Jan. 30th, 2012 07:23 pm
athenaltena: (wicked)
To protest a bill that would require women to undergo an ultrasound before having an abortion, Virginia State Sen. Janet Howell (D-Fairfax) on Monday attached an amendment that would require men to have a rectal exam and a cardiac stress test before obtaining a prescription for erectile dysfunction medication.

"We need some gender equity here," she told HuffPost. "The Virginia senate is about to pass a bill that will require a woman to have totally unnecessary medical procedure at their cost and inconvenience. If we're going to do that to women, why not do that to men?"

Janet Howell, Virginia State Senator, Attaches Rectal Exam Amendment To Anti-Abortion Bill

Nicely done, Senator! The Amendment didn't pass, but it wasn't supposed to, it was supposed to show the double standard here and provide a bit of quid pro quo about having some legislator meddle in what should be a personal medical decision.

It is quite funny to see all the people flipping their shit about "invasion of privacy" and whatnot, since, you know, that was kind of the point.
athenaltena: (serene)
I managed to make my boss laugh this week when I remarked that with all these stock market shenanigans that some of our developers spook easier than horses. She's a horse person herself so she appreciated the reference.

Besides database gnomes this week was interesting because of all this stuff, and I actually had one guy leave me a message to the effect of "Remember how a few months ago we said we'd be going forward? Yeeaaahh... We'll get back to you on that." Repeat that conversation about 12 times and that was essentially my week. Oy.

Luckily it seems to be stabilizing, but it was real interesting being in the thick of that since we're pretty close to State Street, the big financial center. During the worst of it I was down there at one point and brokers were just standing on the sidewalk looking forlorn. Not to mention that I get out of work at 5 and the markets close at 4 so I'd always know if it had gone badly because people in my  building would be talking about it, and at my gym there are TVs showing the news so I'd catch news of it there.

The irony is that my personal finances are in better shape than they've been for a while, though on a significantly smaller scale than all of this. There's still not much and I could pretty easily fuck it up or have it get fucked up by outside forces, but I have at least a little squirreled away at the moment. I also realize that one sign I've become and adult is that my nightmares have less to do with getting chased by monsters so much as realizing that I owe someone $6000 with no way to pay them back. And yes that was a real nightmare I had not too long ago.
athenaltena: (facepalm)
So because people are upset about the Casey Anthony verdict they're now trying to pass a law as a bandaid solution that they think will stop this from happening again.

Bad. Idea. Why? Two words: Three Strikes.

That law was also passed in the wake of the deaths of children that people were outraged about, and do you know what it did? Made it possible for people in California to get life sentences for property crimes and speeding tickets and took away the judge's right of discretion in sentencing, meaning they have to give life sentences to people they know don't deserve it. It's largely responsible for why California's prison system is so royally fucked and why a lot of people who really shouldn't be in there are in there for life. It's done far more harm than good.

Three Strikes is a bad law, and it got pushed through the legislature because people were angry and didn't take the time to fix the problems with it, which could have been done easily. All they had to do was change it so it only applied to violent crimes, but no, they didn't because they didn't want to be seen as "soft on crime". And they won't fucking fix it for the same reasons, so they're going to continue to have their prison system get fucked.

I understand anger, especially when it comes to children being hurt or killed, but do not use it as an excuse to make bad laws. Do not push them through without debate, that breaks the system where they're supposed to be debated and carefully considered before being codified. Some, if not most, of the worst laws in this country were passed when that process was eschewed in the name of outrage.

Think, people, THINK!

Ay ay ay!

Jul. 5th, 2011 12:47 pm
athenaltena: (D:)
So it was probably a good thing I stayed in last night, since 13 people were shot or stabbed during a period of five hours last night. To be fair none of those took place near me (maybe due to the fact that Downtown was staffed by the better part of a brigade's worth of police), but still...

Holy Shit.

