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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Every Human Has Rights


2008 is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 60th anniversary. It's time for a global conversation about human rights and the values that unite us as one human family. It can also be a time when each of us chooses to take human rights into our daily lives, individually and collectively.

You can participate in several ways:

1. Sign the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
2. Send the message below to your network of friends and family via text, Twitter and/or email:
Today is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights' 60th anniversary.I believe that Every Human Has Rights: www.everyhumanhasrights.org
3. Change your profile photo on your social networks to a photo of you with the message, "Every Human Has Rights," or to the campaign badge above which can be downloaded here.
4. Join the Every Human Has Rights Cause on Facebook.
5. Blog about what human rights means to you, and your commitment to uphold the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Send Every Human Has Rights the link to your blog so they can link back to you.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I am on CLOUD 9!!!!!!!

I just got the grade for my first Masters in Social Work course (Social Welfare History and Policy). I GOT AN A!!!!!!! I AM SO PROUD OF MYSELF! My final paper grade was 35 out of 37, and he gave me the greatest compliment:

Ashley,
I believe you entered this program with the heart to make an excellent social worker, combined with your success in mastering the finer subtleties of some very esoteric concepts presented in class you are well on your way to accomplish some truly extraordinary things once you enter the field.
Dr. D.

This is a GREAT day!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Scream Bloody Murder

SET YOUR DVRs!!

(CNN) -- They share a deep sorrow: an idealistic American who tried to protect the Kurds of Iraq, a Canadian general who refused to follow orders in Rwanda, a French priest who fought for the soul of Cambodia.

CNN's Christiane Amanpour traveled to the killing fields of Europe, Africa and Asia for "Scream Bloody Murder."

Each one tried to focus the world's attention on the world's most heinous crime: genocide. Each time, they were shunned, ignored or told it was someone else's problem.

To understand why, CNN's Christiane Amanpour traveled to the killing fields of Europe, Africa and Asia for a two-hour documentary, "Scream Bloody Murder."

Having reported on mass atrocities around the world, this time Amanpour traced the personal accounts of those who tried to stop the slaughter.

The yearlong CNN investigation found that instead of using a U.N. treaty outlawing genocide as a springboard to action, political leaders have invoked reason after reason to make intervention seem unnecessary, pointless and even counter-productive. Map: See the locations featured in the documentary »

December marks the 60th anniversary of the U.N.'s Genocide Convention, when -- in the aftermath of the Holocaust -- the nations of the world pledged to prevent and punish future attempts to eliminate ethnic, religious and national groups. Read the 1948 Genocide Convention (pdf)

"The Genocide Convention should have stopped genocide, but it didn't," said Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel. Intervention is a daunting challenge, he believes, because of a tendency to minimize accounts from refugees and victims. "It's better not to believe, because if you believe, you don't sleep nights. And how can you eat? How can you drink a glass of wine when you know?" Photo See images from locations in the documentary »

1970s: Cambodia

Father Fran├žois Ponchaud was a Catholic missionary in Cambodia when the Khmer Rouge guerillas -- communist revolutionaries -- seized power in 1975. They expelled all foreigners from the country.

But working from France, Ponchaud gathered refugee accounts and monitored radio broadcasts to document the slave labor, torture and executions the Khmer Rouge were using to kill one-fourth of Cambodia's population.

He published his findings in a major French newspaper and wrote a book, "Year Zero." But even so, Ponchaud tells Amanpour, "No one believed us."

1980s: Iraq

CNN found that intervention is often weighed against political and economic costs.

Declassified U.S. government documents show that while Saddam Hussein was gassing Iraqi Kurds, the U.S. opposed punishing Iraq with a trade embargo because it was cultivating Iraq as an ally against Iran and as a market for U.S. farm exports.

According to Peter Galbraith, then an idealistic Senate staffer determined to stop Hussein from committing genocide, the Reagan administration "got carried away with their own propaganda. They began to believe that Saddam Hussein could be a reliable partner." Read once-secret U.S. documents

1990s: Bosnia

Even extensive news coverage may not lead to intervention.

