Monday, December 22, 2008

Brothels, Protesting by Laziness, and Corruption

Several months ago I heard a knock on my door. I opened it to see my neighbor's 10-year-old-daughter standing there clinching a catalogue, a pen and some sort of registry list. I knew then that I had lost. It was a school fundraiser. So, within a few minutes, I had flipped through the catalogue and found the thing I most wanted (ie had any inclination at all to buy, since nobody ever actually wants the junk that places sell for fundraising), which was a subscription to "Time" magazine. After receiving our first issue, I realized that I had made a great choice. Blog fodder! So without further ado, here is my commentary on things international:

First off, in Geneva, we learn that too many children die from unintentional accidents. I would tend to agree with that. However, what I think is wonderful is that somehow the "World Report on Child Injury Prevention" thinks we can decrease these unintentional accidents. If they're unintentional, then how do we stop them, as I would tend to think that "unplanned" would fall into the equation as well. Also, I read, once, that annually over 1000 adults in our nation hurt themselves with a mattress or ceiling. Now, if we can't stop adults from getting hurt by the ceiling, then how will we prevent children from getting hurt in unintentional accidents? Aside from using seat belts -- which if you can get people who aren't Americans to use seat belts I'm pretty impressed with you -- how can we prevent "unintentional accidents"? Maybe in Geneva this is a good discussion, but not here in the USA where people are already way too overprotective of their kids.

Another tidbit from Europe comes from Amsterdam. I had the honor of being in the Amsterdam airport the very week that they opened their first airport brothel. It had the effect of making me think, "ewwww" the entire time I was there, and want to use a disinfectant wipe on anything I touched or sat on. Unfortunately, I didn't have a disinfectant wipe, so I just paced for several hours.

Anyway, according to Time magazine, "Citing its brothels and marijuana cafes as havens for crime (NO KIDDING!!! -- my words, not Time's), city officials in the Dutch capital have unveiled a $50 million plan to replace half of them with restaurants , galleries and hotels. Officials hope to broaden the city's appeal and make tourists feel less embarrassed about visiting."

I wonder if this little bit of information will be brought up the next time someone wants to discuss how it "works in Holland" in regards to the legalization of marijuana and prostitution. Somehow I doubt it. In the meantime, the Dutch get to pay for the $50 million plan to replace those brothels and cafes, and many more travelers get to go through Amsterdam thinking "ewwww".

Leaving Europe, I want to point out that, according to Time, the Italian government is putting up $65 million dollars to purchase 200,000 wheels of Parmesan cheese to help the ailing cheese makers of Italy. The cheese will be donated to charity. That got me thinking about the auto bailout in the US. I think if it was a cheese bailout we'd all feel better about it. Then we could all get free cheese. I guess GM could give everybody a free Chevy, but that's just like being given cheese, and since you can't depend on it, and you also can't eat it, it's just not worth it.


One of the more interesting news tidbits I found was "Calling in Gay". I have no idea if this actually happened as it was set for December 10, and I did go into work that day. However, an Internet organized movement to protest California's ban on same-sex marriage was to happen that day. Millions of people were supposed to "call in gay" to work and not show up.

Now, that's responsible! Not stand outside and protest, or gather petitions or write letters to the editors, or even write on a cheesy blog! People are just supposed to call in sick and not work. I guess the idea is you can protest by staying home in your jammies, reading your novel, playing video games... Wow. I think that must say something about our culture that there are people out there that actually think this is a form of protest rather than second rate relaxation!

Of course the other question that it raises is that if you're gay, does that mean you're sick and can't work? Hardly a message I would think that anyone would want to send. There's a fine line between clever and ridiculous, and they are clearly on the ridiculous side of the line.

My favorite, though, is Governor Rob Blagojevich, of Illinois. If you looked up the definition of crook in the dictionary, you'd see his name next to it. The allegations (which are backed up with taped phone conversations and other such physical evidence) include: conspiring to solicit bribes from many people, including the future President of the US, extortion, forcing the Tribune Co. to fire editorial writers in exchange for a tax break, and even threatening to revoke millions in funding for a children's hospital if they didn't contribute to his campaign.

Of course, he's claiming he's innocent. Of course.

What I think would be a just punishment for the Governor would be that he be forced to live for 5 years in a country where corruption of his type is the norm. However, he wouldn't get to live there as a governor, but as an ordinary citizen who has to live under the rule of crooks like him. Now, that would be justice, however, I'll be just as glad to see him spend the rest of his life in jail.

Not surprisingly, there is involvement with the Service Employees International Union. This is the same union that my husband was forced to join, and that sent a representative to my home late one night (when I was alone) who lied to me and told me he worked with my husband. He then tried to get me to tell him who I was going to vote for. So, it's not surprising to me at all that the SEIU is alleged to be considering Blagojevich's idea of creating a "nonprofit" organization that could pay his salary if he picked the "right" candidate for the Senate seat (ie a union supporter) and then retired from politics.

Well, at least we can be comforted with one thing. According to Time, "Blagojevich whined that Obama's people were 'not willing to give me anything except appreciation.'"

1 comment:

Mrs. C said...

Eeeew.

So, did you tell the union spy you weren't sure who to vote for yet because orders from headquarters hadn't come in? Truly frightening.

Soon they will ask you to submit your absentee ballots to them and they'll be kind enough to mail them in for you. :[