Sunday, August 19, 2012

Updates 8/19/12

Hello everyone.

Today I have a meeting with many of the other graduate students in my department. There's something a bit interesting going on, but I'm not going to complain about it. I came in with a cohort of eight people, all new to the graduate school here. Two are PhD students, the rest are Masters students like me. Well, our program has offices on both the 3rd and 4th floors, and this is where it gets interesting. I'm the only person coming in that spent a lot of time hanging out with people in the department before I joined it. I wanted to know who I could turn to, who was best to work with, and basically get an all-around knowledge of what it was like. I actually knew the department head's husband very well, as he is a linguist like myself, and spent many an hour in his office debating language change. So I found out that they put all incoming students on the third floor, and the fourth floor is generally reserved for students who are at least second year, most of whom are pursuing their PhDs. Imagine my surprise when I get my office key and it says I'm on the fourth floor. I am the lone incoming Masters student in an office full of advanced PhD students. I wonder why the department head put me there! I can't even ask her, because assigning rooms was one of the last things she did before she left, as I mentioned yesterday. I'm definitely not complaining, though. Out of the three other people in my office, I've had two of them as my Teaching Assistants, meaning that I know them quite well. They are pleasant, friendly, quiet, and easy to get along with. I'll be meeting the third one today, and we've exchanged emails. She seems just as nice. So, I guess I got lucky. I was placed in an office with serious students who, like myself, are more interested in studying and hard work than lazing around, talking, or partying. :) Lucky Kitty! 

Let's get on to the news, shall we?

-- [Kate] As I mentioned yesterday, there are quite a few people standing up for the band Pussy Riot, of which the members have been convicted and sentenced to prison time for their "crimes." Today, Kate brings us more information on the group itself, and why this prison sentence is even more heart-breaking. Two of the band members have young children that they will obviously be separated from while serving their sentences. There are four links with this story. The first two describe the band members and the protests that have sprung up to defend them. The third one is a Ustream video of the march in Chicago. The last is also a Ustream video of the march joining in with a picket line of hotel workers who have been on strike for years.

-- We have heard so much about police-involved shootings in Anaheim lately, that it can be difficult to imagine the same things happening in other places. It's simply difficult to believe that people could act in such a way. In Portland, however, officer-involved shootings have taken on a devastating pattern, with those targeted being the mentally ill. This article details the very recent death of a young man that police knew was ill, and many others who have perished at the hands of police.

-- This article from Al-Jazeera isn't necessarily Occupy, but it is important. The drought in this country has gotten to an astounding point, and food costs are rising. But are food costs rising as a result of the drought, or could poor water management be to blame? The irrigation methods used in the US are outdated and poorly handled, leading to water shortages. The drought has exposed some of the methods used, and Al-Jazeera goes in-depth to let us know what is really going on.

-- Conservatives are angry about the "positive press" being given to Occupy, and they staged their own rally as a result. "Occupy the Truth" was held in Cleveland yesterday in an effort for conservatives and Tea Party members to protest what they call the "liberal bias" of the "so-called 'mainstream media.'" They say that Occupiers' crimes are far from non-violent, yet their group is the one being painted as violent and racist. They then marched to the bridge where alleged Occupy members had planned to plant a bomb. (Yep, they're totally right. The media just can't stop lavishing praise on Occupy. Haven't you noticed? We're totally perfect and all exactly unified in our opinions. It couldn't possibly be that we all have our own mindsets, and some people take things the wrong way or do things that the rest of us would never agree to. Right? --That was sarcasm. I hope you realized that. -- Now, with no sarcasm, I have a question. Do they really think that we are a giant hive-mind and have the same ideas? It makes me wonder if they do. You usually believe things about others because you have experienced something like that yourself. So are they just one giant group of non-thinkers, who listen to and do whatever the leader of their hive-mind says? I doubt it. So why do they think we do?)

-- The last bit we have for today is an opinion piece that was written to the Santa Cruz Sentinel. It's a professor asking us a very important question. Where is the outrage? I'm not going to tell you much more about it. You simply need to read it. This man is eloquent and on-point.


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