August 30, 2010

Yet another reason I don't have a lot of faith in humanity ....

While taking out my trash yesterday, I came across a hodge-podge of usable items someone lazily left by the dumpster, including a 7 foot tall fake Christmas tree in the original box (price $88) and an orange desk lamp with lightbulb. I guess he/she just couldn't be bothered to take these things to the local Goodwill or church or sell them on Craigslist. Why do people throw away perfectly good stuff? I felt like such a hoarder dragging the tree away from the dumpster and putting it in my car, but I can't justify having undamaged things being taken to a landfill. Luckily, a guy at work said he'd take it for his son. Merry Christmas, indeed. =)

August 27, 2010

"Restoring Honor" my ass.

Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally is tomorrow in Washington D.C. Beck will be standing in almost the exact same spot that Martin Luther King, Jr. stood on August 28, 1963, but instead of advocating non-violent change and racial equality, Beck will be spewing garbage. He will talk about how progressivism is the cancer of America -- the same progressivism that helped pass the Civil Rights Act. He will talk about how American history is so entwined with Christianity that the two are basically one idea -- despite the fact that the idea for the First Amendment, which separates church and state, can be traced back to Founding Father Thomas Jefferson. He will talk about how important it is that people join the Tea Party -- a movement with no discernible connection to the original, since they (1773) were protesting a tax cut given to the East India Company whereas they (present day) are protesting big government and personal income taxation.

It's amazing anyone listens to Glenn Beck's lies.

Glenn Beck's philosophy is opposed to everything Martin Luther King, Jr. stood for

What do you think of her? She's got a nice smile.

I was talking to a summer employee at work today. As the conversation jumped around, he mentioned another summer employee and, when asked by a co-worker if he thought she was attractive, responded that she was a bit thick. I was so surprised that I completely spaced out on the rest of what he was saying.

Thick? Seriously?? The female in question is probably 5'4" and 120 pounds, maybe less. Perfectly normal. She wears short shorts without fear and was the beauty queen at a local county fair this summer. How could he possibly think she was thick? And if he thought she was thick, my God, he must think I'm friggin' enormous.

And then my surprise turned to frustration and anger. Does he have any idea how many women hate their bodies because they don't match what the (unattainable) perception of ideal beauty is? Does he have any idea how much of a struggle women endure, constantly being judged on physical appearance? Women have to fight to be taken seriously as equals, and our bodies are scrutinized more harshly at every step of the way.

Perhaps I'm over-reacting, but I know that his comment drastically altered my opinion of him.

August 19, 2010

19th Amendment

Chamber Blames Women For Pay Gap: They Should Choose The Right ‘Place To Work’ And ‘Partner At Home’

us_chamber_of_commerceToday is the anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which granted the right to vote to women. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has decided to use this day of equal rights for women to argue that women are now to blame for unequal pay in the workplace. On the organization’s official blog, ChamberPost, Senior Director of Communications Brad Peck today makes the argument that the pay gap between men and women in the American workforce — women currently earn roughly 77 cents to every dollar a man earns — is “the result of individual choice rather than discrimination.” He argues that, instead of bold legislative action being taken to help correct this pay gap, women should pick the “obvious, immediate, power-of-the-individual solution: choosing the right place to work and choosing the right partner at home“:

Most of the current “pay gap” is the result of individual choice rather than discrimination. [...]

It is true that culturally speaking women are more likely to have to make the tough choices about work-life balance. But as we all seek to fit our values into a dynamic 24/7 economy, let’s not overlook the obvious, immediate, power-of-the-individual solution: choosing the right place to work and choosing the right partner at home.

Peck’s argument that women could close the pay gap by simply choosing jobs in better paying fields and marrying wealthier men is based on a faulty premise — that the pay gap in the United States between genders exists because women choose to work for less and men choose to work for more.

While it’s true that women sometimes migrate into fields that have lower pay, what Peck ignores is that even within the same occupation, women are paid less. For example, data collected by the Census Bureau in 2007 shows that “female secretaries…earn just 83.4% as much as male ones” and female truck drivers “earn just 76.5% of the weekly pay of their male counterparts.” A report put out this year by the University of Minnesota finds that women in that state are “are paid $11,000 dollars less each year than men with the same jobs.” A 2007 American Association of University Women report compared men and women with similar “hours, occupation, parenthood, and other factors normally associated with pay” and found that “college-educated women still earn less than their male peers earn“; the report concludes that workplace discrimination is the culprit in the wage gap.

It is important to note that this pay inequity is so pervasive that it even affects people who undergo a sex change. In 2008, researchers Kristen Schilt and Matthew Wiswall examinedthe wages over their lifetimes of people before and after a sex change operation. Even “when controlling for factors like education, men who transitioned to women earned, on average, 32% less after the surgery. Women who became men, on the other hand, earned 1.5% more.”

Unfortunately, the Chamber of Commerce has a long history of overlooking women’s struggles in America and of actively opposing movements for gender equality. While opposing the Pregnancy Discrimination Act in 1978, the Chamber argued that pregnancy was a “voluntary” act and thus should not have discrimination protections in the workplace. In 1987 it ominously warned that the Family and Medical Leave Act would set a “dangerous precedent” of employer-sponsored benefits. And last year, the organization lobbied against legislation that would allow rape victims to bring lawsuits against their employers.

August 08, 2010

Toxic Love

This song is being played on the radio a lot lately, and at first, I didn't understand what it was about. I was too caught up in the words. Then I watched the music video. I get it now -- I understand. The song is about being involved with someone you love and hate, all at the same time. You know the relationship is toxic -- that he hurts you more deeply than anyone ever has before -- but the chemistry between you is so addictive, it makes you so delirious, that you can't stop, you can't walk away. When it is good, it is so good, and when it is bad, it is so bad. But you are a moth drawn to a flame. You'd rather the fire lick your wings, burn away your life, than not know what the experience is like. Damn!