Purposive Rambling

the journey is the reward.

Archive for July 2009

Just a Photo

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A ton of people protesting universal healthcare outside my window right before I opened the window and booed at them as they marched by. Depressing.

A ton of people protesting universal healthcare outside my window right before I opened the window and booed at them as they marched by. Depressing.

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Written by Lisa

July 29, 2009 at 1:16 am

Posted in Indianapolis, Photos

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A pregnant woman’s rights get stomped on…again.

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So my main area of interest within Sociology is the family. And one of the more specific things that interests me is the government’s involvement in family life. In a lot of ways the government interferes with parents’ decisions about how to raise their children. There’s always controversy over where exactly to draw the line between the interests of the child and parents’ rights. Decisions about medical care for children seem to drum up the most debate. A lot of times when I hear about cases in the news about challenges to parents’ authority in making decisions for their children’s medical care, I fall on the side of greater government involvement. But not when it comes to doctors trying to protect the health of an unborn child by forcing women to put themselves at risk from having a major surgery. Apparently a woman in New Jersey refused to have a cesarean, was able to deliver the baby vaginally, and then had the child taken away because her refusal was equated to child abuse. No way is it okay for a person to be bullied into putting her life on the line for someone else, regardless of who that person is. And no way is it okay for a woman who refuses a cesarean be charged with murder when her child is stillborn, which is what happened to a woman in Utah a few years ago. After these cases, how many women will feel compelled to go along with a surgery that they feel is unnecessary out of fear of being named a child abuser, or worse yet, a murderer! This is just maddening. Anyway, learn more about this issue from the National Advocates for Pregnant Women.

Written by Lisa

July 29, 2009 at 1:10 am

Rest in Peace

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My Aunt Nancy, my dad’s older sister, passed away yesterday. She had been sick for some time with congestive heart failure. I haven’t seen my Aunt Nancy in years – not since my grandfather passed away. Although she’s maintained ties with some of my extended family, the members of my immediate family have been pretty distant from her for a long time. Nancy had a lot of problems with substance abuse and depression over the years, and it led to a lot of conflict between her and my parents and also between her and her daughter. So I haven’t really known her since I was a young girl, and even then I’m not sure that I really knew her. But still it’s sad to hear that she’s gone. I always hoped that she would be able to rebuild the bridges she had burned and mend relationships with family members – especially her daughter and grandchildren. There was a Nancy once that was worth knowing. I wish that she could have found that Nancy again and had time to share herself with others.

I remember swimming at her house, visiting her at the consignment shop she ran, hearing stories of her jumping on chairs at the thought of a mouse in her house, and watching her laugh hysterically after everyone played a prank on her at Christmas one year. I remember her peach bathroom that seemed too pretty to use. I remember how she always smelled like too much perfume and always wore too much makeup and jewelry. She was always too fancy for Cloverport, Kentucky.

Written by Lisa

July 28, 2009 at 1:32 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

I learn something new every day.

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We are in over our heads with robots.

We jokingly talk about robots outsmarting us and we have a ton of movies about robots taking over that we categorize as “science fiction.” Apparently, we need to rethink that categorization. Maybe switch it to “drama that just has happened yet.”

Impressed and alarmed by advances in artificial intelligence, a group of computer scientists is debating whether there should be limits on research that might lead to loss of human control over computer-based systems that carry a growing share of society’s workload, from waging war to chatting with customers on the phone.

I say when in doubt, assume the worst and proceed cautiously. Didn’t these folks see “I, Robot”?

That being said, I would really like a robot who will clean my house and drive me around. So let’s not shut it down completely. But I think instituting some limitations on research and development sounds like a prudent idea.

Edit:

So if the robots do take over one of these days, it might be to eat us – assuming they have the same tastes as we do. A robot programmed to “taste” wines and some foods has identified human flesh as bacon!

Written by Lisa

July 28, 2009 at 12:55 pm

Just a Photo

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Perfect summer dinner

Perfect summer dinner

Written by Lisa

July 27, 2009 at 12:59 pm

Posted in Food, Photos

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I found a new happy place.

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It was rainy and cloudy when we got up Saturday morning, and I was afraid it was going to last all day. But it didn’t. By late afternoon it was gorgeous out. So we took advantage of it and went for a long walk through the White River State Park. We have been over that way before, but we never realized how big it is! I also didn’t know that the White River could look so pretty. I was kicking myself for not bringing my camera.

I managed to get back over there on Sunday afternoon, though. I wanted to do some work outside to enjoy the breeze, and it is the perfect place. Unlike the other parks that are close to us, White River is mostly removed from traffic and other city noises. And everyone there just seems so happy. They’re having picnics and riding bikes and jogging and flying kites and reading. I’m so glad we finally discovered this place. We’ll have to make lots of return trips.

Working at the park

Working at the park

View of the city from White River State Park

View of the city from White River State Park

Written by Lisa

July 27, 2009 at 12:57 pm

I call shenanigans on the “brown bailout.”

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So on Saturday Jon and I are walking around downtown, and a guy with a clipboard calls us over. He’s wearing a shirt that says “Brown Bailout,” and he explains that he’s collecting signatures for a petition to send to Congress that will ask them not to give a bailout to UPS. He’s not giving us many details and is trying to sell us on the idea that the government has been going willy-nilly with their bailouts and we need to tell them that enough is enough.

While he’s talking I’m trying to read the little bit of information on the clipboard he’s holding, but it’s not very helpful. So I tell the guy that I haven’t heard of the “Brown Bailout” but I’ll look them up online and consider giving them my support. He gives me a little flyer to look over to help me in my decision.

My initial reaction was that the whole thing seemed vague and a little bit shady since he didn’t seem to want to disclose what group he was representing. I glance at the flyer as we’re walking away and it seems pretty obvious that this is a campaign by FedEx, trying to masquerade as “concerned citizens.” The flyer is just as vague as the guy on the street, and it focuses on the idea that Congress is trying to limit competition by bailing out UPS. It doesn’t tell me anything about the details of this supposed bailout, though. So I’m not exaclty on top of these things, but it seems to me that if UPS is really struggling and the government decides to throw some money its way to save the company, that would increase competition rather than limit it. Things are not adding up. My sketicism radar is overheating a bit.

So once we got home I looked up the “Brown Bailout.” Again, the website is vague as hell! Again, it seems that they’re trying to minimize the fact that it’s a FedEx-run campaign. And they in no way explain any details of this “bailout.” So I look up some news stories and finally find out why FedEx is being so shady.

The short story is that there is no bailout, at least in the traditional meaning of the word. Instead, UPS is attempting to level the playing field with FedEx by asking the government to make FedEx abide by the same regulations that UPS does. Apparently, they’ve been operating under different regulations because of the fact that FedEx started off as an airline. FedEx is trying to argue that, as an airline, they are not the same kind of company as UPS. But come on. They both rely on planes and trucks.

The real issue is that if this change occurs, FedEx will be much more likely to be unionized. Under their current regulations it is nearly impossible for a union to form because it would require a vote from every worker. It’s much easier under the regulations that UPS is governed by. And if FedEx is unionized, their costs will probably go up, and in turn, get passed on to consumers.

First of all, no way am I going to support your attempts to prevent a union from forming. Secondly, explain to me again how this is going to limit competition? Right now there isn’t true competition between UPS and FedEx because they’re not operating under the same rules. Wouldn’t putting them on the same level increase competition?

Written by Lisa

July 27, 2009 at 12:38 pm