Tag Archive | politics

Reflecting

It was hitting me on Saturday night as I sat at Dempsey’s attempting to learn sports by osmosis, my fleshy frame’s surface area exposed to discussion of basketball statistics, attempting to draw the knowledge in through my cell membranes, that my life has turned into something I didn’t really expect. I am becoming friends with professional fighters. I’m looking at getting a motorcycle. The thought of donuts makes me sick to my stomach (I will still totally eat them though, lets not get too crazy). I think about running two miles and I get a mild buzz of excitement and not dread. I have business cards, they even have my name on them. It’s a bunch of little strange things that confuse me, and of course that makes me think about where I have been. So a brief recap of the last year:

A year and a day ago, I graduated with a Master’s degree in Linguistics. My sister got married the day before. I was never as upset about it as the other people I knew. I started talking to my girlfriend about getting married. Eleven months ago I switched anxiety medications and everything seemed like it was going to be great. They were actually helping instead of making me feel worse, all of which came from the fact that I was still anxious after grad school ended. Ten months ago, my girlfriend left me in the middle of the night, my life started to fall apart. Nine months ago, I adopted my kitten. Shadow has been, well, my shadow ever since. Eight months ago, with no prospects of employment after getting a significant amount of debt and doing a lot of work to prove I could be an academic success, and reeling after being left by someone I thought I wanted to spend life with, I thought very hard about the benefits of no longer existing. Seven months ago, I got a part time job that paid a ridiculous amount for being a part time job, but still wasn’t quite enough to make ends meet on my own. But it was something. I turned 27 and I could get out and do things occasionally again. My dad retired, they named a building after him. Six months ago, I had a brief encounter with someone who had meant a lot to me before my girlfriend, and who still means a lot to me today. 5 months ago, I kind of screwed that up. Neither of us were in the right place to even be thinking about dating someone. This made Christmas kind of rough. Four months ago I got my camera. Instead of sulking I started to go out and practice shooting. I wanted to explore and get better. Three months ago, I made it 5km on the elliptical trainer for the first time ever in my life. I was starting to actually get in shape instead of just punishing myself at the gym for being a fuck up in his late 20s. Two months ago, I got my motorcycle license. I had gotten up to doing 5k three times a week on the trainer and could do 3k on foot without stopping. I knew I could go further, I don’t stop because I’m out of breath, but because I’m hell on my knees. Last month, I decided I wanted to get serious about becoming a fashion/alt photographer. I’m slowly collecting gear and kit to make that work. I actually did some work painting for the first time in a long while. I had forgotten how much I liked painting little mans, and how good I was at it. This month, I hardly believe its been a year.

The truth of the thing is that eight months ago, I may have really died. Whoever I was stopped existing, because he was defeated. All the work he did and all the plans he made fell apart and failed, and he had to let go and admit that none of that was solely his fault. It takes two to tango, and I admit I screwed up a fair number of times in that relationship, but you can’t control how someone else feels. She just wasn’t feeling it any more. I couldn’t have fixed it. The economy and politics have been severely mismanaged by a small group of greedy individuals, especially here in Kansas. I am not alone in the substantial amount of debt that I left school with, and am not alone in the fact that it will crush my ability to function in society for years to come. Things in this country have stagnated, and the work I do now, funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Health, is threatened further by short sighted budget cuts and anti-intellectual agendas. How many students out there are now highly trained scientists and problem solvers that can’t get hired because they lack job experience? How will we ever get job experience if no one is willing to train us or let us train ourselves? Every graduate student in America, unless they finished their degree by being a mindless sycophant, has demonstrated that for a minimum of two years that they are capable of learning and adapting to any situation under their own direction. They can identify and deconstruct problems and work through innovative solutions by doing research and through systematic inquiry and investigation.

And hell, even the mindless sycophants have proven that they are spineless and well documented yes-men, and there are people who want that, too.

There are plenty of people feeling guilty today because they are in their 20s and they had to move back home after school and society says that is a sign of personal failure. Well guess what, we are becoming a majority of people, we get to decide what society says, and I think we should be saying “No, fuck you, we never got a chance to buy cars and houses like you said we should. The problem isn’t us, it’s you. We haven’t failed you, you failed us. You told us the only way to get ahead in life is to go to school and get an education, and then hung us out to dry after you got our money. You sold us into slavery, and we refuse to go quietly.”

