aidenfire: Angel has his thinking cap on (buffyverse Angel has his thinking cap on)
I saw this website, put out by the US President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability, entitled Money As You Grow -- 20 Things Kids Need to Know to Live Financially Smart Lives. In theory this is a great idea; the website is simple and eye-pleasing, the information is presented in small easily understood chunks, but I have some concerns about what they're presenting as need-to-know information, especially for the older ages. For example, yes, technically you shouldn't use a credit card unless you are able to pay it off in full every month. But there are instances when you do actually need to buy something that you can't pay off in a month. My computer broke when I was in college. I needed a new one for my school work, and I didn't make enough money to buy even a not very nice one outright in a month. I feel like teaching kids to never use a credit card is like teaching abstinence only sex education -- they're going to do it eventually, but if you just say no no no, they're not going to know how to do it responsibly.

Also, the website advocates having 3 months living expenses saved by the age of 19. I didn't live an extravagant life when I was 19 by any means, and I worked at an above-minimum-wage job 20+ hours a week, while going to school full time. I wasn't even making enough money per month for living expenses, let alone saving anything; I was getting by on student loans, help from my family, and yes, credit cards. By presenting that as a basic necessary life lesson, it seems to frame people for whom that is not a possibility as failures. I recently came into some money unexpectedly, and I used it to buy a car, which I needed for work, and to pay off a good chunk of my credit card debt. It would have been fiscally irresponsible to just put that money in a savings account to gain at most 2% interest (and probably more like .5%), instead of pay off debt that's got a 18%, or even higher, interest rate. And I haven't even touched on my thousands of dollars of student debt.

I'm disappointed that the US administration seems to be tailoring its advice to people and families that already have money (starting your Roth IRA at 16, really?). I don't know these people that have 3 months living expenses on hand, and that don't need credit cards, and that can start investing as teenagers. I think more useful money lessons would be things like how to know if a credit card is offering you a good rate or not, that late payments mean you'll have to pay more later both on your bills and due to your credit score, how to deduct everything you qualify for from your taxes, or why it's good to pay down debts as fast as possible.

aidenfire: hermione is the brains of this operation (hp: the brains of every operation)
This essay, Common People was one of the best critiques of ~this american life~ that I've read in a long time. He makes the simple but often overlooked point that "We always make it about race in America, when it really has a lot more to do with class than anything else."

A lol-erific addendum to the culture wars; the Republican Party in a town in South Carolina wants their candidates to sign a pledge affirming that, among other things, they've never had pre-marital sex and will never watch porn. Women are getting the shit kicked out of their sexuality and reproductive rights, so I can't help but take a little vindictive pleasure in the fact that someone is trying to control men's sexuality, too, wrong as that may be. On the other hand -- this is ridiculous, and humorous. If this were being required of women, no one would take it as a joke. In our culture, it's ludicrous to even imagine people trying to tell men who and who not to have sex with and when. It's funny. But that happens to women in one way or another every single day. And this is why we fight.

A professor at my alma mater went on record saying he agreed with Rush Limbaugh, and applauded his analogy requiring people using subsidized contraceptives to post videos of their sex lives. People flipped shit, obviously, and the president of my school responded with a really strong denouncement. It just drives me crazy that people are missing the whole goddamn point of the entire birth control thing which is as follows: birth control is a medicine prescribed by doctors. Prescriptions are covered by insurance. Therefore, birth control should be covered by insurance. Why is that such a hard point to grasp? Whenever sex is thrown into the picture people just lose all sense of rationality.

I would really like to read some more books on social justice/feminism. Any recs? Some books that I've read and enjoyed include The Purity Myth by Jessica Valenti, Gang Leader for a Day by Sudhir Venkatesh, Reviving Ophelia by Mary Pipher, etc.
aidenfire: Wat is disgusted! (akt: Wat is disgusted!)
Originally posted by [profile] electricdruid at The fiasco continues

ACTA in a Nutshell –

What is ACTA?  ACTA is the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. A new intellectual property enforcement treaty being negotiated by the United States, the European Community, Switzerland, and Japan, with Australia, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Mexico, Jordan, Morocco, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, and Canada recently announcing that they will join in as well.

