Wednesday, September 28, 2005

It's 2am. I have a hedgehog hiding in my crotch and I just found at least two interpretations of the meaning of "The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight" by REM. How many people do you know who can say the same?

This night can't get any better. I'm going to bed.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Welcome Yoda:

I would like to announce the arrival of a very beautiful hedgieboy named Yoda. Yoda has come all the way from Iowa, via Minneapolis, from an owner who was moving to California, the land of hedgehogs-are-illegal-here. Apparently she also didn't have enough time for him, her being in graduate school and all. He has arrived in full cactus-like quill posture, allowing me only fleeting glimpses of his beautiful gray ears and black eyes.

Yoda was supposed to go live with a family, but they decided they didn't have time for a hedgehog at this time. Since he doesn't have a waiting home, he's going to be staying with me for a while, and perhaps for good. I promised him he would only have to leave if he found someone he liked better than he liked me. He responded by huffing at me and tensing his quills, which I took to mean that he understood and appreciated my generosity.

When my new cord to connect my camera to my computer arrives I will be sure to post pictures of him, and some old ones of Mike and Lola and Mike's party and some pretty roses (they're separate photos, but wouldn't it be great if I really DID have a picture of Mike, Lola, Mike's party and yellow roses?). I also might be moving my blog to Mike's website, since he has room for a lot of pictures. I still have to decide whether we're serious enough to share server space...

In other news, things are going well for me, which I guess is kinda huge. I haven't had migraines since I lowered my dose of my Cymbalta (which replaced Effexor), I have enjoyed being around people and haven't had any of the strange feelings that I recognize as PTSD. I hope this week continues to be so good. It would be rather nice to have a good week.

Ok, that's it. Time to sleep.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Walmart Debate

As a budding activist, I have been reading and commenting on some of the blog entries at One of my posts elicited a biting response for the board-critic. You know who I mean: they troll the blogs just to sound like a superior a$$hat, they have uninformed contrary opinions to what everyone posts, etc. They're on every list, I think.

In any case, I thought my response was fairly well written. It took some time to write, especially to get beyond the fact that he told me I was a stupid, naive, future world-ruiner (as a lawyer). Here, for your reading pleasure, my response:

Thank you for your response. I am looking forward to addressing several points you made in your reply that I find false and insulting:

“If I am not mistaken, I believe “at will” means an employee can leave an employer at any time, without notice, for any reason...”

Yes, this is correct. My point in discussing “at will” was that you seemed to miss the fact that an hourly wage is garunteed to an employee for hours worked, not hours worked at 150%. If the employer feels that the employee is not meeting work standards, she may fire the employee or take corrective action through a disciplinary policy developed by the human resources department. She may NOT arbitrarily dock salary, as hourly wages are protected by law. Wages are per hour, not per effort as you said to John D. yesterday at 11:09AM

“You are a 2nd year law student, hence, you have no understanding of the real world and the obstacles most of us face every day in trying to run a business.”

This is very dismissive and presumes a lot of things. Do you know how old 2nd year law students are? They can be any age, from 21-55 (yes, we have a 2L who is that old). They can also come from a variety of backgrounds, including having previously been a business owner who really _does_ understand the real world and the obstacles most of “you” face every day in trying to run a business. You cannot speak to my knowledge or experience. Only I can.

“It is difficult to move because when the government has not erected an obstacle, they are slowing you down by grabbing your pockets and draining the money.”

I understand. A very good friend of mine started and runs his own tech-support business. He faces a lot of the same obsticles that you speak of. Government regulation can be mind-blowingly ridiculous. I agree.

“Lawyers are responsible for a great deal of pain in this country and they are a drain on society. They create nothing, they build nothing, they manage nothing and they risk nothing.”

I don’t appreciate the insult to what I am choosing to study. Many people who graduate from law school go on to work for non-profit agencies such as Walmart Watch or Community Justice centers. Lawyers represent workers who feel their rights have been violated. Most of the safety features of cars, amusement park rides, surgeries and everyday household goods have been enacted as the result of a torts claim against the manufacturers or doctors because of negligence that has resulted in death or great bodily harm. If you have received a glaucoma test before the age of 40, you have directly benefitted from a law suit against an optomitrist. Lawyers represent the Humane Society of the United States as it tries to pass legislation protecting companion animals or service animals that help assist those with a variety of handicaps. I believe that lawyers _can_ add a lot to society, and I _am_ glad I am going into a field that will allow me to help so many people. (I admit some lawyers are a$$holes. I wish they weren’t, too)

I understand your perspective and your work ethic. They are the very work ethics that have built our country up for the past 250 years. I hope you understand, however, that there are new viewpoints on what employers can demand, and what employees may demand as well. Buisness owners face huge overheads because of health care costs, workers comp and the like. It is difficult to compete with businesses world-wide because we are the only industrialized nation who provides healthcare through employment, raising the cost of our products and services. There are many competing ideas for solutions, none of which are perfect.

