Category Archives: current events

Discrimination is so gay

Folks that are in the position to do so are trying to end the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and allow openly gay men and women to serve in the military.

Politicians against the policy revocation have spouted various and sundry reasons for keeping it, and most seem to amount to “we don’t want our boys to feel threatened or uncomfortable.”

I wonder if they’ve seen the statistics around women in the military.  From this article:

“According to several studies of the US military funded by the Department of Veteran Affairs, 30% of military women are raped while serving, 71% are sexually assaulted, and 90% are sexually harassed.

The Department of Defense acknowledges the problem, estimating in its 2009 annual report on sexual assault (issued last month) that some 90% of military sexual assaults are never reported.”

But yeah, we wouldn’t want our straight male soldiers to feel a little oogy.  Maybe these naysayers should think about using their political capital to solve some of the problems for female soldiers, and not worry so much about able-bodied men and women (who happen to be gay) who want to serve and fight for their country.

On the confirmation hearings

Two quotes have come out of the hearings that I really appreciate:

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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC): “If I had been elected as a senator from South Carolina [in 1955], I would be amazed if I would have had the courage [to support the Brown v. Board of Education ruling].”

I think this is an amazing thing to say.  All at once he shows self-realization of his own personal and political limitations, and the great foresight and courage of the Supreme Court to make the ruling, let alone to just stand by it.  I give him serious props for being so forthright.

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Sonia Sotomayor (when repeatedly questioned about her personal stances on hot-button issues like gun rights and same-sex marriage):  “Would you want a judge or nominee who came in here and said, ‘I agree with you, this is unconstitutional,’ before I had a case before me?  I don’t think that’s a justice I can be.”

You go, Sonia.  You go with your awesome, wise Latina self.  I totally heart you.

Less racist, more obnoxious

So, hi.

I have little defense for my lack of posting of late.  I think about doing it sometimes, but I’m succumbing to summer.  Not only that but there’s a lot going on in my life at the moment.  I started the photography business and while I would not describe it as “booming”, I’ve booked three weddings for the summer (one down, two to go) and have a friend lined up for portraits of her kids, and might also shoot portraits for the now-blended family that resulted from the wedding I shot last month.  I looked at my financials and I might actually break even this year (mostly thanks to my stock photography income — if it were the weddings and portraits only I would definitely be coming in at a loss).  Then there’s the consulting work I’m doing for the next couple weeks for my old company.  Also between the kids and I there are four doctor and dentist appointments in the next three weeks, a party for Lane next Saturday for her FIFTH birthday, and the various sundry summer goings-on that happen… like swimming in our neighbor’s lovely inground pool, or going to our town’s lovely pool, or the spray park.

While taking a break from formatting data sheets for the consulting assignment, I came across this article:

Agency investigating alleged discrimination at pool club

The gist of the article is such:  pool club signs a contract with a summer camp to let the camp’s kids come swim at their pool.  Kids come one day, pool changes its mind, and gives money back to summer camp.  The sticky wicket is that the camp is made up of city (read: minority) kids, and thus there are cries of racism on behalf of the pool club (which I presume has a more sunburn-susceptible membership).

But here’s my two cents.  Our town actually has three pools, and the kids and I enjoy them immensely.  But these pools do the same thing:  contract with local summer camps so that the camps can bring the kids to the pools.  And I hate, hate, hate going to the pool on days that the camps are there.  The kids act more out of control than the kids whose parents are around.  They are loud, and raucous, and there’s only so much the counselors and lifeguards will do to rein them in.  It’s never to the point where I feel like safety is an issue, but it’s just annoying as all get-out.  It has occurred to me to complain about it – even as town residents, we have to pay extra each year to join the pools.  These camps are private camps and I’m sure many of the campers aren’t town residents.  And it’s definitely not a matter of race — most of the kids are the same race I am.  I just strongly dislike sharing the pool with this obnoxious bunch of kids and their only slightly-older counselors who I’ve witnessed joining in on the wacky spectacle.

I’m not saying I side with the pool club, especially if some media reports are true about things that were said to people, or overheard.  But maybe the incident isn’t all about race, either.

I would launch a shitstorm of pain upon you if you did this to my daughter

I’ve been following this story for awhile, way before SCOTUS decided to hear it, thanks to the awesomeness that is Fark.com:

http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/04/19/scotus.strip.search/index.html

Long story short, let me sum this up for you.  A student in a middle school tells a school official that one of her classmates has prescription-strength ibuprofen with her at school.   School officials pull this girl, a 13 year-old honor student with no history of disciplinary issues, out of class, search her backpack, and when they don’t find the aforementioned contraband, decide a strip search would be prudent.  The male administrator gets the female school nurse (because that makes it all better, right?!) and they make the girl strip down to her bra and underwear.  They never do find the ibuprofen.

Girl is understandably traumatized and embarrassed.  Parents are understandably freaked the hell out.  The case has been tried and appealed, and appealed, and the Supreme Court will be hearing it tomorrow.

I truly honestly totally completely hope that the Supreme Court upholds the decision of the federal appeals court that found the search was illegal.  Now, I don’t have any problem with school officials having a little more authority than normal over the students under their care.  A school is unarguably a challenging environment to keep safe and school officials do need to be able to utilize a bit of discretion.  Go ahead, search lockers, do random drug tests.  Do not, however, EVER, based solely on the word of another student, march my daughter (or son, for that matter) into your office and insist she strip down to her undergarments in the name of protecting the student body from the evils of pain management.  I’m not generally a fan of litigation, but you can rest assured I would sue your pants off, and then once I had your pants, I would punch you so hard your children would be born dizzy.

