Tuesday, April 22, 2014

It's Tuesday! Things You Should Know!



Realigning Priorities: What should you actually care about today?

One of the most frustrating parts of, well, living in this country is watching how well the mainstream media -- television, newspaper (hey, people still read them!), internet -- manipulates the masses and inundates them with what is 'important' relative to ratings.

How can we call ourselves informed if we seek out only media sources that regurgitate our personal world view on things? How can we possibly do anything about the real problems in this country, when we are bombarded by what they, the Mysterious They, determine is 'newsworthy', despite the clear evidence that that word is not synonymous with, oh, actual journalism?

Ahem. Anyway, my intent with Tuesday posts is to bring you stories that aren't making the front page of your favorite news outlets. Some happy. Some interesting. Some heartbreaking. But all worth reading. Enjoy.

This article talks about the interesting ties between historical women, spirituality and self-harm, which is more than a little interesting, at least for me, as the concept falls into the whole 'if you suffer as much as Jesus did, you are more pious' thing. Add in the underlying power struggle of historical women in a male-dominated society. Harder to move up and have influence when you're considered less. A definite must-read. 

A cool, new technology that makes music out of literally everything! Mogees can be attached to any surface, which turns it into a playable musical instrument! You need to check out the videos on the now-closed Kickstarter! Absolutely fabulous, with so much potential to bring music to the world.

An American won the Boston Marathon yesterday for the first time since 1983! 

Great words of wisdom from your internet dad, Wil Wheaton, about drinking and driving.  Bottom line: It's never okay to drink and drive. Never. Too many (potentially) lives are at stake. 

Some companies never learn. Netflix is considering a price hike for new subscriber, because they did $53 million in profits this last quarter. They added 2.25 million customers, and while the rest of us would keep our rate for an extended (they said "generous") period of time, this screams the joys of capitalism at its best. Cos you know, they CEOs at Netflix will get to take that with them when they die.  *sigh*

And one last thought for the day, to explain why it's so vitally important that we the mundane folk of this country get past our petty differences and fight back against a Congress who seems to have forgotten who put them there and why:


Friday, April 18, 2014

It's Friday! Inform/Mislead - Real Stories 4/18/14

You always have a choice: Inform or Mislead?
For those of you who forget that the President actually makes his own money to spend, I bring you this article from BBC News that shows he made less money from his non-Presidential endeavors this tax year, but paid more in taxes due to policies emplaced "to limit tax preferences for the wealthy."

And did you know that you can download the President and the Vice President's tax returns? Yep, right on the White House site.

The "Heartbleed" bug is a legitimate threat to your online security. All your important places, like your email and all your financial institutions? Go change the passwords right now. I got hit with several new subscriptions to places I would never go, and a BMW car dealership in California contacted me bc "I" contacted them. Um, no. Here's a great list of what you must change, and what you don't have to worry about.

Ever wonder what women are being paid less than men with equivelent experience in the same field? Check out this handy dandy chart from Planet Money. The point of the Equal Pay Act, of course, isn't that all women are screwed over -- I'm decidedly not, as I get paid exactly what a man in my job would -- but that some women are. And that in 2014, this should be a non-issue. Oh, and that any person who don't see that as an issue, vote down the issue, is very telling. After all, you are how you vote, Congresspeoples (and you, too, fellow voter minion).

Posting this one, because I agree with it.  The biggest reason that people post bullshit online, be it actually bs or purely speculation, or rather more importantly why people see and share said bullshit, is because it is easier for them to post something that falls in line with their beliefs than do the actual research themselves. Oh, or they have friends like me who will do the research for them, so why should they have to?

(Though honestly, most of the crap I see posted falls into the first category than the second one. How many more bad Obama memes will we see in the next 2.5 years that don't contain a shred of truth when there's enough actually bad things to be said, underscored by 'Oh, I know, but he is a bad person, so it's okay' mentality? Seriously?)

In case you missed it, the SCOTUS basically made elections a bigger joke than they already are. Yup, in the case McCutcheon v. FEC, the limits on contributions made to candidates seeking election are gone. What does that mean for you and me? In a country bombarded by ads in every media outlet, the idea that corporation like the Koch brothers can simply outspend any opponent they don't like without taking into account what's best for us, the poor voting public, is a bad thing.

Basically stripping away any remaining restrictions from Citizens' United, the SCOTUS ruling reaffirms for me that we are giving away our government seats to the highest bidders. And that, btw, folks, isn't us.

Granted, none of this would matter if we had a voting public interested in doing their own research on all the candidates on their ballots, yet here we are...

(Interestingly, I found this article about a study that suggests that a smarter constituency just means smarter, better-equipped debaters, not more fact-based changes of heart. *le sigh*)

And to follow up on an older story, AZ governor Jan Brewer signed the bill that would allow surprise inspections of abortion clinics without a warrant, which the Republicans who back the bill say is necessary, despite the fact that there already exists legislation on the books to carry out inspections. But you know, got to champion a cause, right? I'm not amazed she signed it. I'm just sad and grateful that she cannot be re-elected.

