You are currently browsing the Breaching The Web blog archives for November, 2003.

Quote of the Day

November 26th, 2003

These words of wisdom are from Blogged Down:

The people who do things are the pool from which the people who accomplish things rise.

From one busy person to another: testify!

Transformation

November 26th, 2003

Monica at 10, in the Dallas Observer, documents the male-to-female transition of Monica (nee Eduardo) Greene, a popular restaurant owner in Dallas. It’s an interesting story about Monica’s personal and professional struggles with gender reassignment — but what’s most interesting is the way people in Dallas seemingly accepted her change openly and honestly. Most such stories are fraught with turmoil, anger and confusion — this one is different. I suspect the drama is being underplayed, but it is nice to read such a hopeful story.

Nothing

November 26th, 2003

This is the first article about Iraq that has made me cry: Iraq suicide reports spark questions (link via LaDiDa).

This just isn’t right.

Uncharted

November 24th, 2003

Arizona has more charter schools than any other state. Charting Charters (in the Tucson Weekly) examines how these for-profit schools are doing. The findings are mixed — some are great, others are bad, most are ok. The article’s most interesting bits focus on how the charters are administered and how parents interact with them.

Overall, I’m not impressed with charter schools. The educational outcomes are not all that different from those of public school kids, and the money charters are siphoning from the public system would be better spent in the public system. I think it’s time to call this experiment a failure and move on.

New Book Review

November 24th, 2003

I just posted a review of Bruce Campbell’s book If Chins Could Kill to Virtual Marginalia. I think it might be of interest to some Breaching the Web readers.

Pocket Crusaders

November 21st, 2003

I’ve made my feelings about pockets well known. I believe the lack of pockets in women’s clothing is a feminist issue — having to carry a purse around everywhere makes women less ready to confront the world and less able to interact with it. Now, sure, on the grand scheme of things, lack of pockets is less important than many other kinds of sex inequality — but it still matters.

And I’m not the only one who thinks so.

12 women MP’s marched out of the Kenyan parliament yesterday to protest a rule that bans handbags from the chamber. The rule is a safety precaution since a weapon may be easily hidden in a handbag.

However, some of the women MP’s find this a hardship since their clothing does not contain as many pockets as the clothing of their male colleagues. One of the women who walked out, Amina Abdullah, told a BBC reporter:

“The handbag issue is just one of a number of gender sensitive problems we experience . . . . We tend to require writing material, some of us require glasses . . . . Male MPs put all their pens in their jackets and pockets . . . . ”

This may seem like a small issue, but try to imagine being a legislator and having to make a choice between (a) not having a pen and notebook to take notes and (b) carrying them around in a messy heap like a schoolgirl. Either option makes the women look and perhaps behave less professionally than their male colleagues and impairs their ability to do their jobs. And all because of a lack of pockets.

Pity

November 20th, 2003

From The Head Heeb comes this analysis of the Pitcairn Island sexual abuse case (which I first read about in this Head Heeb entry).

What began as a seemingly ordinary sexual abuse case, is becoming much more. The defendents are claiming that the court (being British) has no right to try them and are laying the groundwork for Pitcairn independence.

The question is fascinating — could a microstate with a population of 50 make a go of it? HH’s analysis is quite extensive, and the conclusion (that Pitcairn can’t survive independently, mainly because it is dependent on England for maintaince of its infrastructure) compelling. I encourage you to read the analysis linked above.

Whither America

November 18th, 2003

The LA Weekly’s latest interview with Gore Vidal is a roaring indictment of the cabal that currently runs this country. I’m quoting a bit here, but read the whole interview — it’s smart and scathing.

But they [the founding fathers] were in a hurry to get the country going. Hence the great speech. . . that Franklin, old and dying, had someone read for him. He said, I am in favor of this Constitution, as flawed as it is, because we need good government and we need it fast. And this, properly enacted, will give us, for a space of years, such government.

But then, Franklin said, it will fail, as all such constitutions have in the past, because of the essential corruption of the people. He pointed his finger at all the American people. And when the people become so corrupt, he said, we will find it is not a republic that they want but rather despotism

Again

November 18th, 2003

I’ve written about the disgusting waste issues surrounding the cruise industry before, but this article from the Gambit Weekly (New Orleans) goes into gross detail. Cruise ships can dump greywater (from showers, sinks, pools, etc.) into ocean waters anywhere they want. They can dump treated blackwater (from toilets) into ocean waters anywhere they want. They can dump untreated blackwater 3 or more miles offshore.

A single cruise ship generates 30,000 gallons of blackwater and 255,000 gallons of greywater every day. That’s 285,000 gallons of sewage dumped into the sea every day by just one ship. Given the number of cruise ships circling the globe at any given time, that’s not just icky — it’s a danger to the environment. Fecal bacterial and small fecal particles have a huge impact on microscopic marine life — the foundation of the world’s foodchain.

Recent changes in how the 1972 Clean Water Act is enforced mean that even more sewage can be dumped even closer to shore — I can’t bear to think about the levels of fecal bacteria in the water at popular swimming beaches near cruise ship ports. The disgusting things we do to our environment are only rivaled by the disgusting things we do to ourselves — how can we live like this?

Fire

November 17th, 2003

The Dallas Observer has an important story about living with HIV in the Cocktail era. The article includes details about the rigors and side-effects of the drugs that can keep HIV at bay:

“Cocktails required strict adherence to a daily regimen of about 20 pills. Miss a few doses, and the virus was unforgiving. It might multiply and mutate, this time roaring back by the millions to stalk the immune system with a strain resistant to the original therapy….”

“Because the Food and Drug Administration had humanely fast-tracked its approval (under pressure from AIDS activists), not much was known about the medications’ side effects, and what was known was downplayed. Nausea, vomiting and intractable diarrhea made life with cocktails (also known as highly active antiretroviral therapy, or HAART) as unpredictable as it was unpleasant… with cocktails came freaky tales of fat redistribution and increased risks for diabetes and heart attack as well as renal and pancreatic damage.”

The predictable result is that many patients do not adhere to the rigid regime required by the cocktail — and the virus mutates. Furthermore, since the side effects are hidden and not publicly discussed, many people assume that living with AIDS is manageable, that it’s not so bad. Consequently, in 2002, the number of new AIDS cases in the U.S. increased for the first time in a decade.

The article includes heart-wrenching stories about living with HIV. The cocktail may save lives, but it makes living hard. Many cannot work while taking the drugs because of the unpredictable side-effects. Their lives become an endless circle of food banks, HIV shelters, hotlines and social services — all of which they must navigate while adhering to their strict dosing regime. It’s not working.

The whole article is worth a read, but the message is clear: apathy is unwarranted, and we need to start paying attention to this disease again.