Saturday, December 4, 2010
I love decorating the tree and watching snow storms and drinking cocoa and eating popcorn from my stepgrandparents while we open gifts...the whole thing. Ok, well I am not too into the consumerism, but even I like to see a tree with a bunch of nicely wrapped boxes underneath.
But there is one thing I hate about about xmas, I hear it over and over and it annoys me more each time. I'm referring to the "keeping the christ in christmas" crowd. You know who I mean, those (uninformed) individuals who think that saying 'xmas' instead of 'christmas' is right up there with burning bibles or punching the pope.
People seem to get all upset that saying x-mas is somehow sacrilegious, that it is deleting Christ from the holiday. Actually though the root of the X in Xmas is a Greek letter meaning “chi” that looks like an X. X has been used as an abbreviation for Christ used by the Christians since about 100 ad. Christians during that time frequently referred to themselves as Xians or Xistians and referred to the “mass of Christ” (Christmas) as Xmas. It is not a recent thing, it is not a way for non-religious people to take the religion out of Christmas, it is an abbreviation that was started by the earliest Christians and was used by the church.
But if you really want to get worked up about how Christmas has lost its Christians roots look at St. Nicholas (The Saint that Santa Claus is based on). St. Nicholas was a man who anonymously donated his money to helping the poor. On that note, helping the poor was also a pretty big part of Christ’s message. Whether you call it Xmas or Christmas, I think everyone can admit that rampant consumerism has become one of the main focuses of the holiday season.
So maybe instead of worrying about what arbitrary abbreviations other people should or should not use, spend this holiday season worrying about homeless people, people losing their homes to foreclosure, the growing number of the unemployed in the US, people who have to risk their lives at war in order to afford college (I know that isn’t the only reason people join the military but it is one of them) people without health insurance, people who can’t afford enough food, or the millions of people in developing nations who are living in abject poverty because of how the US economy is run.
There is my rant.
Have a Safe and Happy (Christmas / Xmas / Hanukkah / Kwanzaa / December / Whatever)
does this post seem a little familiar to any of you? It was originally on facebook and it was after writing this that I decided I wanted a blog.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
So when I was around eleven or twelve, my older cousin recommended the book 1984 by George Orwell to me. If you haven't read it, it is about a guy who is living in a dysutopian future where everything is controlled by a war hungry government.
When I read that book, I really got into it. After that I started looking for other books with the same plot-line which led me to Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and then Anthem by Ayn Rand...which led me to Ayn Rand in general which eventually made me pick up the communist manifesto. (I know Ayn Rand has become the figurehead of the teabaggers but she is a good writer, she made up some evil philosophies but she's still a good storyteller).
Anyway, sounds a little convoluted but that is, in a nutshell, how I got started thinking about societal inequality and what kind of governmental system I think is the most moral. In other words, that is basically how I became a socialist.
So back to my point...the election. I've been a socialist since around eighth grade, I am pretty aware of the fact that most people in the US equate socialism to devil worship. Joe McCarthy wasn't all that long ago and the red scare is something that people still remember so it never shocks me that there aren't socialist candidates on the ballots. I mean, sure I would love to see them there, but I know basically you have a choice between democrats and republicans. Sure you can vote for an independent (and I have) but when you do that you kind of know that your candidate isn't going to end up in office.
Now I have some friends who are socialists who don't vote at all out of principal. Their belief is that the lesser of two evils is still evil and that a democrat or a republican is just going to help the rich no matter what promises they make in their campaign. And they are usually right.
However, this my analogy for why I vote democrat. Ok, say you are starving to death and even though you are entitled to a full meal, even though you have worked very hard for it and totally deserve it, you are told that you can only have either a slice of bread or a few bread crumbs...what are you going to pick? The slice of bread right? Is it as good as the meal? Obviously no...but isn't it better than the bread crumbs?
My point is, I don't think that the democratic party will end up giving the American public what it deserves. Its just that I think the Republican party will give us even less. And it isn't just theory. I have a good friend whose family will now be without insurance because Scott Walker(R) was elected Governor instead of Tom Barrett (D). I mean, that’s a tangible thing. She will no longer have access to healthcare based on this election.
I know that my vote will never change the system. I don't really think that capitalism will bite the dust until more people wake up to the fact that the American dream isn't reality, but I still can't not vote. Not when things like my friends healthcare or my sister's disability funding or abortion rights hang in the balance.
So OK, now that I justified why I am arguing for democrats, let me get back (again) to the election. The only politician that I really every trusted, Russ Feingold (who isn't a socialist but is brilliant) has just been voted out of office. The REPUBLICANS won. They won the congress seat, they won the governorship and they won the senate race.
And the only thing I can think to say about it is WTF?! Seriously?? Good god, we chose the bread crumbs.
My sister also had a baby last week, she is gorgeous and pretty much the most amazing baby ever so things aren't all bad.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Not on writing, I pretty much love to write. What I got burnt out on was following politics. When I first started this blog, that wasn't going to be the central focus of what I wrote. I was just going to write about my everyday life and see what I came up with. However, it was not a huge surprise that what I came up with was politics.
Since I was a kid, economics and discrimination and woman's rights issues has always been something that fascinated me. Fascinated seems like a weird way to put it, but it seems so simple to me the way that poverty and racism and sexism are all inherent traits of capitalism and I have always been compelled (much to the annoyance of my friends and family I'm sure) to convince everyone around me why it all needs to change.
So when I started writing on here, it was really neat to find a way to connect with other people who felt the same way. I would write on here and get comments about people that thought about the same stuff I did. I would go on other blogs and learn about stuff I'd never be exposed to otherwise. Overall, it was cool.
So anyway, after writing for awhile I started to spend more and more time looking about stuff about these issues. I started watching mainstream media more trying to get a sense of why everyone else has such weird ideas about things (i.e. teabaggers). I started reading more essays by people that disagreed with what I thought. And the end result of all that was that I got so disgusted that I needed a little time away from right-wing equals family, freedom and hard work and left-wing equals fascism, baby murder and high taxes. Overall, I got cynical and burnt out.
It seems like instead of seeing the recent depression as a clear sign that the rich screw over the poor at every chance they get, the super scary teabaggers have convinced the working poor to become their foot soldiers.
They throw around words like family, “real” Americans and freedom and suddenly neoliberalism is this fancy new idea thought up around a roaring log fire by Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck. They are literally proposing that the problems caused by neoliberalism and rampant, non-regulated capitalism can be solved by even less regulations, lower taxes and fewer social services. And of course by getting rid of undocumented workers...because obviously THEY are the reason that wall street fell apart.
Anyway, the conservative movements stance on the solution to this country's problems is basically like saying the way to put out a fire is by dousing it in gasoline. And people are buying it...hook, line and sinker. And the political ads for the midterm election? GA-ross. They're idiotic. No one says what their politics are, they just say that they
for: hardworking Americans, freedom, change and against; Washington, job loss and pork barrel spending.
here is an example of one:
What the eff does that even mean? I will tell you what it means, nothing. It is basically like me saying that you should vote for me, if you vote me into office I will be against toddler beating, stealing from old people and making McDonalds illegal and I will fight to make donuts free, a six day weekend and spending Christmas with your loved ones.
My point is, all that modern political ads say are that the candidates are against vaguely
bad things and for vaguely good things. They never get into what they would concretely change or what their own political history is. Its disgusting. And fyi, it isn't just the right that do this, all politicians are guilty of it.
Anyway, back to the point I was making, the fact that the conservative movement in the US is nutso isn't exactly breaking news but what does this have to do with this blog? Well, last weekend I was visiting my dad and I said to him that I was fed up with politics....And I got a very,very, very, VERY long lecture. Now to put this in perspective, my dad is not a lecturer. He is about the most laid back person you could find but a few hours after I made that comment, he knocked on the door and basically gave me an hour long speech about how doing nothing was about as useful as hopping on the teabagger train.
Now don't get me wrong, its not like I think that this little blog is going to swing an election (VOTE FOR RUSS FEINGOLD!) but my dad did have a point. Even if the only difference I can make is to educate myself, (and of course N. who is forced to listen to just about any interesting/aggravating thing that I learn) at least I'll be able to fight back if I am cornered by a rabid republican. Ugh, I guess we'll see. Anyway, hopefully my readers haven't completely given up on looking at my site.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
“Insensibly he formed the most delightful habit in the world, the habit of reading: he did not know that thus he was providing himself with a refuge from all the distress of life; he did not know either that he was creating for himself an unreal world which would make the real world of everyday a source of bitter disappointment.”...brilliant.
