| Somesuch Whatnots

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

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Ranting time.

Today is my first full day back at work, and we have some new rules in the Library. Like if you don't have your student ID, you can't use a computer. For the last year or so, we've been allowing people to use the computers without their ID as long as they could prove they were a student (usually by logging into the school's intranet...if they have an account, that means they're registered for classes and therefore can use the computers). Unfortunately, it got to be too much of a hassle to let students do that, since many of them were just leaving their ID cards at home. So it was decided that if they don't have their ID, they don't get in.

Boy, students get testy when you tell them that. It's the admin's fault for letting them sign in without it for so long, and yet the student employees are the the ones who catch the brunt of the students' ire.

But mostly, it's the same old, same old. Students complaining because they can't have their grande mocha latte with extra whip cream next to brand new computers. Students complaining because I won't let them sneak into the lab without swiping (we have some that are seriously opposed to swiping their id...I guess they think we sell their info or something. Mostly I think it's because they don't like to be tracked). Oh well. Such is the life of a student employee.

For more fun with this topic, read The Stupids (an essay I wrote about the type of students that flock to the cafe and the labs).

Friday, August 12, 2005

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Yes, it actually called Bumvertising. What is it, you ask? It is the brainchild of the man who runs PokerFaceBook.com, and involves "employing" homeless men and women. Their "employment" consists of holding up a sign for PokerFaceBook.com in addition to their normal cardboard signs.

Now, normally, I would think this was great. It's something that gives homeless people actual wages. But then I read the website. It doesn't appear that he gives them actual wages, but a care package filled with sandwiches, chips, and bottled water, along with a little bit of money. According to the owner of the site, the employment would allow "bums" (as he terms them) to provide a service, while "while receiving an additional revenue stream in combination with their normal donations from begging." Hrm...sounds fishy to me. For the most part, homeless people in general do not make a lot from begging. They might get clothing and some food (which the owner admits on his page), but usually never money or anything that could be of monetary value (i.e. Items that can be pawned). So I read further...

Come to find out, it is not the owner's intent to give the Homeless a legit job, but only a semi-legit job. It is his belief "that bums will incur higher revenues from donations after showing the initiative to seek out semi-legitimate employment."

Well, it is my belief that this is not really helping them. This smacks of exploitation. If he was really concerned about the homeless, he would be giving them LEGIT employment, with actual WAGES so that they could atleast put a roof over their heads, and learn job skills so that they could possibly find other employment in the future. Alas, it seems that the owners true intentions are merely to keep the "bums" in a cycle of begging, in an effort to pursue his own ends, rather than help them break out of that cycle.

And you know what almost as sickening as the exploitation itself? The fact that the news is actually giving this a positive response. CNN Headline News ran a blurb on it just this morning, and the overall consensus from both the reporters and people on the street was "Great! They're making money!"

In other words, "Great! I don't have to feel bad when I pass one on the side of the street because he's already getting money!"

Thursday, August 11, 2005

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Sorry for the lack of posts

I want to take this opportunity to apologize for not posting frequently lately (Hell...I haven't posted at all in the last few days).

(my circle of friends here in Ga and over at Deviantart have heard this already, so feel free to skip over)

The reason I haven't posted anything is that I cannot collect my thoughts very easily. I have fragments of ideas running around in my head that I just cannot get down on paper (or computer) very easily. This is attributed to my ADD, which I have had under control (some say that it even went dormant) for the last five years. Due to an upswing of stress in my life (family illnesses, money troubles, school, etc), my ADD kicked into hyper drive, making it difficult to concentrate on even the simplest task for more than 10 minutes (half an hour, tops). I'm battling with my insurance and my doctors (my doc is on maternity leave, and her stand in is an asshole that doesn't "see" ADD patients because he doesn't believe it exists) right now, trying to get back on Ritalin or another ADD medication. This was a difficult decision to go back on the meds, since I have done without them for those five years (and have done fairly well).

So if I don't post anything of any real substance for a little while, you'll know why. I guess I'll consider this a little hiatus...

