Sui Generis

June 24, 2007

Health Care and (Gender) Inequality

Filed under: health care — by Joyful Girl @ 10:00 pm

These low health insurance rates and the persistent wage gap limit women’s ability to move out of poverty. Women continue to sacrifice almost a quarter of their earning power every year to gender inequalities in the labor market. We need strong legal protections against discrimination and public policies that reduce poverty, increase wages, and extend health benefits to the uninsured. ~ Heidi Hartmann

One of the themes covered in my History of Social and Welfare Policy class last fall was the ongoing issue of gender inequality that creeps up in policy analysis.  This is especially becoming more evident in health care policy.  Women outlive men, that’s a statistical reality.  Another reality is the fact that on average, women earn less income than men.  So it should come as no great surprise that it is women who often find themselves either without health insurance at some point in their lives or struggling to get by with public assistance.   Even with a college degree, men continue to earn more:

“By 2004, college-educated women aged 45-49 earn $36,842 (or 38%) less per year than their college-educated male counterparts.  In their 20s, the gap was $11,001 or 25%.”

Many women are also at a greater risk for losing their health insurance coverage when they rely on the benefits of their spouse.   We’ve already established that females outlive males; what happens to their medical benefits if/when the spouse dies?  Other circumstances such as divorce or a spouse’s unexpected unemployment place women in an increasingly susceptible position.

“Women are more vulnerable to becoming uninsured because they are often covered as dependants under a spouse’s plan. Divorce, death of a spouse, spouse’s job loss, or the loss family coverage can cause women to lose coverage.”

With women already bringing home a lower wage than their male counterparts, imagine how this is compounded by those who work part-time or at a low wage full time position and need to obtain health insurance benefits for their children/family.  Even when an employer provides medical benefits, the costs of family health care insurance premimums are absurd.  

“The cost of family health insurance is rapidly approaching the gross earnings of a full-time minimum wage worker,” said Drew Altman, President and CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation. “If these trends continue, workers and employers will find it increasingly difficult to pay for family health coverage and every year the share of Americans who have employer-sponsored health coverage will fall.”

And here is what California is proposing in an attempt to increase accessibility to health insurance for all.

The health care debate is not a new one and is certainly receiving more attention these days, especially with the upcoming release of the latest “controversial” expose offered by filmmaker Michael Moore.    Is a form of universal health insurance truly the answer?  Initially, I  tend to support a movement towards a more socialized version of medicine, but at the same time, I don’t really believe that government mandated health insurance is going to solve anything…in fact, I fear once the government does become directly involved in the service, delivery and accessibility of medical care coverage, we might just find ourselves in a worse predicament than already is the case. 

This becomes something of a philosophical debate.   Do we have the “right” to good health in America?  Or is this a privilege?  The US Constitution talks about the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…can these objectives be achieved if some people are just not fortunate enough to receive optimal health care? 

Yeah, that’s pretty much a rhetorical question. 

June 21, 2007

I’m an orange

Filed under: Creativity/Fun — by Joyful Girl @ 3:37 am
What color is your soul painted?Orange

Your soul is painted the color orange, which embodies the characteristics of balance, heat, enthusiasm, flamboyance, playfulness, aggression, over-emotion, danger, desire, strengthens the ability to concentrate, attraction, adaptability, and stimulation. Orange falls under the element of Fire, and symbolizes glory and fruits of the earth.

Personality Test Results

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June 20, 2007

Midsummer Ritual

Filed under: Book of Shadows,Pagan — by Joyful Girl @ 2:42 am

Tools:
A Golden Yellow Altar Cloth, Small Cloth Pouch of Summertime Herbs, Cauldron, 1c Fresh Spring Water, Red Sun God Candle, Green Earth Goddess Candle, Summer Blend Incense (Jasmine, Rose, Lotus, Wysteria, or combination).
Preparation: Sweep area moving in deosil manor. Set up Quarter Candles and any accessories
symbolizing the Elements of the Quarters. Decorate the alter with seasonal flowers, especially Sunflowers. Prepare your Pouch of Summertime Herbs, and as you make it, pour your troubles, pains, sorrows, illness, and regrets into it. Place the Cauldron in the center of your alter, the Red Sun candle to the right of it , the Green Goddess Candle to the left of it. Place the cup of Fresh Spring Water in front of the Goddess Candle. Take a shower or bath for purification. Sit quietly and meditate for a while, then ground and center. When ready, play some peaceful music for the ritual.

