Friday, March 25, 2005

"Culture of Life," part 3

Note to Pat Robertson: comparing people who you don't like to Nazis is so Ward Churchill.

And, no, it doesn't count if you bring in your own quack scholar to support it. Especially if he works at the university that was founded by your scary organization.


(Yes, I watch The 700 Club. Don't judge me. I find it fun and informative. Well, informative at least. Sometimes it's funny. Mostly it's sad. I also like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. It's addicting. I also can never stop reading postings on Hannidate 2005. I'm addicted to the right wing.)

Thursday, March 24, 2005


I once had a kitten. He was cute and adorable. He did stupid things sometimes, but I knew that that was just because he was secretly brilliant. The worst thing he ever did was use his claws a little too persistently when climbing up my leg.

Oh where has that cute, innocent, cuddly kitten gone?

I now have an evil cat in his place.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

"Culture of Life," part 2

So, explain this to me: the people who believe in the culture of life are sending death threats to the judges working on the Terri Schiavo case?

This reminds me of when Justice Blackmun (author of the Roe opinion) recieved death threats. Seriously. Pro-lifers sending death threats. Kind makes ya wonder if it's about "life" after all or about something else. Hmm...

Also: this law that Congress passed. What's with Florida and all these good-for-one-time only deals? Bush v. Gore explicitly stated that the precedent didn't apply to anything else (the pro-Bush majority didn't want to set any precedent for using the Equal Protection Clause or anything!). Now Republicans are saying that this law only applies to this one family. Guess they'd hafta say that, otherwise they'd be confronted on a larger scale with the fact that they are striving to cut the very thing that keeps Terri alive: Medicaid.

And now Tom Delay is giving speeches talking about how God put Terri in that position so that the "conservative movement" can reach out to its constituents. Uh-huh. God did that just for your political gain.

This whole issues makes me, by turns, really sad, fumingly angry, and frustrated at the media coverage of it all.

Any thoughts?

Monday, March 21, 2005

"Culture of Life"

So, lemme get this straight...

Congressional Republicans are pretty much saying that the Federal government has a right (nay, duty) to intervene whenever an American is in serious danger. (Terry Schiavo, who is being put through seeming torture with continuous removal and reinsertion of her feeding tube, is the focus of a law passed by Congress saying that her parents can appeal to have the tube reinserted.)

The argument is that the government has a role whenever there is serious doubt over whether a person needs critical medical care. Lets take this "culture of life" idea further...

Are Republicans seriously contending that we, as a country, should in all cases mandate care, even when there are severe obstacles to it? (ie husbands, insurance providers, lack of funds)

Because, if so, they have just endorsed a great idea: national health care.

Poor people, elderly people, immigrants... many of them cannot afford healthcare. If we truly believed in a culture of life, we'd make sure they had health care.

If we truly believed in a culture of life, we'd make sure that pregnant women had access to health care and fetal nutrition programs, reducing the number of abortions (because, really, for the right-wingers, this "culture of life" is really all about abortion).

I read this on some blog (I should look it up and give credit but I'm lazy): Some Democrats in Congress should introduce a Culture of Life Act (Terri's bill) which guarantees health care for all Americans. See how many Republicans you'll get to endorse that. But, isn't a culture of life more important than money, Mr./Ms. Republican??

How quickly the "cult of life" people forget that while Governor of my great state GWB passed a law saying that hospitals can pull the plug on people on life support if it's clear that they won't be able to pay. Just in the past week, an infant was removed from life support against his mother's wishes for inability to pay. Huh? This is a culture of life??

But, here's the thing: Do I actually think Republicans want a culture of life? No.

Do I think Democrats should make this about a culture of life? No.

This should so totally NOT be political. I am not arguing that the feeding tube should/should not be put back. I am arguing that this is not an issue for political opportunists in Congress to get in on. This is a decision by the family. Clearly, there is disagreement. Where does our law say the case should go? The court system. Let them decide. This should be a judicial, not a political decision. And, no, I don't think it counts when, after being adjudicated several times, CONGRESS makes a political move to kick it back into the legal system. Sorry.

"A memo distributed to Republican senators by party leaders called the case a "great political issue" and a "tough issue for Democrats," The Washington Post said.

This disgusts me. This woman has been through enough torture, what with the removal and reinsertion of the feeding tube several times now. This is clearly (by their own framing of the issue in the memo and by GWB's TX law) not about a "culture of life" by any stretch of the imagination. No, this is about mobilizing a base. We forget that this is a real woman, a real family!

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Friday, March 18, 2005

Judge not...

