November 30, 2017

The First Thanksgiving

Isn’t there anyone who knows what Thanksgiving is all about?!

Sure, I can tell you what Thanksgiving is all about. Lights, please?

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years, with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.

This is Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation in 1863, officially declaring Thanksgiving a holiday, continuing to this day, changed only when FDR made it the fourth November Thursday rather than last, so we celebrated a week ago rather than today.

There were earlier proclamations of specific thanksgiving days with very similar text by earlier presidents here and there, but Lincoln’s is about where it was mostly set as an annual thing where it still is now.

What I don’t see is anything about the pilgrims at Plymouth. About two and a half centuries earlier. It’s mentioned at the above link, but also mentioned is there were numerous such feasts through the then colonies around the time.
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September 30, 2017

All Politicians Are Adults

Filed under: Assorted Politics,Decrees!,Youth Rights — Katrina @ 10:50 pm

I hereby decree…

Stop saying badly behaving politicians are “acting like children”.

Or any derivative thereof. Including referring to a lone sensible one as the “adult in the room”. Not sure if you’ve noticed, but all politicians are adults. All mayors. All governors. All of the House. All of the Senate. All White House staff. Even the President.

Yes, even that Orange Thing currently occupying the White House.

Think of all the horrible shit Orange Thing has done. Or, no, don’t do that. It’s depressing. Think then that it’s too depressing to think about all the horrible shit Orange Thing has done and continues to do. In any case, there are a number of words to throw at him. Racist. White supremacist. Sexist. Bigot. Loudmouth. Xenophobe. Narcissist. Sociopath. Evil. And countless others.

So why then, given all that, would you pick “child”? What about calling NFL player protesters “sons of bitches” while saying neo-Nazis are “fine people” makes you think “innocent little kid new to the world and figuring things out”? What about trashing the mayor of a hurricane-ravaged city asking for help makes you think “likes to drink from juice boxes while learning about shapes and watching Doc McStuffins”?

Yet, whether the images around inauguration time showing a leather desk chair being wheeled out of the Oval Office and a high chair being carried in, whether the sign I saw at the Women’s March that said “Maybe he’s teething”, whether countless others calling him a toddler throwing a tantrum, “child” seems to be a popular go-to “insult” to hurl at him.

In response to this, a week before the inauguration, I posted this to I Support Youth Rights:

Donald Trump is a racist, misogynist bully who supports torture, advocates war crimes, mocks the disabled, threatens those who oppose him, and brags about sexual harassment, among many many many other things that add up to him being absolutely abhorrent.

But you know what he isn’t? A child. He is in fact doing all of the above as an adult. Everyone who voted for him is also an adult. His various questionable appointees are all adults. Children are completely innocent here.

So those of you who think you’re insulting Trump by calling him a child, really? All of the above and more said, and what offends you about him is that he reminds you of someone who was born only a few years ago? Do you actually think all of the above is typical childhood behavior? In any case, when in light of all this behavior you call him a child, the only ones you’re insulting are children, who are, again, completely innocent in all this and yet still are in danger of the damage the incoming administration is poised to do to healthcare, the environment, civil rights, and so much more.

So cut it the hell out.

This was posted in January, before so many things happened. Sigh.

But of course it stands. If the Orange Thing actually were a child, that would be an immense improvement. But he’s a 71-year-old man. A vile 71-year-old man. I mean, any damage a small child might do would be by accident. The Orange Thing knows exactly what he’s doing. Or he at least decidedly doesn’t care.

August 15, 2017

A Gross Misuse of Tiki Torches

Filed under: 100 Days of Summer,Assorted Politics,In the News — Katrina @ 10:49 pm

So… stuff happened in Charlottesville, VA this past weekend.

A bunch of white supremacists heard the town was moving a Robert E Lee statue, so they flipped out and marched on the park, with their torches… Wait a minute!

