Words By S.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Urging you to PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE sign this petition

Filed under: Government Aid,Health Care,Politics,Women's Health — S @ 12:28 am

Big deal in the news today: the members of the US House of Representatives (yes, the people that we elect to represent we the people) have decided to showcase just how much they hate women.

They’ve decided to cease funding to Planned Parenthood.

For those that aren’t aware, Planned Parenthood is so much more than just a place that performs abortions.  They are a major resource for low income women to receive necessary medical care that they would otherwise not be able to receive, they provide contraception, family planning services, counseling, advocacy, and so so so much more.

Planned Parenthood currently has a petiton for everyone to sign to give them support as the bill goes to the Senate.

Please sign it!

The women and low-income families that make up the majority of the United States thank you.

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Monday, 7 June 2010

In Which S. Joins the “Race Debate”

Filed under: Life,Politics,Popular Culture,Race Relations — S @ 12:00 am

I have a tendency to push buttons, to not shy away from controversial topics, to speak my mind without worrying (nor caring) about the opinions of others.  I’ve blogged about everything from my Atheism, to tattoos and piercings, to immigration.  One topic that I’ve never blogged about has been race.

Race is something I’ve never been terribly comfortable discussing.  As a multi-ethnicitied Woman Of Color (WOC), it should be the exact opposite for me.  I’ve spent a lot of my life (and continually do so) trying to “discover” myself and find my niche within my own race.

I am a Black Woman (BW).  I look at my brown face in the mirror every day; look at my brown arms and legs.  When I enter into public, I am seen as a Black Woman.  I’ve never been mistaken or passed as anything other than a Dark Skinned Black Woman.  It’s who I am.  Or rather, one facet of Who I Am.

I never thought much about the Black Experience, nor my own personal experience in being Black.  I’m “hip” to the lingo, a little with the experiences of others, and how the Blackness of others has affected me (which I will get into soon), but I’ve never sat and actually analyzed it.  At least, not in the way I’ve sat and thought about humanity and religion.

I grew up in a bubble.  A very suburban, celebrate diversity, 30% Jewish middle-class bubble.  My Experience, from the start, was much different from that of a large number of other Black Americans (BAs).  I always had a largely diverse group of friends, had eclectic tastes in everything, and had a privileged childhood.  I will be the first to admit that I led a charmed life.

In my family, there was a mixed dynamic.  On the one hand, I had my parents, my aunt, and my grandfather (mother’s side) who never really put any sort of emphasis on what it means to be Black in America.  Sure, we had discussions about what it was like when they were young, and how lucky I am to never have to experience outright, in-your-face racism.  I was given the basic equipment for how to handle the inevitable covert and institutional racism.  But, beyond that, nothing.  And then there was my extended family.

I was constantly “othered” when it came to my large group of cousins.  I was the “outsider”.  The one who lived middle-class, who was interested in learning, who got good grades and read all the time.  Later, who watched and listened to a wide array of movies and music.  Who enunciated my words.  To my cousins, I wasn’t Black enough.

The lessons that I was taught by my immediate family never equipped me for how I would inevitably be viewed within my own culture.  For a time, I secretly rejected my Black heritage and embraced what I had learned about my Blackfoot Great-grandmother, and later my partially Irish Grandmother, and German Great-grandfather.  I did it quietly and in such a way that no one was the wiser.  When I took standardized tests, I wasn’t S. the Black American, I was S. the “Native American” or S. the “Other-with-each-ethnicity-listed-careful-to-specify-my-Blackfootness”.

And then I entered high school.

In my high school, we had a student group (or club, if you will) specifically for the purpose of learning about and teaching younger kids about race relations and diversity.  In joining that group, I learned that it was okay that I enunciated and enjoyed learning and reading, and watching foreign films, and listening to different types of music.  I learned to celebrate the fact that I grew up differently and had different interests, and that I don’t need to have a homogenized BA experience.