Thursday, August 04, 2005

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Roundup of goodies

**I'm turning this into a blog roundup**

-Echidne of the Snakes has probably one of the best posts I've read yet on the far-right's supposed "family values." Go read. NOW.

-Pandagon has a good article on Charlotte Allen and her response to the new Dove ad-campaign

-Shakespeare's Sister has a link to a site that will make you cry (or burst out with laughter)

-Brilliant at Breakfast has a piece about the DEA, Sudafed, and Kitty Litter (if you want to know how those things are connected, go read)

-Mediagirl has more on the Same-Sex rape case at Smith College, and several students' responses to it.

-Twisty over at I Blame the Patriarchy takes a look at the Wisconsin Legislature's ban on college students recieving emergency contraception and rape counseling

Friday, July 29, 2005

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Who says Bloggers never get anything done?

Thanks to the Bloggers who took it upon themselves to bring her story to light, the Mainstream Media is finally covering Latoyia Figeroa's case. I watched two primetime news programs last night (I would have watched more, but I fell asleep), both of which talked about Latoyia. One was Nancy Grace, who started off with a 60 second blurb about Latoyia, but then turned around and went on for an ENTIRE HALF HOUR on Natalee Holloway. She was blathering about the DNA results of the hair coming back negative. Finally, Nancy returned to Latoyia in the last half of the show, a period where, according to other Nancy Grace viewers I know, most viewers have tuned out or turned off. To me, that's not equal coverage considering that Natalee's gotten nearly 60 days of coverage.
Nancy Grace also never brought up the fact that Latoyia had been getting less coverage that Natalee. Tucker Carlso (surprisingly) did. After keying everyong int othe details of the case, he, along with Doc from All Spin Zone, debated about the controversy. Now, I dislike Tucker Carlson (and his obnoxious Bow Tie), and I can't say that I agreed with everything he said, but I was pleasantly surprised to see him tackle this, especially since it's one that most conservatives shy away from.
After seeing these, I began to reflect on my feelings as to why Natalee gets more coverage than Latoyia. Yes, being Black has is a large chunk of it, but it might not be the only thing. Another factor is the fact that Natalee projects the image of a perfect, wholsome, Christian daughter. She was on the flag team, loved her parents, and all that jazz. The exact image that the extremist right wants other girls to follow (nevermind that she went into a nightclub, ALONE, with three STRANGE men, in a FOREIGN country).
Latoyia on the other hand, is single, has one daughter and another child on the way, and has a tattoo. OOOOOHHHH...scary....to the fanatical conservatives atleast. This allows them to brush it off by thinking "She was a sinner/loose. She got what was coming to her (Which is NEVER EVER the case). So no news there."

It's sickening, but it just might be true.

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Let's get this straight....

I don't hate Christians. I've been accused of bashing them, hating them, and raising a general ruckus about them. No. I don't bash NORMAL, MAINSTREAM Christians. I.E. The ones who don't spit on me for my religious beliefs or call my gay friends "sinners." The ones who are spiritual and faithful to their religion, but allow others to be faithful to theirs without trying to convert or jam a bible down their throats.

If you are Good Christian, I want to, here and now, issue a statement of thanks. Thank you for not falling for this narrow-minded fundie swill that Pat Roberson and Jerry Falwell spew out. Thank you for being the embodiment of Christ's teachings.

For those of you who aren't, well you might want to stay away from this site.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

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Something more important than an no-win war on terrorism...

I'm talking about the famine in West Africa that's killing THOUSANDS of people. Because of a severe draught and an invasion of locusts, there is no harvest, which means no food for these people. 2.5 Million, maybe more, are at risk for starvation, and most of them are children. The UN says that this tragedy was one that could have been prevented. Food and aid are now arriving to Niger and other West African countries, but it has been slow going, some of it arriving too late for many. Oxfam and several other agencies are sending aid, and if you would like to help out, follow the links.

British Red Cross
Africa Hunger Alert (part of UN World Food Programme)

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

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Latoyia Figueroa

We have on our hands another case of a missing woman who is five months pregnant, and it takes a OVER a week before news stations start putting up this story. Could it be because she's black?