Are those… those backyard barbecue mosquito repellent torches you can get at Target? What’s wrong, guys, not ruggedly manly enough to get a big stick out of the woods and ignite it? Seriously, look at these stupid assholes. I feel like this isn’t so much a mob of white supremacists as a boggart that initially appeared as a mob of white supremacists but you’ve already said “Riddikulus!” Are we supposed to be afraid of these fuckbags? 😆

Well, not afraid, but definitely not unconcerned. One of them did run his car over a crowd of the counterprotesters, killing one and injuring a whole lot of others. These public manifestations of theirs do embolden their supporters, validating their spurious white superiority beliefs and putting others in danger. Doesn’t help (if not the least bit surprising) that the Orange Thing currently occupying the White House took two whole days to even kind of sort of say anything close to “racism is bad, mmmkay” in response to this. And today pretty much walked it back and blamed leftists because of course he did.

And we of course have not seen the last of this. Not at all.
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May 26, 2017

WTF Montana?

So you may have noticed there seems to be more bad behavior than usual in US politics. I mean, this was painfully realized last November, confirmed in January, and has been a not-sure-whether-to-laugh-or-cry spectacle ever since. The Orange Thing that’s been occupying the White House the past few months has bragged about sexual assault, mocked a disabled person, advocated war crimes, and, dear God, I’d be here for the rest of the decade if I were to even attempt a comprehensive list. But his party and supporters still stick by him. They still excuse this behavior.

But I didn’t mean to talk so much about him. Montana just elected a congressman who literally physically attacked a reporter who was merely asking him questions.

That’s right, elected. This incident happened on Wednesday night, the night before Special Election Day. In any decent or just universe, this would have been the end of him. But sure enough, despite there being some question as the race has been kind of close, Montana voted him right in.

While some have chalked it up to early voting, that many or most Montana voters had already cast their ballots before this happened, surveys taken at polling places yesterday are less than encouraging. People who knew full well that this man, Greg Gianforte, physically assaulted an innocent journalist, Ben Jacobs, still happily voted for him.

Because they believed the liberal journalist deserved it.

You know, yeah, we all know politicians have always been kind of terrible, to varying degrees anyway. You sort of have to be kind of terrible to succeed in it, sadly. But for the most part, they tend to at least pretend they are not terrible. They at least acknowledge there are certain behaviors that are unacceptable, even if so many get caught in their share of scandals. Even when caught, they and those around them might not try to act like it was all cool. They might still support them otherwise, but they acknowledge some wrong was done. That’s how it’s supposed to work anyway.

But whether the Orange Thing or Gianforte or whoever else (including those who aren’t Republicans, not pretending Democrats or others are at all innocent), it’s like some sort of party unity comes before everything else.

It’s like…
“Did you know Candidate hasn’t paid taxes in two decades, is cheating on his wife, and likes to kick puppies?”
“Yeah, but Other Candidate is Other Party and therefore evil. Also, her e-mails.”

Again, this is nothing new. It just seems to be getting a lot more blatant. A lot more shameless.

That there is the problem. Where is the line? The Orange Thing seems to be going out of his way to cross it, and why the hell hasn’t he yet for so many? And Gianforte and who knows how many others seeking elected office are getting the clear message that they can behave badly all they want, that being violent and out of control is the path to success.

We need to hold our leaders and ourselves a LOT more accountable than this. We need to fully understand that, no, the journalist did not deserve to be straight up body slammed just because of his political affiliation and because he was asking a tough question which, you know, any elected official had damn well better have thick enough skin to handle if they expect to get anywhere. We can’t have so many people in this country not understanding that.

The survival of our country depends on us all getting this. Violence like this out of someone wanting to be a congressman, and violence against a member of the press no less, which undermines the First Amendment, is the kind of thing that, if it becomes more commonplace, we can say goodbye to considering ourselves anything close to a free society. As it is, we have a police brutality problem, and there are too many people defending that for sure. How much worse can we let this get? How much more is going to be excused because of authoritarian beliefs or partisan rage?

Because this shit is not even close to okay!

This has been Day 3 of the 100 Days of Summer, Round 17.

August 28, 2016

Atlanta 2016, Part 2: Civil Rights & Coke

Filed under: 100 Days of Summer,Assorted Politics,Foodz,Going Places — Katrina @ 5:53 pm

I got up a little after 8am, packed my little bag, and headed on down to check out of the hotel, as I wouldn’t be able to come by again later.

I wandered down Peachtree Street some ways to the stop, and soon enough here came the Atlanta streetcar. I had my MARTA card ready to pay, but there did not seem to be anything to tap nor did anyone ask. I got to my destination, for which I decided against walking as even at now around 9am it was already like 95 degrees, after what ended up being a free ride. Hmm.

