Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Hey you, whatcha readin?

Inquiring minds wanna know.

I've been reading lots of stuff especially since the advent of grad school. Thus far I've read more on Weber, Durkheim, Simmel, etc., than I really care to but I completely understand why I'm supposed to. My favorite theorist tends to be Marx and then in extension of that, Marxist Feminist Theorists. But sadly, we only get to spend 1 whole 2 hour and 40 min class on that theory this semester and too much on the others. It's par for the sociological course I guess.

Anyway, the guy who is sitting next to me drives a pretty new beamer. It will be interesting to see his thought process during this class since; honestly, he appears to be mostly republican/conservative right now. The cool thing is because there are several different backgrounds coming into this course (beginner's sociological theory sort of), there will be a wide array of viewpoints and opinions expressed. I like that kind of "round" table discourse.

So on to what I've been reading already and a cessation of chattiness. (I can't entirely help it since it's exciting to be in grad school with the realization that hey, I'm really here and I'm going to be an MS in a few years!)

Barbara Ehrenreich has her own blog, did you know that? In this particular post titled Could You Afford to be Poor?, she discusses the cycle of poverty just as I sort of did in yesterday's rant.

As many of you may know, this week has been a sort of memorial/anniversary celebration for those affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita last year. So, in honor of the suckiness that is President Shrub, we've also been hearing about how bed things still are on the gulf coast of Louisiana and Mississippi. It should also be no surprise to you that women have started taking matters into their own hands. Hey, this kind of social work is what we've been doing since the beginning of time (mostly because that's where we've been relegated but that's another post) so we've gotten pretty good at it.

Wanna know something I'm really sick of hearing about and wish the fucking military would just get off their ass and do something about already? Especially since study after study keep coming back saying the same thing? I'm sure you'll never guess in a million years. Women's Rights Violations Still Pervasive in U.S. Military.

While the Department of Defense has pledged to crack down on violence against women in the armed forces, follow-up on that promise has been slow and piecemeal. Sexual assault survivors, their advocates, and their supporters in Congress continue to call loudly for systemic change that will provide for safe and confidential reporting, effective intervention, comprehensive prevention, and a concerted effort on the part of the Department of Defense to record and analyze incidents of violence against women in all branches of the armed forces, and punish the perpetrators.
Seriously, what's taking them so long? Are they awaiting a successful string of lawsuits that will force them into change?


Keep reading....

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Surprise! Not.

1 out of 8 Americans lived in poverty last year. In case you can't do your math (like me), that's 37 million people who make less than $10,000/year for individuals, $20,000 for families, in a nation that is supposed to be the best place to live. We pride ourselves on being the #1 First World Country yet we can’t lower our poverty rate much less eradicate it.

(These figures were just released by the Census Bureau so I don't want to hear any screaming about made up statistics or how the liberal media has taken over again.)

This does, however, bring up a frustrating conversation I had with Nascar Nut the other night. He was lamenting over the fact that his new job requires him to visit those areas most people would recognize as projects or low income housing. He said some of the people are living in squalor yet have all the latest cable additions which he didn't understand because, as he said, if he were living in conditions such as those, he would try to work himself out of it.

*sigh* said I. Then I asked, "Have you learned nothing from hanging out with me this past year and a half?"

You see, there is this evil cycle going on where once people are born into poverty, it's really hard to get out. We like to think of America as "The Land of Opportunity," but who are we kidding? We live in a country that allows companies to pay illegal immigrants below living wage then blame those illegal immigrants for taking the jobs instead of focusing on the real problem: the societal breakdown that allows it to happen.

So let's get something straight, right from go: America is only the land of great chance if you're a white man. Just open any high school history book for that lesson.

I didn't try explaining anything to Nascar but instead left him with this simple phrase: You have no idea what you would do in that situation because you've never been in it. And he hasn't. His parents might not have had tons of money while he was growing up, but they were certainly comfortable.

While finishing my undergraduate degree, I worked part-time, earning a salary that ended up being appx $12,000/year. I certainly didn't consider myself living in poverty because I was living with my parents (and still am but that's another story). I saw myself as living a middle class lifestyle, but it was afforded to me by having the sometimes nice, sometimes understanding parents that I do.

Let me give you a brief synopsis of this social welfare thing so many dumbasses (who are entirely misinformed) keep yelling about as there are no "free rides." Sure the occasional person cheats the system, but it's no different from CEO's stealing from their employees or lying on quarterly financial reports, essentially crashing an entire future for thousands of workers, now is it?

The reason why we view these 2 very similar forms of cheating so differently: the former is committed by a few underprivileged (and probably pissed off) persons while the latter are a bunch of rich white boys who felt they were entitled.*

Women are required to work 32 hours a week in order to get services. There is no push for them to learn a technical skill or go to school, as their should be simply because it increases their earning potential tremendously. Instead we have Bush and the Shrubites telling women to get married, including an incentive if they do so.

You see, as the Census also reported, 1 in 4 African Americans/blacks (appx 25%) lived in poverty whereas us white folk went from 8.7% to 8.3%. That's a decrease in case you didn't notice.