I am fucking FUMING over this. Cute white girl Natalee Holloway is missing one day, and the Media's all over it. But if a pretty black girl goes missing? Forget it. That's not news. Go search CNN's website and search for Natalee Holloway. You'll get FIVE FUCKING PAGES of stories on her. Type in Latoyia Figueroa and you get ONE result. ONE result of a woman who has been missing over a week. Cnn doesn't even have an update link for her, so it doesn't look like they will go any further with the investigation. It's sickening.

She's a single mother with a 7 year old daughter, and another child on the way. If your news station hasn't aired anything about this, call them and tell them to. She needs to be found. Her daughter needs her to be found.

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Dear President Bush.....again

Part 2 of 2 letters I posted up at my Deviantart site to Shrub.

Dear President Bush,

Congratulations on completing your original objective. I bet it feels good to beat Daddy at everything, doesn’t it? You’ve ousted Saddam and have become a two-term president. Momma Bush must be proud. But then again, is she? If I’m not mistaken, your mother, when asked about abortion, replied “For me, abortion is a personal issue – between mother, father, and doctor. Abortion is not a presidential matter.” Wow. She seems very pro-choice to me, quite the opposite of your stance. I’m sure you flabbergasted her with your little statement you made the other day, calling an Anti-Abortion rally on Capitol Hill a “noble cause.” Millions show up at your door step rallying for women’s health, and one of your aides likens them to terrorists. A few thousand cry out for fundamentalism, and you hold them up as exemplary. I can see that majorities don’t mean much to you. Then again, they never did, except when it comes to elections.

Now let’s turn to look at your inauguration, shall we? Forty Million dollars seems to be a hefty price tag for a glorified tea party. Also seems a little excessive in the light of the fact that we are mired down in a war YOU started, which has cost the lives of over 1300 U.S. Soldiers. Not to mention that the world lost over 150,000 people, 200,000 if you count those still missing due to the devastating Tsunami. Yet the party went on. You and your invite-only cronies danced the night away amidst the ghosts of those dead. Did you even stop to remember them? Must be nice to know that you can flaunt the wealth of you and your friends while the rest of the world, and your own people, suffer. That showed us exactly what you think of war: it’s a game. Well, war is not something to be taken lightly.

Now, about your speech. I’m sure that your die-hard followers found it very inspiring and informative. It told them they would be safe from the terrorists. That’s it. It seems to me that you left out some key elements, like, oh, maybe healthcare? And what about the economy? Seems to me that you take those two very important things as lightly as you do war. Perhaps you think that those two things don’t need to be mentioned because they’ll take care of themselves. In your eyes, it must be the poor people weighing down the economy. They don’t spend money, and they don’t seem to WANT to get out of the rut they’re in, since, well, we all know college is SO affordable. The poor must not want any of the help you’ve generously given them in the last four years. Well, if we deny them healthcare with your new health savings plan, since they can’t afford to put any money away anyway, they’ll die off, and Voila! No more poor people and the economy will turn around! All that will be left will be the rich and the middle class, since they can afford health care. Brilliant, Mr. President. Absolutely brilliant. What you’re not thinking about is that a great deal of that working poor comes from former military members and veterans. You will have eliminated those very people that you tout as heroes. You’re also not recalling that the working poor are what keep this country going. They are the waste-disposal people, the secretaries, the minimum wage service workers, and the industry workers. I’m quite sure that your oil-wealthy cronies would love to dip their dainty hands into their neighbors’ garbage, or work behind a counter in order to provide all the services the wealthy take for granted. Looks like you’ll have to rethink your policies.

Well, it looks like we’re stuck with you for another four years. I’m sure you still think it’s a mandate from God that you serve another term. Mentioning God, let’s settle in on religion for a while. Why is it that you will authorize MILLIONS of taxpayers dollars to go to religious (read: Christian) charities, when you won’t authorize Stem Cell research, which has the potential to save many lives. Granted, you’ve said that you will authorize research into less morally-debatable alternatives, but unfortunately, Mr. President, that route has already been taken. Do you think that scientists, mostly moral people themselves, would jump on stem cell research, a very hotly contested area, if the other possibilities had not been exhausted? And yes Mr. President, you do not have to be Christian to be moral. You also do not have to be moral to be Christian. Interesting concept, huh?

