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I can almost feel the anxiety of the whole world. Soon it will be all over.
Copley Square in Boston is a busy place on Fridays, it seems, though I would guess it depends on the Friday. Today there was a whole bunch of people gathering to protest Israel's recent actions towards Lebanon, a couple hundred people on bikes for Critical Mass (which I was there for), and a couple Green Party members handing out "fruit for free," "soybeans, cherries, and strawberries in the bag!", wearing some shirts that said something about voting for Ralph Nader.
So, the Green Party handed out food to the bikers while we were circling up and getting ready to head out, and the bikers and protesters cheered each other on as we rode by, in a sort of bizarre, random symbiotic relationship.
Today was also the first time I rode through the heart of a thunderstorm. We were passing through Harvard Square when the worst of it hit, though it was really obvious that we were heading into the storm a good deal of time beforehand. Some parts were a little like riding blind into a sheet of pins, but it really made the whole thing just a little more exhilarating. Especially when you get to ride through six inches of runoff on Mass Ave. Mmm, puddles.
Luckily, I had the foresight to check the forecast and pack my laptop into a plastic bag since I didn't go home before riding out with a couple friends from the Media Lab. Really, that's amazingly lucky on my part. I never think of these things in advance. I think, however, that the laptop was the only thing dry in the bag by the time I got home.
The ride petered out in the middle of Brighton somewhere, and a guy from BU and I broke off to head back. Neither of us really knew exactly where we were, or how to get back to our respective residences. There is nothing quite like the feeling of being completely lost at dusk, with the whole night before you to find your way back home. It's a good feeling. IMHO. Provided you're not lost in a sketchy neighbourhood.
After a little while of based-off-the-sun-setting-in-the-west wandering, I was about to break out the laptop and go wifi hunting. Somehow, we just ended up asking for directions at a 7-11.
I love friends made in really weird and random ways.
- Marching band preview went well. I actually do have a couple pictures, but you'll see them later.
- Went straight from the preview to a friend's sleepover birthday party. Needless to say, did not actually sleep that much (4 hours). Did stupid teenager stuff.
- Went home, did NOT go to bed, played phone tag to arrange...
- New York State Fair in the evening; saw Ted Nugent live** for a bit (for free), saw the sights, ate disgustingly tasty food which I would rather not know the ingredients of.
- It's now... ~2 AM, and I seriously need to sleep. This week is tax free week, which means back-to-school shopping.
- Braces off... tomorrow! (Tuesday) If all goes well.
** Don't worry, I have already shot myself. Several times. And visited several super-liberal booths like Planned Parenthood in order to cleanse what was left of myself and my friends with things like pro-choice pins, etc., plus lots of food. This guy is like the sum of all that is wrong with the USA. No wonder hippies do drugs when this guy tells you not to while giving little children semi-automatic rifles and telling them to celebrate the pride of the great white buffalo (which assholes like him killed off hundreds of years ago) or something like that ("see the magic! fight the war! shoot the magic!") The swaggering, rough-n-tough "cowboy" kind of guy (sounds familiar...), who also appears to be a child molester, or at least a crazy pervert. Who thinks that people who drink and drive are terrorists. He was wearing a raccoon tail pinned to the back of his pants for reasons unknown. I don't believe that the friend whose idea it was to go to this quite knew the extent of "Uncle Ted"'s insane political views + mentality.
Presidential and Congressional ratings at a low. The real irony is in the relevent ads that happened to pop up alongside the story on CNN when I read the story. (I'm sorry, I couldn't resist.) (Yes, that's my screenshot.)
WTF? Military rationality? Is there a reason that women need congressional approval to serve in high-risk combat roles? Afraid of getting flak for equal treatment?
Human rights on the decline... US to blame? (Amnesty says so. I would agree most of the time.)
End of the Senate showdown? I like this editorial. The notes about the court of appeals nominee are particularly amusing and anger-worthy.
The House gives Bush the finger (well, sort of). Though sort of a win-lose situation. And some of the "testimonials" from certain parties are rather... amusing...
15 Ways to Dispel Evolution Attacks. Shady tactics deserve hard facts.
Why not to be an idiot. Also: anybody can be a social engineer!
