The Fight of the Pit Bull

May 7, 2009

I have been meaning to write this post for some time, and I cannot believe it took me so long to do. It is lengthy, but it’s from the heart. This is probably, in my opinion, the most important post I have ever written.

For many, the word “pit bull” conjures up images of horrifying violence: brutal dog fighting, attacks on children, blood, teeth, muscle, and an innate desire to kill, mutilate, and destroy. Public perception of this breed has reached an all-time low, swept away with the hype, hypnotized by the media.

The pit bull that I love is far from this common vision. The pit bull that I know and respect is a beloved family pet, an agile athlete, and most importantly, a best friend. The pit bull I fight for is an 80lb lap dog, a docile and gentle canine. The real pit bull is something we need more of in this country, and this is the real pit bull. This is my dog, Jade:

Jade&Jak

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DogTurnedPillow

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Jade&me

An issue this close to my heart does nothing but bring me to tears. I recently started volunteer work with a pit bull rescue organization in the city of Milwaukee. Our motto: Changing minds-Saving lives. And that’s exactly what we do. America has destroyed our pit bulls: they have been bred in backyards by uneducated citizens as a way to make a quick buck with no regard for the dog’s DNA, medical history, or temperament. No other breed has seen this phenomenon of such magnitude. This is the pit bull’s uphill battle, and it’s losing.

Breed specific legislation (BSL) is spreading through the United States to ban and euthanize pit bulls- all pit bulls. The media tell us that these dogs are evil, that they attack on a whim, are unstable and not fit to live in our communities. The sad fact is this: the wrong people got their hands on our pit bulls. Putting this dog in the hands of an uneducated and uncaring owner is like putting a fire hose in the hands of a ten year old child. Unless one knows how to responsibly contain and direct the sheer power and utility, consequences can be dire. This is not a reason to punish everyone for the actions of a select few.

The origin of the pit bull is hard to pin exactly, but the breed first came to America in the 19th century. Brought by the British (who yes, used them originally to fight), they soon began to understand the more humane uses for the dogs. Pit bulls were often used to herd and guard cattle (their high pain threshold guaranteed that they could withstand powerful kicks from the cows and bulls), assist with other heavy pulling/lifting farm work, protect against attacks from wild animals, and as general family pets. Since then, pits have developed a great deal. They are commonly used as therapy dogs for troubled youth, the sick, and the elderly. Many have become search and rescue specialists. One of the rescued Michael Vick dogs, Johnny Justice, helps children who have a hard time reading out loud in front of others. Johnny visits grade school and middle school children who practice their skills by reading short stories to Johnny.  http://vickdogsblog.blogspot.com/2009/02/behind-scenes.html

At this point, I should probably mention a little-known fact: “pit bull” is not a breed. This term actually encompasses SEVEN DIFFERENT BREEDS who are dubbed with this ominous name. Media stories that state a pit bull has harmed an individual never reveal what breed of dog was actually involved in the accident.

Here are some stats on the passing rates of “pit bulls” as a result of studies done by the American Temperament Testing Society:

American Pit Bull Terrier: 84.1%
American Staffordshire Terrier: 83.9%
Staffordshire Bull Terrier: 88.0%
Bull Terrier: 91.5%

Compare these passing rates with some popular “family” dogs:
Collie: 79.4%
Yorkshire Terrier: 81.1%
Miniature Schnauzer: 78.6%
Chihuahua: 71.1%
Overall, the dogs labeled under the “pit bull” category, earned an average passing rate of 88%, compared to an average of 77% for the other 122 breeds tested. Perhaps the public has been misled.

Pit bulls are bred specifically for their human-friendly demeanors. While pit bulls do tend to display aggression toward dogs, dog-dog aggression is a completely different category from dog-human aggression, and should NEVER be associated with one another. Many breeds display dog-dog aggression and is in no way related solely to pit bulls. The American Kennel Club describes pit bulls as a “friendly” “people-oriented dog that thrives as a member of the family”-a breed of dog “brimming with joy and enthusiasm”.

The reason that pit bulls are so people-friendly is actually the same reason the breed is so feared: dog fighters need to be able to enter a dog fighting ring and separate two dogs in the middle of a fight. They must be certain that neither dog will attack a human that gets in the middle of a fight. This trait has been bred into pit bulls since the early 1800s and is deeply ingrained in their DNA. In most cases, when pit bulls have attacked humans, it is learned that the dog had been trained by its owner to do so.

