Monday, October 31, 2005

Lots of death goin' on

It's a great time of year to celebrate death, right?

We can dress up like ghouls and goblins, eat candy and go out dancing and compete in costume contests. We can also celebrate the lives of family members who have recently died or ancestors long gone. Personally, I love it.

Unfortunately, we can also face up to tragic death happening here and now, and this isn't cause for celebration. According to THIS REPORT October hasn't been a great month for American soldiers in Iraq.

I wonder what George Bush is going as for Halloween this year?

Conservative Cancer

"A new vaccine that protects against cervical cancer has set up a clash between health advocates who want to use the shots aggressively to prevent thousands of malignancies and social conservatives who say immunizing teen-agers could encourage sexual activity.

Although the vaccine will not become available until next year at the earliest, activists on both sides have begun maneuvering to influence how widely the immunizations will be employed."

This is incredible... social conservatives are actually opposed to a vaccine which could save lives! According to the article, the vaccine would protect against the human papilloma virus, which is sexually transmitted and which can cause cancer. It's the primary cause of cancer in the US and affects 10,000 women each year, killing more than 3,700.

I wonder if social conservatives would feel differently about the vaccine if it saved the lives of men.

Click here for the full article

- Jean Chen

Thursday, October 27, 2005

fuh2

We can't ignore the fact that global warming is actually happening. The arctic is melting and the US still refuses to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Sure, Toyota's hybrid car is selling like hotcakes, but it seems like for every hybrid car on the road, there's a Hummer burning gas at a rate of 10 miles per gallon.

So, for all of us who care about the environment, I found this site:

Fuck You and Your H2

- Jean Chen

Sheryl Swoopes Comes Out

WNBA superstar Sheryl Swoopes just came out, after being in a relationship with a woman for eight years. Lesbians have one more icon to look up to, which is really great. Too bad it took her so long:

Click here for the article

- Jean Chen

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

CAAAN YOOOU DIG IT?!



Warriors, come out and play-ee-ay! While most videogames made after movies (and vice versa) typically suck, The Warriors looks promising. Coincidentally, the movie noted for its violence in the 70s is being adapted into a videogame in a time when the govt. has been cracking down on violent games. And Rockstar Games never fails to deliver a crimp in politicians' undergarments. I'm sure there's gonna be some media outcry over the game, but pixelated blood is always fun.

-zoneil maharaj.

where the circle of life stops

In the movie Donnie Darko, there's a scene where Donnie and his friends discuss the sex life of smurfs. Donnie comes to the conclusion that smurfs are asexual and don't reproduce, ending with the question: "What's the point of living if you don't have a [penis]?"

We're here to reproduce. Whatever else we do in life is superfluous. Someone needs to tell that to the 5,300 members of the Asexual Visibility and Education Network.

Check out this article about the group .

-zoneil maharaj.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Gold Diggers

Yipes! Just when I think that we've done all we can to destroy the environment, I read this article in the NY Times on how gold mining is toxic and damaging:

"Consider a ring. For that one ounce of gold, miners dig up and haul away 30 tons of rock and sprinkle it with diluted cyanide, which separates the gold from the rock. Before they are through, miners at some of the largest mines move a half million tons of earth a day, pile it in mounds that can rival the Great Pyramids, and drizzle the ore with the poisonous solution for years.

"Some metal mines, including gold mines, have become the near-equivalent of nuclear waste dumps that must be tended in perpetuity. Hard-rock mining generates more toxic waste than any other industry in the United States, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The agency estimated last year that the cost of cleaning up metal mines could reach $54 billion."

Click here for the full article

- Jean Chen

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Lots of children left behind

No Child Left Behind makes me feel like a schizophrenic. One minute I'm laughing about it, the next I'm infuriated by it.

President Bush, despite lackluster NCLB progress results released this week, is convinced the federal policy is making a difference in public education.

Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said this today:

"We have more non-native speakers, there are lots of so-called at-risk, hard-to-educate students, and in spite of that, steady progress is being made," she said. "We're on the right track with No Child Left Behind."

