Goodbye Carrie Fisher

I grieve for what she didn’t get a chance to do. In the next few days we are going to get flooded with people talking about Carrie Fisher. She made such an impression, I can’t even imagine. I realized I’d like to search Google for some good pictures of Carrie Fisher so that led to a blog post! One of the reasons why I loved Episode VII: The Force Awakens so much is that Carrie Fisher came back to Hollywood, she wasn’t young or pretty or skinny enough. She just was. And the scene where GENERAL Leia hugs Rey? I’ve always seen it as them making a connection, immediately. Kind of the way Chewie and Rey seem to make a connection when they are in the cockpit of the Falcon together.

I know/knew of Carrie Fisher’s work/advocacy for mental illness and always meant to look into one of her books but somehow never did. Priorities? Being too busy? I’ll probably get one now. I’m glad to know that filming on Star Wars Episode VIII was finished before Carrie’s death. That’s something at least. I’m sure I’ll be a mess when we go see it in theaters next year.

Now I’ll just rely on pictures being “worth a 1000 words” and leave it at that. I know, there could be tons more pictures. The first picture is the most powerful because it bridges generations.

Going to miss Alan Rickman

When I saw the breaking news on my phone this morning I think I blurted something like “Well DAMMIT!”

If you search google for Alan Rickman images, you find a ton of head shots and very few memes. The lack of memes is interesting. You gotta dig around to find memes and still I didn’t find very many. This one is good though!asparagus alan rickman
 

 

 

 

Young Alan Rickman is definitely easy on the eyes.

young alan rickman
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One last picture.

alan rickman in glasses

Updated: Being told to never forget 9/11

Every year when another 9/11 anniversary happens I wonder when something is going to change. The message I see continues to be “never forget.” Never forget what, exactly? Which part? The media and our politicians tell us to never forget, but then they always seem to have a specific thing we should remember. To me, that reeks of exploitation, not recognition.

Here’s an example of what seems like some pretty popular images. All the images refer to the location of one of the plane crashes/attacks. All the images are patriotic in nature.

I finally figured out what my problem is with being told to never forget 9/11. Media and politicians should instead be talking about who to remember. I’d rather remember the first responders who helped people on 9/11. I’d rather remember the men and women of the military who have been through multiple tours – somewhere overseas – because 9/11 happened.

Never forgetting how planes were crashed into buildings in NYC and people died is just recreating grief and trauma. I’m not saying people shouldn’t grieve, hell no. But we could skip the traumatic images and the jingoism.

We also don’t talk about the health problems that first responders who worked the scene(s) of the 9/11 attacks still face (Ground Zero). It has it’s own wikipedia page for gods’ sake! No one wants to caption pictures like this though. Or talk about cancer.

This looks to be a very thorough discussion about the PEOPLE involved in the rescue and recovery efforts at Ground Zero. Let’s remember the fire fighters, paramedics, utility workers, disaster recovery workers, and volunteers too.

Let’s grieve for the people who died and then remember the people who are still here. Let’s start remembering the people involved in rescue and recovery on that day (and who still rescue others). Let’s remember the people fighting and dying in our wars (still today). Let’s change what the anniversary of 9/11 is about. Do first responders have their own day of recognition yet?

You want a patriotic image to remember 9/11? Something like this makes so much more sense to me…. (Found here.)

funeral4

Updated:

It appears I might be adding to this throughout the day. Here’s a great collection of one of the things wrong with “remembering” the anniversary of 9/11. Go, look at the article, skim through the twitter posts from corporations. Some of the images are quite distasteful. There is sooo many different ways to recognize the 9/11 anniversary. Remembering the people who died and served is respectful. Product placement with an American flag? Not so much.

Updated again:

Here’s a tribute to the New York City Firefighters who gave their lives (or should I say give?) to help people 13 years ago today.

And here’s an article on somebody else I totally hadn’t considered…. the rescue dogs that helped out rescue workers. Over 300 were there 13 years ago.

