Thursday, December 31, 2009

Give Hope a Chance

I watched District 9 the other night. All I could think of was the apartheid situation in Israel/Palestine (for the record, Jimmy Carter, Desmond Tutu, and Nelson Mandela have all called this situation an apartheid - note that two of them actually lived under South Africa's apartheid). Sure, go ahead and call it my capstone project haunting me during the holidays. However, the conditions and discrimination faced by the aliens in the film are very reminiscent of that faced by the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories.

Since I've been dwelling on that for a few days, this news story was very unexpected. Here are some of my favorite parts regarding the young Israeli boy and Palestinian girl:

Friendship often starts with proximity, but Orel and Marya, both 8, have been thrust together in a way few elsewhere have. Their playground is a hospital corridor. He is an Israeli Jew severely wounded by a Hamas rocket. She is a Palestinian Muslim from Gaza paralyzed by an Israeli missile. Someone forgot to tell them that they are enemies.

“The wounds of our children, their pain, our pain, have connected us,” noted Angela Elizarov, Orel’s mother, one recent day as she sat on a bed in the room she shares with her son. Next door is Marya, her 6-year-old brother, Momen, and their father, Hamdi Aman. “Does it matter that he is from Gaza and I am from Beersheba, that he is an Arab and I am a Jew? It has no meaning to me. He sees my child and I see his child.”

He [Marya's father] and his children have been at Alyn Hospital, which specializes in young people with serious physical disabilities, for nearly the entire time since. The Israeli government, which brought him here for emergency help, wanted him and his children either to return to Gaza or to move to the West Bank. But attention in the Israeli news media produced a bevy of volunteers to fight on his behalf. Marya would not survive in either Gaza or the West Bank. The government has backed off, supporting Mr. Aman on minimum wage and paying for Marya to go to a bilingual Arabic-Hebrew school nearby.

But Mr. Aman has no official status and is also raising a healthy and bright son in a hospital room. He wants residency or a ticket to a Western country where his children will be safe and Marya will get the care she needs.

Volunteers who help are often religious Jews performing national service. Some ask Mr. Aman how he can live among the people whose army destroyed his family.

“I have never felt there was a difference among people — Jews, Muslims, Christians — we are all human beings,” he says. “I worked in Israel for years and so did my father. We know that it is not about what you are but who you are. And that is what I have taught my children.”


“I was raised as a complete Zionist rightist,” he said. “The Arabs, we were told, were out to kill us. But I was living in some fantasy. Here in the hospital, all my friends are Arabs.” Ms. Elizarov, Orel’s mother, noted that in places like Alyn Hospital, political tensions do not exist. Then she said, “Do we need to suffer in order to learn that there is no difference between Jews and Arabs?”


Perhaps through the suffering of others, humanity as a whole could someday come together to create a more peaceful existence for all.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Iran and Airplanes

There is an awful lot going on in Iran. I'm not even going to pretend like I can do the situation justice, so for more on the what's going on, visit The Daily Dish. Andrew Sullivan and company have done a wonderful job over the weekend with analyzing the different news coming out of Iran via the citizens and social networking sites.

CNN all day has been talking about the attempted terrorist attack on Christmas. Al Qaeda has now confirmed that they are behind the 23 year-old Nigerian's plot to bring down a plane from Amsterdam to Detroit Friday. Headline News has been asking people for their opinions about the raised security at airports and some of the responses astound me. There is a lot of racism and religious intolerance regarding this event. One particular gentleman was upset that "our people" are being searched.

For the record, you never know who is going to be involved with terrorism. There are plenty of homegrown terrorists or those who support terrorists. I, for one, have no problem going through more searching if I can be confident that my plane trip will go smoothly or that my loved ones will be fine during their trips.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Dear Switzerland

So, for those of you who haven't heard, Switzerland passed a ban on minarets today. Minarets are the towers attached to mosques used to call Muslims to prayer. Oddly enough, these four (yes, four in the whole country) minarets aren't even used for calling people, but for decoration and tradition. There are about 400,000 Muslims in the country, 90% of which are from Turkey or Kosovo - aka they are very liberal on their dress code and do not really wear Muslim specific clothing.

So Switzerland, I have one question for you - why you such a bigot? Why you gotta be a jerk? No real good reason? Oh. Well, you make me sad either way.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Fort Hood

What has happened in Fort Hood is a terrible thing. There just aren't any words to describe it. I have friends in the military as well as family down near Fort Hood. In fact, my aunt had been to the PDX on base earlier that day.

The first question that seems to have popped up is why? Sadly, many people thought they knew the answer within seconds of hearing the suspect's name.

People who use their bigotry to decide reasons why Major Hasan committed this tragic crime are only adding to the heartache. They should be ashamed of themselves for perpetrating hate crimes on top of the hurt already done all over the country. Within virtual seconds after the suspect's name was released, those who were already talking about the possibility of terrorism had ample ammunition. This is going to be a case where Major Hasan and the bigots in the media and the news have ruined it for not only the families and loved ones of the soldiers but also the Muslim population in the military (and the entire U.S.).