This is why I'm becoming a Sociologist since I, too, believe society at large is the reason for almost everything wrong in this world, not individual people, such as what Nascar seems to think. If we could all successfully pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, do you think we'd still have families living in the projects or kids without any form of healthcare? Of course not, that would be too easy.

And in case you haven't figured it out already my dear readers, Nascar Nut is a white man therefore afforded certain privileges well before he's earned it.

Perhaps one day he'll remember that.

* If you need a refresher, think Kenneth Lay and how it took him, what, 4 years to get a trial? If that isn’t privilege, then perhaps I need to look up the definition again.


Keep reading....

Though he looks creepy,

I didn't think JonBenet's killer was John Carr. Sure he was arrested in Bangkok, where white men typically go for one thing, but things just weren't adding up and now we know the DNA didn't either.

Now he's going to California to face child pornography charges. Go figure.

I don't know about you, but I think this new development rather sad because there is nothing a parent deserves more than to find out what happened to their child(ren), who did it and why. The closure can help them move on and begin the healing process.


Keep reading....

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Comic Book Happenings

Check out this new comic book series:
When Carrie Miller transforms herself into Carrie Giver, she exchanges her conservative business suits for a magenta cape and matching body suit and rushes to the rescue of the overworked, abused and exhausted. She pulls a young boy from the path of moving bus after he's slipped the grip of a mother juggling another child and shopping bags. She stops an elderly man's runaway wheelchair from careening into oncoming traffic after his wife slips. She pulls a mother and her children from a home made dangerous by an abusive husband.

I'm interested in buying a few copies, are you?


Keep reading....

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Busy, busy, busy, busy

That's what I've been. Plus, I've been enjoying some really good books lately (check them out in my sidebar under Currently Reading), learning to knit a sock (which will eventually become 2), starting a colorful wrap for Peanut and pretty much trying to relax as much as possible since grad school starts in just 2 weeks.

However, I love it when simple citizens think the new "Don't transport your teen girls across state lines because that would then give them personal autonomy and lord knows how we can't have young women choosing what to do with their own body" law isn't "sacrificing girls lives."

Here, read the entire Letter to the Editor yourself:

Consent Law Does Not 'Sacrifice Girls' Lives'Editor, Times-Dispatch: I believe when Senator Hillary Clinton remarked, "We're going to sacrifice a lot of girls' lives," she was mistaken -- or at least confused about the Child Custody Protection Act.

The bill, introduced last year by Senator John Ensign, would make it illegal to take a minor across state lines for an abortion to bypass state parental consent and notification laws. One poll found 82 percent of adults surveyed in 2005 disagree with Ms. Clinton that this bill would harm or "sacrifice girls' lives."

I don't think any parents with a young girl would want their daughter to be taken away from them for any sort of medical procedure -- let alone one as invasive and life-changing as an abortion.

Ms. Clinton has talked about her own experiences with minor girls who were the victims of rape and incest, but who "tragically" could not be taken across state lines for an abortion because of parental notification requirements.

Ensign pointed out that it was these parental notification requirements that got authorities involved so that the girls could be taken out of abusive situations.

The ability to circumvent parental consent and notification not only takes away parental rights, but it covers up instances of sexual abuse and statutory rape so that not even Ms. Clinton can help the victim. Jennifer Pierotti. richmond.
Pay close attention to that last paragraph as you won't want to miss the finger pointing. 'Cause I'm seriously wondering how allowing a young woman to be transported over state lines in order to have a safe abortion takes away parental rights and/or covers up instances of sexual abuse and statutory rape. Don't these very same issues get covered up now? What if it's dad or uncle who get the 12yr old girl pregnant yet he's the one who also takes her to the clinic? There are no investigations into 12yr olds getting pregnant, at least none that I know of.

Watch "The Spitfire Grill" people. It may just be a movie, but the shit is happening somewhere.

Labels: ,

Keep reading....

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Haditha was no accident

I'm sure many of you skeptics aren't as surprised as the others out there who believe in the goodness of our military and the soldiers who sustain it are.

So, Haditha makes what, 4 incidents now where our soldiers have been complete assholes and proven exactly why a testosterone infested environment does not necessarily produce positive results?

And get this, one of the soldiers under investigation is suing Rep. John Murtha for faslely accusing the men in question and defamation of character. Geesh.

Lawyers for Staff Sgt. Frank D. Wuterich, one of the Marines under investigation, argue in a lawsuit to be filed Wednesday in federal court that Murtha falsely accused Wuterich of murder and war crimes. The suit maintains that Pentagon officials “who have briefed or leaked information to Mr. Murtha deliberately provided him with inaccurate and false information” and that the congressman subsequently “has made repeated statements .... that are defamatory” to Wuterich and his fellow Marines.
I'm ready to kick them all out and start over myself that way real sexual harassment training can take place and perhaps, with starting anew, women would be able to function as equals.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, so I'm dreamin' too much.

Labels: ,

Keep reading....