19 July, 2006

Traditional Media vs New Media: They just don't get it

I just posted this comment on The Malcontent web site, about a little spiff that they're having with a certain very famous person's ("VFP") legal team, because this certain VFP's legal counsel doesn't think it's a good idea for people to be writing about this certain VFP, especially when such writings aren't in the most favourable light.

What were some of those sayings about bad publicity?

There is no such thing as bad publicity except your own obituary. Brendan Behan, Irish author & dramatist (1923 - 1964)

The only bad publicity is NO publicity. P.T. Barnum.

Here's my post:
Given this kind of behavior, I think you should remove all references to the person in question, and whenever you write about her, just refer to her as "the person in question." Don't display her name on your site, and definitely don't link to any of her web sites. Why give her the free publicity?

This sort of 19th century thinking is exactly why the ventures being proferred by the people retaining this type of backwards thinking will fail. There have been a number of cases lately where traditional media just doesn't get the web, including a spiff between GM and the New York Times, a series of criticisms over the New York Times's criticism of online sociology, and others.

So, I think it'd be best if we all just ignore the person in question.

The Malcontent - Reviled By Many, Respected By Few » Never Pick Fights With Women Who Buy Pudding By the Barrel

Oprah Says She's Not Gay -- Yeah, Right

OK, I'm with Kathy Griffin on this one. I mean, what with Oprah Winfrey's BFF relationship with Gayle King, and all of their reported travelling and expeditions together ... mmmm-kay.

The blogosphere, of course, isn't buying it, either:

No real woman who has a man totes her "best girlfriend" to every darn thing, to EVERY very special event, etc. - TMZ.com

Headline of the Week: "Oprah: Gayle And I Are Friends, Not Lesbian Lovers" - Perezhilton.com (considering why Perez Hilton chose this as the headline of the week, I think it's pretty obvious what he really thinks of her statement....)

What do you mean there isn't a definition? Hello, it's called BFFs with benefits. - Jossip

More to come ....

Oprah Says She's Not Gay


18 July, 2006

GW Bush Is Always Good For A Laugh

I received this from a friend via e-mail:
Donald Rumsfeld was giving the president his daily briefing.
He concluded by saying: "Yesterday, 3 Brazilian soldiers were killed."

"OH NO!" the President exclaimed. "That's terrible!"
His staff sat stunned at this display of emotion, nervously watching
as the President sat, head in hands.

Finally, the President looked up and asked, "How many is a brazillion?"

(This is what happens when we elect a President who was able to garner only a 'C' average at Yale....)

17 July, 2006

A Letter To My Congressional Representative on the proposed Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment

This is a letter that I sent to my Congressional Representative, U.S. Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey, regarding my position on the proposed constitutional amendment seeking to ban same-sex marriage, which is up for a vote tomorrow:
[17 July, 2006]

Dear Congresswoman Lowey:

I understand that a vote is upcoming tomorrow on an amendment to the United States Constitution that would define marriage as existing only between one man and one woman. As one of your constituents, I strongly urge you to vote against this hateful amendment, as love, and families, are found in many different forms other than the quote-unquote traditional one-man-one-woman relationship.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of, inter alia, sex and religion. Prohibiting marriage (which is a fundamental right, (Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1, 1967)) because both couples seeking marriage are of the same sex violates this provision, and a Constitutional Amendment prohibiting marriage on this basis flies in the face of the spirit of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Additionally, some religions allow for same-sex marriage. How can the US Government advise certain religions that their marriages are not to be recognized under U.S. law, while others will be? To me, this is the very definition of "discrimination."

Again, I strongly urge you to vote against this heinous amendment. I remember your vote in favor of DOMA back in 1996, and am still disappointed by it and your performance in favor of affording the same basic, civil rights to all citizens of our nation, regardless of their sexuality.

Thank you for your time and kind cooperation.
I just came across the fact that my congressional representative (Nita M. Lowey) did not vote on H.R. 3313, which limits federal court jurisdiction regarding challenges to the DOMA law, in essence stripping the courts of jurisdiction to hear such challenges to DOMA.

I've basically come to the conclusion that, like most politicians, Congresswoman Lowey doesn't want to take a strong stand and risk alienating anyone and therefore will just avoid the issue completely. To the best of my knowledge, she hasn't spoken out in favor (except in arenas where such speeches would be well-received, such as LGBT fundraisers) of the right of same-sex couples to marry. Of course, neither has she stated that she is against it. It would be nice, for once, to have a political representative come out and state, in public, and in a general public forum, of their support for same-sex marriage rights.