Unfortunately, I fear a backlash against the Muslim population, similar to that which occurred after September 11th. I'm not the only one. We could see it in the first five minutes that the world knew the Major's name... and not just on the internet. In CNN's live coverage of the tragedy, Wolf Blitzer's Situation Room was on. Within a few moments of learning Hasan's name, Wolf Blitzer makes the comment that it is "obviously an Arab name."

Really? Wolf Blitzer, I expected better of you. Comments like that do not come from someone who is unbiased or at least fair about situations such as this. Cultural insensitivity is way beneath you... at least I thought so.

If anyone has been reading for very long, they know that I am very interested in the Middle East and studying Islam from a scholarly point of view. I am especially interested in Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In fact, I am writing my senior capstone right now on Israel/Palestine. I have heard viewpoints related to Hasan's self-identification as Palestinian - that he was carrying out a terrorist attack against the U.S. as a form of revenge for what wrongs continue to be perpetrated against the Palestinian peoples. First off, the man in all likelihood did not commit this act as a terrorist, but as someone whose mental health had degraded severely. Secondly, for the Palestinians to attack the U.S. - one of Israel's greatest allies - would be counterproductive, and I would go so far as to assume that most people understand that. Unfortunately though, people are going to associate Hasan with Palestinians, which will hurt their cause greatly.

I hope that we can move forward as a nation brought together by this tragedy and not as one segregated because of bigotry and stereotypes. My heart goes out to the people who are suffering as a result of this man's actions.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


For the record, I love Rihanna.

She has opened up and talked about her incident with Chris Brown. Go check it out. Here's my favorite part:

"I am strong," Rihanna said in the interview, voice unfaltering. "This happened to me -- I didn't cause this. I didn't do it. This happened to me, and it can happen to anybody."
If you're looking for more on Chris Brown, go here. I actually do go out of my way to avoid him. I don't want him to get any money from me listening to his music.


There is an interview with Neda's family on CNN right now. Here are just a few interesting parts:

The night before she was killed on the streets of Tehran, the woman the world would come to know simply as Neda had a dream. "There was a war going on," she told her mom the next morning, "and I was in the front."

More than four months after Neda's death, her mother, Hajar Rostami, described the pain her family has endured and how grateful they are to millions across the world who have hailed Neda as a martyr -- a symbol of freedom for Iran. She spoke with CNN by phone in her native Farsi from her home in Tehran a few days ago.

"As a message to everyone, I really want to thank the whole world," she said. "And I don't really know how to thank them, so I ask of you: Please find the right words for me.

"I can't tell you how much it has warmed our hearts, how much it's helped us."

Recalling that day, her mother paused in the hourlong interview. The family, she said, has gone back to the scene and retraced Neda's movements.

"She was only 26 steps from her car."

Those were 26 steps Neda never had a chance to take -- the difference between returning home to her family and becoming a symbol of a greater struggle inside Iran.

"But when I returned home, I did see the video," she said. "It was enormously painful. So painful that I've never been able to watch it again all the way through to the end.

"It was the moment of seeing her give her life, the life leaving her body. That was very painful. The look in her eyes at that moment. I wake up with that look in her eyes every morning; I go to bed with the image of that look in her eyes every evening."

It is tradition in Iran to give away personal belongings of a loved one after they die. But Neda's bed, her makeup stand, her photographs -- everything that was hers -- remains untouched.

The reason: Neda appeared in her sister's dream and told her not to part with anything.

"I am alive," Neda said.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Happy Anniversary

Good morning world. Today has been, several times throughout history, a time for change... and discrimination. It's always amazing to me to see all of the good and bad things that have happened over the years, especially when we see similar events occurring.

  • Maine repeals same-sex marriage, becoming the 31st state to do so
  • Maine also votes to expand the medical marijuana law
  • Washington is expected to pass Referendum 71, allowing many of the benefits of opposite-sex marriage to same-sex couples
  • Iranian people take to the streets in remembrance of the hostage crises of 1979, chanting "Obama" in an effort to call for help and attention to the voting issues that began over the summer

  • President Barack Obama is elected the first African-American president of the United States of America
  • Michael Crichton dies at age 66
  • Proposition 8 is approved by California voters, overturning a previous ruling that same-sex couples would be able to marry

  • Aaron McKinney, who took part in slaying Matthew Shepard because he was homosexual, is sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole and promises not to appeal his conviction

  • Israeli PM Yitzhak Rabin is assassinated by a Jewish extremist in Tel Aviv.

  • Ronald Regan opens his library in Simi Valley

  • Regan wins the presidential race over incumbent Jimmy Carter

  • The Iranian hostage crises begins as as militant storm the U.S. Embassy in Tehran

  • Soviet troops move into Hungary in order to crush a revolt

  • Cy Young dies at 88

  • Dwight Eisenhower is elected president

  • The "Cash and Carry" position is taken by the U.S. in World War II, allowing support for France and Britain

  • Wyoming elects the first female governor, Nellie T. Ross 1922 - King Tut's tomb is discovered

  • Grover Cleveland is elected president

  • Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd are married in Springfield, Illinois

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Now, I'm generally against the death penalty... but fucking assholes like this definitely get a vote from me to head to the electric chamber... especially if he ends up having an STD of some sort.

