Monday, June 30, 2008

I Felt Like Posting Again

I was watching CNN just now and saw the story about a teacher being fired for using The Freedom Writers Diary as a teaching tool to help motivate her students. She claims that the book will help them because it helps to convey the message that the students are not alone in the problems that they face. The school board suspended her for a year and a half without pay, so they basically fired her. They didn't approve of the book's foul language, which I can understand, but I have read many books with terribly foul language before. The only book that I could never get into because of the language and content was Catcher in the Rye. But I digress. The book's content is a little questionable but the message at the end of the book I think pushes past the earlier content to give an uplifting message to all. The teacher did send out permission slips to all 150 students' parents, and only one family refused to sign. The school board has looked over the case and will allow the teacher to return in the fall. However, the teacher refuses to return unless she's allowed to teach the book. After all, it is in the school's library.

And for anyone who is/was interested in the Body Worlds exhibit at the Milwaukee Public Museum, there's a story about it here. It really was a fun and interesting experience. I'm even flirting with the notion of donating my body to the exhibit so that more attention can be brought to how JRA or arthritis in general can ravage the body. I think that if more people could really understand it, they wouldn't underestimate it as much as they do currently.

The Birds!

So I went to the park today to practice my tennis skills only to find the courts filled with five year olds, some playing better than I can. To my defense, that's not really all that hard, but oh well. That ruined my big plan for the day, so I drove over to the park down by the river and took a nice power walk around it.

I talk to animals. No, I'm not crazy a la Dr. Dolittle, but I appreciate them. There are ways to communicate even without speaking the same "language." Anyone who knows another language can understand this concept well. I can usually tell when an animal is upset and when it's time to back off.

Anyways, about halfway into my walk, a black bird with some weird red-orange-yellow marking on its tail feathers starts squawking at me right? It wasn't a mean squawk, but it sounded like a warning to another bird that maybe he felt threatened by me or something. Well a couple hundred yards later, out of the blue, either that bird or another of that species flies up and hits me in the back of the head.

Needless to say, I felt a little like I was in Hitchcock's classic movie. In talking with others, I probably got a little too close to the bird's nest, though I have no clue where it would've been since I was surrounded by trees. A friend at work said that it was probably a Red-Winged Blackbird and is apparently notorious for being extremely territorial. The only problem with that is that it really doesn't look like the bird I saw. The territorial bit definitely fits though.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Why Do Teachers Sleep With Their Students?

Seriously, I don't get it. But even more unbelievable sometimes is how these students are attracted to their teachers. Some of these women are so unattractive or old that it doesn't make sense to me. The only thing I can think is that maybe the kids were pressured into it. We all know what it's like to be a teenager and stuck in precarious positions.

The latest case of teacher-student sexual relationships come from Brevard County, Florida, also home of one of the cutest baseball mascots.This sixty year old woman (yes, that's 60) who worked at the juvenile detention center as a teacher began this relationship with a seventeen year old student after he left the center. Adrienne Laflamme is charged with fifteen counts of "sex violations with a minor," including an instance where a fourteen year old boy joined the lovers. She told the students involved not to say anything. She also lent the 17 year old her car and then reported it stolen, for which she faces a charge of filing a false police report.

Hopefully by the time this crazy lady gets out of jail, if she doesn't die in there of old age, she won't have any interest in the student, unlike Mary Kay Fualaau (formerly Letourneau).

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Child Rapists Deserve To Live?

The Supreme Court just handed down the decision that no child rapist is allowed to be executed for their crimes. This saves a Louisiana man from the execution planned for him after sneaking into his eight year old step-daughter's room and raping her in the middle of the night. The majority of the Court cites that death for such a crime would be cruel and unusual punishment, thus violating the Eighth Amendment:
Justice Samuel Alito wrote the dissent, saying, "The harm that is caused to the victims and to society at large by the worst child rapist is grave." He was supported by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.

In his dissent, Alito wrote that the majority ruled against the death penalty "no matter how young the child, no matter how many times the child is raped, no matter how many children the perpetrator rapes, no matter how sadistic the crime, no matter how much physical or psychological trauma is inflicted and no matter how heinous the perpetrator's criminal record may be."