Is it weird that I tend to love books about impoverished children? I mean, not like I like to hear about people being poor but there are pretty much two genres I always like; kids in poverty (like Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Angela’s Ashes, Bastard out of Carolina etc) and dis-utopian stories (like 1984, Brave New World, Clockwork Orange, Fahrenheit 451, Anthem etc). Ugh, I am making myself sound depressing.
N. (my roommate/soon-to-be-husband) is reading 1984 for the first time. He is usually a nonfiction sort of guy but has been raiding my bookshelf lately. I try not to talk about it to him because I really love that story and I am afraid I'll be talking about the plot and give away the ending, he seems to like it so far.
Speaking of Harry Potter (and I was a few paragraphs ago) I've read those books and the whole time I was reading them, I was like why does this story seem so familiar? Then, when my dad moved a few weeks ago and made me clean out my room, I found a box of YA books I hadn't seen in years. In it was a book called, Wizard's Hall by Jane Yolen.
Ok, so here is a story plot. An eleven year old boy goes off to wizarding school. He befriends a girl and boy who know more about the school than he does and they form a little trio. He doesn't do very well, but because of a legendary story about the boy, everyone expects him to be great. There is this wizard who used to be a student there but then grew up and now he hates the school and wants to ruin it. There are many times when the importance of saying the bad wizard's true name is discussed. Anyway, the bad wizard manages to sneak in to the school (did I mention that all over the school are pictures and paintings where the people walk around and talk to passersby and to each other?) and after he sneaks into the school he almost kills everyone until the little boy defeats him and saves the day. Yeah, the little boy in THIS story is named Henry and this book came out years before the Harry Potter series. Weird right?
Anyway, you are probably asking yourself, what was the point of this post? Well, sorry, it was mainly just rambling about English orphaned kids. I just got off a double shift and I am too tired to write anything more substantial...
Also, are you wondering why I haven't written is sooo long? Its because I now work days, usually over eight hour long shifts...hopefully I will get back into the swing of things now. Also, my computer has been working crappy lately but its fixed now....
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Speaking of work, tonight is the very last time I will ever have to do a overnight shift. For the last year, I have worked from ten o'clock at night until six in the morning. There are some perks to it, like never having to wake up at the crack of dawn, being able to watch a few hours of TV every day (my work has cable, I don't.), and being able to work by myself. But for the most part it has sucked.
N. works during the day, so when I was on that schedule I would come home at six and he would be asleep. I would fall asleep and by the time I woke up, he'd already be at work already and I'd have to leave before he got home. So yeah, unless we had the day off or one of us got up way earlier than usual, it felt like we never say each other. We lived in the same house, but in different time zones.
So anyway, that will be pretty sweet to work during the day (although I am still not excited to wake up at disgusting five o'clock in the morning.)
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Neoliberalism is the theory that an economy and state have the ability to function the most effectively when there are no market barriers in place. There are five main points in the theory of neoliberalism. The first is establishing a market that is completely free of regulation. The second is the eradication of public spending for social services. The third is the deregulation of any government intervention that imposes upon the gain of profit. The fourth is the privatization of all government run services. The fifth is eliminating the idea of the “public good”.
In the eighties, a new economic theory emerged called neoliberalism (sometimes called neoconservatism or reaganomics or teabagger craziness). Anyway, this new policy basically said lets make the only role that the government has on the economy is make sure that no one tries to regulate any kind of trade. Some examples of trade regulation are tariffs for imported goods, making it so companies can’t outsource, or having a country charge taxes to a corperation that wants to operate in their nation.
In neoliberal theory, the whole idea of government changes from an institution that makes laws and provides services to its country to one that is only in place to make sure that there aren’t any trade regulations. For example, if there were a country or group of people who were working against a neoliberal state’s free trade, the state would use violence or the threat of violence to force them to allow free trade.
There are definite problems when this idea is put into practice. For example, in a completely “free” society, a company would not have to follow labor standards or environmental standards. The theory is that if the workers were being treated badly, they would have the freedom to not work there. If the workers quit because they were being treated badly, the business would fail and the problem would be fixed. In that scenario, the “freedoms” of the company wouldn’t be infringed upon and the free market would continue to flourish unrestricted.
This theory, of course, does not work in practice. From a realistic point of view, one realizes that workers need payment, even if conditions are bad and that a high percentage of businesses will do anything to increase profits. Even though there is obvious proof that the end result of this practice is harmful, many classic neoliberals maintain that it is still better the state does not intervene. They believe that the “cure is worse than the disease.” (Check out David Harvey’s A Brief History of Neoliberalism, “
The classical neoliberal theory, as discussed earlier, is that if people have complete and total freedom, then the market will become a self-regulating entity and everyone working within it will have an equal chance of social mobility. Like the example stated earlier about the ways neoliberals believe labor standards will regulate themselves, the idea of a free market ensuring equality fails just as miserably. The ideal economic climate that neoliberals envision is one wherein a person would have the freedom to use their monetary capital in a way that will afford him or her the best life possible. In practice however, neoliberalism only works to create an economy where the elite have the freedom to increase their capital to amounts previously unseen and the poor are forced to live at a lower and lower standard.
So, to answer the questions I posed in paragraph one in a bit more detail… Because neoliberals took almost all of the regulations out of the banking industry, people on wall street were allowed to do whatever they wanted and what they wanted to do was to get a huge personal profit and they didn’t really care who’s pension they were ruining in the meantime.
Because neoliberals went into Latin American countries and ruined their economies by forcing deregulation of trade, now no one there is able to get a job. Basically US industries went in, took everything they could and left. Now the people there are forced between starving to death and seeing their children doomed to lead a life of poverty or illegally immigrating to the US were they can at least be able to send some money home. In short, the reason that the US has jobs for immigrants and their own countries don’t is because the US stole all their capital.
Because neoliberals forced free trade down everyone’s throats, companies are now allowed to go anywhere in the globe to look for the cheapest workers. Before neoliberalism, if say Nike wanted to make all their shoes in China, the labor would be a ton cheaper but Nike wouldn’t make such a huge profit because they would be forced to pay China taxes to operate there and they would be forced to pay tariffs (money to the government that could be reinvested in the United States) to import cheaply made goods. But since we decided to throw away any kind of trade regulation, companies can go make shoes in China and then sell them in the US for 500 times what it cost to produce. And since its so much cheaper to find labor overseas, American lost all its jobs.
So whenever you hear someone complaining about big government or trade regulation or the “socialist” agenda, just remember that the neoliberal agenda is what got the US to the state it is in today. I don’t know about you, but I am totally willing to try something different than this.
Sidenote, if you want to know more about neoliberalism, email me or leave a comment because I have a totally amazing list of articles and books about this topic!
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
My mom tells a story sometimes about how when I was a kid, she used to have me make me go outside to play with the other kids because all I wanted to do was stay inside and read. I’m not saying I was some kind of intellectual, we’re talking Goosebumps and Babysitters club.
After she had forced me to go out and try to make friends, she would look out the window and see me reading a book I had smuggled out of the house. Kind of weird for a seven year old, huh? I also used to tell people I wanted to be a garbage man when I grew up. That has nothing to do with anything else on this post.
I tend to be pretty antisocial, sure I went through a period in middle school/early high school when I was all like “HANG OUT WITH ME! WE’LL DO ALL THE STUFF YOU LIKE AND I’LL ALWAYS AGREE WITH YOU WHILE WE WATCH TRL AND SING SPICE GIRL SONGS AND DO EACH OTHER’S HAIR AND WEAR MATCHING JNCO’S THAT HAVE DAISY PATCHES ON THEM! LETS BE BFFS!”
(I did have some cool friends in that mix, like D. and T…. now I am wishing that I had another friend whose name began with a D. so I could refer to them as DDT, maybe I will change Stacey’s name to D’Stacey?)
Anyway, by the time I hit college, I was pretty much done with pretending I fit in with people. The problem with that is I’m kind of a weirdo. I don’t mean like a unique, trend-setting, nonconformist hipster, I mean like I like to talk about sex and politics too much, I hate things like sports and parties, social chitchat makes me awkward and I’d still rather read than have actual conversations with people.
Now back to the shift change, I like my coworkers. They are all nice people. However, actually having to be around people all day invariably leads to social chitchat aka small talk. I’m fine at talking when it is to someone I am friends with but that is only because all my friends are super weirdoes (is that how you spell the plural version of weirdo? That is what Word corrected it to so I guess so) like me. But when it comes to people I don’t know very well, I literally don’t know how to do it. It usually goes something like this:
Casual Acquaintance: “My [name of spouse, kid, friend] and I went to [some place] and it was pretty [fun, dumb, weird etc].”