During the sentencing for 26-year-old Jeremy M. Lund, the Wood County victim-witness coordinator read a letter written by the toddler's mother and father. The parents wanted the letter read out loud in court so Lund would have to hear the damage he's caused.

"Make sure that he will never be in a place to harm another child," they wrote.

Wood County Circuit Court Judge Greg Potter sentenced Lund to 40 years in prison with credit for 287 days already served. Lund will serve an additional 20 years on extended supervision.

The sentencing was difficult for the victim's family, who filled the courtroom. Crying could be heard throughout the hearing and at one point, several family members left the courtroom, finding it too difficult to be in Lund's presence and listen to the proceedings.

In their letter, the parents wrote that their 17-month-old daughter had to go through surgery to evaluate the damage done to her.

"We love our daughter, and it rips us apart what happened to her," they wrote.

He ordered Lund to be on GPS monitoring for life, maintain absolute sobriety, maintain full and verifiable employment, undergo alcohol assessment, give a DNA sample and be tested for sexually transmitted diseases.

(h/t WI Rapids Tribune)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Prediction Time

The 1960s ended up being the era of love. The early 1990s was the grunge era. What will the early 2000s be known as?

The era of irresponsible parents.

Think about it. We have seen arguments against the Jon & Kate show, only to see the family fold under the pressure of stardom and ruin their children's' lives even more (by the way Kate answered questions the other night for anyone interested).

We have also experienced murderous moms, incestual fathers, and more.

Oh, and let's not forget the balloon family.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Missing Girl

A girl from Virginia Tech has gone missing after being separated from her friends shortly before a Metallica concert. Both the band and her mother are asking anyone with information or video/photos from that night to step forward and aid in her safe return.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tyler Perry

In the past, Tyler Perry has spoken about the fact that he was abused as a child, but never in detail. However, today he took part in something so therapeutic for those of us who have been abused - he spoke out about it.

He posted quite a bit about his abuse stories on the message section of his website. They aren't for the faint of heart, especially if you have experienced similar events in your life. CNN gives a less detailed summary of the different issues a young Tyler Perry faced, which may be a little easier to read for some.

I find a lot of what Tyler Perry has done with films and other media to be slightly annoying. However, reading about his past has made me respect him as a person and understand better some of the reasonings behind his actions. Anyone who has survived such hard things in their lives deserve a lot more respect than they ever really get, especially those who have been able to talk about their abuse.

Tyler Perry didn't just wake up today thinking about telling his story to the world. It generally does not - cannot - happen like that. Oprah and Perry have backed a new film - Precious - which will be in theaters. The film is about a teenage girl from Harlem who lives in a very abusive situation. Her father has gotten her pregnant for the second time and she has to deal with an abusive and ignorant mother. On top of all this, she is a freshman in high school at sixteen who has no clue how to read or write. She faces being kicked out of school and instead opts for alternative schooling, which helps to get Precious out of her home situation.

I'd like to share with you a quote from Perry's message earlier today:
If you're having a hard time getting over something in your life, maybe you can try forgiveness too. It's not easy, but it does bring forth healing. I know that there are a lot of people out there with stories far worse than mine but you, too, can make it. To those of you who have, welcome to life. I celebrate you.
He's right. It was one of the most frightening moments when I realized that the little girl who abused me must have been abused herself and was probably acting out based upon the same sorts of things I was feeling. It was so freeing to begin forgiving her for what I went through. That isn't to say that I'm not still mad at her. Forgiveness is something you have to do slowly and work really hard at. In the end though, I think - I hope - it'll be worth it.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Iran Update

Two separate people who were protesting Iran's past have come out and started to talk about their experiences in captivity. This man and woman were both raped while being held. It is important to beware of the possibility of triggers when reading this article, but please do so.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Well, Crap

Ahmadinejad was on Larry King Live the other night. I can't explain how hilarious it was. I had just tuned-in in time to hear King ask the Iranian President about his views on the Holocaust. King, who is a Jewish man married to a Mormon woman, had family members die in the mass genocide against Jews, gypsies, the disabled, homosexuals, and other "undesirables." During Ahmadinejad's rant about the Holocaust, King had to take three commercial breaks and tried to move onto another topic several times. I felt really bad for him, but it was humorous to watch Ahmadinejad make a fool of himself. Basically, he tried to say that Jewish people made up the Holocaust in order to get the land of Palestine back until Jewish control. One of the more interesting points that he argued was that he couldn't understand how the Israeli people, who "supposedly" (his words not mine) went through a genocide and terrorist acts being carried out upon them could turn around and treat the people of Palestine in such a similar way. Now, I'm definitely not a Holocaust denier - far from it - but this point has been brewing in my mind for a few days now. I'm not entirely sure how to explain it. It's odd to find myself being able to understand Ahmadinejad's point, maybe even creepy?

