Go Austria!

January 13, 2007

My good NYRA friend Keith Mandell showed me this earlier.

Austrians Split at Voting at Age 16 Plan

VIENNA, Austria — Austria’s new coalition government says 16-year-olds _ who can already vote in some local races _ should also be allowed to cast ballots in national elections.

But the country is split on lowering the voting age from 18. Some think 16-year-olds are not sufficiently interested or mature enough to have a say in national affairs but others welcome the change.

“Adolescents aren’t any less interested in politics than other groups,” said Reinhard Zuba of the Austrian Institute for Youth Research, citing recent studies on the topic.

One such study, carried out with the Vienna-based SORA Institute after local elections in Vienna in October 2005, showed 59 percent of 16- to 18-year-olds cast a ballot.

That turnout was about the same as other age groups, said SORA co-director Christoph Hofinger, adding that lowering the voting age to 16 _ or even 14 _ could help counterbalance the views of an increasingly aging population, a common phenomenon across Europe.

In Europe, and around the world, the voting age is commonly 18 _ with some exceptions. In Iran, 15-year-olds can vote and in Cuba, Nicaragua and the Isle of Man, off the coast of Britain, 16-year-olds can cast ballots. On the other end of the spectrum, the age in Italy for voting for the Senate is 25.

The proposal to lower the age comes from Austria’s “grand coalition” of Social Democrats and the conservative People’s Party following elections on Oct. 1. But it was not a major campaign issue.

“I’d vote if I could because I get a bit worked up about what politicians do without asking us,” said 15-year-old Katharina Wurian.

Maria Finz-Lucchi, a history teacher in Vienna, said she too supports the proposal.

“It would teach young people to take responsibility,” she said.

But Willi Geser, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Innsbruck, is skeptical.

“If one decreases the voting age, then one has to do more to promote political education in the schools,” he said.

Oh, awesome! More and more people are seeing the light. A lower voting age is a GOOD thing!

And I just can’t stop thinking of The Sound of Music right now. 😆

Mouths of Babes

December 17, 2006

Anyone else sick of this shit?

“The strangest things come out of the mouths of babes!”

The standard chauvinistic adult remark at some off the wall comment a kid makes. The basis of that stupid ass show “Kids Say the Darndest Things”. Yes, let’s not treat children like they are communicating. Let’s just laugh at them and their little naivete. Not like they’re people.
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Be a Victim Like a Good Little Boy

December 3, 2006

NYRA’s Jeff Odgis posted this on the forums today. It’s short, so I’ll repost it here.

Four-Year-Old Scares Off Armed Robbers

On Friday night a man forced his way into the home of Jennifer Long’s apartment in north Durham while a second man held a gun on her boyfriend outside. The robber forced Jennifer, another woman, and several children to lie on the floor.

Stevie, a four-year-old boy, slipped out of the room and changed into his Power Ranger costume. He re-entered the room waving a plastic sword and screaming, “Get away from my family!” The thief then fled with only some items from Jennifer’s purse.

Heather Evans, Stevie’s aunt quoted a counselor as saying that Stevie’s distinction between fantasy and reality needed to be improved. According the aunt Stevie believed he morphed into a Power Ranger. His little sister has experienced nightmares.

Stevie kicks ass. I mean, when we were little, wasn’t that our dream? That we could do more than just pretend to be heroes. This kid actually was one!

And, of course, the “well-meaning” adults can’t just be happy with this. No. There it was right there in that last paragraph.

“Oh, noes! Stevie can’t distinguish fantasy from reality!”

You idiot, he just saved your asses!
Continue reading “Be a Victim Like a Good Little Boy”

Candy Bowl

October 27, 2006

Two weeks ago, I decided it would be nice to have a nice big candy bowl on my desk at work. Picked up four bags of candy from grocery store, found a big bowl in the kitchen at work, and filled it with the Reese’s cups, Kit Kats, Snickers, and 3 Musketeers I had just purchased. My desk is right up front there, so it would be a nice treat for passers by. I’m just cool like that.

You know what? It went over nicely. Some remarks I got were interesting. My boss kept telling me the candy was evil (while taking one). At least three people wondered how I could sit there all day with this big ass candy bowl in front of me and not eat all of it. Others “complained” that putting that candy there was just going to make them fat.
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Listen Carefully

September 25, 2006

I hereby decree…

Avoid the following places. Do not use their “services”. Do not trust them. Do not give them your money. Do not entrust them with the life of your son or daughter.

I cannot stress that enough. My decrees often have a somewhat light-hearted quality, as do most of the other pages on the Fortress. But with this I am absolutely serious. This is a matter of life and death. So look at the following list of facilities. I may even add more to the list from time to time. Look at this list.

Academy at Ivy Ridge
Robert Land Academy
Thayer Learning Center
Bethel Boys Academy
Eagle Point Christian Academy
Provo Canyon School
Tranquility Bay
Majestic Ranch
Carolina Springs Academy
Whitmore Academy
Spring Creek Lodge Academy
Summit Quest Academy
Escuela Caribe
Turn-About Ranch

And more. Many more.
Continue reading “Listen Carefully”

How to Be an Adult

August 30, 2006

We’re told from the time we’re really tiny that we want to be like the big, grown-up people. I was never entirely sure what exactly made adulthood so great or distinguished. Now that I’m in my twenties and seeing how people of all ages act (since when I was younger, any impression of adults I got was immensely filtered), I’ve learned a few things. To truly be an adult, you can’t just age. Many other changes must be made as well. So, for those who want to be an adult, just follow my simple guidelines below.
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You Will Get No Sympathy from Me

August 14, 2006

Ever notice how when something bad happens to a kid, people tend to act like it’s the kid’s parents who are suffering so badly? Oftentimes this holds true even when said kid is grown up. I’ve fallen into this trap myself. My aunt has been having a lot of health issues the past several years, including various cancers and heart troubles. And so many of us worry about how my grandmother is doing through all of this.

I caught myself in it one day upon realizing it. Yeah, my grandmother is going through hell over it (which sucks since it seems like all nine of her children have always been in some major mess or another!). But, you know, I’d say it isn’t exactly walk in the park for my aunt, either! Sure, my grandmother gets sympathy for this, but about the same as my other aunts and uncles and my mom do.
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Children are a Burden

July 21, 2006

Saw this bumper sticker on my way home from work today. “If Abortion Is Wrong, Why Are There Still Orphanages?” Before I go any further, this entry is not about abortion itself or anything like that. That’s just what I saw that got me thinking.

About what, you ask? You can gather from the message on the sticker that if children have to live in a situation that isn’t ideal, such as in an orphanage or in poverty or what, then they shouldn’t even have been born at all. Why? Because they don’t have parents to take care of them. They have the state or whoever works at the orphanage or whatever foster family winds up with them.
Continue reading “Children are a Burden”