During the violent breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, the media reported on the Bosnian Serbs' ethnic cleansing of Muslims: the siege of Sarajevo, the concentration camps, the use of rape as a weapon of war.

It was like watching "a color remake of the black-and-white scenes we'd seen in World War II," said U.S. diplomat Richard Holbrooke, whose Jewish grandfather fled Germany when Adolf Hitler came to power.

Holbrooke was an early advocate for a U.S.-led military operation against the Bosnian Serbs.

"I took a stand that I believed was correct," he told Amanpour. "I didn't think it was so controversial."

But it would take three years -- and the massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the town of Srebrenica -- for Holbrooke to make his case within the Clinton administration.

1994: Rwanda

In Rwanda, where Hutu soldiers and militias massacred their Tutsi countrymen, the Clinton administration tried to avoid characterizing the ethnic slaughter as genocide.

According to an internal memo, the State Department worried that under the 1948 Genocide Convention, using the term "genocide" could force the U.S. "to actually 'do something.'"

The head of the U.N. peacekeeping force in Rwanda, Canadian Lt. Gen. Romeo Dallaire, begged for additional troops. Instead of reinforcements, Dallaire got an order to withdraw completely. He would not leave Rwanda.

"I refused a legal order," he told Amanpour, "but it was immoral." His tiny U.N. force was not enough to stop the slaughter of more than 800,000 people.

2003: Darfur

Some human rights advocates consider Darfur, the western region of Sudan, to be the scene of the first genocide of the 21st century.

The atrocities in Darfur grow out of a civil war between rebels from Sudan's African tribes and the country's Arab-led government.

In 2003, when the rebels attacked government outposts in Darfur, a U.N. human rights monitor warned that in the "escalating conflict," Sudan's government may be "engaged in ... ethnic cleansing aimed at eliminating African tribes from Darfur."

At the time, world attention was on Iraq, where the United States was fighting to overthrow Saddam Hussein. The early warning on Darfur "disappeared into a big hole," according to Mukesh Kapila, then the U.N.'s top official in Sudan.

Even when the U.N. Security Council put Darfur on its agenda, it took more than three years to authorize a robust peacekeeping force.

"There was no lack of information," says activist Eric Reeves. "There was a lack of will to stop genocide."

In July, the prosecutor at the International Criminal Court accused Sudan's president of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, charges Sudan denies. Read the ICC prosecutor's charges (pdf)

How will history judge the world's response to Darfur?

"It will applaud the young people ... who believe in solidarity," says Wiesel. "It will certainly criticize the leaders of the world."

And the next time somebody screams bloody murder to stop a genocide, will anyone listen?

WORLD AIDS DAY

Bloggers Unite

I took an AIDS course during my undergrad. I've always had this passion for epidemiology, although I could never make it through the schooling for it. My brain just is not wired for math and science (although I love Biology!) Anywho, the AIDS class was simply put - amazing! I definitely owe it to the teacher, Adi. The course was online and she actually lived out of state. However, she opened my eyes to the human side of the disease, which really translates to the work I will be doing in the Social Work field.

  • She had us write personal stories about ourselves (if we chose to) and it allowed me to talk about personal things in my life.
  • We had to make up a story, and I chose a friend's life experience as the basis for that one.
  • We had to analyze movies that cover diseases - I chose Rent and Yesterday - two very touching productions that cover the human side of AIDS (HA! A Rent tune just started playing on my ITunes - freaky!).
  • We had to analyze a chapter of an Epidemiology book. I choose the HIV chapter since I wanted to learn more. It covered the history of the disease and how far we have come in our knowledge of it. WOW - you would not even believe the things they believed about HIV back then. It is almost laughable, but so very sad to imagine those who lived and died with it back then.
  • Probably the most amazing part of this class was the amazing book I was introduced too. I probably would not have come across it otherwise, and I was so thankful that I was able to read it. The book is called What Looks Like Crazy On An Ordinary Day by Pearl Cleage. It is entertaining (the main character has a spicy attitude and she is very open about her disease) and heart-warming. It allows us to view the human side of the disease, as you follow the main character through a crazy ride, and see the disease through her eyes. A very empowering book. READ IT.
I bring this personal story up because I think it is important for everyone to have a personal experience in order to better understand situations. I don't mean contracting the disease (duh) but exposing yourself to it, in some form of education, meeting some who is infected.