Speaking of our favorite friend, Ahmadinejad, he admitted a few days ago that Iran has a second nuclear facility. Even more than that, they tested some missiles in the past few days. Could this lead to another world war? We'll have to see I suppose. Russia's Sergei Karaganov thinks Iran's situation is one of several roadblocks on the path to world peace right now.

In slightly related news, Israel went ahead and shut down for Yom Kippur. They are very worried about what Iran has been doing over the weekend, so I can see where it would be hard to do so. Part of what happens during these shut downs is that all soldiers are relieved of their posts to be able to spend time in Temple and with their families. It's such a nice thing for these people, except that the Palestinians who have to pass through checkpoints in order to get to school, work, home, hospitals, and other places, cannot do so without men at the gates. I'm glad for the Israelis that they get to enjoy their day, but when people are dying because they cannot get past a barrier in order to get medical attention, one has to ask the question whether or not Palestinians are viewed as people at all.

As a reminder, it is a Federal crime to threaten the president. Maybe someone should've posted that on Facebook.

Apparently they're making a movie about Candy Land? Entertainment Weekly wants to know which games are next. If you're looking for ridiculous movies, Justin Timberlake is going to star as one of the developers of facebook. Interesting. (h/t that one guy I'm constantly spending time with)

Oh, and speaking of my boyfriend, we went to this awesome Civil War reenactment Sunday. Look for more details tomorrow when I'm done writing two papers and working.

Friday, September 25, 2009


Last night, here in Waukesha, Carroll University hosted Take Back the Night. For those of you who haven't heard about it, the organization, which began in the late 1970's, holds get-togethers where survivors of abuse can speak out in a safe place - some for the first time. It is generally geared towards women, but there were some men who spoke up about their abuse. It was so difficult to listen to people speak out about their abuse, especially my roommate. I hadn't really cried until she made it up there to share her story. I had thought about getting up to share my story and seeing my roommate's courage let me know it was alright to do so. I was so scared but it was so freeing to share with my classmates and other people in the community something that I've kept to myself until the last two years.

I've never gotten therapy for the things that happened to me as a child. No one in my family has. The only reason I bring up this point is because of shows like Showbiz Tonight and others who are trying to say that Mackenzie Phillips is either lying or should not have broadcast her story to the world, that she should be in therapy instead of bringing attention to what's happened to her. I feel ashamed of the fact that our society still cannot talk about this. What happened to Mackenzie wasn't any more her fault that it was mine. Most people who have been abused do not talk about what happened to them because they fear the kind of retribution that this brave woman is facing. Michelle Phillips, Mackenzie's stepmother, is making this process 110% harder for her stepdaughter than it should be.

I can't believe that, as a society, we can condemn sexual abuse and in the same breath call victims liars when we cannot verify the claims. This is a sad world we're living in and it's no surprise to me that so many of the victims of sexual abuse end up trying to commit suicide or keeping their stories to themselves forever.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Breaking News!

Obama calls Kanye West a jackass! I can't imagine how much that one stings.

Also in the news, although it's a little old, Kanye West loves fish sticks!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Iran Update

So it looks like Ahmadinejad is going to invite some high profile people to his place for some coffee and to talk about this nuclear thang.

Is it just me or does it seem like a bad idea to send people to go talk to him? My kidnapping senses are tingling.

Friday, September 11, 2009


I feel so overwhelmed right now with school. Not only am I organizing this Palestinian Freedom Walk and working three jobs as of next week, but I am working on my capstone paper.

The topic? Israel and Palestine.

Honestly, what else did you expect me to write about?

So much homework. Gah.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

You Know You're Back to School When...

You're reading a novel on the history of the Balkans in the process of doing research for your senior capstone while drinking a wine cooler... and then while trying to find your best playlist, you spill said wine cooler all over your laptop and can only watch in amazement until flipping your laptop upside down to drain the alcohol off your favorite and most needed electronic device... all while listening to Jason Mraz, Dave Matthews Band, and Jack Johnson.

Mmm sticky keys.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

New News

Wow, there is a lot going on in the world right now.

The Iranians have accepted Ahmadinejad's nomination for health minister, Ms. Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi. Yes, the man nominated Iran's first female minister. Two others were nominated, but turned down. Could it have something to do with trying to please the feminists that came to the forefront of the movement this past summer? Probably.

A young Muslim teen ran away from her home in Ohio to a pastor in Florida after converting to Christianity. The seventeen year old girl feared for her life after her father vowed to kill her because of her conversion. The man denies really being that upset over her change in faith, though he would rather that she practice Islam.

In Britain, two boys (ten and eleven) lured two other boys (nine and ten) to a ravine and began to beat them to the extent that they would've been charged with attempted murder. The charges were dropped, but should they have been?:

The older boy had a sink dropped on his head, one had a noose put around his head and one was burned with a cigarette on his eyelids and ear.

The younger boy had a sharp stick rammed into his arm and cigarettes pushed into the wound.

He also tried to ram a stick down his own throat after he was told to "go away and kill himself" by one of his attackers.

The pair, who were both seriously injured, had bricks thrown at them and were repeatedly stamped on.

The nine-year-old managed to stagger to a nearby house to raise the alarm, covered in blood from wounds to his head and arm.

