26 January 2009

California's Prop 8 Funding

OK, So I'm having a Twiscussion with this self-proclaimed geek from Salt Lake City, UT who developed a really cool social networking app. Seeing that he (and his company) were from Salt Lake City, UT, and knowing how the Mormons provided a massive amount of funding to support California's Proposition 8 I sent him a simple question:
Did you (or your corporation) provide any funding to support CA's Prop 8?
And thus began our Twiscussion (I'm coining a lot of new words these days ...).

I'm glad to say that Jesse has not provided any funds in support of Prop 8; however, in our discussion, he raised a really good, and valid, point:
[W]hat studies have been done to show there was money against Prop 8 in SLC? I'd venture to say none that are public.
I don't know about the money but I do know that there was a rally opposing Prop 8 in SLC last year.

So my fellow blogophiles, since I'm kinda spending the vast majority of my time dealing with personal and family issues, can someone else out there pick up the ball and run with this? Just how much money did come out of Salt Lake City, UT to oppose Prop 8 and how does that amount compare with the amount in support thereof?

Twiscussion: (c) 2009 by Peter C. Frank, a portmanteau of "Twitter Discussion" i.e., a discussion among individuals taking place over Web 2.0 / social networking web sites, such as the Twitter social networking web site, via (twitting) SMS-styled and lengthed messages. For example, holding a discussion via Facebook status updates, Twits on Twitter, etc.

25 January 2009

Slashdot | A Teacher Asking Students To Destroy Notes?

Slashdot | A Teacher Asking Students To Destroy Notes?

OK, in the (likely) event that I ever pursue education in the future, I'm going to make damned sure that I enter into a written contract with each and every professor/trainer/teacher, wherein I obtain an explicit permission that any notes (note: not recordings but notes I create of my own accord based on the information presented in the classroom/labs via lecture and otherwise) I take on the presentations made during class are and will forever belong to me and that such professor/trainer/teacher shall have no right, claim, expectation or any such expectation of having my notes delivered unto them following conclusion of the course/training.

Oh, and by the way, for the record, IANAL and TINLA (but I did attend law school for two years); however, in order to prevent such a thing from happening again, I suggest (in the form of friendly advice) that every student enter into such a contract.

On a personal note, I really would like to see the student take the teacher to court and sue for the return of his/her notes or, failing that, for damages seeking compensation for the student's time and materials used to create such notes. To me, there is an implied contract (with the educational institution that the student pays to attend) that a student would be able to retain their own, non-verbatim notes for whatever use they see fit. That has been the tradition of educational institutions for ages upon ages.

I believe (and again, IANAL) that the professor in this story stepped way over the line when she reached into the student's backpack and physically removed his notebook from his person. Again, TINLA but if I were the student, I would have filed a police report and accused the professor of robbery because, in essence, this is what she did.

Just my US$0.02 on an educational injustice....

16 January 2009

I've coined a new word: Webtivism

I just made a post on my Gather.com account and coined a new word in the process.

That word is


Webtivism is a portmanteau of "Web Activism." That is, webtivism is intentional action taken to bring about social or political change solely and strictly through the world wide web/Internet.

A great example of "webtivism" is the First Virtual March for LGBT Equality. In this particular case of webtivism, participants were asked to change their profile picture on Web 2.0 sites (e.g., social networking web sites such as Facebook.com) to one of thirteen different logos created by the web site, for a period of one week, in an effort to make a statement in support of gay rights.

I hereby copyright the portmanteau word, webtivism.

webtivism (c) 16 January 2009, Peter C. Frank

12 January 2009

Update on my niece's seizure ordeal and the John A. Coleman School & Children's Rehabilitation Center in Westchester County

You may recall that I last wrote about my niece, Jennal, in October 2008 when she had a really bad episode. I haven't really been keeping up with my blog lately but something just happened and I need to do a little writing to try and remain calm.

So at the beginning of the month, my niece, Jennal (pictured to the right) went into hospital @ NYU Medical Center in NYC. The purpose of this hospitalization was to induce her into having seizures, while she's hooked up to monitoring equipment, to map where in the brain the seizures are originating. Hopefully, once they find out where the seizures are originating, the doctors hope to remove those sections of her brain, provided that they're "unused" sections. Basically, they're going to do a partial lobotomy or something like that (brain surgery on a 4.5-year old). I don't think it's the greatest idea in the world and it's all very experimental but I'm not her guardian, and at least finding out where the seizures are originating from is a good thing.

