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?

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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?

No more baby insurance fraud here!

November 3, 2006

I was going to try and come up with a clever, sarcastic introduction to this story, but it’s so absurd that there’s nothing more I could add. The government has begun tightening Medicaid policies… for newborn babies. That’s right, where newborns were once eligible for Medicaid for their first year based purely on the mother’s financial need at the birth, there is now an application process requiring proof of citizenship. The purpose? I have to say I’m not quite sure. I can understand (whether or not I agree with) a concern that undocumented immigrants may be illegaly recieving Medicaid, but guess what- a child born in the US is a US citizen!

By requiring identification and proof of citizenship, the government is discouraging non-citizen parents from applying for assistance for their (legal US citizen) children. At best, an application process will still delay the reciept of financial assistance by several weeks (processing time). The result? The country’s youngest and neediest citizens will be denied vital care from the very beginning of their lives.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/03/washington/03medicaid.html?ref=us

While trying to watch King Kong…

October 29, 2006

I rented it (the curse of a trial Blockbuster.com subscription) because I had heard that it was good. And because I still don’t believe that Jack Black can go an entire movie without doing something weird (I keep waiting for the Tribute to the Best Song in the World). Turns out… not so good. Melodrama, lots of close-ups, and a ship whose crew members each have their own soliloquy. This is my fourth time turning it on- in three days, I’ve gotten 1 1/2 hours into it. So, while that whole Monkey-meets-Blond drama carries on, I thought I’d write something.

On the knitting front, I’m nearly done the first dog sweater. It should have been done long before this, but I was a little nervous about attaching the cabled band at the bottom of the sweater. (That will make more sense once I finish it and post a photo). But it worked out, and now all I have left is the legs. Yay! The next one will be pink striped, loosely modeled on “Peppermint Twist” from Stitch ‘N Bitch.

(Oh crap- a giant dinosaur chasing Blond! Whatever will she do?)

As far as current events and politics are concerned, I – and, I think, much of the country – am feeling little more than frustration and disillusionment. Between all the midterm mudslinging, the seriously messed up stupid stupid war, and the whole North Korea thing, we are in a pretty bad situation. I can’t even tolerate the president’s voice anymore. Hugh Laurie’s protest song on Saturday Night Live (yeah, it’s been a thrilling evening) was strangely accurate- “The answer is so easy- all we need to do is [unintelligible mumble].”

(Movie poster shot! Dinosaur vs. Monkey with Blond in the middle.)

Now, in case you don’t see things like nervousness and disillusionment as valid reasons for lagging in my knitting and blogging, the big reason is Peter Pan. No, not the peanut butter. Or the bus company. I’m currently in Brooklyn Family Theatre’s Peter Pan. After a month of rehearsing, we opened last night. It’s a lot of fun (wait- Blond is juggling for Monkey? WTF?), and we put on a pretty good show, but it’s tiring. Especially after the Park Slope-to-Astoria commute (with the weekend subway interruptions, it took me over 2 hours to get home tonight). That said… come see Peter Pan! I can honestly say it’s better than King Kong. (Blonde’s dress continues to fall apart. I guess it’s only expected that after an ordeal like that you’d end up in a spaghetti-strapped mini-dress.)

Now, I have to go turn this off before Blond starts to cry over sad Monkey. Oh, too late…

Million-dollar grammar

October 25, 2006

This will be a short post- between work and rehearsal I have no time to write- but, as the daughter of a teacher and grammar lover, I couldn’t ignore this story:

http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/10/24/business/comma.php

Watch your commas!

A political theory

October 20, 2006

In many political debates (especially those addressing “moral values”), I have noticed one theme that seems to be a major difference between Republican and Democrat. (Note: I identify myself as liberal/progressive/Democrat, so the following may appear biased. It is. But, to quote The Daily Show, “the truth has a liberal bias.”)

I consider tolerance and acceptance to be incredibly important. To me, that means that even if I don’t agree with your opinions, I accept that people can believe different things- it is your right to have those opinions. Similarly, I know that just because I don’t share a particular choice or lifestyle, that doesn’t necessarily mean that my way is right and the other is wrong. What works for me may not work for everyone else, and we should all have be able to live, believe, and act according to what is right for us as individuals.

For example, I am a vegetarian. I think it’s a good idea, both for the environment and for my health, and I’m quite happy not eating meat. However, I know that vegetarianism isn’t for everyone, and that’s ok. If they ask, I’ll talk about why I’m vegetarian, but I won’t try to “convert” anyone. And if I were in politics, I wouldn’t try to outlaw meat eating based on my opinions. 

Likewise, I will never marry a woman. As a straight female, I personally don’t want to have a same-sex marriage. That works for me. But there are plenty of women in this country who do want to marry other women, and they should have that right. If I were to say that there should be no same sex marriage because I didn’t marry a woman and I’m happy, that would be absurd.

I know this all sounds kind of silly, but I’ve heard many similar arguments from conservatives (the exact same argument from someone who was against gay marriage). Look at the war in Iraq- we’re there because Bush wants to spread our (flawed) system of democracy, thinking that it will work for everyone in the world, regardless of cultural differences. And I’ve heard many people speak out against abortion based on their opinions and beliefs. But how can anyone extrapolate such a personal choice to say that an entire country should be mandated to have the same beliefs?

I am in no way trying to say that all Republicans try to force their beliefs on people, or that no Democrats do. But looking at these oft-debated issues, I can’t help but think that, when in doubt, liberals take the side of personal choice and conservatives take the side of “right” vs. “wrong.” That should not be the purpose of government.

As I said before, these are my opinions and my beliefs. You don’t have to agree.

I began writing this post several days ago. By chance, this morning Brian Lehrer addressed the issue of moral values in politics (in case you want to hear some other opinons).