In fact, it was in high school that my friends started to change and we embraced those changes and learned even more about one another.  It was also in high school that I would befriend a BW who had even more “bizarre” interests than I did (namely, NASCAR).  We would drag each other to see shows of our favorite bands and we would play “Count the Black People”.  That game also served as a real eye-opener, to know that there was a whole world of POCs that had interests like mine, and were probably “othered” at some time.

By the end of my high school career, I felt confident in who I was and well-equipped to deal with anything that could possibly be thrown my way.  Or so I thought.

If my immediate family taught me about what to do in instances of covert racism, my extended family taught me that I will always be “othered” by people within my own race.  The summer going into my freshman year of college gave me that firsthand experience.

At my college, we were assigned first year roommates based on “like” factors.  Judging by who I was paired with, my only guess would be that our “on paper” similarity ended with us both being black.  The first conversation I had with my college roommate was via telephone where we were both thrilled to get to know each other.  My excitement soon ended, however, when I got asked (almost immediately), “Are you sure you’re black?”

It was like my newly found confident world had come crashing down, and I was back to being “Not-Black-Enough-S., the Other-with-each-ethnicity-listed-careful-to-specify-my-Blackfootness”.   The first two months of college were absolutely miserable for me, until I the day I got to change my roommate and moved out.

It was also during this time that I moved, on my own, to a brand new city that didn’t have the protective bubble that my suburban home did.  It was then that I, not only got to experience being Othered by non-family members, but that I got to experience that covert racism that my beloved family told me all about.  That first year of being on my own was hellish, to say the least.

What is the point in giving all of this background?  What does my personal history of Living While Black have to do with anything?

In a word, Everything.

You see, my experiences have all occurred during this “post-racial America” that we’ve been experiencing.  My experiences tie into the experiences of so many others who are now being targeted overtly.  Each person who is affected by a racist bill, or a racist decision made by local politicians has been told by some deluded person that this is a “post-racial America”.

In addition to those isolated occurrences are the ones on a larger scale.  The studies that have been done, time after time; the racist e-mails that have been put under public scrutiny; the racist comments from the likes of Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, and the Tea Party.  The fact that there are television shows and bands that glorify racist stereotypes.  The fact that the Tea Party even exists.

All of these are occurring during a so-called “post-racial” period in American history.

If we lived in a truly post-racial society, there wouldn’t be a need for blog after blog after blog to exist just to point out that racism is very much still occurring.  So, how do we combat a very serious problem?  Is making people aware merely enough?

And if it’s not enough, how does one go about making people take action on a wide scale?  Do we need more programs like the one I was lucky enough to take part in when I was in high school?

Or, is it merely too hopeless of a cause?

Think about it…

Friday, 16 October 2009

1967 All Over Again.

Filed under: Humanity,Interesting News Links,Politics — S @ 6:11 am

Interracial couple denied marriage license in La.

By MARY FOSTER, Associated Press Writer

Friday, October 16, 2009

(10-16) 01:50 PDT New Orleans (AP) —

A white Louisiana justice of the peace said he refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple out of concern for any children the couple might have.

Keith Bardwell, justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish, says it is his experience that most interracial marriages do not last long.

“I’m not a racist. I just don’t believe in mixing the races that way,” Bardwell told the Associated Press on Thursday. “I have piles and piles of black friends. They come to my home, I marry them, they use my bathroom. I treat them just like everyone else.”

Bardwell said he asks everyone who calls about marriage if they are a mixed race couple. If they are, he does not marry them, he said.

Bardwell said he has discussed the topic with blacks and whites, along with witnessing some interracial marriages. He came to the conclusion that most of black society does not readily accept offspring of such relationships, and neither does white society, he said.

“There is a problem with both groups accepting a child from such a marriage,” Bardwell said. “I think those children suffer and I won’t help put them through it.”

If he did an interracial marriage for one couple, he must do the same for all, he said.

“I try to treat everyone equally,” he said.

Bardwell estimates that he has refused to marry about four couples during his career, all in the past 2 1/2 years.

Beth Humphrey, 30, and 32-year-old Terence McKay, both of Hammond, say they will consult the U.S. Justice Department about filing a discrimination complaint.

