zingerella: Capital letter "Z" decorated with twining blue and purple vegetation (Default)
( Jan. 1st, 2013 10:32 am)
Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.
Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.
Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out thy mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.
Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.
Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.
                       --Alfred Lord Tennyson

*Yes, I chopped off the last stanza. I don't like it, and it doesn't say what I want to say. The rest does. 
This is a continuation of something I started on Facebook last night for [livejournal.com profile] kchew 

Trolls vs Non-Trolls on Toronto City Council )

Here's the backstory:

For a unit on Energy, my client requested like a feature that is an interview between a nominal grade 1 student and a nutritionist about what foods provide energy for school, sports etc.

I e-mailed my client and sad "I'm really, really leery of this. I think it borders on prescriptivism at the time when most kids are moving from being very intuitive eaters, to allowing external factors influence what they choose to eat. Scientifically, I think it poses a lot of challenges too, since pretty much all food will provide energy—energy and nutrients and a bit of water is pretty much what food is for. Can we maybe, instead, have an interview between a nominal six year old and an elite athlete, about how that person eats in order to have enough energy to train, compete, etc.? That way, we're being descriptive, rather than prescriptive, and we can still make the connection between food and energy. Also, it's kind of cool."

The client went for it. Hooray for good sense.

Now, of course, I need to track down an elite athlete. Pronto.

So does anyone know anyone who competes at an elite level, in some sport or other. I'm e-mailing members of the Canadian Women's Hockey Team, as well as the publicist for the Canadian Paralympic Athletes, but it's often easier to get in touch with someone if you have an "in." 

So, does anyone have an "in"?

On behalf of trying not to screw up kids' eating, I thank you.
One of the consistent arguments against progressive legislation, from both some conservatives and some radicals is that you can't legislate changes in attitude, and that changes in attitude will drive better, more equitable practices and policies. Policy alone fails to address inequity, and can create a backlash when it seems to require accommodations or changes that some people perceive to be unnecessary or that threaten people's status or ideas.

I don't get why attitude/policy is an "or" question. I believe that you can both create (and enforce) policies, such as equitable hiring policies, that address injustice and educate and communicate to change attitudes. Furthermore, if you really want anything to change, you need to do both, at the same time. You need to craft policies, such as accessibility policies, or diversity policies, or harassment-free workplace policies, that address inequities. You need to enforce these policies. But you also need to provide the people responsible for enforcement with the training and support they need to understand what the policies are supposed to accomplish and the issues that drove the creation of the policies. In addition, and most importantly, institutional support for the policies and the philosophies driving them needs to come from the top. If the powers in charge of an organization do not fully and intelligently support a policy, then the people responsible for implementing it will, at best, not have access to the resources they need, and at worst, wittingly or unwittingly undermine it. The problem is not whether you should use policy or education to change the status quo. It's how you should use each to reinforce and promote the other. You have to do both.

Over at FWD/Forward, Abby Jean succinctly and intelligently explains why it's not enough to make policies that encode principles based in social justice:

For an easy example, imagine a company with a policy that required that all newly hired employees be informed about their right to workplace accommodations for mental or physical disabilities. The company works with disability rights groups to create a pamphlet outlining who is eligible for accommodations, what potential accommodations may be available, and the procedure for requesting accommodations and documenting a need for them. The disability rights groups make sure all the information is correct, that the pamphlet is available in alternative formats so it’s accessible, and that it emphasizes that accommodations are an employee’s right, rather than a bonus provided by the company. It is, in short, the perfect pamphlet.

Now imagine how much depends on the person who hands that pamphlet to the new employee. Take one scenario: the employee goes through a complete orientation and then is asked to wait in the lobby. When the employee asks why, the receptionist sighs “oh, it’s some stupid thing required by company policy. Just wait.” After 15 minutes, the designated human resources staffer comes out and thrusts the pamphlet at the employee, saying “Here, take this. It’s something I have to give you for policy. You have to sign here to show that I gave it to you.” When the employee asks what the pamphlet is about, the staffer replies “Oh something we have to do for disability, or whatever. Nobody is ever stupid enough to ask for any of these things, believe me.”


Read more... )

Dear Friend, Colleagues, and Fellow-Travellers,

Can we knock it off with the puerile snickering over People of Wal-Mart, already*? Also with the classist Wal-Mart slang—"Walmart children," "Walmart creatures," etc?

I mean, sure, it's really easy to feel superior to a population of largely poor people, many of whom are fat, many of whom may be on social assistance, many of whom do not share our values, fashion sense, or resources. These people aren't like us. So we mock them.

But really? Is there any glory at all in mocking the poor, the dispossessed, the fat, and those who might be in ill-health? Somehow, I'm failing to see the humour.

Cut for ranting. )

zingerella: Capital letter "Z" decorated with twining blue and purple vegetation (Default)
( Jun. 16th, 2009 10:30 am)
Cycling through the valley, this morning, I noticed the unmistakable squoodgy feeling of an incipient flat in my rear tire. So I found a long stretch of path through a meadow, where people could see me from both directions, and where there was some space to pull off the path, stopped, and checked.

Sure enough, a tack had buried itself in my rear tire, from which the air was gently, but assuredly, hissing.

Took off the pannier, and found the patch kit. Disengaged the rear brake. Flipped the bike over and took the rear wheel off. Started to pull out the inner tube.

A grizzled cyclist in spandex shorts stopped. "Everything okay?" he asked.

"Yep," said I, "just a flat. No biggie!"

"You sure?"

"Yep, thanks!"

He cycled on. I extracted the inner tube, and found the puncture. Opened the patch kit. A cyclist in a bright jersey and mirror sunglasses slowed.

"Need a hand?"

"No, thanks! I'm good!"

"Okay!" He cycled on.

I roughed up the area around the puncture. Dabbed it with glue. Waited for the glue to dry. A couple of old guys with stuff lashed all over their bikes stopped.

"You need a hand?"

"Thanks! I'm good!"

They cycled on.

Another guy stopped as I was putting the newly patched inner tube back on the wheel, to ask if I needed a pump. I had one, but thanked him. Someone else offered me a hand as I put the wheel back on the bike.

All in all, in the 20 minutes or so that I was stopped by the side of the path, calmly patching my tire, at least seven people stopped to make sure I was okay, and to offer help.

I love my town.


zingerella: Capital letter "Z" decorated with twining blue and purple vegetation (Default)


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