That’s not to say I don’t think the administrators could have taken action.  They could have asked some questions, maybe tried to verify the accusation from the other student.  Once they did a reasonable search of the girl’s personal belongings they could have sent her home for the day with the admonition that she should never ever bring prescription or over-the-counter drugs to school.  I remember how I was as a 13 year-old kinda-nerdy, never-been-in-trouble honors student, and that close brush with getting in trouble would have freaked me about and been all I needed to never do it again (or at least be way better about not getting caught).

You, as school administrators, may have some extended protections in the name of the safety of the student population at-large, but your students do not check the entirety of their civil liberties when they walk on your campus, a point very famously made by SCOTUS in 1969.  And in this case, I really really hope the Supreme Court hands the Safford Unified School District in question its ass on a platter.  Cold, with a side of kick-in-the-head.

Hope is a very good thing

What a beautiful day.

I’ve been a little excited about the inauguration today, but it just hadn’t seemed real.

When  I woke up today, it seemed more real… though I did check the news to make sure nothing had happened overnight to get in the way of the historic events to come.

Lane had dance class this morning.  There are no windows into the dance studio, but they have a closed-circuit TV so that all the moms can watch the dance lesson.  Today, we asked if we could watch CNN instead, even though all they showed the whole time was people getting into cars to drive to the Capitol.  The other moms and I talked about the historical significance of the day, and our fears for Obama’s safety.

I had set up the DVR to record the inauguration, so I wasn’t in a rush to get home to watch.  So, the kids and I went to Costco for various sundry things.  We bought, and then ate lunch, and then went to get gas.  At that point, Obama’s speech had started, and while I pumped gas I left the window of the car open so I could listen.  The station attendant heard and wandered over to my car to listen.  He was older and black, and I took my sweet time to give him another minute to listen, since he seemed very interested.  Once I finally could dawdle no longer, he moved away from my car and just said, “It’s amazing.  I have such hope.”  I smiled and said, “Me, too.”

Obama wrapped up his speech, and the crowd erupted, as expected.  The announcer on NPR came on, and said something to the effect of, “That was Barack Obama, our 44th president of the United States of America” and I lost it.  Just about three minutes of full-on water works and trying to stay on the road.  It became so real, and I was just overcome with joy.

Then Elizabeth Alexander took the lectern to read what I’m sure was a very lovely poem, but I couldn’t get past her delivery, like a third grader who can’t find the correct cadence reading a poem in front of her classroom.

And, Reverend Joseph Lowery.  Could he possibly have stolen the show more?  He was awesome.

And I do…  I have hope.  It’s not because Bush 43 is finally back on his way to Texas for good, and because the Democrats are in power.  Sure, that ain’t all bad.  But it is because, as Obama mentioned in his speech, that 60 years ago a black man could not even be served a meal at a restaurant in D.C., and today, one has become the leader of all of us.  It’s possible, it has happened.  It’s happened.  Anything is possible.  The future is ours.

What kind of dog should the Obamas get?

Barack Obama famously promised a puppy to his daughters for when they move into the White House. For a kid, perhaps there is no greater thrill than getting a puppy! I am, admittedly, envious of them. 🙂

What kind of dog should they get?

First off, I rule out a small dog. Barack and Michelle are both people of tall stature, and I think a small dog would look more like a rodent next to them. Not only that, but the toy breeds just aren’t very presidential.

There are lots of sporting breeds, hounds and such, but to me these don’t fit with the Obamas. So beagles and bloodhounds and that sort are out.

I also don’t see them taking on an exotic breed, such as a Chow or Shar-Pei.

They are an active family, so a more active breed of dog would certainly be a good fit. Labradors and Golden Retrievers have a high activity level, but they can be pretty wacky when they are younger. I’d hate to think of the destruction an exuberant Lab could rain down upon the China Room.

So maybe one of the gentle giants… a Newfoundland, or St. Bernard, or a Bernese Mountain Dog, or a Great Dane. Hmm. I think I’m really digging them with a Great Dane. And these breeds are all so great with kids.

Of course, there are rescue opportunities, so maybe they’ll go in that direction. A quick look at the Petfinder web site for the Chicago area found these potential rescue pups for them:

http://www.petfinder.com/petnote/displaypet.cgi?petid=12317543

http://www.petfinder.com/petnote/displaypet.cgi?petid=12103131

http://www.petfinder.com/petnote/displaypet.cgi?petid=12184316

And sorry, but how funny would it be if they adopted a puppy named McCain or Palin? LOL!

http://www.petfinder.com/petnote/displaypet.cgi?petid=12218751

Hell has already frozen over, and they called it “Alaska”

Needless to say, I’m quite happy with the election results. Now comes the anxiety that this man will either be assassinated or will turn out to be a completely crap president. I hope neither happen, but I’m having a hard time embracing the unadulterated, exuberant joy that has gripped much of the country. But, granted, I’m much happier than if that other one had won.

All of the gay marriage propositions really have me down. In terms of civil rights for homosexuals, I think history is going to look back at this era of American history with scorn and shame. On the other side of the coin, I’m very pleased with many of the other state propositions. All the abortion props were shot down — even in South Dakota! Michigan got on board with medical marijuana, and Washington got on board with assisted suicide. All very interesting results.

And then there’s Alaska. Ted Stevens, very recently convicted of seven felonies and at 84 years old is simply pretty ancient anyway to be taking on a six-year term, is winning over his challenger, Mark Begich. Nobody’s really called it for Stevens yet, but why in hell is it this close? Are Alaskans so adamant about not voting for a Democratic candidate that they’ll vote for a felonious old codger who thinks the internet is a series of tubes? Wow… just, wow.