Monday, November 10, 2008

Sarah Palin and Martha Stewart: Are Women "Just Jealous"?

According to a recent article in Glamour (such a pinacle of the feminist movement, I know) senior editor Cindy Leive claims most women are just 'haters' who are jealous of successful women. In fact, she even likens the recent loss of the GOP to the hatred many women had for Martha Stewart at the height of her career.

The election’s over, but Glamour editor Cindi Leive is already rooting for a Sarah Palin comeback. "Oh, I think she’s got a brilliant future," said Leive at the election party she hosted with Harvey Weinstein, Jim Nelson, and Georgette Mosbacher the other night. "Personally, I think she is a gifted politician. She’s a great communicator. She’s a magnetic personality. I don’t see how you can discount that."

Leive thinks Palin’s candidacy was "great for women"; she’s even okay with that whole making-women-in-Wasilla-pay-for-their-own-rape-kit thing. "It’s anti-women, if you’re a feminist," she said. "It doesn’t seem anti-women to her. I don’t know. I’m not any more offended by her having those views than I am by any man holding those same views, and in the end, I think it’s a good thing to have more women out there with alternate political views. I just think that expands our ideas of what women are capable of." What does offend Leive, however, is "the venom with which some women have reacted to her. She has strong political views, but so do lots of men. The glee with which some women are jumping on her demise kind of turns me off. It reminds me of Martha Stewart," she went on.

"Back in the day when she first had her TV show, there were a lot of women who just loved to hate on Martha Stewart. And on some level it always seemed like they were feeling put down by her choices. Here’s this woman who’s stenciling her mantle. It makes you as a woman feel like you’re not woman enough if you’re not stenciling your mantle. A man encounters Bob Vila and he doesn’t think, ‘Who is this A-hole rebuilding his deck? I don’t have time to rebuild my deck! How dare he tell me to do that!’ A guy would just turn the channel, you know. And women should be able to do that, too. Why do you feel like that’s a referendum on how you live your life? Women take Sarah Palin’s choices really personally. And I think that real progress for women will be when there’s just enough of us out there that you don’t feel like every woman’s behavior is some kind of referendum on you and your choices."

Fact is:
I HATE Martha Stewart not because I feel "inadequate" but because she has an air of pompous superiority about her which she didn't have originally. Where most craft shows or cooking shows encourage their audience to go outside the prep list and make the project their own, Martha will spend the entire show emphasizing how her fortune allows her to waste hundreds on gold-foil imported pears as a centerpiece. Nevermind that her average viewer could never AFFORD half of the crap Martha shows us how to make. Now that we have Food Network, HGTV and Bravo, women realize what a snobby sham Martha was. She WAS holding us to some outlandish standard of wastefulness and time consuming garbage. Now, we have options and have cast her aside for the sham she is.

On the topic of Sarah Palin, she is in another category of idiocy all together. Once again, the fanbase decided that anyone who disagrees with her morally must be "jealous". The fact is, I don't want anything that Palin "has". I like having my right to choose. I like having the right to be a good person without fear of an invisible superpower or the threat of going to a lake of lava. The fact is, I pity her. I pity her and I pity Martha Stewart because they are trapped in a stereotype and don't know truly understand the meaning of 'freedom.' But hey, whatever works for them is fine.

For them.

Sarah Palin couldn't handle just keeping to herself. Oh no. She thinks to be a good "Christian" she has to influence the lives of everyone else around her by forcing people of all backgrounds and of all religions to confine to her skewed morals. That's why I don't like her. She's selfish and rude. And that kind of personality disgusts me. She's an insult to anyone who disagrees with her, INCLUDING most working women and any woman who's not a pentacostal Christian nutjob. So before you go jumping the gun and labeling all Palin and Martha haters as just "jealous bitches" educate yourself. I have many reasons to disagree with them, and not one stems from wanting to be like them.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Customer Service: Ask and Ye Shall Recieve

Demand and we'll hang up on you.

I've been on hiatus from blogging for the last few months (without getting too much into it, politics and certain cult I am protesting have eaten up my spare time) but I am back and full of new experiences to post about. Today, my job. In fact, the job of over 80% of Americans:

Customer Service.

Background Information:

I have been working fulltime since 1995 in mostly customer service and administrative jobs. Before that, I babysat kids in my neighborhood and mowed lawns on the weekends. I know what it's like to be the fry cook, the drive thru girl, the waitress for your bachelorette party, the cashier on Black Friday and the returns clerk the day after Christmas. I've worked everywhere from McDonalds to JP Morgan and I can tell you that my core responsiblity has never changed: satisfying the customer.

