Archive for the ‘In the Media’ Category

10 Reasons Why Gay Marriage is Wrong

(reposting Mitchell Sturges)

01) Being gay is not natural. Real Americans always reject unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning.

02) Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.

03) Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.

04) Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn’t changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can’t marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.

05) Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed; the sanctity of Britany Spears’ 55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.

06) Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn’t be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren’t full yet, and the world needs more children.

07) Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.

08) Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That’s why we have only one religion in America.

09) Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That’s why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children.

10) Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven’t adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans.

Too bad I’m not Japanese

I could use $1111.

Human Trafficking Fail

I (don’t) wanna be a cowboy, baby

I ran into a post this morning that seriously caught my attention. If you’ve ever wondered what it is like to be a Woman in technology, then I recommend you read what Nicole Sullivan has to say.

She talks about the difference between The Code Cowboy and The Good Developer. I know a lot of Code Cowboys and dealing with them is tiring. Of course, I can’t even put myself into the category of The Good Developer because, as Nicole pointed out, we are our own worst enemy. We aren’t good at judging our own abilities and we need encouragement. From my post on how Geeks drive girls out of Computer Science,

Girls are much more likely to try something if someone else encourages them to do it. I once sat in a group of female heads (principals) of boarding schools. Each woman talked about how it was that she decided to go after the Head of School job. Out of 8 Heads of School, only one of them admitted that she had wanted the job and pursued it. The other seven all talked about having a friend, coworker, or administrator who encouraged them to apply for the job. And every one of them was more than qualified for the position, but was timid about seeking it without some encouragement.

What I didn’t mention there was that with a panel of eight heads of school, there were only two people in the audience: myself and another woman. So we sat in a circle and just talked. It was great, but there should have been more women there.

The only thing that Nicole says with which I don’t agree, is that we need to make video games more appealing to girls. This is everyone’s first thought, and I don’t think it is the right direction.

Video games have changed a lot over the years. Many of them are much more social, which is the biggest hurdle to becoming popular with girls, however, they are still video games. I think video games are a complete waste of time. While The Code Cowboy is playing Wii Sports, I’m outside running or making social contacts while golfing. While The Code Cowboy is playing Online Scrabble, I’m having dinner and a beer at Quiz Night. While The Code Cowboy is playing Second Life, I’m working as the treasurer of my Home Owner’s Association board. While The Code Cowboy is playing World of Warcraft, I’m attending California High Speed Rail meetings. While The Code Cowboy is playing Farmville, I’m helping to build a home with Habitat for Humanity.

I don’t want to virtualize my world. I want to use computers to make my world better. Show me how to code so that I can model a malaria outbreak in a third world country and plan to distribute supplies accordingly. Teach me how to write an app that will show me the location of the cheapest gas or the lowest price for *gasp* a cute pair of shoes. I’d argue that girls want to become programmers to solve real world problems, not to write abstract games. I don’t think I know a single girl who would choose a job writing a video game over writing an app to help solve world hunger.

I had to mention the shoes because as geek girls, we are expected to not be interested in typical girl things. So I’ve been rebelling by acquiring shoes, and skirts, painting my toenails, doing my hair and makeup. I’m tired of having to look like one of the guys just to be treated as an equal. But then this runs into the problem Nicole mentioned that “No one is going to assume that a man is on stage because he looks good in a skirt.”

Where’d you go?

The sea lions have left San Francisco’s Pier 39. There were 1500 of them last month, and today, only 10. It sounds like they had a bad Thanksgiving dinner.

This made me think about odd animal migrations, which reminded me of the Great Migration of Penguins a few years ago in the San Francisco Zoo. The zoo took in six Ohio penguins that convinced the San Francisco penguins to migrate, making their pool a whirlpool for two weeks.

I mentioned this to the bartender last night and he told me about Gay Penguins. Googling it today, it seems that a gay penguin couple was broken up this summer at the San Francisco zoo by the conniving Linda after she left her long-term mate for an older male who subsequently died.

I’m still curious, Sea Lions, Where’d you go?

The sky is falling!

I was watching Fox News for a few minutes. Forced to watch because it is on a tv in the bar area near where the continental breakfast is being served. And when it is on, it is hard to look away. Kind of like a train wreck. I can’t watch the news at all anymore because all of the news networks, including MSNBC, CNBC, and CNN make me feel like the sky is constantly falling. I’m so much happier not watching cable news.