The 11-year-old boy was later discovered unconscious in the nearby wood.

The brothers have each pleaded guilty to robbing one of the boys of a mobile phone and the other of cash.

They also admitted two counts of intentionally causing a child to engage in sexual activity.

The brothers were later charged with attempted grievous bodily harm with intent and making a threat to kill in connection with a separate attack on another 11-year-old boy in Doncaster a week earlier.

Also, where are the parents in all of this?

Ninety-two year old Rochus Misch is the last living person from the Hitler bunker. He was present not too far from the room in which Hitler and Eva Braun committed suicide. It's an interesting story for sure.

You ever thought your soda tasted funky? I bet you never had anything like this.

Also, if you haven't seen the people of Walmart website, it's been in the news a lot lately in addition to being hilarious.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

I Hate Talking About This Stuff

But it's definitely a necessary evil. This Jaycee Lee Dugard case is clearly disturbing. At the time, I lived in the area and visited Lake Tahoe a few times because my family had a cabin up there. I was so young that I really don't remember hearing about anything. CNN is, of course, talking about this woman's breaking story. Today, this story (Victims of repeated abuse suffer complex trauma) found it's way onto the front page. Lemme break this down...

Victims of abuse suffer crazy amounts of trauma. I can't even explain to people close to me things that happened or why I tend to act weird around certain things. The slightest little thing can trigger a flashback - a color, smell, look - even a word. Maybe it is because I am someone who experienced this kind of trauma, but the headline of the story seems like a no-brainer to me. I'm not going to compare myself to Ms. Dugard, but simply analyze this article based on my experiences.

"Sexual abuse doesn't happen in silence," said Karen Duncan, a clinical therapist. "Things are said to the child before, during and after. Offenders say things in a purposeful way -- to convince the child what they're doing is OK and acceptable. The children do not know the laws. They really don't know this is something that's not supposed to happen."
Sometimes things are said, sometimes not so much. It's all dependent on the abuser, abusee, and the situation. I had no clue what was going on with me was all that wrong at first. By the time I did, it wasn't like I had any power to stop it.

In sexual assault cases, adults threaten or lie to get children under their control.

"We don't know if she was told her parents didn't want her anymore, or that if she tried to escape, they would kill her parents," said Dr. Sharon Cooper, a developmental and forensic pediatrician, who also is a consultant for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. "There are many threats to compliance in these kinds of situations."

Something I find upsetting about any articles like these is that they always fail to mention child-on-child sexual abuse. Is it because many of us who have experienced this kind of abuse try to play it off as ordinary childhood sexual exploration? Who knows. At some point, however, an adult had to be involved with a child in order to prompt said child to mimic his/her actions with another. Also, as I've discussed before, threats don't necessarily have to be said or even made by the abuser. I was scared to death that a) no one would believe me, and b) my family would be ashamed of me.

Because Dugard remained at the Garridos' compound for 18 years, she could have identified with her captives, experts said. Dugard may actually miss her captors now because they have been the center of her world for so long, forensic psychiatrist Helen Morrison told CNN.

"That was her life," Morrison said. "That's what she knew. That's the only thing she had. It's a little variant of what we call the Stockholm syndrome where you become identified with your kidnappers and in many ways, you become attached to them."

It's not uncommon to see someone fail for their abuser or be so "in-love" with their abuser that they cannot leave the situation. My childhood abuser was my best friend. Why in the world would I think that she would've done anything to hurt me? Best friends love each other right? This was just another way of showing it, like grown ups do.

The pivotal step for Dugard is to get connected with a mental health professional, Landry said. It's essential to reinforce to survivors that what happened is not their fault.
This really is one of the best things to do. However, it is also one of the hardest things anyone will ever go through in their lives. On a day-to-day basis - before I told my mom and after - I can pretend that I am just another normal girl. I've talked to a therapist at school a few times about my abuse. As hard as it was to tell my mom, the person every little girl idolizes growing up and is so close to, about what happened... Having to tell a perfect stranger and feel as though they are judging you is a whole different ballgame. Oh, and that's not even mentioning that you have to tell people roughly what happened to you and go through hell all over again. I'd rather suffer in silence personally.

On Thursday, she [formally kidnapped Elizabeth Smart] told CNN's Anderson Cooper that after the reunion she spent lots of time with her family and advised survivors to not let "this horrible event take over and consume the rest of your life. Because we only have one life and it's a beautiful world out there."

"I would just encourage her to find different passions in life and continually push forward ... [and] not to look behind, because there's a lot out there," Smart said.

Ms. Smart has some very good advice there. We cannot let ourselves be defined by the abuse we've suffered. It is a part of my life and something that I can't escape from (in the long-run anyway). People don't need to know what happened to me or even that anything happened. I know what happened, that it was wrong, and that I did nothing to deserve that.

Sometimes there are tornadoes and hurricanes. The devastation is terrible, but that doesn't mean that the sun stops shining. We have to pick up the pieces, rearrange them, and try to rebuild our lives. Sure, it's a process (it's been four years since Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and still the area is in ruins). As someone who is still in that process, I'm not quite sure that it ever ends. One can only hope.