Why should you care about ACTA? Initial reports indicate that the treaty will have a very broad scope and will involve new tools targeting “Internet distribution and information technology.”

What is the goal of ACTA? Reportedly the goal is to create new legal standards of intellectual property enforcement, as well as increased international cooperation, an example of which would be an increase in information sharing between signatory countries’ law enforcement agencies.

Essential ACTA Resources

  • Read more about ACTA here: ACTA Fact Sheet
  • Read the authentic version of the ACTA text as of 15 April 2011, as finalized by participating countries here: ACTA Finalized Text
  • Follow the history of the treaty’s formation here: ACTA history
  • Read letters from U.S. Senator Ron Wyden wherein he challenges the constitutionality of ACTA: Letter 1 | Letter 2 | Read the Administration’s Response to Wyden’s First Letter here: Response
  • Watch a short informative video on ACTA: ACTA Video
  • Watch a lulzy video on ACTA: Lulzy Video

Say NO to ACTA. It is essential to spread awareness and get the word out on ACTA.

Via Tumblr

For any US citizens who want to do something, there's a petition at the White House asking the US gov to rescind their support.

aidenfire: Angel has his thinking cap on (buffyverse Angel has his thinking cap on)
Nothing grinds my gears like inequality, and we've been seeing a lot of it these days: racism, sexism, homophobia, and poverty-phobia (yes, that's definitely the technical term). Here are some links for your perusal.

An infographic spelling out the war on women in 2011. Ugh.

Turns out easier access to contraceptives -- and abortions -- actually lowers abortion rates. Who'd thunk it? This goes along with what I've been saying since I was 16 -- no one, not even pro-choice heathens, WANT women to get abortions. However, women are going to get them anyway, so we need to make it safe and accessible for them to make the best possible decisions about their own health. Contraceptives lower the need for abortions! I don't understand how you can be against both!

Martin Luther King vs. Mitt Rommney. Guess which one sounds like a dick?

Ron Paul is a bigot, y'all. Quotes from him or his newsletters include, "I think we can assume that 95 percent of the black men in that city [Washington] are semi-criminal or entirely criminal."; "Homosexuals, not to speak of the rest of society, were far better off when social pressure forced them to hide their activities."; "Is it any coincidence that the AIDS epidemic developed after they came "out of the closet," & started hyper-promiscuous sodomy?". He was also the only member of Congress to vote against giving Rosa Parks a Congressional Medal of Honor, and he opposes the Civil Rights Act. He also claims that he can't be a racist, because he's a Libertarian, and they don't see people in groups. Clearly guys, not a racist at all.

An op-ed about kids and gender from the NY Times. Always an interesting read!
aidenfire: (Default)
Originally posted by [ profile] digitalsidhe at Mississippi Personhood Amendment Close to Passage
Originally posted by [ profile] gabrielleabelle at Mississippi Personhood Amendment:

Okay, so I don't usually do this, but this is an issue near and dear to me and this is getting very little no attention in the mainstream media.

Mississippi is voting on November 8th on whether to pass Amendment 26, the "Personhood Amendment". This amendment would grant fertilized eggs and fetuses personhood status.

Putting aside the contentious issue of abortion, this would effectively outlaw birth control and criminalize women who have miscarriages. This is not a good thing.

Jackson Women's Health Organization is the only place women can get abortions in the entire state, and they are trying to launch a grassroots movement against this amendment. This doesn't just apply to Mississippi, though, as Personhood USA, the group that introduced this amendment, is trying to introduce identical amendments in all 50 states.

What's more, in Mississippi, this amendment is expected to pass. It even has Mississippi Democrats, including the Attorney General, Jim Hood, backing it.

The reason I'm posting this here is because I [original author of this post] made a meager donation to the Jackson Women's Health Organization this morning, and I received a personal email back hours later - on a Sunday - thanking me and noting that I'm one of the first "outside" people to contribute.

