No, I won’t shut up

I’ve been getting quite a bit of advice about my personal life and social presence from several important people in my life.  I would like to address their concerns and explain my reasoning behind my decisions to remain opinionated and active on Facebook, Twitter, my blog and in my life.

 

First, YES I do understand that the content you publish on Facebook, Twitter, and various blogs is public information and can affect hiring decisions in my future career.  However, the same is true for my political affiliation, money choices, gender, desire for fair pay and health care and various other tidbits of information.  I have made a deliberate choice in my life to not falsely represent myself on social media, in part by refusing to use the threat of “it could affect your job” to determine what I feel safe posting or not.  I consider Facebook and Twitter part of my personal life similar to the way I vote or the football games I watch on the weekend.  They are done on personal time, as a person, not as a representative of my school or workplace. More often than not they are just things I’d like to share with my friends and family without having to worry about their impact on some future job or promotion.

 

These things should not affect hiring decisions in my opinion, but I do recognize the reality that they can and do.  I personally believe that employment decisions should be based solely on job performance; not on your religion, political affiliation, opinions, or actions in your personal time.  That said, I do carefully consider everything I post on Facebook and Twitter and who has the ability to see my posts.  Sometimes I get rash and don’t think as hard, but that is part of who I am and both y’all and I will have to deal with that fact.

 

Secondarily, I’ve been advised occasionally to use a pseudonym or post my opinions anonymously.  And though I appreciate the thought and caring that I know are behind the sentiment I refuse to post opinions and comments that I am not willing to have associated with my name and me (and live with their consequences).  I live in a country that offers a much greater freedom to speech than many places in the world and I refuse to waste the opportunity that people have literally fought and died for to speak my opinion.

 

And just as I have the freedom to speak my opinion YOU have the freedom to refute it, ignore it, believe it, share it, or dismiss it.  If you don’t want to listen to what I have to say then stop reading my Facebook wall or my Twitter posts, unfriend me, block me, stop talking to me.  I really am okay with any of those options and I totally understand, and I won’t hold it against you.  I hope everyone understands though that if you want to keep in touch with me then you will be getting me, opinions and all.

New Year’s Resolutions

Composed sometime between: January 1st 2012 and January 9th 2012; also a work in progress

My purpose in life is to be happy; with who I am, where I am and what I am doing.  I will do this by being honest with myself and the people around me, with what I want, what I need, and who I am.

Words that describe me (alphabetical, because I can’t decide on a priority listing):

Agnostic, Atheist, Democrat, Feminist, Humanist, Idealist

Resolutions (some are simple, complex, easy, difficult (for me), might seem silly to you):

  • Update this blog once a week
  • Drink a bottle of water per day
  • Cook at least once a week
  • Find a weekly dance event
  • Take calcium twice a day for bone health
  • No more than 3 alcoholic drinks per day
  • Find an atheist meetup group
  • Get involved with Occupy My City
  • Eat lunch with people and not by myself

Family Woes

Sometime I really despise my family.  Like today, when my aunt Lulu sent me a SEVEN page text message asking why I hadn’t left any money for my grandma.

So first a little bit of background:

Last week my grandfather passed away, he had been in and out of the hospital for a couple of months but after this hospitalization both he and my grandma asked everybody to come to visit as soon as possible.  As a graduate student who is trying to get a graduate stipend to cover costs for myself and my mother who lives with me, the plane ticket cost of $800 is more than a little bit out of my reach.  But my grandmother called and offered to pay for me, my brother and my mother to all come (it was that important). Though only my brother and I ended up going my grandfather passed away before we got there unfortunately.  It was at this point that Lulu started commenting to me about how tight things are for my grandma right now, how she doesn’t have a lot of money right now and making sure that my brother and I weren’t buying any extra things with grandma’s money.  The last of which is patently ridiculous, I purchased airline tickets with the money my grandma had offered, and not a single thing more.

While we were there, Lulu continued to make remarks about the lack of money, though my grandmother didn’t seem especially perturbed, and never said anything to me or anyone else that I knew about.  However, I left $300 for my brother to give to grandma (I left the day before he did) and he left money as well.  Lulu also told me that my grandfather had elected not to have his retirement benefits pass along to my grandmother after his death, which seems strange (but not beyond the realm of possibility, my grandfather could be a very strange man).

So today, I get a text from Lulu (shortened to preserve your sanity):

You forgot your ramen!

It was really good ramen that I can’t find around here anymore and Grandma had already agreed to mail it to me instead of trying to fly back with it.