Maybe Hobby Lobby Won, but Everyone Else Lost

This case “marks the first time that the Supreme Court has allowed companies the ability to declare a religious belief — a decision that could reverberate far past the Affordable Care Act to other laws and issues.”

I was dismayed this morning to hear that the SCOTUS ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. because Supreme Court precedence is a powerful thing. I think part of me just assumed that SCOTUS would not rule in favor of Hobby Lobby because, well, it’s 2014 and I figured we were past that. Hobby Lobby has problems with causing abortions – but the birth control covered by the ACA does not cause abortions. Or at least, it does not according to everyone but Hobby Lobby? This suggests that we’re now allowing religious belief as a reason to declare what is or isn’t found to be medical fact. Cue the anti-vaxxers?

Beyond this ruling serving as another reminder that healthcare coverage should not be tied to employment, it has the potential to cause problems in a lot of ways.

1. I’ve already mentioned that ACA covered birth control has not found to be abortion causing. The ACA is attempting to open up access to this type of healthcare. In general, more access to healthcare is a good thing. There’s nothing to argue about here. Healthcare is important. It should be a right – just like freedom of religion. Remember, freedom of religion is one reason why these guys exist.

2. The obvious question. If Hobby Lobby can deny birth control coverage based on their interpretation of medical fact per religious beliefs….. what else can they do? Are vaccinations next? If birth control is not okay but vaccinations are, what’s the legal reasoning?

3. Is it really about religious freedom? Again, this seems to be another move made by the “conservative” and “Christian” citizens of this country – with money and time to spare. I’m beginning to think that the “conservative” people of the Christian religion are seriously hurting Christianity in general. Read this. There’s been so much back and forth in court cases and Congress over what religious freedom really is. We seem to be over-complicating it.

4.  What about simple employee rights? Health insurance is part of your compensation provided by your employer. So now, after you are paid, they still have control over what they’ve given you? Will this be a way to further limit health insurance for people not involved in a heterosexual relationship with a person of the opposite sex?

5. Again, the question of access. Ultimately, this feels like an attack on girls and women. I also think this extends to the quality of medical care received. You can argue that this only limits certain types of birth control so what’s the problem? Emergency contraceptives are used after rape. Providing less options for birth controls is more dangerous. It’s true, no argument. Based on my own personal options, if I did not have access to an IUD I would have resorted to sterilization based on surgery – which is immediately more dangerous for me for a number of reasons. I would think, that as a society, we would want to do everything possible to protect the health of society as a whole and limit the number of necessary abortions. (Abortion is necessary if a woman or her healthcare provider decides it is necessary.)

6. Most importantly, why are we allowing entities such as corporations the right to declare a religious belief? What’s next? When will corporations have a gender? Will cities be able to declare religious beliefs and evict anyone that doesn’t fit their code of morals? Why are corporations – which are not concrete things – more important than providing health care coverage to women and girls?

This SCOTUS ruling bothers me because it goes against previous rulings and because I fail to see how it will not cause more questions about healthcare coverage, religious freedom, and personal freedom to arise in the future.

We should be past the point of debating things like who gets what kind of healthcare coverage and for what reasons. We need to move onto more important things, like war, famine, and world peace. Oh, and paid maternity leave.

Observations after watching old TV episodes

I’ve been watching vanilla Law and Order on Netflix. Season 1 – Season 2 – we’re talking 1990-1991. I’ve noticed a few things as I’ve been sort of following along with the show. I typically have the show playing while doing other things in the same room.

More than once a character has said “…in this economy….” and I realized I was forgetting I was watching a show from over 20 years ago. The economy seems to always be crappy, at least for everyman.

In one of the episodes that played today, there was an Asian girl crying because she was called a kike but I didn’t blink. Even though I’ve never used this racial slur and can’t remember the last time I heard it, I still didn’t blink. How has television media affected the prevalence of racism?

