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The favor I want to ask is this: please think about how you’re handling race and gender on your websites. Just look at it. You don’t have to change anything. Just make a mental note in your head about what your saying to your users about the importance of race and gender, and the categories that exist for them.
I’ll give you a hint: If you’re still asking about race in a required drop-down menu, you’re way behind. Because doing it that way says to a user:
- You have a race.
- It’s really important to me.
- It’s one (and only one) of these listed here.
…. I think gender is taking the same path as race.
I was gonna go right to the
resolutions things to think about doing differently for 2009, but thought it might be helpful and useful to see how far I’ve come in 2008 first.
The short answer is that my life, right now, is the best it has ever been. I am the happiest I have ever been.
Here’s what I’ve accomplished this year. In no particular order:
- I paid off two of my three credit cards. I have struggled with my debt in a variety of ways for a long time. To make such progress, feel such success, and experience such freedom has been astounding.
- I earned a promotion and a hefty raise at work. This is mostly a reward from the previous two years’ hard work. It also reflects my boss’s confidence in me, which is much appreciated because I really respect and genuinely like him.
- I lived in this house, with Missy. It’s different to me to feel such stability and comfort in my living situation.
- I joined the Board of Directors of the Twin Cities Women’s Choir. I was completely flattered to have been asked and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to give back to an organization that has provided me with so much happiness and joy.
- I auditioned — solo! by myself! — for ENCORE! and got in. I don’t do auditions. The whole point of singing in a choir is so that no one can hear just me. But I really enjoy the experience of singing with the smaller group and I had to do it if I wanted to continue. So I did.
- I met and made new friends through the beauty of the internet and a trip to SXSWi. It’s so wonderful to put face, voice, and presence to a screen name. It blows me away how Twitter more than any other medium has significantly contributed to my online relationship-building, and how it translates to offline/meatspace relationship experiences.
- I have consumed the healthiest diet of my entire life. This may have dubious status as an “accomplishment” because this is almost entirely due to my just eating what Missy puts in front of me. And Coke Zero. The availability of nutrition facts online has led me to selecting healthier options at some of my favorite places to eat.
- I enjoyed several vacations with Missy, including a wonderful trip to Costa Rica. I have always been one to just go places by myself if that’s what I want to do, whether I was meeting people there or not. Missy and I travel really well together. Road trips, plane trips, fun trips, friend trips, family trips, whatever. Going places — and enjoying them with her to boot — has been phenomenal.
- I launched two websites — cinna.mn and fresh.mn — and acquired The Dish. That move to fresh.mn, on a very low level, had been a long time in the making. I’m glad I took the leap. cinna.mn was almost an afterthought; what I’ve learned is that there’s clearly a niche in this community to be filled. The Dish… that all happened so fast. I didn’t really see that coming, but it’s a perfect fit, a wonderful opportunity, and I’m so grateful to Ann Freeman for that.
- I enjoyed Christmas with my family. I won’t dive into the history of this. Suffice it to say that I truly looked forward to going to Detroit for Christmas. That hasn’t happened in a looooooong time. Probably since college. It had everything to do with my personal growth and present state of happiness. My family welcomed me back, welcomed Missy in, and we both enjoyed the visit.
- My relationship with Missy is stronger than ever. I am so in love with this woman. We’re still shmoopy. To still be this shmoopy after 21 months is… well, I didn’t think we’d still be this shmoopy after 21 months. And I know 21 months is peanuts in the grand scheme. This relationship, for me, right now, still holds a lot of shiny newness. I’m still in awe of me/her/us. And yet I can feel it evolving and maturing. This is what the books, poems, songs, and movies get written about. Wow. Just, wow.
Before 2007, partners who inherited retirement plan savings typically faced immediate taxation on inherited benefits, unlike different-sex spouses, who could roll savings over to an individual retirement account (IRA) with no tax penalty. Under the [Pension Protection Act of 2006], as of January 1, 2007, qualifying plans could permit any nonspouse beneficiary—including a domestic partner, parent or sibling—to roll over inherited retirement benefits paid as a lump sum directly to an IRA. Qualifying plans include defined benefit plans (pensions), 401(k) plans, employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), profit-sharing plans, money purchase plans, 403(b) plans and governmental 457(b) plans.
Unfortunately, this provision of the PPA was subsequently interpreted to be optional for employers, meaning each company had to affirmatively adopt this protection for partners under each qualifying plan. Under the [Worker, Retiree and Employer Recovery Act of 2008], all qualifying plans that pay lump sum benefits to nonspouse beneficiaries are required to provide the rollover opportunity as of January 1, 2010.
(via Eleventh Avenue South)