Try and get a complete refund of your airlines tickets because of APEC and berevement fares!

APEC – large political gathering that made traveling absolutely horrendous for this trip, but planned in advance, so why exactly we would get refunds for this is beyond me. And are you talking about the berevement fare that I TOLD YOU about???  After spending a whole day on the phone to find out that largest discount we could get would be $100 for each ticket that we would have to provide a death certificate.  You don’t get to just travel for FREE because it was for a funeral/family illness, just a small discount is all you are going to get.

Did you leave money for Gma?  Your brother did!  I did!  And I’m sending more next month!

I can almost here the hysteria in her voice “I’m making this huge sacrifice, what are YOU doing???”  And YES I left money, as much as I could afford, after finding the cheapest tickets possible and working to get the biggest discount possible based on the emergency nature of this trip.  I’m not a miracle working and my comments about how I’m excited to finally be paid and making money instead of just taking out more loans each year does not mean that I’m rolling in cash, in fact I’m still barely getting by because I’m trying to pay off my loans as soon as possible.

Did Mike talk to you yet?  I gave him your number.

I don’t know where this came from, because I talked to his wife last night.  I also don’t know why he needs to talk to me that bad, the distant son of my grandfather’s half-sister who wasn’t present in his life until the last 15 years and not present in my life until last week.

There was more babbling and useless exclamation marks.  And you can probably tell that I’m rather frustrated as well, I used CAPS, exclamation marks !, and multiple questions marks ??? just to vent my anger into a keyboard.  I hope that I don’t have to do that again soon, I find reading it ridiculous, but today it was needed.

Fuck Graduate School

Bleck. . .

Profiling by the NYPD? Never. . .

This is ridiculous.

NEW YORK — Muslims who change their names to sound more traditionally American, as immigrants have done for generations, or who adopt Arabic names as a sign of their faith are often investigated and catalogued in secret New York Police Department intelligence files, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

The NYPD monitors everyone in the city who changes his or her name, according to internal police documents and interviews. For those whose names sound Arabic or might be from Muslim countries, police run comprehensive background checks that include reviewing travel records, criminal histories, business licenses and immigration documents. All this is recorded in police databases for supervisors, who review the names and select a handful of people for police to visit.

The article later points out that many people Americanized their Arabic-sounding names to avoid discrimination.  Which they are then discriminated against for doing by the NYPD.  You have a right to change your name (even without a court issued name change) under the First Amendment.  I also found this part of the article quite interesting:

The legal justification for the program is unclear from the documents obtained by the AP. Because of its history of spying on anti-war protesters and political activists, the NYPD has long been required to follow a federal court order when gathering intelligence. That order allows the department to conduct background checks only when police have information about possible criminal activity, and only as part of “prompt and extremely limited” checking of leads.

The NYPD’s rules also prohibit opening investigations based solely on activities protected by the First Amendment. Federal courts have held that people have a right to change their names and, in the case of religious conversion, that right is protected by the First Amendment.

I’m curious to see how the NYPD responds to what seems to be a clear case of ethnic/racial profiling.  The legal justification seems to be in question when even the in-house lawyer for NYPD is criticizing their methods.  This also makes me wonder how the NYPD are handling Occupy Wall Street protesters.

Why I support Occupy Wall Street

I am sick of being apathetic. My government doesn’t listen to me, my opinions, or even my money (because it’s not enough).

So why do I support Occupy Wall Street?

  • Because a corporation can out-lobby me with dedicated lobbyists while I have to lobby my representatives in between school, work, and having a life (see above).
  • Because I believe that human beings are more important that corporations or even money.
  • Because I believe that a government should represent its PEOPLE not its CORPORATIONS.
  • Because I believe that corporations have altered our government and our  laws to make the most short term money without consideration for their clients or employees but only for the corporation’s bottom line and its CEOs.
  • Because I have two college degrees and have virtually no job opportunities in my field until I get a Ph.D. and and even those jobs are disappearing.

We are here beseeching our Government to listen to us. Please don’t continue to ignore and belittle the Occupy Movement, for we are the People of the United States of America and we will be the change we want to see in this world.  I have hope now, and that is why I am joining in support.

Introductions

Hello All!

I am MadMicro.  I am a graduate student with a penchant for procrastination, hence my new project: Blogging.

There are many things that interest me, but on my mind lately are things such as:  Occupy Wall Street, science, graduate school, atheism, feminism, books, depression and coffee.

Hopefully, I’ll address each of these topics and why I’m interested in them in the next week or so.



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