Me: “Oh. (Then I spend some time thinking of how I should respond because I have no idea why they are sharing this information with me, why they think I would be interested or what I am supposed to say in response) That sounds [fun, dumb, weird etc.]”.
Casual Acquaintance: “I’m thinking about [going somewhere, doing something, seeing someone etc.] this weekend, you have anything big planned?
Me:(frantically try and think of something more normal/ less nerdy to say than writing blog posts about politics or playing dirty word scrabble with my boyfriend) Nope, nothing planned yet.”
Or my favorite,
Casual Acquaintance: “Did you see the [base, foot, basket] ball game yesterday?”
Its like my inner me is Sarah Silverman plus Bill Maher, but my outer me is Micheal Cera minus the cool.
Monday, August 16, 2010
That plus a couple of other post sleepover masses were the extent of my religious experiences as a child. Oh there were a few other things, like being told by my elementary school friends that I would go to hell for saying god's-name-in-vain (I had to have them repeat that to me like five times because I was young enough that I didn't know what “in vain”meant and I think that they weren't too sure either because they pronounced the whole thing in one breath, clearly quoting someone else), spending Wednesday afternoons at school watching Bill Nye or relearning state capitals cause almost all the kids in my grade were in CCD and the time I called my dad at work terrified because there were a bunch of guys in suits knocking at the door one day when I was home sick (pretty sure those were Mormons). There was also the time my little sister came home crying that she was afraid that “the saints were going to get her”. Yeah, we were little heathens I guess.
It wasn't that my parents were against religion, we just never did it. Its weird because religion is one of the biggest cultural institution, I mean its kind of like growing up not knowing what it is like to go to school. Its this weird segment of culture that I had no idea about it. I did't have anything against it mind you, but I can't say that I really understand it either.
I try to keep an open mind about it. I really, really do. I hate to hear about someone that is discriminated against because they are a minority, or a woman or GLBT and I know that the same logic should be transposed onto religion...but it pretty hard for me to do.
It just seems like there are so many problems caused because of religion. Take the health care bill for example, all the liberal politicians are too scared to talk about birth control because they will have the anti-choice fanatics calling them baby killers ('cause like I said in a previous post, taking the pill is clearly identical in their minds to abortion). Another example is same-sex marriage, half the country is in an uproar because they are terrified that two gay people getting married is going to ruin families and ruin children brought up in those families. Another example is all the controversy over the mosque in New York. I mean, all those people want to do is build a place of worship. I'm not any more excited that a mosque is being built than I would be for a church or a synagogue but seriously, all this god stuff flying around is making people go insane.
And those are just the examples I think of when I am thinking about religion in regards to current events, that’s not even getting into the pervasive social problems like teaching kids that sex equals burning for eternity. Or this weird new way that the United States has somehow morphed Uncle Sam and Jesus Christ into some all powerful American deity (spoiler alert: Uncle Jesus Sam Christ is totes pro-war and republican).
I know it probably sounds like I hate everything about religion, but that isn't exactly true. I've read parts of the bible, there seems to be a lot of talk about peace and helping the poor and not being focused on amassing wealth (On a totally unrelated note, the Catholic church is the largest land owner in the world). Anyway, that nice stuff in the bible is great but for the US being a “Christian” nation, I can't really say I have seen those values coming into the common culture.
But maybe that is because I was raised so far outside the sphere of religion. What do you guys think? Is religion a good thing? Am I crazy for thinking it is more oppressive than helpful? Doesn't it seem to add to the repression of woman (i.e. Mormonism)? Isn't the show Lost eff-ing AMAZING? (OK, that isn't really about religion but thanks to netflix I am watching it for the first time and trust me, the question was rhetorical because I already know it is amazing.)
***side note: I don't meant to be offensive to any readers! I know for the most part religion is a very, very personal thing and I am not trying to say that what other people believe is wrong, unless, that is, you try and force it on to other people. Also, I know I kept using the generic term “religion” when the only religions I reference in my post are Christian but I grew up in a tinytinytiny town where the diversity of religions were Catholic and Presbyterian. The only reason I don't talk about my experiences with Judaism or Hinduism or Islamic faiths or any other ones is because I never really had any. ***
Thursday, August 12, 2010
This is what America has become. I know it isn’t like this for everyone, but it is like this for hundreds of thousands of people. I joke around a lot on here, but when I see something like this, I can’t joke. It is too serious and too tragic.
Why aren’t we more enraged that our country has turned into a place where people are literally causing riots just to get on a waiting list to get affordable housing? Why is it that the only dialogue about public assistance you ever hear is that too many people are cheating the system or that anyone getting aid should just “go get a job”?
Anyone that thinks like that should be forced to live at minimum wage for one year. Just one. Then they can give an opinion on whether the working poor are abusing the system or not.
I’m sick of everyone in this country acting like capitalism was written somewhere in the constitution. It wasn’t. It isn’t. It would not be unpatriotic to get rid of free market capitalism, we wouldn’t be making the founding fathers roll over in their graves. And even if they did, they had slaves, murdered native americans and were ok with not recognizing women asfull citizens, so maybe we can quit worrying whether or not they approve of what we do.
This isn’t a well-written post, I’m annoyed. No, annoyed isn’t the right word. I’m pissed. People shouldn’t need help that badly.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
There was actually one woman against same-sex marriage who said that she got mad when people said she was prejudice for saying that same-sex couples couldn’t raise a child as well as a heterosexual couple.
Um, grab a dictionary you bigoted ass, prejudice means to prejudge and you are saying, without ever meeting them or knowing them, that a every single same-sex couple cannot raise a child properly because there isn’t at least one penis and one vagina in the equation. You can have whatever ignorant opinion you want, but at least learn what prejudice means.
Here’s the thing that stands out to me, the conservatives in this country never shut the eff up about how much they hate big government trying to tell them what to do in their lives. How we can’t let them regulate trade, we can’t let them regulate healthcare, we can’t let them regulate gun sales blah blah blah. But we can let them regulate marriage? How the eff does anyone else’s marriage effect you?
Speaking of nutcase republicans, have you people heard of Russell Pearce, he’s the senator from Arizona who spearheaded the law that makes it legally ok to be racist in Arizona. Anyway, he isn’t content with just racial profiling being ok, now he wants to make it so children of illegal immigrants aren’t citizens of the United States.
So ok, what he wants to do is rewrite the fourteenth amendment. The fourteenth amendment has five sections, and he wants to change the first one, which reads as follows,
14th Amendment, Sect. 1: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
His problem with it is the part that says that all people born in the US are US citizens. The reason that he is against this is because he thinks that children of illegal aliens shouldn’t be allowed to stay here. WTF Senator Pearce? I thought the big thing for you right-wingers was complaining about how all your constitutional rights were getting taken away?
I mean, wasn’t that your whole big thing against Obama was that he was going to take away your guns and violate the constitution? So yeah, lets make sure everything we do is constitutional and if there is a law we want to pass that isn’t constitutional well, then we’ll just have to rewrite that part of the constitution. Even if you are against illegal immigration, I am pretty sure that getting rid of progressive amendments to the constitution is a precedent we don’t want to set. I mean, as a woman, I kind of dig voting. Just saying.
So yeah, let’s sum up that logic. Big government is evil, unless of course you want to use it to oppress a bunch of people. Side note, teabaggers who are afraid of big brother and big government: PATRIOT ACT! A Republican enacted that little gem. Also, you can claim anything and everything violates the constitution if you have no other argument, but if you want to pass a law that CLEARLY violates it you should just change the constitution.
And isn’t it weird how all these things the right are so against have to do with minorities? What an odd coincidence.
Monday, August 2, 2010
while you are at the site, make sure and check out some of their other great articles!
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Hey, blog friends, I have a problem. I think that I am being a girl wrong. I know, I know, you’re all like, what? How can you be a girl "wrong"? It might seem impossible, but I have been watching a lot of TV lately and clearly I messed up somewhere.
Ok, so first of all, I cannot cook. I mean, sure, I can pour a mean bowl of cheerios, open a can of diet coke like no other and don’t even get me STARTED on my ordering takeout skills, but besides that I’m pretty much in the dark. I don’t really know what to do about it. Just kidding, I totally know what to do about it. I am going to buy a magic bullet, some Tupperware, some Teflon kitchenware, some Chicago Cutlery, an Electrolux stove and that new GPS looking gadget full of recipes. That should get me started at least. Because seriously, if I didn’t learn this stuff soon how will I get my boyfriend to love me?