So if you sometimes pass on political action because you figure that enough other people will do something to make a difference, make an exception on this one. My RSS reader is near silent on this amendment. I only found out about it through a feminist blog. The mainstream media is not reporting on it.

If there is ever a time to donate or send a letter in protest, this would be it.

What to do?

  1. Read up on it. Wake Up, Mississippi is the home of the grassroots effort to fight this amendment. Daily Kos also has a thorough story on it.
  2. If you can afford it, you can donate at the site's link.
  3. You can contact the Democratic National Committee to see why more of our representatives aren't speaking out against this.
  4. Like this Facebook page to help spread awareness.

You know this entry was originally posted at, right? You can comment there using OpenID, even if you have no Dreamwidth account (plus you'll get my niftier userpics!)... but commenting here is okay, too.
aidenfire: (Default)
this post is much delayed, but I've been plugging out bits and pieces of it since the 20th, pretty much.

So yeah. The Inauguration. I was there! And so were a lot of other people. like. A lot. More people than I'd ever seen before in my life. More people than I knew existed. EVERYWHERE. PEOPLE EVERYWHERE.

My school hired a couple buses, and through the sponsoring of a few different groups on campus (Black Student's Union, Women's Caucus, College Dems), bus tickets were only $15, from NY to DC. The bus took us to a metro station in Maryland, we were handed a map, and told to be back to Maryland by 6pm that evening. This was at aprox 3:30am, by the way. We'd gotten on the bus at 8pm the night before.

The entire story (text and image heavy) )

The thing that is most noteworthy to me, though, was how happy the crowd was. Of course there were some assholes, but in general, everyone was just so helpful and happy to be there and just charged. I've never been in an environment like it. It was really and truly incredible.

So yeah. My journey, haha. Truly awesome, in the classical sense of the term.
aidenfire: (score)

aidenfire: (home)
i am very, very happy.
aidenfire: (Default)
Last seen by [ profile] nmalfoy

As was demonstrated in an interview with Katie Couric, Sarah Palin is unable to name any Supreme Court Case other than Roe v. Wade.

The Rules: Post info about ONE Supreme Court decision, modern or historic, to your lj. (Any decision, as long as it's not Roe v. Wade.) For those who see this on your f-list, take the meme to your OWN lj to spread the fun.


Lawrence v. Texas, 2005

This case invalidated sodomy laws, as well as upheld a consenting adult's right to sexual privacy. Two men were arrested in their home for engaging in anal sex. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court, who ruled that it was a violation of liberties to arrest consenting adults on basis of private sexual acts, and that citizens are protected against all types of discrimination, including sexual orientation.
aidenfire: (Default)
and that the accuser died less than a year later?

You can read about it here. The gist of the story is that a woman, who was confirmed as having dated George W. Bush as a minor, came forward in 2003 and filed a lawsuit against Bush. The accusations are far fetched--they include assault, rape, drugging the plaintiff and her husband, surveillance and threats. You can see the entire claim filed as a pdf, here. I'm not assessing validity, I'd just like to bring up a few questions.

1) How is it that the country in general has no idea about this case? It wasn't covered by any major news corps. The most prominent article I could find was the Fort Bend Star, the county newspaper the plaintiff lived in. Maybe she was deranged and making it all up. However, when someone files a lawsuit accusing the president of violent crimes, it seems to me that there would be coverage.

2) Margie Schoedinger died Sept. 22, 2003. The official cause of death is suicide by a gunshot wound to the head. I can't find more than a few paragraphs about the investigation, again from the Fort Bend Star. A woman accused the president of violent crimes and was shot in the head nine months later, and no one knows about this. My brother presented the excellent point that there are a lot of cases that are written off as suicides and not fully investigated; however, they usually do not involve the president.
2a) It said in the article that her purse and other personal affects were found in her car, while she was shot in the master bedroom. Minor detail maybe, but, why would she not have carried her purse into the house?
2b) Women are rather unlikely to choose firearms as their weapon of choice for suicide. It happens, certainly, but it is fairly uncommon.