But that is where I saw that flights are being cancelled today. If I were to believe Fox News, I’d continue to believe that all flights are grounded today. For the minute that Fox News was talking about this event, I started wondering if my flight on Sunday was going to be cancelled, how long I’d be stuck in NY, and how I would eventually get home. What a disaster! Then I came to my senses and read the internet. According to the NYTimes, the computer glitch is mainly affecting AirTran and now Delta in the Atlanta airport. That does cause delays in other airports flying to or from Atlanta, but my flight from SJC to NYC probably would have been fine. Phew. The sky isn’t falling today.

Then there was a teaser for the next disastrous news story. The guy reading the news (do these people do any reporting at all or are they just pretty faces that read whatever someone puts in front of them?) started talking about a hostage situation at a Target in Florida. But the picture showed a caption that said TJ Maxx. And I began to wonder if I had misheard him or if he had misspoke.

Either way, it made me think about last night when I was helping a sixth grader with his homework. He had to find five facts on the internet to support his argument. I didn’t realize how hard it is to explain to kids the difference between fact and opinion. And the eighth grader kept getting sucked into reading comments and taking them as facts. I joke that if it is on the internet it must be true. But I realize now that I have become adept at separating fact from opinion. I forget that this is a skill, not something that is obvious to everyone.

It also explains why people have a hard time understanding satire.

Chamber of Commerce

FSJ does a roll call of the leaders of the Chamber of Commerce. Brilliant! Worth reading. Really explains The Chamber’s position on the environment. These are not people looking for a sustainable planet.

Posted from my iPhone

Ironic divorce

I retweeted someone else’s post on Twitter today:

Ha ha. I love it when f*ckin hypocrites are revealed: http://bit.ly/kQkiT (via @clarkcox)

I thought the comment was a little harsh, and I should have edited it, but I left it as is.

The backstory is that Doug Manchester donated $125,000 to help ban same-sex marriage in California. From this article in the NYTimes, he says

This really is a free-speech, First Amendment issue. While I respect everyone’s choice of partner, my Catholic faith and longtime affiliation with the Catholic Church leads me to believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman.

And now, he is divorcing his wife of 43 years, which is against the teachings of the Catholic Church. This is what I find ironic. And it is ironic, partly because I know more gay couples in long-term, committed relationships, but also because I believe that if you are going to publicly announce that you are supporting something because you are affiliated with the Catholic Church, even though divorce is a different subject matter than same-sex marriage, I don’t believe that as a member of the Church you should be allowed to pick and choose which doctrine you follow. If you say you are Catholic, then you believe what the Vatican says you believe. You believe that the Catholic Church is the one, right, true religion. You believe in all of the ten commandments. You believe that there should be no sex before marriage, gay lifestyle is wrong, and that marriage is sacred. And that is the reason I left the Catholic Church. I didn’t believe everything they wanted me to believe.

As a side note, yes, Catholics get divorced, but the Church doesn’t recognize divorce. In order to ever get married in the Catholic Church again, you must get an annulment. And if you have ever seen the questions or experienced the process of an annulment, you have to confess before God that your entire marriage was a scam from the very first day. And the Catholic Church teaches me not to lie, yet I think a lot of people lie their way right though that, which I also think is hypocritical.

And to me, gay rights and marriage fall under this whole Family Values ideal that people have been pushing. A friend mentioned that people of faith usually get labeled as hypocrites faster than others. The funny thing is that I didn’t even realize Manchester was Catholic until I re-read the article after my friend made that statement. I had initially just assumed he was a Family Values kind of guy. And I don’t think of Family Values as being something that is pushed by a particular religion. I actually think of it more as a political platform. But the same argument holds. I think that if you subscribe to some sort of doctrine, religious or not, that you don’t get to pick and choose which messages you follow. It is an all or northing deal. Especially if you are going to talk about your stance in the NYTimes.

On the topic of people of faith being labeled hypocritical first, I think that people would be happy to point fingers at me if I used a Windows box at home. Or if I wrote articles against the benefits of same-sex education. Or if I drove an SUV. Or if I secretly smoked. I don’t think it has to do with having faith. I think it has to do with publicly voicing your opinion on something and then doing the opposite.

