Archive for the ‘Current Events’ Category

Reacting to the Supreme Court

June 26, 2008

Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled that the rape of a child is not grounds for the death penalty. I, for one, agree with their decision. Of course, being of the bleeding-heart liberal persuasion, I find it hard to come up with any situation in which putting someone to death is the right answer, but even putting that single-mindedness aside, I think that this is a good ruling. (more…)

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Responding to the verdict

April 25, 2008

This morning, the verdict in the Sean Bell case was announced. For those of you who may not be familiar with this case, Sean Bell was a 23-year-old Queens man who was shot to death by police the night of his bachelor party. He and his friends, unarmed, were hit with 50 bullets fired by a small group of undercover officers, with the majority of the shots (31 and 11, respectively) coming from just two officers. There are, of course, two sides to this story, and I encourage you to click on the above link and read all you can about the evidence. I, however, firmly believe that the officers responsible for this man’s death should be held to account. (more…)

A step against (gene) discrimination

April 24, 2008

I’m back!

Actually, I’ve been back in the country since Sunday night. I had an incredible whirlwind of a time in London. It was great to spend some time with my brother, see an old friend, and even spend a day with my parents (if I’m not mistaken, this is my Dad’s first time in Europe). And I’ve been meaning to write about the trip in detail- I’ve started the post a few times, and there’s just too much. (Plus, my first day or two back I was so tired from the trip, jet lag, and work, that my sentences made even less sense than usual.) I may come back and write about it later, but for now, here are just a few pictures (I seem to be having trouble inserting pictures…  I’ll try again in the next post). (more…)

Where have all the protesters gone?

April 7, 2008

(First off, I apologize to anyone who now has that song stuck in your head.)

In the mindless web-browsing that generally accompanies temp work, I came across this article, and it got me thinking about how we think about the Iraq war. Or, rather, how we manage to avoid it.

In past wars (so I’ve heard), there seems to have always been a public reaction. The Vietnam War sparked protests across the country; World War II had people rationing their nylons and buying war bonds. These are very different reactions, to be sure, but both are strong, effective, emotionally-driven responses to a national crisis.

Contrast that to the response that Sean Gilfillan (the veteran who is the subject of the above article) has found:

Everyone he met expressed polite support. “But,” he says he wondered, “what are you doing? Are you joining the military? Are you protesting? What percentage of your life does the war actually take up?” Most people seemed more likely to have a strong opinion about Britney Spears than about Iraq.

We (and I most certainly include myself here) do not consider the war on a regular basis; the fact that most people underestimate American casualties by 1,000 is proof of that. Perhaps it’s true that previous wars only got the reaction they did because of the draft, or because daily life in the US was directly impacted. Perhaps the administration has done so well at turning “not supporting the war” into “not supporting the troops” that people feel guilty about speaking out against it. Perhaps we have access to so much media now that it’s too easy to avoid anything uncomfortable. But the fact is, we are five years into this war with no end in sight, and people are dying by the day. We can’t afford to turn away from it.

So take a stand in the fight against apathy. If you’re against the war, speak out. Loudly. Join a protest. If you can’t find one, start a protest. Write down what you think, and tell people to read it. If you’re a knitter, make a pair of Lisa Anne Auerbach’s Body Count Mittens. If you support the war, speak out for it, and tell those around you why you do. Engage in debate, with informed opinions.

Whatever your stance, the most important thing is to be involved. Don’t turn away because something is uncomfortable; keep yourself informed, and inform those around you.

So, kids with health care is a bad thing?

September 26, 2007

For the last few weeks, I’ve been planning to revive this blog, probably making it more knitting-focused (I’ve signed up for Secret of the Stole and, well, everyone else has a blog!) However, after reading this article, I couldn’t not respond.

I have known for some time now that our president and I do not agree on many things. I don’t think we should be at war- he does. I think schools should get funding for non-abstinence-based education- he doesn’t. And so on. This time, though, he’s taken it to a whole new level: I, personally, think we should guarantee that all children have access to health care. He doesn’t.