Behind the Counter:

From my experience, the most aggravating part of customer service is getting the customer to understand that you understand. That you are doing everything in your power to help them even if it is taking a while and even if you aren't the person they need. These are the people who will scream at you and accuse you of not caring after you've spent 15 minutes hunting down the appropriate manager for them.

The second most aggravating moments come when customers seem to forget that they are not the only person you have to help. Whether it's holding up the line at the bank window or keeping the other 5 phone lines on hold, this person is determined to have you lose four more customers in order to give them a refund or hear their entire story. This is when you have to get firm with people. Personlly, i am honest with them:

"Sir, I have other calls coming in, please hold."
I do not give people like this the option to wait, I just make them. Otherwise, I will end up with several upset customers, rather than just the one with unwarranted self importance.

The Other Side of The Desk:

Monday, August 25, 2008

Allergy Discrimination: Why Animals get a "Pass"

Question: Why is it that there are peanut-free baseball sections, smoke-free bars and warning labels on menus and food products yet those allegic to animal dander are still forced to ride in enclosed public transportation with someone else's pet?

Scenario: You can't smoke in bars now because a very biased and severly non-scientific study done almost 20 years ago may have discovered a possible link between secondhand smoke and cancer. Maybe. You can't eat peanuts in certain sections of the stadium now because some lady forgot to listen to the rest of the lyrics to "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" and she's scared her son might get sick from the peanut dust... But if you have deadly asthmatic allergies to animal dander, you know, the kind which closes up your throat and makes it impossible to breathe, therefore cutting off your access to oxygen (that thing you need to live) well then too bad for you. Better take the next bus.

Thoughts: The problem here is two things which both come down to perception:

First off is the idea of "allegies" as related to those Allegra and Claratin commercials. "sniffy nose" "red eyes" "sneezing" non-life thrteatening effects. Just annoyances. But that's not what happens to athmatics with animal dander allergies. Think more along the lines of stung-by-a-bee-sweeling-up-unable-to-breathe-three-seconds-from-death allergies. Then you'd be on teh correct train of thought. "Animal dander" does not mean your cat has t o be in my lap scratching my face to get me sick. It means that the dandruff or skin flakes given off your pet every single time it moves is transferred into the air and into my lungs which are now inflamed and closing off my oxygen supply.

The second problem here is the idea that pets are "cuter" than "cigarettes" so it's much easier to accept the "minor" inconveniences which come along. The problem is, I have asthma. I can walk around a smoker on the street. But I cannot remove myself from the bus or subway car (or dear god, the DELI) that you just waltzed your precious little allergy factory into. Animals do not belong near food. Seriously, I have to eat that stuff that your dog just shed hair all over. If I carried a bag of peanuts everywhere and started leaving peanut shells on everything I touched, you'd be darn sure they would ban "bags of peanuts" from everywhere but the peanutbutter aisle. People take THAT allergy seriously.

Conclusion: People, I beg of you. Leave the pets at home. You're killing me, literally. And while you're at it, buy a damn lint roller. If I can smell your pet on you you can still inflame my allergies just by leaning your fuzzy sweater all over my face on the train (unlike cigarette smoke, which is harmless on clothing). If precious needs to go everywhere with you, then you need to buy a car and deal with that animal allergy all on your own in your own space. But for the same reason that smokers can no longer light up in enclosed public places, YOU SHOULDN'T BE ALLOWED TO TAKE PETS THERE EITHER.

No matter how "adorable" an allergy source is, you are still causing someone else unnecessary discomfort and pain every time you take your animals into public transportation.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Homosexuality: Why Conservatives Should "Get Over It"

Question: Is there any real legal grounds on which to outlaw same sex marriages, health benefits for same sex partners or adoptions by same sex parents?

Scenario: Your son is born gay. You don't know it yet, but he will as soon as his hormones kick in. While some boys in his class will be chasing the girls and making out valentine cards to them, he will be doing the same for his very own boy crush. It's just as innocent and just as harmless, but he will be chastised and teachers, parents and communities alike will be seeking a scapegoat to blame for his "weirdness".

Thoughts: Fact is, as much as people keep trying to deny it, homosexuality is not a choice any more than heterosexuality is. I never "decided" to like boys. I just always did so because my body was wired to react chemically to them. That's it. The same goes for every human being. In recent news, scientists even pinpointed the genetic makeup which predispositions one to be attracted to one sex over another. Of course, conservatives took this opportunity to try and construe homosexuality as an abberration that we can now "cure" instead of embracing the scientific proof that now shows homosexulaity as the natural instinct that it is.