This isn't the first time that someone has done something in some way threatening to the Bush administration and then died. An article here brings up fourteen people--mostly journalists and scientists--who brought up things like exaggerations of WMDs, election fraud, and Antrax being traced back to Pentagon labs. All of them died, all listed as suicides (like Gary Webb, who allegedly shot himself in the face. Twice.) or accidents (like the microbiologist who was bashed with a baseball bat in a high security lab).

Maybe this is all conspiracy theorist bullshit and coincidences. I'm not an investigator or a report--I don't know for sure what is true and what isn't. However, these are simple facts: Enemies of Bush and his administration have died. Investigations into their deaths have been unusually inconsistent. And the media has for the most part left them completely untouched. There comes a point when we need to start asking ourselves some questions about what's really going on.
aidenfire: (tortall determined kel)
This post has been a long time in the making.

All quotations from the Military Commissions Act of 2006, signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 17, 2006. Read it yourself here (the enrolled version is the one signed into law).

1. Any person can be declared an unlawful enemy combatant "by a...competent tribunal established under the authority of the President or the Secretary of Defense."

The President can, in effect, define anyone as an unlawful enemy combatant. So, what does that mean?

2. "No court...shall have jurisdiction to application for a writ of habeas corpus filed alien detained by the United States who has been determined by the United States to have been properly detained as an enemy combatant or is awaiting such determination."

Even before they're convicted, habeas corpus is suspended. Habeas corpus, by the way, is the right of a prisoner to due process, to know why they're being held, and to have the courts ascertain that the reason is a just and legal one. But hey, that's not really important, is it? It’s just an alien, who cares about their rights? And what’s going to happen to them in jail, anyway?

3. "Except as provided in [a bill special to Guantanamo Bay] no court...shall have jurisdiction to hear...any other action against the United States...relating to any aspect of the...trial, or conditions of confinement of an alien who is or was detained by the United States and has been determined by the United States to have been properly detained as an enemy combatant or is awaiting such determination."

So, here’s our law. The president determines someone to be an enemy combatant, for whatever reason. They go to jail, and never get a trial. They aren’t told what charges they’re in jail for. And no court is allowed to hear any case regarding the conditions of confinement of someone who is still awaiting conviction.

my tag for this sort of thing is God bless America. It's not trying to be witty or sarcastic. It's a plea. We need all the help we can get.

More detailed analysis here (annotated version of the bill explaining even more terrifying things about it) and here (legal ramifications).

EVERYONE NEEDS TO KNOW ABOUT THIS. I don't understand why people don't. My county is falling apart and no one is paying attention.
aidenfire: (Default)
I am being slightly spammy, yes, but I think you should all go look at this post of [ profile] celestialsoda's.

From her post:

"An astounding video uncovered from the archives today shows the BBC reporting on the collapse of WTC Building 7 over twenty minutes before it fell at 5:20pm on the afternoon of 9/11. The incredible footage shows a BBC reporter talking about the collapse of the Salomon Brothers Building while it remains standing in the live shot behind her head."

This thread is interesting as well.

I don't know about the conspiracy theories or whatever, I don't know if this is credible or faked or anything. I'm just reporting news. Looks real to me.
aidenfire: (liberal)

This is a UCLA student, working in a library. An Iranian student, asked to show his ID, believed he was being racially profiled and refused to comply. The officers reaction to that was to taser him FIVE TIMES, handcuff him, and eventually carry him out of the building.

(references: UCLA newspaper, CNN. Facts clearly compiled with an eyewitness account here.)

god damn. this isn't the first time the LA police has had trouble. In this video from July 8, I'm less sure what's going on, but what I see is pretty straight forward. The video starts out with a woman screaming "He's mentally retarded!" as police take away someone, can't see who. Then, a policeman on a bike runs over two people, a white woman and a hispanic man. The police club the two, knocking them over. (watch the slow motion version.) They struggle slightly and are clubbed repeatedly. They are lying totally still and an officer strikes them again. This is the only news reference I could find. Here is the court report from the organization who was in charge of the protest the victims were attending. Clearly, possibility for bias is almost certain, but the facts seem pretty straight forward. Another site, here says the police were seen chatting and laughing with the Minutemen on the other side of the street, the group the protest was opposing, just prior to breaking out in violence. That site also calls the Minutemen "facists" and is clearly biased, so take that with a grain of salt.