So - HERE IS YOUR EDUCATION!

Today is WORLD AIDS DAY. On the 1st of December, World AIDS Day, individuals and organizations from around the world come together to bring attention to the global AIDS epidemic. 2008 marks the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day. Whilst we have come a long ways since 1988, there is still much more to be done. As part of the Bloggers Unite massive, I want to make sure everyone knows a bit about the movement to eradicate this nasty little virus. We did it with small pox right?

How can you participate?
  • In a world full of drug abuse - especially among our youth – we should all learn about the connections between HIV and drug use. It doesn't all have to do with needle use. Drug use can lead to risky behaviors, like sex without protection. This is HUGE, and definitely the main avenue for transmission of the disease. Read about this link at NIDA.
  • Educate yourself from a reputable source: Visit the CDC website.
  • TALK ABOUT IT with your partner!! Be smart!
  • Support Product (Red)
  • GET TESTED!!There are so many ways to achieve this, and many are anonymous. If you are a student, you definitely have options available through school. If not, click here to find the nearest testing center.
To find HIV Test Centers near you Text: Your Zip Code To: KnowIt (566948) www.hivtest.org

___
In other news, I called in to work today. I was up all night with a migraine that made me sick. I don't get them often, but dang - I knew something was going on yesterday afternoon. I am not quick to point out halos since I don't get them often, but I could tell something was definitely not right. Blech. I am completely wired right now from no sleep. It took me a long time to actually write this dang blog in a coherent manner...*yawn*

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Born into Brothels


[Born into Brothels, by Ross Kauffman and Zana Briski, is the winner of the 77th annual Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. A tribute to the resiliency of childhood and the restorative power of art, Born into Brothels is a portrait of several unforgettable children who live in the red light district of Calcutta, where their mothers work as prostitutes. Zana Briski, a New York-based photographer, gives each of the children a camera and teaches them to look at the world with new eyes. The film, released by THINKFilm, premiered theatrically at the Film Forum in New York City in December 2004. It has since opened in over one hundred theatres nationwide. It premiered on HBO/Cinemax on Tuesday, August 16th, 2005. The photographs taken by the children in Born into Brothels are available for purchase in the Kids' Gallery, and as a signed limited-edition portfolio, or as a compilation in our companion book. 100% of proceeds from sales of the children's prints go directly to support their education and well-being.]


JJ showed this in class last night. What an eye opening documentary! These poor children are born into the brothels of India (and that is obviously not the only country that has this problem) where they live among the squalor, filth, drugs and sex that surround their "homes." Girls are pretty much shit out of luck b/c they are expected to continue the line, as they call it. I am not sure what really becomes of boys, but they no doubt continue the sex and drugs they've been around their entire lives. Their lives are pretty hopeless, it seems.

This photographer spent a few years in the Red Light district of Calcutta and became very attached to the children in a particular brothel. She decided to teach them about photography. She gave them each a camera and they had class every week, discussing their compositions, etc. Some of them had a really good eye, especially a young boy name Avijit who was no doubt a fabulous artist. His drawings and paintings were incredible!

Anywho, this photographer became the personal advocate for these children. She looked for boarding schools, to get them out of the environment, and sponsored photo exhibits to raise money for their well-being. She even spent 8 hours in line so Avijit could get a passport and go to Amsterdam as the Indian Ambassador for this world child photography exhibit. I was amazed at the profound statements that came out of his mouth when he was analyzing pictures. He was wise beyond his years.