Point being, I hit an extreme low, and I think because of it I have started to think and feel significantly differently. I have become a person I did not expect to become. I’m an activist and an advocate, an artist and kind of a bad ass. If people want to call me a self important internet asshole, or cry “Social Justice Warrior!” let them. What people think about you is not important, but what you think about yourself. I’ll keep volunteering and donating, making calls to the FCC Chairman everyday until he fixes the net neutrality rules, and you can make your own decisions. You always have been able to, and that’s what I’ve wanted my readers to do all along.

I hope you stick around, though. We can get a lot more done together then we can alone.

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The Rotting Core

I promised pictures from ComiCon. They will come, fear not. First, I have to talk about this madness first.

I want this to be the fiction that it sounds like. Apparently, one Susanne Atanus had decided to run for House of Representatives in Illinois. Great, good for her, even if I don’t agree with you, go you for getting out there and trying to be the change you want to see in the world. Oh wait. You’re insane.

Insane to the point that the rest of the GOP revoked their support of her. Apparently publicly stating that God is killing Americans for allowing gays to have rights is a step too far. Well have any rules for stopping her from saying that or running. Good thing we have this whacked two party system. For once, this is going to help out; when there is more than one interested person running, inside the party there will be a primary. That will weed out this crazy woman.

But then she went ahead and won that. I used to really like Chicago. Liberals and democrats are dancing on their desks this morning. They are convinced that they have this one in the bag, surely no one in the general will vote for this woman.

There is a more disturbing trend here, however. This woman, who is on record saying that Autism and Dementia as well as severe weather, are direct interventions by our loving God to punish us with indiscriminate slaughter and degeneration because some of us support that people should be allowed to spend their life with whoever makes them the happiest, has won a major election. She. Won. No one is recognizing the serious threat that that actually is to all of us. The majority of her constituents agree with her standpoint to have voted for her to oppose the incumbent liberal satanist. This woman, who has openly stated that the great depression and stock market crash in 1929 didn’t actually happen, is a symptom. Everyone is confident that she will loose to congresswoman Jan Schakowsky in the general election, as am I, but that is only treating a symptom.

Do you know what happens when a doctor only treats a symptom and not a cause?

Dead patients. Patients with low quality of life. Patients that don’t have hope of getting better, that know the next symptom will come along or the side effects of the treatment will make them worse.

This woman and this kind of thinking and the support that it has clearly gathered is the result of a disease. The treatment has been the progressive battle cry from time immemorial, and that is provide better education. An educated populous is a progressive and powerful populous. The more understanding of issues, disease, mental health, sexuality, the less we will have to deal with repercussions of people not understanding how these things happen. STD’s will drop, unplanned pregnancies will dwindle, prisons will cease being overpopulated, drug use will diminish, people will spend money and spur the economy. When we refuse to educate, we get this, we get the blind devotion and the refusal to take responsibility for things like climate change and for the care of people who are ill and for the fact that we can’t provide human rights to everyone.

This is some sick shit people. Everyone wants to laugh this off as an oddity or an outlier of some sort, that this perosn is a joke. Well here’s the punchline: This sort of thing is not going away and will continually get worse unless we do something about it.

The Day We Fight Back

There are major steps being taken to help end the mass surveillance of United States Citizens. The Good Doctor here would like to encourage you to take steps yourself to help us. Regardless of your thoughts on Snowden, current politics, or otherwise, the unchecked collection of data by the NSA is monumental and Orwellian. Each and every one of us is currently being treated like a suspect. This sort of life under glass is the first step in enabling the boot on the face of humanity forever. So come on folks, let’s try to end mass surveillance and tell our leadership that we will not exchange liberty for safety and complacency. Call or write your representative and tell them to do their job and represent their people and not their own interests.

Strike at the root.

Update: It was brought to my attention that James Sensenbrenner Jr (R-WI), author of this bill, wrote the legislation that allowed for the collection of our data in the first place. I decided to continue due diligence and investigate this bill. I have read it and have decided to keep my link up. The wording of the proposed legislation enables actions that the ACLU and many other advocacy groups support for ending mass data collection and increased law enforcement transparency and public accountability. The PATRIOT act was a poorly worded, knee jerk document, and people make mistakes. People can rectify mistakes as well. Sensenbrenner’s moderate voting record is commendable in the current political atmosphere, and while I don’t agree with all of his platforms, I appreciate his ability to negotiate and to acknowledge that PRISM was far outside of the scope of what he intended and has taken steps to rectify the situation.