In general, the overt sexism and racism are not as rampant as I was expecting. The episodes concerning rape were not as bad as I expected. For example, one of the Detectives did have lines to support the victim and speak against victim blaming. Covert sexism and racism is definitely here. I don’t remember seeing a judge that was not white and male and all the other lawyers have been white. There was a Jewish lawyer once but that was just because it was an episode with a Jewish victim and offender. I suspect that the women who were lawyers at this point are overrepresented. Also, the only black man I can remember seeing in a position of power is the “token black man” in the D.A.’s office. The discussions that happen in the end of the show that are part of the formula are always among men despite the topics of said conversation often being relevant to anyone.

What I’ve noticed more is the abuse of power and privilege as well some ableism sprinkled in. There has been plenty of times where one of the lead characters (the white Detectives) push around another person – who might be guilty – just because they are cops and can do so. The (white males) from the D.A.’s office never expect to not get what they want either.

Finally, I cannot remember seeing any character in a wheelchair or otherwise showing as obviously disabled. <sarcasm> I guess New York City had a lot of healthy people. <sarcasm end>

Police Authority

How would you feel if you were walking alone on a sidewalk, crossing the street, etc. and suddenly someone grabs you from behind? You’ve been minding your own business – thinking about anything and everything – and your arm is grabbed by YOU DO NOT KNOW WHO.

What do you do? Don’t mumble, what would you do? Would you react differently if it was light out as compared to if it was nighttime?

Well, why you are thinking about that, go read this article.

The link should open up in a new tab, I’ll be here when you get back.

The officer grabbed a civilian’s arm without her knowledge. Why did he walk up behind her? Why did he grab her arm? He could have tapped on her the shoulder. He could have moved into her field of vision and waved instead. Did he think she was a threat? If he thought she was a threat, why did he place himself close enough to her for something to happen?

Furthermore, would the officer have acted the same way if the civilian in question was a 6 foot tall black male? What abut a deaf person? What about mother with a stroller and a small child?

In my opinion, all of my questions show that the officers involved in this experience described in that article are not properly trained. Primarily, I think these officers lack training because their actions were based on judging this woman to not be a threat to their personal safety. What if this woman happened to be trained in self defense? If she was grabbed from behind by an unknown assailant, society has taught her to react to protect herself – not to stop and see who it is first because society teaches that strangers are potential assailants – potential rapists. That would mean, because of a badly trained (I’m assuming he’s not an idiot) police officer, a young woman would be facing criminal charges and or jail time for doing something that might be described as human nature.

Between this article and a personal experience I had recently, I’m beginning to question if police have too much authority. I don’t think this is just limited to Texas either – because that seems naive to assume. Why can police touch a civilian who is obviously not threatening? The act of moving within arm’s reach of another person can mean that the police officer is putting himself in a threatening situation since he’s placing his service weapon in arm’s reach too. Maybe police officers should be taught to stop and think BEFORE they approach a stranger. Civilians cannot touch police officers so why do officers have so much authority over civilians?

It seems like more and more simple human behavior is something authority takes offense to. It’s quite possible to not hear someone or assume the noise is not directed at you – especially when you don’t know you are doing anything wrong! (I wonder if she actually knew she was jaywalking.)

The woman in the picture/video was obviously frightened, scared, confused, and frustrated. I’d assume she did not feel like she was being understood or listened to since you can hear her screaming in the video. I wonder, would a black male who had acted exactly the same way been thrown to the ground before he was cuffed?

Karl Marx

The government shutdown has left me debating re-reading Marx. So far, I’ve resisted this craziness through knitting and fiction. I think what causes this idea was Marx’s idea of the workers’ revolution.* I feel like the current state of affairs in the United States needs a workers’ revolution. Unfortunately, I think the workers are too busy working to raise their heads and really see what’s going on. Current events could effect** us for days, weeks, and months to come.

*I’d read something besides The Communist Manifesto. (That looks like an interesting copy though.)

**I’m really bad at using effect vs. affect. I need to work on that.

Absolutely ridiculous poll, or, where to see a picture of a white Michelle Obama figurine

us news world report mothers poll

So, some of the problems with this poll. Seriously, Palin is winning this stupid ridiculous pointless-as-can-be-poll? Wtf? And please, do not vote for the poll, that’s why I haven’t linked directly to the poll!

