About alysonmiers

Alyson the Incorrigible of House Miers; High Priestess of Sparkly Fractal Flames; Summoner of Creative Insults; Wrangler of Adverbs, Semicolons and Conditional Clauses; Bane of Euphemisms; Mixer of Genres; and Mother of Witches.

Boy am I glad I live in Maryland.

Theocratic shitbags want all those babies born and don’t give a fuck whether there’s baby formula on the shelves.

They want the babies born and don’t give a fuck whether they have healthcare, affordable housing, or food security.

They want the babies born and don’t give a fuck if the birthing parents can’t afford maternity care.

They want the babies born and they let rapists sue for custody.

They want the babies born and don’t give a fuck whether they have a planet to live on.

That is not pro-life.

ALAB: “This week, on Hoarders…”

Whenever I hear conservatives preaching the gospel of Personal Responsibility, I think of that time when the assistant manager told me I needed to take better care of myself.

I was a restaurant server. Situation was, I had expressed anger at being scheduled for a third double-shift in a row, totaling seven shifts back to back, the very next day expecting me to close the lunch shift.

Digression 1: Oddly enough I was very calm and controlled in how I expressed my anger about this. Didn’t raise my voice or make a scene or anything.

Digression 2: Let’s not even get into the haphazard fuckery of giving us less than 1 day’s notice for the next week’s schedule. So much shit we restaurant workers accepted with minimal complaint.

ANYWAY. Seven shifts back to back, combined with a long, cumbersome mass-transit commute, makes for a very tired, sore, ill-used worker interfacing with a lot of customers. My general view of the situation was: How can anyone think it’s okay to do this to someone? How is this scheduling not self-evidently abusive?

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Not today, Putin.

I won’t feel exactly safe in this election until the Dampnut is GONE from the White House. I wouldn’t put it past the Kremlin Klan to pull some shit between now and January.

Even so? The Biden/Harris win is good news by itself. American democracy isn’t dead! Don’t give up on us, world; we’re trying.

SO of course, cue the pleading for us liberal voters to to “unify” the nation by “reaching out” to Trump supporters.

I see where the concern is coming from. I do. So my first question is: why do we never hear conservative figures exhorting their fellow travelers to “reach out” to us dirty leftists to heal the rifts in our nation? The answer is that they don’t want to reach out to us. The basic reason why they keep on voting for Repubs despite their “best interests” is that their actual interests are to punish people they don’t like. They hate the Other People more than they love themselves. That’s why they keep on voting for these assholes who actively fuck everything up, and that’s why they don’t object to those assholes’ increasingly transparent voter suppression.

That’s why they keep voting for the party of voter suppression, and that’s why they don’t try reaching out to us. That’s also why no amount of good will from us liberals is going to heal our rifts. We’re not going to accomplish anything by “having a conversation” with people who’ve already decided not to listen to us. You don’t reason with people whose motivation is to make sure the Other People can’t have nice things.

With that in mind, here’s my outreach message to my fellow Americans who keep on rewarding the GOP for making everything worse: Y’all may hate us, but we still want you to have nice things. We want you to enjoy benefits like quality affordable healthcare, a livable planet, a decent educational system, and sturdy infrastructure. We support policies and programs that benefit all of us, including y’all, because we want to move forward rather than get revenge. Still don’t like those terms? We can’t convince you, but we can outvote you.

Building a better system: ALAB

Last post, I asserted that in addition to police abolition and prison abolition, we should pursue several other goals in order to create a system that works for everyone. The first of those goals is Abolish Homelessness.

I will admit that as a progressive white lady from a suburban middle-class background, I was at first much more amenable to the principle of All Landlords Are Bad than to All Cops Are Bad. The difference is that I could already much more easily picture a system without landlords.

Go back to a few months ago when states were first setting lockdowns for the COVID-19 situation, and the emergency orders included “no you cannot evict your tenants for failing to pay their rent with the pandemic putting them out of work.” Which is pragmatic as well as compassionate for pandemic response; in the interests of not having so many people catching and spreading the Official Pestilence of 2020, it helps not to have them living on the streets.

And anyway, some of the landlording class didn’t like that. I remember some asshat’s Tweet got a lot of circulation because he was so indignant about the eviction moratorium impinging on his “right” to “make a living” from charging rent on his properties.

And that’s the part where I said: “Well, golly gosh, comrade, have you ever considered working?”

There are plenty of laws on the books concerning the way landlords treat their tenants. The laws vary from state to state and their enforcement is also variable. No matter how comprehensive the laws are and no matter how consistently they’re enforced, they’re ultimately a band-aid on the bigger injury, which is rich fucks buying up real estate they don’t need and charging as much as they can get away with for other people to live on their properties.

