It is What It Is

Remember last April when I asked if you’d like to help a sick mother take her children to Disney World? Sadly, that mother, Lisa, passed away last night.

I didn’t know Lisa personally, but had been reading her blog as she struggled with that monster, cancer. She fought valiantly and recently made the decision to stop treatment– it was doing her more harm than good.

She left behind a husband and two young girls, who she called Dude, Teenie and Cam respectively. Please take a minute to send them good thoughts and some extra strength.

Rest in peace, Lisa.

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I like geeky stuff, politics, squirrels and monkeys.

A Class I Should Just Drop

**This post was started Tuesday but I was consistently interrupted and so stopped working on it. So, two days ago was Fat Tuesday. Today is not. OK? ****

Today, for those of you out of the loop, is Fat Tuesday. Today we’re all supposed to party like it’s 1999 so that tomorrow we can decide to not do something for the Lent season. Or something like that. You know, sacrifice your vice type stuff. Of course, for those that are Catholic it means something totally different, but I’m not Catholic so I really don’t know what that different is.

So, I was thinking of what I could give up for Lent (even though I’m not Catholic) and thought “Aha! Politics!” So, my plan was to block all of my favorite political sites and be done with them for a few weeks. Mwahaha!!

Yeah, right.

Anyway, that was until my history professor with his doctorate decided to be a stupid ass again1 . I’m seriously considering dropping that class. So, tonight Tuesday after we watched a stupid “documentary” (which wasn’t) he decided to tell us how the relations between the U.S. and China are starting to resemble those of Britain and China just prior to the Opium Wars. He asserted that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was going to go to China next week2 to ask China for a loan so that the Obama administration could fund the stimulus package thus putting the U.S. in massive debt to China.

He failed to mention– this Mr. I’ve-got-a-doctorate-in-history — that the U.S. debt to China predates Obama and is already nearly $700 billion. Let’s look at some evidence, shall we?3

This article in the New Yorker was published in April 2005. Before Obama and before the Democrats took control of Congress.

[…]Doomsayers have been predicting for a while that the profligacy will lead to serious trouble. So why hasn’t it?

One answer is that Asia won’t let it. Last year, Asian countries invested almost four hundred billion dollars in the United States, mostly in government bonds. China is effectively taking most of its excess national savings and lending it to the United States. The Japanese, who despite their creaking economy remain flush with savings, bought a quarter trillion dollars of American debt last year, even though the interest is lousy and the assets themselves are losing value. More than any other nation in history, the United States depends, economically, on the kindness of strangers. Right now, Asian investors appear very kind.

I’m sorry, StupidProfPants, you were saying?

But wait! There’s more. What would happen were China and Japan to suddenly decide that they just don’t love us anymore and stop investing in the U.S.?

Of course, the Chinese and the Japanese could decide that the costs of the falling dollar are too great, and suddenly stop (or, at least, cut back sharply) their lending to the United States. This would lead to a so-called “hard landing” for the U.S. economy: high inflation, punitive interest rates, collapsing stock prices and housing prices. It would also lead to bedlam for China and Japan. Their best customers would effectively be unable to afford their wares. To paraphrase John Paul Getty: If you owe the bank a hundred dollars, you’ve got a problem. If you owe the bank three trillion dollars, the bank’s got a problem.

If China decided to pull out all interest in U.S. Treasury bonds, our economy– and theirs — would collapse. Completely. We’re pretty much dependent on each other. At least we were in 2005 before Clinton became Secretary of State and went to beg for money.

But did she do that? Hm, I guess that would depend on your own interpretation. Mine is: No. She was asking the Chinese to continue to invest in the United States so that our fragile economy wouldn’t go further into the toilet as well as recognizing our mutual dependency on each other (but mostly our dependency on them because they’re the ones loaning all the money).

According to Bloomberg:

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged China to continue buying Treasury bonds to help finance President Barack Obama’s stimulus plan.

The two nations’ economies are intertwined and it wouldn’t be in China’s interest if the U.S. were unable to sell its government debt, Clinton said in an interview with Shanghai’s Dragon Television today. China knows it needs a healthy American economy as its biggest export market, she said, adding that the U.S. must take “drastic measures” to stimulate growth.

“We are truly going to rise or fall together,” Clinton said. “By continuing to support American treasury instruments, the Chinese are recognizing” that interconnection.

Further:

China, the largest holder of U.S. government debt, boosted purchases by 46 percent last year to a record $696.2 billion as the global recession spurred demand for the securities. The Chinese government said last week it plans to keep buying Treasuries, adding that future purchases will depend on the preservation of their value and the safety of the investment.

China already owns us– pretty much. And that happened before Obama took office. We’ve been borrowing from them for years– mostly to fund Operation Iraqi Freedom and the “War on Terror”. This is not the O-man’s doing. Luckily for us, Americans are the top purchasers of Chinese products. Wal-Mart shits out “Made in China” and we scoop it up. If we don’t have money to buy that shit, China doesn’t make any money and BOOM! We’re all fucked.