In the end, they seem to forget that we have known for quite some time what genetic change makes some babies (whom ALL start out as females) into males. So, by the logic of many conservatives who have openly admitted they would change their babie's sexual preference in the womb, one can also easily change the SEX of their baby. And we've had that technology for quite some time. But does that really make it "okay"? The same people who are anti-abortion and anti-stem cell research are advocating the alteration and biochemical manufacturing of children? Something looks off here.

Is it really doing the right thing for your child or is it for yourself? If the child was diagnosed early with a disease or a physical ailment which could be cured through bioengineering, then I would be more open and understanding. But to tell me that you would risk your child's future on the weak excuse that you are "protecting" them from mockery and ridcule just screams of selfishness. What's next? Are we going to engineer our daughters to be better cooks and our sons to be better at sports? These sort of ideals are erasing the very beauty of individuality. The fact is, you may think YOUR perfect child, all star football champ or hometown beauty queen isn't being mocked or made fun of but, they are. There will always be that one child who was raised not to accept people who are different thatn them. Whether it's race, class or sexual preference. ALL children will be teased in their life. What you are trying to "protect" your child from would be better built in a home of loving and understanding parents and friends. NOT by forcing the child into a box or altering them to your skewed view of perfection.

Scenario 2: Now your son is a grown man and found another man with whom he is happy and would like to spend the remainder of his life. In a desire to declare his faithfulness and undying love for this man, he wants to get married. Explain, in completely secular terms, why this act should be illegal?

Thoughts: It's not. The precedent was already set with this case. The same Supreme Court ruling which banned all miscegenation laws in this country should also apply to same-sex marriages. It is an act between two consenting adults. There is no reason for any state to deny people this very basic of human rights. And since it affects their tax standing and their medical insurance it has very real affects on the lives of those denied their right to marriage. Now, don't think for a second that I am saying a church should be forced to honor or accept a couple with whom their faith disagrees. This is their perrogative. If a non-profit organization wishes to exclude certain people from their buildings and their ceremonies, then that is their right to do so. However, this act does not excuse the actions of legal unions sanctioned in a courthouse. ALL non-religious marriage ceremonies deserve equal respect in the secular eyes of the law. There should be no debate on this topic.

And before those of you who desire to go back on my first scenario and point out that homosexuality has been shown to be a "mutable" trait and therefore not comparable to race, may I remind you that "mutable" just means changable. So by your logic, it's okay to ban the marriage of people in wheelchairs or on crutches. Hey, it's a temporary trait, so it's not covered, right? Wrong. ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL. period. There is no mutability in that law and there is no room for biased laws based on any trait, whether alterable or not.

Scenario 3:



Friday, August 1, 2008

US Slavery Reparations: Uneccessary and Implausible

Question: Should the American government apologize and give reparations to the descendants of African slaves in America?

Scenario: I wish this was just an imaginary issue, but it's not. Steve Cohen of the US House has decided that it's high time some white people start apologizing for the actions of people who may or may not have been their great-grandparents.
In this ideal reparations paid future, Jewish descendants will be taxed to pay for the deeds of people they are not related to. Though slave-descendants themselves, they will be punished for crimes they never committed all based on their skin color. As I am sure the only way to decide who owes who will be the consensus check-box which lumps all pale-skinned men and women into the group of "White/Caucasian" regardless of their past.

First off, learn some history. The African slave past is nothing unique nor original. In fact, in some corners of the globe, women are still sold as sex slaves and tribes still hold their POWs as slaves. The idea that African Americans have somehow "suffered" more than any other race is ludicrous. It is part of our collective social structure to take advantage of one another when we can. In our collective past, every race on this planet has at some point been both slave and master. No one deserves special treatment based on their skin color. NO ONE.

Secondly, people seem to forget that in order for this whole "idea" to come to fruition, taxes would have to be raised or a special tax introduced in order to raise this money. This means that all working Americans, even those who are NEW to this country or descended from people who never owned slaves would be financially punished for crimes which they are not guilty. In some cases, the very descendants themselves would be taxed to pay for these reparations. Money doesn't magically fall from the sky. It comes from real, working people. And at the end of the day, reparations would be punishing people who were never alive during nor responsible for the actions of the past.

