We’ve come a long way since that ad above might have been acceptable. If it, or anything similar to it, were reproduced today, well, it’s pretty obvious that the backlash would be indescribable. There was a time when women weren’t allowed to speak in public, vote, or to work where men worked. Just this past election, a woman ran for the office of President. Times have changed and women are slowly, but surely, being recognized as equal to men. Or are they? Does sexism still exist when women can hold public office, lead companies as executives, fly into space, and serve as some of the most respected and iconic figures of our time? I was sparked to write this after reading a brief post on feminism from a site, appropriately enough, called Superfem. (Since a particular post moved me to writing this, I might be referencing it a few times and offer my opinions and disagreements.) The answer to the question about sexism is yes. Yes, sexism still exists and it’s much worse than we think.

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Okay, so here’s the plan. You know that gazillion dollars (actual dollar amount adjusted for ridiculousnessocity) going to AIG for bonuses? The New York Times says we should totally pay them! Why? Well, it’s in the contracts! It wouldn’t bode well for other agencies and institutions if we started breaking these contracts for frivolous reasons (you know, like a shitty economy and a depressing financial climate caused by said agencies and institutions). So, if I hired someone to do some house sitting for me and I promised them $100 for it, I should have to pay it – no matter what. If my house is burned down by the house sitter by accident, I’ll pay anyway. A promise is a promise, right?

Thank heaven for The New York Times. For a second there, I was beginning to think that bonuses were typically performance based or a reward for performance – not a contractual obligation. So, if you fuck up somewhere along the road, maybe a bonus should be reconsidered. I guess you learn something new every day.

NYT also says we should pay because AIG, the ones responsible for a good chunk of the current financial hiccup, might be able to fix the problem. That’s right – the ones who caused a great deal of headaches are the same professionals that are best suited to get us out of this mess. We have every incentive to pay them these bonuses! Do you remember the house sitter who burned my house down? I should give him or her way more money to fix it and hope he or she doesn’t burn it down again in the future.

Get this garbage from Ed Liddy, AIG’s installed chief exec:

“We cannot attract and retain the best and brightest talent to lead and staff the company if employees believe that their compensation is subject to continued and arbitrary adjustment by the U.S. Treasury.”

Sweetness. Now do you see what I mean? Feeding these giants with taxpayer money is an absolute necessity and the evil government is arbitrarily adjusting their compensation. We don’t need to know what he means by arbitrary because to ask would be, well, arbitrary. Right? It’s only $165 million. Just let them have it already.

Remember, the executives who will be receiving $3 million each also have families to feed and children to send to college. Liberals need to stop their selfishness.

I just had to post this picture because it made me laugh so hard. It’s great.

It’s 3:17 a.m. as I write this and I’m guessing it will be about 3:40 a.m. when I’m done. We’ll see. I can’t sleep, which is unusual, and I’m hungry but too tired to eat. I’m also thinking that what I’m about to write won’t make any sense at all, but I’ll take a stab at it.

I’ve been reading a few things online and thinking a lot. Mostly, it’s about attention spans and intelligence or what is perceived as intelligent these days. It seems like the Internet might be hurting intelligence or maybe a very specific kind of intelligence.

I like to read a lot. I’m going from one book to the next and I feel like I can’t have enough material around, so I surround myself with books and magazines. You know, to feel safe. I’ve been this way for the last seven or eight years – before that, I mostly read magazines and books required for school. Now, I like non-fiction. Some of my favorite authors are Steven Pinker, Christopher Hitchens, Carl Sagan and Richard Dawkins. I am not a big fan of fiction, but I’m trying to get into it. Oh, and I absolutely do not like Malcolm Gladwell. I think he’s a fraud and anyone who thinks he’s clever is intellectually bankrupt. I read his two books and I can see exactly why they wowed the double-digit IQs of America.

Every so often, I don’t mind the 300-words-or-less articles or blogs. Brevity is so championed these days, but I think it’s because of the Internet and how it’s ruining everyone’s attention span and intelligence. It’s affecting me, too. I find it increasingly difficult to get through a few chapters in a book in one sitting or to read a feature (which could be several pages long) from a magazine like The New Yorker. Even in my writing, I’ve found that blogging, something I do for a few sites, has hurt my ability to read and write pieces that do more than summarize an issue.

Short articles, brief videos, and snippets of information overload the Internet and our minds. It seems anything that requires mental effort is a major deterrent for most people. Maybe I should make this blog entry really long so that most of you readers will go away.

Speaking of informational snippets, I find it hilarious when people try to make themselves sound intelligent or enlightened because they have an RSS feed. Good for fucking you! Yes, let’s talk politics or technology and enlighten or humiliate each other based on who’s read the most blogs. Please, impress me with your knowledge acquired from skimming through your Google Reader and the hundred word blogs you’ve written yourself based on scant info. Better yet, let everyone know how pretentious you are by writing about it on Twitter and linking to it.

What I love to do is sit and watch sometimes. Blog worlds are set on fire when tantalizing news hits the wire and everyone goes crazy talking about whatever is currently hot. Whether it’s true or not, it doesn’t matter; the hive mind is already at work into setting the “facts” into stone. Real smart. But what I love most are the people who decided to take two minutes to think about the news and decide its wrong and then tell everyone why.

Wow, because you did some fact checking or some critical thinking, you’re a genius! (And I love how casually some of these folks bring up the news, too.)

Here’s my problem with the Internet: Because information travels quickly and everyone is trying to get the news up before everyone else, journalistic integrity goes down the drain (something I’ve been accused of several times in the past). Fact checking is a thing of the past. Blog now, check facts later.

I have four minutes left.

