Category: news stuff

election crazy

Election crazy, originally uploaded by kendrak.

this was me going insane at 6:30 tonight after being up for 14 hours and running on nothing but adrenaline. i was in the bubble of my precinct all day, so i didn’t really see what was going on. as soon as i announced the polls to be closed at 8pm, the janitors at the school started shouting “OBAMA!” they carried on intermittently for the next hour until i dropped off our ballots. it was weird.

i’m mostly bummed about prop 8. if i know you were opposed to prop 8, expect incoherent phone calls from me soon to complain about how you hate humans. seriously. i’m happy that bush is gone and that palin can’t ruin my uterus, but i really think that human rights took a hit tonight and it makes me want to hit people.

i need water and sleep. i’ll blog about my day at the polls tomorrow.

china, the ioc, the olympics, and the world- a total farce.

“think of the athletes.” people keep telling me this when i tell them i don’t plan on watching the olympics- somewhat out of apathy for most of the sports, but largely out of protest.

“it’s not fair for the athletes. they have nothing to do with politics.” this ignores the obvious question- who wants to be an olympic athlete and what good is that for the world? (especially if they’re the sort that keep quiet, train, and rake in the bucks through endorsements. for them, the olympics are about money.) it’s not to say that i don’t think people should train to be olympians, but that alone doesn’t really make them heroic or noble. it’s not to say it’s their responsibility to take a stand, but it’d be nice.

it’s nice to see there are some stands being taken- the u.s. olympic team elected lopez lomong to carry the flag during opening the ceremony. lomong is one of the lost boys of sudan who became an american citizen last year. he is also a member of team darfur, which was founded by joey cheek and brad greiner. cheek made the news this week when china revoked his visa, no doubt because of his vocal criticism about china’s involvement with sudan. cheek was interviewed by the huffington post, encouraging the team darfur athletes who made it inside china. when asked about his feelings about his visa being revoked, cheek said:

They gave me a visa, let me have it for a month, and then, 24 hours before my flight, they yanked it from me. It was kind of ridiculous and petty. And it speaks to a broader problem. They’re so desperate to have the Games look like their version of a success that they would threaten anyone who says something they don’t like. This is the story in general. It’s not just about my visa. We’ve heard tales from other members of Team Darfur whose embassies have been approached by the Chinese. If they stay a part of the team, they’ll be treated as suspect individuals, scrutinized, receive extra security, be threatened with heavy handed tactics. And this is all over. It’s not just the Beijing officials, but the IOC [International Olympics Committee] and sponsors are being complicit in this. That’s something that needs to be responded to.

there’s a lot of money at stake for china, the IOC, the sponsors, and so on. they don’t want anything to spoil the party.

“but this is for the chinese people to be proud as a nation.” the whole, theme of china’s coming out into the modern era like it’s some sort of right. this argument does stick with me somewhat- because i know the average chinese citizen has every right to be proud that their nation is hosting the olympics, and that the world is looking at them in a somewhat positive light. the chinese government, however, has done nothing they promised and instead of truly modernising china to the benefit of its citizens, they have spent lots of money to put a nice shine on the event, though the infrastructure may be rotten. the birds nest stadium is stunning, but why didn’t they actually try to tackle the pollution problem earnestly, rather than performing some superficial changes weeks before the games which don’t solve anything, other than hurting beijing residents? the new subway system was a great start, but they could have really done some great things to tackle congestion but dropped the ball. (i’ve had to read a lot about china’s transportation issues in regards to the olympics, that’s a whole other monster.) when china was first awarded the olympics, they promised they would work to improve human rights issues. instead amnesty international reported that human rights have gotten worse as a result. the country has become more severe and paranoid, and the world let’s it behave as such.

it’s sad because normal spectators are unable to watch at the games, making it unlike any olympics in recent years. maybe it’s a sign that the ioc and china deserve each other for being so unconcerned with humanity. the chinese government, i would expect this from. the ioc is supposed to be better than that though.

of course all of this ignores what’s going on in south ossetia.