So, I know what you guys are thinking, J., if you get all this cooking stuff your kitchen is going to be a gigantic mess! Well, trust me guys, er, I mean, girls, I was worried about the same thing but TV provided me with an answer – cleaning supplies. All I have to do is buy some Joy dish soap, a Swiffer mop, some Lysol spray, a Mister Clean Magic Eraser, some Easy Off oven spray, Some Electrosol dish washer soap, Some Arm and Hammer baking soda for the fridge, some Bounty paper towels, some Glad garbage bags, a ShamWow or two and a Shark steam mop and before I know it I will be dancing around wearing pearls and a dress in a kitchen that literally sparkles. And trust me, I need that stuff, cause right now there is a pile of dishes a foot high sitting in my sink from last week when I made my man a pot roast (just kidding...I didn’t really make a pot roast.)
Now that I have this kitchen stuff figured out, I thought that I would be well on my way to being a real woman. Unfortunately with all that cooking, I started to eat the food (classic rookie mistake) and now I’m getting fat. And if TV taught me anything, it’s that nobody likes a fat girl. But, as usual, my friendly television set is just sitting there waiting with the answer – DIETS!
If you are just getting started on being a woman, you might think that exercise and healthy choices are the way to shed pounds, but you are wrong…and probably fat. One way you can do it is to order premade meals. These will usually be prepared by a skilled chef who somehow manages to turn chocolate cake and pizza into vegetables. You can also try workout tapes, these can be super helpful if instead of the television implying that you need to lose weight, you want to hear the TV bluntly tell you that you are too fat. But those ways are pretty hard, the best way to do it is to just buy pills. Whether you want to be strung out on speed or just use the old fashioned laxative approach, there will be plenty of options to choose from.
Just remember ladies, crash diets and pills are only the beginning, even after you lose some of the weight you will still want to invest in some tummy-tucking panties and a push-up bra to make sure you really look like a woman. And don’t think that you are going to stop with body morphing underwear, there are a lot of other products that you are going to need before you can leave the house without scarring the neighborhood children. Which brings us, of course, to make-up.
If you are single, and if you are reading this feminist blog, you are almost for sure single, cause if you had a man, you wouldn’t be a feminist and instead would be dancing around your newly cleaned kitchen with your Swiffer mop debating whether you wanted to fold laundry or start dinner. Anyway, if you are single, you will probably want to invest in some cover-up, zit cream, eyeliner, eye shadow, wrinkle remover, exfoliant, moisturizer, mascara, lip stick, lip gloss, blush, that weird little airbrush thing, some more zit cream, some teeth whitener, some skin bronzer and makeup remover. Lots and lots of make-up remover. A plus side to all these beauty products is that you can use them to cleverly hide your tampons in the bathroom. God, can you even imagine how embarrassing it would be to have your man (or really ANY man) know that you get your period? (Shudder!)
So that should at least get you started. There are lots of other things you are going to need (like Nair and scrapbooking machines and purses) but those are just icing on the cake, The stuff I already listed is what will help you get the most important product a woman will ever get – the diamond ring. Once you have that you will have graduated from Being a Girl 101 and be well on your way to becoming A Wife and Mother. See get out your credit cards ladies, and start shopping, er, I mean, start living!
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Friday, July 23, 2010
I am writing this on my newly downloaded open office writer program. If you guys don't know about this go to www.openoffice.org. Seriously, you can download this whole program, it is exactly like Microsoft office (complete with software that is nearly identical to Microsoft word, excel, power point, and a fairly powerful paint program). Wondering why I am talking about a random software download on my fairly political blog? Because this entire software program is completely free.
Lets start from the beginning. Have you ever heard of Linux? (Btw, don't freak out I am going to quit talking techie in just a minute and get back to my typical political bloggy brilliance.) Anyway when computers first started becoming a mass market kind of thing and not just something MIT dudes did in some lab basement, people started being like wow, we can be millionaires (see Bill Gates) and started copyrighting their software. As everyone knows Microsoft pretty much corned the market on operating systems (an operating system is what runs all the other programs on your computer).
So anyway, there were some programmers that thought operating systems and basic software stuff shouldn't be a profit kind of thing so they made Linux, an operating system that can be used instead of Microsoft...but for free. So Linux is an operating system but I didn't need that because I already have Microsoft OS on my computer but I didn't have Microsoft Office (or the couple hundred bucks to buy it). Anyway, that is where the Open Office came in.
At this website, you just click a button and download the system. It takes about fifteen minutes to get the whole thing. I've only had it for about an hour, but so far I can't tell much of a difference at all between this and the Microsoft system. (Except that when you save a document it is a .odt instead of .doc so I guess if you are a student and your teacher says you can only turn in .doc's then you may have a problem. I dunno, maybe they are convertible or something, I haven't had enough practice with it to be sure yet. )
From that, this whole movement started called the open source movement and the ideology behind is it to make software that is accessible to everyone, that can be shared by everyone and can be improved and worked on by everyone. It is an interesting thing.
So why am I babbling on about it in my blog? Because the company is paying me a TON of money to tell all my millions of readers. Just kidding. It is because I think this is a real cool example of a social need being met by people who aren't doing it to make bank. Because now I have a eff-ing awesome NON-CAPITALIST office package on my computer and it makes me pretty happy.
There are lots of people who aren't psyched about this whole thing...like Microsoft obviously. In this totally neoliberal system that we live in, the idea of people freely giving away their products seems crazy and companies who are NOT giving it away for free are getting kind of pissed. But then again, since it is free there isn't a whole lot people can do about it.
So yeah, enough tech stuff, but lets really look at this issue. Social need, social solution. Seems reasonable right? Now lets use this same framework for some other stuff that is created to serve a social need but that you can only get if you have enough money like medicine, or education or the internet. We live in a capitalist country obviously, and I'm sure 90% people are like me don't have the economic freedom to be like "eff getting paid, I am just going to donate my life to volunteer work" but still, stuff like this makes me hopeful.
Also, just so you guys know, It friday night and I am at home eating tofutti(delicious vegen "ice cream") and watching documentaries with my cat. And also am posting a blog about computer systems. I kind of feel like my life is a female version of P. Diddy's. (he's cool and hip, right? That reference makes sense, right?)
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Right now my sister is pregnant, one of my close friends is pregnant, most of my other friends have babies and every time I go on facebook, all I see are pictures of my friends’ babies or ultrasound pictures. And I am constantly being asked when I’m going to have one. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t in a rude way necessarily, except for maybe my grandma who asks me all the time if she is going to be a great-grandma before she dies. She asked N. this once, when him and I were going to have a baby…that happened the first time she met him, after we’d been dating for about a month. Thanks Grandma. That should hopefully subside a bit now that my little sister is going to have one.
Everyone else my age seems to be going through some huge maternal fixation. Most of the ones that don’t have babies want one really, really bad. They get all weepy when we walk past the baby outfit aisle and already have a list of names picked out for when the day comes. I’m not saying I don’t think about those things sometimes, but then I remember that I can barely remember to feed my cat and how usually don’t think to check how much gas I have in my car until that little low fuel light comes on. I’m not sure, cause I don’t have kids, but I am pretty sure that they don’t have a "Check Diaper" light.
Anyway, back to my original point, is it really so weird not to be reproducing at 24? It’s not like I don’t like little kids, I do. I love hanging out with my friend’s little boy and I cannot wait for my niece to be born. I just don’t want one of my own yet. There’s just so much I want to accomplish before I have a kid like graduate school and traveling and finally beating that xbox game I’ve been playing for the last few weeks…. you know, important things.
Side Note: You know that kid cartoon Veggie Tales, about the talking Jesus produce? I googled myself today (which sounds like something filthy but is really just narcissistic) and found out the "Not Quite Stienbeck" will pull up stuff about one of their movies. If anyone is curious if that is why I named my blog this, the answer is no. I named it this because I love John Stienbeck (and also because www.coolestpersonever.com was taken)
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Currently, senators, congressmen and the president make (on average) $169,587 a year. Together, these 536 people will make $90,899,000 a year. That is not including their personal incomes from things like investments, this is just the salary that they earn from the US taxpayers.
On the other (much poorer) hand, over 40,656,000 Americans live in poverty. This 13.2 percent of the population lives on less than $10,000 a year. Did I mention that the president has a $19,000 a year "entertainment" fund that is separate from his salary? Or that all of his housing, travel and living expenses come out of a different account than his salary?
In 2010, the US government decided that about one out of every three dollars you pay in taxes will be spent on defense. This means that one dollar will go to the war and the other two will be used towards: education, social security, repaying the national debt, national parks, medicare, the national court and prison systems, housing and urban development, the postal service, TARP funds, disaster relief funds and every administrative position in the national government.