"IN SPITE" of non-native speakers, at-risk and hard-to-educate students, we're on the right track? ok, now I'm infuriated.

First of all, why is our Education Secretary using hurtful, meaningless and antiquated terms like "at-risk" and "hard-to-educate?"

Secondly, why are we trying to improve public education "in spite" of students whose primary language is not English? How effective can NCLB be when our policy makers are indifferent to students' needs?

Read Up

Frozen soldiers not that uncommon?

Park rangers found the dead, frozen body of a WWII airman way out in the Sierras on Oct. 19, still all wrapped up in his military parachute.

At first I thought, wow this is crazy! That poor bastard has been sitting up there since 1942! Then I realized his story is not that uncommon.

check it out

McBill

"Makers and sellers of fast food won a weighty victory when the House of Representatives voted Wednesday to approve the so-called cheeseburger bill, which would bar lawsuits from obese Americans who accuse the industry of making them fat."

What do you think? Should people be able to sue McDonald's for making them fat? It seems silly to be able to do so, but then when you take into account all the advertising that makes fast food seem like it's a healthy choice, then I start to wonder.

The best part of the article is this:

"But the sponsor of the Personal Responsibility and Food Consumption Act, Rep. Ric Keller, R-Fla., a portly man who admits a passion for junk food, was not on the House floor for the vote. He was hospitalized Wednesday so doctors could install a heart-monitoring device.

Keller spokesman Bryan Malenius said that Keller has cardiac arrhythmia and that the congressman's medical condition is "not cheeseburger-related -- but I do see the irony."

Read the full article

- Jean Chen

100 million dollars!

That's how much Howard Stern is getting paid a year to host his radio show on satellite radio.

Check out the article

- Jean Chen

NBA PLAYERS NO LONGER ""FITTED"

On Monday, the NBA announced that basketball players must dress in business casual attire. The league banned items such as sleeveless shirts, shorts, sunglasses while indoors, and headphones during team or league business, according the Associated Press. And if they don't follow the rules, they will be benched.

So in essence...no hip-hop gear is allowed.

I think this is ridiculous and borderline racist. I'm sick of white America trying to mold minorities into "non- threatening" creatures who look, think, walk, talk, and act like them.

People see a tall, black basketball player, in a gold chain and baseball cap and automatically they think of a criminal. However, the problem doesn't lie in the basketball players wardrobe, it lies in how white America perceives them.

Don't change the way the players have to dress, change the way people think.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

cheech and chong are: the fbi agents

If you apply for a job with the FBI and have had a toke of the mary jane in the last three years, or smokedmore than 15 times in your life, or ridden the horse or stuck your hand in our president's college cocaine jar in the past ten years, don't bother turning in an application...yet. The FBI might ease up on hiring restrictions in regards to drug use for certain jobs.

I'm not advocating drug use, but I'm sure there were plenty of qualified people who were refused a job because of the strict rules. If a cokehead can become a mayor, or even president, why can't someone who smoked a little reefer in his college days get hired at the FBI?

-zoneil maharaj

Mother Nature

What's going on with all the natural disasters? First there was that huge tsunami in South Asia, then Hurricane Katrina, and now mudslides in Guatemala and the earthquake in Pakistan. Some folks have been speculating that because of global warming, the weather and the earth are going nutty. I don't know if I agree with that, but well, maybe it's true?

Also, are there any relief agencies that could use donations for the earthquake?

- Jean Chen

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Dropping All Pretenses

Ok, yes, so the Harriet Miers nomination is my new obsession... because something just doesn't seem right.

What's really bothering me about the whole circus surrounding the situation is that conservatives are complaining that she isn't conservative enough. Whatever happened to the notion that a judge is an unbiased civil servant, someone who makes decisions based on the law? In the past, it seems that there was some effort to make it look like people were nominating non-partisan judges. But when did politicians and leaders drop all those pretenses and start publicly screaming for a conservative or liberal judge?