There's also this video, which has received a little more coverage. The man, William Cardenas, was accused of robbery. What happens is this: two policemen are pinning him to the ground, one straddling him and the other with a knee to the neck. Throughout the clip, Cardenas is saying/trying to say "I can't breathe! Can't breathe!". The policeman with his knee on his neck punches him, unprovoked, after he's clearly restrained, five times in the face

god bless america, land of the free.
aidenfire: (hp oh no you didn't)
We're studying the French Revolution in my Euro class right now. To my understanding, one of the biggest factors that started the war was a massive financial crisis bordering on bankruptcy. They got themselves into that hole by not raising taxes when necessary and especially by giving the wealthy tax exemptions, by borrowing money by the bucketful, and paying off those loans by borrowing more money from other people. Sounds a little too familiar for my comfort. :|
aidenfire: (coldplay chris *thinks*)
Over the past few days, the paper has been so weird--there were so many absolutely crack-a-riffic articles. Some good crack, some bad, and some just plain weird. Good, for example, was the article about women using training strategies employed by exotic animal trainers to get their guys to do what they want instead of generic nagging. Ahahaha. For the win.

Weird things included a girl who was returning to a talent show for the second year. The paper reported that "Robinson said participating last year helped her to refine her singing. 'My voice was different then,' she said. 'I didn't really know how to hit the notes'" (empahsis mine.) OH MY GOD. Remind me to never, ever go to that talent show. laksdfldksfklds. WHY? Just, WHY?

Also, you all do realize that Tom Cruise's "baby" has still not been seen--almost three months after "birth"? Ahahah. Who do they really think they're fooling? I don't know a single person who believes there actually was a baby...and if there was, Tommy probably would have eaten it. Just sayin'.

And, there's more! Politeness is un-American! And, don't use condoms--be fruitful and multiply! )

And, Penni ponderings on marriage and sex. )

OK. *gets off soapbox* Now look at that. A post of substance about something other than my own little life. Wow. :)

Oooh, and! Happy birthday [ profile] remarked and [ profile] klave!
aidenfire: (ignorant)
I don't have words for how much I hate our president right now. Just--no words. And, flist, thank you for restoring a bit of faith in humanity. With things like Aja's rant and Dorrie's and all the other people who've posted something--it vindicates me. It shows me I'm not the only person who's noticing there. is. something. seriously. wrong with this country. And GOD, this president. NO. WORDS.

ETA: I do have words. I have a lot of words. I don't understand why we're not throwing everything we've got into it. And, hello? We're the United fucking States of America. We've got SO. MANY. RESOURCES. Why aren't we using them? When we've got the Mayor of New Orleans swearing at the president on live news, and basically saying he hopes Bush burns in hell THERE IS A PROBLEM. And Bush flew over in his air force one and looked very serious and sad. And then went and played golf. He cut his vacation short by two days--ooooh. Too bad that he stayed on vacation until TUESDAY. And right after he spoke on Tuesday about what a crisis this was and how he was doing everything he could, he went and played his guitar with a country singer. Why is no one with power calling him out on this? This is RIDICULOUS. The hurricane hit on FRIDAY. There are bodies floating in the streets. It's like Lord of the Flies come to life. And he's, he's golfing, and playing guitar, and NOT. DOING. ANYTHING. And I--I don't understand. I really, really don't. People are DYING, and he's waiting around and saying he doesn't have authority (Hello? President, much? I think he can get any damn authority he needs) and, and, playing golf! And he's not even IN New Orleans, he's in the White House.

