself. She could put her bag away by herself. Her special needs were for emotional support. If she needed special accommodation to assist with that (seated early to help with crowds, for example), then she would have gotten it.

“After passengers became very standoffish towards Hobey, he had an accident, & as we all know, accidents do happen.”

Um, not by Service Dogs. I would be devastated if my SD pooped on a plane. If this guy who is selling pigs to be emotional support animals thinks “accidents happen”, then he’s an idiot. I know that pigs not eating “slop” must have better smelling poop than pigs that do, but we’re talking about a very crammed airplane. I don’t care who poops, it’s gonna stink for several rows.

And if Joella, my Rottweiler Service Dog, if she had gotten upset every time someone was “standoffish” toward her? She’d have crapped a lot. Thank gawd she just gave them her softest look instead and said “Why don’t you like me?” and moved on.

“What is expected of an ESA? Are they not allowed to have accidents? If my 90 yr old grandma has an accident mid flight, is she to be removed?! It’s not to be funny, but if there wasn’t so much grey area for situations like this to occur, this would have never happen. My customer was setup for failure by the airport and deserves an apology and an apology to all the passengers on the plane for having poor regulation and lack of common sense.”

What is expected? They are held to high standards, sir. They are representing not only all the other ESAs that come after them, but all the Service Dogs, too. And you, sir, are setting a poor standard. I expect my Service Dog to act in such a way no one knows she is there. I expect my SD to respond appropriately to stress (hide behind me, right Joella?) and not poop on the floor.

There is no grey area. It is written as a law called the Air Carriers Access Act. Read it. Perhaps your “customer” should, too. I take that back. There are grey areas. They are there on purpose. It is there because no passenger, no ESA, no SD, no situation is identical to the next. You cannot rubber stamp this and expect us all to fit.

RB could be legitimate. If she is, she needs to tell the guy she bought the pig from to shut the F up ’cause he’s an idiot and is not helping her or anyone else one dang bit. He’s enjoying his few minutes in the limelight while she is at home, probably with the curtains closed. Does she deserve the heckling? Did she really get herself a seat not in the bulkhead? I’ve seen photos of the pig in the airport. It’s not *that* big but it would not have been happy in that little space at her feet from Rhode Island to South Carolina. Did she really expect the airlines to take care of her that much? If she did, then she is…well, she needs to plan a little bit better the next time.

Correction: I originally called the law the Air Carriers Act but it is the Air Carriers Access Act. I have corrected all of the references. I should have known it was too easy and too few letters! Elena is much more smarter than me and caught it. – PaulaO

Air Carriers Access Act (ACAA) – web version | pdf version
Air Carriers Access Act FAQ (pdf)
ACAA Summary from Disability Travel
Air Consumer Rules – scroll down to “Part 382”
Another article about RB (basically says the same thing but has more photos of the pig)

Medicare and Medicaid Idiocy in NC

(the below is based on my understanding of how this all works)

[rant]

Medicare is a federal thing, granted to people over 65 (or 67?) and to the disabled (and some others). To receive Medicare as a person with a disability (PWD), one must be declared “disabled” by the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA determines the declaration on the person’s ability to obtain and maintain “gainful employment”. SSA is completely employment based. PWDs who gain the declaration from SSA receive Social Security Disability Income (SSDI). The amount paid is based on how much the person paid into the program while working. If a person was self-employed and did not pay into the program, they are not eligible for SSDI nor Medicare.

Medicaid is a state thing. Most states base the eligibility on income although there are other criteria.

A person can have one and not the other or they can have both. I have both. I have Medicare because I applied for and was granted SSDI about ten years ago. Since I cannot be on Lorna’s insurance even if we were married (DOMA), I have both medical and prescription coverage under Medicare. I have Medicaid since they only consider my income and, including royalties and SSDI, I only earn about 11K a year. Because Lorna and I are not married, she is seen as a housemate. Even though we support each other financially, her income is not taken into account.

Like most states, North Carolina is losing money. And like most state governments the first place they discuss cutting is Medicaid. NC has a new Republican governor, Pat McCrory who from the beginning is proving to have his head up his ass, one hand on the Bible, and the other hand doing a circle jerk with the other Republicans and the corporations who own them. One of his first moves was to threaten closing several liberal art state college programs, primarily any gender studies. Even though hundreds if not thousands of businesses (including rape crisis and victim advocates) use these educational programs, McCrory believes they are wasting tax money.

