Monthly Archives: March 2012

Young Women are the Victim

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US Representative Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican from Florida, has proposed a brand-new, restrictive bill that would regulate women’s health even further. The topic of women’s rights has been rising constantly, especially building up to this election year. It seems that many on the conservative side of the fence want to restrict what women can and can’t do. And not every case where an abortion is needed is because the woman was promiscuous. Sometimes women will die if they give birth to a child. And sometimes children can be raped by their own parents, a terrible truth.

Some more about the bill: This bill would require women under the age of 18 to be accompanied by a parent when obtaining an out of state abortion. So I guess if you’re raped by your own father, you need to go with either your mom or dad to get an abortion. If you don’t follow this procedure, the doctor could go to jail for year. Does this seem like a sensible bill, or does it seem like one that’s just supposed to instill traditional values in the society? What about victims of rape in general? Is there any sort of exclusion for women in this situation? No. Several proposed amendments were rejected by the people who pass this bill. The proposed amendments included exceptions for rape and incest victims, exceptions for women with health concerns, and the ability for young woman to be accompanied by a grandparent or young adult that they trust when getting an abortion. All of these things have been rejected.

Basically, this bill is just trying to take away the independence of women even further. By requiring females to be accompanied by their parents to an  out of state abortion, they are losing a vital component of privacy. It seems like even more negative situations could arise, especially in a situation involving incest or rape. Instead of getting a safe, monitored abortion, some young woman might turn to other highly unsafe alternatives to terminating the pregnancy by a professional. If you force these women to behave in one particular way, and it’s embarrassing, they might take matters into their own hands and wind up with the much worse situation. It’s been shown time and time again that abstinence-only education doesn’t work; in fact, in the school districts where this sort of education takes place, teen pregnancies are at nationwide highs because teens simply don’t use contraceptives because they’ve been told that they don’t work.

It’s not to say that every female will take matters into her own hands and provide herself with an unsafe abortion. But by forcing them to go about it in a particular manner, there are likely to be unforeseen externalities that make the overall picture very bleak. There’s no good reason for this, other than maintaining the fallacy of tradition in which children have to consult their parents for all things in their lives.

A Continuing Saga

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The Trayvon Martin case continues. No, George Zimmerman has not been arrested yet. He is still walking the streets, because Florida’s Stand Your Ground law is still protecting him after his incredibly violent actions. It’s unfortunate that no real positive news has come out of this scenario yet.

President Obama actually spoke out about Trayvon this previous Friday, commenting that he felt that Trayvon is what his own son would look like. Obama was simply expressing how the events made him feel, rather than saying anything about race, gender, or anything else. It simply struck a chord with him, because he felt that if it happened to him, the visual aspect would’ve been the same. Obama continued that he believed that the American public would treat the situation with the gravity it deserves and that they would hopefully come to a successful conclusion.

But no good deed goes unpunished. In typical fashion, Newt Gingrich accused Obama of making a racially motivated statement. Instead of acknowledging the discussion for what was, Gingrich accused Obama of saying that he was only willing to protect black kids because they look like him. He then made a leap in logic to state that if if Trayvon had been white, it wouldn’t have been as big of a deal. This is not a good argument, and is incredibly childish. This response is utterly ridiculous, and despite Gingrich saying it, he’s been backed up by Michele Bachmann and some other conservatives. Why  do they have to pick fights that don’t need to be picked? What is to be gained by accusing Obama of closet racism?

Representatives close to President Obama have come out stating that Gingrich’s comments were reprehensible. It’s been suggested that because of Gingrich’s dying political career, he’s just trying to be offensive and outrageous to get attention. It doesn’t matter one way or another, because he’s worth enough money to survive the rest of his life without any real effort at all. And he’s already illustrated time and time again that he’s a tremendous hypocrite. I hope that some good news will come out soon about this case.

Support Trayvon’s Family

Trayvon Martin was an ordinary 17-year-old kid. On one fateful night, however, he was staying with his father and stepmother at their home in a predominantly white neighborhood in Sanford, Florida. He went out to get snacks like any 17-year-old would, heading to a nearby 7-11 store. On his way back, he was noticed by the neighborhood watch leader, George Zimmerman.