Anyway…

Respect. *salute*

In front of which is some kind of sacred gas leak.

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December 15, 2015

Environmental Progress

Filed under: Assorted Politics,Christmas Time!,Science,What the hell? — Katrina @ 11:42 pm

Where does anyone get this ridiculous idea that being more environmentally friendly means impeding human progress? As if it’s one or the other. As if wanting to reduce pollution is against technology or something.

I’ve seen some of my friends make this sort of claim, particularly libertarians. And it’s pure political posturing, and as with most or all political posturing, it makes no sense.

Here’s a thought. Maybe a new technology that is more environmentally friendly than its predecessor is in itself a form of human progress. What an idea!

Instead of this whole “you want to reverse climate change? how dare you disparage the invention of the telephone!”, or, more to the point of what people who say this are really thinking, “how dare you impede a business’s right to destroy the planet!”, how about “hey, climate change is a problem, we need renewable energy, let’s embark on finding ways to solve these problems via, you guessed it, new science and technology!”?

This is obvious if you think about it for five seconds. Though if you’re just trying to make some political point, thought has nothing to do with anything.

December 14, 2015

Unchecked Power

Ever notice how our world seems to give unchecked power so much benefit of the doubt? Or, well, I suppose that’s true by definition as, if it weren’t given benefit of the doubt, then it wouldn’t be unchecked.

Look at some of the reactions in cases of police brutality. “Oh, well, he must have done something wrong for the police to have gone after him in the first place. They wouldn’t beat him up or shoot him for no reason.” You know, because apparently if a police officer so much as looks at you, it just makes sense to these people that you might as well kiss your ass goodbye, rather than, you know, saying “hey, this is wrong!” like any decent person would.

There’s also child abuse. Parents have near limitless power over their children, which very much allows for abuse, and abuse is very much rampant, but when it happens, you get reactions like “oh, well, the kids are probably exaggerating or outright lying, just ungrateful brats who probably deserved it, all parents love their children!” Ignoring that, for one, no they fucking don’t, and that they have no actual reason to believe the kids are lying, or to know for sure either way for that matter. But what is known is that parents who want to commit unspeakable crimes against their children could do so very easily, and pretending they just don’t or wouldn’t is very dangerous.

Then there’s war crimes. A hospital or school or the like gets bombed, killing a bunch of innocent civilians. And what’s the response? “Oh, well, that’s war for you. Sometimes civilians get killed. In fact, they probably weren’t so innocent and were likely hiding the bad guys so they probably deserved it.” Based on absolutely nothing. Just more of avoiding the necessary task of calling out what’s horribly wrong and instead trying to justify it.

Know what else? God! If an omnipotent God allows all of the above and more and worse to happen, who’s telling him to knock that shit off? It’s always “God works in mysterious ways! Everything happens for a reason! God loves us!” Yeah, meanwhile, somewhere in the world, a four-year-old girl just died of an infection caused by a ritual genital mutilation, but sure, yeah, loving omnipotent God we should continue worshiping.

True, a lot of this comes from feeling helpless, seeing many of these forces not as always right but as all-powerful and therefore there’s no choice but to assume rightness. And just plain not knowing how to change anything and finding it easier to tell the victims that they were the ones who were wrong, to give the illusion that we have more control over our fates than we actually do. But we can understand that tendency and still acknowledge it’s wrong. I mean, you don’t need to know exactly how to make a certain change in order to speak up about what’s wrong. Shit, if you had to, about 90% of those protesting or raising awareness about just about anything would be out of work! But there’s bad things happening. Acknowledge that they are bad and quit making excuses for them.

December 2, 2015

Triggering

Filed under: Assorted Politics,Christmas Time!,Shut the Hell Up! — Katrina @ 11:49 pm

Now for a traumatic, censoring edition of…

SHUT THE HELL UP!!!!

I want everyone to just stop talking about trigger warnings. Particularly the idea that they’re ruining colleges or something. For one, I think basically nobody talking about them, whether for or against, even knows what the hell they are for.

If you’re going to be discussing in detail something like rape or other sexual assault, child abuse, medical abuse, or other such topics that you can reasonably figure would be disturbing, yeah, it makes sense to give a little heads up ahead of time. Doesn’t it? Of course it does.