Yes, this IS cool. Debian + Gnome, mmm.
There's my leftist mainstream news rants for the month. Au revoir, societal angst.
Though I've been lucky enough to attend a high school with a high emphasis placed on fine arts, financed by local taxpayers, I know there are many out there that aren't so lucky, and have been feeling pressured to cut "extra" music, art, and tech programs in order to comply with Bush's No Child Gets Ahead... er, No Child Left Behind legislation. Heck, I wrote and gave a speech on the cons of the act several months ago. It sucks.
Good luck to those districts that are fighting back. Win this courtroom battle.
...about this. The sad thing is that although they say that it still might not go through, since they only need a Senate majority on it, they're pretty much clear.
I'm really very cynical on the amount of oil that will be found in Alaska, and how much irreparable damage it will do to that wonder. For some reason I'm picturing a bunch of menacing little devil-children with cans of spray paint when it comes to oil companies and the thing. Almost as bad as the damage the US is doing to historical artifacts in the Iraqi war zone.
Hopefully it will turn out for better and not for worse, but I'm really not very optimistic, especially considering that it was proposed by a man who has been wrong on numerous things in the past (read: Iraq, the budget, the deficit), and I've come to think of as having a brain the size of a peanut.
Might as well throw something political out again, as I haven't in a couple days.
Just earlier today, a California judge ruled that California's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional. Frankly, I was a bit suprised to hear that California of all states had a ban on gay marriage. It's only one of the most liberal states in the country, together with good old New York.
Though the decision is probably going to be appealed, I'm pleased. It's a step in the right direction; hopefully the rest of the nation will get over their silly Fear of Gay People™ eventually. Something like growing pains, I suppose. Women were once oppressed too.
One of my major gripes with the conservative argument that the Bush administration has never planned on instituting conscription, and has in fact specifically stated that they are against instating a draft, is that this statement makes no sense whatsoever when juxtaposed with Bush's policies in foreign affairs.
The administration can make high-headed announcements all they like, but they can't deny the fact that if things continue as they have been going, conscription or a change in foreign policies will become a necessity. As CNN reports, army recruiters are simply not gaining enough new recruits to satisfy the increased demand in Iraq and Afghanistan. Couple that with the increased use of aging Federal Reserve troops and the fact that the enlistments of those soldiers already deployed will soon come to an end (though some have been forcibly extended already), and you have a severe problem looming on the horizon.
As a teenager, and one who's planning on going into a field that's in-demand in the armed forces, I can say that this concerns me. Though I'm not yet 18, I will be soon, and I do in fact have quite a few friends who are also of majority age.
"There's a bottom line to the recruiting debate. People don't want to die," Thompson said.
Well, duh. Especially not overseas, fighting a war that really isn't a direct concern or any of your business. The sad part is that the army offers more incentives to join up, thus attracting a good deal more impoverished people than those who are well off. The poor man fights the rich man's war. And dies for it.
So who's really hoping that Bush doesn't get the idea to go invade Iran? No plan whatsoever as to when or how to get out of Iraq, why not add some more fun to the mix.
Apparently many of those that voted for Bush aren't agreeing with his push for Social Security reform and getting out of Iraq, and actually feel that the Democrats have better national priorities at the current time. Even some Republicans are opposing Bush's aggressive pushes for change in Congress, which spells good news for those who oppose Bush's proposed changes.
I wonder if the dissenters fucking thought about that before they gave their vote to the "compassionate conservative" Republican, who obviously has a wacked sense of fiscal management.
A recent Supreme Court decision wrapped up Roper v. Simmons, concluding in a 5-4 vote that capital punishment for killers who were under the age of 18 when they committed their crimes is unconstitutional. ABC News gives the full story.
It's a positive step for the US to make bounds towards catching up with the rest of the "civilized" world; the US has been the lone superpower still allowing this to occur for some time. I'm sitting here snickering over the fact that 13 of the 22 minors that have been executed for capital crimes over the years were carried out in Texas. Dubyah & Co., anyone?
Hopefully over the next few years the death penalty will be completely abolished -- it's funny in a sadistic sort of way that half the nation is all gung-ho to support Bush's "democracy spreading" while still having some of the most undemocratic laws of any democratic nation.