All this being said, I’d like to list a few FACTS that are little known to the greater public:
-Pit bulls do not have a locking jaw. Ask any reputable veterinarian, this is a complete myth.
-Pit bulls are wonderful dogs for children. Their pain threshold renders them able to gently put up with the rough play of toddlers and young children. They were even nicknamed “nanny dogs” throughout much of the 1900s. (Don’t put words in my mouth though- children should never be left unsupervised with any animal).
-Helen Keller’s therapy dog was a pit bull -The first and most decorated war dog in United States history is Sgt. Stubby, a pit bull who saved his entire unit in WWI. He is still haled as an American hero.
-Out of the 51 pit bulls rescued from Michael Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels, 47 have found new homes. Two had to be put down: one for incurable psychological damage, and another for a fatal physical condition. These dogs lived their lives in the midst of fear, pain, and violence and recuperated fully to find loving homes. That is truly a feat of resilience, strength, courage… and an unbreakable love and trust for human beings.

Additionally…
-In America alone, almost 500,000 people are killed per year by cigarettes
-Over 42,000 are killed in auto accidents
-30,000 are killed by guns (accidents, suicides, homicides)
-More than 200 children are killed by their parents (not including non-blood related caregivers) every year in the United States, according to the American Anthropological Association
-AIDS takes 3,000,000 lives ever year -Starvation kills 14,000,000 every year
-“Pit bulls” kill 3 people every year. Three. (And remember, “pit bull” is a blanket term which includes seven different breeds)

I think we have bigger issues to tackle.

I am an advocate for our pit bulls; they have no voice of their own. I am an advocate for the responsible pit bull owner: the man or woman who respects what kind of creature the pit bull is, who exercises their pit bull’s body and mind, who does anything and everything to make their pet an ambassador for the breed. I love these dogs and I would do so much for them. I beg all who read this to take a moment before judging this wonderful dog. Give a pit bull and his responsible owner ten minutes of your time, and I promise you will not regret it.

To those who are pit bull owners or considering a pit bull…
1. Please, please, PLEASE spay or neuter your dog. The pit bull population is unsustainable at its current rate, which is why so many pits are euthanized each year in animal shelters.
2. Adopt! Purchasing a pit from a backyard breeder is costly and only perpetuates the problem of pit bull over population. Decreasing demand will decrease supply (go capitalism!). Type “pit bull adoption [your city, state here]” into your Google search engine, and you will not be disappointed! Pit bull rescue shelters spay/neuter your dog, make sure they are up-to-date on all routine shots and have their dogs microchipped all before you adopt. Most of the dogs are given basic obedience training and are typically house trained before you even bring them home! The price of an adopted pit is about $250-$300, and this money goes right back to the rescue group to help future rescues. All of these medical procedures, if you had to do them yourself, would cost about $1,200. What a bargain right?!

3. Before purchasing a pit, be sure you can dedicated at least 45 minutes per day to exercise. These dogs are members of the working class, meaning they are high energy. They thrive on regular exercise, advanced obedience training, and being given jobs to perform throughout your home. Your pit bull is like Velcro, and you may never go to the bathroom alone again. These dogs don’t like being without you for very long spans of time, and need your constant care and affection.

Here are some great websites for help/support/information about pit bulls. If you feel you want direct answers, I’d be more than happy to answer any questions!

http://www.badrap.org/rescue/ This group actually helped with rehabilitation of the Vick dogs and is an amazing resource for prospective owners

http://vickdogsblog.blogspot.com/ Curious about the Vick dogs today? This is the blog where many of the adoptive families post their pup’s progress

http://www.pbrc.net/ This is another great informative site but can also lead you to an adoptable pit in your area! Click the “Adopt a Dog” link on the top right of the page, and punch in your city, state, zip code to find a pit bull rescue center near you. Be prepared to go through a VIGOROUS adoption process, as pit bull rescues want to avoid at all cost putting a dog in the wrong hands.

ROTC at Marquette University

April 1, 2009

Please read this essay before reading mine, because I have responded to this piece: http://www.nonviolentworm.org/NonviolentActions/ToMakePeaceStopTeachingWar

Both articles are long, but I hope you enjoy!

A response to Bob Graf’s essay, ‘To Make Peace, Stop Teaching War’.

Since I was a freshman at Marquette, I have always seen our ROTC program as an influential and positive presence on campus. When I pass groups of men and women dressed proudly in their military garb, I cannot help but ponder the words of Vegetius, an ancient Roman military writer, “If you want peace, you must prepare for war”. Construed narrowly, “prepare for war” means to build up strength with weapons and man power, but construed a bit more open-mindedly can mean something quite different.

