December 23, 2006

‘Tis the season to be nostalgic…

Posted in Musings, Personal at 11:37 pm by The Lizard Queen

I have a confession to make.

There’s something out there in the corporate world that I love. It’s largely a holdover from childhood, as the adult me is generally turned off by things like extravagant commercialism. It’s not a love I talk about often for that reason, and because there are so many other possible objections people might have about this thing that I love, most if not all of which are valid. I just can’t help it. It has a lot to do with where I grew up (Mission Viejo, CA), and my idealism, and my affection for the fictive dream. But I’ll confess my love to you, my lovely readers… Read the rest of this entry »

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Picking a fight for the sake of a fight

Posted in Musings, News, Politics, Religion at 3:59 pm by The Lizard Queen

I just saw this article on Yahoo: Man sets self aflame in Calif. protest. He was protesting the fact that the Kern High School District (located in Kern County, CA–more about that at the very end of this post) voted to change the names of their winter and spring breaks to Christmas break and Easter break, respectively. While I may disagree with the protester’s methods, I agree that the change is objectionable, not because I have anything against the terms “Christmas” and “Easter” in and of themselves, but because of what seems to be the spirit behind these changes. The full story on the changes can be found here; I wanted to take a few minutes to respond to excerpts from the article. Read the rest of this entry »

December 22, 2006

How can anyone take him seriously?

Posted in Wingnuts at 2:02 pm by The Lizard Queen

Bill O’Reilly: “[M]ost women who like artificial trees … have artificial breasts.” According to one of the commenters on the Media Matters site, it was supposed to be a joke. Okay; whatever.

That actually makes me wonder, though–are there actually people out there who take BO seriously? If so, why?

(Hat tip to Shakes Sis.)

December 21, 2006

“The interests of the government and the interests of the people are not the same.”

Posted in Government, History, Iraq at 1:54 pm by The Lizard Queen

Howard Zinn recently gave a great speech at the University of Wisconsin “explaining the ultimately simple mechanism behind our repeated mistake of fighting wars both disastrous to our nation and to others” (Evan Derkacz). Alternet: PEEK has video and a transcript; it’s worth checking out, if only to reinforce one’s healthy skepticism of the mainstream media.

December 11, 2006

Kids and sex part two: a thirteen-year-old in Utah

Posted in Children and adolescents, Law, Sex at 9:51 pm by The Lizard Queen

I’m not even sure what to say about this one, except that you’d think getting pregnant at 13 would be punishment enough…

Utah Supreme Court justices acknowledged Tuesday that they were struggling to wrap their minds around the concept that a 13-year-old Ogden girl could be both an offender and a victim for the same act – in this case, having consensual sex with her 12-year-old boyfriend.The girl was put in this odd position because she was found guilty of violating a state law that prohibits sex with someone under age 14. She also was the victim in the case against her boyfriend, who was found guilty of the same violation by engaging in sexual activity with her. …

The comments came in oral arguments on a motion asking the high court to overturn the finding of delinquency – the legal term in juvenile court for a conviction – against Z.C., who became pregnant after she and her boyfriend engaged in sex in October 2003.

State authorities filed delinquency petitions in July 2004, alleging that each had committed sexual abuse of a child, a second-degree felony if committed by an
adult.

The girl appealed the petition, saying her constitutional right to be treated equally under the law had been violated.

Her motion noted that for juveniles who are 16 and 17, having sex with others in their own age group does not qualify as a crime. Juveniles who are 14 or 15 and have sex with peers can be charged with unlawful conduct with a minor, but the law provides for mitigation when the age difference is less than four years, making the offense a misdemeanor.

For adolescents under 14, though, there are no exceptions or mitigation and they are never considered capable of consenting to sex. …

Randall Richards, the girl’s attorney, argued that prosecuting children under a law meant to protect them is illogical.

Okay, I do have a couple of other thoughts: first, the idea of being thirteen and having sex with a twelve-year-old gives me the heebie-jeebies (and yes, that’s the technical term, thankyouverymuch). I know some of my peers and even friends were having sex that young, but… eew. Second, I wonder what kind of sex education these children received, if any? Finally, what possible purpose can prosecuting these children–adolescents now, I suppose–serve? It’s not going to prevent other adolescents from having sex with one another. I doubt it’s going to prevent Z.C. from having sex with an adolescent again, because, as I mentioned before, if anything were going to do that, it would be the fact that she got pregnant at 13. I agree whole-heartedly with Richards’s Spock-like statement: this makes no sense.

Kids and sex part one: a four-year-old in Texas

Posted in Children and adolescents, Sex at 6:00 pm by The Lizard Queen

Before I get into this, I’d like to mention that I’m absolutely in favor of women standing up for themselves when they’ve been sexually harassed, and I feel that children should be held accountable for their actions (meaning they should be disciplined, reasonably).

That disclaimer aside, I’m a rational person, and I understand that both claims of sexual harassment and disciplinary action can be taken too far. Here‘s a case in point:

BELLMEAD [TX] — A four-year-old hugged his teachers aide and was put into in-school suspension, according to the father. But La Vega school administrators have a different story.Damarcus Blackwell’s four-year-old son was lining-up to get on the bus after school last month, when he was accused of rubbing his face in the chest of a female employee.

The prinicipal of La Vega Primary School sent a letter to the Blackwells that said the pre-kindergartener demonstrated “inappropriate physical behavior interpreted as sexual contact and/or sexual harassment.”

Blackwell says it’s ridiculous that the aide would misread a hug from a four-year-old. Blackwell wrote to administrators demanding that the whole incident be expunged from his son’s academic file because his son is too young to know what it means to act sexually. …

Blackwell got a response from the La Vega administration. The sexual references on the discipline referral were removed. But the thing that makes Blackwell most upset is they told him “your request for an apology by the aide and removal of all paperwork regarding this incident is denied.” Now the young student’s file will refer to the incident as “inappropriate physical contact.” And Blackwell says he will continue to fight the district.

I’m absolutely willing to believe that the child rubbed his face in the female employee’s chest. I’ve had young children do that or similar things to me before. I’ve babysat older children who were overtly fascinated by the fact that I was on the opposite side of the puberty line from them. I don’t have children, and I’m by no means an expert in early childhood education, but it seems to me that a more appropriate response would have been to tell the child that he shouldn’t do that, and why, or else talk to his parents. Putting him in in-school suspension (which seems to me to be unnecessary in general when it comes to pre-K students… but maybe I’m being naive) and putting a note in his file (makes me think of Violent Femmes: “I hope you know that this will go down on your permanent record…”) strikes me as complete overkill. Somehow I suspect there might be better things for the school to be concerned about… but maybe that’s just me.