Palestinian Freedom Walk, Milwaukee

If you are interested in learning more about this awesome event that I'm planning on behalf of the American Association for Palestinian Equal Rights, or AAPER, go to the official sign-up site or to our facebook page.

Here's the quick lowdown though:

What: Silent march
When: October 10, 2009
Where: Somewhere in Milwaukee (IDK yet)
Why: Because Palestinians deserve to be equal in their own country
Who: Anyone who supports human rights!

Also, if you're not in the Milwaukee area, you can find marches near you at the AAPER website.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Hazards of Love

If you haven't heard the latest album from The Decemberists, Hazards of Love, you outta look it up. The band is from Portland, Oregon - about two hours north of where I grew up. I'm not going to say anything about the album because I don't want to give things away, except to say that this is a story album that uses some old English wording.

Go listen!

Monday, August 17, 2009

New Job

So I started my new job today. Maybe it was just because I was training, but it was wonderful. It didn't get busy like Kmart gets busy which was a nice change of pace. I got to meet Bob Soerens, the owner of the joint, and he's hilarious. I keep training tomorrow, which will be nice. I catch on pretty quickly though, so I hope I don't get bored.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Boycott Marriotts With Me

Read this story. They could've had a solid argument if they had come from a different angle. However, this company is blaming a woman for her own rape in front of her children. Ridiculous.

If you want to complain to the company like I did, go here.


If you don't read it, here's a great reason (click on the picture to read the whole thing - stupid formatting):

It contains truth.

Whoa There

So I found this fun story off NPR's twitter page today about medical marijuana in California. California was the first state to legalize it and my home state (well, where I grew up anyway) eventually followed suit. I will be very honest here. I don't smoke pot - never even tried it. I've known enough people through the years who have tried it. As someone with a chronic pain ailment, I've looked at reasons for legalizing the drug for those of us in terrible pain. After all, it's really a lot less harmful than alcohol, which causes thousands of deaths on our roads and other places every year.

Back to the story. A federal drug agent in San Francisco thinks... Well, I'll just let you read his words:

"I think 215 was a complete sham. I think this was a hoax," says Ron Brooks, a federal drug agent in San Francisco.

"And I would encourage any citizen to do this. Stand near a dispensary and watch who goes in," Brooks said.

"And tell me how many people look sick and dying. How many people look like they are suffering from catastrophic illness, and how many kids are standing around the corner where people buy marijuana inside the dispensary — and resell it to the kids outside for a profit," he adds.

Earlier in the article, it talks about the history of legalizing the drug. It was to help those with HIV/AIDS, cancers, etc. You cannot tell by looking at people how close to death they are or how sick they are or even if they are in pain. People think that I am just lazy (which is partially true, but I do have medical reasons for a lot of what I do/don't do) and don't care to know anything about what is going on in my life. I don't look like someone who has a debilitating disease that has constantly made me want to chop off limbs. You just can't see something like that by looking at a person and it's ridiculous to think that anyone could tell that.

I can see why people might get mad at how easy it is to get pot. Hello, have you never walked down the street and been approached to buy pot? Do these people not walk around normal parts of town? Even in states where it is illegal, access to pot is not difficult to get.

Why not make pot legal and easier to monitor than continue to put drug dealers in jail for longer than pedophiles? Do we not ever learn anything from Europe? You can tax pot, you know - make some more money for the government, maybe help out people who have morals too high to do things that are illegal but might benefit from it?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Spanking in Public Schools

I came across this article in the New York Times this morning about how disabled students are spanked more.

I wouldn't necessarily consider myself disabled, but I had an incident as a first grader where my teacher spanked me for no good reason. As a result of my JRA, it is harder for me to sit criss-cross-applesauce as was customary to do in our class. My teachers had been informed on what was going on with my body. Unfortunately, one of my teachers either didn't understand or didn't care.

We came in from recess one day and I was exhausted. Instead of coming in and sitting the customary way on the floor mat, I had my legs to the side of my body, which I could usually get away with in my other class if we sat on the floor. This even hurt, so I laid down on my side on the floor. A classmate tried to warn me to sit the right way, but I told her how much it hurt and that I just couldn't do it. Then the teacher came in. She was a middle-aged woman from Japan who had happily moved to the northwest in order to teach at this Japanese-immersion school. She was very upset that I was not following the rules. I tried to explain to her how painful it was to sit the normal way and how tired and achy my poor little body was. All she seemed to care about was that I was breaking the rules and then being argumentative about it. So she lifted me up by one arm and preceded to spank me in front of my classmates.

She put me down and told me to sit the right way. I was crying so hard between the embarrassment and the pain in my bottom and my knees as I bent them to match the other kids.

For kids who can't follow the rules because of physical limitations or for those who don't quite understand the directions, spanking is a terrifying experience. I was in terrible pain to begin with, but to have to go through being spanked and humiliated in front of my friends as well as having to bend my knees - the thing I was trying to avoid because of the pain - was not only annoying but ridiculous as well. Any sort of physical punishment should be outlawed in our schools. Teachers are people too - people who lose their temper or misunderstand situations. We should be able to put a certain amount of trust in them, but trusting them to physically punish our children correctly is a mistake and one that can scar someone for life.

