Monday, April 28, 2008

I'll Only Go to Capital Hill with Confirmed I.D.

I found this interesting. As a resident of the South, I want to know what laws are in place that keep black voters from the polls. And the quote from Brian C. Bosma (R) was a little ridiculous. Of course most people intend to vote more than once.

But really, overall, I have to say I agree with the Senate's decision (hear that, Alex? I agree with the majority Republican vote). Most people have some form of I.D. these days. Even if you don't have a driver's licence, chances are you have work I.D., school I.D., a library card, a birth certificate...go to CVS or Walgreen's and get a passport. Something. It does not take that long.

Plus there has only been one confirmed case of voter fraud entered into the case since 2004, and the only other evidence they have at hand consists of voter fraud in the late 1800s, and 19 ghost votes cast in 2004. That really doesn't speak well for the importance their case holds. Obviously if anyone is being inconvenienced by the strict voting laws in Indiana, they aren't coming forward in droves.

Also, the last time I checked, you needed I.D. to purchase alcohol and cigarettes. You know, those lovely "we card" signs that decorate most convenience stores and Wal-marts? Are you telling me that out of all of these families that are affected by this law, none of them drink? Not a one?

And if indeed at least one of these homes contains alcohol (as many of the homes in America do, regardless of their income), I want to know where they are getting it. The black market? The local speakeasy?

The whole argument seems a bit contrived.

In Honor of National Prayer Day...

I'm not sure why it took me so long to find this article, but still, I found it extremely interesting.

There was a lengthy argument in the comment section saying that the girl in question lost her right to constitutionally express herself because when she witnessed about Jesus she witnessed to a captive audience. The debater said that had she said only that Jesus had helped her through school, she would be within her rights to sue, but since she witnessed to a crowd that had no choice but to listen, she was violating their rights.

If that is the case, I have had my rights violated in several boring classes during the school year. My rights were violated during an unusually long week devoted to Ralph Waldo Emerson. My rights were violated while I listened in a state of captivity to people in the back of the room bad-mouth Martin Luther King in my Psychology/Sociology class. My rights have been violated during several lengthy, droning speeches given out at various award ceremonies.

Free speech is free speech. Period. Senator Daniel Patrick was quoted saying "you are entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts." Unless someone is saying in public that humans don't need oxygen, or that the ground is made of cheese, or some other ludicrous statement that can not be logically debunked, then they are entitled to say it. God's existence can not be scientifically proven or disproven, and until either event occurs, the young lady in question was entitled to say whatever she felt.

I applaud her. I would like to say that in her situation, I would go a step further and not send out the apology email. But with-holding a high school diploma...that's heavy. That's four years of hard work, four years of top grades, thrown out the door. But at least she sued. And as soon as I can find a followup story, I'll tell you if she won.

Oh. And I'd like reparation for twelve years of violated rights, please.

The Great State of...

I'm relatively sure by now that everyone has heard about the Austrian man who held his daughter captive for 24 years. The poor woman was lured to the cellar when she was eleven years old, and has borne seven children to her father, one of which was a twin that died due to lack of proper care, three of which were adopted and fostered by the father and his wife, and three of which shared the basement with their mother.

His wife, Rosemarie, appears to have been unaware of the alleged crimes.

The rooms, covering an area of approximately 60 sq-metres, were equipped for sleeping and cooking, and with sanitary facilities.

Pictures of Josef F's house and cellar

"Everything was very, very narrow and the victim herself, the mother of these six or seven children, told us that this was being continually enlarged over the years," a spokesman said.


She disappeared on 28 August 1984 when, according to her testimony, Josef lured her into the cellar, drugging and handcuffing her before locking her up.

Her parents said they had received a letter in her handwriting a month later asking them not to search for her, and it was assumed she had run away.

-BBC news report

How do you miss that? Wouldn't your first clue be that your husband is continually spending time in the basement, expanding it mysteriously, and that he shows up dying to foster three kids? Wouldn't this woman want to go to the orphanage or state home where the foster kids were kept originally to meet them? Wouldn't she have to use their birth certificates or social security for something (such as enrolling them in school, for example)?