According to Mr. Bob Graf’s essay, Marquette’s Center for Peacemaking does not seek to remove the ROTC program from our campus, but instead seeks to ban “teaching military values on campus” while still recognizing ROTC as an “academic program”. It seems counter-intuitive to forbid teaching while simultaneously tolerating an academic program. This would reduce Marquette’s ROTC, the Reserve Officer TRAINING Corps, to a hallow entity, prohibited from educating its members with the very values it seeks to promote.

Mr. Graf’s essay continues to call the four departments of military science that teach war and military values “immoral” and criticizes Marquette’s lack of control in regulating the departments’ curriculums. I personally cannot imagine a private university having the authority to exercise its own discretion over any other United States military training program, so I cannot understand how the ROTC program is any different. Members of Marquette’s ROTC program are, at minimum, eighteen years old. Those students certainly have the capacity to exercise their own discretion in choosing which classes and educational methods coincide with their personal morality. Marquette’s ROTC program is not forcing any students to take classes regarding war and the military, just as the College of Business cannot force Engineering students to take an accounting class, and the College of Arts and Sciences cannot force Nursing students to take a political sciences course. Students active in the ROTC program are voluntarily taking classes regarding war and military values, classes that will prepare them for situations that a future military officer will certainly encounter.

Futher, Mr. Graf insinuates that Marquette receives federal funding based solely on the fact that it is a base school for the military in this region. I feel this was meant quite negatively by Mr. Graf, but I see it in a different light entirely: by allowing discerning adults the convenience of fulfilling their ROTC training on-campus, Marquette receives federal funding that helps the university as a whole. That is certainly more reason to allow students, who have made a free choice to participate in ROTC, to train on campus. It is a direct benefit to all others at Marquette!

Abortion is the next point (?) that Mr. Graf introduces to his argument and states that teaching war and military values on campus is identical to allowing a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic on campus. Mr. Graf fails to recognize that the Catholic Church has a completely anti-abortion stance but does not take a similar “zero tolerance” stance to war. Following Mr. Graf’s logic, every ROTC student should also know how to perform an abortion as well as have one performed on him or her. In a similar vein if we were to follow through with Mr. Graf’s argument, our Gay-Straight Alliance should be banned from Marquette; the Walgreens on 16th Street should no longer be allowed to sell condoms or fill prescription oral contraceptives; and a Muslim Prayer Room should most certainly not be allowed in the AMU on our Catholic campus!

I ask all who have read his essay to not be bought over by the shock value of comparing Marquette’s ROTC program to the practice of abortion on our campus. The logic is faulty and the reasoning, circular. The ramifications of such an argument could also be more far-reaching that the ones I have mentioned above.

At his essay’s conclusion, Mr. Graf directs us to Dorothy Day’s quote, “It is best to disregard their talk and judge only their actions.” Many have clearly chosen not to judge Marquette’s ROTC program by its actions, which, over the past few years have included hosting a local Big Brothers/Big Sisters event, organizing vast participation every year for Al’s Run, and planning fund raisers for those currently serving in the military or for families with relatives in service. Even more insightful is this letter from an MSOE director who wrote to Marquette in January of 2009 about an ROTC cadet who helped an elderly man who had fallen outside in the snow, while other students passed by unaffected: “As if appearing out of nowhere, a young man dressed in fatigues ran up and caught the man before he hit the icy sidewalk, and lifted him gently back to his feet.  He probably saved that man from breaking a hip, or worse…I just wanted to say that, while it’s one thing to volunteer to serve to defend your country, it’s quite another to live your life – moment to moment – in service to others…I think it might be nice for you to know the kind of character your students display when they think no one is watching.”
(http://www.marquette.edu/rotc/army/student/SelflessService.shtml). The actions of this cadet speak volumes about his care for humanity, despite (or perhaps, because of) his understanding of values and the guidance he has been provided through the ROTC program.

Additionally, a friend of mine in ROTC (name withheld) has taken time to show me some of the things he has learned while in the program. He is taught essential customs and practices of Middle Eastern Cultures. He learned basic phrases and how to behave so as to show respect and kindness while in a foreign land. According to a lieutenant colonel of the U.S. Army (name also withheld), military values include loyalty, respect, selfless service, integrity, and personal courage. “Preparing for war” as I stated earlier, does not simply mean preparing for violence. It includes an understanding of other cultures and promotes health of mind, body, and spirit. Perhaps most importantly, preparing for war involves preparing to end a war as quickly as possible, particularly through abiding to those above-mentioned military values that some seek to tear from Marquette’s ROTC program.

