News Round Up, Friday, May 24, 2013

Random thought of the day: I should’ve measured my inches as well as weight before starting my change in diet and exercise. My weight has refused to fluxuate in the past month (other than a pound or two), but my skirts and pants are telling me that I’m losing *something* with all the effort I’ve put in. Oh well, as long as I’m getting healthier, I don’t care what I weigh!

Random note to my readers: Fridays are half days at work. That said, I spend quite a bit less time online; I tend to go out to lunch after work, then run errands. My posts will be shorter on Fridays (I haven’t had time to hit all the news sites today), but I’m considering an additional “weekend edition” on Saturdays. We’ll see. Any input would be appreciated!


Barbara Listing, Anti-Abortion Leader, Compares Rape And Incest To Car Accidents, Floods

Jessica Tramontana had it right. “Rape is not anywhere near… a flood or a car accident, because rape is not an accident. Nobody can anticipate being the victim of a crime.” Under Listing’s logic, everyone should have to buy special gun-shot injury insurance, because choosing to be around guns for fun or to hunt is the same as choosing to be a female. Oh, wait… we don’t choose that, do we? You can choose to live in a flood area, but you can’t choose your sex at birth.


John McCain: Americans ‘Are Being Ripped Off’ By Cable Companies

McCain is smart, but I think it’s too little, too late for me. I have Hulu and Netflix, so there aren’t any shows I really feel like I’m missing out on. Sure, there are series that play on TV before I can see them (like Doctor Who), but I’m fine with waiting for the DVD. I actually feel freed by the lack of scheduled programming in my life; I don’t have to be home at 7:30 to watch the new episode of something, because I have all my shows on demand 24/7.


Elizabeth Warren Student Loans Bill Endorsed By Several Colleges, Organizations

I will be this wonderful woman’s cheerleader forever. The fact that she’s literally championing students and regular people (“the middle class”) makes me so proud of her, and the way she approaches everything realistically gives me hope for her success. I don’t have any student loans, but I’d like to see her succeed in helping out those who do.


Jo Bonner, Alabama GOP Congressman, To Announce Resignation

I find it unfair and obnoxious for the Democratic party to refuse to put up a candidate for a position. As a Texan, I dealt with that this last election. Many of the positions I had to vote for were listed with just a Republican, or with an occasional Libertarian or Green party candidate tossed in. My votes meant nothing. Instead of giving up before they’ve even started, the Democrats should take a chance; hell, they might even stir up enough people to vote in a change of pace. Even Bonner’s district has to have a youth vote!


Rape and Winning

This article is about military sexual assault, in case you don’t have time to click around. I like the comment closest to the bottom: “Maybe it’s time to look at the values themselves – beginning with those of our military culture, which is the model, and indeed the metaphor, for every other form of domination culture. The prime value is winning, achieving dominance over some sort of enemy or ‘other’.”

My boss (a 55-year-old veteran) just had a discussion with me. Military culture has changed; it used to be conservative, patriotic people who signed up to “do their duty” to their country. You served the country, not yourself. It was about being something bigger. Now, the military is a catch-all for people who needed a way to support themselves in a failing economy, a way to get free college, and a way to express anger and resentment toward foreigners after attacks on our country. Many of the people I grew up with as military brats have now joined up, following a family tradition of honoring their country; I spend a lot of time worrying what will become of them after their minds and bodies are torn up by the system.

In one specific case, I know a boy who became a good man; he’s married and starting a family, and he’s never broken his ethical code. I also happen to know that killing insurgents during his first and second tour in Iraq hurt him; he’s infantry, but he’s not dead inside, so he admits that killing wasn’t easy. On the other hand, another specific case is a boy who became a shell of a man, a mockery. He’s become hardened, bitter, and violent; his attitude toward everything in life is about him being better than everyone else (including any man I happen to have in my life). That boy was broken by a faulty system.

As I said yesterday, I love my soldiers… but I hate the armed forces.