I was actually quite appalled at the language of these prostitute mothers!! The few Indian families I know are some of the most proper, conservative and respectful people I know! The curse words that flew out of these women's mouths! The filth, disrespect and complete lack of emotion towards others was very painful to see. Especially when they were directed at the children.

All of the children in this documentary were amazing. The photographer took them to the zoo and the beach, places they know doubt had never been before. She wanted to widen their horizons. I was so amazed at the spark for life these children had, despite their shitty circumstances. The human spirit never ceases to amaze me. To see Indians in this light only brought me full circle. We, as people, really do face all of the same problems. I know there are places just like this in America, as well as every other country. It isn't something that only the developing world deals with. All people have to face environments like this, which is why we should band together, even more. We are so much more alike than we realize. Or, we realize it and ignore it.

You can buy their pictures (for a hefty price) and the proceeds contribute to their well-being. One of my classmates, Laura, has this painting hanging in her bathroom so she will always be thankful for the things she has. (For instance, she has a nice, hot, tiled shower while these boys had to carry cold, dirty water upstairs everyday so they could bathe)


Some of my favs:

Gour, 13: "I want to show in pictures how people live in this city. I want to put across the behavior of man." This lil guy is so cute. And all he wanted to do was take his girl friends as far from that place as possible. Such a gentle, wise soul.
My fav. Gour picture:
Avijit, 11: "I used to want to be a doctor. Then I wanted to be an artist. Now I want to be a photographer." Sweet, wise little Avijit.

Such a creative young man. He picked up a bucket and tipped out the water/sand for this picture

Manik, 10:"We went to the beach to take pictures. I had never seen the ocean before. I was amazed!"

I love this image that Manik shot of Puja

Suchitra, 14:"When I have a camera in my hands I feel happy. I feel like I am learning something...I can be someone."

Love this picture!


Update on the Calcutta Kids:
April 2008

Avijit, 19, began studying in the U.S. three years ago. He is currently finishing his senior year at a private high school. Over the past two summers, he has participated in prestigious film programs through the Sundance Institute and NYU Tisch. He plans to attend university in the U.S. this fall and is interested in studying both medicine and film.

Kochi, 16, stayed at the Sabera Home for Girls for five years. She has chosen to continue her studies in India and she will enroll in school this spring.

Manik, 16, and Shanti, 17, are both still studying at FutureHope, where they are doing very well.

Tapasi, 18, left Sabera on her own accord two years ago and has since married.

Suchitra, 21, has married and moved out of Calcutta.

Puja and Gour are believed to still be living in the red-light district but have lost contact with Kids with Cameras.

Kids with Cameras also supports the friends and siblings of the children featured in the film through sponsorships at Sabera and FutureHope. KWC will also develop a home for children from Calcutta's red-light district to bring opportunity for more children from the brothels. We will purchase land and construct a safe haven for up to 150 children, to be managed by our partnering organization, the Buntain Foundation. The Buntain Foundation has over 50 years of humanitarian experience in Calcutta and will provide scholarships for the children to attend local day schools while they reside at Hope House.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Following through on a promise

Before Barack Obama was President-elect -- from the very beginning of his campaign -- he pledged to change the way Washington works. That meant not accepting any financial contributions from lobbyists or political action committees.

Voters often said this was one of the major reasons they supported Barack, and they've been writing to the Transition to tell us how important they think it is that this commitment continues.

Lexington from San Diego, CA, wrote:

"When I first learned of Barack Obama, I was encouraged by his thoughts [on] ending the power of lobbyists and the negative effect of the revolving door on the White House. I'd like to see an agenda that focuses on promoting transparency and getting people into government who sincerely want to serve the interests of the nation over their own careers."

John from Seattle, WA wrote, "I am so tired of special interests getting the best of us all. I support you and hope that you will allow the common guy to have a say in how we are to be governed from now on."

