Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bullies, Naps, Mothers, and Corey Bernardi

1. Dreamed about Kevin Rudd.  We're in a room.  Other people are there.  He has an iPod with Australian music (probably related to the one given to Obama).  He's going to show me it.  We sit on a bed so we can see it together.  At one part we hold hands.  I say something about the music being the music of his ancestors.  He might have been amused by this.

I know it sounds kind of romantic, but it really wasn't like that. The weird thing is I forgot about the dream.  Then I was thinking about my mom early this morning. I had a feeling that I dreamed about her, and I was trying to remember it.  Instead I remembered the Kevin Rudd dream.  

2. Read an article about the viral bullying video; watched the actual video yesterday.  I don't like violence, and I don't think it's the answer to our problems; but I will admit to some satisfaction in seeing the bullied child fight back.

I think it's interesting that the bullied child was older and bigger than the bully.  As an older sister, I feel a bit vindicated.   When there's a conflict between a smaller child and bigger child, adults often automatically blame the bigger/older child.  Or there's that message of well, YOU should know better.

I got in a huge fight with my sister when I was fifteen and she was nine.  I had learned something from her, and was horribly angry and devastated.  We both ended up screaming and crying.  My mom rushed upstairs and yelled at me frantically.  What did you do to her!!!!!  There was that automatic assumption that since I was the older one, I was the guilty one. 

3. Read Mim's post about bullying.  She refers to another viral Facebook thing.  It's a post that says, The girl you just called fat, she is starving herself and has lost over 15kgs. The boy you just called stupid, he has a learning disability and studies over 4hrs a night. The girl you just called ugly, she spends hours in the mirror putting on makeup hoping people will like her. The boy you just tripped, is abused enough at home. There is more to people than you think. Put this as your status if you're against bullying.

Mim doesn't like the message.  She says, This makes me really uncomfortable because there's an implication that it's the acts of losing weight, of studying many hours, of trying to fit the beauty ideal and of being already abused that make it not ok to bully these people.

I think I can sort of understand her viewpoint. There is NO good excuse for bulling.  I agree with that.

I do like the Facebook message though.  I think it's just saying we should pause before judging people. It's not just bullies who bully.  I mean a seriously messed-up cruel bully wouldn't even care if someone had a learning disability or an eating disorder.  They would laugh at the fact that someone is abused, or tell them that they deserve it.  I know, because I've encountered people like this.

But there are otherwise decent people who will judge and jump on an anti-bandwagon without taking time to think about what the other person is going through.   If they understood what the victim is going through, maybe they wouldn't participate in the bullying.  

4. Read article about companies using hemp seed in foods.   I think the article is saying that it's been approved in Australia.  I didn't get much sleep last night, so I might comprehend things worse than usual today.  Sorry.  Anyway, they say hemp seeds have more omega 3 than seafood.  That's good because I don't like seafood.  Plus, since I'm vegetarian, I wouldn't want to eat it anyway.

There's concern that people will get psychoactive effects from the food, and/or get positive drug tests.  But the food standard people says someone would need to take 8 teaspoons of hemp seed oil to do any damage.

Nutmeg too can cause problems, including hallucinations.  But people usually don't worry about that.  It's not going to kill you to sprinkle a little on your nutmeg; and most people aren't going to eat the stuff in huge quantities.

5. Saw that I missed something MAJOR when reading the Julia Gillard interview yesterday.  Julian Assange asked a question!  I probably saw the question, but didn't see who had asked it. I gotta go back to read this.  Wow.

Here's the transcript again.  

Julian Assange has a lot to say.  I'm glad he got the chance to say it.  Here's PART of his question.

In fact, we have intelligence that your government has been exchanging information with foreign powers about Australian citizens working for Wikileaks. So Prime Minister, my question to you is this: when will you come clean about precisely what information you have supplied the foreign powers about Australian citizens working or affiliated with Wikileaks and if you cannot give a full and frank answer to that question, should perhaps the Australian people consider charging you with treason?

And yeah. I DID see the question, because it's the one in which Gillard used her accent to defend herself.   I just missed the fact that it was Assange asking the question.  I feel a bit...negligent.   

6. Watched a compelling scene from a film called Jewboy.   It's about a Hasidic Jewish man who has feelings for a woman, and they talk about how Hasidic Jews aren't allowed to touch women.

It's timely for me, because Tim and I talked about Hasidism, the other day when we listened to the radio program about Muslims creating a narrative.  I said I don't know much about Hasidic people, so I kind of just see them as a stereotypes of religious intensity.  The same goes for the Amish.  

The film clip definitely shows a side of Hasidic Jews I don't often consider.  Although I did used to read Chaim Potok's novels; and I think he gave a fairly comprehensive view of Hasidic life. I guess all that I learned kind of faded from my mind.  

7. Read about preschool and childcare on the Australian Bureau of Statistics site.  The study was done in 2008, so things probably haven't changed too much.  But who knows....

Anyway, they found that 72% of children ages 3-6 attended a preschool.  75% of people who put their children in childcare did so for work-related reasons; and 29% did it because they thought it was beneficial for their child.  29+75 is more than a hundred.  Maybe people could choose more than one answer?  

Could children benefit from preschools and daycare?  Probably...if the program is a really good one.   In most cases, I don't think it's BETTER than staying home with mom or dad.  But it probably works as an adequate substitute.

The problem is many preschools and daycare centers are NOT good.  Today I saw an article about how one out of five childcare centers in Queensland fail to meet the required standards.

