Forcing millennials into shitty southern suburbs isn’t a solution to our political problems

All over the world, liberal, college-educated voters pack into cities, where they dilute their own voting power through excessive concentration

[via American Migration Patterns Should Terrify the GOP – CityLab]

Liberal voters aren’t diluting their own voting power. We prioritize land over population at basically all levels of voting and then heavily subsidize rural and suburban lives and incentivize people to live at low density through fucked up property taxes and car-based development and such while pushing poor people out of cities.

So just imagine what would happen to the American political picture if more Democrats moved out of their excessively liberal enclaves to redistribute themselves more evenly across the vast expanse of Red America?

I’d rather imagine what would happen if we stopped giving people with more land more voting rights than people without. I’d rather imagine what would happen if we stopped letting rentiers and cars destroy cities and stopped subsidizing rural and suburban lifestyles so heavily.

Or don’t imagine. Just … wait.

[Young, left-leaning people] are U-Hauling to ruddier states in the South and West. The five fastest-growing metros of the past few years—Dallas, Phoenix, Houston, Atlanta, and Orlando, Florida—are in states won by Trump. The other metro areas with a population of at least 1 million that grew by at least 1.5 percent last year were Las Vegas; Austin, Texas; Orlando, Florida; Raleigh, North Carolina; Jacksonville, Florida; Charlotte, North Carolina; San Antonio; Tampa, Florida; and Nashville, Tennessee. All of those metros are in red or purple states.

And almost all of them are cities that are going to get absolutely crushed by climate change and gerrymandering means it doesn’t matter so much which way they vote.

Migraine: a journal sample

May 19, 2018

I want to get up every day and feel okay or even well. To have energy and some expectation of getting things done. I don’t want to be disabled. I feel like life is passing me by, like I don’t do anything, like my life doesn’t matter.

I say that I know how to have a good life with chronic illness, that a life of quiet routine, reading, good meals, gardening, intellectual work, time with friends is all I need or want. And that is my ideal in so many ways, but I’m not sure it’s wholly true.

What’s missing? I want to be liked, to be admired, to be needed, to feel like my life and work matter to other people. Right now, in some ways (especially professionally) I feel that isn’t true. Can I change that without making my illness worse? Can I change it at all in light of my illness? Perhaps this is a desire I need to let go of or find another way to meet. Perhaps I already have what I want but because of internalized sexism I don’t value it because I’m valued for feminized things.

June 22, 2018

It is remarkable how easy things are when I don’t have a migraine. I feel lighter, moving my body is easy, thoughtless, pleasant. I want to nap for the pleasure of it, instead of for relief and oblivion. It’s so hard to remember that I’m not lazy – I’m sick.

June 25, 2018

Yesterday did not quite go as planned. Maybe I was too tired. Maybe the dregs of the migraine the night before had me too foggy. Regardless, I did very little I’d planned to do.

How did the day pass? Mindlessly reading the internet, a trip to the drugstore, a short ballet practice, Deep Space Nice episodes, more mindless internet reading. The Illest Girl describes this – the low energy, the mindless distraction, the interminable boredom.

June 29, 2018

A friend told me that even though she enjoyed the dance exercise classes she took, she eventually stopped going because her technical skills never improved. I understood, but also felt resentment. For physical things, even when I’m able to do something long enough that I start to see improvement, I never get to keep it for more than a few months before I have to start over because of migraine. It is frustrating, demoralizing, embarrassing. I try to look at it positively or at least neutrally, to maintain a beginner’s mind, as the Buddhist’s say. But there’s always that awareness and even when things are going well I waste time and feelings wondering when it’s all going to fall apart again.

Doing things for their own immediate enjoyment seems to be the way around this, but it conflicts with the goal-oriented nature of … everything I’m surrounded by.

The point of health insurance companies is to deny claims and we should destroy those useless suckers

Canada’s medicare doesn’t cover drugs. Provincial drug benefit programs fill in some of the gaps, but often have very limited formularies. Two of the drugs I take aren’t on my province’s formulary at all, two are non-benefit (they thought about covering it but decided not to), and one of my drugs is so new they haven’t decided yet whether they’re going to cover it.