Apparently Zimmerman thought that Martin seemed suspicious. He called 911, trying to alert them of a suspicious character wandering through his neighborhood. He alluded to drug usage by Martin, and said that he just kept wandering around the neighborhood. Against the requests of the 911 operator, he pursued Trayvon. A fight broke out between the two men, and Trayvon was overheard begging for his life by neighbors before being shot in the chest. George Zimmerman’s gun was legal; he had a permit. Zimmerman also claimed self-defense. But does this sound like self-defense to you?
This case brings up a lot of racial complications as well. If Trayvon had been 17 years old and white, would he have been shot to death on this terrible night? Zimmerman has not even been arrested. However, the recent release of the 911 calls surrounding the incident are definitely illustrating that Zimmerman acted in an irresponsible, callous fashion. Perhaps even racially charged.

It’s always a tragedy when a child or teenager is killed. Families and communities mourn, and constantly ask the question “why did my son or daughter have to die?” In this case, it’s even more difficult because there is no real clear motive as to why this happened. It’s almost as if Zimmerman just wanted to use his gun, so he came up with a reason to do it. If you are just as appalled by this incident as I am, I would suggest going to the petition that I have linked below and signing. Change.org is requesting that George Zimmerman be prosecuted for the actions that he committed. This is the only true and proper way to end this mess.


Support Trayvon’s Family!

 

Pants on My Mind

For socially conscious consumers, sometimes it’s difficult to figure out where the things we buy come from. We can try to buy meat from local markets, produce from local farmers, but most people don’t have local clothing outlets. You can always buy from secondhand shops, or buy things online that you know are ethical. A new company has sprung up in the UK that is focusing on that exact concept. What if you could buy something, and then find out exactly where it came from and who made it?

It’s not a new idea for this company. The owner, Becky John, has been making underwear since around 2009 by ethical means. She has expanded this idea even further, choosing the hire refugees from impoverished or dangerous countries. They have all come together to form a cooperative that makes clothing. More specifically, they make pants. Addressing directly the concept of social awareness, they’ve named the company Who Made Your Pants, which is exactly what the product addresses.

And on every pair of pants purchased from Who Made Your Pants, there’s a tag attached the tells you exactly Who Made Your Pants and where they’re located. On top of that, the woman at the co-op are given the option to interact with their customers. They interact with customers via social media and e-mail, as well as the website. Direct concerns can be directed at the woman, and they are able to respond as they can. They are trained in business practices and given a great opportunity at this company. The company is very focused on empowering women, a noble concept, especially for these refugees. The waiting list for refugee workers is very high right now. It seems that this has stirred up a lot of positive press and is working in the proper manner.

The products are made from recycled fabric from discarded lingerie from larger companies. The women aren’t under a lot of stress and work hard, because they want to. In giving people a choice in the ability to mean something, Who Made Your Pants is accomplishing great things in the fashion world. Perhaps this will launch an entire new concept in the marketing of clothing.

 

http://whomadeyourpants.co.uk/

Ignore What It Really Means

President Obama recently caused a controversy when he made a mandate that birth control be provided for free to all women. This is a noble idea, one that was rooted in the idea of pregnancy prevention, as well as women’s health. Birth control is not just used to prevent pregnancy. It can be used to prevent some disorders associated with pregnancy, as well as some hormonal issues that women may face. It’s not just that every woman on birth control wants to be promiscuous. Conservatives seem to latch on to this idea, and Rush Limbaugh did as well, calling out a young law student and declaring her a “slut” as well as number of other negative, horrible, misogynistic things.

Given these events, it’s easy to see how conservatives can get upset at such an idea by the government. It would not hurt anyone, and in fact, it would help more people than it would hurt. However, religious institutions like the Catholic Church have been upset. Due to the church’s stance on contraception, a government mandate that the employer needs to provide free birth control goes against the church’s wishes. This is certainly more of a legitimate concern than one rooted in just assuming that all women are promiscuous that are on birth control.