Now McCrory wants to “privatize” Medicaid. His idea is to have 3-4 groups hand out the money in the form of physicians having only X amount of dollars to spend on each Medicaid patient.

Let that sink in a minute.

Several years ago, Medicaid tried to limit how many physical therapy visits a patient could have. I can’t remember the amount but it was ridiculously low. So low that many patients with chronic conditions would have run out of their yearly allotment in less than 6 months. I was one of those people. I could probably go to PT twice a week and have something legitimate to work on. We had to teach me the steps, have me do it at home, then come back in two weeks to discuss and learn the next. It was tricky because I had to make sure I was doing it right, had to make up materials and equipment, etc etc etc. It was a pain in the ass for me and the PTist. She actually used me as a case study to present to the state board as she and other PTist began their “Are you fucking nuts?!” discussions. Other problems were because I didn’t fit into any single box in terms of medical definitions. I didn’t have paraplegia so I wasn’t eligible for certain things even though I needed it. I didn’t have MS so I wasn’t eligible for other things. We did a lot of headbanging for about two years until it was “fixed”.

And what McCrory wants to do is worse. This would limit not just my PT, but everything from blood work to equipment to tests to surgery. What happens if my doc runs out of my funds and I get ill? Or what if I am healthy and don’t use my allotment? Do I then have less the next year?

Hey, McCrory, you want to save the state money? How about taking a pay cut like everyone else has? No? How about looking at the money the state pays each year for those idiots to build their big houses on sand and expect the state to rescue their asses year after year when hurricanes come? No? Still stuck on chasing pennies while hundreds blow in the wind? Okay, then take a look at how much the state is paying for medical equipment. The 24v gel cell deep cycle batteries for my chair cost the state $500 each. My chair uses 2 of them. The state “rents” my CPAP for 13 months then buys it for me. In that 13 months, you could have bought me about 3 machines of much better quality than the dumb doorstop I got. You won’t pay for my $50 a year dental check up but you will pay the $14K dentures I will soon need. Shall I go on?

Better yet, allow Lorna and I to marry so I am no longer eligible for Medicaid! Wouldn’t that be so simple? Wouldn’t that save the state a ton of money since I’m sure we’re not the only lesbian/gay couple with this situation?

[/rant] (for now)

http://www.mountainx.com/article/49611/State-officials-to-visit-Asheville-will-discuss-Gov.-McCrorys-Medicaid-proposal

No One Can Answer

No one can answer the question I posed the other day. I’m still waiting.

I found myself questioning my faith but I believe I have pulled my self out of that. I was deeply depressed. I respected Mr. Graham tremendously and considered him very knowledgeable on the Bible. Not any more. If he believes, as he says, that the Bible actually defines marriage at all, then he must be losing his mind. I had briefly hoped that it was Franklin Graham who was releasing the statement in his father’s name (oh how ironic that line is) but others say it cannot be due to the way it is worded.

“Watching the moral decline of our country causes me great concern,” said Graham, 93, who lives near Asheville. “I believe the home and marriage is the foundation of our society and must be protected.”

You’re right, sir, the home and marriage is one of the foundations of our society. Yet, you wish to deny me both. Why? You honestly believe that keeping me and others like me from marrying will automatically strengthen others? Please, sir, I wish to know. I can’t marry in this state anyway. The failing of this amendment won’t change that. So what is its purpose? Why are you so for it that you step outside of your long policy of staying out of politics? Why put down the people you say are such sinners? You aren’t bringing us closer to God by doing this. Instead, you are pushing us further away. If your God–I often wonder if I worship a different deity than you and others like you worship–considers me a sinner simply because who I choose to love, then I do not want to follow that god. Thank you, sir, for pointing this out to me. Thank you, sir, for tossing another stone.

****

Some news linkages about Mr. Billy Graham (I have decided to drop his Reverend title).

BibliFact Brief: Billy Graham and Marriage in the Biblical Sense

With all due respect to Reverend Graham, who has tended to avoid engaging in political debates about homosexuality and gay marriage, the Bible does not clearly define marriage. Nor is the Bible clear that God’s definition of marriage is between a man and a woman. Nor is the Bible straightforwardly applicable to any of the current policy debates about gay marriage, civil unions, and homosexuality.

Billy Graham and Amendment 1: A Tarnished Legacy

The fact that the 93-year-old Graham, who was born during the final days of World War I, supports marriage discrimination is not, in and of itself, surprising, when one considers both his age and his evangelicalism. What is rather surprising, however, is the fact that he’s made such a public anti-gay pronouncement at all. After all, the man has been essentially in retirement since 2007. Since that time, he’s left most of the right-wing craziness to his son, Franklin “President Obama may or may not be a ‘son of Islam'” Graham, and his daughter, Anne “9/11 was God’s way of getting back into the government and our schools” Graham Lotz.