- Jean Chen

Remember to pack your .25 (caliber)!

Hey Florida tourists, watch your back!

Brady campaigners in Miami, Fla. are handing out flyers advising tourists
not to "argue uneccessarily" with locals.

Why?

Because it's legal in Florida to "stand your ground" and meet force with force
when threatening situations arise.

That means it's ok to carry a gun in public, just in case.

The NRA says the law is making Florida a safer place.
Imagine how those fliers are making visiting families feel.

Check it out

Backlash

It's not just the conservative backlash against Harriet Miers or the public's disapproval of how Hurricane Katrina was handled. In a 90 - 9 vote, the Senate, going against the White House, voted to set new limits on interrogatin detainees in Iraq and elsewhere.

"Forty-six Republicans joined 43 Democrats and one independent in voting to define and limit interrogation techniques that U.S. troops may use against terrorism suspects, the latest sign that alarm over treatment of prisoners in the Middle East and at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is widespread in both parties. The White House had fought to prevent the restrictions, with Vice President Cheney visiting key Republicans in July and a spokesman yesterday repeating President Bush's threat to veto the larger bill that the language is now attached to -- a $440 billion military spending measure."

Click here for the full article

- Jean Chen

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Born Again

What's up with Harriet Miers? Or more specifically, what's up with the Dems and Repubs on Harriet Miers? The Dems seem unusually silent on her and some seem to approve her as a nominee, while on the other side, Repubs are split about her. A lot of conservatives are claiming that she's not right wing enough -- but it's now coming out that she's a born again Christian!

Check out article

She's obviously conservative, so why are there protests from the right and not from the left?

On another note, the transition from Democrat to Republican often coincides with becoming born again Christian. Check out this P&P article:

Read article

The thing is, you can be Christian and liberal:

Read article

-Jean Chen

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Big Easy goes back to school

Thankfully, New Orleans schools that can resume classes, are. But things are not the same.

Many children are attending schools they've never been to before.

Schools will not have to administer No Child Left Behind standardized tests this year.

Some say it's an opportunity to revitalize the city's schools. Some criticize school board members for meeting only once since the hurricane hit.

Listen To This

and Also This

Kill Black Babies...the crime rate just might go down

Well at least according to Bill Bennett, a radio host and former Reagan administration Secretary of Education. In a broadcast last week, Bennitt stated that "[You] could abort every black baby in the country, and your crime rate would go down." Not only is it great to know that these are the kind of people we have had leading education in our country, but it's also racist, insane, and inaccurate.

While you probably could abort every black baby and have the crime rate go down, you could also abort every white baby and have the crime rate go down almost the same.

Don't believe me? Check the facts.

There are almost 700,000 white males in prision and roughly 800,000 black males in prision. And likewise, there are 81,000 white women incarcerated and 67,000 black ones.

So the moral of the story?

Lets just abort everyone in the country, and we won't have any crime at all.

Monday, October 03, 2005

No Experience

Once again, Bush is trying to appoint someone to a position, when that person has no prior job experience. First it was Michael Brown as head of FEMA, and now it's Harriet Meirs to the Supreme Court. As the Washington Post pointed out:

"If confirmed by the Senate, Miers would be a rare appointee with no experience as a judge at any level."

Yikes!

- Jean Chen

Saturday, October 01, 2005

The Bad Old Days

I was crusing the mega Friends of the Library Book Sale today when I started leafing through this 1932 guide to comedy. Pages of tips on how to be funny, dissecting "Take my wife, please" and "Boy, are my arms tired" types of jokes. Somewhere 'round page 200 was this random lame joke about quarter tones that ended with he punchline "What is the definition of the word "octoroon?"

When I'm watching old media, I'm constantly shocked by the everyday prejudice that pops up in the unlikliest of sources, like Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney putting on blackface in "Babes on Broadway." People may like to ridicule "political correctness," but...jeez, it beats having a world where casual racism is considered family fun.