1. Women are female. Female doesn’t mean best care giver for children possible.

2. First Lady Michelle Obama’s “figurine” is included in the picture like she’s an afterthought… off to the left, with less space around her.

3. First Lady Michelle Obama is a black woman, not a well tanned white woman. Is U.S. News and World Report embarrassed the first lady is a black woman?

4. Would you really vote for who should run a day care based upon her parenting skills?

5. How are people supposed to vote in the poll?

6. The vagueness of the poll makes it utterly worthless.

7. Aside from the fact that it’s on the Internet.

8. What’s with the gestures the figures are posed with?

9. What’s with the results from the other poll regarding Secretary of State Hillary Clinton?! House husband?!

10. I’d vote for whoever has the most experience running a business.

11. You know like with hiring people and managing people.

12. I won’t ever be buying a U.S. News and World Report magazine. Though, I guess with titles of articles like this, I probably shouldn’t be surprised?

Seriously?

This school board needs to get over themselves. This makes me extra glad for the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008. (Which, by the way, why is it “Americans with” ?)

Bullshit (with update)

Are you a gamer? Do you enjoy D&D games in any shape or form? Do you read OOTS? (If you know D&D and don’t read OOTS, you should.) Do you donate to charities? Anyways… if you answered yes to all of these. Don’t contribute to this charity anymore. The just mentioned charity refused the money raised during GenCon 2008 because it was partly raised through the selling of horrible, evil, scary D&D materials.

Simply based on the prevalency of the Internet, video games, computer games, and, well, who knows what else, this is stupid. Especially when it’s money for starving children. This is, bullshit. I can’t hope this charity doesn’t receive less money since they help starving children, but I do have to wonder whether other charities that help starving children deserve the money more. There does definitely seem to be similar charities that work more efficiently.

Originally found most of this, here.

Update (November 6, 2008) found here (same place as original here from above)

More on American Airlines

Tired of taking heat for refusing to waive extra baggage fees for soldiers, American Airlines has finally caved.

“We always understood that soldiers traveling on duty were reimbursed by the military for the fees on required excess baggage. However, after recently hearing of the burden the military reimbursement process put on soldiers traveling to war zones, the choice for us to forgo payment for a third checked bag from the Department of Defense was clear,” said Tom Del Valle, American’s Senior Vice President — Airport Services in a press release.

… aren’t we surprised? Regardless, glad to see they acted.

Banning CFCs and albuterol

A federal ban on ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), to conform with the Clean Air Act, is, ironically, affecting 22.9 million people in the U.S. who suffer from asthma. Generic inhaled albuterol, which is the most commonly prescribed short-acting asthma medication and requires CFCs to propel it into the lungs, will no longer be legally sold after December 31, 2008. Physicians and patients are questioning the wisdom of the ban, which will have an insignificant effect on ozone but a measurable impact on wallets: the reformulated brand-name alternatives can be three times as expensive, raising the cost to about $40 per inhaler. The issue is even more disconcerting considering that asthma disproportionately affects the poor and that, according to recent surveys, an estimated 20 percent of asthma patients are uninsured.

I’m not sure where they get their information about the cost of albuterol… at least compared to my experience of spending 30 bucks an inhaler without insurance. I’d also bet that 30 bucks that more than 20% of asthma patients are uninsured. I’d also bet a greater number of people have asthma and don’t know it.

We already know fragrances are bad!

Fragrances May Emit Potential Toxins

I’ve already seen news on this study pop up in two other places, the most recent place (the link above) is WebMD. I’m very, very glad to see the study published. I even sent the person (Steinemann) who did the study an email letting her know how awesome it is to see that someone (with a degree!!) has said “wait a minute, something is right about this, why?”
Maybe, just maybe, this will raise public awareness, but, then, it needs to fight general ignorance for that to work, so, who knows in the end. On the bright, less cynical side of things, maybe this is a place to start to get things changed.
List of things to do: Get advise on writing my Senators and Representatives.