Humphrey, an account manager for a marketing firm, said she and McKay, a welder, just returned to Louisiana. She is white and he is black. She plans to enroll in the University of New Orleans to pursue a masters degree in minority politics.

“That was one thing that made this so unbelievable,” she said. “It’s not something you expect in this day and age.”

Humphrey said she called Bardwell on Oct. 6 to inquire about getting a marriage license signed. She says Bardwell’s wife told her that Bardwell will not sign marriage licenses for interracial couples. Bardwell suggested the couple go to another justice of the peace in the parish who agreed to marry them.

“We are looking forward to having children,” Humphrey said. “And all our friends and co-workers have been very supportive. Except for this, we’re typical happy newlyweds.”

“It is really astonishing and disappointing to see this come up in 2009,” said American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana attorney Katie Schwartzmann. She said the Supreme Court ruled in 1967 “that the government cannot tell people who they can and cannot marry.”

The ACLU sent a letter to the Louisiana Judiciary Committee, which oversees the state justices of the peace, asking them to investigate Bardwell and recommending “the most severe sanctions available, because such blatant bigotry poses a substantial threat of serious harm to the administration of justice.”

“He knew he was breaking the law, but continued to do it,” Schwartzmann said.

According to the clerk of court’s office, application for a marriage license must be made three days before the ceremony because there is a 72-hour waiting period. The applicants are asked if they have previously been married. If so, they must show how the marriage ended, such as divorce.

Other than that, all they need is a birth certificate and Social Security card.

The license fee is $35, and the license must be signed by a Louisiana minister, justice of the peace or judge. The original is returned to the clerk’s office.

“I’ve been a justice of the peace for 34 years and I don’t think I’ve mistreated anybody,” Bardwell said. “I’ve made some mistakes, but you have too. I didn’t tell this couple they couldn’t get married. I just told them I wouldn’t do it.”

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2009/10/15/national/a124653D11.DTL&tsp=1

Sunday, 12 July 2009

In the news today…

Filed under: News,Politics,Popular Culture — S @ 9:41 am

Study recommends total ban on smoking for soldiers

  • Story Highlights
  • Military health experts propose ban on tobacco use by soldiers
  • Study: Tobacco use impairs military readiness, later lead to serious health issues
  • New study also calls for ban on the sale of tobacco products on bases
From Chris Lawrence
CNN

WASHINGTON (CNN) — You’ve seen the iconic picture of a soldier with a cigarette dangling from his mouth, but that could soon be a thing of the past.

The Pentagon is considering a ban on the sale and use of tobacco in the military.

The Pentagon is considering a ban on the sale and use of tobacco in the military.

A new study commissioned by the Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs recommends a complete ban on tobacco, which would end tobacco sales on military bases and prohibit smoking by anyone in uniform, not even combat troops in the thick of battle.

According to the study, tobacco use impairs military readiness in the short term. Over the long term, it can cause serious health problems, including lung cancer and cardiovascular disease. The study also says smokeless tobacco use can lead to oral and pancreatic cancer.

The Defense Department’s top health officials are studying the report’s suggestions and will make recommendations to the Pentagon’s policy team and Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

The study recommends phasing out tobacco products such as cigarettes and cigars over a five- to 10-year period.

However, the suggested ban does not sit well with many in uniform, including retired Gen. Russel Honore, best known for coordinating military relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina-affected areas with an ever-present stogie. He said soldiers at war need to puff.

“When you’re tired and you’ve been going days on end with minimum sleep, and you are not getting the proper meals on time, that hit of tobacco can make a difference,” said Honore, who was in charge of the Army’s training programs before he retired.

Other soldiers questioned whether this was a good time to stamp out smoking, given the Army’s concern with a high suicide rate.

“For some, unfortunately, they feel that smoking is their stress relief. Well if you take it away, what is the replacement?” said Sgt. 1st Class Gary Johnson.

The Pentagon supports the goal of a tobacco-free military, said spokeswoman Cynthia Smith.

“However, achieving that goal will depend on coincident reductions of tobacco use in the civilian population,” she said.