What’s worse is this (restraining myself from letting loose all  seven words and then some) man’s justification for opposing health care for children: it would be “an incremental step toward the goal of government-run health care for every American.”

Maybe I’m biased, as an American without health insurance, but… um… why is this a bad thing? And why don’t we get rid of a leader who will deny children proper health care because it might result in the entire country having access to health care? Does anyone else find this incredibly twisted?

Four months later

May 25, 2007

That’s right, it’s been over four months since I’ve written here. How long is that? Well, it’s long enough for me to have forgotten my password… and my username… and even the address. Yeah. My apologies to anyone who didn’t forgotten the address and has come here looking for new stuff.
So, what’s been going on in these four months?

Politically: Our scandal-a-day government has continued to be, for lack of a better word, ridiculous. The country elected a House and Senate full of Democrats for a reason, but our dear president doesn’t seem to understand this. His main method of dealing with people, policies, or countries that he doesn’t like appears to be the silent treatment. Rather than, say, talking, or trying to reach a compromise, he refuses to acknowledge any opposing party or opinion. The latest example is, of course, the effort to get troops out of Iraq- his pledge to continue vetoing any bill that involves a timetable for withdrawal- but it seems to be a hallmark of his presidency.

If you need an extra reason to be outraged at the way things are being run in this war, listen to this.

Musically (now that I’ve vented a little): In April, I quit the long-term temp job I had been at, in order to focus more on auditioning. It’s been an interesting experience: every day that I don’t have temp work, I try to go to at least 1 or 2 auditions. Which pretty much means I wait. And wait. And, with luck, get to sing for a minute. Not the most exciting way to spend a day, but it’s why I came to New York.

I get to sing a little more during rehearsals- “George M. Cohan in His Own Words” opens (and closes) June 9th, so we’re approaching crunch time. Next Saturday, the NYC cast members get loaded into a van headed for Lake Placid, where we will finally meet the rest of the cast and spend a week rehearsing and enjoying not being in the city.

“Legend of the Killer Sheep” is not quite as far along… the goal is to do some workshops and have a script written by August. But it’s a musical about killer sheep, so it’s worth the wait. (Here are the guys responsible for this one, and some songs that will be featured in the show.)

Knittingly: Not much. I’m nearly done a (round!) blanket for my cousin’s new baby, but other than that, the knitting has stagnated a bit. Not for lack of interest, however: in February, all of my typing and mouse-using and stapling and staple removing (and, yes, knitting) conspired to give me carpal tunnel syndrome in my right wrist. So the projects I had been working on then (socks, gloves) have not progressed at all since- it’s a teensy bit frustrating. (Incidentally, this is also part of the reason for my hiatus here.)

And now you have a very brief synopsis of life since my last post. Stay tuned, and maybe there will be another before September!

1.2 Trillion More Reasons

January 17, 2007

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/17/business/17leonhardt.html?em&ex=1169182800&en=823fac5b990e2729&ei=5087%0A

As someone who works full time and can’t afford health insurance, it’s crazy to think that everyone in the country could be covered for half of what is spent on the Iraq war. Not to mention how much schools and other public resources could be improved, how much cancer research could be funded, and how much we could improve actual peacekeeping and charitable efforts worldwide. Arrrgh.

What I really wonder is, why doesn’t the government actively try to fund these things? I would bet another $1.2 trillion that even if the war ended tomorrow and we magically recovered all the money lost, the above-mentioned causes would not benefit at all. We live in a country where, for a war, we can scrounge up all the necessary funding, but we can’t find even a fraction of that to pay for health care and schools. Yes, we need to make sure that the 130,000 (soon to be 150,000) troops in Iraq are sufficiently protected, but what about the other 3,000,000 citizens?

Does this remind anyone else of Minority Report?

January 9, 2007

Yesterday, a young New York man was sentenced to 30 years in prison. In a city where each day’s news reports shootings, robberies, child abuse, etc., this isn’t so unusual. What is unusual (to me, at least) is the crime.