Now Barack has taken the first step, with new rules that restrict how lobbyists can participate in the transition -- just as he restricted how they could participate in the campaign.

The new policy, which ethics experts have praised as a bold step forward, was only announced yesterday -- but already people have written in to show their support.

Sarah from Brockport, NY, wrote, "Today I read about the tough new rules for lobbyists and it just further solidified the faith I have in this administration to bring about a real change....I am feeling real patriotic and in tune with my government for the first time in my 46 years."

Carmen from Olympia, WA wrote simply: "Thank you for the transition ethics. Thank you."

***

I am so happy to read this because I firmly believe that democracy in this country has completely lost its meaning. I am reading a book for class and I have to write an academic review. The book is called One Nation, Underprivileged: Why American Poverty Affects Us All by Mark Robert Rank. There is a section in the book on Democracy, Liberty, Justice and Equality and how the existence of poverty undermines these ideals. Impoverished groups are excluded or underrepresented in the democratic process and are usually not knowledgeable in how to speak up for themselves. Poor are often invisible in the democratic! We will never see change the process continues this way. We ALL need to speak and be heard.

Monday, November 10, 2008

BLOGGERS UNITE FOR REFUGEES


This idea is really neat. The bloggers of Bloggers Unite have created what is the only global blog initiative designed to harness expression in support of human rights and issues in need of highlight. Refugees United is the only online, highly secure and anonymous possibility of refugees to reconnect with family. This is important, no?

The way I see it, refugees are victims or sufferers of torture. A refugees is said to be someone with a well-founded fear of persecution on the basis of his or her race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion. These people have fled their home country and are unable or unwilling to return. Refugees are forced from their countries by war, civil conflict, political strife or gross human rights abuses.

We, as caring individuals, can take a STAND to assist these scared and defenseless people. Just educate yourself, and educate others. All it really takes is a simple conversation, or an email. You would be surprised at the vast amounts of people who don't have a clue about the atrocities that are happening in places like Burma or Sudan.

The world is getting smaller due to globalization and we can use that to our advantage. Spread the word and help out refugees!

Some orgs to check out:






Saturday, November 8, 2008

Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World


I just adore books about animals and how they touch human lives. I am a massive fan of Marley and Me and I just that I love a story of an abandoned kitten that uplifted a community who had lost hope.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Bloggers Unite!

Bloggers Unite for Refugees United

On November 10th over 10,000 bloggers from around the world will unite to raise their voices on behalf of more than 40 million voiceless refugees. To ask the world to face the atrocities so many human beings must endure and to join hearts and minds to help bring forward information, understanding and action.

Join us on November 10th to tell your story, share your thoughts and be part of the global solution to a global problem. It is in our power to bring people to act to make a change. The core cause of Bloggers Unite and Refugees United is information. Information leads to empowerment. Bloggers Unite enables ordinary folks to make an extraordinary impact.We hope you will sign up to participate. Your actions will matter. Your words can help change lives.

Together, our voices will make a difference!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Congratulations America.

I never thought I would see the day when a man of color became the President of the United States of American. It was only 50 years ago that African-Americans / Blacks fought for equality in this country! What an AMAZING step in the right direction.

I am so proud of us. Americans had something to wake up and smile about today - November 3, 2008. While Obama may not be everyone's choice, I think that man is going to renew what it means to be American - what it means to be Free, to live in a Democracy, to be Equal amongst ourselves, and to ensure Justice.

I am so pleased that he won historic Red states like Florida, Iowa, Ohio, Virginia, New Mexico! While the race was very close in all of these places, the mere fact that Obama pushed ahead alone shows me just how bad this country want change. And damn it, we deserve it.


YES, WE CAN!!!!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What are YOU doing on December 3, 2008?

How about giving up one item that you can live without, such as the morning paper, a bagel or that cup of Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts coffee (although some us really can't live without our morning coffee), and donate the money you would have spent on that item to help save lives in Darfur and Burma. Sounds easy, no? IT IS!