500 starbucks to close? big deal.

it’s been amusing to me how many people are talking about the starbucks slated to be closed in this country. you’d think the sky was falling. i suppose it’s because starbucks brought a sense of quality to the masses, but seriously- i’d be surprised if there weren’t small, local coffee joints that are comparable (if not better) around. one of the starbucks on the list is my local one in berkeley, that i think i might have been to a couple of times. i can think of three other local coffee shops within two blocks of it, all of which i visit semi-regularly. i know in the bay area this is easy, but it’s sticking to some sort of principle. hell, i try to avoid peets because even though they are local, i can tell they have starbucks-like aspirations and their coffee’s just not that good.

for coffee, my favourite beans still come from boulevard coffee in carmichael. (95608!) my parents only drank boulevard coffee at home for good reason- it’s great. i know the roaster is obsessed with quality and freshness and it translates into what he sells. (i also worked there before going to berkeley.) when i buy boulevard coffee for people, they’re always surprised with how good it is. i know there are some other local roasters who care just as much, and they aren’t peets. blue bottle’s a little insane though.

the real thing bugging me about the starbucks people, is that these are the same folks who like shopping/eating locally. starbucks is anything but that. stop talking about sustainability and helping the local economy, and actually find the local roaster and support them. starbucks is really not that good.

unfit to teach?

here’s another gem from sf gate. did you hear about the new ruling about home schooling in california? the court of appeals said people who home school need credentials.

Michael Smith, president of the Home School Legal Defense Association, said the ruling would effectively ban homeschooling in the state.

“California is now on the path to being the only state to deny the vast majority of homeschooling parents their fundamental right to teach their own children at home,” he said in a statement.

But Leslie Heimov, executive director of the Children’s Law Center of Los Angeles, which represented the Longs’ two children in the case, said the ruling did not change the law.

“They just affirmed that the current California law, which has been unchanged since the last time it was ruled on in the 1950s, is that children have to be educated in a public school, an accredited private school, or with an accredited tutor,” she said. “If they want to send them to a private Christian school, they can, but they have to actually go to the school and be taught by teachers.”

Heimov said her organization’s chief concern was not the quality of the children’s education, but their “being in a place daily where they would be observed by people who had a duty to ensure their ongoing safety.”

my opinion? i actually don’t really care. i think there needs to be some mechanism to enforce standards for home schooling, but that’s not to say that all kids who are being taught at home are being neglected or anything like that. it’s a choice, and if parents take it seriously and do a good job, more power to them. (i am a proud graduate of the california public school system from k-12, and my university degree.) the only reason i posted this, is because once again, the comments at “the gate” are amusing. this time the home school zealots come out to to rally the troops. it sort of a snoozefest, and makes me sort of dislike their cause, but i guess i just like reading personal accounts.

the best thing about primary coverage

Chris Matthews, originally uploaded by wnyc.

is chris matthews. oh, how i love him. i think the democratic party is going to implode in 1968 proportions, but it’s ok because matthews (not olberman) brings the funny.

i’ve been trying to give clinton a fair shake recently, but her victory speech just rubbed me wrong and i don’t know why it is. this article from the guardian is a good read and dissection of why clinton has floundered recently. i feel bad for her, really. she’s worked so hard to get to this point, and i understand why she’s going to keep fighting (even if it destroys the party), but she seems to be out of touch with a large portion of the electorate. i don’t really trust her, but i don’t want to see her implode or be humiliated. i can’t take her victory in ohio and possible victory in texas as signs that big states are behind her, because she hasn’t really decisively won any of the major states. if she got a super-majority, it’d be a different story, but even when she wins, it’s by a margin which is why obama’s still leading.

i can haz november? until then, i’ll keep watching chris matthews be way more entertaining than keith olbermann (who’s turning into a slightly more reputable (and less annoying) john stewart.)

hormones cause cancer, what?

there’s a new study in the journal of the american medical association about the effects of hormone replacement therapy, which shows an increase in women being diagnosed with breast cancer. i found out about this study from the sf gate. i got into an argument with somebody on the site who said this:

