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I have been reluctant to 'unfriend' people on Facebook because of political content they post.  Even when I strongly disagree with the positions they support, I worry that unfriending people will leave me in an echo chamber where I only see posts that reinforce my own biases.  However, last week I finally unfriended a couple of people because I found the memes they shared to be irresponsible and offensive (and because the individuals in question were people I was only distantly acquainted with...I have several closer connections that have posted similar items that I have not (yet) unfriended).

The meme that finally pushed me over the edge was this one:

There are several reasons this particular meme bothers me.  First is that implication that the individuals shown in the image are on welfare.  I see nothing in that image to indicate that these women are on any form of public assistance.  I can only surmise why the creator of this meme assumed this to be the case, and the only conclusions I can come to involve racism and/or sexism.

And then there's the proposal espoused by the language of the meme itself.  The first amendment protects the right of people to disrespect the flag as a form of protected free speech.  This was clearly established when the Supreme Court ruled that burning the flag is a form of free speech that is protected by the first amendment.  I know that there are many people who don't like this ruling, but the protection of free speech is only meaningful if it protects the rights of those who express ideas that you don't like or agree with.  What I find especially troublesome in this meme is that it is essentially arguing that those on welfare should have their first amendment rights restricted.  In other words, the benefits of the Bill of Rights do not apply to the poor.  This is yet another example of the disturbing current trend to marginalize and disenfranchize the poor in this country.

It seems that the war on poverty has somehow morphed into a war against the poor.  Rather than finding ways to help the poor escape poverty, we, as a society, increasingly seem to be trying to find ways to punish the poor for being poor.  The efforts in Kansas to limit the ability of welfare recipients to collect their benefits are just an example of how far we seem to be willing to go to make life more difficult for those who are most in need of our help.

Buried deep in our national psyche is the idea that hard work leads to success.  A consequence of this belief is the idea that the lack of success must be the result of laziness or an unwillingness to work.  These ideas are rooted in a Calviinist/Puritan Protestant work ethic which provides a noble motivation for people to put forth their best efforts in all that they do, but which fails to consider all of the other factors that can trap people in poverty.  The myth of the lazy welfare recipient who is milking the system is strongly held by many people, but in reality, poverty is a systemic trap that can be virtually impossible to escape from.  Instead of assuming the worst of the poor and punishing them for being trapped, we should recognize how limited their options are and find ways to help them escape from the systems that prevent them from getting ahead.
Rules and Regulations
A) People who have been tagged must write their answers on their blog and replace any question that they dislike with a new, original question.

B) Tag eight people. Don't refuse to do that. Don't tag who tagged you.

Tag! You're it!

[ profile] antof9 
[ profile] emperor_fool 
[ profile] katekintail 
[ profile] lizmopuddy 
[ profile] melydia 
[ profile] sirroy 
[ profile] skyring 
[ profile] wyldanthem 

If you could have one thing right now, what would it be? -- Enough money to retire immediately

How do you style your hair? -- Come on, I'm a guy.  I towel dry it and wave a brush in its general direction

What's the last book you read? -- Good Omens, by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

What colour shirt are you wearing now? --  light green

Are you an innie or an outie? -- You gotta be kidding me.

Do you nap a lot? -- No, but I'd like to be able to.

Who was the last person you hugged? -- my daughters, as they left for school this morning.

What, in your opinion, is your contribution to the world at large? -- Well, I did play a part in bringing two lovely young ladies into the world.

What was the last thing you ate today? -- A sausage and egg sandwich I made for breakfast

How long does it take you to get ready in the morning? -- about 20 minutes.

What Web sites do you visit daily? --,, plus various e-mail services.

What's the last movie you watched? -- Hogfather (on the satellite Saturday night).

What time is your usual bedtime? -- 10pm -ish.

What cell phone model do you own? -- A Nokia flip phone...not sure what model it is.

What is your favourite weather? -- Sunny, warm (but not hot), with low humidity and a light breeze.

How many pets do you have? -- one dog, one cat, two children.

What's the most recent dream you remember? -- I have trouble remembering any details from my dreams for more than a few hours after waking.  I can sometimes remember the emotions longer, but even that fades pretty quickly, too.

Where would you see yourself in ten years? -- More or less the same place.  I enjoy my job, and won't have reached minimum retirement age yet, the girls will still be in school (the older one in college, the younger in high school).  Retirement will be getting close, though!

What's your favorite genre of music? -- A single favorite?  My tastes are moderately eclectic, but I'd have to list Classical as my favorite if I'm forced to pick just one.

What's your favorite food? -- Almost anything that is well prepared with strong flavors.  I can't stand bland food.

Your result for The Classic Leading Man Test...

