Friday, September 17, 2010

laughin', spinnin', swingin' madly across the sun

1. WHYY/NPR did a piece on my old neighborhood in Camden. I miss that place. It could be isolating and frustrating, but oh-so-full of hope and goodness. Every time I go back, I'm reminded of why I should have faith in humanity.
Thanks to Andrea for the link.

2. Because this crap about the "Ground Zero Mosque" (which is not on Ground Zero, nor is it a mosque) is driving me crazy, here are some voices of reason: Fred Clark, the Slacktivist, and Gus Bridi.

3. The poverty level in the US is the highest it's been in 15 years. The poverty line for a single adult is $10,830 and $22,050 for a family of four. This past year was the first year that I was over the poverty line, though I'm not sure how they count grad students (in 08-09, when I was in school, I was making $400/month. Student loans saved my life).

4. The Cupcake Lady! She is parked a block away from my office right now. And the cupcakes are good, man.

5. My parents are coming down this weekend, and they've promised to take over our kitchen and make dinner for me and my housemates. Yay.

And that's all for now.


  1. #2) I'm so glad you've pointed out the fact that it ISN'T on Ground Zero or a Mosque!! I keep thinking I'm going CRAZY because these are two things I figured out early in the game but NO ONE brings up.


  2. Yes. It's 2 blocks away from Ground Zero (which in Manhattan terms is a lot of area), and it's a community center. With a POOL. If I were a Lower Manhattanite, I'd be furious that some obnoxious idiots halfway across the country were trying to take away my chance to have a community center in my neighborhood.

    Plus, you know, interfaith dialogue is usually a good thing.

    Yes. "Bah" is right.

  3. Don't get me started on the non-Ground Zero non-Mosque. I somehow managed to stay lethally calm with my dad the other week when debating it with him, but I was furious. My dad actually thinks they want to build this center as a monument at a location of their victory over us on 9/11.

    I praise all the folks at Eastern who had the courage and wisdom to stand up for the little guy, even when they weren't the little guy. I don't think it really hit home for me until I realized I was gay. That's when I realized that people will fight for the right to hold on to their narrow-minded opinions in the name of "sensitivity" no matter what (We can't marry gay people in the Episcopalian church! People will be offended! We can't build anything to do with Islam near Ground Zero! People will be offended!), and that it's the job of a free and democratic society not to allow its mechanisms to be used for that purpose, but rather to establish and encourage a free and open exchange of ideas, regardless of how /offensive/ a group may find them.

    Are there no Miltonians left? Does no one believe that Truth is stronger than any lie? That a principle that withstands free and open debate is stronger for it? That you don't get free and open debate by only reading The National Review or by keeping Islamic centers out of our neighborhoods or trying to shove the gays under the rug, if not back into the closet?

    And Christians! Where is your faith? What are you so afraid of? EVEN IF all Muslims want sharia law (and fuck that shit--they invented the fucking university, they preserved and developed mathematics, they were the vanguard for religious freedom in the very dark period of the Middle Ages. If Christianity can go from being a repressive monster to fusing with Enlightenment ideals, so can Islam), and you really believe in Christ, then the best thing you can do is build a fucking church, not tearing down a mosque/community center/whatever. Religious freedom is a great and noble ideal, but you don't protect it by denying it to others, and if your faith is worth its salt, you don't need it.

    Sorry, I got started. /Rage

  4. Also, those poverty line numbers always shock me. I don't know how a family of four does it. We have three, and I make quite a bit more than that, and we're better than just eking by, but at the same time, we're not exactly rolling in it. We have 1 car and a small two-bedroom (not very fancy) apartment for the three of us. So, better than most people in poverty, I'm sure, but not enough to ever own a house or go on big trips or any of the things that are considered "middle class."

  5. Your rage is totally appropriate, I think. The non-Ground Zero non-mosque (what a mouthful) business frustrates me to no end, and you put my thoughts into words nicely.

    "Sensitivity" can be such a...weasel word, I suppose. Makes me want to ask whose sensitivities we're trying not to offend. Muslims were affected by 9/11, too; they died in the towers and lost people and probably mourned for their city. (Plus, it's a Sufi community center, and Sufis are rather non-violent, if I'm recalling it right.)

    And, yeah, the poverty line numbers, they're terrifying. I'm doing well now, having a steady job and all, but I couldn't support a family on what I make and pay back my student loans and all that.
    I remember being without a car for a while when I was a little kid. We lived in a very middle-class, blue-collar area. Certainly not poverty-level, and we always had food and shelter. My parents had a good support system if they needed it--and I think that's probably a lot of what people in poverty don't have.

    This is the point at which I sigh and throw my hands in the air: we're so screwed up.