Supporters of Louisiana's law say that besides murder, no crime is more deserving of the death penalty than child rape, and the punishment would be used only in the most heinous of circumstances.

So, basically, if a five time repeat offender gets his hands on a two year old and goes at her for days, even weeks, he won't get the death penalty unless he kills her? I'm sorry, but that's crap. Oh sure, they deserve the right to live, and my tax dollars will go to making him comfortable, feeding him, hell even educating him. If he's going to live, the best they can do is put him in a cell with a 300-pound horn dog named Bubba.

People who haven't been abused or raped don't really understand the long-term effects of that kind of thing. I was abused anywhere from three to five years, not mentioning the things that happened to me later in life, and I don't think that it's fair that the person who started the cycle of abuse that eventually got to me or to my sister just gets off with no consequence. Sure, jail would be fine with me, but compared to others I did not have it that bad. It's not fair what people can get away with and not get the right amount of punishment.

Any form of sexual abuse clearly leaves it's own physical mark on the victim. But the really long-lasting problems are psychological and emotional. I've had terrible trust issues because of my abuse, and that led to a whole string of terrible relationships, not to mention how it fractured relationships with my family at times. Any word, smell, situation, the way someone looks at you - all that can throw you right back into that point of time where your innocence was stolen from you by someone looking to have a good time. That can happen everyday, or if you're lucky only a few times a month. The nightmares that you can have are excruciatingly painful, depicting anything you can remember. The only alternative to remembering all that is to forget the whole point of time surrounding your abuse.

Despite my photographic and great memory, I can only remember bits and pieces from when my abuse occurred. I wish I could remember more - times I spent with my sister and the rest of my family, things like that. But those memories are gone and I probably won't get them back unless I can go through all of my abuse and work more on getting over it than ignoring it. I'm strong, but I'm not sure that I'm that strong quite yet.

I know that with Theron's help I've been able to get over and go through a lot of what's happened to me, and I bet he doesn't even know it. That's really the only way you can ever recover from something as heinous as any sort of abuse - find someone who loves you for you and who only wants the best for you, someone who is understanding and who can tell when there's something wrong, someone who will do whatever it takes to cheer you up. I only hope that other people who've gone through stuff like this can work through the fog and find someone like him.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Like, Let's Totally All Get Preggers Together!

First things first, I just heard that the great George Carlin just died at 71 from heart failure yesterday. I think it would be interesting to find out his last words, though I doubt they were the terrible seven that you're not allowed to say n television. He was going to receive the Mark Twain award for American humor this November at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. For more on his life, click here.

So seventeen girls at a high school in Mass. have allegedly taken part in a pact to get pregnant together and help each other out all along the way. Sadly, had this been during later years in their lives, it might have been endearing, though obviously not on this large of a scale.

CNN has reported that the two main girls involved in the pact may have bullied others into joining. I'm sorry, but how can you be bullied into getting pregnant? "If you don't have sex without a condom and get pregnant by the end of the school year, we're kicking your ass?" If so, they severely underestimate the amount of time that it takes some women to get preggers. And really, what's worse - getting your ass kicked by your "friends" for not getting pregnant or getting kicked out of your house by your parents for the alternative?

Then there's another story that it happened after the fact, that only the two girls were involved, and maybe that it inspired others to get close like that with their bff. Awww, how sweet.

I went to a poor high school. There were plenty of girls who were pregnant during the four years I spent there. One girl was pregnant around eight or so times (the actual number is unknown really) since sixth grade. She decided to keep the one that she got pregnant with in our junior or senior year. Sure some of her friends got pregnant around the same time, but I'm sure that it was due to drugs, drinking, and not thinking as opposed to a pact.

Regardless of whether or not they're ready mentally for kids (which I highly doubt), they're not anywhere near ready physically for them. Your body isn't really done growing until you're around twenty-three, and therefore really isn't ready to support a fetus until that point. Look at how many teen births have been premature. And even more than that, I'm sure these kids also are into a party scene. Does anyone really think that they're not going to drink, smoke, do drugs? Do they care that those actions could do serious damage to their babies? Who knows, but somehow I doubt that they care about anything more than themselves, as is clearly shown by their actions.