Did you know that displaced women who live in refugee camps in Sudan have to gather firewood in the open because the UN can't afford patrols to protect them? Do you even know what can happen to women when they gather firewood without protection? If they are lucky, they'll make it back to the camp but not usually without severe physical and emotional trauma from being raped by the Janjaweed militia. Did you know that they use rape as a tool to further destroy the sense of community of these refugees? Rape victims carry heavy stigma in Darfur, and women are usually disowned by husbands and blood family. You see - these militia men are a far cry from stupid. They know exactly how to attack these people so they will receive the most bang for their buck.

But what about Burma? Did you know ethnic cleansing was taking place there? Did you know that villagers in Burma could avoid this slaughter if only they had hand radios to warn each other? VERY SIMPLE SOLUTION to an outrageous and catastrophic human problem.

These things only cost a few dollars. Just that one cup of coffee - to save a life. Seems fair. I'm sure I sound like one of those infomericials about adopting a child in a far away land. Hell, who knows if your money even really goes to those needy children, right? Well, your money will not be abused here.

The Genocide Intervention Network created the Civilian Protection Program, which funds innovative projects that increase direct protection of civilians who are the victims of targeted violence. You can read more about the program here and here. I know people who work for this amazing organization, and have been involved in their sister organization, STAND. These people aren't frauds. They want the violence to end. Don't you?



Mark your calendars and spread the word.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Florida Marriage Amendment

So, I attended a debate on campus with my classmates on Amendment #2 here in Florida. This is up for voting come this all powerful November 4th. The Florida Marriage Protection Act says:

"Inasmuch as a marriage is the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife, no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized."


People are a bit confused on this issue b/c they think it is banning same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage is already illegal here. What this Amendment will actually do is ludicrous. If passed, the amendment will ban all recognition and benefits for unmarried couples, straight and gay. It will block civil unions, domestic partnership and repeal existing protections and family benefits relied upon by millions of Floridians.

This means that any couple, gay or straight, who has been in a long term partnership will not be able to share any sort of benefits. Individuals will not be able to see their significant other if they are in the hospital, possibly not be able to say GOODBYE to them if they are dying in a hospital. It would be a killer to the senior population here in FL, b/c so many of them just form domestic partnerships instead of remarrying after they are widowed.

This Amendment is tricky for the uneducated person.
The backers of this are obviously up to something. Two primary motives are driving this amendment and neither have anything to do with protecting anyone's marriage or family. Those backing the amendment see this as an opportunity to eliminate any protections for unmarried Floridians - gay and straight - by stoking anti-gay sentiments. They want their religious beliefs to have the force of law by being embedded in the Florida Constitution. THE CONSTITUTION! Why are we even messing with that to begin with???? Others backing the amendment see it as a political tool to drive ultra-conservative voters to the polls in the hope that they will improve the prospects for conservative candidates in the November election.

UGH!!! My thoughts on this are SO heated right now. I am so completely over religion controlling our country. Separation of church and state is the biggest sack of BS I've ever learned in a history class. The tight hold Christianity has on this country makes me ill. And do not mistake me for being anti-religion. I am very much in favor of people having and believing in a religion. But that is a personal relationship that you have with who ever or what ever you choose to serve and believe. YOURS AND YOURS ALONE. No one on this stinkin planet has the right to shove their beliefs down someone else's throat.

Supporters of this obviously believe that Atheists shouldn't get married, since they obviously don't have any scriptures to go by to begin with. And I am not sure that Buddhists or Doaists or Confucionists or Hindus have some sort of marriage statement in their texts (I am not an expert, so please correct me if I'm wrong), so they obviously don't deserve to marry either. It makes me laugh at how this country is so proud of the medley of ethnicities, races, creeds, and cultures that inhabit these lands, yet here we are, in 2008, still trying to dictate to all of the VASTLY DIFFERENT PEOPLE, how they should live their VASTLY DIFFERENT LIVES. Besides, last time I checked, the Christian God was a loving and accepting being.

