All posts by nicklindgren

Podcast fun

Hands down, my favorite day in class was when we made our group podcasts.  Who knew discussing celebrities in porn could be so exciting?  Our group is awesome.  I feel we get along great, have good communication, and can also get our minds in the gutter and have a little fun.

On the way home from class, I kept thinking about it.  I thought to myself, how great would it be to do this with my friends on a regular basis.  It would be hilarious and the next best thing to having a reality show, the new American dream.

When I met up with them later that evening and regaled them with my podcast tale, they were not as impressed as I was hoping.  My hopes of the podcast were dashed.

Podcast fun?  Not for everyone I guess.

You Say Fox, I Say Faux

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Michelle Bachmann

Whenever I think of Michelle Bachmann, the first thing I think of is controversy.  The second, ignorance.  And the third, shame, as she represents the district I grew up in.  Some view her as a “darling” of the Tea Party and Fox.  It is disheartening that someone with her views is a leader on the national stage.   Thank goodness her term ends this year.  She probably won’t stop talking, but hopefully not as many people will be interested and hence less people will be her.  Here are some of her most controversial moments:

1. Bachmann peddled a dangerous anti-vaccine conspiracy. Bachmann pushed the disproved theory that the vaccine for HPV — which prevents cervical cancer — can cause mental retardation. That misinformation has had a wide and lasting impact: Vaccination rates are still remarkably low, and experts blame figureheads like Bachmann who communicated misleading information to the public.

2. Bachmann called being gay ‘personal enslavement.’ On the issue of LGBT rights, Bachmann has a long record of either mocking gay and trans (like when she said she’d mistaken ex-gay therapy for anti-aging therapy, ‘pray away the grey‘). But when she isn’t mocking sexual orientation, she has treated it more like a mental disorder. Famously, Bachmann once said, “It’s a very sad life. It’s part of Satan, I think, to say this is gay. It’s anything but gay. […] Because if you’re involved in the gay and lesbian lifestyle, it’s bondage. Personal bondage, personal despair, and personal enslavement. And that’s why this is so dangerous.”

3. Bachmann considers climate climate change ‘a hoax.’ While experts warn that global climate change is already set to have a lasting impact on our environment, Bachmann calls climate change “all voodoo, nonsense, hokum, a hoax.” She also cast doubt on the entire field of climate science. At a town hall in her district, Bachmann informed constituents that climate science is not “real science” but “manufactured science.”

4. Bachmann led an Islamophobic witch hunt. Last year, Bachmann sought to “expose” members of the Muslim Brotherhood within the U.S. government. The totally unfounded witch hunt was essentially Bachmann’s personal indictment of one of then-Sec. of State Hillary Clinton’s aides, Huma Abedin, but it also served to fuel anti-Muslim bigotry. Bachmann’s fellow party members came out against her, with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) slamming her on the Senate floor for her “unwarranted and unfounded attack.”

5. Bachmann claimed Obamacare would ‘literally’ kill people. In a screed against Obamacare on the House floor, Bachmann warned that the law “literally kills women, kills children, kills senior citizens.” She also questioned, in an interview with a fringe website that peddles conspiracy theories, whether Obamacare would allow the IRS to “deny or delay access to health care” for conservatives.

6. Bachmann told the American people that Iran had plans to nuke the U.S. During a presidential debate on the issue of national security, Bachmann falsely claimed that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had laid out plans to bomb the United States with a nuclear weapon.

7. Bachmann called on the American media to investigate ‘anti-American’ politicians. Bachmann’s first witch hunt of her career was against her own colleagues in Congress. In 2008, Bachmann told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews that she hoped the media would investigate Democratic members of Congress, including Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV). “I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress,” she said, “and find out, are they pro-America or anti-America?”

8. Bachmann wanted to ban all porn. As part of her crusade for conservative values, Bachmann has pushed to ban “all forms of pornography.” This is actually contradictory to the Tea Party’s focus on the constitution, given the fact that pornography clearly falls within First Amendment right to freedom of expression.

 

Bill O’Reilly

Who hasn’t heard of Bill O’Reilly?  Him and his show, The O’Reilly Factor, are extremely controversial, but also very popular.   It is the top rated cable news program, averaging 2.7 million viewers.  In my estimation, that is over 2 million people each day getting inaccurate information.  I think he is the male version of Michelle Bachman, but more aggressive.  Here is a list of his Top 10 most controversial quotes and opinions:

1.       George Tiller

Tiller, medical director of a Wichita, Kan., women’s clinic that provided late-term abortions, was gunned down at close range in May 2009 by Scott Roeder, a fervent anti-abortion activist.

O’Reilly had been accused by liberals of inciting the violence for referring to Tiller as Tiller the baby killer, and saying the doctor had blood on his hands for performing the abortions.

