Exposing Your Child to a Healthy Dose of Profanity

New Niece

I’m not a parent. I’ve helped raise my niece from infancy to four years of age, but I’m not yet a mother. (I know there’s really no comparison, but I feel the need to give myself a tiny bit of credit before I go off on this particular tangent.)

Now, I know non-parents have this habit of saying, “I’ll never do that when I’m a parent” in regards to any number of specific principles to which they may object, but I swear there is one that I will honor, so help me Bill Murray. See, I’m absolutely sure that I will make a great many sacrifices for my future child, but I’m also certain of something else: The word “fuck” will not be one of those sacrifices.

No. Fucking. Way.

I’ll be damned if I’m giving up “fuck” for anyone. It’s a great word. And by word, I mean words (because there are so many wonderful variations of it). Now, some of you may be thinking, What a trashy piece of shit mother you’re going to make, and that’s okay. You’re entitled to your judgmental fucking opinion and I kind of even fucking respect you for it. But hear me the fuck out for a second. Continue reading “Exposing Your Child to a Healthy Dose of Profanity”

Which Guns Are Left?

KC Zoo 3/18/14

Today there were shots fired at the Kansas City Zoo. No one was hit or hurt, but without a doubt, it’ll spark more discussion about how accessible guns should be, and whether or not restrictions should be intensified.

First, allow me to clarify that I don’t identify with any singular political party. I guess most people would probably pin me somewhere on the left end of the political spectrum, slap a “liberal” label on me, and be done with it. And although I’m not affiliated with the Republicans or the Democrats, I guess most of my issue perspectives do tend to hang a little to the left.

Continue reading “Which Guns Are Left?”

Space Ripples: First Direct Proof of Big Bang

Space Ripples: First Direct Proof of Big Bang

So last night I was kind of half-working, half-watching the local news when a headline about space ripples was announced, and I perked up.

Apparently, astronomers had discovered the first direct proof of the big bang expansion, but it was reported with less enthusiasm than a celebrity’s birthday would have been. Despite the vague and casual manner in which the breakthrough was mentioned, I decided it was worth looking further into on my own.

I must admit that I’m disappointed with the amount of coverage this subject is receiving, even today, and find it sad that I actually have to go digging for information that should be as in-my-face as the difficult emotional battle Mick Jagger is experiencing since the suicide of his girlfriend. (It’s very sad, yes, but frankly, none of my business.)

I would also like to point out that my excitement about this discovery is in no way tied to any anti-theistic viewpoints you may assume I have. I would be equally excited if we unearthed a discovery that supported a religious claim.

Contrary to what many people may think about science enthusiasts, many of us are not anti-religion. We are simply pro-knowledge, pro-learning, pro-advancement…

We just want the answers to the universe that no one else has yet, and the closer we get to those answers, the happier we are, despite what kind of evidence is presented.

I just felt the need to clarify that today.

The Nature of Civil Disobedience

The Human Rights Campaign Documentary, What Are Human Rights, included a narration describing the origins of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR):

“Human rights were born. The idea spread quickly, to Greece, to India, and eventually, to Rome. They noticed that people naturally followed certain laws, even if they weren’t told to. They called this ‘natural law’…”

According to the video, ‘natural law’ eventually evolved into ‘natural rights,’ which is directly related to civil rights and human rights in many ways. The problem is, everyone seems to have their own interpretation of what constitutes ‘natural law’. In his book, Political Theory: An Encyclopedia of Contemporary and Classic Terms, Scott Hammond points out several different perceptions of what ‘natural law’ can mean.

HumanRightsDignity

Some people believe they’re the divine rights each human is entitled to “because of our status as creatures of God”. In other words, we have the right to equality because we were all “created equal” by God. Continue reading “The Nature of Civil Disobedience”

The Smell of Commerce in the Morning

Uh-huh.Retail stores, right?