Billy Graham backs North Carolina amendment to ban gay marriage

Graham’s newspaper ad will say: “The Bible is clear–God’s definition of marriage is between a man and a woman. I want to urge my fellow North Carolinians to vote for the marriage amendment on Tuesday, May 8. God bless you as you vote.”

The bill proposing the amendment says only a simple majority of votes is needed for the amendment to pass.

Supporters of the amendment hailed Graham’s endorsement.

“Reverend Graham understands that we as North Carolinians have a duty to preserve God’s first institution–marriage,” said Tami Fitzgerald, Chairwoman of Vote FOR Marriage NC, a group supporting the measure, in a statement. “We cannot be silent as activists work to radically redefine marriage–an institution that has been fundamental to our civilization for thousands of years.”

Opponents of the amendment lamented the move.

“While we were disappointed to see his endorsement it doesn’t change much,” said Paul Guequierre a spokesman for the Coalition to Protect North Carolina Families. The coalition, which includes pastors from across the theological spectrum, opposes the amendment. “We have respect for (Graham) but we will continue to work with our clergy on this.”

Amendment One

This will probably be the shortest post I have ever written. Or the longest depending on if I get wound up.

Will someone please tell me, without using religion, how my 22 yr relationship with the same woman in any way, shape, or form causes anyone else’s relationship to falter, fail, or not even happen?

Because if the only reason you have is that God Said So, then keep the law off the books. God also said don’t wear mixed textiles and to not eat pork. Yet there’s no law on the books forbidding either of these or the umpteen hundreds of laws also in Leviticus.

Rev. Billy Graham, you have fallen from grace today. I am very disappointed and I think God is too.

SOPA/PIPA continued

Wow. Was that awesome or what? The sheer number of websites that went dark for the entire day. The Big Name Websites that did the same. Wow.

Wikipedia’s English site was completely dark. Not just the front page with a ‘click here to continue’ link. But blocked from one end to the other.

Craigslist, Reddit – dark
Webcomics – available but with a huge notice
Google – available but with censored out logo
Wired – censored

The list goes on.

But it is far from finished. Senators and Congress folk woke up this morning and realized this was serious. Many backed out and said they no longer support either bill. Even many of the sponsors of the bill pulled out. Some tried to compromise. Some tried to wave it off. Most scratched their heads and wondered what the big deal was about. But both bills are still very much alive. One will still be voted on January 24th although it is not expected to go further.

Want to do more?

Learn about it.

There has to be better ways to go after the truly guilty without also taking down the innocent. There are ways to find out the IP addresses of people who upload books and music illegally. There are ways to find the IP addresses of people who download them. With that information, they can be tracked down and stopped. Just the other day a writer got the address and phone number of a woman in Argentina who is uploading hundreds of lesbian fiction. She wants authors to contact her and demand she stop. She also posted a cool pseudo phone conversation that I think we all wish were true. So if this one author can find this information, why the hell can’t the government??!!

Okay, rolling off soapbox now. Stay tuned for more information as the saga continues.

Book Giveaway!

Enter a drawing for copies of books by (or including work by) members of the Lesbian Fiction Forum, a discussion site for readers and writers of lesbian fiction. http://www.lesbianfiction.org/index.php

The books we’re offering:

Redemption, by Forum member DeJay

Butch Girls Can Fix Anything, by Forum Member Paula Offutt

Lesbian Cowboys, edited by Forum Member Sacchi Green, including a story by DeJay

Lesbian Lust, edited by Sacchi Green, including stories by DeJay and Forum members Fran Walker and Ren Peters

A Ride to Remember, by Sacchi Green

Promises, Promises, by Forum member L-J Baker

Women of the Bite, edited by Cecilia Tan, including a story by Fran Walker

Skulls and Crossbones, edited by Andi Marquette and R.G. Emanuelle, including a story by Forum member Elaine Burnes

Enter by commenting on this announcement at http://tinyurl.com/7qqr57e
Guests are welcome to comment and enter the drawing. You do not have to register or join the forum or provide personal details to post a comment on this topic and enter the drawing.

Eight names will be drawn as winners, and will be contacted in the order drawn to determine who gets which book. No need to express a preference yet.

The deadline for entering is Sunday, December 18, midnight EST.