Dr. Ken Kizer, the author of the study, found that civilians don’t smoke as much as soldiers. One in three active duty soldiers smoke, he said, adding that among the general population, that number is less than one in five.

The Pentagon banned smoking in buildings on bases years ago. It has counselors on call to help service members quit. But while local governments have heavily taxed tobacco, the commissaries often sell it at deeply discounted prices.

“The military sends very mixed signals,” Kizer said. “This is what’s confusing to people.”

The study found that profits from those tobacco sales — $80 million to $90 million — often pay for recreation and family programs on base.

Article found at: http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/07/12/military.smoking.ban/index.html

———————

Where do I even begin with this one?

Well, to start:

– I am not a regular smoker – meaning I only smoke when I am under extreme stress or when I am socially drinking.

– I have never (nor will I ever) been in the military

That said, I do not agree at all with the idea of this.

You want to take smoking out of bars, clubs, and restaurants?  Fine, great!  It makes my meal better not having to be around clouds of smoke, and when I go out (and don’t partake in tobacco puffing), I enjoy not smelling of smoke after.

You want to take smoking out of the vicinity of hospitals, fantastic.  But wait… with that comes banning it from locked, inpatient, psychiatric facilities where patients don’t want to be, and use nicotine as a stress reliever from their problems?  Weeeeeell… okay.

You want to limit outdoor places people can smoke?  I guess that’s okay.

You want to ban smoking from the military?  Huh?!

That about sums up my reaction to the multiple stages in the smoking ban saga.

The reason I feel that tobacco, in any form, shouldn’t even be raised as an issue in the military is quite simple, really – these are people being sent into harm’s way, knowing that at any moment, they may never return to their families.  If ever there were a time to smoke like your life depended on it, well… I would think that would be it.

There are a couple of quotes from the article that screamed at me, and I will highlight them here:

Dr. Ken Kizer, the author of the study, found that civilians don’t smoke as much as soldiers. One in three active duty soldiers smoke, he said, adding that among the general population, that number is less than one in five.

Well, Dr. Ken Kizer, OF COURSE civilians don’t smoke nearly as much as active duty soldiers!  I think that the stress that I consider to be extreme is absolutely nothing compared to what stresses soldiers face.  After all, I’m not removed my friends and family to be sent somewhere where I will be shot at, spat at, unappreciated for my efforts, and what have you.  Nor am I ever in the place to be used as a pawn for my government’s agenda.

The Pentagon supports the goal of a tobacco-free military, said spokeswoman Cynthia Smith.

Of course “the pentagon” would.  It’s a giant office building on US grounds where their inhabitants don’t actually face the dangers of combat.

The study found that profits from those tobacco sales — $80 million to $90 million — often pay for recreation and family programs on base

Right, so let’s just rip that away.  Who else is going to pay for those programs?  Certainly not the Pentagon.

I’m quite certain that every single person with the ability to read and comprehend is fully aware of the dangers of smoking.  Using that as a reason for putting a ban on the activity is fairly weak.

I would like to know the real reasoning behind this idea.

Clearly, the people who propose ideas like this don’t think about the factors that contribute to why smoking is done in venues as mentioned above.   And I have to wonder, why the government jumps on the agenda pushing of these groups.

I’d be curious to know what anyone who is or has ever been in the military thinks about this.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

First Time For Everything.

Filed under: News,Odd news,Pets,Politics,Popular Culture — S @ 1:55 pm

As disturbing as this confession is, I have to admit that for the first time ever, I actually agree with Newt Gingrich’s sentiments on an issue.

Though, as far as why it’s a news headline and an issue, I am not entirely sure.

Posted: 01:06 PM ET
From

News of the arrival of the new first puppy has already caused a partisan split between Newt Gingrich and CNN Contributor Donna Brazile.

News of the arrival of the new first puppy has already caused a partisan split between Newt Gingrich and CNN Contributor Donna Brazile.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich weighed in Sunday on news that the first family has finally settled on a new puppy for daughters Malia and Sasha.