Absolutely regardless of whether the war in Iraq is just or unjust, men and women who choose to serve in the United States military deserve the proper education to survive in a new culture and should not be forced to go somewhere else to get it. We are engaged in a war in which human beings are dying by the thousands, and yet many are trying to justify banning the teaching of military science on campus, as if that will decrease death-toll and increase safety. The way I see it, sending a Marquette student, a well-rounded individual who has developed in the tradition of cura personalis, can only be of great help in ending a war, rather than extending it.

As students of Marquette, we are called to be “men and women for others”, something ROTC cadets embody with their very lives. I challenge all who seek to ban war and military values from our campus to see what kind of individuals are produced by our ROTC program and additionally to learn a little more about what is really embodied by these military values.

Jacqueline A. Keidel

A New Blog?!

July 11, 2008

Within a few days, my Olympus Evolt E-410 will be arriving at my house. For those of you who don’t know, over the past year I’ve developed a strong liking for photography (due mainly to the influence and support of a good friend of mine, Martha). I currently have my photos posted to a flickr site (http://www.flickr.com/photos/throughjakseyes). However, most of the photos have been taken with a simple digital camera, with about 3mega pixels. The more detailed photos were taken with 10megapixel cameras that were borrowed either from Martha or my boyfriend’s dad.

 

Anyway, I am finally able to afford my own, and I couldn’t be more excited. I am definitely thinking about starting a second blog with my photos and possibly an “article” to accompany them. This is just an idea I wanted to get out there, so keep checking in, and I’ll be sure to post to keep you guys updated :-)

 

 

Till then, here are a couple of my favorites:

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An Anecdote

June 30, 2008

While treating myself to a mini manicure in my hometown, I overheard two women speaking qute loudly about the current state of the neighborhood, a low middle-class area with a very large Latino population.

 

These two refined caucasion women discussed oh-so-eloquently their disgust with the Mexican community. They’re low class. They don’t believe in education. They’re lazy. All of the wonderfully insightful criticisms you could think of were mentioned.

I sat in the waiting area so angered by what I was hearing. I couldn’t bring myself to speak up only because the two women looked about thirty and forty years my superior, and I just cannot disrespect my elders. Every time one of the women caught my eye, I was sure to portray a look of shock and disapproval.

I listened to them rant on. I was embarrassed to be caucasion at that point. I was embarrassed to be a white woman, to look like them. I was embarrassed to be in the same room as they were and even to speak the same language! I experienced a combination of emotions which I could not even begin to describe.

Soon, it was my turn to get my nails done. I sat with a Vietnamese man, named Tony, who does my nails better than anyone else I have ever gone to (so if you want to know the place, I totally recommend it). After softening the cuticles (wow, I sound like such a girly girl…), he sent me to the sink to wash and dry my hands. As I walked over, I passed one of the women who had been bashing Latinos returning from washing her hands. I honestly could not bear to look her in the eye.

 

When I reached the sink, to my amazement, I realized she had left her wet paper towels, lying in a fresh pool of soapy water on the edge of the sink.

 

I guess she was waiting for one of those “lazy ass Mexicans” to come clean them up.  Maybe the woman was just too educated to have to pick up after herself. Or MAYBE she was just SO high-class she couldn’t tolerate the thought of throwing her garbage into the trash can, located conveniently next to the sink.

 

Whatever it was, at least she’s better than those damn Mexicans.

Some personal reflections

May 21, 2008

I just realized that yesterday marked my 35th post, and the site reached 3,765 views yesterday as well. In light of these milestones (ha!), I decided to write a post of somewhat more inward reflection with a nice corny twist to it. I usually don’t express much deep, personal emotion/reflcetion on this site, so I am slightly nervous and good deal embarrassed…. So try to be nice with your comments this time around  ;-)

 

Most of us have probably heard the old saying: “If you’re not a Democrat by the time you’re 17, you have no heart. If you’re not a Republican by the time you’re 35, you have no brain.” I have been pondering this idea for quite a while. My mom used to tell me this every once in a while during my young teen years, and it enraged me. I used to think “Ugh! What a horrible thing to think! It is way better to be a Democrat.” Now that I am 20 and have a little more life experience under my belt, I am able to look at this saying a little more rationally, but not necessarily with less questions.

I feel I hit my peak Democratic, liberalist attitude at 18. To call myself a “bleeding heart liberal” would certainly be an understatement. Every ounce of suffering I saw cut me deeply and I constantly questioned why our government wasn’t stepping in to feed this family or save that fain forest. Compassion and empathy have always been two of my most profound characteristics (hence why I took “Veronica” as my Confirmation name in 8th grade [For you non-Christians, she is the one who approached Jesus and used her cloth to wipe the blood and sweat from His face while He carried the cross]), but some inward reflection has made me realize that these qualities have kind of… shifted.

