Sunday, February 26, 2006

Truely Inspiring

Hey All,
I saw this link on a friend's blog (Props to Kyle). I'm not offering anything new here. Check out the link. As inspiring stories go, and ones that warm the heart this is definatly one of the best I've heard of. I've provided the permanent link (the title and link below both), so if you come back at some point in the future it will still work. Just click the title (and perhaps bookmark this post). Of course, I leave that to you.

The Author

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Hi All,

Some of you may know about the recent protests, occasional riots and general anger that arose from an editorial cartoon poking fun at Mohammed (if you don't know what I'm talking about, look it up, it's everywhere). Recently the University of Toronto school paper published a stupid article "in support" of re-publishing it. [registration is free and takes 20 seconds]. In responce, I wrote a letter. There are of course much better responces I've read than mine. I give you those to give you my position essentially. But if you remember the title to this blog post (and if you have already checked it out), you might be wondering what does this have to do with it at all?

Well, I'm glad you asked.

You see I just finished reading a four part series on violence and hip-hop. I like it. Well researched, well written, the ending a bit flat, but still good... if not vague. The part that interested me with regard to the cartoons was the section that dealt with the riots in France (the third part of the series). Specifically the parts that talked of the french government trying sentence various artists to jail for committing an "outrage to social decency."

A few things struck me about them. The most obvious, is why aren't European papers clamoring to re-print the various articles of the rap artists. After all, those artists are being put in jail. Freedom of speech is being threathened. But the other part of which it reminds me, is the notion that Martin Luther King Jr. talked about in his letter (the link is the Post Title). Specifically, the notion that an unjust law be disobey. But it is done
because of respect for the law. That is, once civil disobedience takes place you must be willing to pay the price of that disobedience (i.e. go to jail, pay a fine etc). This show...well, just read Dr. King's letter, he does a great job of explaining it.

Anyway, the two situation, for me, serve to contrast between why the newspapers say they are publishing it and why it actually happens. The fact is in Europe publishing things against muslims or even religion is very free and easy. It isn't being threathened.

Consequently I like the ending of the Hip Hop & Violence article. Hip Hop is a force. Until unjustice or inequality ends, the power of hip-hop (i.e. to give a voice to the voice-less) wont stop. Nor should it. I personally may not do or like a lot of the lyrics, but let me tell you, without a lot of the profanity, hip-hop would still be just as powerful. You gotta recognize.

Dr. King's letter is also an incredible read. You want to know to really affect change? That letter is a great vision starter.

The Author

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Doesn't Want to Hear It

Hey Everyone,
Well it looks like someone doesn't want to hear it.

Let me explain.

You see I have a gmail account. If you don't know what that is, or how much better it is than any of the other major accounts (and I have at least two each of yahoo and hotmail)... than you need to go find out. It will more than be worth time, trust me. Anyway, one great feature on gmail is the RSS feeder that give you clips of news feeds, blog feeds and such. Essentially, you get a clip from some source you may be interested in. Well, one of those clips the other day dealt with the great new feature that gmail is bringing, i.e. Google chat, right inside the gmail account. (Quick aside, this is great cause you never have to load anything to the computer it is ready to go... works great so far).

Anyway, the web clip was from this google blogger (the official one for gmail) about Chat + email. One thing the blog has is a "links to this page" part. Well, this one blog was at the top. So the title interested me enough to read it. I have provided the link. So naturally I read the post. You'll see it's a big rant about "choice" or lack thereof. How she doesn't want to deal with all the people in her contact list. The post itself is titled "Google + Chat = Invasion of Privacy".
To make a long story shorter, what you need to know, is that like every other Instant messager, Google Talk can be switched off and not used. So if you don't want to deal with it, you never need to.

So naturally I commented on her blog about first finding out about the features before complaining. Specifically she can not use it if she so hates it. I was curious as to her responce, if she gave any. For a while she didn't.

Then she posted about Abortion. A contraversial topic at the best of times. Specifically she talked about "spin". She quotes a New York Times article:

"There are fewer abortions in America than at any point in the last three decades."

And continue
s, "Whoever wrote that line was a master. It's masterful spin." Pointing out that without "context" that doesn't mean a whole lot. At first I would agree, in fact I think I did. But her initial meaningfulness was... err... halted. It seemed she never bothered to really think about it. How do I know? Well...

I think at this point it would be easier to just quote the paragraph in question.

"Of course, this information is meaningless. Fewer abortions. Does this mean there are fewer women seeking abortions who are actually getting them? Is the number of pregnancies down correspondingly, or up? How about the number of abortions performed on Americans outside America, have those gone down? Or up? What about women who 'decide' to have babies because it's too late to perform an abortion safely, maybe because they were stonewalled, or denied the morning-after pill?"

Without going into it point by point, or debating abortion itself (that isn't the issue here). I have quite a few problems with this whole thing... but the biggest problem is her obvious lack of thought. The morning-after pill hasn't been around that long. Never mind 30 years ago. So it is irrelavant that women are being denied it now, women didn't have that option in the early nineties, never mind 30 years ago.

So back to the original point of this post. I of course commented that although she appeared well thought out at first glance... she wasn't really. Just a little bit of thought, and her post could have been at least enlightening. Instead it was a thoughless rant. (I didn't say that last part). I was interested to see how she would respond.

I figured she might either clarify, rebutt, respond, or ignore. She choose to remove the comment section. It's too bad really. I somewhat liked her writing style.

So, Rachel, if you happen to be reading this, turn on the comment section. After all, of what are you afraid?

I'm not decided as to whether or not I care enough to email her.

The Author