On Wednesday, a ferry carrying mostly school students to the resort island of Jeju capsized, leaving 300 people missing from the headcount of 459 in the waters of South Korea. Four people are confirmed dead with scores more injured. For the most updated information, check out the BBC's coverage. Thinking happy thoughts for the survivors, the missing and their families.

Stupid people strike again. Or how journalism doesn't mean jack. I woke up this morning to this headline from USAToday: Leaflet tells Jews to register in East Ukraine. And while it is true that the flier is real (insomuch that it does exist and was given out), it is not a requirement of the government that Jews register anywhere in the Ukraine, but an act of either greed (idiots trying to make money off the fear of other people) or an attempt to discredit the separatists (people are less inclined to join your cause when you're Anti-Semitic). Either way, it's a disgusting throwback to Nazi Germany, and for that reason alone, though I'd rather it wasn't happening, I'm glad that we're seeing it. I just wish there was a little less sensationalism.

A bit of good news to offset the bad: Adorable collection of couples that have been married 50+ years in a great project from Lauren Fleishman.

Image credit: stuartphoto / 123RF Stock Photo

Thursday, April 17, 2014

CONTEST DEADLINE: TWO WEEK WARNING!

Two weeks away from my deadline, and I haven't received any submissions yet! No one wants that $100 prize? Are you new and need more info?


I created a whole separate tab just for the contest details, so no one has to surf the site to find it! 

Have questions? Please let me know! 

Thank you!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

It's Tuesday! Things You Should Know

In an attempt to be a little more active again, I'll be posting an alternating Tuesday-Friday schedule. Today is the inaugural issue of "It's Tuesday! Things You Should Know". Next Friday will be the next edition of "It's Friday! Inform/Mislead - Real Stories" Hope that clarifies what I'm attempting to do here. Thanks!


Realigning Priorities: What should you actually care about today?
One of the most frustrating parts of, well, living in this country is watching how well the mainstream media -- television, newspaper (hey, people still read them!), internet -- manipulates the masses and inundates them with what is 'important' relative to ratings.

How can we call ourselves informed if we seek out only media sources that regurgitate our personal world view on things? How can we possibly do anything about the real problems in this country, when we are bombarded by what they, the Mysterious They, determine is 'newsworthy', despite the clear evidence that that word is not synonymous with, oh, actual journalism?

Ahem. Anyway, my intent with Tuesday posts is to bring you stories that aren't making the front page of your favorite news outlets. Some happy. Some interesting. Some heartbreaking. But all worth reading. Enjoy.

A 13-year-old eagle huntress in Mongolia Coolness aside -- I mean it's a teenager with a golden eagle as her hunting buddy! -- she is probably the first girl to do so in her community, and you can tell from the pictures that she loves it.

A great video from Robert Reich that talks plainly about the problem we have with how taxation is determined by the government and the significant difference between what we minions pay in taxes and what the super rich pay.



The White House has a provided an interesting tool, in case you were wondering where your tax dollars go. I found it rather interesting. You should check it out.

In the big GMO-labeling fight, there is a new bill introduced by Representative Pompeo that would basically block mandatory GMO-labeling:

"The companies say the crops are safe and cite many scientific studies back those claims. Pompeo on Wednesday reiterated those claims, stating GMOS are safe and "equally healthy" and no labeling is needed.


"It has to date made food safer and more abundant," said Pompeo. "It has been an enormous boon to all of humanity.

But there are also many scientific studies showing links to human and animal health problems, and many indicating environmental damage related to GMO crops."
As someone who can see the advantages of GMO'd crops (growing sustainable crops in terrain that wouldn't normally grow them), it is frustrating to no end to hear, "But they're safe." Well, gentlemen of Monsanto, all your pocketed government officials, and the Grocery Manufacturers Association, if it's so goddamn safe, what is the hold up with the labeling? The best defense against the anti-GMO crowd is more actual fact and less hidden agenda.

(Don't even get me started on Monsanto not letting farmers harvest seeds...)

Want to do something? Check out this online petition from JustLabelIt.com. Make your voice heard. It's the only way we change anything.

And that's all for this edition of "It's Tuesday! Things You Should Know!"

Image credit: belchonock / 123RF Stock Photo



Thursday, April 10, 2014

Governor Brewer: VETO HB 2284

Read the bill here

Planned Parenthood's Statement

Dear Governor Brewer, 

As an Arizonan woman, it concerns me greatly that we are wasting time and tax payer dollars on the continued infringement on women's health choices. Worse, that we're doing it in the name of preventing abortions. Instead of treating women like second class citizens who don't know any better, how about we refocus our attentions on actual pressing matters, like the education of the children who will grow up and make these choices or the number of hungry children in our great state?

I ask that you veto the measure. It is redundant and has the potential to cause great harm. The idea that women should expect a diminished expectation of privacy, because of a private decision they made for whatever reason they made it, is ridiculous.