Jun. 12th, 2011 08:37 pm
athenaltena: (back against the wall)

[Trigger warning for discussions of bullying and suicide, also gratuitous use of f-bombs by me]

So I've talked before about Phoebe Prince, the Irish girl from South Hadley who committed suicide after relentless bullying that those in positions of authority at her school did nothing to stop. This hit a nerve with me both because I'm from a town nearly South Hadley and because bullying is an issue I dealt with as a young adult that still affects me as an adult, in particular the actions of the school staff, or rather the lack thereof, and none of the adults suffered any consequences for what happened.

The trials of the kids who hurt her are over, and I thought the story could not get any worse.

It does.

Turns out a teacher was punished after all. Her name is Deb Caldieri, and she has been driven from the school as surely as Phoebe was hounded to the grave. Her career and her health have been ruined.

This being South Hadley High, she has suffered all this mostly because she had the temerity to question the way her superiors handled the whole mess.

She didn’t follow the party line at South Hadley High, which from the beginning was to blame Phoebe and excuse the bullies. Phoebe was the outsider, the clueless blow-in from overseas who brought all her troubles on herself. That was the party line.

Caldieri never bought it.

“Phoebe was a very vulnerable child, who should have been protected,’’ Caldieri said. “You weren’t supposed to talk about what happened. I did, and . . . I’ve become a non-person there.’’

That non-person stuff isn’t hyperbole. Caldieri is the Winston Smith of South Hadley High. The cards her students have left at school for her since she went on medical leave last December were never delivered. Her photo is not in the new yearbook. Like the protagonist of George Orwell’s “1984,’’ she’s officially a non-person at South Hadley High. She doesn’t exist anymore.

Holy shit. Fuck you, South Hadley High. Fuck you for not only being complicit in Phoebe's death, but for doing this to this woman and not even letting her go to Phoebe's fucking funeral and pushing her so her health has gotten even worse. Is it any wonder that the kids in South Hadley thought they could do this to Phoebe when this is how the fucking administration, the adults who are supposed to protect children, respond to the one person who tried to help?!

... Huh?

Mar. 29th, 2011 01:32 pm
athenaltena: (adjust glases)
Santorum blames Social Security's troubles on abortion, to fix it we need more people



I'm sorry, Mr. Santorum, but that makes no sense under any sort of logic. Now the population pyramid he's referring to is a real thing in the wake of the 1950s baby boom, but that would not have changed even if every abortion in the last 50 years had never happened. The proof? The countries where it's most extreme are where abortion is not legal or readily available and the stratification is significantly more extreme. And do you know why those countries have such an extreme pyramid? AIDS, which has killed off over half of the adult working population in some of those countries. You supported an increase in funding for AIDS research in those countries, so you should know that.

In short, there are far more things that go into that besides abortions. Furthermore, the birth rate started dropping significantly ten years before Roe v. Wade, and the birth rate did not significantly decine after it (in fact, it went up even when the rate of abortion was at the all time highest in 1980-1983) so there really is not a correlation.*

You fail social science forever. It took me all of five minutes to find enough data to show that you're full of shit.

* In the interest of full disclosure, there is evidence that abortion has affected one thing: the crime rate. Which is to say that about 20 years after Roe v. Wade there was a significant drop and the rate has never recovered, and the evidence points to it being because the number of people who would have been entering the criminal justice system dropped because they were not being born. This is an uncomfortable thing for sociologists to talk about, but the evidence speaks for itself.
athenaltena: (KuroFay)
Because it can increase depression among kids who are already socially excluded. Can I get a "duh"? To be clear, it doesn't cause it, but the evidence here is that it certainly doesn't help. Not to mention enabling the GIFT* to work.

Yet another reason I'm glad it didn't really take off until after I was in college.

And also why for the most part I don't give two shits about it. Nice to see some validation.

*See Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory, per Penny Arcade
athenaltena: (oh please)

Michigan Pol. on Antigay Harassment: "It's Nothing Personal."

In April, using the moniker "Concerned Michigan Alumnus," Shirvell started the blog “Chris Armstrong Watch,” describing Armstrong as a "Nazi-like" recruiter for "the cult that is homosexuality."