I DO encourage you to learn more about alternative work paradigms such as those used by Google, in Canada and Europe, and in the Far East. Many experts now suggest that forcing a human to perform mechanically for 8 hour shifts does not increase productivity as much as providing breaks, intellectual stimulation and an encouraging and supportive environment that welcomes criticism an new ideas. I sense that you have a very strong moral conviction to the idea of working 150%, but I hope you understand that not every human can or should function that way, nor are they necessarily lazy, self-righteous and stupid. I hope you also understand that a lot of factors go into how a person performs at work, and there many, many things that affect the population who most commonly works at Walmart, including poverty, abuse at home, family members who use drugs/alcohol, lack of access to healthcare and education, just to name a few. These are not necessarily people who just don’t work hard because they don’t think they should have to.

I appreciate that you are a very intelligent man, judging by your responses to others’ comments. I am sorry you felt the most appropriate response to me was to be dismissive and insulting. I understand the area you live in, the problems there, the population there; my parents lived there most of their lives, and we still have a lot of family in the area. There are definitely business and labor problems, and I can easily see how that could lead to frustration and anger. I hope your intelligence leads you to explore alternative employment approaches, the lives of the impoverished and uninsured, and difficulties faced by minority populations. Law school has certainly opened my eyes to the suffering in the world all around us. I hope you are able to turn your anger into compassion for the humans around you, and that you find a way to help them make their lives better, baby-step at a time.

Yes, I know not everyone will be helped, not everyone wants to change. We can only do our best. Helping others is the job I will work at 150%. I hope you can too.

Say “hi” to the hills for me. I haven’t been back to Wheeling in a long time. (I’m assuming you’re from Wheeling, WV. Please correct me if I’m wrong.)


Monday, September 19, 2005

I thought I'd take a minute to write a blog that no one wants to read. That's not to say that anyone has ever wanted to read any of my other blogs, but I'm pretty sure this one will be one of the least wanting-to-read-able ones I've written.

Partial-birth Abortions

It's kinda like saying the most inappropriate knock-knock joke ever (ask Nathan). Here's something that'll help you read a little bit more:


That is a completely made-up term that the radical women-haters came up with to offend the most people possible in the time it takes to speak those words. It brings to mind some of the most horrible images I think can exist in the head of someone who doesn't watch horror movies or live in war zones. In that sense, I think those crazies did a great job. Good job on coming up with a horrible name, crazies!

Why do I call them crazies? Because they are crazies. Who else but a crazy would find something in medicine that happens at truly heart-breaking moments, dress it up in discourse and vomit it into the public sphere. It would be like taking a really close look at what happens when an elderly person dies, naming it something horrible and blaming it on women and liberals.

So, what is this procedure that actually does exist? It's actually something that is done when, often in the second trimester (five months, more or less), the mom-to-be finds out that her baby is dead or horribly deformed/disabled to the point that it will not gain consciousness and will die within moments of birth.

To find out your baby isn't alive, that it will never look into your eyes, that trying to deliver her would literally kill you because of the deformities... I can't imagine a more horrifying, tragic moment for a woman.

Insert Radical Right, blame the woman and BAM! You have yourself the USA!

The procedure done at that sensitive time is done to preserve a woman's ability to have future, healthy children. It prevents harm to the mother that she would face if she waited to deliver naturally. It is a procedure that could save her life.

I would tell you not to look up the details of the procedure. It isn't pleasant to learn about. The best site to look to for facts rather than spin, if you really want to, is this site. Don't worry, there are no scary pictures or people telling you that you'll be going to hell for visiting.

And why am I writing about D&X procedure (its real name, by the way)? Because I was reading about what will be on the docket of the Supreme Court this fall, and how it will operate minus one Justice. I'm in law school, those kinds of things fascinate me.


Saturday, September 10, 2005

Uh, constitution anyone?

Courts ruled today that President Bush can hold people, even US citizens, indefinitely without bringing charges against them.

UGH!!!! WTF?? Hello CONSTITUTION??? So we can uphold a stupid clause that says "right to bear personal assault rifles" but not "right to a speedy trial?" It's not like they couldn't make up evidence against him!!! They don't even need a damn search warrant to get his stuff from his home, nevermind THAT is specifically in the constitution!

UGH UGH UGH This is TOTALLY why America was formed!!! TO ESCAPE THIS TYRANNY!!!

I'm not saying let him go, but WTF is so hard about bringing charges? Is he THAT innocent?!?!?


WHY do I have to learn about the Constitution if the only thing we UPHOLD is HOW MANY YEARS A PRESIDENT CAN SERVE??!?!?!?

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Today I decided I don't want to be so angry at everyone around me anymore. I bought three books on mindfulness, stress reduction and buddhism in the hopes that they inspire me to view my fellow humans with more kindness and less venom.