“I hope that the girls love the dog,” Gingrich said on ABC’s “This Week.” “I hope the family – and all the pressure they’re going to be in – finds it useful. And I think that this whole thing is fairly stupid.”

The six-month-old puppy is a Portuguese water dog that the Obamas have decided to name Bo. The dog is a gift to the first family from Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy, a longtime Obama political ally who also owns several dogs of the breed.

“It’s great that they have a dog. It’s great that the kids are adjusting,” Gingrich said. “And where they got it from – who cares? It’s a nice gesture on Senator Kennedy’s part to give it to them but who cares?” Gingrich added.

Perhaps it was a partisan difference, but Democratic strategist and CNN contributor Donna Brazile had kinder words for the new first puppy.

“What’s not to like about this dog?” Brazile said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. “He’s cute. He’s adorable. But, I hope he’s potty trained,” she joked.

Isn’t there plenty of actual news to be reporting about – rather than that the Obamas got a dog and that Gingrich feels all the media buzz surrounding the fact that the Obamas got a dog is stupid?

Just a thought.

Monday, 10 November 2008

And Again with the Port Authority.

As published in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, last week:
 

Union says ‘work stoppage’ likely if Port Authority imposes contract
Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The union representing bus and trolley operators says a “work stoppage” is likely if the Port Authority imposes a contract of its own making Dec. 1 as planned.

If members of Local 85, Amalgamated Transit Union, go on strike or are locked out, public transit will be halted for people who account for 230,000 rides a day.

“They’ve painted us into a corner,” Local 85 President-Business Agent Pat McMahon said yesterday.

He plans to call a special meeting in the near future, “depending on when and where a hall is available,” and 2,300 rank-and-file members will be asked to authorize a job action that would likely take effect on Dec. 1, a Monday. That’s the day that the contract adopted by the authority board Oct. 24 is to be unilaterally imposed on the union.

“The more we look at this, if they go through with it, we have no choice but to do a work stoppage,” Mr. McMahon said. “The union will not stand for this. So citizens should be looking for this [service stoppage] because it’s what the Port Authority is forcing us to do.”

He said options would be discussed at the union’s mass meeting but contended any work stoppage should not necessarily be viewed as a strike.

“It could be deemed a lockout because the Port Authority is taking action that is illegal [by virtue of an imposed contract],” Mr. McMahon said. “Our members will have to authorize what we do.”

While authority Chief Executive Officer Steve Bland has heard talk of a possible job action, he said Mr. McMahon’s strike/lockout talk was the first time he had heard “anything authoritative.”

“We’re offering them excellent pay and benefits and we’re leaving the doors open, so how can that be called a lockout?” he said.

The imposed contract provides 3 percent annual wage increases over the next three years. It also raises the retirement rate to age 60 with 30 years of service in order for employees to receive lifetime health care benefits. It also incrementally raises employees’ health care contribution to the equivalent of 3 percent of the base wage, the same rate that management pays.

In return, the authority would be able to save a total of $13.3 million in its operating budget over the next three years. Legacy costs — the primary concern of County Executive Dan Onorato, who’s withholding $27 million in subsidies — could go down $115 million in the same period.

“[A strike is] something they have at their disposal if the union leadership has such a blatant and callous disregard for customers,” Mr. Bland said. “I’m not sure you turn down an offer when you’re making $24.25 an hour … so it boggles my mind that they would consider such a severe disruption of service to the community. If they do, it’s on their heads.”

Members of Local 85, who include operators, mechanics, first-level supervisors and other hourly employees, have remained on the job under terms of a contract that expired June 30.

Mr. McMahon said Local 85’s legal counsel will continue researching options to keep the board from putting an imposed contract into effect. He also said the union has sent a letter requesting the authority to resume negotiations.

“We’ve gotten no response,” Mr. McMahon said.

Mr. Bland said the only union meetings appropriate at this point would be to discuss implementation of the contract being imposed Dec. 1.

“Obviously, there are a lot of details to discuss but, absolutely, we have a contract that will go into effect,” he said. “It’s a responsible offer that doesn’t reduce wages or benefits. Our board made it very clear that we took this action as a last resort.”