Oh, hey, guess what. That’s exactly what a trigger warning is!

It’s called that because these topics in depth could “trigger” one’s post traumatic stress disorder. Can’t have much of an educational environment if someone is shaking and reliving a horrific attack.

I especially don’t get how a trigger warning constitutes censorship as some are claiming. Nobody is being censored. It’s providing some content info up front so that someone who can’t cope with the material can opt out. It’s allowing people to make an informed choice. What in the mother of hell is so offensive about this?

Now, to be clear, plenty of those demanding such warnings and “safe spaces” are being unreasonable as well. I’ve seen “trigger warnings” for some incredibly stupid things. Some of my favorites on that front include “swearing” and “mention of Christianity”. I also don’t think they should be required of college professors or others, though they should at least be courteous of their own volition about topics that actually could fuck someone up psychologically rather than taking a decidedly cold “just suck it up” approach.

But then again, none of this matters. Who cares about nuance and facts and compassion when there are fruitless political battles to be fought, when there are millennials to belittle, when there are the unthinking masses to drum up into a frenzy? Let’s not forget what’s really behind all this. :irked:

December 27, 2014

Reproachable Rights

Filed under: Assorted Politics,Christmas Time!,What the hell? — Katrina @ 11:43 pm

(I wanted to call this “Right Doesn’t Make Right” but I already used that title for another post eight years ago. Oh, well!)

I’ve mentioned before that merely having the right to say something doesn’t mean you can’t be criticized for saying said thing. Yet so often when someone says something completely abhorrent or just stupid, and they get called on it, they come back with “Hey, free speech! I have a right to say it!”

No shit, you have a right to say it, dumbass! Nobody is saying otherwise. It’s not an attempt at censorship. It’s a reply. Replying is – gasp! – also free speech!

Seriously, a friend of mine shared a screen cap on Facebook recently of a conversation with an acquaintance, in which said acquaintance posted some racist article, and my friend asked why they’d post such an article, and the person literally came back with simply “Free speech.” My friend asked again, and the person gave no other answer.

As it often does, xkcd covered this one nicely.

This goes beyond speech, though. Sometimes those defending the right to something seem to act like any and all use of said right is okay or even heroic.

You see this with gun rights, where there’s a nasty shooting, and the problem is not that the shooter had a gun, but that everyone else didn’t. 🙄

You see it with abortion rights, too. Pretending every woman who has an abortion is a hero. Barely a word against those who abort because of the baby’s sex or (compatible with life) disability. Yes, you can support abortion rights and still say sex-selective or disability abortions are really shitty. Even in general, you can support abortion rights without necessarily even believing abortion is a good thing.

It’s an important distinction to make. Believing something to be wrong and believing something should be illegal are and should be very different things. It’s the difference between believing someone shouldn’t do something and believing said someone should be arrested/imprisoned/have their life ruined over it.

Imagine how much better the world would be if this distinction were more widely recognized!

December 20, 2014

Lack of Remorse

Filed under: Assorted Politics,Christmas Time!,What the hell? — Katrina @ 3:44 pm

You know what (among a lot of things) has been irritating me about the recent racially-based police violence, with Michael Brown and Eric Garner and others? How politicized it has gotten in ways that it has no business being politicized.

It should be a no-brainer that a police officer shooting an unarmed person is not okay. Even if you could say said officer, at that moment, had reasonable cause to shoot, you’d think there would at least be a little bit of remorse and regret about the incident. That there would be some genuine interest on the part of the police force and other related entities in preventing anything like it from happening again. Even if Michael Brown and Eric Garner were armed and ready to shoot the cops, there should still be at least some degree of regret about the deaths.

But there’s so much digging in of heels about it that everyone forgets to be compassionate humans. And worse it is for some reason divided along party lines. That the left wingers are calling for change in the racially-targeted police violence, while the right wingers fight tooth and nail to insist it’s either justified or not real. And the police forces, rather than apologizing for the incidents and pledging to prevent it in the future with any sincerity, stick by what happened unashamedly, blaming the victims for trying (without a shred of evidence) to take the officer’s gun or for being overweight.