And what about the kids? How are they gonna feel when they grow up and find out that they were the result of a pact between stupid teenage girls that don't even talk to each other anymore? I'm sure that they're not going to stick together forever like they claim. I don't even talk to my best friends from high school anymore. Sure, there's the occasional poke or wall post on facebook and, hell, maybe even a message or comment on myspace, but really we don't talk.

I don't support abortions in all cases. I do think that people need to understand the ramifications of their actions and deal with the consequences. However, I do believe that some people who are not ready for kids should have the right to not make those children suffer because of a stupid choice they made. There are other situations and circumstances where I also support abortions, but that's not relevant here.

Is this all a consequence of out abstinence-only education? If they really knew the consequences of getting pregnant so early, would that have stopped them? I volunteered for Planned Parenthood in high school and put in a lot of hours. While I did not work in the clinics, I did call people around our very liberal city of Eugene to get a feel for what people thought of the administration's stance on both sex ed and abortion. It was amazing to see how many people in the area were actually against the liberal views shared by most of the town. Yet, most of us had great talks about how many kids do not understand the ramifications of their actions and therefore get themselves into stupid situations.

Hopefully in the future, sex ed is better and more comprehensive. It won't protect against all teen pregnancies, but it will help lower them and give everyone concerned a chance at a better life.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Angels and Demons

No, this has nothing to do with the book and subsequent movie currently being filmed and in the headlines for Rome's hostilities against it.

Saturday night in Stanislaus County, CA, a man was found beating a toddler along the side of the road. Despite several people stopping and trying to help the child, it took the police showing up and shooting to kill for them to get to the child, who has been estimated to be approximately a year to two years old. The police were flown in via helicopter and made an emergency landing in order to try and save the boy. The child was not breathing by this time, and was pronounced dead at the hospital. Investigators are trying to figure out the relationship between the two, citing that it was most likely parental since no children around that age were reported missing recently. The child was beaten so severely that the only way they'll be able to identify him is through DNA analysis. While tragic and terribly saddening, this is not a surprising result following the descriptions of the man's actions that night:

"What we got from witnesses is he was punching, slapping, kicking, stomping, shaking," [county sheriff's deputy Royjindar] Singh said. "They tried to intervene and get involved, but their efforts really didn't have an effect. The suspect was engaged in what he was doing. He just pushed them off and went back to it."

Dan Robinson, a volunteer fire chief who tried to help, described the man as saying that demons were in the boy.

It's disturbing to me the number of these types of beatings and/or deaths popping up lately. I just don't understand how someone could think their child/ren were possessed or evil. I've heard several people talk about the miracle of birth, and how amazing it is to see something that is half them and half their lover. Obviously these people do not know how to handle the stress and responsibility of being a parent (and are probably a few fries short of a happy meal). I don't have any children. I do plan on it in the future. But whenever I see children being treated poorly, it greatly upsets me. I see each child as a miracle, as a one in a million chance at intelligent life on this planet. Maybe s/he'll grow up to be the next president, diplomat, the doctor to discover the cure for AIDS or cancer or even JRA. To hurt someone who could potentially be so important for millions and perhaps billions of people in the future seems like a pretty stupid thing to me. Discipline is necessary, but not so physically.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Odd News

Happy father's day everybody!

As normal readers know, I love to talk about weird/odd news stories. I thought for this post I'd try to compile some weird stories that I've seen in the last week or so since I posted (Again, sorry about that. I've been working a ton, and spent the past two days up at my boyfriend's, where posting was obviously the last thing on my mind).

The first story comes all the way from China... about Bolivia. The Xinhua news agency had a story about a protest-turned-riot at the U.S. Embassy over two former Bolivian officials granted asylum in the United States. This version of the story is a little confusing when paired with an American account, but it could just be translation issues. Former Bolivian Defense Minister Sanchez Berzain was accused of genocide, but the U.S. account talks about that being a misunderstanding over 60 deaths. In the Chinese account, the 60 deaths are mentioned when talking about former Bolivian President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada. Supposedly he hasn't actually been granted asylum though. Ironically, I can't find the U.S. account of the story I originally read, so this one will have to do. It's interesting that it actually hasn't been on the televised news as far as I've seen, but I guess it's understandable since we all seem to focus on princesses running around naked and the latest news in the Hogan saga.