Teacher Resignation Video: Ellie Rubenstein Explains ‘Everything I Love About Teaching Is Extinct’

If you have time, go listen to the video that accompanies this article. This teacher makes many valid points on the deconstruction of education over the years. I’ll be honest, as an English lover I used to want to become a teacher… but by the time I finished my first year of college, I’d watched what teaching really means today (with TAKS testing here in Texas, and various in-class sessions I had for my childhood education courses). It’s not for me, because I could never be like the teachers who made a difference in my life, at least not in the current teaching climate. And if I can’t be part of that awesome solution to student disconnect and apathy, then I won’t become part of the problem either. I may homeschool, though; we’ve been discussing it ever since talking about kids a few years ago. Also, I’ve personally considered creating a Pagan after school enrichment program geared toward exposing kids to science and nature, as well as philosophy and spirituality.


Report: Nation’s Kids Need To Get More Physical

As an asthmatic, I didn’t always like PE. I do, however, think it’s very important for the health of all youth. I actually remember loving PE in certain grades, thanks to awesome teachers. For example, one teacher had several random items like stilts and unicycles for us to play with; we also signed up for Jumprope for Heart several years in a row. Another teacher made dodgeball less intimidating by using foam balls and having special rules that leveled the playing field for everyone. We even played cat-and-mouse tag games in high school, which surprisingly were enjoyed by all. The key is fun; if you’re having fun, it stops being a workout and starts being a game.


Encinitas Yoga Trial: Parents Argue School Is Violating Separation Of Church And State

Twits! Yoga *can be* spiritual, but it can also be a simple form of stretching and muscle strengthening. Honestly, I often use yoga simply as an exercise, even though I’m a Wiccan and far more aligned with the spiritual aspects than, say, a Christian. To me, this is akin to arguing against history lessons about the Quakers just because those lessons could be “teaching spiritual ideas” to students. Oh, please!


Food Stamp Cuts Backed By Farm Subsidy Beneficiaries

Welfare for the poor is the job of good Christians, but welfare for big farms is the government’s job. Of course. Actually, I find it hypocritical not because of the representatives receiving farm subsidies, but because they want Christianity to be outside of government. You know, that “separation of church and state” thing? Well, that’d be great… but how about ALL the time? Like, get religion out of marriage rights, out of women’s rights, and out of education issues. Just take religion, shove it back into the personal churches and closets from whence it came, and be done with it. Then, and only then, can you say you want the well-being of the poor to be the task of good Christians out there.


Rick Perry ‘Greatly Disappointed’ With Boy Scouts’ Decision To Allow Gay Youths

I’m sorry, but anything that disappoints my governor is a good thing. He’s that kind of man.


Exxon Mobil LGBT Discrimination Complaint: A Tale Of Two Applicants

First of all, Exxon failed miserably. Given two candidates, you’re supposed to pick the one with better qualifications for the position. That’s what we all expect. However, I don’t think this complaint will go very far. Sure, it’s bad PR for a firm already facing bad PR for other things… but these applicants were fake. You can’t sue someone over “might’ve been” discrimination if the complainant is make-believe. I hope Exxon feels enough heat to make some positive changes, but I don’t think enough will be done as long as the Equal Rights Amendment or something similar isn’t there to force compliance on all equality measures.


Hampton Roads veterans still waiting up to 30 months for disability claims

It’s ridiculous and almost criminal to make soldiers wait so long for benefits they earned in service. One of my men is facing that now, as he’s started his VA process for back and knee injuries, as well as PTSD and insomnia. His case is moving a bit faster (thankfully), but it’ll still be several months before we hear anything. So far, he’s been given x-rays and bloodwork, handed some braces for his back and knee, and mailed a perscription of muscle relaxers for really bad days. Sometimes, I see VA benefits as a lottery; you paid in, “bought a ticket” with your military career, but there’s no guaranteed payout in the end.


Texas Library First Ever All-Digital Facility

A digital library would be interesting, but this could also go very wrong. The cons: the e-readers could be stolen or broken by users, people could sign up and then run off with them, and borrowed books might need special encription to prevent someone from “temporarily” downloading a book for a week and then proceeding to never connect online (and therefore, never trigger a deletion?). It’s complicated. The pros: save trees, make the library resources available at home and around the clock, make research easier for students in all levels of education, and using tech to move forward. We’ll see how this works. (I wonder if anyone can sign up for services, or only Bexar County residents? I live in Texas, but a completely different county.)


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