Cast the circle….Pick up your Wand, and with arms upraised, face South and say:


“I celebrate the Mid-of-Summer, held in honor of the Blazing Sun God.
All of Nature vibrates with the fertileness of the Goddess and of the God.
The Earth basks in the light and life of the Sun.
The ever turning Wheel of the Year has made the light ever stronger
And the light has kept growing longer, until today
The middle of the time of light, Litha, MidSummer’s Day, Summer Solstice.
From here, the light begins to fade, again,
Until once more the Wheel turns to the time of darkness, Yule, Winter Solstice.
Yet, for today, the Sun is high, the light is bright, the Earth is warm.
As the Sun God blazes above, may the fires of my rite flame below.”

 

 

Face the altar, put down your wand, and light the Green Goddess Candle to the left of your cauldron, saying:

“Oh, Mother of Nature, She that brings the meadow to bloom,
Green Forest Mother, from lakes and streams your children spring forth.
Blessed Lady of the stars and the Moon,
Fruitful Womb of which I honor, and ask of Thee, Thy Blessings.
Light the Red Sun God Candle to the right of your cauldron, saying:
“Oh, Father of all things, He that plants the seed and nurtures Life.
God of Fertility and Fruitfulness, from hill and forest your children emerge.
Blessed Lord of the blazing Sun,
Potent Consort of which I honor, and of Thee, Thy Blessings.”
Take the Herb Pouch and hold above your head, saying:
“By thy power, oh sacred herbs, may the Lord of the Sun
Burn away the hurtful, the troublesome, and the painful,
Leaving me purified through His warmth and Light.”

Hold the pouch over your main Altar Candle to take flame. While it is burning, drop it in the cauldron, saying: Great Goddess and Great God, from Thee all powers flow forth.
The Two that are One, Great Spirit of All-That-Is,
By Thy powers, and the powers of Air, Fire, Water, and Earth,
By Thy powers, and the powers of the Sun, Moon, and Stars,
I banish these negatives from my life.”

Visualize the negatives burning away to nothingness. When all that is left is ashes, douse the ashes with the cup of Fresh Spring Water, feel as if the water were being poured over you and your negatives washed away. Air dry by dancing and running your hands up and down your arms, body, and legs. Don’t forget your head, lay it back and shake running your fingers through your hair. When done, face altar, wave hand over the cauldron and say:
“As the Phoenix rises from the ashes, so let this water be pure and new.
Mother Goddess, bless this water so that it may bless and renew me.
Father God, may your rays of the MidSummer Sun bless and nourish me.
Two that are One, may your blessings sustain me as I journey, anew.”

Pass your cupped hands over the cauldron, pausing briefly each time to “pour” in wishes for health, prosperity, and good fortune to be part of your life. Dip the forefinger of your right hand into the cauldron water, and trace a pentagram on your forehead, saying:

“Let my mind be open to the truth.”
Anoint your lips saying:
“Let my lips always speak the truth.”
Anoint your heart area, saying:
“Let my heart seek the ways of the Goddess, now and always.”
Anoint the centers of your palms, saying:
“Let my hands be gifted to work in m’jyk-l ways.”
Anoint the soles of your feet, saying:
“Let my feet ever walk upon the sacred paths!”

 Now is the time for meditation and any spellworkings. MidSummer spellworkings include: prosperity, fertility, and plentiful harvests. Finish by having the Cakes and Ale Ceremony and releasing the circle. Clean up. You are done.


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 ADAPTED FROM A RITUAL BY STORMWING http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Acropolis/2007/litha_ritual.html

June 12, 2007

Goddess Worship Vs. Patriarchical Religon, Pagan Radio, July Astrology

Filed under: astrology,Creativity/Fun,News and Culture,Pagan,Spirituality — by Joyful Girl @ 2:32 am

Outdated, “neander-thoughts” about religion.  Interesting stand on goddess worship.

Pagan radio stations online through Witchvox.

July Astrology Forecast:

For Everybody ~ Amidst tremendous impatience and intense but unrealistic desires, we must address immediate challenges and make wise, far-sighted decisions.  We have room to maneuver and we sense the support of circumstances.  The right thing to do is consolidate your position and prepare to meet challenges you know or sense very strongly are on the way.  The mistake would be to overreach.  Don’t use your previous resources to pursue a new and unrealistic goal. Whatever choices you make will have lasting and far reaching consequences.

 

Sign by Sign Astrology Forecast for July 2007

ARIES ~ You are feeling the need for personal independence and self-expression. Or maybe you just need to assert yourself in your present situation in order to make it more comfortable for you.  But take care.  There is only so much flexibility in this situation.  Continued stability and security will depend on your patience and forbearance.  You must adapt your deeply felt, powerfully charged personal ideals and your urge for self-expression.  If you don’t bend a little, you risk a major upset.  You could tip over the proverbial apple cart.