If You See Something…

… you have a moral obligation to say something. I drove into the office this morning and I saw a girl holding a sign. It is finally turning to winter in Kansas, and it was starting to sleet at 9 in the morning, so I read her sign, it was clearly important to her.
It read “University of Kansas Horn Prof. Paul Stevens only cared about my boobs, and not my education or about sexual violence.”
It made an impact on me. It is awful to say it, but had the circumstances been different, if it had been 60 and sunny instead of a windy 28 degrees as sleet started to pelt her, it may not have hit me as hard as it did. I realized that was unacceptable. So here is the Doctor, standing up and saying something. Sexual violence against women seems to be a pervasive cultural trend, and that is sickening. It seems to be exceptionally bad in college settings; I saw on the news a girl at Missouri State, a good student, a scholarship swimmer, committed suicide after no one took her allegation of rape against a football player seriously. The university was silent. The civil authorities performed a minimal investigation.

Now someone is dead.

Think about that for a minute. Silence and ignorance didn’t make the violence go away. Instead, it killed someone.
There are sometimes stories about positive outcomes. Activist group Anonymous, labeled “terrorist” by many, in a nationally recognized campaign, forced a Missouri (I’m starting to notice a trend here, are you?) prosecutor to reopen the case of a high school girl raped by multiple high school football players. Originally swept under the rug by a local prosecutor protecting some good old boys, a state prosecutor, in the face of such an enormous uproar and deluge of bad press, decided to get involved and reopen the case. When fighting for human rights became “terrorism” is a post for a different time. I know I don’t currently reach a lot of readers, but if I post this and you take a look into helping end sexual and domestic violence, supporting victims, or just being aware that this is a problem in your life, your workplace, your community, then we will be making progress. If authorities and made aware that this is an unacceptable, bordering on hellish state of affairs, we can make change happen. I am not naive enough to think we will end violence forever, but we can take a stand and say that sexual violence is culturally unacceptable, is a vile violation of human rights, and will be investigated with due process and punished accordingly.

Here are some people looking to change things. They have a lot of resources for survivors and people that want to make a serious change in how we go about things.

If you see something, say something. We will make them listen.

1: Open Mouth. 2: Insert Foot.

I currently spend a lot of time at the gym. By virtue of the fact that the elliptical machine I like is positioned in the corner of the gym where they show several different network news outlets, I get to catch up on what is making headlines. There is about ten million things wrong with this, because the news tends to make me furious for a lot of reasons, not the least of which that none of the network news outlets is actually news anymore. In one of the rare gems of actual news amid all the vast sea of shitty, sensationalized celebrity news and the general fear mongering of Fox I saw this:

“Our party stands for the recognition of the equality of women and the capacity of women,” Huckabee said. “…Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government.”

(Quote taken from this news article)

I was absolutely floored. I found it difficult to believe that a seasoned politician, who is trained constantly by advisers and speech writers and assistants, could possibly have said something so asinine and back handedly offensive. Barring any sort of discussion of healthcare, lets think this for just a second. Women shouldn’t need birth control if they can control their libido; why exactly do they fucking need to? Why can’t a woman decide what to do with her own body and be responsible about sexual activity? If there was a reasonably safe (while admittedly female oral contraceptives are not “safe”) oral contraceptive for men, would they be required to “control their libido” too? Oh wait, no, because Viagra and other male enhancements are widely available and covered by most health care plans. So men don’t need to be responsible for any of their activities, and can easily get drugs that insure they never have to think twice about successful sexual interactions, but a woman either needs to reign in her libido or pump out children as a consequence of her nymphomania. Seriously?

Seriously?

What the hell is wrong with these people? Why are there so many very misguided and close minded opinions on women’s sexual freedom and health? How can so many people be so completely and totally out of touch?

Why have those same people become our leaders?

I’m livid. The problem in politics is so horrendously entrenched that I’m not sure how to fix it, other than to make noise in places like this, let people know we are watching. So what on earth do we do? How do we fix this madness of polarized politics and plutocrats? How do we take them on in the system they built?