Not to mention the “Support Darren Wilson” assholes. I really don’t know how they sleep at night.

December 19, 2014

Collateral Damage

There’s a lot of collateral damage in activism. When making points for change, you need to be careful. Who is getting thrown under the bus in your talking points?

In youth rights, we sometimes make the case, when someone goes on about how “undeveloped” teens’ brains are, that studies have shown that, despite this, teens’ brains function better than those of people over age 60. Which on its face is a good point, showing that we’re not so fussy about this same metric in another context. But I’m generally uncomfortable with it, because a “solution” to the double standard might be then to restrict the rights of the elderly. Though the intention is to expand the rights of young people, the flip side is the point throws the elderly under the bus.

A couple months ago, I saw at an event about climate change a print-out from some old article on Mother Jones. I don’t feel like looking for it, because fuck that article, but basically it was demonstrating how people in wealthier countries use up more resources than those in poorer countries (which is a major “no shit, Sherlock!”). And a lot of its points were basically about keeping the population low, so there’d be fewer people to use up resources and generate greenhouse gases. Points included: praising China’s one-child policy (you know, the one with the forced and sex-selective abortions and infanticide that resulted in a severely skewed gender ratio), implying that countries with the most unrest are in turmoil because such a huge portion of their population are young adults (you know, because young people just do nothing but start wars, right?), and even some completely ridiculous points about how apparently TV families are getting larger (their entire basis was the existence of the Duggars), and a few more that were just rotting my brain cells with each letter.

You know, no matter how much I might support a cause, I just can’t get behind the ridiculous hyperbole and fearmongering and outright lies that a lot of them resort to. Especially when, as said, some of this causes damage to other causes for human rights and whatnot.

And ultimately it’s self-defeating. It’s hard to defend your position on an issue when most of the points and info you’ve been given to use are full of shit. You have to spend so much time weeding out the bullshit to find the one tidbit that’s actually valid. And if most of what there is to defend the cause is so exaggerated, it discredits what’s real.

All of it is to make a serious problem look worse than it actually is. So the organizations and other entities working on it can get more support and funding. Like I mentioned before about how groups talking about child marriage in certain parts of the world are using a rather loose definition of “child marriage” in order to inflate the number of “victims” to make the problem look even worse than it already is.

The groups who do this know they’re doing this and are often proud of it. There’s usually the “yeah, that video is fake and the facts are pulled out of our ass, but it truly really is a serious problem and needs your attention!” They don’t seem to care that all they did was expose themselves as shameless liars.

For God’s sake, these causes and movements are only necessary to fix a problem. They are a huge waste of time in the long run. But these people turn it into a morbid self-promotional tool in and of itself. Where doing good for people comes second to making damn sure you look like you’re doing good for people. 🙄

December 12, 2014

The Right to Privacy

Filed under: Assorted Politics,Christmas Time!,Teh Interwebs,Think About It! — Katrina @ 11:24 pm

How can people honestly worry about their right to privacy in this age of social media? People tweet constantly. People share their meals on Facebook all day long. They share their exact locations whenever they migrate to a different location. How, oh, how can people do all this while worrying about the government or police or whoever spying on them and knowing where they are and what they’re doing at all times when they share all this info freely anyway?

Easily.

Because the important difference with all the social media sharing is that it is freely chosen. Not everyone shares all these details or is interested in having a wide audience for these things. Some people do. And those people retain the right at any time to no longer share these details.

With other entities spying, it is outside of one’s control. It is invasion and coercion at that point. It is the removal of one’s autonomy.

Autonomy is so undervalued. :pissed:

December 3, 2014

The Rest of Life

Filed under: Assorted Politics,Christmas Time!,Science,Think About It! — Katrina @ 11:28 pm

There’s a quote by Neil deGrasse Tyson floating around, from an appearance with Bill Maher a few years ago, where he recalls noticing that the backgrounds of many Congressmen and Senators is law. And that he wondered “where are the scientists? where are the engineers? where is the rest of life represented?”

I’ll admit when I started writing this, already intending to speak on this quote, I hadn’t heard/seen the quote in context. When searching for the exact text, I instead found the above-linked video and heard his whole spiel. He precedes the above discussing that, with all these politicians having a law background, being trained specifically to argue, they are trained to basically argue their side and never come to an agreement. Okay, I may or may not be summarizing it well. Just watch the video and let him speak for himself!