I'm honestly tired of being in the news for discriminatory issues. We need to be a leader in human rights and women's equality, not giving in to the illegitimate fears of the overly nosy few who are certain they know what's best for the people of Arizona but continue to push their personal and faith-based agendas regardless of what we voters want.

So, please, veto this bill. 

Thank you.

A Concerned Citizen

Write the Governor

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Bumpersticker Design Contest!

HELLO, CREATIVE CONSTITUENTS!

I am looking to update my bumpersticker! Won't you help a future POTUS out?
 
These are my current bumperstickers:




HOW THIS WILL WORK:

You may provide up to three bumperstickers for consideration. Must include:

My name:
Connie Roberts-Huth or CL Roberts-Huth

My web address:
clrhuth2016.com or clrhuth2016.us

My motto:
Community vs Hostility
Time for Something Better
Connie Roberts-Huth 2016
(Or something similar! I'm open to ideas!)


I'm using Vistaprint, so concept must be presented in one of the following sizes:

Rectangular Dimensions:                      Oval Dimensions:
Full Bleed Size                                           Full Bleed Size
11.20" x 3.20"                                             5.20" x 3.20"
285 x 81 mm                                               132 x 81 mm
3360 x 960 pixels                                        1560 x 960 pixels
Document Trim Size                                   Document Trim Size
11.00" x 3.00"                                              5.00" x 3.00"
279 x 76 mm                                                127 x 76 mm
3300 x 900 pixels                                         1500 x 900 pixels

WINNER GETS:
  • $100 cash!
  • Hard copy of their chosen work  
DEADLINE:

Email concept(s) to clrhuth@gmail.com NLT April 30, 2014, with the following information:

Name (legal name):
Pen name (if you have one):
Snail Mail Address or PayPal address (so I can mail your winnings!):
Link to your art page (if you have one):
And the following statement:

I, [insert full legal name], acknowledge and agree to the terms of this contest. The attached entry is my own work. If my design is chosen, I agree that CL Roberts-Huth will pay full ownership rights in one flat payment of $100 with no future royalties given or expected. I will not use this entry for any additional commercial use, should I win, as it will no longer belong to me. Personal gallery use is acceptable.

There is no entry fee.

VOTING:
All entries will be displayed in an album on my Facebook page and opened to voting until May 14th. The photo with the highest number of likes will be the winner and announced on May 15th. So I definitely encourage you to share with your friends and family!

Friday, February 28, 2014

It's Friday! Inform/Mislead - Real Stories 2/28/14

You always have a choice: Inform or Mislead?
You know I'm terrible about upkeep, but I would really like to do this every Friday.

JAN BREWER VETOED SB 1062: Governor Jan Brewer has vetoed this piece o' crap. While I am saddened that the voices that changed did so purely for business reasons (and not because, as Jon Stewart said, it's morally repugnant), I am glad that it is done for now. I am glad that we as Arizonans have spoken out and been heard. I hope and pray that we all remember in November.

And the bill in Georgia died, too.

UGANDA PRESIDENT SIGNS LAW: And while we're arguing about whether or not we have to make cakes for gay couples, the President of Uganda signed into law that nasty, nasty anti-homosexuality law that at best can put you in prison for life for being gay, doing 'gay' things or providing outreach to gay citizens. But you know, nothing bad comes from legislating against one specific group of people in your country.

SENATORS DON'T CARE ABOUT ALZHEIMER'S: Seth Rogan took the time to come to a hearing about the seriousness of Alzheimer's, which afflicts his mother in-law. Too bad only two Senators decided it was important, and worse, one of them walked out during his testimony. Anyone who believes that our government really does care about us isn't paying attention.

SUPREME COURTS RULED ON POLICE ENTRY: So now, according to the Supreme Court, if anyone in the house says the cops can come in, then the cops can come in. While I can see the usefulness of this--domestic violence calls--are they clarifying who is allowed to make the decision? If the cops convince a child to let them in, despite the fact that the parent is saying 'no', does that count?

Oh, and while we're talking about the Supreme Court, they arrested a man this week when he stood up to say:
“I rise on behalf of the majority of the American people, who believe that money is not speech, corporations are not people, and our democracy should not be for sale to the highest bidder. Overturn Citizens United. Keep the cap in McCutcheon. The people demand democracy,” said Kai Newkirk of the organization 99Rise, before being hauled out of the courtroom and handcuffed. Occupy.com
GOP BLOCKS VETERANS BILL: As per the link --

Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) bill, S. 1982, would have expanded veterans' healthcare programs, given veterans in-state tuition rates at all schools across the country and provided advanced appropriations for the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Republicans in the Senate specifically voted against it, because there was no allowance for Iran sanctions, because 1) Iran is such a threat right now, and 2) sanctions have so much to do with veterans' affairs. They also didn't like where the money for the advanced appropriations was coming from, but like always had not alternate plan. Oh, wait, they did, just not for veterans.

Cos you know, priorities.

 There's more, if you're interested:

Ukrainian civil war
Principal drags kindergarteners down the hall
Obama opens up about dad, drugs and race

What did I miss this week where you are?


Image credit: stuartphoto / 123RF Stock Photo