I had a discussion with another friend about this. He thinks you do get to pick and choose which values you uphold. And that you don’t have to uphold all of them. And that is why he doesn’t find this ironic. That may be true for picking a political party, but I don’t think my priest would agree. And Manchester himself is the one who publicly brought religion into this.

And yes, I agree with my friend who says,

As a person of faith, I’m grieved. Anyone who takes a dogmatic moral stand is always scrutinized. I dread the next time I screw up

I also dread the next time I screw up. But I should dread it if I publicly say one thing and do something completely different. I do have a right to change my mind, and I will have to explain why I don’t practice what I preach. I will expect people to think it is ironic. To mock me. I’ll deserve it.

Health care reform

I thought I could go to sleep without writing about this, but it seems I can’t. Anyd stopped by “my morning office”—otherwise known as the couch in the lobby—to tell me what he has been thinking about the whole health care reform ideas. And the point he makes is a valid one—why is health care tied to jobs?

He says, Why don’t we shop for health insurance in the same way that we shop for car insurance—on an individual basis. Why does my HR department decide what benefits I can have this year? Why can’t my wife get insurance on her own instead of being tied to mine? Why do people who don’t work, or work at small companies, have to pay extra for health insurance to make up for the good deals my large corporation negotiates for me? Why do I have to change my health insurance every time I change jobs and go without it when I’m between jobs? I’m not allowed to go without car insurance when I’m between jobs. I’ve had the same car insurance company for 15 years. I negotiate my rates and terms with them directly. I don’t have to call my HR department to deal with a car insurance claim, so why should I have to deal with HR for a health insurance claim. And isn’t that against my right to privacy?

There are so many benefits to what he is saying. Here are some of the things that should change.

1. Companies should stop offering health insurance as a benefit.

2. Companies can use the money they currently pay for health insurance to raise salaries to compensate.

3. Companies can eliminate positions of people who deal with health insurance (apologies to these people).

4. Insurance Plans start dealing directly with individuals and offer plans in the same way that we get car insurance (those people who lose their jobs from Companies might find a new one here). This should help make the rates more competitive for everyone.

5. People get to pick from all the available health insurance companies, not just the ones that their company offers.

6. People can keep the same insurance provider for as long as they want, not dependent on keeping their job or staying with the same company

7. People can choose a company based on what doctors they want to see rather than choosing a doctor based on what Insurance Plan they picked.

8. People should be able to change their plan at any time, not just once a year. (This will also force Insurance Plans to lower rates to be competitive)

I still don’t have a good solution for those who can’t afford to pay for any insurance. I think we need some sort of system in place. This is where car insurance and health insurance differ—I can choose not to own a car. But I’m also against free-loading.

I’m a big fan of the idea of non-profit health insurance. I don’t think that insurance companies should be getting rich from me being healthy. My being healthy should benefit those who are less fortunate than myself, not those who decided to place bets that I might be healthy. But I guess that is what insurance is all about. Legalized gambling on people’s lives.

So what do you think?

Nostalgia

A few weeks ago, I convinced my grandmother to start sending me The Piscataquis Observer, our hometown newspaper. I'm fascinated with how newspapers are going to survive, so I thought it fun to get inky hands and relearn how to manipulate and fold those large pages.

They are unmanageable in an airline seat.

It just makes me wish I had wifi.

Do any of the iPhone apps for newspapers cache articles on my phone? I really don't want to carry around a camera, laptop, iPhone, *and* a Kindle.

Why is it called a kindle? At least you can use newspaper as kindling. Electronics don't burn after reading well.

Baby elephants

Watching, but not listening to, a documentary about elephants. It starts with a recently born baby elephant being forced to it's feet by it's mother and then marching away from a couple lions. What a way to enter the world. Here kid, breathe in this sand I'm pouring over you, sorry it is so hot, but we have to go. Come on now, get a move on!

Makes me wonder why I can't just do that to human babies. Drop one out and have it standing within a few hours. I guess they haven't fully developed when they come out, but it is kind of like coming back from the space station. Muscles are atrophied, so just do some physical therapy and get them working. I'll have a kid running from lions in just days!

Okay, maybe this is why I don't have kids…

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