The context doesn’t change what I intended to say, though. In fact, it just confirms it. He asks where the scientists and engineers are. I’ll tell you where they are… being awesome scientists and engineers and not wasting their time with political bullshit!

You know what’s extremely expensive? Scientific research. Even the smallest simplest research is really damn expensive, let alone the dizzying costs of medical research or the astronomical costs of, well, space exploration. But it’s all worth it, even the research that turns out to be a dead end, because it’s the noblest cause of all. It’s gaining information and developing things with that information to make our lives better, to advance, to reach untold unimagined heights. There is no greater investment in humanity and in, well, all of life and the universe.

By contrast, you know what else is really expensive? Political campaigns. Politicians are always raising money to beat the crap out of their opponent. We’ve got people dying from cancer, Ebola, AIDS, and countless other maladies and afflictions, which many millions spent in research can do something about. What do politicians spend millions on? Running mind-numbing advertisements calling their opponents douchebags.

So I’d say we’re better off with the scientists and engineers continuing to be scientists and engineers!

Of course, before I heard the rest of Tyson’s speech, my point was going to pretty much end there. He’s right, though. It makes sense. Politicians are trained to argue incessantly, so that’s exactly what they are doing, with their campaign funds, with their House and Senate votes. They don’t want to make the world better. They just want to pretend they do in order to get money and votes, in order to beat the Other Guy, to defeat the Other Party.

He’s implying that, if more politicians had backgrounds in science and other fields, we may have politicians who don’t have that urge, who are more interested in facts and solutions and improvement than in demolishing one another. It’s certainly plausible, right?

Then I remember Ben Carson, former neurosurgeon now vocal Tea Partier who may or may not try to run for President in 2016, who equated ObamaCare with slavery.

Yeah, never mind. :irked:

July 4, 2014

7 Incredibly Stupid Criticisms of the United States

Filed under: 100 Days of Summer,Assorted Politics,What the hell? — Katrina @ 2:13 pm

The USA has a lot of problems. Dear sweet God, are there a lot of problems! And that’s just what we know about. There’s also problems and major flaws we don’t even know about, and others we just don’t know the extent. So many many flaws this country of ours has!

These are not among them…

“When are you going to switch to the metric system like the rest of the world?”

We’ll switch to the metric system (which we learned in school alongside imperial measurements, by the way) when the UK, Ireland, Japan, India, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand start driving on the correct side of the road “like the rest of the world”.

“The national anthem mentions war and bombs! It’s the only one in the world that does!”

First of all, do you think Canada is the only other country in the world with a national anthem? Because it’s not, and plenty of national anthems are pretty bloody and belligerent. Also, have you actually listened to the Star Spangled Banner? It’s about our flag not getting torn to shreds in a battle. It’s about surviving being attacked, not us doing the attacking.
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December 16, 2013

Don’t Lower the Voting Age!

Filed under: Assorted Politics,Christmas Time!,Youth Rights — Katrina @ 11:27 pm

A major youth rights issue is granting youth the right to vote, by either lowering or abolishing the voting age, with or without implementating some other voter-fitness standard. Just this year, right in my county, Takoma Park lowered the city voting age to 16. But is such a measure a good idea?

There are so many concerns!

Such as…

Teens lack the political knowledge necessary to vote!
And said political knowledge necessary for voting is agreed upon by everyone. That’s why those without it are turned away from the polls. And why those with extra political knowledge get two votes.

Teens would just vote for celebrities.
Adult voters would never dream of voting for actors Ronald Reagan or Arnold Schwarzenegger, or wrestler Jesse Ventura.

Teens aren’t directly involved in what gets voted on.
Why let the students who actually attend the public schools vote for school board when some old creeper who watches them walk to the bus stop every day can?

Teens aren’t mature enough to vote.
Voters who come to the polls are given a battery of personality tests to be sure they perfectly meet some maturity standard. Those who do exceptionally well get two votes.

Teens will just vote the same way as their parents.
Someone voting the same way as someone else is forbidden. Votes for a candidate already voted for by someone else are thrown out. That’s why every election is a tie at one vote per candidate.

