Saturday, September 29, 2012

Updates 9/29/12

Hello everyone.

This post is rather late today compared to when I've been posting. I finally got to sleep in for the first time in a few weeks, and I took advantage of that. 

So it's probably time that I let you all in on why I was panicking a bit and asking for positive thoughts. 

Sometimes, when you have a potentially life-saving surgery, your mindset changes. You get confused about the things you are doing, and the reasons behind them. For me, a major thought came to the forefront over and over again. 

Before I had the surgery, I was already having thoughts that Sociology may not be right for me. One of my professors sat down with me and we talked about how Sociology and activism don't really go hand in hand. You have to be objective, and if you're an activist, you have to PROVE that you're objective. While that objectivism (in my research) isn't an issue for me, proving it might be. We also talked about how, as a Sociologist, you need to be less focused on changing the world, and more focused on explaining it. I will be forever grateful to her for the honesty she displayed during that chat.

After the surgery, I had nothing but time to think. I became so introspective. I wanted to figure out why I had these bad feelings. Why I felt like I was doing something horribly wrong. I didn't know if it was sociology or grad school in general. I didn't know if it was normal to feel this way about your field. I didn't know. I cried. I talked to people. I called my mother at 2 in the morning, screaming in tears. Then... I figured it out. 

I needed to go back to linguistics. While sociology is a brilliant field, with great teachers and fantastic peers (I mean that, they are amazing), the actual CONTENT was not for me. I started emailing my old linguistics professor to ask her for advice and help. At first, she was more concerned with my health. Then she realized I was serious. She asked me what I wanted to do, and I told her. She said it would be difficult. I need to make lots of calls, fill out forms and applications, and before all that, the department needs to be willing to accept me. The Director was leaving town the next day, which made things even harder.

My advisor caught up to her before she left. The Director is the one who has to sign the forms saying they will accept me, and my funding. BIG DEAL. If I don't get funding, I don't get school Simple as that. The Director listened to what my advisor had to say, then came up with a plan. A faculty meeting was scheduled for that day. Even though the Director couldn't be there, she said that the advisor should bring it up in the meeting, and she would go along with whatever the faculty decided. They had the meeting that afternoon.

Not one faculty member objected to my return to the field.

So now I'm working on paperwork, applications, phone calls, and the like. I will be starting up in linguistics next week. I have a lot of catching up to do, but it's worth it.

I don't feel panicked or wrong anymore.

Let's get to the news.

-- [Chuck] Just last night in the Gateway to the West (aka St. Louis) the Mayor announced that the city will be taking drastic measures to curb the recent rise in youth violence. He is instituting a city-wide curfew, city-wide dress code, and arrests for anyone who violate these or loiter in certain locations. There will be no warnings for these kids, just arrests. The mayor addressed concerns about the Constitution by saying that the recent upswing in violence constitutes probable cause (no, it doesn't), that the extreme measures are justified (nope), and that anyone walking, riding a bicycle, or driving a car will be searched and must have a state ID (so not legal, I think my head is going to implode.) Minors who violate curfew or are seen out during school hours will be arrested on sight. 

That's it. I've lost it. You ready for a rant? Here's a rant:

What on Earth makes this man and his fellow leaders think that they are justified in violating the Constitution? Seriously?! The law states that you must have probable cause for a search, and a sweeping remark about the rise in violence in a city does NOT constitute that for any individual, no matter how you attempt to interpret it. It just doesn't make sense. I understand the severity of the situation. I live only a few hours from St. Louis now, and my hometown is less than an hour away. I used to visit St. Louis all the time. The violence is a problem. But is arresting every home-schooled child sent to the store for a gallon of milk, or every teen who stays home to help Mom with a sick brother and runs out to grab medicine going to fix the problem? NO. Is arresting every person wearing Crimson or Royal Blue going to make it so no one joins gangs? If you think the answer to that is yes, you've got some serious logic issues. These teens can't even be out after 10 p.m. on any day of the week now. Nada. If you have a job that runs late, you better get your ass home before the cops see you, or you're in a gang and going to jail, no questions asked, no reasons accepted. This is not going to fix anything. In fact, it's going to clog the court systems. Massive amounts of searches will be declared unconstitutional and thrown out. Police budgets will skyrocket as these already overworked officers are now forced to arrest not only criminals, but a kid waiting for their ride home on the street corner. This has to be one of the most faulty decisions for stopping crime that I have ever seen. ARG.

-- After the charges were dropped against the hundreds in Chicago in a park, multiple articles came out describing what was going on. Now the Mayor, Rahm Emanuel, is having a bit of a fit. He says they are appealing the ruling, saying that the judge was comparing "apples and oranges" when he decided the case after concluding that Occupiers were arrested but President Obama's rally attendees were not. The mayor believes the ruling will be reversed.

-- [Chuck] A lot of banks are hypocritical, but this story may take the cake. Wells Fargo advertises heavily to the Latino/a population, with one of their prized points being that you do not need an ID to open an account. That potentially gives undocumented immigrants a chance to safely store their money until they find a way to achieve citizenship. But one man pulled his money out of Wells Fargo as soon as he found out what the bank was actually doing. The problem? Wells Fargo caters to immigrants, but also heavily invests in the private prisons that detain those same undocumented immigrants, making a hefty profit. 

-- Occupy Albany's case for Free Speech in a public park was rejected by a federal court and sent back to a lower one. The judge rejected the motion that the First Amendment violations make it a federal case, saying that his court lacks "original jurisdiction" in the matter, among other reasons.

-- Tom Morello. Serj Tankien. Tim McIlrath. What do these three men have in common? Plenty. First, (They're awesome) they all are in bands that regularly write protest songs of many different forms. Second, they are well known individuals in the Punk-ish Rock-ish scene. And third, they all got together to write a song as a gift for Occupiers. Their new protest anthem "We Are the 99 Percent" can be found at the link, for free. 


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