While I would still love to see a hungry family eat or a rain forest thrive, I cannot say that I still believe it is only the duty of our government to remedy such problems. I’ll have to turn to my guy, Thomas Paine for some insight here: “Government is best which governs least.” We certainly need a central government for national defense/international relations, to regulate currency, and oversee interstate commerce, but why has the national it seeped into issues of abortion, gun control, and drug laws?

Looking across the country, many may argue(my uncle included, as we just had a huge debate about this the other day) that citizens have become uneducated, ignorant, and that people are naturally inclined toward selfishness. They state that the Supreme Court and federal government must act to protect us, that they must remedy the problems the we have created through our own shortcomings.

I cannot agree.

While I look across this country and see ignorance, hate, stupidity, and overall apathy, I simply do not believe this is human nature. We have allowed ourselves to become dependent on government, to let it make decisions for us, to let it do all the work. What happened to Plato and Aristotle’s ideal citizen?  What happened to the Ben Franklins of this country (for those who don’t know, he was one of twenty children, and his father was a candle maker/soap boiler)- the every day citizen who rises up to take the challenge and exhibit the qualities on which this country was founded?

More people could tell you the names of Britney Spears’ children than could name their state representatives. More people voted on the first season of American Idol than voted in the 2000 election. Yet we cry out to the courts to right the wrongs. We yell at government for not taking care of more of its citizens.

The privilege of living in a democracy comes with the responsibility and challenges of upholding it, and it seems like people are becoming more and more accustomed to sitting back and letting the big guys do all the work. I would not necessarily blame this on citizens though. A lot of times, people in power seek to make the Average Joe believe that he cannot take action and that he can have no impact. They aim to keep themselves in power.

Whether you are for or against abortion (I won’t be arguing that at this time), we should not run to the court system to establish this or that abortion law as correct. This is a job for our legislators, and this is where rights such as the First Amendment come into play. As a democratic republic, we have the right to voice our policy opinions to our representatives and get them made into law. The court’s only role is to determine whether that law has any CLEAR violation of the Constitution.

Today, we just find it all too easy to have a group of 9 people, completely insulated from public wants and opinoins make the law for us.

“If you’re not a Democrat by the time you’re 17, you have no heart.” This is true. We have to develop a very broad and general conception of compassion and care for others in order for society to function properly.

“If you’re not a Republican by the time you’re 35, you have no brain.” This too is true. Once our care for others has matured in a way that we can discipline ourselves to work through difficult solutions, we have developed a brain. We need to be intelligent and independent from government in our actions to help others.

We need to have a heart to love humanity while at the same time have the brain to do carry out our duties and responsibilities as American citizens and ultimately reach our goal of helping others. “If you give a man a fish, he will eat for a day. If you teach a man to fish, he will eat for a lifetime.” I believe that adage too applies to my argument. If we teach our children and teach ourselves to be educated citizens, we can help the destitute in any situation; we can develop laws that work the best for the greatest number of people.

I am certain that it is possible to have both a heart and a brain. While especially at this point in time, it may not really be especially conceivable to be both a Republican and a Democrat, I believe that by strenthening our hearts, we provide fuel for our brains, and while educating our minds we only increase our capacity to love.

I am accepting the challenge to become an American citizen, heart and mind.

Obesity: A problem too big?

May 20, 2008

Washington Post Article

Here is a link to a Washington Post article about obesity in both urban and suburban children.

As many readers know, I have done a few other posts on obesity and focused particularly on overweight children.

This article in the Post quotes parents and dietitians making excuse after excuse for overweight children, and it is oh so easy to buy into. “There aren’t enough outreach programs,” “Our schedules are so hectic,” etc.

My response: if you didn’t allow your child to become overweight in the first place, you would not need an outreach program. If you took the time to be a disciplined, interactive parent, you could do yourself for free what outreach programs do for a cost. An added benefit is that the parents, instead of a strange instructor works side by side with their children.

You don’t need to pay an outreach program to tell you what’s wrong. Why do you need someone to tell you skim milk is healthier than 2%? Why should you have to pay someone to tell you that carrots are better for you than chips; that going for a walk is better than watching television; that a turkey sandwich is less fatal than fries and a coke?

One parent stated that it is so frustrating when her son says “you’re a mean mom for not letting me have this milk shake. It’s not fair.” Okay, and whose fault is it that your son associates your love for him with food.