It is likely that an exemption will be made for religious institutions to prevent this sort of controversy from extending. It’s unfortunate that Arizona lawmakers have decided to propose their own mandate against Obama’s. It’s only a small group of lawmakers, thankfully, so it’s unlikely that it will actually get passed. However, it’s really unfortunate and depressing that the idea was even proposed. Basically, an employer who provides free birth control to their employees can request the reason why the birth control is being used. If it’s for health concerns, great. But if it’s for pregnancy prevention, the employee can be judged and fired from work if the employer so chooses. This childish and immature law is so stupid that it almost doesn’t even deserve mention other than for the fact that it’s so out there.

As I said, I sincerely doubt this law will be passed. But if it does, we are on the way to a dystopian future. What a shame.

Increase your Wireless Capabilites With a Homeless Antenna(!?!?)

Every year in Austin, Texas, people gather for the SXSW festival. This brings together innovators in the creative realm, as well as in the social realm. While most people are focused on the music and film choices available at SXSW, some innovators have come up with an interesting idea this year: Instead of leaving homeless people in the area to just wander around aimlessly, they are installing 4G antennas onto these homeless people. In essence, the homeless are becoming wireless hotspots.

This bizarre idea carries some heavy social considerations, but is also interesting to say the least. Could the homeless be used as a new way to deliver content to the public? It doesn’t actually seem that far-fetched for a corporation to use a homeless person to deliver products and advertising to the general public. In many cases the homeless would affect people walking by an area more than a billboard would. Truly, this seems like an idea out of a science fiction novel. But it’s likely that more and more things are going to change in this manner.

It’s very unfortunate that the homeless could even be considered to be used as advertising tools. The facts of the homeless even exist, is quite a crazy idea in this prosperous society that we have. So many dollars go toward things that people don’t really need while the homeless are left outside to wander around. And now, it’s as if companies believe they’re wasting their time and need to be given a job to do. They’re also being paid a mere $20 a day, a wage that is so far below the minimum wage it’s not even funny.

On an optimistic note, people utilizing the hotspots were also given the option to donate money to the homeless person acting as the hotspot. And while many of the homeless probably didn’t mind this, it’s still very exploitative to give somebody a shirt that says”Hi, my name is X and I am a wireless hotspot.” It would appear we have a bleak future if the main tools for advertising are the people that society turn their backs on.

Read more and watch a video here.

Pros and Cons of Foster Care

Much of the time today, Foster Care is a misunderstood topic, multifaceted and full of complex observations.  If we don’t take it seriously and give it a good close look, it will negatively affect more and more children each and every year.  Let’s look into some of the key facts about Foster Care situations.

In many cases, children in Foster Care are as likely to be abused there as they are in their original households.  They have been many cases where children in Foster Care were abused by both their biological parents and their Foster Care parents.  In some cases, children have been murdered at the hands of their Foster Care parents.  This is a startling fact, and should not be ignored.

Improperly so, Foster Care is sometimes seen as a way to protect abused and neglected kids.  This is primarily by people who don’t actually understand the realities faced by these children.  Due to confidentiality laws, many of these cases are never found out about by the general public.  This does help to keep the kids safe in the situations, but it also prevents other people from finding about these occurrences.  Unfortunately, many of these children face a very harsh reality in Foster Care.  It isn’t always better than the homes that these kids came from, and that is the truth.  It doesn’t mean that there aren’t any good Foster Care Homes out there, but it also means that some of them should be avoided at all costs.  There are so many, however, and this makes it hard to regulate the quality of care given to these children.

In many cases, Foster parents prefer their own children to their Foster kids.  This can cause unneeded competition in awkwardness within the household.  This can also be another form of abuse, and should be avoided at all costs.  These children have faced horrible situations in some cases, and wish to be freed from such nightmares.  If your life was ruined, would you want to enter a household where you were second best no matter what?  I think most people would say no, but children don’t have this right in most cases.  When issues of favoritism occur, sometimes the Foster kids are actually abused by the biological kids.

Foster kids also sometimes have to live in many houses as they grow up.  This makes it hard for them to get attached to any particular household, and prevents them from having a normal childhood in which they grow up nurtured, in a good home.  This can affect their schooling, as well as their social interactions.  This can make life incredibly difficult for the Foster child.  They are forced to take their small amount of personal belongings with them from place to place, and may never get to feel truly situated.

This is just a small observation of the things surrounding foster care. It is an issue to be taken seriously. Lives are literally at stake.