Shirvell told [Anderson] Cooper it’s “nothing personal.”

“What do you mean it’s nothing personal?,” Cooper responds. “You’re outside his house, you’re shouting him down at public events… you’re attacking his parents, his friends parents — you can’t say it’s not personal."

There are so many things wrong with that first sentence there, but it's the second that gets me.

Hey asshole, guess what? YOU MADE IT PERSONAL. What you're saying is like throwing a rock at someone's window because they're black and then saying it's "nothing personal" when you get charged with vandalism. YOU'RE STILL GUILTY. You've invaded his space, harassed him and disrupted his life because of some stupid vendetta and because you disagree with his identity. Seriously, even if it really wasn't personal you're still a jackass hiding behind "free speech" to make someone you don't like's life a living hell. It doesn't matter if it's personal, you're an asshole.


Sep. 28th, 2010 06:28 pm
athenaltena: (WHUT)
I knew the people at NOM (whose acronym I cannot read without a snicker because I think of this) were manipulative idiots, but this...?

NOM has deep connections to the Catholic Church hierarchy, to the Mormon Church, to evangelical right-wing pastors and churches and to those who have a long history of anti-gay rhetoric and activity. These are individuals and organizations which not only oppose same-sex marriage, but oppose domestic partnerships, civil unions, hate crimes protections and even fertility treatments for women because some of those women could be lesbians.

What. I kind of see the logic, but it's still incredibly stupid. "Pro-family" my ass, not that we didn't already know that.


Aug. 27th, 2010 12:11 pm
athenaltena: (oh please)
Palin pokes Brown over moderate views

Sarah Palin, in an unexpected poke at Senator Scott Brown, said that while Massachusetts may “put up with’’ the GOP lawmaker and “some of the antics,’’ Republicans in states across the nation wouldn’t tolerate his more moderate views and compromising ways.

Making fun of a politican for listening to reason and compromising to get things done. What. The. Fuck. That's right, she's actually provoked me into defending a guy I sincerely don't like on several levels, but I recognize that at the very least he's intelligent and pragmatic and I'd take him over her any day of the week.

But seriously, what is with this? Politics 101 is that you try to put the more moderate people up, because it doesn't matter in the big elections if you have the people who'd vote for you anyway, you need the independents and undecideds! That was why Brownie Boy won, and as much as I don't like him he won fair and square by reaching out to those people. If he'd marched out some right wing ultra conservative platform he never would have won in this state.

The thing is that I don't really have a problem with the sort of Republicans Massachusetts used to produce (I do not count Mitt Romney among them) because even though they were fiscally conservative they were liberal on social issues, aka did not have a problem with gay people, mostly avoided the self-righteous preaching and stayed out of other people's business. We New Englanders definitely have a bit of a libertarian streak to us and that used to be standard operating procedure. Hell, even the guy running for Governor on the GOP platform has an openly gay running mate. Massachusetts may be the only state where you could actually do that and still have a chance. They are unfortunately a dying breed because of bullshit like this, and I see nothing good coming out of that.

In short, alienating the more moderate members of your party = Fail.
athenaltena: (dance)
Hey, people who poured millions of dollars into supporting Proposition 8? I have three words for you:

Now if you excuse me I'll be dancing to this.
athenaltena: (WHUT)
I wasn't kidding about an influx of Stupid Gas over the last few days in Boston.

So last week a famous old market in Beacon Hill went up in flames and it was very sad and dramatic and all that.

Well guess what? A branch of that same store on Newbury Street was apparently trying to sell food that had been damaged in said fire to the public.

Just... How... What... *unintelligible gurgling*

HOW FUCKING STUPID DO YOU HAVE TO BE TO PULL THAT?! SERIOUSLY!!! That is about 12 different kids of fail!

What is with people in this city, did everyone simultaneously lose their freaking minds???!!!

Oh my

Jul. 13th, 2010 02:34 pm
athenaltena: (D:)
So that's what the hubbub downtown was this afternoon.

No injuries in duck boat accident in downtown Boston

Three vehicles, including a duck boat, were involved in a traffic incident this afternoon in downtown Boston, according to Boston police.