TAURUS ~ You are feeling the tug of your hopes and ambitions and the pull of your personal ideals intensely about now.  You are also feeling blocked and impatient because of your relative powerlessness.  My advice is to work patiently through the details of the complex and demanding situation in which you find yourself.  Observe changes in your neighborhood and community, also.  Some of these changes will not be well thought-out.  They will require foresight and careful responses on your part.  Meanwhile, take comfort from positive developments in long-term financial matters.

GEMINI ~ You are sensitive to the numerous concerns expressed by others, but like others, you aren’t yet in a position to change anything.  It is true that opposition forces are weaker.  But there is too much confusion for effective action.  There is also risk of overreaching or premature action.  The foundation you have worked so hard to create can only take so much weight.  Let those in charge do what they can.  Meanwhile, you would benefit by working through some tricky philosophical and spiritual issues.  Your personal position is secure.

CANCER ~ Others will be influenced naturally and spontaneously by your response to events.  You must rise above your disappointments or risk spreading gloom and dissatisfaction.  Your personal bonds with others in the community are especially lively and productive right now.  You can use this influence to make people see beyond their own self-interest and work cooperatively.  Cooperation is a necessity if everyone is to come out of this OK.  You’ll have to be even more diplomatic and sensitive to the feelings of others than usual.  Impatience and irritability are running high.  

LEO ~ Leo has been under a tiring, inhibiting planetary influence for a couple of years.  Fortunately, this influence will leave Leo early in September.  You will then experience an immediate boost in mood, attitude and energy levels.  The first half of July will offer a preview of this new condition.  Don’t be discouraged when the preview ends and things bog down again in late July.  In September, a new, refurbished Leo will arrive on the scene to stay, minus lots of old baggage and full of new life and energy.

VIRGO ~ Your input will be important.  People, including some powerful and highly motivated people, will depend on your input.  However, it could be hard to express some of your more innovative, intuitive ideas, especially since some of your thoughts will involve rebellion against the system.  Your ideas will be quite influential in any case.  You might be surprised at what people do or say on the basis of your advice.  Overall, you are under very supportive and protective influences. If you keep work and partnership affairs under control, you’ll do quite well.

LIBRA ~ This month, the challenges will not be in any of the financial, or economic, areas of your life.  (Although, if you allow it, professional and work issues could spill over, upsetting the rest of your affairs.)  The challenges will be kind of spiritual, philosophical and generally abstract.  They will involve relationship and emotional issues, which are so important to Librans. Even relationship matters that seem to go well might conceal knotty problems for later resolution.  Your solution of these intellectual and emotional issues will eventually have important, concrete benefits.

SCORPIO ~ You are still being powerfully affected by a lot of things over which you have little or no control.  It seems that your own commitments and loyalties, especially in partnership and professional areas, are helping contribute to the impasse.  The wise, selective use of financial resources can supplement your personal capacity while you work toward a resolution of some stubborn issues.  You are certainly coping very well.  However, coping well is not at all the same thing as prospering.  Take advantage of upcoming changes to further lighten your load.

SAGITTARIUS ~ There is nothing motivating you strongly in one direction or another.  Also, a lot of tricky issues are keeping you from decisive action.  Normally thoughtful people, Sagittarians are now overly thoughtful people, preoccupied by many complicated and subtle questions.  This lengthy standstill will end later this year.  When it’s over you will have changed your mind about many things.  But the *way* you think about things is going to change also.  Reason and evidence won’t be enough to convince you anymore.  You will take imponderables–feelings, conscience, and intuition–much more seriously.

CAPRICORN ~ The options are rattling around out there, but none of them measure up to your expectations, yet.  You might have to disappoint a lot of eager people.  If you said yes now, you know things wouldn’t work out anyway.  It’s partly a question of keeping finances within bounds.  But you are also troubled by a lot of subtle philosophical issues.  To be honest, it would probably be best for all concerned if you held off completely on some things until late summer.  New and more promising conditions will emerge then.

AQUARIUS ~ Relations with those close to you are strained.  Even casual friendships seem to have chilled somewhat.  Present tensions are part of a planetary renovation of your social life that will soon be completed. Relationships are being put on a sounder footing.   When this seeming chill has passed, your relationships overall will be more flexible and sustainable than before.  These new arrangement will work better for years to come. Shakeups in relationships can be upsetting, but you should remain confident.  The planets have placed a protective mantle over your affairs.

PISCES ~ There is a lot riding on your decisions.  Your choices are influencing the lives of those around you.  This is partly because you have special insight into what’s happening.  But it’s also because your understanding of underlying realities is very clear.   Many in your life don’t quite understand where you are coming from or what your needs are anymore.  You should make a special effort to explain your thoughts. You’ll have to break free of some old ties or at least adjust the terms in accordance with recent insights.

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