Forget About Feminism

Some Muslims are moving way past equal rights. There are a handful of Islamic punk bands popping up around the United States. Their music is charged with current events and politics.

This is awesome.

(Also, this is the 250th post!)

Monday, August 10, 2009


I'm not following the latest on Obama's healthcare reform plans. I've just become so uninterested due to how the different news agencies and reporters/writers are handling this. I can, however, tell you why I would support nationalized health care.

I've talked several times about my Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthrits (JRA/Still's Disease) on this site and my other blog. With this as a pre-existing condition, any insurance I would be able to buy privately would require me to work 80+ hours a week and wouldn't really cover anything substantial.

I get insurance through school, yes, but it's enough to cover a visit to the school nurse... and enough to help me pay 80% of a regular doctor's visit (provided that they accept the insurance). Don't even think about dental, vision, or specialty docs like rheumatologists.

All the things going on with my sister right now would have been even more terrible had she not been able to qualify for BadgerCare. She had to have an appendectomy over the weekend. Without having the insurance, I'm sure that her appendix would've exploded and she wouldn't have been able to get help until things got dyer, if then.

And if that didn't do it for you, maybe this story will.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


My sister went to the emergency room last night with appendicitis. I haven't really slept super well since. We brought her home around 3:30 or 4 o'clock this afternoon. Any time that I have slept since we got into her room around 3 this morning was because of low blood sugar and exhaustion.

So exhausted. Blech.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

I Got A New Job

Working at a car dealership! It'll be so nice to get out of Kmart :)

In sad news, I just heard John Hughes died :(

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I Can't Wait

The Time Traveler's Wife comes out in theatres on the fourteenth. I am so excited that nothing else seems to be all that important right now. For the past few hours, I sped read through the first 100 or so pages of the book (care of Google) as well as read quotes.

I think I'm kidnapping my boyfriend, who made me read the book, to go see the movie on opening weekend. It's a moral imperative.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Put Protesters On Trial You Say?

Yep, that's what Iran is doing right now. News reports say they are cracking down on the opposition, but if you've been following this at all, you know this is just a continuation of the abuse of the people. Ahmadinejad is going to be sworn in again in just a few short days and it seems as though this tough approach against the people will not let up anytime soon.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009


I was always told that if I didn't have anything nice to say, I best not say anything at all. Apparently a lot of Israelis want Obama to (perhaps) violate that rule and speak to them directly. Here, have some commentary on the piece:

This policy of ignoring Israel carries a price. Though Mr. Obama has succeeded in prodding Mr. Netanyahu to accept the idea of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, he has failed to induce Israel to impose a freeze on settlements. In fact, he has failed even to stir debate about the merits of one: no Israeli political figure has stood up to Mr. Netanyahu and begged him to support Mr. Obama; not even the Israeli left, desperate for a new agenda, has adopted Mr. Obama as its icon.

Ah, yes, because everyone around the world is supposed to adopt Obama as its new icon for peace and change. I forgot about that one.

In Mr. Netanyahu’s narrative, the president has fallen under the influence of top aides — in this case Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod — whom the prime minister has called “self-hating Jews.” Meanwhile, Mr. Netanyahu is the defender of national glory in face of unfair pressure, someone who sticks to the first commandment of Israeli culture: thou shalt never be the freier (that is, the dupe).

Kudos for using the word 'dupe.' Just because someone wants to see peace in the Middle East and understands that BOTH sides have to give up some stuff (Palestine being the only side that's really given up anything to date) doesn't make them self-hating Jews. It makes them Jews who understand that what Israel and supporting countries have done the people of Palestine is terrible.

A Jerusalem Post poll of Israeli Jews last month indicated that only 6 percent of those surveyed considered the Obama administration to be pro-Israel, while 50 percent said that its policies are more pro-Palestinian than pro-Israeli. Less scientifically: Israeli rightists have — in columns, articles and public statements — taken to calling the president by his middle name, Hussein, as proof of his pro-Arab tendencies.

Shouldn't the focus be on what is pro-peace and not pro-Israel? If you want a pro-Israel political ally, you really aren't going to get one anytime soon, at least in the United States.

Fourth, as far as most Israelis are concerned, Mr. Obama has made a mistake in focusing on a settlement freeze. For starters, mainstream Israelis rarely have anything to do with the settlements; many have no idea where they are, even when they’re a half-hour’s drive from Tel Aviv.

Oh good, so then it isn't just the United States that fails to get any news whatsoever from the Palestinian side of things due to bias media and suppression? How do you not know about problems in your own holy land? Wow.

In other related news, I bought a book about the conflict the other day, thinking that it would be informative, only to find out that it is very pro-Israel. I don't really have anything wrong with that point of view (when it's not extremist) but the world cannot ignore the atrocities being perpetrated on the Palestinian people - Arabs and Christians, women and children, young and old.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

This Is Why Parents Don't Get Told

There are a lot of things that go through a person's mind when they've been raped or sexually assaulted. I wish I could say that these things get easier with time. To an extent, they do, but life never returns to 'normal,' whatever that is. The hesitation to tell someone about the assault can definitely grow over time.