When I say “have you ever considered working?” I am dead serious that they’re not getting paid for work. Landlords do not “provide housing.” They control the supply of housing and profit handsomely from the general desire not to be homeless. Owning real estate you don’t need for your residence is not work. Maintaining property is work. Some landlords do a better job than others of maintaining their properties, and they expect to collect rent either way. I have sympathy for house-flippers who take properties that are structurally unsound and rebuild them into quality housing. That’s not how most landlords make their money.

Housing is among the most basic human necessities and landlords make that necessity into a profit generator. As long as there are homeless people and people-less homes, I do not recognize anyone’s inherent moral right to profit from their real-estate investments.

Landlords don’t just contribute to homelessness by evicting people in financial difficulties. (Or domestic violence victims. Or the current tenants pay their rent on time and behave like angels but there’s somebody else who’ll pay more for the same unit!) Landlords depend on homelessness to keep the rest of us paying through the nose to have any housing at all. We have to work our asses off and spend an exorbitant percentage of our take-home pay just to keep our housing, and we’re supposed to be okay with that because we see what happens to people who can’t meet those terms.

Any policy that will substantially and sustainably reduce homelessness is likely to piss off the landlording class. I say, let ’em be pissed off. No one should be priced out of housing.

Abolition requires better systems

On the question of how to abolish policing and imprisonment without ending up with something worse—

—and while I admit that it takes some energy to imagine something worse than what’s happening now, truly it can always get worse—

—let’s say, short version, we need better laws. We need the entire system of laws to be geared towards care, rather than coercion. As long as the laws are inhumane, law enforcement will be inhumane.

Longer version: the justice system is much bigger than just the courts and lawyers, the cops, the prisons.

This is not a radical idea. Get into any discussion of, for example, how to make the educational system work better, and it won’t take long before you get to the idea of the educational system being more than the school buildings and teachers and books. The way kids get educated has to do with housing, childcare, food security, healthcare, sanitation, transportation, economic justice, and so forth.

With any other system, it’s the same idea. Healthcare is more than hospitals and drugs, doctors and nurses. The justice system is intertwined with the educational and healthcare systems, all of which are interdependent with housing, sanitation, transportation, occupational safety, disability access, food security, childcare, economics, environmental justice, disaster management, I could go on.

So when I say we need a better system of laws, I mean not just the rules governing how people treat each other, but governing how all of these systems work for the people. In order to get to the question of what comes after police/prison abolition, all of these systems need to do better, meaning they need to take care of the people down to the most vulnerable among us.

Abolish the police and abolish prison, sure. These goals can’t be pursued in a vacuum. We also need to abolish homelessness. Abolish medical debt and medical neglect. Abolish hunger. Abolish illiteracy. Abolish environmental degradation. Abolish child neglect. Abolish dirty water and inadequate plumbing. Abolish abuse of the elderly and of the disabled. Abolish voter suppression and disenfranchisement. Abolish labor exploitation.

As long as the laws are inhumane, law enforcement will be inhumane.

Tamla Horsford: where there’s smoke…

I just recently learned about the case of Tamla Horsford and while I’m not committing to any particular theory of her death I gotta say: yep, I’ve got questions.

The first issue is that Tamla’s family are not satisfied with the investigation. Tamla’s widower says something is wrong, her father says something is wrong, and her best friend Michelle says something is wrong. They don’t agree that Tamla’s death was an accident.

Given a choice between accident and homicide, I think most families would prefer to understand their loved one’s death as an accident. It’s so much simpler to move on from a “shit happens” death than to determine who killed your loved one, and why, and ensure that they’re held accountable. I don’t think Tamla’s family are getting any pleasure from the idea that someone killed her and covered it up, yet there they are.

I had a family member who died in ambiguous circumstances a while back. In our case the choices were murder and suicide. (It was clearly not an accident.) Months after the memorial service, the deceased’s mother was still calling it murder, while the deceased’s older sister insisted it was a suicide. I can see why someone would say his death looked like a murder, and I can understand why someone would prefer to think of it as a suicide.

I don’t think “there’s no smoke without fire.” I think more like, “where there’s smoke, there must be some kind of fire, somewhere nearby.” They may be mistaken about who done it, and how, and why, but they’re not wrong to notice where pieces are missing. I don’t think Leander Horsford prefers to tell his five sons that their mother was murdered rather than that she tripped and fell off a deck. I don’t think Kurt St. Jour wants his daughter to be a murder victim rather than a casualty of drunkenness and gravity. That her widower, and her father, and her best friend are all claiming foul play…that’s a lot of smoke. Somewhere nearby, someone neglected to put out a fire. I don’t know if their suspicions are pointing in the right direction, but I believe they have their reasons for being suspicious, and those reasons are not that it’s fashionable to be a victim of violent crime. Something about the investigation feels wrong, and even if it’s merely carelessness, someone needs to be held accountable.