Teens are dependent on parents and don’t have jobs.
Only employed homeowners are allowed to vote. Stay-at-home moms and the infirm elderly and those with disabilities are therefore not allowed to vote.

Teens do not value basic freedoms.
Adults would never dream of passing the Patriot Act.

Teens are into Justin Bieber and wearing their pants too low. They shouldn’t be voting.
Yeah, I know someone who went to vote last year only to be turned away from the polls for accidentally listening to 30 seconds of a Taylor Swift song. She also wore a white shirt two days after Labor Day.

Teens are apathetic and wouldn’t vote anyway so why bother?
Yeah, really. What, you think they might actually have a HIGHER turn out than adults? Don’t be silly.

:cute:

August 21, 2013

World News

Just a little while ago, a friend of mine posted to Facebook about the high death toll from some attacks in the Middle East being mostly ignored by mainstream American media. It’s a typical complaint, one that I even agree with. In fact my comment to that status was “That’s because people outside the US aren’t people, especially if they’re yucky brown people. Duh!”

Then I thought about it some more.

While it is in fact a shame that such disasters on other continents get mostly glossed over, and that there are often crypto-racist reasons for it… Have you looked at the world news section over on Google News or something? Every single damn article is about either some political scandal or some explosion or natural disaster or attack somewhere that left a nasty death toll. Imagine if all of those always made the headline news.

We’d be right back at square one, in that you’d just tune it all out after a while.

Then the mold is broken by some news that doesn’t involve tons of devastation, such as Prince George’s birth or something. Nice to have happy news for once, right? And then the response is “Why should I care about that? I’m an American, damn it!”

I’m beginning to think all anyone really cares to talk about with international events is whether or not anyone should be talking about it.

This has been Day 90 of the 100 Days of Summer, Round 13.

August 27, 2012

Education Policy

Education policy can go to hell.

Really.

You know what it is, when politicians and “experts” and whatever other adults get together and talk about education policy? Exploitation.

True, this is something I’ve talked about before. But even beyond what I wrote there, it goes so much deeper.

I just saw a Facebook posting by a nice organization called Our Time, sort of a youth rights org geared primarily at young adults. It was a little cartoon showing Chinese and Indian students studying hard (due to their countries supposedly investing more in education) while the American student is just listening to his iPod and chewing gum. They proceeded to ask whether education should be made a bigger priority here like in those countries, asking those who didn’t think so to explain in the comments.

So I did:

I’m wary of simply comparing ourselves to other countries without taking a good hard look at what the cultural and other differences actually are that result in the findings, or even whether the right aspects are being measured. Too often the political solution to wanting to compete with other nations not only fails to truly look for what’s being done differently (and when it’s a cultural thing, it’s not something any political decisions can do anything about anyway), but it usually translates to “work our students harder” which leads to third graders getting six hours of homework every night, and other egregious ways the lives of those under 18 are being made to have no other meaning or importance than their schooling. Behind the global comparisons and hand wringing over education policy (where only adults are discussing it) are the REAL individual lives of the students who are at their mercy.

It was while I was typing that I had a realization. Several realizations actually.
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December 8, 2011

Politically Incorrect Contraception

Emergency contraception is available over-the-counter. No prescription needed! That is, unless you’re under 17.

But the FDA came in and said “why stop those under 17? this is safe for all young women capable of pregnancy!”

But then HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told the FDA, the people who actually know WTF they’re talking about, “nah, the idea of this being available to YOUNG GIRLS OMG sounds scary! so I’m going to say no to this and keep the current age restriction LOL”. And Obama supports her decision.

*sigh*

Really? I mean, I’m not surprised in a way. Typical pandering bullshit, trying not to make the Republicans too uncomfortable. And politics doesn’t like women or youth and therefore especially doesn’t like young women! So the Obama administration wants to make its policies less squeamish to the average anti-youth misogynistic Joe Six-Pack by not – gasp! – letting 12-year-olds access emergency contraception!

Sebelius claimed that she wasn’t so sure it was actually safe for those under 17. Because she knows better than FDA, the people who have to comb through mountains and mountains of research that’s been conducted before they come to such a conclusion. Right. Hey, Sebelius, you know what’s actually not so great for young girls? PREGNANCY!

