Thanksgiving…Ugh


So I got back from Thanksgiving reunion with my family and it just made me realize how used to living away from my parents I’ve become, and how much I love it.  It makes me fear that three-week-or-so period I have to spend with my parents in Hayward.  You know some people are all rebellious and anti-parents going into college and after a few months of college they become all cozy and friendly with their parents and actually want to go home and spend time with their family like some lovey-dovey episode of a sappy family TV show.  Has that happened to me?  The answer is NO….


 


My parents aren’t really that bad and I love them and everything; it’s just that I don’t really like being with them for more than five or six hours (total) per year.  I’ve heard of parents that are much more tyrannical or annoying so I guess I should count myself lucky that I didn’t get stuck with them.  But even if my parents were perfect and totally understanding and hands-off I still probably wouldn’t want to go to their place during school breaks.  Something about living with authority irks me.


 


On a completely unrelated note, why are there pictures of weird people on the Yahoo Mail login page?  They’re kinda creepy.


 


Btw, is this the shortest Xanga entry ever or what?  HELL YEAH!!!!

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Porn Nation

Man In Personal Crisis Finds Recovery In Religion


 


 


I just got back from Porn Nation, a little talk about porn and society.  Well, that was what it was billed as, anyway.  It turned out to be quite different, in a sense.


 


There were two “showings”, one at 7:30 PM and one at 9:15.  I went to the 7:30 one tired as hell from having only gotten approximately four hours of sleep the night before.  The speaker, Michael Leahy, spoke about his personal “relationship” with pornography that eventually led to an addiction to sex and a series of emotional and social tempests that only abated when he devoted himself to God and Christ (something I wouldn’t learn until after the four minute intermission that divided the presentation).  The presentation was punctuated by several videos showing how pornography (which is actually defined as anything that causes sexual excitement) is all over the mainstream media (the same thing conservative blowhards like our old friend Bill O’Reilly have been yapping about for years) and how it leads to eating disorders, low self-esteem, and sexual addiction.


 


After the videos talking about the “sex syndrome” caused by pornography, there was an intermission, then the second half which was about the “healing” process.  All the poor souls from the earlier movies talked about how they were able to recover from their emotional abysses with the help of God and Jesus Christ.  It was then that I remembered reading on the fliers that this event was hosted by Campus Crusade for Christ, UCSD’s preeminent Christian group.  Ah, I see.  To be honest, when I saw Crusade’s name on the flier, I had some suspicions that the event might have a Christian tilt to it but I hadn’t really given it much thought cuz I figured Crusade just wanted to get onboard an exciting topic.  Leahy concluded the event with a message for us to “find God” in our lives. 


 


Because I fell asleep halfway through the first showing (four hours of sleep, remember?) I decided to stay for the second showing, ensuring that I’ll get another four hours or less of sleep tonight.


 


Even though Porn Nation was worthwhile and educational, I have to say I’m disappointed.  I thought the talk would be about the legality of pornography, First Amendment, and so on, given the recent porn-related legal controversy over UCSD’s Student Run TV. (For those of you unfamiliar with what’s happened, SRTV was shut down a few weeks ago because it repeatedly aired porn in defiance of the A.S. Council’s wishes.) I learned quite a bit and I got to talk with Leahy a bit after the presentation was over.  He seems like a really nice guy and I feel for what he went through which is why you might notice that this Xanga entry is unusually tame and devoid of sarcasm. (I also changed the subtitle cuz I thought the original one was somewhat insulting to Leahy.) Overall I’d say I’m glad I went, even if it was something of a front for a Christian group.


 


On a completely unrelated note: CUDLI Ropes Course was HELLA fun!  I loved rock climbing on the Tower and having to swing around the teeter-totter log and smashing into a vertical hanging log, even if I damn near broke my back in the process.  I hope someone took a picture of that.

Bill O’Reilly says FUCK YOU to San Francisco

Yeah?  Well FUCK YOU too.


 


 


I just had to write this.  We’re used to Bill O’Reilly’s insufferable, obnoxious ways and his conservative ideology poorly masked under a façade of being a “traditionalist” fighting for the regular Joe and Jane. (If you’re unfamiliar with Mr. O’Reilly, here’s a good place to start.) But on November 8 2005, he, as he might put it, “crossed the line” on The Radio Factor with Bill O’Reilly.


 



There’s Bill, talking out of his ass as usual. (URL: http://www.lowculture.com/archives/images/bill_oreilly_bilge.jpg)


 


This wouldn’t have even come up on my radar screen if it hadn’t been for a PDA email featuring an article called “That Warm Feeling” by William Rivers Pitt.  That article featured a nauseating quote by O’Reilly that led me through a futile search for a transcript of the November 8 broadcast.  I found my way to The Radio Factor’s web site but apparently you have to be some kind of “premium member” to download the mp3 file of the broadcast.  So the best I have is this.  Because this is a secondhand source, I run the risk of taking O’Reilly’s comment out of context and if I am doing so, I sincerely apologize in advance. 