Three times today I have found myself in the position of judging someone and then, not minutes later, feeling hypocritical about it. First, I was in line at Albertsons. The self-checkout line. Now, I think these things are cool. But you should really only go through them if you don't have a whole lot of things to ring up. I like to think of them as express lanes. I also think that, if you don't know how to work it, you shouldn't go through it--it just holds everyone up.

Sooo... I was just getting water (mostly in order to get cash back from my debit card for toll money so that I could get to where I was going for research stuff). I had ONE thing. I was stuck behind this guy with a whole basketful of stuff. And he clearly didn't know how to operate the self-checkout. I thought very mean things about him for having problems with the machine. (I was in a hurry.) So, it's my turn. I'm an old pro at this stuff. Well, for some reason, whenever I scan the water and put it in the "bagging area" it says I have too many things in the bagging area. When I remove the water it says, "You have removed an item from the bagging area" and starts beeping at me. I go through several cycles of this. People are lining up behind me (probably thinking the same sorts of things I was thinking about the old man in front of me). It finally works out, but I learn a valuable lesson about patience and hypocrisy. Well, maybe not.

Later on... I'm on the tollway and stuck in a line. The person in front of me obviously can't find any change to throw into the little thingy. Seriously. I waited like a minute. Due to the way I was packed in, I couldn't get out of the line, I could only wait. A minute is a long time--I know it doesn't sound like it, but it really is. So, after thinking not-nice thoughts about the blue car, it's my turn. Now, a smart person would've utilized this time getting ones' money together. But, not me. I get up to the thingy and realize that I only have a dollar bill and I'm in the exact change line. There's nobody in the booth. So, I dig around my car, finally scrounging up the $0.75. But not before the person behind me honked at me. Like, twice.

A few minutes ago... I was reading one of my favorite blogs. I noticed that she hadn't updated in almost a week. "What's the point of having a blog if you're not going to update it?" (I must be coming off as awfully grouchy in this post, I'm not normally... this was just a looooong day.) At that point I realized that it had been even longer since I had updated my own blog.

Thus... out of a sense of hypocrisy and guilt, I present you with this humble, uninteresting post.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

I feel like crying.

And that's totally irrational. It's just that I'm not good with confrontations. But this wasn't really a confrontation. Ok, it's that I'm not good with stupid people. And part of it is that the stupid person may be right. On one thing.

I suppose I ought to explain.

But you need background information first.

I have a four year scholarship. This covers tuition, fees, a stipend for books, and a very little bit of my housing. I have been here for three years. Because 1)I took several dual credit courses in high school and some at a community college the summer before coming to UTD and 2) I tend to take the maximum number of hours per semester 'cause I'm a great big dork, I have almost every single thing that I need to graduate this semester.

I went in to see my adviser to ask add some minors (government and gender studies) for which I already have all the credits I need. Well, I walked in, and she was like, "why aren't you graduating this semester?" I told her about the scholarship. Her response: "Well, just because you have money in your pocket doesn't mean you need to spend it." I had a feeling the meeting wasn't getting any better. I told her that I had nothing to do otherwise. I hadn't applied to grad schools for the fall.

"Well, this is going to send the message to graduate schools that you're a perpetual student and simply can't make up your mind."

Really? Even if I'm finished in four years and am taking classes related to my major?

"Well, that's just the impression it gives. You won't be there with the admissions committee to explain your thought processes to them."

Well, what if I were to add some minors (which is why I came in!!) out of the classes I've already got in order to make it look like those extra hours were productive?

"Well, all those hours still look bad."

So, we go and try to add minors. I had it all written up, nicely and neatly--all the classes I needed for each minor. And I still had things I needed fulfilled for my major (many of the classes for Soc, Govt, and Gender Studies are cross-listed). But she simply didn't understand what I was saying. She had my degree plan in front of her and adamantly refused to move anything from the "Major Related Upper Level Courses" to courses for a minor, believing (somehow) that because a previous adviser had written them in the little form that they were unmovable, that they couldn't be replaced by another SOC class.

Then, on the GOVT minor, because she wouldn't take my Law and Gender or Civil Rights Law classes (listed as both GOVT and SOC classes, but because I registered in them as SOC she said they wouldn't count), I suggested that I use my American Public Policy class (GOVT), which was the upper level writing course requirement for SOC until they added the new sociology writing class. Well--she said that I absolutely could not use that one because it was being used as the writing requirement. I said I was planning on taking the new soc writing course in the fall, instead. "What? You shouldn't be taking any more classes! You should be graduating."