2.       Sylvia’s

After O’Reilly dined at Sylvia’s, the famed Harlem restaurant, he shared the experience with listeners of his radio show in 2007. Some observers felt the remarks were racist, although O’Reilly’s Fox News colleague, Juan Williams, who is black, defended O’Reilly.

I couldn’t get over the fact that there was no difference between Sylvia’s restaurant and any other restaurant in New York City. I mean, it was exactly the same, even though it’s run by blacks, primarily black patronship, O’Reilly said. There wasn’t one person in Sylvia’s who was screaming, ‘M-Fer, I want more iced tea.’ You know, I mean, everybody was — it was like going into an Italian restaurant in an all-white suburb in the sense of people were sitting there, and they were ordering and having fun. And there wasn’t any kind of craziness at all.

3.       Hurricane Katrina

O’Reilly said that he wished Hurricane Katrina would have destroyed the United Nations. The Fox News host was talking about then-President George W. Bush visiting the UN.

I just wish Katrina had only hit the United Nations building, nothing else, just had flooded them out. And I wouldn’t have rescued them, O’Reilly said in September 2005.

4.       San Francisco

The liberal-leaning city is a frequent O’Reilly target. But did this comment about the city wanting to ban military recruiting cross the line when he injected a hypothetical al-Qaeda plot to blow up the city?

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, O’Reilly said.

5.       Chicago

O’Reilly compared Chicago’s South Side to Haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere:

If you’ve ever been to the South Side of Chicago, I mean, it’s a disaster, all right? It’s like Haiti, it’s like — I’ve been to Haiti a couple of times. I support some charities there, but Haiti just never gets better, no matter how much money you put in there because they don’t have a system, O’Reilly said, according to this Media Matters transcript. And I said the government can’t do it but, Obama really believes the government can do it.

6.       ACLU

O’Reilly said only al-Qaeda is more dangerous to America than the American Civil Liberties Union.

I have to pick on the ACLU because they’re the most dangerous organization in the United States of America right now.  There’s nobody even close to that. They’re, like, second next to Al Qaeda, O’Reilly said on his radio show on June 2.

7.       Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid

These two leading Democrats are constant targets of Republican criticism. As part of his Bold & Fresh Tour with Glenn Beck, O’Reilly said he would have House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) kidnapped, and that he would have Pelosi water-boarded:

You gotta kidnap Pelosi and Reid, O’Reilly said he would tell then-CIA Director Leon Panetta if O’Reilly were an advisor to President Barack Obama, according to this audio transcript from Media Matters. Don’t hurt them, don’t hurt them, OK? But take them to an undisclosed location. No waterboarding. Well, maybe with Nancy.

8.       MoveOn.Org

O’Reilly likened the liberal advocacy group to the Ku Klux Klan:

It is not a stretch to say MoveOn is the new Klan, the host said on The O’Reilly Factor in 2008.

9.       Kwanzaa

O’Reilly was unsure if there was an official symbol for Kwanzaa, the African-American holiday that celebrates black culture. And when he thought out loud about the subject, he was either ignorant or racist, depending on your view, when he said ‘a 50 Cent’ should be the symbol for Kwanzaa, a reference to the rapper/actor:

There’s no Kwanzaa symbol. Maybe — is there a 50 Cent that we have to put up or something? Is there a Kwanzaa symbol? What is that? It’s a candelabra like Liberace had? Alright, we’ll put that up, too. I don’t mind, O’Reilly said.

10.   Jennifer Moore

O’Reilly suggested Jennifer Moore, an 18-year-old who was raped and murdered, was asking for it by her dress:

She was 5-foot-2, 105 pounds, wearing a miniskirt and a halter top with a bare midriff, O’Reilly said. Now, again, there you go. So every predator in the world is gonna pick that up at two in the morning.

 

Final Thoughts

Really, I mean, really?  How can he say these things things and still have a job?  I can almost guarantee that if someone like Anderson Cooper said any of the above, there would be a public outcry asking for him to tender his resignation or force his network (NBC) to fire him.  And you know what?  They would, because it is the right thing to do.

Both of the individuals above seem to bring controversy every time they open their mouths.  I almost feel sorry for their followers who believe what they say.  Ignorance must be bliss.

Death with Dignity

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The young woman in the above photograph is Brittany Maynard.  Newly married, only 29, and with her entire life in front of her, she was told she had 6 months to live as she was suffering from terminal brain cancer.  She knew what was going to to happen to her body and she would take each day as it came.  Her and her family made the decision to move to Oregon, one of only 5 states where it is legal to take advantage of assisted suicide laws. She put out a video explaining her decision that has been watched over 11 million times.  Her  video is worth the watch.  She is open and honest and lets us in on a decision that is frankly, none of our business.  She is being called the “poster girl” for assisted suicide and is really bringing the topic to the forefront of conversations.