Just for kicks, lets look at what we could be doing if we weren't at war. We'll look at 2011 budget and we will just look at the federal income taxes that people in Wisconsin pay. If we weren't in the war, Wisconsin could use that money to get:
1,948,101 People Receiving Low-Income Healthcare or
1,433,296 Scholarships for University Students or
184,447 Police or Sheriff's Patrol Officers or
190,419 Elementary School Teachers or
9,319,786 Households with Renewable Wind Electricity or
3,494,920 Households with Renewable Solar Electricity
(all that renewable energy would kind of cut the foreign dependence on oil huh?)
If you are angry with this, but are worried that you should be supporting the troops, you should probably know that while the defense budget was increased this year, all of the increases went towards weapon development. All of the cuts, on the other hand, were in what was given to military personal and their families, included a 20.2% cut on military and family housing. Pretty patriotic, huh?
And if you are thinking to yourself, well we are an industrialized nation, money like this is to be expected, think again. If you look at defense spending on a global scale, the USA is responsible for 46.5 (!!!) per cent of the world total, distantly followed by the China (6.6% of world share), France (4.2%), UK (3.8%), and Russia (3.5%). And not that it could even be remotely related to thier low defense budgets or anything, but fyi, France and the UK have universal healthcare.
And the real cost isn’t obviously the money. The lowest estimate of the American soldiers that have died fighting these wars is over 5,000. That would be like if everyone in my hometown passed away…more than 5 times. The lowest estimate for the amount of Iraqi and Afghan civilians (regular people that had nothing whatsoever to do with the war) is well in the thousands. Remember that those are the LOWEST estimates., these are the US government estimates. There are some independent groups that say the civilian death total could easily be ten times that much.
Support the troops, bring them home.
***Websites I got information from***
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
I pretended to be insulted until I remembered that it is true, in a way. I’m not a fan of traditional things like roses, Sleepless in Seattle type movies and novels of shirtless men clutching fainting, women wearing bodices. My idea of romance is more like using my scrabble tiles to spell out lewd innuendo while suggestively leering at him (‘cause I’m ladylike like that). So anyway, that reminded me of this story where N. was being super romantic and I was a jerk.
This story happened about two years ago on the night that we were taking down the Christmas tree in our, teeny tiny apartment in Superior. I’d come home from a day of spending Xmas gift cards at the mall and N. suggested that we take down the tree.
I, being lazy as usual, tried to convince him that we would do it another day. He persisted until finally I was like, fine whatever we’ll take the tree down (side note this happened at the very end of January so really it wasn’t like he was being a nutjob). So he put on some classical music, got out the boxes and got started. Being my usually ADD self, I was all over the place finding other stuff to do because I didn’t feel like wrapping up ornaments.
He kept asking me to at least come over and do a few. I would do a couple and then get distracted by the internet or my phone and then when they were just about done I decided that the least I could (literally it was the least possible I could do because he’d done the rest) was to pick up the tinsel off the carpet.
He asked me to stop what I was doing so that I could come take one of the ornaments off the tree. I was all crabby and said just put it in a box. He said he wasn’t sure if it went in my stuff or his. I told him to do whatever he wanted with it. He said, again, that I should just come do it. I said, again in a louder and more annoyed voice, just put it where ever, I am TRYING to pick up this tinsel. He asked me again so I got up, went to the tree to pull off the ornament and put it in the box and saw…
My engagement ring hanging from the tree…and promptly felt like an a*hole. He got down and one knee and did the whole lovely love thing. Luckily he is a wonderful BF (not a crabby a*hole like me) so he laughed about it. Ahh, love.
Anyway, that was a bit of a random story but I wanted to take a day off from politics. I watched a half-hour of fox news last night and it gave me some good ideas for stuff that I want to write about. Btw, there was a reason I was watching fox news specifically but I’ll explain that later when I write the post, I needed to explain that because I don’t even want internet strangers to think that I would watch that channel to get the actual news. However, it also annoyed me so much that if I try and think about it right now my head might explode, so instead you got a love story. Lucky you.
Monday, July 19, 2010
So if you are like me, you work a million hours a week in order to pay your rent so you may not have time to do research on legislation and mainstream media sucks when it comes to providing in-depth coverage, so I will break this down for you.
When the bill first came up, there was no language about reproductive health. Basically democrats were too scared to touch the subject because they were afraid that it would turn into an abortion debate. Which totally makes sense, because I know every time I go in for my yearly check my gynecologist is like “GET AN ABORTION!!!” and I’m like, “….but I’m not pregnant?” and she usually replies, “go get pregnant so you can come back and GET AN ABORTION!”. I should really find a doctor that yells less, but that’s beside the point.
Anyway, so last fall Senator Mikulski from Maryland put an amendment in that said the bill had to cover things like mammograms and other preventative screenings. But the bill still doesn’t say whether or not it will cover birth control and every time the issue comes up for debate the right wing nut jobs start screaming about baby murder. Seriously guys, birth control would prevent unplanned pregnancies which would prevent abortions. Where is the problem? I’m confused.
Did I mention that Viagra is covered. Soak that in for a minute. Women can’t get birth control, even though there are situations where it prescribed regardless of sexual activity like when someone has polycystic ovarian syndrome, a condition that can be helped by birth control but men can get Viagra. I’m sure ED sucks, but seriously have you ever heard a doctor yelling, “This man will die if he doesn’t get a boner STAT!”? I didn’t think so.
I’ve spent the weekend trying to understand more about how to do a blog. Its confusing as f. I been looking through different directories, trying to upload url links and trying to figure out what a rss feed. All this other techie stuff which hasn’t been boding well with my extremely non-technical brain. But I think I have it a little more figured out.
So yeah, in case you are wondering what the whole directory thing is, it is where you can get your site listed. I am posting info about not quite Steinbeck so more people can read my genius and start worshipping my internet wisdom.
By the way, when I first got my blog, I installed that little map over there (on your right à) so I could see how many millions of people visited my blog everyday and where they are from. There are at least two pretty consistent visitors everyday, me and then some mystery reader from (judging from that tiny map) somewhere south of here…approximately Kansas? Who are you mystery reader, why do you love me so much? Just kidding, obviously you love me cause I am a visionary but seriously, you have me curious.
So yeah, basically what I am trying to say is that I need and love attention, so everyone reading this, you should totally become a follower or, if you totally hate me and wish that I would stop poisoning the internet, at least leave a comment saying so. Like I said, I love attention.
Double Side Note:
I spent the last five minutes trying to figure out why a random period kept showing up in the middle of that paragraph. I kept trying to delete it and nothing happened. It was some dust on the screen. I’m basically a genius.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
It’s not a great story, not even really a good one, the dialogue is pretty wooden, its lacking description and there are some MAJOR plot holes but I wrote it ten years ago when I was like fourteen. I fought the urge to freshen it up and fix spelling and/or grammatical errors so it would be in its original form. You can definitely tell that I had been reading George Orwell and Aldous Huxley at the time I wrote this but its kind of a fun story to picture a shy, polite preteen girl (aka me) reading in front of a high school class. So yeah, here it is. Enjoy.
"It’s prison, man. Did you think it was going to be easy?" Vick Shrofeild, Walter’s cellmate, sat on his damp, military-grade cot and stared across the tent at Walter. "It might not seem like we are well guarded and you are new so you might think you can get away but trust me, you are going to fighting this war for the rest of your life. I mean think about it, they put a tracking chip in your thumb. Inside of your body. You could be a million miles away from any of the guards and all they would have to do to find you is boot up their compu-trackers"
Walter Peasly stretched his arm in front of him and examined the round, red scar at the base of his left thumb. "Not me. I may have committed a crime and that court may have decided that I am going to die in this war to make up for it, but that isn’t what I decided. If I die trying to escape, I will be just as dead as I would be if I died out there in the slaughter house they expect us to charge into everyday."
Vick stood up to leave but stopped to look back at Walter before he exited the tent. "Look man, do what you want, but don’t involve me. The less I know the safer I’ll be. You seem like a nice guy, but I am not going to get tortured to protect your secrets."
Once he was alone, Walter lay back on his cot and stared at the olive green canvas of the ceiling. He was 26. He was only 26 and he already had a life sentence hanging over his head. Two years ago, when he was still free, when he still had some sort of hope of making something of himself, he’d decided to risk all that to try and make some money in the black market.