But by not coming out, in public, on one side of the issue or the other, she has, in fact, alienated at least one of her constituents -- namely, me!

No matter what side of the issue you're on (although I do hope you're on the side of justice and equality), please contact your Congressional Representatives to let them know how you feel!

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QOTD / Being Homeless in Westchester County / Not worth growing older

"Decide? Some things in life you don't get to decide. Some things ... just happen."

--Ida Perkins
, 1988

(character played by actress Herta Ware
on the 80s hit sit-com The Golden Girls in the
"Brother Can You Spare That Jacket?" episode)

Other things that Ida said during the episode (paraphrased -- I can't remember them exactly, if anyone else can, please leave a comment!):

I didn't know that growing old would be such a curse.

Nobody told me that it takes money to grow old.

Given my life over the past year, and over the past five years or so, it's no wonder I identify so strongly with Ida Perkins.

I didn't get to decide to become homeless. I was kicked out of my home by my Uncle. Of course, nevermind the fact that my home is owned by my grandfather, not my Uncle (who lives in Wilmington, MA). But my Uncle supposed is a certified psychiatric nurse in the state of Massachusetts and has convinced my grandfather that it is for the best.

Never mind the fact that because of what my uncle did, I have to re-start the application process to get housing, which is almost non-existent in Westchester County. A New York Times article on the state of affordable/low-cost housing in Westchester County stated,
Our concern is that in the last few years affordable housing has disappeared off the radar screen.
There also have been a number of lawsuits against Westchester County regarding its lack of affordable and low-cost housing. The County even acknowledges the housing crisis (on its web site):
The lack of housing for working families with financial restrictions (our young people, our older residents, the employees of our corporations and our teachers, police and firefighters) - is one of the most critical issues facing our County.

So exactly what has been done about the housing crisis in Westchester County? To the best of my knowledge, and from my own personal experiences, not much. The 2005 Westchester County Databook, Housing Edition (note: Housing Edition is an Adobe Acrobat (PDF) file), holds the following information:

The Average Median Income for a 1-person household as of January 30, 2004 was $65,400. The reason that this figure is important is because it's used to determine eligibility for Section 8 housing. Westchester County has a web page that explains the eligibility and requirements for Section 8. Since Section 8 pays only 70% of the monthly rent, and in 2004, the average monthly rent for a studio apartment was $960, that means that the most that Section 8 will cover for a studio apartment in Westchester County is $672. Consider that studio apartments are quite rare in Westchester, and even then, one normally would pay more than $960/month for it, but Section 8 still covers only up to $672/month, so if one finds a studio apartment in Westchester for around $1100, and one is eligible for Section 8, one still must ay $428/month, and that's just the rent!

Add in electricity (the New York City region has the highest electric rates out of any municipality in the nation,( see the NYC Comptroller's report (PDF) and this lawsuit filed by the NYS Attorney General) and other utilities, and those on limited incomes are easily paying close to $1,000/month for subsidized housing. Considering that most people on limited incomes earn around $1,000/month, how can this be considered "affordable"?

In my case, I earn $1,155/month from Social Security Disability. Out of this, I pay $88/month for Medicare health coverage (and I still have to pay at least 20% of my health provider's bills, in addition to any amount that Medicare does not cover), as well as around $40/month for my Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Coverage. That least me with a whopping $1,027/month. Out of that, I pay around $100 for my phone, $300 for car insurance. Add in gasoline for my car (currently at around $3.55/gallon), and I'm spending around $600/month for basic bills. That leaves me with $400/month to spend on rent, and food. I spend about $100/week on food and prescription drugs (I still have to pay for a portion of my prescription drugs, even though I now pay $40/month for "prescription drug coverage" from Medicare -- what a ripoff!!!!) (I don't get any assistance for food, and I'm not eligible for any, but more on that later), so that leaves me with $0 for rent. Fun stuff, right?

Quite honestly, I really would be better off dead. Ida Perkins had it right -- it's not worth it to grow old, or to get any older.

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16 July, 2006

I Miss Grandma

My grandmother died four years ago, today. I miss her. I doubt very much that I would be in the predicament that I'm current in were she still alive, today.

She died while I was in the hospital, so I never got to see her or say goodbye. She had fallen down in the house and broken some bones. She went to Greenwich Hospital, even though I had begged her to come to Westchester Medical Center, where I was (I was in for my depression/suicide, but at least I would have been able to see her). So Greenwich sent her to a nursing home for rehab, and they sent her to King Street Nursing Home. She had an aneurysm early in the morning, after a nurse came in and gave her her medications.

I really miss her, and wish I could be with her right now.