Due to the popularity of Brittany’s story, assisted suicide has been all over the news lately.  A new HealthDay/Harris Poll found though CBS, an overwhelming 74 percent of adults believe terminally ill people in great pain have the right to end their lives, and 14 percent were opposed.  This same poll also found:

  • Support for a person’s right to die has increased to 74 percent, up from 70 percent in 2011. Those opposed decreased to 14 percent from 17 percent during the same period.
  • Physician-assisted suicide also received increased support, with 72 percent now in favor, compared with 67 percent in 2011. Opposition declined from 19 percent to 15 percent.
  • Sixty-six percent of respondents said doctors should be allowed to comply with the wishes of dying patients in severe distress who ask to have their lives ended, up from 58 percent in 2011. Opposition decreased from 20 percent in 2011 to 15 percent now.

Brittany took her own life last month, surrounded by her loved ones.  It was on her terms, in the way she wanted, and she did not waste away to the disease.  I commend her for her decision.  She lived life to the fullest right to the very end, when there was no longer any life worth living.  I think she made the right choice for her and I would do the same.

Transgender Awareness

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A human rights issue that people seem to be talking about lately is that of transgender people.  Most people probably don’t know what it means and refer to the stereotypes.  It is my hope to bring awareness to the subject and do what I can to stop the discrimination and harassment.  I have a couple transgender person friends and will do what I can to alleviate their suffering.

So, what exactly does it mean to be transgender?

Transgender is an umbrella term for people whose gender identity differs from what is typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth.

Could you imagine having to live your live as someone you are not?  People do, and suffer through, because it’s easier for society.  I wish that wasn’t the case.

Why should you care?

  • Transgender people are four times more likely to live in poverty.
  • Transgender people experience unemployment at twice the rate of the general population, with rates for people of color up to four times the national unemployment rate.
  • 90% of transgender people report experiencing harassment, mistreatment or discrimination on the job.
  • 22% of respondents who have interacted with police reported harassment by police, with much higher rates reported by people of color.  Almost half of the respondents (46%) reported being uncomfortable seeking police assistance.
  • 41% of respondents reported attempting suicide, compared to 1.6% of the general population.
  • Transgender people still cannot serve in the US Military.

People have made the comparison of changing your gender identity to changing your sexual orientation.  It just doesn’t work.  Transgender people are human and it’s time we start treating them such.  Transgender persons should be afforded equal protections under the law and not have to be subject to harassment.

Check out the links to learn more on this topic:  GLAAD, Trans* Awareness Project, and The ACLU.

Marijuana Legalization

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In case you couldn’t tell from the image, I am pro marijuana legalization, and not just for medical purposes.  In my humble opinion I believe that marijuana is very similar to alcohol and safer at that.  Recently several states have legalized recreational use of marijuana, such as Colorado and Washington, and others states have legalized it for medical purposes, like Illinois and our own Minnesota.

Recreational Use

A great resource for information on marijuana legalization comes from the group NORML, who work to reform marijuana laws. As I stated earlier, I believe that is should be legal for recreational use.  I think it should come with a tax similar to the one that is placed on liquor sales.  This money could be used for things such as public education, infrastructure, or to affect me more personally, higher education.  Just think, we could all be paying lower tuition if the costs were offset with a tax such as this.  The state of Colorado collected almost 5 million dollars in June alone.  In my mind, our state is throwing this money away each month by not having it legalized for recreational purposes.

Medical Marijuana

While not all people are keen on recreational use, more seem to be favor in legalization for medical purposes.  I found a great site featuring doctors discussing the pros and cons set out in an easy to read list here.  At the very least, I believe it should be legalized for medical reasons.  It has been a proven treatment for several diseases, disorders, etc.  I don’t see why people should have to suffer if there is a treatment that could be available.

Tuğçe

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Of the many things I have learned in the class, one thing that sticks out is the website change.org.  This website is full of worthy causes with petitions to sign that raise awareness and can effect change.

Had we not had to sign a petition for an earlier assignment, I would never had heard about Tuğçe A., the young woman in the photograph above.  In my email today, I was sent a link about her petition.  In a crowded fast food restaurant in Germany, Tuğçe heard two young women being sexually assaulted in the restroom.  Upon hearing this, she intervened and saved the women from being attacked.  When Tuğçe left the restaurant, the men followed her into the parking lot and beat her so severely she was placed on life support.  Her parents turned the machine off on her 23rd birthday.

The restaurant was busy during rush hour and Tuğçe was not the only one who heard the assault happening, but she is the only one who did something.  It ended up costing her life, but she saved the lives of two others.  Because of this, a petition was started to have her awarded the Federal Cross of Merit, one of the highest honors in Germany.

I gladly signed the petition and urge you to do the same here.  Tuğçe was a brave, young woman, a role model to us all, who stood up to the attackers when no one else would.  She deserves the honor of this award.