And don't even get me started on the Social / Family side. You can take that "children need a mother and father to grow up normal" elsewhere. I grew up without a father, and know countless other "single parent home" children such as myself. Having a man and a woman as parents doesn't make a damn difference! YOU KNOW WHAT DOES? Having UNCONDITIONAL LOVE AND SUPPORT, you idiots! My mom ran circles around the traditional family set up. She provided me with EVERYTHING I needed from parents - all by her onesies. And I am sorry, but there are way more traditional homes out there that are completely broken. If a same-sex couple is truly in love and wants to share that love, they are providing EXACTLY what a child needs from parents. This one lady stood up to talk about her situation. She and her lesbian partner of many years want to adopt, but of course they can't. However, they can be foster parents. SOMEONE PLEASE EXPLAIN THIS TO ME??????? How dare we use these willing and loving people to foster children, just because we are in desperate need of foster parents, yet we won't let them adopt one of these children, and provide them with a stable, loving environment.


VOTE NO ON AMENDMENT 2!!!!!!!

Make sure you make an educated choice.
http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Florida_2008_ballot_measures

My last thoughts: If you don't believe in same-sex marriage, then don't marry someone of the same sex. IT REALLY IS THAT SIMPLE. Why the hell do we have to make everything so complicated?? We are nosy controlling ppl in this country.

Ok, so now that is off my chest - off to do some homework...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

WOOHOO!!

I got my FIRST 20/20 on a reaction paper! I've been steadily getting better and better at them, and I finally got a 100%!

We took our exam in History/Policy yesterday. What a bear. To try and answer 9 of those reaction-type questions in 3 hours is not easy. My writing was no doubt horrible, I just hope the content is on target...

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist


FANTASTIC MOVIE! I am glad we decided to see this instead of Burn After Reading (which I still want to see). It was a perfect date night movie and Todd was so adventurous afterward. Too bad we live in stupid Boca Raton and have no big city to walk around and get lost in.

I am becoming a serious Michael Cera fan. He is just funny, and I can't imagine him being a different person outside of his persona in movies. That has just got to be how is in real life. Kat Dennings was sarcastically fabulous. Norah is the type of person I like to hang with. I love smart asses. There isn't a plot to the movie. It is just a fun loving, lighthearted romantic comedy that makes your heart smile. I loved the gay band mates - what a riot. Loved the dialogue between the two about what to name the band. And the scene where one of the gay boys gives Kat a bra to get rid of her "uni-boob" (how that woman ever had a uni-boob is beyond me) and then Nick notices that his friend has that "same bra" later in the movie. haha! (No sex scenes here ladies n gents. Besides, can you imagine Cera in a sex scene? LMAO. I feel dirty even thinking about him that way. He just shouldn't....ever. The point they brought it too was bad enough.) Norah's friend was a complete mess. Her freakin piece of gum became it's own character. All in all, I loved the flick. I am easy to please.


Todd was surprised to see the car Nick drove. It's a Yugo, which I knew nothing about. Hubs schooled me on the way home. Quite the interesting history. Check it out.

We had some good Asian food after. Todd had green curry and I had UNAGI! YUM!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Brooke Fraser

Last night, the topic in Human Behavior class was empowerment, so professor asked what empowered us. I told him my drive for educating ppl about genocide, however that is expressed in behavioral terms. The turning point for me was seeing the movie Hotel Rwanda. After class, Sharon told me about Brooke Fraser, a New Zealand songstress who visited (and continues to visit every year) Rwanda. She met a man there who urged her to meet an orphan named Albertine. Albertine touched Brooke deeply, and they asked her to tell the world about what she saw in their country. She made the promise, and released an album named Albertine, named after the sweet orphan. The title track shares the name, and the song is beautiful


ALBERTINE

I am sitting still
I think of Angelique
Her mother’s voice over me
And the bullets in the wall where it fell silent

And on a thousandth hill
I think of Albertine
There in her eyes what I don’t see
With my own