He says that the feds weren't allowed to help until they were asked which is bullshit on so many levels. First, THEY ARE ASKING. And he's still not doing anything. Second--did New York ask for help on 9/11? What about Iraq? Did they ask us to come in and give them our precious democracy, which is obviously working SO well for us? Oh, and then there's the matter that last year, or the year before, he cut the budget for New Orleans natural disaster protection by 80%--EIGHTY PERCENT--because he needed more money for the war. The fucking WAR. So, he took money that could have saved lives, and used it to kill instead. How did this happen?

He himself issued a "Get out of New Orleans" evacuation notice three days before the hurricane hit. But did he send in any supplies, any troops, any buses to get people out? No. He was on vacation, remember. The PRESIDENT of the goddamn United States should NOT go on vacation. Ever. Not a single day. Maybe that sounds like I'm taking a hard line about this, but--he knew it was a tough job when he ran. He should dedicate everything he's got to the presidency and my--our--his country. Isn't that in the job description? Isn't it? Why is this man in charge? How many more lives are we going to lose because of his ineptitude, his incompetency? WHY?

Then, there was that a few years ago, a study was published by, oh, I can't remember now, but some important national committee. The top two most likely disasters that could happen. Number one--terrorist attacking New York. Number two--hurricane hitting New Orleans. We KNEW these things could happen, and he sat on his ass and LET them. I WANT HIM GONE. I NEVER EVER WANT TO SEE HIS FACE AGAIN. I'm all for running him out of town on a rail. And I'm not alone.

I'm crying here. I just--I don't understand. I don't. I don't.

And, my brother is trying to guilt trip the hell out of me about something else, and damn him, it's working, and I hate it. Ugh.

Just, not good feelings right now.
aidenfire: (Default)
The President, the First Lady and Dick Cheney are flying on Air Force One.

George looks at Laura, chuckles and says, "You know, I could throw a $1,000 bill out the window right now and make somebody very happy."

Laura shrugs her shoulders and says, "Well, I could throw ten $100 bills out the window and make ten people very happy"

Cheney says, "Of course then, I could throw one hundred $10 bills out the window and make a hundred people very happy."

The pilot rolls his eyes, looks at all of them and says to his co-pilot, "Such big shots back there..... shit, I could throw all three of them out the window and make 56 million people very happy."
aidenfire: (Default)
Mer. LJ has been pissing me off today. That's the second time I did a nice long complicated post and it went away. Ok, anyway.

I didn't sleep well last night. Not only did I worry/cry about things that were over months ago (I still hold that "Your parents are in the hospital" are the scariest words anyone can hear. Maybe not the worst, but the scariest), but I ultimately defined my political views in one single statement:

It's no one's business but yours what you do with your body, time, or money--unless someone else is getting hurt

By using that, it's very easy to make my stand on most things. One area that I had a bit of trouble with, though, was abortion. I've always been rather pro-choice, but--is the unborn baby counted as a person being hurt? It's possible, but there are situations where the baby would be hurt worse if it were born--if the mother didn't want it or were physically, financially, mentally, or emotionally incapable of raising a child. There are also situations where it would be medically unsafe for the mother to have the baby. I think it comes down to this: Abortion is, quite simply, a lose-lose situation. The child could be hurt whether it is born or not, and the mother could be hurt whether it's born or not. As there is no standard, no hard and fast rule, the government cannot possibly regulate it. As such, it should be the decision of the mother, and only the decision of the mother.

And, a

[Poll #413015]
aidenfire: (Default)
I was looking at random surveys today, at bzoink, and this one girl, on taking a What's your stand on... quiz said, in response to Bush: He caters to the left too much. *headtwitch* Eh? Caters to the left? *boggle*

Also today, I was talking to one of my friends about National Treasure (It was good, by the way. Had a few implausibilities, but still good). The main character, Ben, had a friend, Riley, that was so hot and yay! And dude spoilers ). I personally thought that he should get together with Lyle from the Italian Job. But anyway, I was talking to one of my friends, and I meant to say something about "And the main character's sidekick? He was so cute!" Instead, I said something about the main character's sidecock. Hmm. I wonder where my mind is...
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