Again, though, shouldn’t be surprised. Politicians reach astounding levels of cluelessness when it comes to just about anything about young people, especially their reproductive issues. They ignore any statistics and sense and just cover their ears and go “la la la la la!” and just pass more laws to hurt young people for their political gain. Hey, it’s not like those young people can VOTE! 🙄

Anyway, here’s a Change.org petition about it. And here’s a lovely piece by Scarleteen! And here’s a lovely paragraph from that piece:

It’s so tremendously important that your requests for rights like these be heard. And that the incredibly sound, sage things you say like this from reader Arai, “These politicians really need to get on the same CENTURY as the one young people live. All the questioning for contraceptives, abortion rights, gay marriage are real in today’s society,” or this from reader Katrina, “Politicians on both sides of the aisle reach unheard of levels of cluelessness when it comes to youth reproductive rights and needs,” are heard and seen. It is, of course just as important that they are also very thoughtfully and with great intention considered in choices like this, but we can’t help much with that part, save continuing to say things like that and continuing to be ardent supporters of youth rights, including reproductive rights.

Yes, that Katrina is me! 😀

December 2, 2011

Know Your Rights? Criminal!

Filed under: Assorted Politics,Christmas Time!,What the hell? — Katrina @ 10:59 am

It’s the “if you’ve done nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide” bullcrap run amok.

DC police think that a hemp shop selling Flex Your Rights’s “10 Rules for Dealing with Police” is indicative of them encouraging people to break the law.

Oh noes!

Wait… do they know that NYRA’s 2010 Annual Meeting played “10 Rules”? And we were in DC? And one of our organization’s positions is – gasp! – lowering the drinking age?! OMG that must mean we’re encouraging underage drinking and therefore law breaking! Someone arrest us! Arrest us for… I don’t know… something…

With the blatant police abuse we’ve seen lately at the Occupy events and else, something like this is hardly surprising.

From the search warrant affidavit:

Your Affiant notes that while this DVD is informative for any citizen, when introduced into a store that promotes the use of a controlled substance this DVD becomes a tool for deceiving law enforcement to keep from being arrested. The typical citizen would not need to know detailed information as to US Supreme Court case law regarding search and seizure because they are not transporting illegal substances in fear of being caught.

Oh, my good God… Hey, you know who else might have detailed info as to such Supreme Court case laws? The Supreme Court. And they’re – gasp! – also right there in DC! Oh, think of the children! Goodness, they’d better start raiding law schools because the students there might be – gasp! – learning about laws and rights and how to – gasp! – defend people who have broken those laws!

Oh, but they point out the problem is that it’s a hemp shop and thus “promotes use of a controlled substance” and that along with informing people of how to defend their rights is their red flag. That’s interesting, since as seen here, you especially would need to know your rights since simple possession and use of said controlled substance (ridiculousness of its illegality aside) is unneeded to have the police raiding you. Having a DVD containing information about simply knowing the laws of the land is enough for them to accuse you of misdeeds. So, yeah, if anything, they are proving their own statement wrong, and making it even moreso that, yeah, people not partaking in said disliked activity still need this information!

I also wonder where these raids are for other suspected illegal activity. Raiding any Tea Party assholes for likely breaking gun control laws? Raiding any churches or individuals who actively promote child abuse and even advise people on how to hide from Child Protective Services on it?

No, just peaceful protesters. If I’m not mistaken, this shop was in particular targeted because of involvement with Occupy DC. Which, again, if merely peacefully protesting and selling a DVD informing people of laws and rights is seen as constituting unsavory activity deserving of police raid, then the protests and rights DVDs are just being made all the more necessary!

Speaking of Occupy, stay tuned for tomorrow…

September 12, 2011

American Innocence

Filed under: Assorted Politics,What the hell? — Katrina @ 10:15 am

So unless you’ve been living under a rock on some distant unknown planet, or maybe even then, you’ll recall yesterday was the tenth anniversary of the September 11th attacks. The day contained the usual memories, mild patriotism, moments of silence, etc.

I’ve also seen lots of references to the day that it is “the day everything changed”. And with that, some have said it was the day America “lost its innocence”.

Um… what?

Statements like this, as well as weirdly similar statements about so-called childhood innocence make me seriously think that, well, they keep using that word, and I don’t think it means what they think it means.
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