He’d been successful at first, started out small with black market food exchanges and clothing distribution but then he’d gotten greedy and started trading in government grade stolen vehicles. While the cops had been willing to overlook someone skimming some profit on food rations, they had not been so forgiving when they caught him selling stolen military trucks to the private armies that had begun operating out of the Rockies. After he got caught, he’d been given a court date. He waited in a military prison for a few months while they sorted out his sentence and then taken to a hospital to have his tracking chip implanted. After that he was dropped off at the Great Lakes border, destined to fight in the war that the United American Federation had been waging against the Northern Resistance for the past forty-odd years.
But Walter had decided tracking chip of not, if he was going to die, he was going to die on his own terms. He stood up and walked to the door of the tent. Most of the men had gone to cafeteria to have dinner and the sleeping area sat empty in the darkening night. Walter stepped back into the tent and closed the flap all the while trying to prepare himself for what he was about to do.
With the tent flap closed, Walter knelt next to his cot and reached behind his extra uniforms to pull out the bottle of cheap alcohol he had stolen from the guard’s tent earlier that day. He pulled the greasy cork out of the top and, though he didn’t really like alcohol, especially the cheap stuff that the government issued, gulped down a third of the bottle in order to numb himself for what he was about to do.
Walter closed his eyes and sat perfectly still, gathering his thoughts and his courage. He then broke the bottle on the cement floor, pressed his hand flat on the pavement and used the broken shard of glass to cut his thumb off just below the line of the round, red scare.
"G-g-god." Walter bit back a scream as an angry, red bolt of pain sliced up his arm. "Oh god. Oh god." The room swam in front of him and he knew that he would have to act fast in order not to faint. He grabbed his first aid kit and used a cauterizing tool to stop the flow of blood. He grabbed the cut off thumb with his good hand and shoved it under his pillow so if anyone did a compu-track check it would register that he was in bed.
Walter tried to make his mind focus on escaping rather than letting it sink into the dark tunnel of pain that was tugging at the edge of his thoughts. He clumsily grabbed the bag he had packed the night before, pushed through the flap of the tent and raced into the dark forest that stood at the edge of base camp.
He ran for hours, taking breaks only to chew up tablets of pain reliever and take swallows of the lukewarm water in his canteen. The sharp pain had subsided a bit, but had been replaced with a dull, throbbing ache that threatened to knock him out if he concentrated too much on it. Finally, just as the cool blue light of morning began to creep around the edges of the horizon, he came to a clearing in the forest where an old, abandoned cabin stood.
There was no door, most of the windows had been broken out and he could tell from the smell of the place that more than one animal had sheltered in the cabin’s crumbling walls, but it would have to do. Walter knew that this quadrant of the border was mostly empty but he didn’t want to risk running in the daylight.
It wasn’t until he made himself as comfortable as possible on the wooden floor that he realized what he had done. He had run away from the United American Federation. He had cut off his own thumb. He was free. It was with that thought that Walter curled into a ball on the cold cabin floor and sank into the deepest, most needed sleep of his life.
Hours later, long after the January sun had risen to the center of sky, Walter awoke to a sharp kick in the base of his spine. Half asleep, unsure of what was happening or where he was, Walter attempted to push himself to his feet before screaming out in agony as he accidentally put his weight on his throbbing wound. He rolled over, clutching his hand and looked up to the circle of military guards that surrounded him.
The guard closest to him, the one that had kicked him, bent down to yell into Walter’s face. "Think you’re smart? Think you’re the first soldier that thought they’d slip out without getting caught? God kid, you aren’t even the first one to cut off your thumb!" The circle of guards erupted in laughter as Walter cowered at their feet.
"You think that you are smarted that the UAF? You think you, a disgusting criminal, could manage to outsmart the entire United American Federation? Ha." Walter tried to make the ball he was curled into smaller. "You know, cutting off your thumb seems like a pretty logical idea. You get rid of the tracker, you steal away into the night and between the chaos of the war and the craziness of the overcrowded camp, no one notices you got away, huh? But here is the fun news; that scar? That little marker that you thought was so clear? That’s just a decoy. We put that on there because if we let the soldiers know where the device was, they could easily get rid of it."
Between the pain and his fear, Walter was fighting to remain conscious. What was this guy talking about? A decoy? His vision started to go black but the guard grabbed him by the hair and pulled him up so they were face to face.
"Here’s the thing, Walt." The guard yelled, with a sick smile on his face, "You just ran through the woods for nothing. You didn’t get away, you aren’t free." The guard grabbed Walter's right thumb and lifted it up into the air. "The tracking device is right here, you idiot, you cut off the wrong thumb!"
So there you go. Brilliant, right? Rereading this, the whole "put a fake scar on to trick the prisoners" seems like a pretty elaborate ploy that doesn't actually seem to serve any function. And I love the compu-tracker, which if it had been written later than 2000 probably would have been called a GPS. Not to mention the fact that he had a cauterizing "tool" (?) in his first aid kit or that there is no way you could CUT OFF YOUR THUMB and then jog, all night, in January (in the Great Lakes Border BTW) without dying but, like I said, I was fourteen. An awkward, gossipy giggling cheerleader mind you.
On a side note, since I was fourteen, I am pretty surprised that the main character in my story was drinking alcohol and my teacher didn't care. But that's how I roll, I write about drinking and thumb amputations and oppressive governments and I don't let anybody stand in my way. I'm pretty hardcore.
Friday, July 16, 2010
1. Having to return library books
2. Going to the dentist
3. Watching any kind of sport
4. Waking up early
5. Going to a bar
(Eddie Izzard sums it up well I think)
Five Very Cool Places I got to Visit
1. A Buddhist monastery in China
2. Monet's Garden in France (The water lillies Japanese Bridge painting? there.)
3. Albuquerque, New Mexico at three in the morning
4.The Washington Memorial in the middle of a HUGE antiwar rally
5.The Shore of Lake Superior in the middle of the night in January
Five Things that Always Make Me Laugh
1.Talking to T.
2.Talking to J.M.
3.Aqua Teen Hunger Force
4.Talking about our college days with A.
Five Things I am Very Excited About
3.Enrolling in Graduate School
4.Going a vacation with N. (soon I hope!)
5.Moving somewhere new (nothing wrong with here, I just like to move to new places)
Five Things that Annoy Me
1.The sound of Styrofoam
2.People that cry about abused animals but complain about people who need welfare (I cry about the animal commercials too though)
4.Being almost albino and having to wear sunscreen almost year round.
5.The fallacious notion that verbosity connotates intellect, and the multitudes who imbue all conversations with a string of multisyllabic phrases in order to appear erudite. In other (simpler) words, people who think that using big words means you are a smart person.
If you are more concerned with the length of the word you are using than you are with the meaning, you will be hard to understand, your writing will suck and people will think that you are pretentious dick.
Five is my fav. number and I just made five lists of five, so that's all for today
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Happy belated Fourth of July though. In terms of the greatness of our country, I heard a story today about how a bunch of New Yorkers are protesting building a mosque near (as in a few blocks away from) ground zero because it would be a “shrine to terrorism”. I wonder if they think of churches as a “shrine” to the crusades, the inquisition, the holocaust or child molesters. I am not saying that I think Christians are all those things, but the corollary could very easily be drawn. I also heard a story on NPR about how the teabaggers are saying that the NAACP is…wait for it…racist. So yeah, YAY AMERICA!
But I do hope that anyone serving overseas is safe and gets to come home very, very soon. I also hope that people who are just trying to live their lives in countries like Afghanistan or Iraq are safe. There are a few people that I personally know that are in the military and I really do worry about their safety when they are over there. Because I know them, it is easier for me to be worried about them as individuals. Other than that, I can’t really say that I feel MORE concern for American citizens in war zones than I do for other people that happened to get caught living in a war zone. To me, both cases are situations where people I have never met are in danger and, because they are human beings, I genuinely hope the violence ends and ends soon. But, unlike most people in this country, I do not think of the Americans first and the people in the other countries as a belated afterthought.
I think that I feel that way because I have never really understood patriotism. Obviously I understand the concept but I have never felt that emotion. To me, national borders just seem like what they are, imaginary lines drawn on a map. I mean I get it, there is usually uniting cultures languages etc. that create a sense of community between people in any particular country. However, I have a ton more in common culturally with people from Thunder Bay, Ontario (which is about four hours away from where I went to college) than I do with someone who lives in Hawaii. Or Los Angles or New York City for that matter. The point I am trying to get at is that I think, overall, patriotism seems just a little, well, nonsensical to me.
But we as Americans do have a lot to be proud about. For example, the KFC double down sandwich, the twilight series, scientology not to mention the fact that we have been able to develop a prescription medication to cure…wait for it again…thin eyelashes. But seriously, I have been to a developing country and I am not going to lie, I am glad that I was lucky enough to be born in a country where the living conditions are really high.