Soy will not cause breast cancer. A vegan diet will literally stop cancers unless of course it is started too late (as in you already got cancer and just don’t know it). It is a pity that so few people actually believe this.

of course i fed the troll. how could i not? i’m vegan. i had breast cancer. i don’t blame my love of soy products for my breast cancer. i blame the BRCA1 mutation i inherited from my mom (who inherited it from hers). am i bitter that i got cancer despite my diet? no. i think the reason i called that person stupid (which wasn’t bright on my part) was because i’m tired of people spewing uninformed pseudo-science which just muddies the waters for women who should be as informed as possible. at the end of the day, every body has to make the decision about their lives that they feel best about, but it’s painful to see people make decisions based upon myths and false hope. i’ve seen women not go for the recommended treatment because they wanted something less invasive and they died. i can totally understand why somebody doesn’t want to go through chemo, but in some cases that’s the best chance they have for survival and rejecting it is almost certainly a death sentence. i can’t help but be angry about that. if i ever met somebody who seriously thought they could safely be cancer free because they’re vegan, i can’t help but be angry because it seems like they’re creating a potential nightmare for themselves. i know i can’t get too upset, because if people want to live their life that way, that is their choice.

the commenter also said to me:

Maybe you have cancer maybe you don’t. Maybe your a vegan and maybe your not. Calling me stupid for stating my beliefs doesn’t give you much credibility with me.

which makes me think they’re even more idiotic than before, because i seriously don’t think that veganism’s link to cancer is really something you can believe in. i mean, somebody can, but then there’s also an element that can be measured by science, and until there’s definitive and conclusive proof, it’s to be determined. so my questioning their “belief” seems extra silly to me. it’s not like i said there was no god, no yeti, or that homeopathic medicine is fake, i just used myself as anecdotal evidence to refute their “belief”.

and back to the study- this is really nothing new. it’s just more data that supports the theory that hormones can trigger breast cancer in women. it’s why i’ve always been leery of hormonal birth control (despite the fact that many of my doctors seemed to brush off my concerns). i knew i was more or less a ticking bomb waiting to find a lump. i know i’ll need to watch out for that for the rest of my life, but i also know that what’s good for me isn’t the same for every other woman. education and access to information is key. (of course i’d say that, i’m a librarian (sort of).)

[tags]breast cancer, hormone replacement therapy, veganism[/tags]

quackenbush shoots a man

quckenbush- still looks dull.
it’s been reported that former california insurance commissioner chuck quackenbusch is now a sheriff’s deputy in florida and shot a man with a taser. it’s a little amusing to me (not that a man was shot) because i love that quackenbush, who fled california after corruption allegations, resurfaces for something like this. of course growing up in the state capitol, i always knew this guy was a sleaze ball. he still looks white bread.
[tags]chuck quackenbush[/tags]


it’s been almost 24 hours since the polls closed here and probably closer to 24 hours since the media proclaimed clintonthe winner in california. i was planning on rushing home and giving a big blog post about my day at the polls, but i was cranky, tired, and frothing at the mouth about the whole electoral process. the fact that they were reporting clinton winning this state before i had a chance to deliver my ballots was just a great way to cap off the day. it made me wonder if i had just wasted the previous 14 hours and that none of my precinct’s votes mattered.

yesterday just showed to me how poor voter outreach has been in the state of california. my precinct wasn’t beset with all the problems of some other precincts in alameda county, but things definitely could have been smoother. the biggest issue i saw was a lack of knowledge in the electorate of rules for voting in a primary. california’s weird “modified closed primary” only added to the problems. lots of people were upset that they were registered with one party and therefore unable to vote in another party’s primary. many people registered as green wanted to vote democratic. i tried to explain to them, as nicely as possible, that in primaries you get the ballot of the party you registered (if registered partisan), but many seemed confused.