So, the Internet is destroying intelligence. Sure, it’s bold and brazen to say so but it’s true. No one can stand to read anything that’s longer than 300 words anymore. (It surprises the shit out of me that the Amazon Kindle is flying off the shelves, figuratively speaking, when no one really reads books anymore – to kinda paraphrase Steve Jobs. That’s marketing power.) Most videos people view online are less than five minutes long. When searching for information on a subject, people will hit the back button in less than a second if it takes them to some page that (gasp!) is longer than two or three paragraphs.

I think I’ve finally mustered up some energy to get up and get food. On second thought, nah. I’m just going to sit here comfortably and go through my feeds so I can feel remotely enlightened and then wake up and forget everything I skimmed over.

It’s 3:40!

Some crazy scientist at Oxford has just uncovered some extraordinary news! It turns out that being active on Facebook, as well as other social networking sites, rewires a developing brain. Wow, that is groundbreaking. It’s not like learning how to play an instrument, listening to music, reading a story, playing sports and other activities will rewire a child’s brain. Oh wait, yes it does. Why is Miss Scientist so concerned? She feels that communicating online will eventually phase out real life conversations and dampen social skills. Someone should remind her that instant messaging has been around forever and that AOL allowed for profiles and social networking long before MySpace or Facebook ever came about.

Emily Yoffe at Slate says this scientist is concerned that “we are at risk of raising a generation of solipsists.” Are we? Or is the solipsist in all of us attracted to this medium of communication and sharing?

Someone needs to calm the alarmists down. Apparently, children’s brains are getting damaged because they aren’t engaging in activities that they have been for millennia. One would think that a child wakes up, spends all day on Facebook, and then goes to sleep and repeats the same thing everyday. Fact check: they don’t do that – adults do and it’s called work (how do you think all that daytime Facebook activity goes on?). Someone should remind these scientists that adult brains are capable of being rewired, damaged and reshaped, too.

I pose this question to those who think that Rock and Roll, TV, radio and Facebook are ruining the younger generation: Do you think there might be a certain personality type that is addicted to those activities? Is social networking ruining the brains of young children, or are young children with the disposition to abuse social networks being ruined?

Guns don’t kill people. People who want to own those guns and kill people… um, kill people.

Read

California is in a deep hole. There is no doubt about that. A bill in California has been introduced to legalize production, transportation and sale of the plant (notice I didn’t say drug, oh wait… dammit) in the state. We’re not going to go into a pro versus con argument on the legalization of drugs here because the argument is moot. It’s not going to be a gateway for the legalization of all drugs and not everyone will start doing it because it’s legal – although that really wouldn’t be a bad thing, would it? With taxation and turning marijuana into a legitimate business in California, it is estimated that it could generate up to $1 billion in revenue. Although I’d imagine that it’s entirely possible to get that $1 billion from Humboldt, Berkeley, the UC system and Stanford apart from the rest of the state. Come on, Arnold! Rally the troops and make this happen! Oh, and to the hardcore conservatives of California who are going to dismiss this without even a second thought (monetarily and scientifically): Fuck you!

Read

Have you ever seen those TV shows that play clips of robbery bloopers? Shows that are entitled “World’s Dumbest Criminals” or “America’s Dumbest Criminals,” you know what I’m talking about? Well, not to be terribly insensitive but I just had to laugh when I received an update on the Fruitvale BART situation in the San Francisco Bay Area. Having lived in San Francisco, I’m familiar with most of the BART stops and I also know this one well.

First, let me just say this: BART is not really that safe – as if I had to remind anyone who’s ever been on the train. Not long ago, a kid was shot by police while pinned down at a BART station. This past week, there were shootings at Daly City’s BART stop and a stabbing that lead to a death at the Fruitvale stop. Always remember to take safety precautions and to stay vigilant when you’re riding BART or any other mode of public transportation.

A young fellow named Victor Veliz held a knife to the throat of a visitor from the East Coast while his friend, Christopher Gonzalez, threatened to shoot the victim. Apparently, this victim had a bad feeling about the two as he got onto the train as he told his friend over the phone. (Hint: If you have a bad feeling, take the next train or get onto the next car.) In a flurry of panic, the victim managed to grab the knife, land a punch on one of the assailants and stab the other in the chest.

Bravo, Mr. East Coast Victim!

Is it bad that this thrills me? Well, imagine yourself at the movies following an innocent character. He finds himself in a sticky situation, such as the BART incident, and manages to thwart and hurt the villainous robbers. Tell me that doesn’t give you a rush!

Here’s what I find laughable: Gonzalez, who was stabbed in the chest, stumbled home and cried out for his mommy, daddy and sister. Meanwhile, his gangster buddy Victor made it to Gonzalez’s home with the “victim’s” cell phone, the damning evidence. Gonzalez fell into the arms of his father, and in epic fashion, died.

Enter the father who defends his son’s reputation and upholds his work ethic. Okay, your son might have had good intentions (though I highly doubt it) and he might have been as hard a worker as you say. But nothing changes the fact that he threatened another person and paid a big price for it. Hey, if you’re threatening to shoot an unarmed man and he grabs your friend’s knife and stabs you in the chest, I’d say you had it coming.

Do I feel bad? Sure, I do. Is it funny to me? Yes, it is. Why is it funny to me? No matter how desperate a situation can be, you still have decisions to make and you have to take responsibility for the outcomes of those decisions. Crying to your parents after you threatened to kill someone elicits a chuckle and having your father say, “I want someone to pay,” is even laughable. Sorry, daddy, but you didn’t do your job. Someone did pay for what happened – it was your son. The victim, on the other hand, is let go for self-defense.

From SF Gate