I spend most of the summer with my aunt and uncle and their two kids who are 4 and 6. Jacob, 4, is in soccer and t-ball. Katie, 6, is in gymnastics. Their parents have instilled in them a sense of self-restraint with regard to food indulgence. The kids regard french fries as a sort of special treat only eaten on the rarest of occasions. They do not drink pop- only milk, water, and 100% juice. They walk their children to school pending the weather. The kids play outside almost every day. They eat at least two fruits at every breakfast and two vegetables at every lunch. Despite my aunt’s full time job as a judge with DCFS and my uncle’s job as an attorney who owns his own firm, they find time to keep their children healthy and active. It requires discipline; it requires time, but their children are worth it.

Parents who claim they are too busy to prepare and offer healthy meals, physical activity, and regular meal times to their children, in my opinion, are not trying hard enough. There is certainly something in EVERYONE’S day that can be sacrificed for the health of their children. This should be an unquestioned fact of good parenting.

Parents: stop making excuses. Stop waiting until your child has high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and a low tolerance for physical activity. Stop waiting until there is a problem before taking action. I feel like we choose instead to pay for a remedy “after the fact” rather than put in the time and effort to take preventitive measures. WE ARE KILLING OUR CHILDREN.

Obesity is a big problem, and it starts with every one of us. Parents must be willing to take individual responsibility (and yes, even blame) for their child’s health and weight from the get go. It is far easier to instill and establish good habits early on than to try to rectify deeply-rooted mistakes later in life.

Some may point to the fact that I am not a parent- that I do not know the struggles parents face in issues such as these. I would disagree. I know the eating and living habits my mother worked diligently to help me with. I know that for this reason I avoid sweets, junky snacks, and fast food. For this reason, I take time out of my very busy schedule as a student with a double major, a part-time job, and the position as president of my college to run three miles four times a week. I walk instead of driving my car whenever possible. I eat until I am satisfied and I do not overfeed myself. I know how to live in a healthy way, and I know why I am able to make these choices- because my parents taught me how.

Once I am a parent, I will care enough for my children’s well-being to promote similar life style choices. I want my children to be happy and healthy, right from the start.

Do you?

Odious Oprah

April 2, 2008

Before anyone continues to read, I would like to make it clear that this post is going to be ridiculously one-sided. I hate Oprah. She does nothing for society. You can tell me all you want about her charity or whatever good dead you want to harp on, but how often does she do these deeds?

In 2007, Oprah was worth $1.8 billion. Put simply: When Oprah shells out a couple thousand to this or that charity, it’s like me pulling nickels out from under my couch.  She is not brave. She is not overly intelligent. She DEFINITELY doesn’t even have good looks going for her!

My grandpa sent me this link. It’s about “Oprah’s Church”. So the gist of the story is that she is telling people that there are many paths to heaven and that Christ is not the only way.

WHY DO YOU PEOPLE CARE?! Let her say what she wants and believe what she needs. It’s a free country. She is obviously just trying to get more people to pay attention to her and worship the ground she walks on. Plus she hangs out with that doofus, Tom Cruise. He is probably converting her to scientology, slowly but surely.

I mean, she does have a lot of money to give… she’ll probably become a church elder after about a week.

The comments on the video say things like, “Well, I guess she won’t be walking through the Gates of Heaven with any of us.” Who the hell are you to proclaim you’re going to heaven? That is the most self-righteous, pedantic thing I’ve ever heard. Man, get a life.

Oprah continues to say that, while in church, she was listening to the minister discuss how all-knowing and all-existing God is. She then stated that the minster said that God is a jealous God.

I dunno what kind of wack-job church you’re going to lady, but I can tell you that in all my years of Catholic-school-going and  church attendance, I have never ever heard that phrase.

Other than to tell Oprah that she is a dummy, we should all just stop paying attention to her. Stop buying her books. Stop watching her boringly redundant show. Don’t buy her magazine, her clothing line, or her cocaine products (joke?). Just stop giving her the time of day. Let her say and think whatever she wants. It’s not hurting anyone. She is vapid and self-centered. By paying attention we feed into her cravings for money and popularity.

Why in God’s name would you buy her magazine anyway? The woman can’t stay in shape. She can’t stay young. She isn’t good looking. Unless you are worth 1.8 billion you’re not going to be able to buy half the junk she advertises.

Pick up a book.

Thomas Paine’s most influential writings are now available in paperback.
How about Alex de Toqueville ‘s Democracy in America?
To Kill a Mockingbird
Boy’s Life
1984 is my favorite
Fahrenheit 451?!

Anything but Oprah! For God’s sake, feed your intellect!!

(Re-reading this post has made me realize how ridiculous it is, but I don’t really care. I’m entitled to a good nonsensical rant every now and then, right?)