Lastly, who is to receive these reparations? Jamaicans who moved here months ago and had nothing to do with slavery? What about the Native Americans and Mexicans who served as slaves in America BEFORE Africans were ever purchased from their original slave owners: the Muslims. Who are we really punishing and rewarding? People are so quick to blame someone for the wrongs of society now that they are focusing entirely too much on the past of a select few citizens and ignoring the very real PRESENT conditions which are really contributing to imbalance in this society.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Separation of Church & State: The Lie

Question: How much truth in practice is really seen in the "Separation of Church and State" demanded by the First Amendment according to Thomas Jefferson?

Scenario: Imagine for just one second that you are an Atheist or Agnostic. Or even a Polytheist. In America, unlike the rest of the world, you are supposed to be "accepted" and not feel chastised for your beliefs. You are supposed to feel safe to practice what you believe in without being pressured or harassed into another faith's beliefs. You understand that as long as you are violating no one's natural human rights (I'm looking at you Mormon rapists) then you are free to practice your faith as you see fit.

However, you know that you live in a Christian, monotheistic country. No matter what's in print, the reality is otherwise. It's on your money, it's in your Pledge of Allegiance. It's written into the fiber of local and national laws and no matter how badly you may want a fair trial (WM3) you will never get one that's truly unbiased. Not if they find out who you are and what you believe.

Thoughts: The dollar bill, the Pledge of Allegiance. Suddenly you are unAmerican if you do not "respect" the history. Are Germans supposed to just embrace the Nazi insignia of their past? No. Just because something is aged, does not give it precedent over all other ideals or designs. One can love their country, their fellow man and respect others without believeing in a god. In fact, someone's faith in Satanism or Atheism no more makes them a bad member of society any more than a person's affiliation in Christian churches absolves them of all sin. It's high time we mature beyond our past and learn to accept the ideas of others. Just because you disagree on a church or a worshipping practice does not mean you cannot live together peacefully, this is not the Nationalist party of Hitler's era which demanded separation based on faith and language.

Scenario 2: You have lived your life respecting others and doing what you believe to be right in your heart. However, you now find yourself on trial for a crime which, in your mind, is no crime at all. You cannot comprehend why others are so determined to "convert" you to their faith that they are willing to alter teh very law structure of your state and country and label you a criminal. In some cases, they're even willing to lock people away for "crimes" which have their only backing in a holy book written by men of another faith.

Thoughts: It's depressing to think that the supposed "freest country in the world" is still openly and blatantly denying people their civil and human rights because of their faith. For example, let's take a look at Mormons. I know I just called them out for rape and child abuse, but let's look at the more legal practice of polygamy. What's REALLY wrong with it? Assuming that they are following the age limitation laws of their state and not committing child molestation, then why go after a group of adults willing to live together? There is no crime being committed. If your argument against a group is based solely on your own personal religious beliefs (monogamy) instead of being based on basic civil rights, then you should not be in a lawmaking position. Polygamy laws are useless and insulting to people who do not truly violate any natural law. On top of this, we have laws about abortion and marriage. Both individual choices being taken away because of the personal faith of a lawmaker.

Closing: Yes, all religions should be held accountable to the same set of laws. If you are a Mormom who believes in polygamy, then you should be allowed to do so. WITHOUT violating any age limitation or slavery laws. All women should be allowed the rights due to them as a citizen of this country. The same goes for the man who recently stoned his own daughter. You are a murderer. You were free to practice your faith up to the point that you did not violate the rights of a nother human being. HOWEVER, passing laws against things like prostitution or abortion are not laws which should be made lightly based on your own faith. Laws like "hate speech" take away the very right one has to express their ideals. When a person calls someone a "baby killer" after having a medical abortion just 2 weeks into their pregnancy they are using hate speech as well. But you would never win that case, not in the system we have now. It favors the view of a monotheistic, Christian society. Remove the veil of Christianity which has so long biased the laws of this country. Creationism is a faith, not a science. Marriage is a choice no state system should be allowed to pass law on. SEPERATE the two as the founders intended and stop trying to enforce religious ideals into a system that's supposed to work for ALL men, not just those on the approved list.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sin City: the Benefits of Legalized Vices

Question: Should Las Vegas serve as a prototype for legalized prostitution? How would the same laws impact other vices such as gambling and drug use?

Scenario: Prostitution has been legalized. Sort of. Now men and women who wish to engage in the perfectly legal pornography industry, sans cameras, will now be able to. Because it's legal, it's regulated. It's safe. The "product" is now checked by a physician and every client is screened for disease and violence. Workers have rights they never had before and the employers are no longer allowed to exploit them.

