Wednesday, December 1, 2010

State of the "Union," Early Edition!

Wow, ok, quite a bit has happened recently, and there's a lot to talk about, so I thought I would do this now rather than wait until Sunday. (Especially since I haven't been here due to NaNo! I would have been here sooner, but I haven't been home much today...)

- The DADT press conference was yesterday, along with the release of the final report (PDF, & suggest you skip ahead to Section VI. It's kind of interesting/depressing/infuriating, but then it gets better. And a bit sad.) -- to make a long story short, the Pentagon now officially endorses repealing DADT immediately, but Secretary of Defense Robert Gates wants Congress to allow the military some time to prepare. How long, he can't say, but I guess it's still good news that one way or another, it's going to end.

- I just found out today that new offshore drilling off the East Coast has been BANNED for the next 7 years!!! But sadly, this news came after an offshore drilling rig exploded off the coast of New Orleans, injuring 3 people. Offshore drilling will be banned in certain sections of the Gulf until 2020. (So we have 10 years to stop it completely and create new alternatives!)

- Extended unemployment benefits were allowed to expire last night, several days after the most financially successful Black Friday we've had in a long time. Food banks are said to be preparing for a huge rush (so donate what you can!) My guess is this is going to be a very rough holiday season for many families (hence the rush to get the "best" deals last Friday), and this may very well be a bigger-than-anticipated hit to the economy, especially once holiday workers are let go. Job growth has been increasing, but it still isn't enough to bring us completely out of the red... But don't take my opinion for fact, I'm not an economist by any stretch of the imagination.

- Today is World AIDS Day. Get tested. (How do you know if you should be tested? Check out these general guidelines.)

- So I had this whole section on the Wikileaks thing, and it's gone. Don't ask where it went, I don't know. Point is,  [that's "telegrams" for all of us under 50, which, I've learned, are some sort of primeval communication method that existed prior to the invention of email and texting. Go figure ;-) ], revealing all sorts of state secrets and potentially straining our international relationships with... well... everyone.

- Here's something incredible - Texas (you know, that state that carries out close to one third of all capital punishment executions in the US?) might soon rule the death penalty to be unconstitutional. Yes, I said UNCONSTITUTIONAL. (Conservative red-state Texas wants to rule the death penalty unconstitutional. I think this may be the first -- and last-- time I'll ever say "Way to go, Texas!") Can you believe that?? It will be a huge victory for those of us who want to do away with the death penalty entirely, even if it's just a state thing
-- you know, provided it ever actually happens. I doubt it. But the argument being presented is that there are too many innocent people being killed-- "disproportionately high risk of wrongful convictions." (Haven't we also been telling them that for the longest time?) Hmm...

- What else is new? GOP threatens to filibuster forever unless they get their tax cuts for the rich. [yawn]  Have they done much else lately, or did I miss something between the "sticking up for the corporations?"

- Oh! I almost forgot. Remember I went off on a rant about how I got into a fight with all of those people on Care2 about the new food safety bill? It passed with bipartisan votes in the Senate. And people who aren't Tea Partiers (or hardcore hippies, apparently...) like it! (I'm off to go gloat in my room-- not really, it's totes bedtime.)

- NaNoWriMo is over!!! And I was a winner! Yay! Storyteller Knight was a winner! Yay! (Winning means writing over 50,000 words between November 1st-30th, by the way) So congrats to all of our fellow winners-- we did it! Way to go! (And I already have a story topic for next year... Sweet.)

- Wikileaks... Where do I even begin? I personally have mixed feelings about the whole affair, but let's take a look: On Monday, Nov 28th, Wikileaks  published almost 300 of over 250,000 leaked US diplomatic cables [that's "telegrams" to those of us under 50. Apparently telegrams are some kind of primeval communication method that existed before email and Facebook. Go figure ;-) ], revealing all sorts of confidential state secrets and potentially straining our international relationships with... well... everyone. Amazon has removed the Wikileaks sites from their servers today, though I was able to sneak a peek when it hit the net. Wikipedia has a long list of some of the contents. The director of Wikileaks, Julian Assange, is being considered for charges of espionage... you know, for leaking state secrets to the world. So... hmm. Again, mixed feelings on all of this.

I look forward to getting back to regular posts... though i do think I'm going to keep working on my novel for NaNo, if only because I left off during a very interesting argument, and I want to see where it goes... Goodnight!

P.S. - This is mostly a note to myself: Have a hilarious video link re: the TSA. I should find it.

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