Three of my medications are covered. These drugs cost me about $30/year. The others run about $18,000/year.

But, as a lucky person, I currently have private insurance to pick up medicare’s slack. As a very lucky person, I’m actually covered by two plans and my most expensive medication (~$13,000/yr) is free for the next 8 months through a drug company program.

But to get those insurance companies to cover ~$3000 of the remaining $5000 of drug costs, I have to do a lot of paperwork, and I have to get my doctor to do a lot of paperwork.

In addition to being a huge invasion of privacy, why the fuck should my doctor have to explain to an insurance company why they’re prescribing me something? Is the insurance company going to notice an error in the prescription? Do they know more about my health and medicine and have a better idea? No – the doctor is a doctor, the insurance company is a fucking soulless rentier who has no medical expertise what-so-fucking-ever.

The insurance company is banking on the paperwork process being enough of a hassle to stop most people from getting the coverage they’ve paid for. Determined folks might get through the first few steps, but it takes a truly broke and organized and maniacal person to finish the process – especially once the first denials come back.

And then you have to repeat the process every policy year.

There’s a shortage of doctors in my area. My GP retired in January and I’ve been looking since then for a new one with no luck. There’s not even a waiting list I can get on. So I go to the overwhelmed student clinic where appointments can take a month or more to get and last 10 minutes.

Instead of talking to my doctor about how to better manage my medications’ side effects or risks of a treatment that’s otherwise working well, she’s going to spend the appointment filling out repetitive forms justifying her professional medical opinion for two insurance companies.

I spent two hours today doing insurance paperwork and expect to do hours more, my doctors are going to spend at least half of my next 3 appointments doing insurance paperwork.

Private insurance is a drain on the public healthcare system in Canada and the utterly pointless and overly detailed paperwork they force patients and doctors to do over and over again is just the tip of the iceberg. I’d like to see it banned entirely and I’d definitely like to see Canada (and the US!) ban insurance companies from requesting justifications from healthcare providers for prescriptions and other treatments.

Women on the far right

Women may not always be very visible in far right movements, but they are absolutely part of it. The far right (in some places) is starting to make some concessions to women’s rights while emphasizing xenophobia, which attracts many (white) women who are playing more prominent roles in far right movements.

Scholars, policymakers and the media have made great strides in understanding the role of masculinity in attracting men to far-right groups. But we have paid less attention to the potential for (re)framing femininity, women’s role in the nation, or discussions of women’s right to be used for recruitment or radicalisation by far-right political parties and movements. There is also scant discussion of the potential for women’s anger, their greater vulnerability during economic crises, or how the disproportionate impact of public service cutbacks on women is influencing their support for far-right politics.

via Women are joining the far right – we need to understand why | Cynthia Miller-Idriss and Hilary Pilkington | Opinion | The Guardian

I’m always fascinated by the role right wing women play in constructing and reproducing the imagery of white supremacy and fascism – the obsession with nostalgia and an imagined recent and ancient past, gender roles, whiteness. For example.

Motivation comes after action


From captain awkward

“Thoughts influence behavior, which influences outcome, which in turn feeds back into your thoughts.”

via Guest Post: Breaking The Low Mood Cycle | Captain Awkward

One day when I was feeling particularly terrible about migraine and all the things I want to do and can’t, I made a big list called “There’s always something I want to do that I can do!” and put it on my fridge.

Maybe I’m pretty sick one day and I can’t do the data analysis I want to do, but I can take a nap – taking a nap is a delicious thing that I want to do! Maybe I’m a little sick one day and I can’t make heads or tails of the paper I want to read, but I’d really enjoy watering my plants and it needs to get done and doesn’t require me to recall linear algebra.

I still grieve over things I can’t or couldn’t do, dreams I can’t pursue. And I think it’s ok to be sad or frustrated at what migraine steals from me. But it’s easy to let that grief and sadness get too big, to do nothing at all when I can’t do the big, important thing I want to do.

There are smaller, easier things that I want to do to – writing letters to friends, reading novels, dusting my plants, taking a slow walk along the seawall. When I do the smaller things, I can let in some happiness and contentment alongside the grief and anger and fill my life with things I want to do, even if they aren’t all I want to do.