So, grr. I got my gender studies minor added, but not my government one. It's tempting not to even go back to add it. Is it worth it to have to deal with her? She's not a stupid person. In fact, she's quite nice. But, she didn't understand what I was trying to say. And, when I wrote that first paragraph at the top of this post, I was afraid that maybe she was right about the extra hours looking bad to grad schools.

And, I never did ask my adviser about how to start a senior honors thesis, which was the main reason I wanted to meet in the first place.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Student Fees

Well, UT-Dallas is finally earning all those student fees that they make me pay along with my tuition every semester. Err--that my scholarship pays along with my tuition every semester.

This week, I have:

1) set up a meeting with my advisor. I've only ever met with her once. I need to add minors and make sure I'm on track for graduation and ask about how to do my senior honors thesis next semester. Advising fee: $8.00/semester hour. So, $168.00 for this meeting!

2) decided to set up an appointment with a counselor from the Counseling Center to deal with my extreme anxiety issues. Never done this OR visited the campus health center before. That medical services fee: $27.00/semester. Wow, this is cheaper than the advising meeting.

3) went and worked out. sort of. either way, I went to the Activity Center. Which I've done a big once before. Recreation Center fee: $61.00/semester. I don't even think I burned 61 calories!

4) sent a transcript request to the Records Office. Ok, I've done this a few times this semester. They've earned their $18.00/semester fee.

5) checked out like 8 books from the library. I usually don't use the UTD library. One of them I got today was a brand new book, so that makes this particular fee even more pertinant: Library Acquisition Fee--$10.00/semester.

6) sat in the student union for hours and read one of aforementioned books. I rarely use the Student Union. So, for my sitting in the comfy chair in the Comet Lounge, I paid $60.00 this semester.

7) registered with the career center. To look for internships and stuff. This is part of the Student Service Fee, which is $16.60 per semester hour, so $348.60--except that there's a maximum of $149.40. Interesting.

To think, I've been wasting so much money all along. The weird thing is, the time I'm finally using them is spring break. I guess it's 'cause I finally have time.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

I want this license plate!

On the random, impromptu Austin trip this weekend I saw the Best License Plate Ever. It was on 35 South, during our hastily reconsidered side trip to San Antonio. It was: C60 GRR.

I've seen other exciting ones, but GRR is awesome. One time, I saw ### CIA right next to ### KGB (not protecting car identities, just don't remember what the numbers were). That was pretty funny. I thought I saw ### GOD once, but it was GDD.

Overall, Austin was exciting. I might just consider UT for grad school. The campus was large and the people seemed exciting. UTD is tiny in comparison. And less exciting. Sort of makes me wish I had had the dorm living experience.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

The twisted tale of my fragile self esteem (ok, not really)

Well, today was a mixed-news kinda day.

First off, it is now, officially, Spring Break!

AND--I am the Queen of Midterms. A's or A+'s in every class!

[please forgive the blatant self-esteem building... you'll see why...]

I just checked my email, only to find:

The committee just completed the process of selecting participants for the summer
2005 REU program at the University of Texas Population Research Center. This was an unusually strong year for applications, and we only have eight positions. While the committee was impressed with your application, you were not one of the eight students selected to receive an offer.

We wish you the best of luck in your educational endeavors.

I'm actually sort of cool with this. Austin would've been fun. But, the program wasn't really a good "fit." It was more demography... I'm more sociology...

I just find it funny: "the committee was impresed with your application." Umm.. yeah... only it was sent to every single person they rejected on a CC'd list. Makes me feel really special.

It's ok though. My self-esteem is in tact (due in large part to rockin' midterm grades), and I still have another application out there! Wish me luck!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Grr. I hate it when radio/television shows bring on a "feminist" to have balance in some sort of discussion and this "feminist" is a great big idiot who doesn't know what he/she is talking about, making all feminists look stupid. It seems like this is planned by the show's producers, to make "the feminist perspective" seem ridiculous. I always try to call in and get heard, but I never do. Grr.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005


I know I've been rather lax in updating. But, hey. it's midterms week! Gimme a break (all two of you who read this!)..

Anyway, I noticed an interesting phenomenon today. It might not be all that revolutionary to you, but it was to me.

Proofreading, to me, has always been a rather perfunctory check for your basic grammatical and stylistic errors. After writing a paper, I would read it over on the screen and I might send it to someone else to check over it, someone with fresh eyes.

Today I knew that I had time between classes, so I decided to print out a paper and bring it with me to do some proofreading. Wow. Just looking at the paper in print caused me to see so many things I hadn't noticed on the screen before. When I got through making changes with my red pen, my 12 page paper looked positively bloody.

I don't know what the actual difference is, or why it's the case that (at least for me) you catch more things on paper than on screen, but, dude, I am so going to start doing this!