As a child, I really didn't have a huge idea that other people weren't going through what I was experiencing. I thought that it could just be a part of life and growing up. I slowly learned that what was happening to me was not alright, not normal, and not something that should be happening. I couldn't bring myself to tell my mom until sometime in the last year or so.

I was so afraid that my mom would react like this family did, that she would be ashamed of or mad at me. I cannot even express how many times I tried to talk about what was happening, what had happened to me. I'd open my mouth to start to talk about it, but then would change the subject or conveniently 'forget' what I was saying. My mom did everything when I was younger to try and make sure that these things she went through as a young girl did not happen to my sister and me, but even all of her careful questions and explanations of good touch/bad touch couldn't overcome the feelings of being abused.

It's only really been within the last year that I've been able to talk more openly about the things that happened to me as a little girl. Even then, I still feel so vulnerable that when people ask me questions about what happened, I can't answer them. Many times, I do want to answer these questions, but the power that these abusers hold over us silence even the most talkative tongues. Other times, I can't describe things I've experienced or even remember what happened. These, of course, end up being the things that people I've spoken to about my abuse want to know about.

If anyone in your life has been sexually abused or assaulted, the most important thing to do is to be supportive and understanding. No one knows exactly what happened to me and, in all likelihood, no one will. It is not that I don't trust the people in my life enough to speak about these things, but there's a pain that exists that can't really be described, even to myself.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I Can See New Years Celebrations Changed Forever

That is, if the Naked Cowboy really ends up being New York's new mayor. I didn't know he had such a good background though, so that might get interesting.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The National

So I went to The National concert last night at the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee. It was amazing to say the least. If you haven't heard any of their music, you should really go check out Mr. November and Secret Meeting just because they are my favorite songs. The energy that this band brought to the stage was fantastic. The only other band that I've seen get quite as much into their music as The National is Dave Matthews Band (which I haven't seen in person). Anyways, go check em out because they're friggawesome like that.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Iran Update

It's been a while since I really wrote on here again.

Even though Iran isn't in the news as much right now, there is still a lot going on over there. People were marching today, despite the fact that the government has tried all it can to stop them. Tear gas, guns, and beatings still aren't enough to keep people in their homes and out of the streets. There are still plenty of people in jail and even some being rearrested. There are more videos and bloggings to be found here.

Tweets from the past hour:

In case u missed; Basij throwing stone at 0:50 mins (youtube) #iranelection

Courage & Bravery! RT: Sanchez calls chants of "death 2 the dictator" "remarkable" #iranelection - Today's people demonstration got to the rudeness by coup de atat forces #iranelection #gr88#iran

Chants "Death to dictator" 18 Tir, Tehran (youtube) #iranelection

Valiasr Sq 18 Tir Tehran protest (youtube) #iranelection #gr88

Compilation of videos from 18 Tir in Tehran (youtube) #iranelection

Unknown location, 18 Tir (youtube) #iranelection #gr88

More videos coming... 18 Tir, Tehran #iranelection

The attack on Amir Kabir Univ dormitories:

Video: We Are Fighting Back, Central 18,00 #iranelection

Amirabad/Hejab St cars blocking street, ppl chanting (youtube) #iranelection

From Iran: Despite being beaten, general feeling is that we WON today! #iranelection

Video: Tehran Uiversity Dorm 20.30 #iranelection

don't say we were hundreds/thousands,Even ppl scared came out #iranelection

Do not underestimate the number of protesters today just bcuz they were scattered. They were at every crossing #iranelection

Mojahedin is not much better than the religious clerics, they're fightin against gvmt 4 their own sake

Reports: Hezbollah Attacked Polytechnic Dorm!#iranelection

Thursday, July 2, 2009

India Decriminalizes Homosexuality

And, of course, like most, the problem began with British occupation:
Homosexuality has been illegal in India since 1861, when British rulers codified a law prohibiting “carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal.” The law, known as Section 377 of India’s penal code, has long been viewed as an archaic holdover from colonialism by its detractors.

If you've been living under a rock and don't exactly know what's going on in Iran at all, you can trust the New York Times for a recap.

Who's My Favorite Person Right Now?

Jeff Goldblum :)

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Iran Update

Here are pictures of the ballots. As Andrew Sullivan points out, one can see problems right away.

Texting comes back in Iran.

The Iranian government says 20 protesters were killed in all. I don't believe them, and the Guardian will end up helping to identify the lost and tortured souls. Even if it were thousands, the story behind each martyr would break my heart again. Here's one such story. The interrogation and torture techniques that the Iranian officials are using could have killed hundreds like 04-309, and we would never know. The beatings themselves are absolutely terrible and reprehensible. I can see where the pain and mental anguish would drive someone to kill themselves.

Fort Worth police raided a gay bar and got rid of all their anger, it seems. The Star-Telegram doesn't have anything about the incident. If someone is drunk, they might not get that they are doing anything inappropriate. I think homophobia has played a far bigger role in here than anyone wants to say out loud.