Jimmy Stewart

You scored 5% Tough, 5% Roguish, 81% Friendly, and 14% Charming!

You are the fun and friendly boy next door, the classic nice guy who still manages to get the girl most of the time. You're every nice girl's dreamboat, open and kind, nutty and charming, even a little mischievous at times, but always a real stand up guy. You're dependable and forthright, and women are drawn to your reliability, even as they're dazzled by your sense of adventure and fun. You try to be tough when you need to be, and will gladly stand up for any damsel in distress, but you'd rather catch a girl with a little bit of flair. Your leading ladies include Jean Arthur and Donna Reed, those sweet girl-next-door types.

Find out what kind of classic dame you'd make by taking the
Classic Dames Test.

Take The Classic Leading Man Test at HelloQuizzy

I can live with that result, though I was secretly hoping it might be Cary Grant! :o)

States meme

Oct. 10th, 2007 10:16 pm
resqgeek: (Default)

No problem...I could even list all the state capitals as well, if you wanted me to...
5 things I've never done but want to do!

To make this a little harder, your five things must be plausibly attainable. So no skateboarding on the moons of Jupiter.

My five are:

  1. Write a book

  2. Live for a year or two in Europe

  3. Go back to school and earn another degree in a subject I find fun

  4. Visit the great Cathedrals of the world

  5. Spend an entire year travelling the world
What kind of bookcrosser are you
Your Result: ring in bundles

They come and come. Ringbooks come in herds, that's what you say! You made a basket on your mail box, otherwise the frontdoor woldn't open when you return from work. You know your postman by christian name.

Playfull RBACKer
Love to meet
Talk of the toy
Obsessive releaser
Thematic dropper
lucky lurker
strange looking bystander
What kind of bookcrosser are you
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz


Jun. 5th, 2007 08:10 am
resqgeek: (Default)
The weird meme )
Each person tagged gives 7 random facts about themselves and posts them in their blogs (just like I did below), as well as the rules of the game. You need to tag seven others and list their names on your blog. You have to leave those you plan on tagging a note in their comments so they know that they have been tagged and tell them to read your blog.

1. I've never had any wisdom teeth.

2. In the 23 years I've been driving, I've only gotten 1 traffic ticket.

3. When I was 17, I was the cook for a small steak and seafood restaurant.

4. Instead of taking AP courses, I enrolled in a local university and took two semesters of college calculus during my senior year of high school.

5. I helped save a stranger's life in a mall while doing my Christmass shopping by doing CPR on her.

6. I missed the first month of first grade because I was confined to bed rest while recovering from Rheumatic fever. Luckily, I suffered no heart valve damage.

7. I had a story published in a regional Library System magazine when I was in fourth grade.

I think pretty much everyone has already done this, so I'm not going to specifically tag anyone. If you haven't done this and would like to, consider yourself tagged.
Lifted from just about everyone...

Click here to create your own painting.
You Are a Smart American

You know a lot about US history, and you're opinions are probably well informed.
Congratulations on bucking stereotypes. Now go show some foreigners how smart Americans can be.

I have a minor issue with the choices for one of the questions...none of them is exactly right, but I know which one they considered correct. It scares me to consider how many of these questions would be difficult for a lot of people.
Just click on the map to add your location (or, more precisely, the location of your network server).

Visitor Map
Create your own visitor map!
You Should Learn French

C'est super! You appreciate the finer things in life... wine, art, cheese, love affairs.
You are definitely a Parisian at heart. You just need your tongue to catch up...

Oui! So my high school French wasn't a complete waste of time after all! Tres bien!
What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Literate Good Citizen

You read to inform or entertain yourself, but you're not nerdy about it. You've read most major classics (in school) and you have a favorite genre or two.

Dedicated Reader
Book Snob
Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm
Fad Reader
What Kind of Reader Are You?
Create Your Own Quiz
What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Inland North

You may think you speak "Standard English straight out of the dictionary" but when you step away from the Great Lakes you get asked annoying questions like "Are you from Wisconsin?" or "Are you from Chicago?" Chances are you call carbonated drinks "pop."

The Northeast
The Midland
The South
North Central
The West
What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes
Change One Letter Meme

Change one letter of the bottom word posted and see how far the word gets. You cannot add letters- the word can only be 4 letters long. In this version, non-English words can be used if they are defined for us unenlightened folks, and slang is okay. You cannot rearrange the letters or use a word already on the list. Clear as mud? (ie foot can go to loot or fool, but not to foto). Copy and paste the list into your journal and add your word to the bottom. along with your LJ name. And if you're feeling kindly, post in the journal that you got the meme from so that person knows the list is growing!

[ profile] bookczuk chose the starting word: book

[ profile] bookczuk: book
[ profile] kairon13: boot
[ profile] resqgeek: boat