Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Rape Victim Jailed

Widespread availability of Plan B doesn't help anything in jail.

(Gasparilla is a pirate festival where Tamps goes Mardi Gras. With beads, parades, and a sea-to-land invasion, the city goes nuts celebrating pirates who terrorized the seas of Florida.)

Last Saturday at Gasparilla, a 21-year old woman was raped. She then took a twenty minute walk to her car and called the police. She was riding in the front seat of the police car when the police learned of two outstanding warrants for the victim in Sarasota County. The warrants involved the payment of restitution for a juvenile crime.

Instead of looking for her rapist, the cops cuffed her, put her in the backseat, and took her to jail. She stayed there for two days. No bail.

It gets worse. The victim was allowed a rape exam, where she obtained emergency contraception to prevent a baby resulting from the rape. Twelve hours later, when her next dose was due, a medical supervisor at the prison refused to give her the pill for religious reasons. In fact, the girl waited 36 hours before "media inquiries" forced the jail to give her the second dose. This is unacceptable.

The girl was finally released on bail. The police department is supposedly planning to increase the time allowed before arresting a person for an outstanding warrant. In any case, this should never happen again.
In this story, we have a woman who had her freedom taken away three times. First, her rapist took her power, her sexuality, her body away. The police then pushed her down even further, cuffing her and, literally, putting her behind bars. Then she was denied Plan B: the choice to control her body and keep away an unwanted child. I can't believe how insensitive these people were.

I'm trying to see it from the cops' point of view. Apparently, they arrested the girl on a sergeant's orders. Still. If anyone can give me the other side of it, it would be appreciated.


Just wanted to thank all of you who commented on the Electric Youth post. I only sought one side of the story through a documentary that was, according to the commenters, severely skewed in its viewpoint. Thank you for your input.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Wallstrip Debut

If you have trouble viewing this movie,
go to wallstrip and listen to Jason and I make fools out of ourselves for a pretty funny bit. Jason did the music, we did the vocals. wallstrip was just profiled in Business Week and they put out great shows. I've just started writing scripts for them. My first show is next week. I'll put a link up when it comes out.

The LTM Productions website is up. Not too much content yet, but we're getting there.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Electric Youth

I want an electric car.

After seeing the documentary Who Killed the Electric Car, I can tell you there is no excuse. I should be able to run out, buy a car, and charge it up at my corner station.

You have to see the movie. It's like a soap opera. GM kills their baby because it's prettier and smarter than the rest. How can it sell crappy cars when they have a cleaner, faster, prettier younger sister? And with Uncle Exxon-Mobil breathing down its neck, the choice seemed easy: crush 'em. Kill them and don't look back.

Ford lost 12.7 billion dollars in '06.


Update on the European BMI-ism. The fashion industry over there says "no thanks" and "you can't make us."

Spanish clothing designers are countering with "standardized sizes" in cooperation with Spain's Health Ministry.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Word Press

Okay, so BCOO is moving. I'm going to split the book reviews, comments, etc. into another blog. In doing this, I'm also giving a try for my blogging needs. Eventually, I may move this blog over there too.

If you're interested, the new site is Thanks!

Monday, January 08, 2007

I Got An 'F' in Starving

Well, it's a new year. Report cards are a memory and grounded kids emerge from their prisons.

Why are these kids grounded? The usual: an F in Science, a C in English. Oh, and a Body Mass Index of 95%.

Yep, that's right. There are some states and counties that give out Obesity Report Cards along with scholastic report cards every semester. In north-central Pennsylvania, the report is a folded piece of paper within the scholastic report card. It gives a percentage and, it seems, that's about it.

The BMI is calculated by height and weight, with additions in the juvenile BMI for gender and age. It means nothing to most people and is doing more harm than good.

Not only do children see a score of 80% and stop eating (see Karlind Dunbar, 6, in the NYT article), but parents are equally at a loss. How are they supposed to help their kids when the schools are doing nothing but hand out numbers? For lunch, iceberg lettuce, canned fruit, and ice cream sandwiches. For dinner? A letter telling you to stop eating junk (or, in the case of some, to stop eating).

from left to right, kids from the article: Cassie Allen, Holly Burgenson, and Karlind Dunbar

The BMI notes are not just for children. The reports currently go home with kindergarten through 8th graders. Next year, high schoolers will get the lovely addition to their current report card headaches. In a school district with a fairly healthy attitude towards obesity, these "report cards" are even more damaging than normal. They are creating insecurity and self-doubt where there was none.

And, on a personal note, the thought of being evaluated my entire life based on my weight makes me cringe. Can you imagine what that does to someone's self-image? Can anyone tell me what good this does?

Brief Note: I do think the BMI is a useful tool in some cases. I simply have a problem when a percentage is thrown around without context or caution. If schools/governments feel kids are overweight, they need to give them healthier food and more physical activity. A number isn't going to remedy anything.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Hang it

Alright. I'm jumping in.

Some of you know (and others have probably assumed) that I'm anti-death penalty. Yes, I understand that to some it seems hypocritical to be pro-choice and anti-death penalty (and pro-assisted suicide, for the record). Just as it seems hypocritical to me that others are pro-life and pro-death penalty.

My argument: shouldn't the "culture of life" apply to everyone?

Their argument: if you think women can decide if their *innocent* fetus lives, shouldn't judges have the right to decide if *guilty* prisoners die?

My answer to their argument: No! Prisoners are PEOPLE. Fetuses are not. Ah, yes. That is the ultimate hurtle - they believe fetuses are human, I do not. That's the most basic level of these arguments, and it is unresolvable.

(Begin blog here)
So Saddam died. And everyone saw. And I have a problem with that.

The video is disgusting (the pundits on the Slate Political Gabfest called it a snuff film). There is no reason we should see a man about to die. Yes, he did some terrible things (which we enabled him to do - but that's a different blog). Yes, he caused many people to suffer (so did, I'm not calling Bush Saddam, don't freak out). But does he deserve billions of people across the world watching a noose surround his neck? Do people need that? Really?!

But according to the Gabfest, people aren't responding in the way I'd expect. They are questioning our voyeuristic nature. They are wondering what right we have to bastardize this man's last moments. And this is a good thing in my book.

I think this lack of blood lust has something to do with the method of execution. A hanging looks far more brutal than a lethal injection. True, hangings went on into the 20th century and were largely a spectator sport, but executions in America are now largely private. Though we *sometimes* read about them in the news, executions are viewed by only a small, select number of people. And I think this video proves things will stay this way.

I don't think life is sacred, but I think the choice to live or die lies in the private sphere. (This, of course, does not apply to a fetus in my book because I don't believe a fetus is a person.) No one can make the decision to kill another human unless that human decides for themselves (in a sound state of mind) that it's time to go.

So the Saddam video proved that we are not desensitized to death and the thought of vengeance doesn't entirely obscure our humanity. It also, I just read, proves that children are influenced at times by what they see on television (read the article here). But that's yet another blog.