How do you not have to go down to your own basement for something in 24 years? And wouldn't most mothers ignore the note saying not to come looking for their child, and come looking for them anyways? This story reminds me of those people who find a python underneath their house that has been living there for months. You would think that they would find some clue earlier on that would give them some hint. Snake skins...or missing animals. Something.

To top off all the sickness...
Mr Polzer told the BBC that Josef had admitted to sexually abusing his daughter, named only as Elisabeth F, repeatedly during the time he imprisoned her.

He said Josef had told investigators that one of their children had died in infancy and that he had taken the body and thrown it into an incinerator in the building.

So, he picks out his favorite of the three children, starves one of the twins, and throws the body into the incinerator. Beautiful.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Second Head Makes Up For Lack of Intelligence in the First One...

I'm not a big fan of chain letters. I can't possibly tell you why. Maybe it's the fact that no matter how many times I read a passage that assures me I will drop dead if I do not forward it in thirty seconds to fifty people, I always stand alive at the end of the prescribed time. Maybe it's because they waste my time. Maybe it's because they sometimes carry trojans and such (and worse than that, misleading information that can only fuel ignorant thought). But my sister sent me one that sparked my interest:

Dear Friend,

On Wednesday, Senate Republicans filibustered the Lilly Ledbetter Fair PayAct, a law that would have overturned an appalling Supreme Court decision that practically abolished remedies for gender-based compensation discrimination in the workplace. In opposing this legislation, Senator John McCain said that if women want better-paying jobs, they just need more "education and training." Then, he didn't even show up for the vote. Let's tell Senator McCain that should stop blocking an up or down vote on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act if he wants to ensure equal rights for women under the law. Please have a look and take action.


So, of course, I fact checked. This presidential race has gotten pretty ugly in the past, and damaging rumors have been spread, such as Obama being a Muslim. I still find it unreasonable that we were willing to consider a Mormon and a bigoted preacher for the nomination, but not a Muslim --who turned out to actually be Christian, no less. Who knew?

Just anyone who actually cared to check their sources. Anyways, back to the subject.

Yahoo! News provided me with the necessary proof (thank you Associated Press!). After reading the entire article, and understanding under what circumstances the statement was made, I am even more appalled than I was originally. Alex, my closest friend and surrogate sister said that things like this make the Femi-nazi in me come out blazing. Well, she-Hitler is furious. On several occasions Alex and I have had conversations about McCain, and often I have stated that he creeps me out, but I didn't know why. Well, now I know that it's more than the fact that he sounds just like Dubya unless you're facing the television.

"I am all in favor of pay equity for women, but this kind of legislation, as is
typical of what's being proposed by my friends on the other side of the
aisle, opens us up to lawsuits for all kinds of problems," the expected GOP
presidential nominee told reporters.

-Yahoo! News and AP

Translation: yeah, I understand that companies are taking advantage of women and making the pay gap an even greater divide. I understand that the actions I take against this bill is another set back against the ERA being ratified, which would guarantee that women cannot be discriminated against. To hell with the poverty and the single mothers. Why fight it?

I really don't know why, but I expected something more from McCain than this show of chauvinistic behavior. What does he mean, "women need more education"? We need more education than a man to do the same job he is doing? Why doesn't he need the extra instruction? Is he special just because God gave him two heads?

"They need the education and training, particularly since more and more women
are heads of their households, as much or more than anybody else," McCain
said. "And it's hard for them to leave their families when they don't have
somebody to take care of them.
"It's a vicious cycle that's affecting
women, particularly in a part of the country like this, where mining is the
mainstay; traditionally, women have not gone into that line of work, to say
the least," he said.
-Yahoo! News and AP

Well, that explains everything then, doesn't it?