And what about abortion? I really don’t see how it is moral to make a woman carry a child that she probably won’t be able take care of, or even have adopted out, since so many people are going to artificial insemination. I also don’t see it as moral for these “noble” pro-lifers to go around bombing abortion clinics. If they are willing to kill the mothers and the doctors, then they can’t really be classified as pro-LIFE can they? We can debate forever about abortion, but I really don’t feel like going into it, since I’m still recovering from that nasty bout of the flu.

As I said before, it looks like we’re stuck with you. I just pray that you wise up before too long and start looking at what YOUR PEOPLE think. That’s what a president does. He represents the people, and that means ALL of them. Dictators force their opinion and will on other people, Mr. President. Just like the dictator you deposed. But that’s something that will have to wait for another letter.

A concerned citizen

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Dear President Bush

These letters were originally posted on my Deviantart site just after the election, but I have decided to post them here for your reading enjoyment. Another letter is in the works.

Dear President Bush,

I did not vote for you, but I am writing to acknowledge your election to a second term. The election certainly was a merry chase! Although I’m sure it stings to know that nearly half of the country doesn’t want you in office, and that substantial parts of your own military didn’t vote for you. Liberty County, GA, home of the brave 3rd Infantry Division, is one giant blue dot on a break down of votes, county-by-county. In Chattahoochee County, GA, home of Ft. Benning, you pulled ahead by only 7 percentage points! Let’s not forget Ft. Bragg in Cumberland Couty, NC, where you were ahead by a measly four percentage points. Why aren’t the vast majority of your soldiers and their families voting for you? The only ones that did seem to vote heavily for you were the ones that weren’t heavily deployed! I smell a connection there somewhere…

Despite these facts, I’m sure that you are consoled by the fact that you carried the white male vote, the rich vote, and the weekly church-goer vote. I mean, those are the only ones who count, right? Come to think of it, weren’t rich, white, religious land owners the only ones who had the right to vote to begin with? So I’m sure it doesn’t bother you that women didn’t support you as much as the men did, even though you say you support women’s rights. What do you think women’s rights are, anyway? You’ve never really clarified your stance on it, and when asked about it, you point out the fact that you’ve done so much for us: child tax credit, No Child Left Behind, trying to protect families…
Oh! Now I get it! Could it be that a woman’s right is to have children for the State? Why didn’t I see that before? It’s so obvious! At least it seems that way from your legislation. Well, Mr. President, there’s another leader in history who believed that it was a woman’s duty to have children for their country. That man would give out medals to women who filled their “baby quotas.” That man was Adolf Hitler. Mr. Hitler was also very good at convincing the middle and lower classes to support him, even though he drove their country further in to poverty by fighting a multi front war.

Now, about those non-Christians who didn’t vote for you. What do you plan to do for them? Oh wait, I forget. Jews are the only “safe” non-Christians. All Muslims do is blow stuff up and hate Americans, which is strange, considering there are estimates of more than 7 million who live and work here on a daily basis. Let’s see…7 million who live quietly versus 19 who committed unspeakable murders…oh, yeah, them Muslims are a dangerous bunch. And don’t forget the Pagans, which comprise of Wiccans, Druids, and many others! They worship Satan, and are responsible for the atrocities at Abu Ghraib, as your contemporaries say. Another strange connection, considering that most of the mothers of the soldiers responsible described them as “good Christians” who would never hurt a soul. It's also really strange that you would call Wicca “not a real religion”. To my knowledge, you're not God, and that's not your decision to make. But you seem to not let that fact get in your way when you make comments on different belief systems.