What better time to gripe about the Catholic Church than the Easter Season

March 21, 2008

I was born and raised Catholic. I went to a Catholic grade school, a Catholic high school, and I’m at a Catholic university right now.  Thus, it’s become pretty hard for me to understand why I find myself parting ways with the Church on so many levels.

Perhaps it’s for reasons such as the Pope’s addition of Seven (new) Deadly Sins to the previous seven: abortion, social injustice, pollution, selling drugs, contraception, genetic engineering, and being obscenely wealthy.

Looking at the Church’s view of the fetus, abortion is not so far-fetched, but with the Church’s unflinching stance on “respecting life from birth until NATURAL DEATH”, why is the death penalty not on the list?
Social injustice seems ridiculously broad, but I won’t argue that…for now
Pollution though… As any of my regular readers will know,  I love the environment, and I think it’s important to care for it; however we can’t expect to  stop pollution on a dime (Does that make sense?). In order to find alternatives to pollution, we have to pollute. Research requires the burning of fossil fuels and natural gases, sorry. Helping Third World countries by flying food out to them (in order to prevent social injustice, mind you) requires that we pollute.
I don’t really have anything against the addition of selling drugs to the list. It ruins lives, but why isn’t using drugs, then on the list?
Contraception is an interesting addition to the Seven Deadly Sins. I feel like the Church might as well add premarital sex to the list, seeing as the majority of contraception products are used by non-married couples. However, adding contraception to the list seems to hammer home the Church’s already heavy-handed stance that once a married couple is done having children, sex too must cease. I see so many problems with this logic. We are animals, as much as the Church wants to deny it. Surely, if a husband or wife decides to follow Catholic upbringings and tell the significant other that they refuse to have sex ever again, couldn’t this encourage the husband or wife to have an extramarital affair? Wouldn’t continuing to have sex as a married couple only foster the love and intimacy marriage is meant to promote?
Genetic Engineering is a sticky subject. While the science is taking some actions that screw with nature, it is also searching for quicker methods to manufacture insulin for men and women with diabetes. It is helping scientists do more expansive research to study and cure cancer. We cannot make a sweeping statement and say that genetic engineering is all bad.
And finally… being obscenely wealthy too is now a deadly sin. Isn’t it possible to be obscenely wealthy and still be a good person? Donate to charity? Go to church? Love your family and others? Guilting people out of being obscenely wealthy is only going to serve to derail capitalism and turn us into a Communist State…. something else the Church is strongly against.

As confessions are on the decline, many speculate that the Church created these new sins to help up the number of confessions. However, one must wonder why the Pope hasn’t added “child molestation” to the list of sins. Perhaps because it targets too many of its own in ways that these other sins absolutely cannot?

You are absolved of your sins.

VH1’s Black History Month…It’s everything you’d expect from VH1

February 7, 2008

I’ll admit it, I’m addicted to “Rock of Love”. I really don’t watch a lot of television, but something about that smutty filth we call television has sucked me in. As embarrassed as I am, I cannot look away.

While skimming through the channels to see if any Rock of Love reruns were on, I noticed VH1 was celebrating Black History Month. Is “celebrating” the right word?

For anyone who’s watched VH1, its celebration of Black History Month was set up just like their other shows: A series of men and women are interviewed, and in between the clips of their answers/statements are pieces of movies and TV shows to illustrate their points.

Well I happened to come to the station just as various black comedians, actors, and musicians were discussing the image of the black man/woman in movies before the 1980’s. The statement was made, “Before 1985, if you were a black man in Hollywood, you could never get a job as an actor unless you played a pimp.” Another interviewee came up and stated, “It was basically blacks playing out the white stereotype that all black men are pimps and all black women are hookers. Whites couldn’t see beyond that.”

WOW. Hold on… just one second please. The stereotypes that whites have about blacks…Seriously?
I am as liberal as they come as far as fighting inequality, racism, etc., but when I hear statements that seem to be blatant hypocrisy and absurdity, well I just can’t stand and fight for the minority.

How many songs have been written with the word “pimp” embedded at any point in the lyrics? Dear God. I know nothing about rap and pop culture, but I’ve heard enough rap at dances and parties to know how often the artists in rap and R&B songs profess to be pimps.