But the thing is, and this is the thing I think most “I LOVE THE USA” people should remember, we didn’t do anything to be born here. It’s a crapshoot, basically, and no one who was born a US citizen worked harder or is better than anyone who was born Canadian or Mexican or Swedish or Nigerian so quit acting all high and mighty because of a totally random event that happened to make you a US citizen. And, since I know a lot of patriotism and Fourth of July festivities are aimed at supporting the troops, lets really show our support by ending the war and bringing them home safely.
Plus, the fireworks scared the crap out of my cat and he showed his dissatisfaction with the holiday by yowling and racing around the apartment like a nutcase for hours every time he heard a bottle rocket go off.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Yeah, that was my facebook status today because I saw that a few of my facebook friends had joined a group about not wanting to press one for English cause “this is America”. Really? Really? If I saw that some people joined a group that said that they were pissed about having to speak English and not some Native American language, I wouldn’t be so annoyed because those WERE the languages that were spoken here originally before a bunch of immigrants came over and changed everything. They would at least have a valid point that they were the ones that were here first. But do you want to know why I said “some Native American language” and not a specific example? Because I don’t know any, I don’t even know the names of them, because Europeans came to America and wiped out as much of their culture as possible.
But that, apparently, was OK. It was OK when Europeans came to a country with more resources and killed the people and stole their land, but three hundred years later it’s a travesty if Latin Americans want to work here. I mean, really, until there are huge groups of Mexicans coming here and handing out smallpox infected blankets and forcing European Americans live on reservations, shut your fucking mouths you racist, ignorant pricks.
The thing that really gets me is that 95% of my friends live in RURAL Wisconsin. I would honestly like to know how many illegal (or even legal) immigrants you see on a daily, weekly, monthly or even yearly basis. I’m guessing the number is about none.
The number one reasons I have heard that people are against immigrants are “because they take our jobs”. Its pretty convenient that certain Caucasian people I know blame ethnic minorities on skyrocketing unemployment rates; but when those same people talk about African Americans or Hispanics or Native Americans who are unemployed, the reason they give for that is laziness.
See, from my point of view, the problem is not people “stealing” jobs, it is that there aren’t any jobs here anymore. Like I’ve said in other posts, all the jobs have gone to other countries where the labor standards are lower and cost of production is astronomically cheaper. Most people act like the cause of this problem are unions or illegal immigrants…not trying to be rude, but if you believe that, YOU are the reason the system is able to exist.
I mean, think about it. Let’s say there is a guy, we’ll call him Bob. Now Bob owns a company where he needs five people to work for him. In the beginning, Bob hires five white guys. The white guys realize that Bob pays them such low wages that they can’t afford to live and he makes them work in an unsafe work environment so they form a union saying that Bob needs to make them work only eight hours a day, for a living wage and that they can’t work if the conditions are unsafe.
So, Bob says eff that, I will fire the two guys that organized this and hire other people. I will hire two white women cause they will work for less money anyway cause it is harder for them to get a job because of sexism. So the two guys get fired, the workers (now two girls and three guys) go back to work without the job conditions getting any better. And if anyone complains, Bob can just say, hey its not my fault, I am a business owner, I have to increase my profits and women work for less, blame them. Which increases sexism because people have been led to believe that unless women are held back, men will not have as good of chance of becoming successful.
This goes on for awhile until the workers decide again that the system sucks, so they go on strike again. Bob, remembering how good his plan worked before, fires the girl and guy in charge and hires some African American men who will work for less because it is harder for them to get good jobs because of racism and the people go back to work in the shitty work environments. And if anyone complains, Bob can just say, hey its not my fault, I am a business owner and African Americans work for less, blame them. Which increases racism because people have been led to believe that unless other ethnic groups are held back, then they will not have as good of chance of becoming successful.
THIS goes on for awhile until the workers decide again that the system sucks, so they go on strike again. Bob, remembering how good his plan worked before, fires the two in charge and hires some Hispanic woman who will work for less because it is harder for them to get good jobs because of racism AND sexism, the people go back to work in the shitty work environments. And if anyone complains, Bob can just say, hey its not my fault, I am a business owner and Hispanic woman work for less, blame them. Which increases sexism AND racism because people have been led to believe that unless women and ethnic minorities are held back, then they will not have as good of chance of becoming successful.
And during the whole process, the person to blame wasn't the women or the minorities it was Bob, the rich guy who was unwilling to cut into his profits to make sure that his workers could work in a safe environment and support their families. But since racism and sexism are pretty common words and boss-ism or rich person discrimination aren't common ideas, I think it is pretty clear who takes the blame for old Bob's greed.
This scenario could go on and on and on. And it does, everyday. Now though it has gotten even worse because it is on a global scale (hey its not my fault, I am a business owner and Cambodians and the Chinese work for less, blame them.)
The super rich use racism, sexism, homophobia and intolerance of all kinds to make sure that working people are divided into super small, competitive groups so that the working class will never realize that 95% of the people are just barely making it while the rest live in decadent luxury. If that 95% percent would just realize how the system of capitalism works, they would be able to quit working for the rich guys all together and start working for themselves in a socialist democracy where sexism and racism would not be perpetuated in order to divide the working class.
I know every pick-up truck driving, flag-waving, freedom-loving patriot in this country is terrified of socialism, but wake the eff up. Wouldn’t you like to live in a country where you could go to college, get health care and be able to support your family without the fear of losing your home or your job? Wouldn’t you like to live in a country where you were able to have the same opportunities as other people, whether they were born in rich families or not?
And, for the record, if you are so against socialism, you had better watch out because the red terror has already invaded your life. Right now there are (GASP) many socialized institutions in this country…like public schools, post offices and fire departments. And we all know how often the mailman tries to take away our freedom, so I guess your fears are pretty well founded.
So back to my original point, if you are going to complain about having to hear Spanish, I will make sure to write my advice to you in English: Shut the eff up, learn how economics work and why the people are immigrating here to begin with. It isn't because they want to steal your jobs, it is because the US has fucked up the economies in almost every Latin economy. It isn't because they were sitting in nice houses in Mexico and had good jobs and they decided to risk their lives to illegal immigrant here so that they could steal your job and force your kids to speak Spanish. It is because they are trying to survive. They are trying to make sure that their kids don't starve to death and maybe so that their children can have a better life than they do.
You know it's weird, its almost like Latin Americans are trying to do exactly what United States citizens are trying to do, almost like it is a basic human desire to have food, shelter and the opportunity to support your family. But that must not be it, it must be because they hate you...and the English language...and freedom...and probably NFL and strip malls too. So if we can't win the battle to save this idea of white American that everyone seems to love so much, let's at least make sure that Spanish speaking people can't have someone tell them over the phone how much they owe on their cell phone bill in a language they can understand...that will definitely fix the unemployment rate and the economy.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Breaking News: Multibillion Dollar a Year Oil Company Doesn’t Really Care About the Environment or People!
I am guessing that there isn’t a single person in the United States that doesn’t know about the effects of the oil spill. If you turn on CNN, MSNBC, or even (gag) Fox "news", the coverage is basically streaming footage of the oil soaked pelicans, the pools of dirty ocean water, tar balls and interviews with fishermen and women who no longer have a source of income. It is all very poignant and disturbing and I am glad that they are showing it but I still think that there is a very large part of the story that they are leaving out.
There is an old expression about journalism that says, "if it bleeds, it reads". In other words, heartstring tugging footage or violent scary stories generate more interest that a report that focuses on things like statistics and in-depth analysis of an issue. Media today is centered a lot more on revenue than it ever was before so I get why it’s happening. However, people should know that things like the oil spill (and Haiti and Katrina and the Tsunami and many others for that matter) all have a common thread, they are caused by neoliberalism and greed. In other words, our profit driven system of social and economic policy (i.e. capitalism!) is to blame.
In the eighties, the whole idea of neoliberalism and free market economics began to emerge. This meant that governments (and the US was definitely in the forefront of this) began to take a hands-off stance on big business. The free market policy has a good sounding name, especially in the US where we love the word freedom almost as much as we love McDonalds and SUVs, but what it basically means that trade and commerce are free of government regulation. This means that companies like BP can run a company that endangers its workers and the environment without being shut down.
I suppose there are some of you (out of the millions and millions of people that read my blog everyday) that are saying "Wait a minute, what do you mean they are allowed to run them that way? Didn’t you see on CNN where it said that BP violated like 800 safety codes? If they violated them, obviously there are regulations in place. And haven’t you heard that the government is going to make them pay for they did? Obviously they aren’t just being allowed to walk away from this mess that they made."