You say you've done so much for the middle and lower classes by passing all of these tax cuts. Then why hasn't my father seen any of it? He's middle class, yet he got only a little more than he usually does on this tax return. But in your mind that should be enough. Enough to pay for my mother's heart surgery that she desperately needs, but that insurance won't pay for? I don't think so. Oh, and that brings me to another lower-to-middle class issue. Health Care. I'm sorry to say, HMO's are not adequate providers of health care. Going to a doctor for $15 doesn't cut it when the life saving medication he prescribes isn't covered by your insurance. It's also a lovely feeling when you have had your insurance for over 6 six years, and five years ago, you start experiencing symptoms of heart disease. Your doctor tells you that you need heart surgery, but your insurance tells you it's a “pre-existing condition.” Come to think of it, they tried to tell my best friend that her RUPTURED OVARIAN CYST was a “pre-existing condition.” That's not a pre-existing condition. That's a medical emergency. Americans need adequate health care. Health should not be something that only the rich can afford.

It would be nice if you were to tell your buddies in the Medicine industries that your people are sick and need affordable medications, but that would cut into their profit, wouldn't it? They're just trying to earn a living like the rest of us, aren't they? And what's wrong with being rich, even if they're doing it at the expense of the American people's health? It's the American Dream, right? It would also be nice if you were to tell those same insurance companies that they need to cover birth control pills, but we've got those baby quotas to fill, and that would just get in the way.

There are many other things I would like to say to you Mr. President, but I'm too exhausted. You see, I couldn't get my flu shot this year, and I'm very ill at the moment. In closing I would like to say, please Mr. President, prove me wrong. Show me that you're not a bigoted fundamentalist who believes that health and freedom only belong to rich white men. Show me that you really are a good president, and I will GLADLY take back everything that I have just said. Until then, however, I'll sit here in my un-heated, un-air-conditioned house, and drink my Thera-Flu, and wonder if my mother is goingto live to see the many grandchildren she's going to have.

A Concerned American Citizen.

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Artificially Alive and Pregnant

Sad story that I'm sure most of you have heard of. Both Newsweek and the Washington Post wrote glowing reports of Susan Torres's story. Susan collapsed in May after a stroke stemming from advanced melanoma. She was also 17 weeks pregnant. Now she lies brain dead in a hospital, hooked up to various machines that keep her artificially alive until her baby is able to be removed. That's right folks, she is nothing more than a vessel for her baby. And yet I'm torn.

I'm torn because this baby was very much wanted by both Susan and her husband. Is it fair to let him lose both his wife and the child he dreamed of? On the flip side, is it fair to have Susan's body become the poster child for the WingNuts' plan to make women into breathing incubators? Already, the pro-life movement is rallying round her story. They may be very quiet about it now, but I guarantee you, the minute this child is removed from her body, the story will explode into the headlines.

Also, how will all of this affect the child? Sonograms indicate that it's a girl, which Susan's husband is already calling Cecilia, a name they discussed before her collapse. Every child wants to know the story of how they were born. Imagine telling a curious four year old this: "Well honey, Mommy actually died about three months before you were born, but the doctors kept her body alive until you could survive outside the womb." That is bound to have an adverse effect on Cecilia's psyche.

Perhaps biggest problem I have with this is not that they are keeping her body alive in order to have a baby that Susan desperately wanted (she is reported to have wanted this to happen), it's how the Media is portraying this story. Both the Newsweek and the WP articles refer to Susan as though she is still alive, merely sleeping instead of totally brain dead. Not to mention the fact that they report everything in glowing terms, making this out to be something that all women should aspire to do, or want to happen in the unfortunate event that they die before giving birth. Newsweek even panders to the Lifers, recounting how Faith and Action has been handling the donations, and that even Rev. Patrick Mahoney of Operation Rescue has held prayer vigils outside the hospital.

To me, this is something that should have stayed within the family, and yet the Media has pounced all over it, turning it into a glurge-fest for the anti-choice movement. I, myself, will continue to keep Jason Torres and little Cecilia in my thoughts, and hope beyond hopes that poor Cecilia will not become a victim of the Media's insatiable appetite for infotainment once she's born.