From CNN this morning - approximately 76% of people who file for bankruptcy due to overwhelming medical bills had health insurance...there's lots to say about this and the crappy new bankruptcy bill that's in the process of passing Congress, but I have to go to work. stay tuned!
Friday, March 11, 2005
Thursday, March 10, 2005
I'm going to Bonnaroo!!!! (as my present to me for surviving my qualifying exam)
Tuesday, March 08, 2005
So it's the calm before the storm, and after my crabby/crappy weekend I'm feeling entitled to sit and do nothing and enjoy the slight buzz from my generous rum and coke but alas, in two short weeks I will be in the middle of a veritable shit storm of midterms and homework assignments interrupted briefly by a visit from my brother. So I really should be getting on top of things NOW. But finishing my book about MIT gamblers and watching more old episodes of Gilmore Girls (thanks netflix!) and curling up in bed sounds so much more appealing...anyway, yeah, I'm boring. The thing I've been meaning to ponder and post about thoughtfully, but which will clearly never get the time it deserves, is this:
Am I a fair-weather believer?
One of my few fully coherent thoughts during the movie Hotel Rwanda was, How can these people possibly believe in God? Now, I have always understood how some people may be atheist or agnostic, it's just never been something that seemed to make much sense in my life. I've always believed in some sort of higher power and generally been very comfortable with my relationship with said higher power. But the more I think about it, the more it seems this is because, truth be told, it's very easy to believe in God when living my life. I'm not trying to brag or anything, I'm just trying to be honest - when one has a healthy relationship with one's parents, fantastic friends, is fortunate enough to have access to a good education, etc. etc. etc. it's easy to sit back and say, yeah, God is pretty great. And I do take time to stop and say thank you and appreciate the good things in my life. But I wonder. If/when those things are tested, is my faith "faithful" enough to stand up? I know this is the farthest thing from a unique question, and I'm not looking for some hokey "why do bad things happen to good people" crap. I'm just trying to do some (semi-public) introspection.
The United States is being, rightfully, criticized by many other countries regarding the State Department's recent annual report on human rights.
"Unfortunately, [the report] once again gives us reason to say that double standards are a characteristic of the American approach to such an important theme," the Russian Foreign Ministry declared after reviewing the report. "Characteristically off-screen is the ambiguous record of the United States itself."
Amnesty International, the human rights organization, noted that the Bush administration has turned over prisoners arrested in the battle against terrorism to some of the countries it cites in the report for torturing prisoners. Human rights activists long have charged that U.S. intelligence officers resorted to this practice, known as rendition, as a way to avoid U.S. restrictions prohibiting the torture of prisoners by allowing foreign agents to do so.
And hey, speaking of our reputation in the international community, Bob Harris has a nice metaphor (blatantly copying the entire entry:
To those of you not yet in the habit of reading the news as it's written overseas, the selections might seem biased, or even bluntly anti-American. Which, um, is the thing. After reading local papers during my own recent bounces around the planet, I can't say this is particularly unrepresentative.
In any case, if you're interested, the bottom of the front page also provides a ton of links to the home pages of media from across the planet, so you can easily do your own digging and think for yourself. Bush really has alienated vast swaths of humanity, and the only place that isn't screamingly obvious is within these very borders.
It's a bit like having to live in an alcoholic household, really. Inside the house, Dad's really a good guy who just needs us to love him a little more and work a little harder and meanwhile the "good" kids are the ones enabling him and the ones who actually see that he's just a selfish f***ing drunk are very, very bad.
I suppose this puts people like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh in the enabling-mother role, unable to see the faults in the man they love, no matter how obvious, and willing to lash out at anyone who asks why he's picking fights, not taking care of the house, and running up enormous debts.
Seems about right.
WatchingAmerica.com just makes it a little easier to go over to the neighbor's house and see what our kitchen screaming matches sound like from across the street.
So I copied Carrie and apparently I'm 92% Buddhist (though the results suggest I "consider becoming Buddhism" which I think is really funny). My other options, in decreasing order, are apparently: agnosticism, paganism, Islam, Hinduism, Satanism, Christianity, Judaism, atheism.
Sunday, March 06, 2005
Clearly, stress + period = bad. Fortunately, I have friends like Travers who not only reply to, hey, I'm grumpy, with, why don't you come over? but also have warm chocolate chip cookies ready to cheer me up. So last night turned out ok, but homework still sucks ass this weekend. Must repeat mantra - just have to get through this semester...just have to get through this semester...
Also, just had really good conversation with the parents. It makes such a difference that we've now reached a point where I can complain about how hard school is and they sympathize rather than lecture. I even mentioned turning down the Carter Center job to Dad and he replied that while he was sorry I had to do that he was glad that I did because he's been really worried lately that I've been over-extending myself. The "burning the candle at both ends" lecture is the most common one between Dad and I, so the fact that he has been concerned and yet held his tongue really means a lot to me.