No one was injured, police said. The crash occurred in front of 55 Court St., police said.

The crash involved a truck, a car, and the duck boat, police said. A police spokeswoman said it was not immediately clear if any of the drivers would be cited for traffic violations.

Luckily no one was hurt, and it looks like it was a case of an asshole driver cutting off the duck boat, which, if you have any idea how big those things are (you can get a sense in the picture in the article), is a really stupid idea. Those duck boats were intended for amphibious landings during WWII, so they're quite a bit tougher than the average car.

I could see some sort of commotion down below from work, but I only just saw this article. Sheesh, I hate to say it, but the whole "Masshole" reputation is fully deserved if people think it's a good idea to cut off a duck boat of all things.
athenaltena: (relaxed)
So the other day in Beacon Hill there was a huge fire that more or less destroyed Deluca's, a famous old market on Charles St. From work I could see the firetrucks and was hearing bits of it throughout the day. I think I went in there once and looked around last year, but I wasn't too familiar with that area.

There's now a video a BU graduate took of the scene up there, and while I admit it's very well done and shot I think it's a bit melodramatic with the music, and the way it's presented you'd think it was a war scene (for the record no one was hurt at this fire).

I don't mean to diminish the work the guy did (like I said it's executed very well) but it seems just a little over the top. I'd put in a good word for him if he ever wants a position with the AP or National Geographic though.


Jul. 9th, 2010 08:57 am
athenaltena: (facepalm)
So this DOMA ruling isn't even 24 hours old and people are already whining that if it gets appealed to a higher court gay people have been "thrown under the bus" by the Obama administration.

I disagree wholeheartedly with both that notion and the idea that we have been thrown under the bus in general. When you're caught up in two wars, the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and you have to drag Congress kicking and screaming to the table to get anything done the amount that he has done for us is pretty extraordinary and tops all the stuff done by any president ever (really, look it up!). And since Congress isn't cooperating using executive orders like he has is actually extremely crafty and doing a lot of good, not, as one person commented, "table scraps."

And as for appealing DOMA, there's something in law called due process, and though it usually applies only to individual rights it also applies to state and federal entities. That means that he has to defend the Federal Government and its existing statutes even if he thinks they're a pile of horseshit, which he does on this particular issue and has said repeatedly.

And here's the thing, if this were a law in our favor that was being appealed he'd have to stick up for that too, and people would whine if he didn't. With very few exceptions you can't selectively decide which bits of the law you do and don't want to defend, otherwise the entire system is compromised. He, through Holder, has a certain amount of discretion about whether or not this will go to appeal, but appealing it does not constitute "throwing under the bus." It's just making sure that it's sound legally, which is what we want if we want it to stick.

In other words, haters, pick up a law book or shut up.
athenaltena: (Defensive. determined)
Deploring the [DOMA] ruling Thursday was Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition, who told the Associated Press that Tauro was a "rogue judge" practicing "judicial activism." She added, "We can't allow the lowest common denominator states, like Massachusetts, to set standards for the country."

You did not just call us that.

Lady, I don't know who you are or what sort of backwards-thinking stuck-in-the-19th-century organization you represent, but no one gets to call Massachusetts the "lowest common denominator" on my watch and get away with it.

We have our share of problems, I admit, but you do not get off calling us that just because we give a shit about treating people fairly and are willing to do something about it. I'm proud to work for an organization that serves Massachusetts and the people in it!

So fuck off, lady, and God bless the Commonwealth of Massachusetts! Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem!


Jul. 8th, 2010 07:06 pm
athenaltena: (happy)
Judge declares DOMA unconstitutional

Judge Joseph L. Tauro ruled that the federal Defense of Marriage law violates the Constitutional right of married same-sex couples to equal protection under the law and upends the federal government’s long history of allowing states to set their own marriage laws.