Mr. McMahon said he had a copy of an office memorandum, not intended for his eyes, that discusses a 30 percent service cut and fare increases, some of which may be implemented no matter what the outcome of the labor dispute.

Mr. Bland called it a “draft” of ways that the authority might cope with its growing budgetary problems.

“We’ve been saying all along that if we don’t get a contract, we have to reduce service levels and raise fares,” he said. “For him [Mr. McMahon] not to think we haven’t been working on that stuff … that’s a fool’s paradise. It’s not a final plan and we’ve been working on all sorts of contingency plans, including a strike contingency plan.”

Joe Grata can be reached at jgrata@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1985.
First published on November 5, 2008 at 12:00 am

I am so enraged by the prospect of this, it’s not even funny.  Why make an entire city suffer rather than reasonably discussing contract terms that everyone can live with?

And what’s the big problem with these contract terms anyway?  Everything seems to be pointing towards positive – especially the pay increase.

What else could you possibly want?

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Politics, Politicians, Political Mindedness… and S.

The media is buzzing with US politics, everywhere you turn.  This is the month for debates and finalizing decisions as, in a matter of weeks, we will be choosing our next “man for the job”.

Everyone is saying, “I’m so tired of this Bush fiasco”, “McCain = 4 more Bush years”, “Is Obama really the man for the job?” and let’s not even start on Sarah Palin.  Ugh.

During the past few months, I have been approached by a multitude of canvassers getting those last minute voter registrations done.  I have been asked a multitude of times whether or not I am an Obama supporter.  I get looks of shock when I reply…

…No!

I will repeat it again and again and again: I will not be voting for Barack Obama.  I will also not be voting for McCain.

I will, in fact, be voting for Ralph Nader (and Matt Gonzalez).

Watching the debates, reading platforms, educating myself on the candidates and their running-mates has sold me more and more on Nader than I had previously been.

It has also made me loathe the two-part system more and more.  In particular, when I get the response, “he’s running again?!”

 

I recently happened upon an “alternative news source” during the Biden/Palin debate called The Grist.  The Grist is an environmentally conscious online newspaper with a different, fresh spin on the world’s happenings, as well as election ’08 coverage.  And in this online newspaper are several interviews – each one with a major candidate from the democratic, republican, independent, and green parties.

Among the poignant questions that the interviews have asked, is the following (asked of each candidate interviewed): “What do you do personally to lighten your environmental footprint?”

For some reason, I find this question to be of particular importance.  I honestly think that the way this question is answered speaks very much about how a person views the world and says where their priorities are.  It essentially asks, how do you live your life and what is your world like?

McCain (R): We just moved from a very large house with swimming pool and grounds into a condominium, so we made a dramatic change. My daughter has a Prius. And we have a place up north where we have solar panels in some of the buildings. But we haven’t done enough, and we intend to do more.

Obama (D): We just bought a Ford Escape, so I traded in a non-hybrid for a hybrid. We are in the process of replacing our light bulbs in our house and trying to limit the use of our air conditioning, trying to make sure that we unplug and turn off all of our appliances when we’re not using them. It’s a fun project to work on with my 9-year-old and my 6-year-old.

McKinney (G): Well, I don’t consume very much. Where possible, I’m changing my shopping habits, in terms of the food that I buy. I choose to buy from the local folks as opposed to the mega folks. Of course, you have to go to the supermarket every once in a while to get stuff. I’m trying to live within the 200-mile rule of thumb in terms of my food consumption. As a black person, there’s a dearth of services generally and a lack of healthy food in the black community, so that’s been a challenge.

Nader (I): I consume very little except newspapers, and I recycle them. I don’t have a car. I’m the antithesis of the over-consumer.

Like most people (I would imagine), I want the person who is to make the large decisions about my world to be someone I can relate to and to be someone I can imagine walking in the shoes of.  To me, that gives me a little bit of ensurance that, were I to be in a position where I had to make a similar decision, there is a little hope that this person would come to a similar to conclusion.

