Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Women as sex objects

This topic has been way overdone, and I'm often the first to roll my eyes when people start talking about the objectification of women. However, we wouldn't be talking about it if it weren't still a huge problem, as evidenced by this Tribune article and this show on Oprah (I almost never watch Oprah, but it was on and I was distracted).

1. For Women, it's too close for comfort. This article is about the New York subway (although it could easily be about the CTA as well) and problems women face of being groped, poked, mishandled, and exposed to flashers. Why do people think that just because it's crowded, it's okay to cop a feel? Yes, sometimes it is too crowded to tell whether it really was an accident, but people definitely use that to their advantage. It's creepy. Putting your hands on someone you don't know is just wrong, no matter how they're dressed.

2. Fallen Star and Birthday Bust. Oprah's guests on today's show included an all-growed-up Jaimee Foxworth, who played the youngest sister on "Family Matters". After she got older and the tv money dried up and the acting gigs were hard to come by, she ended up doing pornography to make money. She had been led to believe that she would just be doing modeling, but went with the flow when she found out she'd be doing porn. She figured that was just a next step and that the tabloids wouldn't find out. Riiiight...the tabloids find out stuff that isn't even true, so of course they learned of her new gig.

The other guests were the mother and father who were arrested for hiring a stripper for their underage son's birthday party. They were exposed when the store that developed the photos from that party found shots of the completely nude stripper in compromising positions and turned them in. Here's the thing: as soon as the stripper started getting really naked, the mother left the room, and the father admitted that he felt really uncomfortable about the whole thing but did nothing to stop it. Oh, it gets better. The father was talking about taking care of the kids on his own when the mother felt too depressed to get out of bed, and he said he had to make sure he was home often because "you can't leave teenagers home alone for too long." What was this guy trying to protect them from that he thought would be worse than a stripper?

I pass no judgment on anyone who strips or acts in porn, or who watches strippers or pornography. It's none of my business what consenting adults do. But there are people out there who are less able to separate what they see in a strip club or adult video from what people do on a day-to-day basis, and so they think that just because a woman in a video gets all hot and bothered with a stranger, that a woman minding her business on the subway during rush hour would appreciate a pat or a grab from someone she doesn't know. If we're going to continue to advocate the freedom of expression that allows pornography, we should advocate even more strongly about safe sex and respect for our fellow humans.

Monday, June 26, 2006

If the richest men in the world can do it...

Perhaps it is old news by now that Bill Gates is relinquishing his duties at Microsoft to focus on his work with his foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Now, following in his footsteps is the second-richest man in the world, Warren Buffett. He's giving most of his money to the Gates' foundation as well, and other fractions will go to other Buffett family foundations that support education, the environment, child protection, and the arts. Read more here

I hope our local and national politicians are taking note. It's time for the top 1% of this country to do some good for the people who need the money most.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Death of a Terrorist

Last week, I tried to post my thoughts about the big celebration that was the Death of al-Zarqawi, the leader of al Qaeda, but alas blogger was down and I have since forgotten all that I was going to say. So I'll just say that for some reason this huge celebration of someone's death seems just so creepy and morbid, and all it does is bring us down to the level of all those people who were dancing in the streets in the Middle East after the fall of the World Trade Center in 2001. Yes, I understand that al-Zarqawi was a horrible terrorist and allowed horrible things to happen. But he's still a human. In a recent video, he could barely figure out how to shoot a gun (which somehow reminds me of the Dick Cheney hunting incident a while ago). Al-Zarqawi is dead now, and perhaps the battle in life with his own demons is over, and perhaps he's fighting a different battle now in death. How does his murder validate all the wrongdoings this presidential administration has committed leading up to this point? What will they think of next?

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Another Conservative who gets mad props for being Green

President Bush's pick for Treasury Secretary, Henry (Hank) Paulson, is an unabashed environmentalist and may actually bring some insight to this administration about how to support the economy and boost green initiatives throughout this country. The fact that he's a Republican proves that the environment isn't a liberal cause, it affects everyone all over the world, regardless of political leaning. I hope that he can make a difference and start revolutionizing the way people think about the economy and good business practices. Someday soon, people will realize that many green business practices aren't actually more expensive than their conventional counterparts, and shortly after that, the cost of being green will be the same or less all the way across the board.
In the meantime, read Grist Magazine's profile of Paulson.