My professor, who is looking more and more like a Glenn Beck ass licker every day, failed to mention that, of course. Our class consists of a good number of PSE4 kids and do they know any better? No. Of course. They think he knows what the fuck he’s talking about. He lays down these little pieces of GOP talking points and hopes beyond hope that these kids pick it up and it sinks in their brains. And they aren’t going to question him because they don’t know any better.

But he didn’t realize I would be in his class and that I can’t keep my mouth shut. He never thought that there would be that one person in his class that would say:
“Excuse me? Could you cite your source for that? Because the United States has been in debt to China for years and that didn’t start with the Obama administration.”

Of course, this didn’t invite conversation. Suddenly class was over and he’d see us on Thursday. That was probably a good thing as I remembered that we’re in debt, but didn’t remember the details. I’ve since amassed good deal of source material so that I can (hopefully) bash him over the head with it.((I probably won’t. He won’t bring it up in class again– just like the Mexico thing.)) I hope he knows now that not everyone in that class is ignorant and that some of us are vaguely familiar with what’s going on regarding American foreign policy and politics.

P.S.
Please excuse any and all typos as I’m being me and that’s just the way things roll ’round here.

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  1. Last time was when he declared that Mexico is not part of North America– and stood by that. []
  2. Clinton has already been to Asia. []
  3. But only a little bit, because I’m short on time. []
  4. Post-Secondary Education = High school []

I like geeky stuff, politics, squirrels and monkeys.

Win or no candy for you

My last post dealt with the possible insanity of pushing out 8 babies at once (I’m exhausted just thinking about it). One argument is: Will she be able to provide enough emotional care that the babies grow up “normally”? The concern is that she’s got too many children and not enough love and attention to go around. I think that’s actually a valid concern.

But there’s the other end of the spectrum. The moms who have only one child and are living their lives through them. For instance, this new show on WE: Little Miss Perfect.

It’s about pageant moms and their little doll babies, er, I mean, daughters. The young girls who are dressed up like grown women and trotted from pageant to pageant and forced to perform like trained dogs1. They start these girls at as young as 18 months old with their makeup and posing and… ugh. Look at some of the responses to criticism in their forum.

Mothers of these toddlers say they do it because their children want to. Whee!! An 18 month-old child said “Mommy, I want to go be in a pageant where I can wow everyone with my grown-up style and poise. And don’t forget to do my hair.”2 What? A child still in diapers, barely off the teat, is going to decide this? Really?3

I saw previews for this show and there was a mother who declared “Anyone who doesn’t like us is just jealous because their kid isn’t as pretty as mine” (or some such similar shit). Another mother was helping her daughter learn to pose in just a swim suit. All the mothers showcased were shown standing in front of their made-up daughters coaching them on their facial expressions. These tiny little girls were being primed for the stage where they would compete with other little girls to see who was the “prettiest” (in their done-up hair, fake lashes, and adult-style makeup).

Sorry, I forgot the “talent” portion, where each one could showcase their own talents– while in “costume”. Pfft.

So, I was thinking, through my disgust and animosity, could it be true that some of these girls are really doing what they want? Maybe at 5, 6, 7 years old. I can see that. 18 months or 2 years? What the hell do babies know about this kind of shit? They want to play and pretend and learn to be preschoolers. If they do play dress-up it’s because they’re emulating their mamas, not because they want to prance around a stage looking way too grown up.

But the thing that got into my head and just won’t leave is the danger these tiny tots are facing from pedophiles. About 5 years ago I had another blog and I had written a post about people who call themselves “minor attracted adults”: pedophiles who were organizing online4. They would surf the net looking for pictures of cute little kids– some preferred that the kids be in diapers– and share them with their cohorts as if the pictures were good porn. To these fuckheads, the pics were porn. Anyway, these guys move from site to site5 and share fantasies about little kids and stories about what they’ve done to little kids and how they love pageants.

I just can’t get past that fact. These little girls are getting made up to look sexy and learning how to walk just-so and then fucking pedophiles are watching the shows. Makes my skin crawl just thinking about it. I know these guys are going to go about their sleazy business no matter if these girls are in pageants or not, but the thought of them drooling over these kids just makes me want to blow someone’s flippin’ balls off. Sorry.

Anyway, the mothers kill me when they say their toddlers were so insistent and they just wouldn’t be refused. They would rather get up early for “practice” then drive all over hell and back to compete– oftentimes losing (because there’s only one winner)– and feeling bad because they didn’t live up to their mother’s expectations. Their mothers become disappointed because they’re still not winners and then the girls have to do it all again another day. Bah!

I look at my beautiful 4 year-old and watch her trying to learn Hannah Montana dances. She does pretty good too. I could ask her if she wants to compete, but I know the minute she notices I’m watching she’s going to stop. Because she doesn’t want the audience. Maybe I should have tapped into her talent when she was just learning to walk. I’d probably be rich by now. Except Lil’lady would’ve gotten bored and I would’ve been all “Ok. Wanna learn to paint?” and that I’d still not have realized the glory I could have had if my mother would have put my sorry ass in a pageant. Ya know?