As someone who chooses not to own a car, recycles as many goods as possible, and makes my own paper, I feel that Nader is that candidate.  And, as long as his values are the way that they are, he will be for a very long time.

Nader/Gonzalez 08

 

I also leave you with this little Grist/Nader goodie:

question If George Bush were a plant or an animal, what kind of plant or animal would he be?
answer Poison ivy. As for an animal, I wouldn’t demean any animal species that way. It’s easy to say coyote, but that’s a stereotype of animals. What carnivore has ever, as a species, done what Bush has done to the Iraqis?

Saturday, 13 September 2008

On Public Transportation.

The scene was typical: pedestrian approaches difficult to cross intersection; however standstill occurs with pedestrian, car, and bus.  Not wanting to get run over, pedestrian allows vehicles to go first, and then makes a run for the bus stop, only to have bus pull off.

And so begins “Public Transportation: A Rant.”

I realize that buses aren’t mandated to stop and wait for patrons to get to the bus stop and board.  I also realize that, as a patron, I should be at the stop before the bus gets there.  However, it is just common courtesy and decency for the bus driver to allow a person who is running for the bus to board.

In addition to the frequency of bus drivers to drive off without the patrons, the bus drivers have a tendency to range between ten and 45 minutes of tardiness.  This isn’t merely an annoyance, it’s an inconvenience – particularly when patrons have places to be… like work.

It is bad enough that the powers that be over at the Port Authority offices recently increased pricing on a very shoddy public transport system, but now the drivers want to go on strike.

Now, I may be flawed in my thinking, but shouldn’t the service be at it’s supreme before its employees decide to be demanding of whatever goods it is that they are seeking?

I find myself hard pressed to care about employees who are rude, perpetually late, and make my life all the more inconvenient as a result of that rudeness and lateness.

To the Port Authority employees, I say – get your acts together and provide a real service rather than a disservice before getting demanding and boycott happy.

Friday, 5 January 2007

The Murder of a World Leader.

Filed under: News,Politics,Ramblings — S @ 1:49 pm

Whether or not you like the man, agree or disagree with the way he ran his country, agree or disagree with the invasion of his country and his capture, or agree with the death penalty and his execution – the fact remains that the assassination of Saddam Hussein resulted in some of the most hypocritical actions this country has ever been known to be a part of.

If you will recall, there were several instances in which Iraqi terrorist (perhaps, maybe not) groups were responsible for kidnapping American tourists (perhaps) and beheading them, only for it to be shown in video form on several internet channels. You will also recall the uproar it caused in this country – the acts were despicable, how dare they be so disrespectful, they were monsters, they needed to be stopped.

Fast forward to this past weekend, the execution of Saddam Hussein, Iraqi dictator. If you will recall, on the news, aired a number of times, was the preparation for the hanging of this world leader. Next would be the captured video of it being put on YouTube. Not to mention the headlines: “Saddam Hangs.” “Saddam Executed.” “Saddam Put To Death.” “Saddam Swings.” and any other brazen terminology for hanging that you could think of – coupled with photos.

What’s the difference between when an organized group airs the execution of someone and when an entire country does it?

Oh, right. The United States can do no wrong.

We are a country founded on dishonesty, terrorism, and hypocrisy – it’s only fitting that this sort of thing would happen.

But, I ask – who are the real monsters?

Thursday, 9 November 2006

Political Mindedness.

Filed under: Politics — S @ 12:48 pm

Inside Politics

South Dakota votes against ban of almost all abortions

POSTED: 1:45 a.m. EST, November 8, 2006

Story Highlights

• NEW: South Dakotans vote down ban on virtually all abortions, CNN projects
Activists disappointed as Wisconsin likely to pass same-sex marriage ban
• Arizona voters projected to make English official language
• Minimum-wage increases projected to pass in five states


(AP) — South Dakotans rejected a toughest-in-the-nation law that would have banned virtually all abortions, even in cases of rape and incest — defeating one of the most high-profile state measures facing voters Tuesday.

The outcome was a blow to conservatives, although they prevailed in five other states where voters approved constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage. Among them was Wisconsin, where gay-rights activists had nursed hopes of engineering the first defeat of such a ban.