Thoughts: That said it all. Exploitation has been the battle cry of women's rights groups for decades. But a prostitute with rights and set income who is being taken care of through healthcare and housing is not a woman being exploited. She is a woman doing with her body what she wants to. This is the example Vegas has set for the rest of the US. We have no REAL reason not to follow suit. No legal precedent.

Scenario 2: You got a nice bonus at work this week. An extra $50. You think you'll buy a 6 pack and play a little Texas Hold 'Em when you get home only to log on and find out all the gambling sites have been blocked from US access. A clear violation of the Fair Trade Agreement, but you don't get to make the rules and now you'll just have to spend that extra cash on LEGAL vices like more beer or some smokes.

Thoughts: Reason magazine recently wrote a wonderful piece of journalism which broke down exactly why online gambling and, in fact, ALL gambling should be legalized. For starters, they explained that the fear most have of gamblers becoming addicts is a myth. Less than 5% of gamblers who gamble "regularly" are addicted to it. In fact, they are no more "addicted" to the activity than one who plays video games or goes jogging every morning. Many would call it their "hobby" and on average they spend less than $20 a night. So I ask you this, lawmakers and moral enforcers, DEFINE ADDICTION. If a man invests a large portion of his income into remaking old cars, does he have a hobby or an addiction? Since when did the line get crossed between the two? Just because large sums of income are used in an activity does not equate addiction. What about passion? Define that one.

In my opinion: A hobby is something you do for personal enjoyment and fun. An addiction is said activity taken to the point that it interferes with and prevents you from having the happiness you originally sought. However, these are vagaries and neither activity should be deemed "illegal". You might want to advise against addictions or set up help groups and counseling, but altering the law to reflect your personal moral code is not acceptable. The CHOICE should still be left to the individual.

Scenario 3: You come home from a long day on the job and instead of reaching for a cold beer, you roll a joint and sit in front of the TV waiting for your girlfriend to finish dinner. You're a criminal.

Thoughts: That's it. As hard as it is to grasp for some people, marijuana and many other drugs are not instantly bad nor deadly. Like her legal cousins alcohol and cigarettes, marijuana won't KILL you. In fact, it's just a relaxer which calms the mind and muscles. That's why medicinal marijuana is becoming more widely accepted, it relieves pain. You know, like old grandmothers used to rub your gums with rum or whiskey while you were teething. Patients suffering chronic pain can now experience temporary relief in the form of another chemical. However, the fight to make this drug along with so many other legalized has become an uphill battle. People determined to force their moral beliefs on others have decided that only "approved" drugs should be legalized. Stop and let that sink in.

Now, I hate wool. It's itchy and I'm allergic to animals so I cannot tolerate it. In fact, if I touch anything in a store or brush against someone wearing wool, I will get itchy. It's an inconvenience. But that's all it is. It is not within my rights to complain and get these item pulled from shelves everywhere. Why then do some people assume that these basic laws of human rights do not apply to certain drugs? Drugs used in the privacy of your own home. Remember, I already said that AS LONG as you are NOT violating someone else's rights, then you should be allowed to engage in any activity you like. This means I favor DUI laws, but I still think bars should be open. Same goes for marijuana and any other drug someone wants to use on their own body. If it kills them or makes them lose their job etc, it is not my place to tell them they cannot do it. I am allowed to tell them they SHOULD NOT, but nothing more.

Closing: Enforced "moral codes" are a violation of the same human rights our founding fathers moved here to preserve. The basic idea behind our law structure was that one should be allowed the maximum amount of freedoms available to them as long as they did not violate the freedom and rights of another human being. In other words, you can spend your money on whatever you want to spend it on as long as it's not murder or robbery. When a person works for a particular wage, it is income they have earned. This disposable income is now their property and should they decide to donate half of it to a church, build a new strip club or buy a pound of marijuana then they should be within their legal rights to do so. The problem is, with current laws the way they are, this is not possible. People are not allowed to do to their bodies what they wish nor are they allowed to use their assets as they wish. No one is forcing you to be party to something you disagree with morally. However, by forcing others into "the dark" and making their happiness an illegal activity or a crime, you are violating their rights.

In the end, making certain activities legal would benefit everyone involved. The activities would become safer and would be taxable by the government. Set your personal beliefs aside for one moment and tell me that's bad. It's not.