Fionn mac Cumhaill Had Two Mothers

I got a lot of my Irish mythology from Rosemary Sutcliff’s The High Deeds of Finn McCool. Sutcliff was English, but a fine writer (I’ve always loved her books), and she captured the myth excellently. A while ago I recalled that Finn was raised by two foster mothers. The other day, I sent an e-mail to Marriage Equality on this subject, and they’ve now put it up on their website.


Read More Dickens

In my occasional tussles with American right-wingers, I have now and again mentioned that they should read Dickens. Dickens described well the type of world where there was no support for those born in poverty, where inherited wealth was entrenched. And Dickens demonstrated that, while private charity may be useful, a change in social policy was necessary to bring the country out of the mess it was in. Our forebears worked very hard, and some even lost their lives, fighting for the rights which right-wingers now seem so eager to throw away. The right to education, the right to healthcare, the right to basic food and shelter. These things even up the scales, and bring us a little closer to a meritocracy (which will, of course, never actually be achieved in practice).

I’ve always thought that invoking Dickens was, while a good rhetorical technique, perhaps a little over the top. No one actually wants to reintroduce child labour, do they?

From Missouri, I give you SB 222:

This act modifies the child labor laws. It eliminates the prohibition on employment of children under age fourteen. Restrictions on the number of hours and restrictions on when a child may work during the day are also removed. It also repeals the requirement that a child ages fourteen or fifteen obtain a work certificate or work permit in order to be employed. Children under sixteen will also be allowed to work in any capacity in a motel, resort or hotel where sleeping accommodations are furnished. It also removes the authority of the director of the Division of Labor Standards to inspect employers who employ children and to require them to keep certain records for children they employ. It also repeals the presumption that the presence of a child in a workplace is evidence of employment.

Oh, shit!