Because, you know, it's just so much work to hate everyone.

I wish I could be a happy person again. It feels like it's been a long time since happiness and kindness were easy for me. I _DO_ feel like I'm still that person, somewhere beneith the self-loathing and depression and anger...

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

UW Law school is hosting several law students from Tulane Law School in New Orleans. Tulane's website outlines a very logical, organized response to the disaster and how it will impact current students. I wish our government were run by smart, organized people, too.

It'll never happen.

Thinking about displaced law students really blows my mind. This catastrophe is so enormous that I can't get my head around it. I'm glad my law school is helping the situation in some small but meaningful way. I plan to donate my Buffalo Creek Disaster book to help out the visiting students.

This thing is bigger than anyone can understand.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Yay Government!

I just wanted to write a brief note about how I feel the government is doing a fabulous job in the wake of Katrina. Just fabulous! Good show!

I think we can all be proud of our president for his unwavering dedication to responding after 5 days. Of course, we all know he has made flood control a priority since the beginning of his administration, since we all remember the "I hate floods" ads that ran last November. Thank goodness we have a president with a solid background on fully funding levee projects, encouraging New Orleans to do whatever it will take to keep their people safe.

And thank goodness he's so good with the military! If we didn't have a president who was so well-versed in sending aid in 9/11 and sending the army to war in Iraq, we might not have had such a well-organized, structured and prompt response. I'm so glad that he had the wherewithal to make sure that our National Guard and FEMA were there to help people the minute the pumps failed.

I am quite certain that all of those people who enjoyed such care and welcome at the New Orleans evacuation centers will support this administration and his Republican congress as they move forward with this tragedy. Who said they couldn't get people to vote? I'm sure these grateful citizens will!

So, hooray for Bush, hooray for Congress, hooray for FEMA who turned away water from Walmart and gas from the Navy! You have our best interest at heart. I rest assured that, were I trapped in New Orleans,on a roof without food or water, without medicine I needed to live, you would have shot me yourselves you terrible excuses for human beings. There is blood on your hands.

You make me SICK.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Animal-less Meat:

My friend Nathan Naze wrote about this new development in his blog last week in regards to an article in The Guardian: When Meat is Not Murder

In his comments there was a very, well, "interesting" discussion of whether or not figuring out how to grow animal-less meat is a good use of resources, or if it would be more efficient of keeping the meat industry as it is.

I have to say, it made me more than a little sick.

It wasn't just the arrogance of the discussion that bothered me, but it was arrogant. It reminded me of the kind of people who think their opinion is important just because they are smart people, not because they knew anything at all about the subject. I have to admit that kind of arrogance bothers me a lot, especially because I am surrounded by it at law school all the time. It seems that once people are accepted into exclusive graduate programs, they assume their opinions on everything are brilliant and insightful, and begin talking just to hear themselves talk. It doesn't help that the professors often encourage this practice. I hear it's particularly bad at Harvard Law School. They shit gold.

What also bothered me about the discussion was the lack of discussion or thought of animals as anything but a resource to be used at will. The fact is these are sentient, feeling beings that form relationships and have emotions.

I prefer not to write any more on the topic right now, since I make enemies this way. I'll close with the comment I left on the blog:

Prior to my post there was a brief debate about whether the effort needed to develop the technology to have animal-less meat was really less energy than was used to sustain and butcher animals in our current often brutal, inhumane way (only there was no talk about it being brutal or inhumane).

This new kind of animal-less meat is going to be developed through the ongoing research with stem cells, actually. It's not that this is a specific area of science that receives large grants, resources, etc; rather, the experiments and research that will cure a ton of human ailments that I can't spell will have the side-benefit of leading to the production of animal muscle without the animal. Someday scientists also hope to have the ability to grow human organs without humans.

Personally, I believe the sooner our society recognizes the importance of treating life with respect (and I'm NOT talking about two fricking cells or people with mushy brains), the sooner we will evolve spiritually.

If you haven't already watched it, I recommend watching "A Peaceable Kingdom." I also recommend buying organic eggs from chickens who have access to sunlight and other animal products from family farms or companies who promote the humane treatment of animals.

By the way, cows are quite a burden on the environment. The world has nearly 1.2 billion cows whose methane production contributes significantly (about 20% of global methane gas production) to the greenhouse affect, not to mention the fact that rainforests are burned every year to provide more room for their grazing because of the tremendous demand for their fatty flesh. Plus, of course, they need plenty of grass (which requires water) and water (which is water) and often antibiotics. Antibiotics are especially troublesome, since we then consume, then excrete them into the sewer system, which isn't set up to filter out pharmaceuticals, thus leading to a build-up of pharmaceuticals, especially antibiotics, in our water system, which could lead to less affective antibiotics for infections and more antibiotic-resistant infections, and no one likes those.

I'll look forward to animal-less meat.