“I don’t know what you heard about me
But a b*tch can’t get a dollar out of me
No Cadillac, no perms, you can’t see
That I’m a motherf*cking P-I-M-P”
-50 Cent/Snoop Dogg

“Wait I got a snow bunny, and a black girl too
You pay the right price and they’ll both do you
That’s the way the game goes, gotta keep it strictly pimpin
Gotta have my hustle tight, makin change off these women, yeah

You know it’s hard out here for a pimp
When he tryin to get this money for the rent
For the Cadillacs and gas money spent
Because a whole lot of bitches talkin sh*t”
-Djay f/ Shug

You know I thug ‘em, f*ck ‘em, love ‘em, leave ‘em
Cause I don’t f*ckin’ need ‘em
Take ‘em out the hood
Keep ‘em looking good
But I don’t f*ckin’ feed em
First time they fuss I’m breezin’
Talking ’bout what’s the reasons
I’m a pimp in every sense of the word, b*tch “
-Jay-Z

“Pimpin them hoes and put the b*tch on the track
And tell the ho to bring all my money back”
-Pimp C

The list goes on…

I don’t understand how the group of people on VH1, assuming that they are expressing the majority opinion, could possibly say that it was white stereotyping alone that kept them playing pimp roles in movies. Look at these lyrics! African Americans, by their own free will, categorizing themselves as pimping, degrading their women and selling their dignity for money. These rappers are PROMOTING THE VERY IMAGE ABOUT WHICH THEY COMPLAIN?! How can you claim to be kept down by the white man, to be disgusted with the image you have been given by whites in America, and still, by your own accord, calling yourself the very thing from which you are trying to shake free? I don’t understand… And don’t get me started on the things these lyrics do to black women.

To be honest, I almost started crying as I was searching for these lyrics. My eyes began to tear up. How can you talk about other human beings in this way and get away with it? How is this right? Why are black rappers willing to rob their own race of dignity, especially their females?

Ah yes…
The Almighty Dollar.

Most of my friends don’t understand how I can hate rap as much as I do, but there is my reason. I believe there is worth in every human being, and in my opinion, words like these rob that worth for all its value.

VH1’s charming Black History Month special continued with discussing the size of a black man’s penis. What a way to celebrate the solidarity, accomplishments, and advancements of the black culture by discussing the rumor of a black man’s penis size. Black men and women came on the screen making statements such as, “Oh yes. I am sure the majority of white women have fantasized about being with a black man… just to see if the rumor is true.” “Oh yeah, I’m sure white men are often belittled by our size. They know they can’t compete and wonder if their women would leave them for us for more sexual pleasure.”

This is the way you want to promote Black History Month??? THIS is the way you want to show the legitimacy of your race? Especially with so many young and old teens tuning in to VH1 on a daily basis, this is the opinion you want them to have of blacks? THIS is what you want them to think of when they think of black culture?

I turned the VH1 special off after this. I couldn’t take it anymore. Perhaps it went into details on the courage, honor, and determination of people like Jackie Robinson, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks. Maybe it mentioned the intelligence, talent, and skill of others like Oprah Winfrey, Muhammad Ali, and Maya Angelou.

If I am wrong about VH1’s special, please correct me. If anyone watched the whole thing and would like to point out my errors, please do. I honestly encourage this.

But until then…

“I know why the caged bird sings.
Ah, me, when its wings are bruised and its bosom sore.
It beats its bars and would be free.
It’s not a carol of joy or glee,
but a prayer that it sends from its heart’s deep core,
a plea that upward to heaven it flings.
I know why the caged bird sings.”
-Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906)

My Most Pointless Post

January 17, 2008

The boyfriend bought me the Signet Classic’s collection of Thomas Paine’s most influential works. I must now say that he has joined Ben Franklin and G-Wash (George Washington, for those who didn’t grasp that) as one of my all-time heroes.

I am so absolutely in love with the extraordinary beauty of “average” citizens doing absolutely wonderful things. Maybe I’ve bought into the whole American Dream thing a bit too much, but I can’t help it. Franklin was the fifteenth of seventeen children; his dad was a soap-boiler for crying out loud… now he’s the face on the $100 bill?!
Paine was just an average citizens yet he remains one of the most important pieces of the American Revolution. He was just a regular guy, but I am enveloped by the power of his language. His ability to articulate ideas eloquently, yet simply is amazing, and his insight is so advanced and wise.

I really don’t know why I am posting this. I suppose I just wanted to get these ideas out there. This really wasn’t political/social commentary, but it WAS an opinion… so I guess I haven’t strayed too far from my overall theme.

Anyway, here are some quotes that I’ve found particularly moving thus far:

“My country is the world, and my religion is to do good”

I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.”

“Lead, follow, or get out of the way.”

If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.”

“I believe in the equality of man; and I believe that religious duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavoring to make our fellow-creatures happy.”

“He who is the author of a war lets loose the whole contagion of hell and opens a vein that bleeds a nation to death.
^^That’s for President Bush.

I wish I could write like this some day…


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