Shahawar Matin Siraj was arrested in August of 2004 for conspiring to bomb the Herald Square subway station- certainly a serious accusation. My problem is how “conspiracy” was defined. Shahawar and the others involved had no actual explosives, no well-defined plans (such as a timetable) for the bombing, and no connections to any terrorist group. In fact, the entire charge seems to be based on conversations recorded by a paid NYPD informant. (That the informant claimed to be a member of a terrorist group, regularly shared stories and pictures of Muslims being abused by Americans, and promised to provide explosives to the “conspirators” only adds to an already questionable situation.)

No matter how horrific the proposed crime, it seems incredibly dangerous to arrest, hold, and sentence people based purely on what they thought about maybe doing in the future. By this argument, anyone who mused about, say, causing injury to a certain US president (admit it, you’ve thought about it) should be arrested.

Discussion Question: As it’s not stated in the NY Times article, discuss why Mr. Sharif (a young, male, Muslim Pakistani immigrant) was the target of this investigation in the first place.

**Just to be perfectly clear, I am not advocating, supporting, or planning any crimes of any kind, including against the President. I had considered stealing a pencil from the office to do a crossword puzzle on my way home, but changed my mind, and did not commit said crime.**

For the sake of posting…

December 15, 2006

I’ve realized that we’re halfway into December, and I haven’t added a single sentence here. So, more for the sake of having a new post than for any other reason, here’s a little update:

1)  As usual, knitting stuff for gifts brings frustration. The throw pillow for my mom has stalled because I can’t find an insert smaller than 18″ (I need 14″). I may have to sew one myself… ugh…

1.5)  If you Google any combination of “sun,” “knit,” “intarsia,” “fair isle,” etc., you will find no examples of an intarsia or stranded-knit sun. The reason? It’s wicked hard! I’m making socks with a sun/moon motif, and am now on my third sun design. The first looked like a snowflake, the second like an amorphous blob. This one (the last, I hope) looks a bit like an overweight beetle, but it’s close enough. When I finally figure out how to post pictures here (or how to take a decent picture in my tiny, poorly-lit room) you’ll see what I mean.

2)  There is one thing more frustrating than knitting gifts, and that’s national politics. The president keeps postponing the announcement of his course of action in Iraq. Now, I understand that war is not something to take lightly, and there should be no hasty decisions (that’s how we got into this mess, after all). He keeps saying that he wants all the information. This would be great, except that what it really means is: “I didn’t like what the Iraq Study Group said, so I’m waiting till I hear something I like.” If he’s paid any attention to how his war is going, none of this information should be news to him; he’s just waiting for someone else to agree with him. Meanwhile, the people affected are the ones actually fighting.

Ok, that’s a lot of frustration, and I haven’t even mentioned work. But at least it’s something- maybe the next post will be more upbeat…

If you don’t believe in it, it can’t hurt you

November 29, 2006

We’re nearing the end of 2006. Electronics are outdated almost as soon as they are released, just because the technology improves so quickly (unless you’re like me, and insist that Windows 98 was the peak of innovation). If the motivation (i.e. money or government mandate) was in place for corporations, I’m sure we’d all be driving cars powered on water and leftover french fry grease.

But the motivation is not there. Why? Well, part of the reason seems to be that our government still won’t admit that global warming exists. When 12 states went to the Supreme Court along with a group of environmental agencies, arguing that global warming is causing diminishing coast lines and poses a threat to American and global health, the reply was:

“The EPA says carbon dioxide is not a pollutant”

“It would be foolhardy to enact a regulation imposing requirements on motor vehicles when it is not clear whether that would sufficiently address the problem”

“No national solution will solve the problem of carbon emissions”

and my personal favorite, by Justice Scalia: “I don’t want to deal with global warming.”

That’s right, the government that deemed it absolutely necessary to preemptively invade a country (cost: thousands of lives) doesn’t want to rush in to a strategy to reduce carbon emissions (cost: “You may do some damage to the economy“).

My question is this: if the Environmental Protection Agency doesn’t have the authority to regulate climate change-causing emissions, who does?