Out of curiosity, does McCain know that the percentage of female valedictorians often outweighs the male? Does he know that more and more females are receiving distinctions and honors from college over men? In that one little blurb, I can see that he implies that physical labor such as mining is only "alternatively" taken up by women rather than "traditionally" and that women neglecting their duties to stay home and take care of their children, like any good June Cleaver mother would.

If mining is a "main-stay" in that province, then more than likely women are involved. If women need more education and training to earn the same pay that men do, then really isn't he just telling women to equip themselves to take over the country? After all, in that case their intellect would further outstrip the up-starts that make more based on their genitals rather than their degrees.

But it's okay. I'm sure the GOP will find further ways to keep the women-folk in line.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Baby Killers and the Guilt Complex

That dirty F-word: Feminism

The above denotes a column I found in passing recently. It belongs to the West Georgian, a newspaper belonging to the University of West Georgia, and I am highly impressed with the intelligence and quality of this column. The author is well-versed in the subject, and has been able to intelligently defend her stance in spite of some negative feedback in the comments. So, in homage to the article, I've decided to express my views on the matter. Anyone who would like to point out places where my thoughts may be unsound, or I lack some sort of education on the matter, please feel free to comment. I'll respond in a timely manner.

Abortion: it's probably one of the touchiest issues in American culture right now. I won't speak for the rest of the world. It's definitely up there with homosexuality, the death penalty, immigration, the war in Iraq, terrorism, and racism. There is a lot of room for intolerance as far as debate goes.

As for me, I'm Pro-Life. Not just because I'm Christian, and therefore "have to be", but because I know that I personally could never go through with an abortion without feeling guilty for the rest of my life. I would be plagued with imagining what the child would have been like, and what it could have done for the world. Even if I didn't want a child, I would know that there are many families that want children very badly but cannot conceive, and my baby could have brought them happiness. That, too, would drive me deeper into guilt.

I believe that life begins at conception, because science tells us that cells are alive. That cell becomes what we are - human beings, living, breathing, thinking. Only God knows when the soul is implanted, and when thoughts begin.
But my beliefs effect only my decisions. I can share my beliefs with people, but I should not be given the power to prevent them from making their own decision. If abortion was made illegal, then people would still have abortions. People will always have abortions. They would just have the abortions in unsafe ways. Then these women would die, along with their unborn babies, and we would lose two lives, instead of one. There are radical pro-life groups out there that take protesting to the extreme, and make the women who have abortions out to be complete monsters. Sex hungry whores. Baby killers.

I had a friend once who was opposed to using contraception because she didn't like the feel of condoms while having sex. She was impregnated several times, and each time, though I begged her to go to an abortion clinic if she insisted on getting rid of the baby, she preformed the abortion herself by pressing hard on her stomach. This is dangerous -- if it didn't work, it could have injured the baby severely, made her sterile, or made delivery very difficult. In doing this (several times) she could have injured herself to the point where she would be unable to have children in the future, if she chose to.

The reason that she chose not to go to a clinic was that she was afraid that she would be harrassed by others, kicked out of my high school (which does not allow any girl to attend who is or has ever been pregnant), and shunned by her family. She didn't want to have children, and she couldn't consider carrying the baby for adoption purposes because that would alert others to her pregnancy. So she took matters into her own hands.

The point of the above story: people shouldn't be made to feel guilty about the choices that they make by people who don't understand their situation. Trust me: no matter what, you have no right to judge. If you don't believe, read the Bible. God agrees with me.

If you really don't like the fact that someone you know is getting an abortion, you can talk to them and try to understand why they want to get an abortion and whether it is possible to change their mind. But in the end, it's their choice, not yours, and taking away that choice would be a violation of freewill. It's constitutionally protected. Look it up.

And if you really want to decrease the number of abortions, then swallow the fact that people are going to have sex. As this is the case, education on sex, and tools that can help prevent pregnancy and STDs would really be the best way to go. There is no double standard for sex, and a woman is not going to turn into a whore if she decides to have sex.

True, abstinence is the only course that guarentees being pregnancy and STD free, but that is a post for another time.