“i voted democratic in 2006, doesn’t that count?” i tried to explain that in general elections (like the 2006 midterm), you can vote for anybody regardless of your party affiliation. “but i voted for feinstein.” that’s great, you’re still registered green! actually, the saddest cases to me were the people who registered as american independents but probably wanted decline-to-state/non-partisan. we’d give them the a.i. ballot and they would ask if they could vote for the democrats. i tried to explain that in california there is the independent party, and that’s how they registered, but that seemed to confuse them more. in the end, for anybody who was dead set on voting in the primary but lacked proper party affiliation (or lack thereof), i gave them provisional ballots. at least that way their votes on the propositions and local measures will count.

i think a lot of the problems people had stemmed from a lack of knowledge about the system, which the state (or at least the county) should have taken some steps to correct. the secretary of state’s website made sense if you’re pretty familiar with election terminology, but the average voter isn’t, nor are they going to take the time to sift through pages to find their answer. that’s assuming they would take the time to look on the website. most likely they will search the internet and find misinformation in some random person’s blog, and then tell their friends, and the whole cycle continues. i know from working in libraries that just having information around doesn’t mean people will find or read it. i wish the state did a big more than just print the party affiliation abbreviation on the back of your sample ballot in the midst of a page full of text. perhaps if they made it easier for lazy people to double check their registration and possibly change it.

i have more to talk about, but i’ll do it tomorrow.

cry, cry, cry

hillary clinton is crying again. it makes me feel cold and cynical to say this, but i definitely feel that she’s just pandering for votes. i imagine her inner dialog being something like this:

“oh crap, obama might win in my backyard.”
“how can i seem more human?”
“smile more? nah.”
“i know! cry! it worked in new hampshire.”

i know her supporters will tout the tears as showing that she’s a caring, compassionate woman. but seriously- it makes me even more sure that she’ll do anything for a vote. it really angers me that this historically strong woman will retreat to stale tactics to get empathy of the voters. instead of crying when it seems advantageous, why doesn’t she try to come off as sincere most of the time? smile like a human? stop moving like a robot? oh, that takes work. i know lots of young people love obama, and it’s because he’s too busy seeming genuine to be pulling crap like this.

remember to vote tomorrow.
[tags]hillary clinton, barack obama, democratic primary, crying[/tags]


i know there have been crazy floods texas. did you know there have also been floods in northern england? this is worse than any flood in texas, and do you know why?

hillsborough has been flooded! for those of you who didn’t know, hillsborough, home of sheffield wednesday football club, is my spiritual home. (they serve dr pepper and vegan skittles.) this flood has totally wrecked their pre-season and the stadium remains closed. of course the pigs across town, sheffield united, have been spared because bramall lane is no where near the river don. just another reason to hate the blades.

is this sad?

[tags]hillsborough, sheffield wednesday, england, floods[/tags]

never a frown with gordon brown.

i’ve been meaning to blog about tony blair stepping down and gordon brown becoming prime minister for quite some time, but i’ve never really gotten around to it. well, tony blair has resigned and as i type this brown is inside buckingham with the queen. i’m a little sad that i’m not in london for this (like 2001).

i won’t lie and say that i’m not excited about the hand over. it’s no secret that i’m a huge fan of brown’s and have been for over a decade. (god, i’m old. i’m also sad.) i mean, i have a picture of his kid on my blog and remember this little ditty i wrote about him? if only i didn’t have a big meeting with caltrans today, otherwise i’d wear my “never a frown with gordon brown” t-shirt.

is brown going to be better than blair? i seriously doubt it. it’s not 1997 anymore. is this the death of new labour? i certainly hope so.

[tags]gordon brown, tony blair, british politics, prime minister[/tags]

waiting for prime minister brown.

gordon brown and some kiddies.

i’ve been too busy with school and cancer to say much about tony blair announcing the date of his resignation. let’s just say i’m excited, almost as much i was 10 years ago when labour won the election. i’m perhaps a little more excited that my dream prime minister, gordon brown, is finally going to have his chance to bungle things. nobody’s going to oppose him, which means he (and sarah and john and james) will stay living in no. 10. and then he’ll bungle the government, need to call an election, and smiffs loving david cameron will start a new tory government.

until then, way to go gordon!

[tags]gordon brown, tony blair, david cameron,  british politics, labour[/tags]