Sunday, March 10, 2013

Don't want a sleeping prince

I gather the authors mean well when they switch up genders of classic western fairy tales. One that I'm thinking of is switching up Sleeping Beauty, with a princess waking a sleeping prince. Is an unconscious man attractive? Do the new authors ever ask that? With the goal being raising up girls, the price of devaluing boys is not factored.
Seriously, what is the ideal man for a independent minded strong secure woman? A future hen-pecked husband? A supportive but do nothing partner who spends his waking hours on the X-box? Nice but really useless guys, boy-toys?
The modern examples I can think of is Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley of the Harry Potter books. She's strong and smart, and he can be the hero, the supportive man to Harry and Hermione when called for. He doesn't require much rescuing, no more than the main hero, and he has his own list of accomplishments. Another strong fictional female is Katniss Everdeen. When she bothers to think of the opposite sex her heart wavers between Peeta and Gale. Gale is her hunting buddy, the guy who taught her to improve her hunting. Peeta is the guy she has to pretend (she's not even sure on this point) to be in love with. He admires her survival instinct, and his doesn't need rescuing as much as he needs care. Katniss needed Peeta in order to get through the Games, their star-crossed lover story made the rules of the game change. For the rest of the trilogy Peeta is damaged goods, physically strong (despite losing a leg) but mentally, by Book 3, messed up due to the Capitol. Katniss also has some sort of PTSD. As two people who experienced the horrors of the Games, they understand each other and thus rescue each other. Chatting with the Help, who is the in house comics expert, Wonder Woman is now exploring dating her equals, instead of having to deal with her Lois Lane equivalent, Steve Trevor.
So what the sleeping prince stories seem to offer to girls is a future of romance where she'll have to settle for weak passive men, whereas the strong man, the daring man, the man worthy of admiration is left for the gals weaker than she. The better stories are where she shares the story with the guy, not as a lesser character, a weak woman but a co-hero.
The woman in Proverbs 31 is not passive. As I remember, she buys real estate, she has household servants, she's involved in trade. Her husband, no clue, but he's worthy enough to sit with the elders, so I gather he's respected.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Big Poverty Pimpin'- Homeless Shelters & Schools

I'm going to quote the DCist post " Residents of D.C. General Homeless Shelter Complain of Difficulty Getting Out":
On a more immediate basis, Graham said that he'd like to see funding for the shelter increase; it currently costs $13.8 million a year to operate, and city officials say it costs $50,000 annually to shelter a family there. The larger issues of affordable housing and transitional programs also have to be addressed, he said, because without it homeless residents will continue returning to the shelter.
 $50K per family? Seriously? There is something not right with that number. Somebody is making a killing because that number points to some inefficiencies, and there is money to be made in someone's or some government's inefficiency. Or are the people who ran the school system before Fenty/Rhee in charge of the homeless shelters now?
Is the idea that if you spend a lot of money carelessly in the so called service in the "least of those", regardless of results, it is supposed to be right? It doesn't sound like the homeless families are being served well by the system.
I should say that I see sloppy inefficiency as a form of injustice, as a failure to use your G-d given talents with all your heart, soul, and brain in his service. It does a disservice to the poor.
I've finished former School Chancellor Michelle Rhee's book Radical. She makes a pretty good argument that poorly functioning schools do the poor a disservice, as education is a pathway out of poverty. DC was spending the most per student than most urban school systems and had horrible results and the money spent was wasted on a central bureaucracy that saw serving the students and teachers as a PITA, so did it poorly. She described a warehouse that had the equipment and supplies teachers needed, but the materials were not getting to the schools. The school system was spending the money but the results weren't being achieved.
In a post Fenty/Rhee DC school system the poor and the rest of the city is being better served. Families aren't automatically running to NoVa or Southern Maryland. There is lots of school choice. Our schools are way better, and they could be even better than now, and they are on the right track for becoming a school system that families want.
For $50K per family, which I must note is more than what the Help makes, DC can do better. I get that there is overhead, staff, electricity, stuff. But at that price homeless families should be getting a variety of services, which they aren't. In this case DC Homeless services is like a car with a messed up fuel line and money is gas. They need gas to go forward, but the gas is leaking or the line is clogged and putting more in the tank won't help matters.