8. Read statistics about disability in Australia.  If you have a chronic condition, you're not alone.    There was a study done in 2004-2005. Seventy-seven percent of people had a chronic health problem.  Forty-one of children under fifteen had one, and 100% of people over 65 had one.  That being said, not all these people are suffering from severely pain and debilitating conditions.  Some of them are just near or far-sighted.  

If you look at it that way, it's kind of amazing that 23% of people do NOT have a chronic health problem.  Maybe they're just undiagnosed?

I actually think I may have looked at these statistics for a past post.  They sound familiar.  That's okay though.  I'm interested enough to read them again.  Plus, surely I missed something the first time....seeing that I missed whole Julian Assange thing last night.

The website says that 20% of Australians have a disability.  The ABS defines this as a limitation in everyday activities, restriction in participation in education or employment, or physical impairment, which has lasted, or is likely to last, for six months or more. 

Fifteen percent of these disabled people have back problems.  My lower back has been bothering me the past few weeks.  I can't say it's bad enough to restrict my activities. So it's not a disability. It's just annoying.

9. Took a short nap while listening to my Aussie music playlist on YouTube. It was kind of cool, because I could see how long I slept by looking at what song I got to.

It was only about 20 minutes.  I'm not very good at naps.  And like usual, this nap included my waking up drowsy in the midst of it thinking, I'm going to die someday! I don't want to die!

WHY am I so morbid during naps?

Speaking of death, I'm reading yet ANOTHER book that includes Euthanasia.  So I did have death on my mind before napping.  Still though, even when I'm not reading about Euthanasia, my naps usually include morbid moments of panic.  

10. Liked this bit from Mark Arbib's first speech in Parliament.   This was done on 3 September 2008.  That was my mom's 60th birthday!

Anyway....he says, In 1961 John F. Kennedy challenged the American people to put a man on the moon and, in just eight years, they met that challenge. If we reached a faraway moon in 1969, with computer chips that could not fit in a single house, then maybe in 2008 and beyond we can save our own planet with all of our modernity and advancement. It will be tough, there will be a cost, but what is required, now more than ever, is the political will to stay the course.

I think that's pretty inspiring.  It reminds me of the Spaceship Earth ride in Disney World.  

11. Read Cory Bernardi's first speech to Parliament.  It's from 2006. Bernardi is a Liberal Senator for South Australia.

In one part he says, I know of child-care centres in Adelaide where management were so worried about offending non-Christian children they decided to ban Christmas celebrations. As I wrote to them at the time: what about the right for a young child to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas? It is a sad day for our nation when to celebrate the birth of the king of peace causes offence. 

Now I don't support banning a cultural celebration, even if it's likely based on mythology.  But what is this with the true meaning of Christmas?   I thought most people had determined that Jesus was likely born in the spring.  And I also thought the true meaning of Christmas was to get pagans on board with the new religion. The pagans had a celebration in late December, and the Christians gave them something new to celebrate.  

I'm totally fine with schools celebrating this so-called King of Peace.  But then I wouldn't want Christians complaining the next week if the school decided to honor Dagda, the Celtic earth and father god.  

12. Read what Lord Wiki has to say about Cory Bernardi.  He's anti gay-marriage, anti-Islam, and thinks it's wrong for great apes to get rights while the rights of unborn humans are ignored.  

13. Read Bernardi's editorial on the great ape thing.  He talks about Peter Singer's book The Great Ape Project  I read that in college.

Bernardi complains that Spain might make it illegal to use apes in media projects and/or experiments.  We shouldn't care about animals whose thoughts and feelings are really not much inferior to our own; and instead we should be worrying about cell clusters.

Why are human clusters of cells so important?

Bernardi talks about Singer, saying He has also stated that “killing a defective infant is not morally equivalent to killing a person.” He uses the term ‘person’ to refer to a being who is capable of anticipating the future. So according to Singer, those incapable of ‘anticipating the future’ are worth less than those who can. And infants with disability seem to fall under this category. What message does this send to the more than twenty per cent of Australians identified as having a disability? 

Uh....I don't get it.  Is Bernard trying to say that this 20% of disabled Australians are unable to anticipate the future.  Yikes!   


ReallyI think there's a big difference between Adam Hills missing a foot, and an infant who is missing part of its brain and will never walk, talk, or get past the intellectual capabilities of an infant.

What makes it okay to experiment on an ape?   How is it different than experimenting on a human?

14. Read the first Parliament speech of another Liberal, and this one I didn't mind so much.  Simon Birmingham says,  You do not need to be Einstein to work out that continued growth using current resources will ultimately be unsustainable. You should not even need to be 100 per cent convinced of the science behind global warming to know that the environmental footprint of man across this planet must have its limitations. We need to produce more food with less; more energy with less; more fresh water without depleting that available to future generations; and, possibly, fewer people, or at least have a better dispersal of the world’s population. Again, science has an enormous role to play. It can help Australia continue to feed and sustain a hungry world.

I like that, except further down he speaks in support of nuclear energy. That's probably something that needs to be reconsidered.   


Lord Wiki says that Birmingham is known as being a moderate member of the Liberal Party. I can believe that. 

15. Watched a clip from the Julia Gillard Q and A interview...the part in which Julian Assange asks her a question.

16. While brushing my teeth, realized I need a break from the internet....ALL the internet.   I've been having strong (but fortunately fleeting) waves of depression lately; and I think I need to "get away".    So I'm just going to take one day off.  No reading the news.  No reading blog entries.  No writing my own blog.  No reading emails or answering them.  No watching videos.  Hopefully, I'll miss the internet terribly, and I'll be excited to get back onto it on Thursday.

17. Went to bed, and realized I forgot to post my blog post.  SO I had to get back on the Internet.  But this is it.  I won't be back (hopefully) until Thursday morning.