"This court has determined that it is clearly within the authority of the Commonwealth to recognize same-sex marriages among its residents, and to afford those individuals in same-sex marriages any benefits, rights, and privileges to which they are entitled by virtue of their marital status," Tauro wrote. "The federal government, by enacting and enforcing DOMA, plainly encroaches upon the firmly entrenched province of the state."

Now this is far from over and an appeal to a higher court is almost guaranteed, but that's a very very good sign for DOMA's days being numbered, and even if they don't take this one to a higher circuit (this current ruling only applies to Massachusetts) it tells other DAs that they can take this to the court and win for their state.


There's also a delicious irony in that the people who tend to be the most anti-gay marriage tend to be the biggest states' rights advocates too, and this rather succinctly puts them in an awkward position that I'm unashamedly loving seeing them in.


Jun. 4th, 2010 11:19 am
athenaltena: (Sweden thoughtful)
T courtesy is a two-way street

The best thing the MBTA can do to promote civility is to eliminate the factors that promote anxiety and conflict among riders. When a long-delayed bus arrives with little room for new passengers, or when there’s no way of knowing how soon the next train will arrive, riders are more apt to take out their frustrations on one another.

Yah. Yesterday when I got out of the gym I was waiting nearly 20 minutes before my train showed up, and by then I was sweaty, sore, tired and pretty pissed off. And because you have no clue when one is going to show up (they've just now started giving time estimates with buses) it's hard to call ahead to let people know if it'll be five minutes or 20. It's really hard to schedule around the T, which is one thing my move next year is meant to address since I know how long I usually take on foot.

I'm usually fairly polite on the T, but yes, after that long waiting and especially after a long day I just want to sit down. I'm human, forgive me, but the MBTA does not help at all.
athenaltena: (Believe)
Stephen Perry, writer of Thundercats, is missing and presumed dead in Florida

This is just awful news all around. The poor guy had been having a terrible couple of years and battling bladder cancer, and now it appears he's been murdered just as things were starting to look up. The worst part is that they've found a severed arm in the van he was living in for a time due to financial issues and human remains near his house. It doesn't look good for him.

I sent a small donation to the Hero Initiative organization in his memory, since they had been helping him stay in his home and with his young son.

Oh Lawd.

May. 7th, 2010 11:51 am
athenaltena: (facepalm)
Brown wants citizenship revoked for terror ties

Senator Scott Brown responded to the attempted Times Square bombing yesterday by cosponsoring a bill that would allow the United States to strip Americans of citizenship if the government determines that an individual supported or joined a terrorist group.

But a host of scholars and fellow lawmakers, including the House Republican leader, Representative John Boehner of Ohio, immediately questioned the constitutionality of the proposal, saying it was at odds with a half-century of Supreme Court precedents that ruled that citizenship can be relinquished only voluntarily. The legislation would affect US citizens whether they are native-born or naturalized.

Scotty, you're an idiot. That's several different types of stupid. Extremely stupid. What is this, the McCarthy era?! Using actions that indicate an "intent to give up citizenship" as a reason is way too broad a criteria, it could be applied to people writing checks to relatives who just happen to have ties to these organizations. Did the 1950s Red Scare not teach us anything?!

And more insidiously, it implies that they don't trust our justice system to convict citizens legally, since you don't even have to be convicted of an actual crime under this proposed law to get your citizenship revoked, and they don't want to do it through a court! That's crazy! Plus, the Supreme Court has found again and again that citizenship should only be revoked voluntarily, and in the very unlikely event this does pass the court will probably strike it down faster than you can say "unconstitutional". There's a little in the Consitution called "due process" that this conveniently ignores. All this stems from Brown and his cronies being mad that the guy in the Times Square plot got read his rights, y'know, because he's a citizen. This is a transparent attempt to undermine that, but here's the thing: those rights are there for a reason, and these guys' plan is to throw out the law book because they don't like the fact that it treats people fairly. It's like flipping over a chess board because you don't like the rules.

Way to go, Massachusetts, for electing this nincompoop. I think I just heard Teddy Kennedy's ghost scream. Whoever's running against Brown next election, consider a check already written to you in my name.


athenaltena: (Default)

June 2012



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