You’d be right in a sense, but think about it for a minute. They did violate safety codes, it is documented that they were told this…but the operation was still running. That’s the thing, there aren’t nearly enough regulations in place and the ones that exist aren’t enforced that much. In other words, they get a slap on the wrist if they violate the regulations and there are a bunch of other ways that they should be regulated but they aren't.
Last year BP was fined $87 million dollar for having "willing" errors in safety violations. $87 million sounds like A LOT of money but last year alone BP had a profit margin of 14 BILLION dollars. Billion! So $87 million is only 0.6% of their profits!So, for knowingly operating in hazardous, life-threatening conditions, for every hundred dollars that BP made, they had to pay sixty cents
Paying a little fine must have seemed like a pretty inexpensive fix compared to what it would have cost to fix the safety problems. I mean, there was also the lives that were lost when the rig exploded, the livelihoods that were lost by ruining the economy of the gulf, not to mention the poisoning of an enormous ecosystem but those loses don’t come out of the BP pocketbook so those don’t really count right?
One way that it is justified is that it creates jobs, even though the system also advocates cutting any and every job possible if it means that the profit rate could be increased even more. Another reason people say it’s good is because it fosters business growth, which I guess means that we should let big businesses operate dangerously without punishing them so that they can get even bigger and have even more money to pay fines instead of fixing problems.
Either way, for every person in America and around the world that isn't a multimillionaire we are letting ourselves get screwed by rich people so that they can make more money. Right now, The wealth of the top one percent of US households exceeds the combined household wealth of the bottom 95 percent. That means that if 95% of the people in the United States put all of our money together, it would still be less than the richest one percent! And not by a little, the top one percent have more than fifty percent of the wealth in this country. They are the ones that are making the money out of ruining the environment. They are the ones that willing put workers' health and homes in danger in order to add to their billion dollar a year profit margins. And we let them, cause someone who was really eff-ing smart put the word "free" in front of trade and convinced the American public that it was our patriotic duty to support this insanity.
And as for BP and the government making sure that the lives of the people in the gulf are restored to what they were before the oil spill? Well I’ll believe that might have even a tiny possibility of happening as soon as the victims from hurricane Katrina aren’t still living next to ruined houses in the "temporary" FEMA trailers that they were given five years ago.
Monday, June 28, 2010
Correction, it usually makes me want to pass out, today it actually DID make me pass out. I got super dizzy and then kind of woke up when the dentist was like "she’s looking awfully pale, (which must have meant I was REALLY pale, cause I am basically albino to begin with) are you ok?" I answered "eemmm uhhuth ermmmm" because my tongue was numb and his hand was in my mouth, but what I meant was yes, I am fine please continue to shove long, scary needles into my gums.
As soon as that was over, N. took me to the bookstore. I love the bookstore even more than I hate the dentist. When I was a kid, I remember being bribed into getting cavities filled or getting a shot by the promise that we could stop at a bookstore on the way home. Usually this resulted in me following my mom around the store with an armload of books and a lopsided, half-numb mouth trying to convince her that I needed a new Goosebumps book, a new Sweet Valley book AND a new Babysitters Club.
Luckily N., who normally tries to politely remind me about electricity bills and the rent when he sees that I have collected a pile of books and am still looking, is pretty charitable when it comes to post-torture bookstore visits. So even though I am dead broke after paying for the dentist, he bought me three new books. Ah, love.
I watched that show "To Catch a Predator" for the first time today. Kind of sets a weird precedent for what the media can be involved with in terms of law enforcement but I can’t really work up any anger towards the makers of the show because I have no sympathy for the yucks that they are busting. I was actually glad that those people were shown for what they are on national television. If I had it my way, I think the punishment actually might be a little worse, maybe some scarlet letter justice. They could have "disgusting pervert" tatooed on thier forehead or something.
Still a weird concept for a show, it is a little too disturbing for my tastes. I mean the content is obviously disturbing, but I also felt like a big weird-o for watching it. Have you ever read Fahrenheit 451? (If you haven't, why not? You should go do it as soon as you done reading this, its amazing) There is a scene in the book where the hound is chasing Guy Montage, the fireman, and it is broadcast on everyone’s tv walls. When I was watching that show, I kind of felt like that and also like I was being entertained by a show centered child molestation. Creepy either way.
But enough ruminating about the perversion of the media, I am going to put on my pajamas, crawl into bed and enjoy one of my new books until the pain pill the dentist gave me knocks me out.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
It wasn’t because of my parents that I disliked it. I mean, of course I went through the usual teenage phase of being totally and utterly mortified but every single thing that they did but for I actually have a better relationship with my parents than almost anyone else I know.
Back to my original point, it surprises me that I have gotten to the point in my life where visiting my hometown is actually exciting. I remember when I was in high school I’d throw tantrums, not just whining, not just complaining, but full out bawling, screaming teenage tantrums BEGGING my parents to send me to move or send me to a boarding school or let me live with a relative in a different town. To let me do anything that would make it so I didn’t have to go back to that school.
I can’t exactly remember what about it was so horrible. It wasn’t like I was teased or bullied, in fact even though I was never popular, I had a few very close friends, liked most of the people and there were only one or two people that I actively disliked. Just never really fit in. I somehow managed to get a reputation for being wild, which was weird because while I smoked cigarettes, besides the normal experimenting a few times, I didn’t really drink or do drugs. Nevertheless, there were a lot of people in school that thought I was a pretty big party animal.
My closest friend through school, we’ll call her T, who did even less "bad" things than me was also considered fairly wild. Which is pretty funny, because there were many, many times when we would get invited to a party or asked to go do something but instead would go to my dad’s house (now this is where you can tell I am insanely wild) and would spend the night…reading library books. Seriously, we’d get home from school, put on comfy pajama clothes, and talk and read in the living room until we felt like sleeping. If we got bored with that, she would play the Sims on my dad’s computer while I played the piano or watched TV. There were times when we would be at a party and pretend that we were going to another party and just go back to one of our houses, to read. I was like the opposite of every other teenager in the world, instead of lying to my parents saying I was going to sleep over at a friend’s so I could really go to a party, I lied to my friends so I could get out of the party so I could sleep over at T.’s to read books. FYI, I still talk to her about every other day and when we get together now, as adults, we usually do the exact same thing.
I think part of the reason people thought that I was sort of a bad apple was because I missed a lot of school. I am sure most people thought that I was skipping with my friends (which is something I did exactly three times in my life and got caught and in a ton of trouble every time). I did miss a lot of school, but it was usually because I was sick or hadn’t slept the night before. I have fibromyalgia but didn’t get diagnosed until I was 19, so it wasn’t until then that I realized my chronic mystery illnesses and insomnia (AKA going two or three days in a row without sleeping) had a medical reason. I used to get in trouble with teachers a lot for it too, especially one teacher who acted like me not being there held everyone else in the class back too. Though to be fair to her, the only thing I know how to say in French, which was the class she taught and I took it from 7th grade to junior year, is "I speak English", "I cannot speak French", and some random numbers, nouns and swear words.
That was a long rambling tangent, but back to the high school thing, it wasn’t just that I didn’t feel like I fit in at the school, I felt like I was a big weird-o compared to almost everyone else in town. I didn’t care about the football team, school spirit and gym class was the bane of my existence. I didn’t like to go four wheeling, snowmobile, ice fish, fish, hunt, shine for deer, play sports, drink alcohol, go to parties or go to school dances (never went to a prom, homecoming, or anything like that in my life, and even though multiple people told me I’d regret not going I never have).
So yeah, like a billion other people I didn’t really like my hometown or high school, but I am getting to the point where I can at least appreciate my hometown and get excited when I go and visit my family and the friends I have that still live there. But I’d NEVER move back, I need to live in an area that has a bookstore, mall, museums, and restaurants in easy access. From my dad’s house it is almost an hour long drive to even get to a Wal-Mart, so if you need anything you have to try and make it into town before like, 4 o’clock to see if it might be at the Piggly Wiggly otherwise you are out of luck. Speaking of being way out in the middle of nowhere, don’t expect another blog post for a few days. My dad’s house has no cell phone reception or Internet connection (‘cause apparently the house is located in 1992).
Side note, I am watching a documentary on birds (because I am really cool like that). Did you know that ostriches eat rocks with their food to grind up their food for them? Did you ever hear of a terror bird? It’s like a Baby t-rex and an emo combined. Also, I would really like a pet owl. They look neat. Ha, I just noticed that I wrote emo instead of emu but I am going to leave it because the visual that I get when I think about an emo t-rex is pretty amazing. Just picture them running around, wrist bands on their teeny, little arms and dyed purple, floppy hair over their big heads. On that note, good night.