 


That said, it’s time to rip him a new one.  On November 8, San Franciscans passed an ordinance banning military recruitment at public schools. (By the way, I would have voted against such a ban – I see no reason why the U.S. military can’t recruit at public schools.) In response, O’Reilly said:


Hey, you know, if you want to ban military recruiting, fine, but I’m not going to give you another nickel of federal money. You know, if I’m the president of the United States, I walk right into Union Square, I set up my little presidential podium, and I say, “Listen, citizens of San Francisco, if you vote against military recruiting, you’re not going to get another nickel in federal funds. Fine. You want to be your own country? Go right ahead.”


And if Al Qaeda comes in here and blows you up, we’re not going to do anything about it. We’re going to say, look, every other place in America is off limits to you, except San Francisco. You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead. [emphasis added]


I could not believe my eyes.  Bill O’Reilly is encouraging al Qaeda to bomb SF?!  Whatever happened to his motto, “I’m looking out for you!”?  I mean, it’s on the cover of at least three of his books.  I guess what Bill meant to say is, “I’m looking out for you… unless you’re from San Francisco.  In that case, you can go fuck yourself.”


 



The Coit Tower in San Francisco. (I’ve been there.  It’s pretty neat.) O’Reilly encourages al Qaeda to blow it up, along with the rest of San Francisco, while at the same time attacking the ACLU and liberals of “undermining the war on terror”.  Then again, maybe Bill knows something we don’t.  Maybe someone told him that this is where Saddam hid his WMDs. (Source: Wikpedia)


 


 


Basically, O’Reilly is taking his hateful brand of commentary to an even higher degree.  This odious remark makes clear that O’Reilly is NOT the defender of the common person’s interests he claims to be, but rather a deranged conservative blowhard.  San Franciscans, you now know FOR SURE that O’Reilly is NOT looking out for you.  No, he wants you to go to hell.  Well, fuck him.  I hope he gets butt-raped by Osama.


 


In the past, O’Reilly has made a habit of calling for boycotts of products whose producers have somehow displeased him.  Because these products include such things as Pepsi-Cola (Pepsi featured Ludacris in its advertisements), Reebok shoes (Reebok featured 50 Cent in its advertisements) and anything French (because we all know the French are eeeeeeevil) the boycotts have usually failed miserably.  So in the spirit of O’Reilly’s pathetic boycotts, I hereby call for all San Franciscans to boycott Bill O’Reilly.  That includes his stupid shows (The O’Reilly Factor, The Radio Factor with Bill O’Reilly, and whatever other shows he runs), his books (most prominently, Who’s Looking Out For You? and The O’Reilly Factor.  See the complete list here.), his ridiculous “Factor Gear”, and whatever else features his face and/or voice prominently.  Oh, and this call for a boycott extends to conservative San Franciscans too – yes, all nine of you.  I’m not asking you to disavow your conservative ways (though it’d be the nice/sane thing to do – read my political columns to find out why), just avoid O’Reilly.  Why patronize someone who’s encouraging the destruction of your home?


 


Got it everyone?  And even if you don’t live in SF (like me), you should avoid O’Reilly anyway.  Unless you’re like me, who would watch him to 1.) “study the enemy” 2.) get some cheap entertainment.  But my message to San Francisco is: Boycott this motherfucker who wants your city dead.

Election 2005


I Get To Vote For The First Time!  Yay!


 


First of all, I’d like to give a big big thank you to everyone who wrote back on my October 18 2005 Rant.  All of you had kind things to say and I’m overjoyed to know that you guys are there for me.  Though, I did ask for actual comments… haha j/k.


 


So, if you’re wondering (in despair or relief) why I haven’t been writing about politics lately, it isn’t because I have nothing to write about.  LOTS of things have been going on in the political realm since my last political column regarding the Republican Party’s failure to prevent and respond effectively to the disaster brought by Hurricane Katrina.  The reason why I haven’t written many columns is because I’ve been locked in a titanic struggle between a woefully inefficient study habit on one hand and a steadily increasing workload on the other.  So… no time.  So the massive political update I was planning on is further delayed. (See details at the end of this column.)


 


But today, something wonderful happened that makes me put aside my mega-busy schedule to blog.  At approximately 7:15 PM PST, today November 8 2005, I voted in an actual election for the very first time!  I went to the wrong place at first (I thought Price Center Gallery B was Price Center Ballroom B) but I found the polling place and sat down with my ballot and felt pen and circled in the little bubbles.  At the end I stuck the ballot into the optical scanner (which looks hella ghetto cuz it’s housed in a white cardboard box) which sucked my ballot down with a swish.