Rwanda

CHORUS
Now that I have seen
I am responsible
Faith without deeds is dead
Now that I have held you
In my own arms
I cannot let go ‘til you are

I am on a plane
Across a distant sea
But I carry you in me
And in the dust on, the dust on my feet

Rwanda

CHORUS

Bridge
And I’ll tell the world
I will tell them where I’ve been
I will keep my word
I will tell them, Albertine

CHORUS

I am on a stage
A thousand eyes on me
I will tell them, Albertine
I will tell them, Albertine



The lyrics "now that I have seen, I am responsible" are so inherently true across all social issues. It is our job to educate other about injustices. We can't turn a blind eye. We have an obligation to humanity to try...

SO GET WITH IT! Help Darfur, the DRC, Burma, Iraq - and countless others!
STAND: A Student Anti-Genocide Coalition
Genocide Intervention Network

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Life is so precious.

I arrived at work this morning to find a beautiful green bird lying face first on the sidewalk right outside the entrance to the Student Support Svcs building. According to the office, the birds see their reflection and attack the windows. This happened at my old office but I never ran into one of the victims. As I fought back the tears, I had one of those reflective moments where you are just thankful for everything. And I certainly am.

RIP lil green birdie.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

100 Years of Clean Drinking Water says WHO

“According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1.1 billion people do not have access to safe drinking water. Unsafe water and inadequate sanitation kills nearly TWO MILLION people each year, mostly children under the age of five.”

September 26, marks the 100th Year of Safe Water according to the American Chemistry Council, and we can help continue and supply safe drinking water to others.

Timeline

  • 100 years ago, Jersey City became the first U.S. cities to routinely chlorinate municipal drinking water supplies. Over the next decade, more than a thousand U.S. cities adopted chlorination, helping to dramatically reduce infectious diseases.

About Chlorine

  • Today, about 9/10 U.S. public water systems rely on chlorine in some form for safe drinking water.
  • Chlorine can destroy disease-causing microorganisms.
  • Chlorine removes many unpleasant tastes and odors, as well as certain metal contaminants like iron and manganese.
  • Chlorine also providedes a residual level of disinfectant to keep water safe while in transport from the plant to a consumer’s water tap.

Quick Facts

  • U.S. CDC calls drinking water chlorination “one of the most significant public health advances in US history.” In that same vein, in 1997, LIFE magazine hailed the filtration and chlorination of drinking water as “probably the most significant public health advancement of the millennium.”
  • Drinking water chlorination has helped to virtually eliminate waterborne diseases such as cholera and typhoid fever, and played a major role in increasing Americans’ life expectancy from 47 years in 1900 to 78 years in 2006.
  • Where piped water supplies are not available, simple techniques to disinfect and safely store water in individual households can dramatically reduce waterborne disease. A recent study by the WHO found that household-based chlorination is the most cost-effective way to reduce these waterborne illnesses.

Call to Action :: Disinfect 100 liters of Water with 1 Click

For starters, we can partake in ACC’s Clean Water Challenge Quiz. For every correct answer, the ACC with support from others, will donate $0.20 (up to a total of $200,000) to support household water chlorination programs in West Africa.

Your 1 Correct Answer + $0.20 = the cost of five chlorine tablets –> designed to disinfect 100 liters of water!

The Downside of Chlorine

  • Some environmentalists urge that chlorine is a short-term solution arguing that cleaning up our rivers, lakes and streams is more sustaining
  • Some health researchers argue that with all the benefits of adding chlorine (such as decreased Typhoid cases), there may be side effects of other increased health problems.

Alternatives

  • Some say that Canada and Europe have switched from using chlorine to using ozone to ensure safe water. A handful of U.S. cities like Las Vegas practice this as well.
  • Before using tap water, leave the water uncovered in the fridge for 24 hours for the chlorine to leave the water.
  • Invest in a filtration system (which I have heard debates on this issue as well).
  • Practice recycling and treat our water resources with care.