Speaking of naked princesses... I understand the critical eye with which royalty is watched - it's extremely similar to how the paparazzi treats the top movie and music stars in America. There is almost no privacy, despite the facade of it. Silly college girls drinking are bound to end up frolicking around school grounds naked at some point or other. At least it happened after Fergie stopped her Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig or whatever-it-was commercials.

Oh, and in other news, I forded some roads this weekend. On my way out to Theron's humble abode, I had to cross some river-infiltrated roads. They really weren't bad at all, and on the way home tonight there was barely any sign of the extra water. However, out by Beaver Dam, the water got pretty bad in several spots. I'm glad Theron was driving and that we were in his mom's newer car. We went for a pretty nice long walk today looking at the flooding near his house. The dam in some spots looks as though it's gonna have some serious problems if it rains like that again anytime soon. I guess the levee on Fox Lake near Beaver Dam broke, which means fun times are ahead for the city already in serious trouble [Thanks Theron :-P]

Try and stay dry everyone - it's supposed to rain a little more today.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Shouldn't There Be a Bystander Law?

So in Hartford, CT, an old man was run over by a car. The footage of the crash is terrifying itself. What's even worse is the footage for minutes of people driving around him in the street, walking past, even staring - anything but helping the man crying out in pain.

The man somehow was helped to the hospital and is now in critical condition. I understand that the people won't likely be punished for not helping because of the fact that the security camera couldn't get good enough footage to make out the license plate of the car, let alone anyone's face.

But wait, they wouldn't really be punished anyway, would they? What're the cops gonna do, charge them all with accessory to commit murder? Highly unlikely. Reckless behavior? Why do we not have a bystander law?

Think about it. How many people were bystanders before WWII, when Hitler's reign of terror could've been stopped, saving millions of lives? And as an aside, why do we never talk about the non-Jewish people who were also systematically attacked during this time? Homosexuals, mentally and physically disabled people, gypsies, and even people with the wrong colored hair, skin, or eyes were also murdered en mass.

So many people are afraid of helping, getting involved, assisting their fellow man. I could never understand this frame of mind. You can't just stand around and watch someone lying there in the street bleeding to death and not do anything. How incredibly heartless is that?

What I'm proposing is not a jail time offense in most cases. Just a fine or community service - something that maybe will help them understand the value of helping others. I'd only ask that they be jailed if the person injured died as a direct result of not being helped.

I sincerely wish we didn't have to have a law like this, that people would follow the words of their parents, religion, even society and help the people around them.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Well, It Finally Happened

Barack Obama finally clinched the nomination. I heard mid-Brewers game last night, but was so busy cheering on my boys that I didn't switch the channel to watch the speech. Hillary isn't conceding yet though. I think she's trying to hold out for the super delegates to see who really has the nomination. Or perhaps she's waiting to be asked to be Obama's VP. In either case, I think she needs to give up, because it's not gonna happen. I don't think they get along enough to run together, even if it would help them clinch the White House. In any case, thus starts the long five month trek to the White House, and the ugly battles between Obama and McCain.

The Brewers have finally gotten three games ahead of .500. Randy Johnson has a great arm that didn't let up until the sixth inning, where Braun hit a two run homer to get the Brew Crew a lead. The rest of the runs just cemented the win.

Bill Hall asked to be traded. Apparently he wants more playing time. I can understand that, but I would be happy that my team is winning. He's still getting paid the same, and honestly he's playing better because he's getting some rest. This soft platooning is paying off right now, and I'm a little upset that Hall would be so selfish as to think that he's not playing enough. He is one of my favorites, but I'm a little disenchanted with him right now.

I'm making dinner for Latonya tomorrow night. I still haven't decided what I'm gonna make, but I need to get cookie stuff today. Xavier's funeral is on Friday. I want to be there, but I hate funerals. The last one I went to was my great grandmother's when I was little. When my friend Lyndzi died in high school, it was a closed service and I wasn't allowed to go. The memorial service though was really tough to sit through. It's always sad when someone dies, but Xavier was just so young, so sweet. I can only imagine how Latonya feels... or how my own mom must've felt when I was misdiagnosed and given six months to live. As much as I want to be there for her, I also don't want to flip out, because I'm sure that wouldn't help.

This week is moving so very slowly.