Why won’t my children become famous so I too can be famous? Don’t they know I’ve dreamed of their stardom my entire life? sob

That’s what I imagine most of these mothers are feeling. Just like the sports parent who pushes their kid to perform and aim for the big leagues. They failed, so their children mustn’t. Having dreams is good but forcing your child to have your dreams isn’t.

I think I’d feel differently about these pageants (and the sports thing) if the kids were older and actually had the time and inclination to make the decision that this is what they wanted to do with all of their free time. Kids that young want to be Tasha from the Backyardigans and Dora the Explorer, for fuck’s sake. After that they want to be fairy princesses or, in the case of Lil’lady right now, get drinks for people at a restaurant (where her sister works). The little kids in these pageants are living the dreams their mothers have forced on them. What happens when one of these girls grows up and decides she wants to be a ranch hand (or soldier or police officer)? Is mommy’s head going to implode from yet another disappointment? One can only hope, right?

I imagine that a lot of these girls are going to have extra self-esteem issues when they reach adolescence. Many of them will lose their cuteness (they’re not babies anymore, afterall) and no one will “oh” and “ah” over them anymore. They’ll be average for the first time in their lives. After years of their identity being based on how well they did in the pageants they’ll no doubt have an extra hard time finding their true selves. Until they have their own babies and start living their lost dreams through them. Ugh.6

P.S.

When I was 3 I decided I was Barry Manilow’s wife. Maybe if my mother would have pushed me a little harder…

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  1. I’m a little biased, can you tell? []
  2. Probably not. I’m exaggerating, but their mothers insist they do it for the girls and not for themselves. []
  3. This one was 8 months old when she decided she wanted to do pageants. []
  4. I didn’t migrate most of the posts from there to here. []
  5. As they get shut down at one place, they move to another []
  6. Then there’s the whole gender stereotype enforcement thing. I’m running out of time for this post, but feel free to discuss that issue in the comments. []

I like geeky stuff, politics, squirrels and monkeys.

And then there were… OMG!!!

I was going to do a post regarding Nadya, the litter-producing mom. But that was before I saw Miz UV’s post. Why should I do one that would pretty much say the same thing? Go there and read hers.

One thing I’d like to add about the tax thing, though.

No one is going to have their taxes raised because some woman decided to crank out 8 babies. They’re not going to pass a levy in her town so that she can get that ginormous welfare check. If she does get government assistance the money will come from taxes that are already being paid. And if the state/county has to hire one more social worker to keep an eye on this lady, so what? At least that’s one more person who has a job.

Choice is choice is choice. Also, it takes a village and all that jazz. Additionally, many people have come from HUGE ass families1 and have actually felt they were better from the experience than someone (for instance) who was an only child. That’s not to say their mothers didn’t lose their ever-lovin’ minds (I know I’d go bonkers in a heart beat), but a lot of the kids grew up close to their siblings and formed relationships that were more beneficial than a $300 video game and/or $200 pair of shoes2.

I’m just sayin’. Also.

I like geeky stuff, politics, squirrels and monkeys.

Because I just didn’t Know

Well, tomorrow starts real life again. I was hid away for the last couple of days. I won’t say it was very fun, but it was kind of re-energizing. I didn’t have a lot of drama to deal with and the jacuzzi was a little bit of fun.

What?

Anyway, I don’t know if you follow me on Twitter or not1, but I mentioned my history (World Civilization 2) professor the other day. Seems he very much believes that Mexico (you know, the one south of the border) is NOT a part of North America. He mentioned “South America” and “Central America” a few times in one class session– each time referring to Mexican Native People. I became concerned, perturbed and downright frustrated with this. Here was a professor with a doctorate and shit and he was saying something that was making my brain turn to mush (I generally like history, by the way, so shhhh). Had I been mislead and instructed wrongly all of these years? What about the media that was telling me that Mexico is, in fact, part of North America? Why had I ever believed such LIES?!

I even questioned the good Doctor (ha!) after class was over.

Me: You kept saying Mexico wasn’t part of North America. Is this a new thing?

Him: No. It’s never been a part of North America.

Me: Really? I’d never heard that. Then why are they part of NAFTA?

Him: walks away shaking his head

I was concerned for my very sanity. I was obsessed with finding out when Mexico became not-apart of North America. I went to my next class and Whoo! There’s a computer with an internet connection2. So, I go to teh Google for the truth.

Was I insane or is my prof a “crack-smoking freak“?

I am not insane. He is a freak.

Besides learning that my history professor (with his flippin’ doctorate) is geographically impaired I learned something else– equally valuable. Something that shocked and appalled me because I do not hold a doctorate and do not claim to be uber-smart but thought I was relatively “in the know”. I learned that….

Greenland is part of North America too! Woo! Not only that, but I also learned that everyone in my real life to whom I asked the question “What continent does Greenland belong to?” was just as clueless as I. That so made my day.

Just another bit of knowledge stored for that wonderful day when someone will invite me to a Trivia Pursuit tournament and I can happily impress everyone else with the fact3 that I know a little about a lot but not a lot about anything. ;)

Peace, love and lollipops.

I like geeky stuff, politics, squirrels and monkeys.