Five states approved increases in their minimum wage, while Arizona passed four measures targeting illegal immigrants, including one making English the state’s official language. (View real-time results for key ballot measures)

Voters weren’t keen about another, more quirky Arizona measure: They defeated a proposal that would have awarded $1 million to a randomly selected voter in each general election.

Nationwide, a total of 205 measures were on the ballots in 37 states, but none had riveted political activists across the country like the South Dakota abortion measure. Passed overwhelmingly by the legislature earlier this year, it would have allowed abortion only to save a pregnant woman’s life.

Lawmakers had hoped the ban would be challenged in court, provoking litigation that might eventually lead to a U.S. Supreme Court reversal of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.

“This is a wake-up call to lawmakers in other states that America’s pro-choice majority will not allow an assault on Roe v. Wade to go unanswered,” said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. (Watch how initiatives indicate a ‘frustration with government’ — 1:22 Video )

Eight states had ban-same-sex-marriage amendments on their ballots. Idaho, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia joined Wisconsin in approving them, according to projections. Results were pending in Arizona, Colorado and South Dakota.

Similar amendments have passed previously in all 20 states to consider them.

Colorado voters had an extra option — a measure that would grant domestic-partnership rights to same-sex couples.

Conservatives hoped the same-sex marriage bans might increase turnout for Republicans. Democrats looked for a boost from low-income voters turning out on behalf of measures to raise the state minimum wage in six states.

The wage hike passed in Arizona, Missouri, Montana, Nevada and Ohio, according to CNN projections. Results were pending in Colorado. (Watch talk of minimum wage and pregnant pigs — 2:20 Video )

In Missouri, a proposed amendment allowing stem cell research was a factor in the crucial Senate race there; incumbent Republican Jim Talent opposed the measure, while Democratic challenger Claire McCaskill supported it.

Missouri — along with Arizona, South Dakota and California — had a sharp increase in tobacco taxes on its ballot. In California alone, big tobacco companies spent more than $56 million fighting a tax increase that would boost the average price of a pack of cigarettes to $6.55.

In Ohio, anti-smoking activists won a showdown with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco. Voters approved a tough ban on smoking in public places and rejected a Reynolds-backed measure that would have exempted bars, bowling alleys and racetracks.

The costliest ballot campaign — a state record of $133 million — was raised in the fight over California’s Proposition 87, which would tax companies drilling for oil in the state. The proposal sought to raise $4 billion to promote alternative fuels and energy-efficient vehicles.

Nevada and Colorado both offered measures — trailing badly in the pre-Election Day polls — that would legalize possession of up to an ounce of marijuana by anyone 21 and older. A measure in Rhode Island would restore voting rights to felons on probation and parole.

In Michigan, CNN projects that voters will approve a proposition to bar the state government from using race and gender to determine who gets into college, who gets hired and who receives contracts.

Elsewhere, land use was a hot issue, part of a backlash against a 2005 Supreme Court ruling allowing the city of New London, Connecticut, to buy up homes to make way for a private commercial development.

Eleven states considered eminent-domain measures barring the government from taking private property for a private use; Florida, Georgia and South Carolina approved them overwhelmingly. In four states — Arizona, California, Idaho and Washington — voters could require state and local authorities to compensate property owners if land-use regulations lowered the value of their property.

South Dakota voters could make their state the first to strip immunity from judges, exposing them to the possibility of lawsuits, fines and even jail for their actions on the bench. Opponents, including leaders of both major parties, said it would create chaos in the judicial system.

In Maine, Nebraska and Oregon, voters considered measures that would cap increases in state spending — similar to a controversial measure approved in Colorado in 1992.

Pennsylvania voters gave the state the go-ahead to borrow $20 million so that nearly 33,000 veterans in the state who participated in the Persian Gulf War could collect one-time payments up to $525.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Hooray, America! Smacking the fundamentalist right in the face left and right! And yet, we still can’t seem to get the equal rights for gays down. What is going on?! And making English the “official” language – allow me to use internet speak when I say WTF?!

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