They got three seizures recorded and all came from the same part of the brain. I forget where, exactly, but I can find out and edit this later. Right now I'm trying not to panic. The neurologists at NYU changed her anti-seizure medication a bit, as they found out that she has a lot of partial seizures. Don't ask me what this means; I'm not a neurologist. But the Epilepsy Foundation has a pretty good explanation of what a partial seizure is. Evidentally, this is the type of seizure that Jennal has most often.

So my sister sent me a text this morning that my niece was throwing up non-stop at school. About forty minutes later, she called me and said that Jennal had become "non-responsive" and so the school that she attends, the John A. Coleman School & Children's Rehabilitation Center in Westchester County, New York, called the ambulance to take her to the Emergency Room. I'm just like, what the fuck? Seriously, why didn't they call the ambulance after five minutes of non-stop puking? Granted, my niece now attends (and has only gone back to school) with a private duty nurse at her side but where was this nurse during the non-stop puking? I'm seriously going to have to have a little chat with my sister about going to see the attorney that I found.

OK so I just got off the phone with the attorney's assistant, with whom I've been dealing, to ask if the consultation fee of $550 could be waived, or if the case could be taken on a contingency or pro bono basis, and her assistant advised me that they don't do pro bono work at all and that a contingency fee arrangement would be "highly unlikely" but that she would ask and get back to me.

Why is it that only the very rich or the very poor are able to obtain legal services in this country?

In the meantime, I'm trying to figure out how I can get up to Westchester Medical Center Children's Hospital from Yonkers without any money. I hate not having a car/not being able to drive! :(

04 January 2009

Cadillac, It's OK to say "gay"....

This news story popped up in my Google Desktop Sidebar. What I thought interesting, apartment from being a Cadillac lover myself (my dream car being the 2009 Cadillac CTS-V--I mean, just take a look at the specs on that baby, and the baby itself (to the left!) ... too bad we all know I can barely afford a 1985 Yugo at this point in my life) was a statement made by Clay Dean, who is employed by General Motors as the global design director for the entire Cadillac division. In fact, there was one statement that he made, in particular, which caught my attention and serves as the reason for this particular blog posting.

You see, Mr. Dean still thinks he has to use code-speak in order to deliver a message; he doesn't give the average consumer or--in this case--the gay consumer enough credit to know that he's talking about us.

Here's the statement that caught my attention:
"For GM, it's our most aggressive brand," said Clay Dean, GM's global director for Cadillac design. "We want to appeal to people that set the trends."
Now you basically have to have been living in a cave to not know that GM's Cadillac division has undergone a complete transformation, which started approximately 10 years ago. Their cars are sleek, well-designed, well-functioning machines that look just as good on a person as a $5,000 Armani Collezioni Black Label suit.

But getting back to Mr. Dean's statement about appealing to people who "set the trends." We all know that this is advertising industry code-speak for "gays and lesbians." If you don't believe me, just ask Project Runway Season 4 winner Christian Siriano or--better yet--Google.

So apart from using bad grammar in his statement, this leads me to ask the following question:

Dear Mr. Dean, why are you so afraid to just come out (no pun intended--or is there?) and say the words, "Cadillac wants to appeal to the gay market because we know that the LGBT population is a consumer powerhouse and leader in setting trends."

It can't be that you're in the middle of America--you know, the great nation under which everyone is created unequal in the eyes of the law, is it? Forget the fact that, on the federal level alone, there exist one-thousand one hundred and thirty eight (1,138) laws, rules, regulations, and codes differentiating straight and same-sex couples. Speaking of which, that gives me a great idea for a song, and I'm going to have to consult with my friend John Raymond Barker about this ....

So please, will the real Mr. Clay Dean who works as "Global Director for Cadillac design" please stand up and just say what he means instead of resorting to the use of industry code-speak? It's OK to say gay--really, it is, and you might just get what you're looking for by coming right out and saying it, instead of pandering. I mean, who do you think you're fooling, anyway?