I’m trying not to be one of those carceral feminists.

Anyone who says the policing and prison systems need to be abolished…probably has some good points to make. Anyone who has a quick “duh” answer to the matter of what comes after abolition…is probably full of shit.

This kind of questioning is the energy I would like to engage with:

And that’s when it clicked for me: we need to start from the ground up. We all need to engage with the question of how to hold abusers accountable, and there won’t be any 100% solutions any time soon. This challenge is no excuse to fall back on the assumption that we can’t do without prisons and police departments.

I’m a feminist; I even call myself a radical feminist. I need to be ready to be radical about how we deal with shitty people. I’m also a creative. I can build entire worlds from the ground up. If I’m going to have opinions on what justice demands, then it’s on me to use some imagination on the structures needed to make justice happen.

It’s gonna be a big, messy conversation. I want to be part of that conversation.

#1262: “My housemate keeps exposing herself to me/the world/everyone.”

As someone who experienced body changes (read: weight gain) and didn’t process them with perfect honesty (read: trousers going pop), I can offer some wardrobe advice that doesn’t cost much money: multi-wear skirts. It can be a skirt, a dress, a cute top, a cape…it’ll cover her buttcrack without being expensive. It can be pretty and versatile. Barring that, she can get a simple house-robe at any big box store (I got a very comfy black one at Target) and wear it around the house. A kimono can easily become daytime wear with leggings and a t-shirt.

When I was getting fat from the stress of working a dysfunctional office job and didn’t want to acknowledge my body’s needs, my wardrobe was some combination of: leggings, basic tank top or t-shirt, multi-wear skirt. I made it look cute, it kept all the crucial areas covered, and it wasn’t expensive.


Dear Captain Awkward,

My 50+ y/o housemate has a problem, and I don’t know how to help. Sounds stupid but her pants are always falling down. At any given moment inch(es) of her rear crack are exposed. It started years ago, most often when she would bend over, but it has progressively gotten worse–any time she stands up or walks about. I’m not sure of the cause. She does wear a belt. I can only guess that her pants–jeans 90% of the time–and skivvies are the wrong size or cut. She is pretty flat back there. Yet that’s only part of the problem.

The real problem is that she is hypersensitive about it, and any attempt to bring it to her attention, either subtly or more directly, elicits only an angry response as if it’s a disability that she can’t do anything about. She’ll bark “I know!” when either she…

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Since Liz Warren suspended her campaign for President, some of us may seem a little bereaved. We may be sort of coming across like our best friend just died.

In truth, it’s more like a betrayal than a loss. I can’t seem to unclench my jaw for any sustained period of time. The more I learn about this election cycle, the more people I can’t trust. Dirtbags to the left of me, fascists to the right, and no safety in the middle.

Now that she’s out of the race, I see a lot of people calling on her to endorse Bernie Sanders. Not because she owes HIM anything, of course, they plead, but for the good of the “progressive movement,” they want her support for him.

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“Anyone who can beat Trump”…WITHIN reason.

I said before that I’ll vote for the Democratic nominee for POTUS, whoever that may be, except why the fuck is Tulsi Gabbard still on that stage?

And…I’d like to add another asterisk to that.

The more I hear about Mike Bloomberg, the more I think: surely we can coalesce around nominating SOMEONE better than THAT.

I mean…I’m fairly sure Bloomberg is not beholden to any of our foreign adversaries. That much makes him better than Trump. But do we have to set the bar that low? Really?

Pete Buttigieg also has a history of racist fuckery, and that’s a problem. I think Pete has a lot more space, though, IF he’s willing to do the work, to show that he’s learned better and will do better going forward.

I don’t like Amy Klobuchar (as someone who’s fled TWO abusive managers and is now paying the financial price…don’t get me started), but I’m sure “normal” under her would be much healthier than “normal” under Bloomberg.

Joe Biden…needs to retire already, but I trust him to do much, much better than Bloomberg.

Bernie Sanders is all Big Ideas and no implementation, but I’d happily take that over a proven track record of brutalizing black and brown citizens.

Elizabeth Warren is my first choice. I think she has the best balance of policy, implementation, and disposition. I think “normal” under her would be the healthiest our country has been…oh, probably EVER. At the same time? I love my country too much to start chanting “Liz or Lose.”

Just, at some point we need to remember WHY we need a candidate who’ll beat Trûmp. If our choices are four more years of the Dampnut, and Bloomie in the high seat…our country is fucked. Norway calls!