 


Because I believe in accountability and voting on principle, I’ll share my voting record for Election 2005 with ya’ll.


 


City of San Diego Mayor


Councilmember Donna Frye (D) vs. Jerry Sanders (R)


I voted for Frye.  Sanders seemed nice enough for a Republican, but his support for cutting/privatizing city services and cutting city workers’ salaries was unpalatable.  I thought Frye was much more the defender of active government that I tend to support.  Plus her call for open, accountable city government didn’t hurt either.


 


 

San Diego mayoral candidate Donna Frye (D). Source: OC Register.

 


Proposition 73


Waiting Period and Parental Notification Before Termination of Minor’s Pregnancy


I voted NO.  Right to privacy is for all women, regardless of age.


 


Proposition 74


Public School Teachers’ Probationary Period Increase


I voted NO.  This is probably the proposition I knew and cared least about, but I believe two years before tenure for teachers is good enough to honestly evaluate a teacher’s performance.  It’s not like poor teachers who are tenured can’t learn better teaching skills later on.  They can even be fired if they’re that bad (though I do admit it’s difficult).  Finally, I felt that increasing tenure would discourage people from entering the teaching profession.


 


Proposition 75


Restriction on Political Contributions with Public Employee Union Dues


I voted NO.  This proposition is just another measure to weaken the already-debilitated labor unions.  One of the whole points of a labor union is to fight for better worker’s rights, and a good part of that fight is in the political arena.  If the complaint is because such contributions flow disproportionately to Democrats, then the reason should be obvious: it’s because Democrats are the superior party on worker’s rights!  C’mon, who was the last Republican to go to bat for the grungy laborer fighting against the tyrannical plutocrat?  TR, methinks.


 


Proposition 76


State Spending and School Funding Limits


I voted NO.  This was the proposition I felt most strongly about.  As those who know me politically know, I firmly believe in the concept of active, “big” government and cutting/limiting spending is antithetical to that concept. (Unless it’s truly “wasteful” spending, but this proposition makes no such distinction.) It didn’t take me long to figure out where I stood on this one.


 


Proposition 77


Reapportionment with Three-Judge Panel


I voted NO.  This was the hardest proposition for me to decide on; originally I was supporting it because I really think that California’s districts are gerrymandered to the point of obscene.  But my problem with this plan was that it would go into effect before the voters could approve it.  Other than that, I don’t find much fault with it and I hope Californian leaders of both parties will work in the future towards creating fair and simple districts.  Given that our current districts are the result of a bipartisan gerrymandering orgy in the State Legislature, I doubt it’ll happen.  Maybe I should have voted yes.


 


Proposition 78


Discounts on Prescription Drugs (Voluntary Private Initiative)


I voted NO.  The main problem is that private companies have the choice of deciding whether or not to provide the discount.  Since when do private companies engage in any kind of charity that cuts into their profit margin?  Besides, drug delivery should be a government mandate.


 


Proposition 79


Discounts on Prescription Drugs (Government-Regulated Initiative)


I voted YES.  Now this is a drug plan I can get behind!  Government regulation, good!  (I know any right-wingers reading this must be gagging.)


 


Proposition 80


Electric Service Regulation by California Public Utilities Commission


I voted YES.  Public utilities should be in the hands of the public – i.e. government – what a concept!  Though I would actually prefer that public utilities and energy be in the domain of the federal government.  That might be too radical for my fellow Democrats to support.  At the very least, the federal government should subsidize energy and utilities at the state and local levels, particularly when it comes to conversion to cleaner energy sources.


An apparently well-educated gentleman in the College Democrats meeting last Thursday said this proposition was a bad idea because it would lead to the state government passing the administrative costs to students in the form of higher tuition.  I didn’t believe him (because I couldn’t see why public ownership of utilities would be more expensive than private ownership) but even if that’s true, I had to vote for this proposition on ideological grounds.  Besides, it appears our tuition is going to go up anyway.


 


So, that’s my voting record for Election 2005 – yes on Frye, no on 73-78, and yes on 79-80.  It’s pretty consistent with the Democratic Party’s line, but that’s not because I’m some kind of mindless party robot.  As I mentioned above, I was really torn on Proposition 77.  If any vote was influenced by the Party line, it was my No vote on 77.


 


One final note before I go.  Remember that mondo multi-part political series that was supposed to be out for “late September or early October”?  Yeah, obviously that didn’t happen.  It’s like StarCraft: Ghost – it keeps getting delayed.  I do want to get it done by the end of the year, which means I’d have to get it done by mid-December since that’s when I’ll be going to my parents’ Internet-less house (though I hear that they plan on finally getting Internet).  Hopefully I can start working on it this (long) weekend.  See you on the other side.