Nothing makes me want to go Patrick Bateman on someone more than a retail clothing store.

I can barely make it in the door before someone who’s clearly consumed one too many Adderall rushes over to greet me.

“Do I have sauce on my face or something? No? Oh, so that was just the complimentary anxiety attack that apparently comes with this shopping experience? Great.”

So after my heart rate stabilizes, all I can think about is Continue reading “The Smell of Commerce in the Morning”

Bury My Heart

RedCloud

This week, I watched a film called Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee because I hadn’t seen it in a while, and it’s actually relevant again. This may seem like an odd film to watch for a war reporting course, but I think it is necessary to remember how “news coverage” in this country began. (Today, you and I would refer to it as “propaganda.”) I find it only appropriate and a tad ironic to address this topic as our nation’s “birthday” approaches.

If you don’t know the story of the Sioux, you’re far from alone. There’s no reason for you to know the story, because unless you’re like me and you’ve spent the last decade in a relationship with a guy whose grandfather is a Potowatomi Chief, it is not talked really about. (We can add this to the same rug under which those pesky bits of American history like  Japanese internment are swept.)

See, we Americans like to remember the story of the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag sharing the feast we call “Thanksgiving” today. We teach our children about Pilgrims sailing in on the Mayflower and having a peaceful meal, but that’s just the prologue. The rest of the story involves natives helping white men survive brutal winters in exchange for their diseases and a couple centuries’ worth of extermination.Continue reading “Bury My Heart”

How the Press Advanced the American Civil Rights Movement

Many journalists have written stories that have made people cry. An article may inspire its reader to share it with others. A piece may even perk enough interest to motivate its reader to conduct further research on its subject matter. But every once in a while, a story comes along that demands a collective reaction. It enrages its readers, forcing them to crumple the story up in their sweaty, balled-up fists and do something. That’s what journalism should do, and in the case of the Civil Rights Movement, that’s what it did.

Outrageous

Otis Sanford of The Commercial Appeal, told the Newseum that, “Back then, yes indeed, the only way a black person would get into a newspaper was if it was for some criminal activity.”Continue reading “How the Press Advanced the American Civil Rights Movement”

War Zone Discussion: “Blood Diamond”

Blood Diamond

Before Watching Again…

Even though the movie Blood Diamond contains fictional characters, the film is based on true events.

Back in the late ‘90s, about 15% of the world’s diamond production came from conflict regions. This movie pretty much goes into why that’s unethical.

Basically, Sierra Leone is at war with itself for about a decade. And during this civil war, these rebel force called the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), forced a bunch of people in Africa to mine for diamonds (slave labor) to fund their terror. (They’re mainly known for cutting people’s hands/limbs off, brainwashing easily-manipulated little kids into joining their organization, and torturing, raping, and killing dozens of thousands of citizens. The movie is absolutely horrific, and I’ve heard that it doesn’t even depict a small fraction of what it was really like over there.)

RFI

So what happened to these diamonds was that they were either smuggled into neighboring countries or they were sold to international diamond traders, who had no idea what kinds of brutal acts went down to obtain the diamonds, or worse, they simply didn’t care. It’s not like even a diamond expert can look at one of these tiny stones and know where it came from. And Sierra Leone wasn’t the only place that was doing this. The Congo, Liberia, and Angola also made a pretty big habit out of the practice to fund their wars. So I’m sure the people who have died for diamonds is somewhere in the millions.

So eventually (2002–the end of the Sierra Leone Civil War) people started freaking out about this whole diamond mess and caused a big uproar about it, leading to a meeting in Kimberley, South Africa, where they came up with the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), which was implemented to prevent blood diamond trading.

Kimberley Process

So all these nations that mined diamonds and a bunch of people in the diamond industry and a bunch of NGOs got together in Kimberley and said, “Okay, we’re going to support this. No more people dying for diamonds.” Continue reading “War Zone Discussion: “Blood Diamond””