Don’t Lower the Voting Age!

December 16, 2013

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 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.

World News

August 21, 2013

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.

Education Policy

August 27, 2012

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.
Continue reading “Education Policy”

Politically Incorrect Contraception

December 8, 2011

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! 😀

Know Your Rights? Criminal!

December 2, 2011

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…

American Innocence

September 12, 2011

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.
Continue reading “American Innocence”

Who Gets to Vote?

July 7, 2011

So… age or intelligence? What should be the basis of who gets the right to vote?

I’m going to say neither of those!

As a youth rights activist and founder of #16tovote on the 16th, I often hear that the voting age should be replaced with some sort of test one must pass to get the right to vote at any age. This way, at least only those smart enough or informed enough will decide the government and it’s not ageist.

Eh… not so much.

Proponents of test-instead-of-voting-age rarely seem to have a clear idea of what this test would be and are dismissive of how extremely easy it would be to abuse it, to end up disenfranchising people based on ideology, location, education level, or just plain test-taking ability.
Continue reading “Who Gets to Vote?”

Final Boss Defeated

June 27, 2011

And by final boss, I mean the Supreme Court has rendered its verdict in Brown v EMA, formerly known as Schwarzenegger v EMA. This was the case where California has been defending its ban of selling M-rated video games to people under 18. It went all the way to the Supreme Court. On November 2, 2010, day of the oral arguments, we NYRAnians rallied in front of the Court in defense of youth rights and free speech. And Usiel gave this amazing speech, of which I totally shot the video! And after that it was just a matter of waiting and seeing…

And today came the verdict at last…

7-2, in favor of EMA. Two dissenters were Stephen Breyer and (surprising absolutely no one) Clarence Thomas.

WE WON!!!!

Check out the official document here!

I’ve been retweeting a lot of remarks and articles today in response to this ruling, so here’s a nice roundup.
Continue reading “Final Boss Defeated”

I Have a Confession to Make

April 29, 2011

I watched it.

Yup. Woke up just before 6am this morning and turned on the TV to BBC America, just in time for the service. I watched the royal wedding. I watched Prince William and Catherine Middleton get married, just like the whole rest of the world.

At Westminster Abbey, which I visited when I was in London a year and a half ago, so that was kind of cool on its own! 😀

In spite of the annoying obsessions over it, positive and negative, I still watched it.

Then again, why not? It was cute. It was neat. The people on the ground there watching the event and decked out in union jack-themed costumes were hilariously cheesy. It was seeing the continuance of old tradition. It made lots of people happy.
Continue reading “I Have a Confession to Make”

Extreme Temps, Extremist Bullcrap

December 30, 2010

Now for an environmental, temperate edition of…

SHUT THE HELL UP!!!!

You know what I’m really getting fucking sick of? Or, at least, that I’m choosing to mention at the moment? Every time the temperature dips a little higher or a little lower than is normal for a given season, you get wingnut assholes deciding this is some definite information about global warming.

You see it from both sides…

“OMG, it’s a 70 degree day in January! Global warming has killed winter!”

“OMG, it’s a 50 degree day in July! Global warming doesn’t exist!”

Uh, hi, I’d like to introduce you both to the Hasty Generalization logical fallacy.

I mean, it’s of course not about expressing any actual scientific knowledge, as those with actual scientific knowledge on this get drowned in partisan propaganda, and many scientific studies even then get performed often by or at least funded by those who want a particular result. No, the entire point is to be a pompous ass to the other side, all like “see? I was right about global warming and you were wrong!” Who cares if the “info” you’re basing this on is even remotely sound when it can be made to fit your gloating needs at a given moment, right?

So, really, STFU both of you. If you think one unseasonably warm or cool day or week or even season totally validates your insistance that global warming is a real threat or just something Al Gore made up, then you don’t have any damn clue what you’re talking about on this issue.

And, just saying… regardless of the truth of global warming… it’s hardly the only reason to be worrying about air pollution.