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Tuesday, October 26, 2004

I voted on Friday, but I apparently chose the wrong day. All went smoothly. I'd say there's going to be a good turnout, provided that Republicans--including our Secretary of State--do not find new ways to disenfranchise voters. There was a guy in front of me mumbling that we shouldn't support trial lawyers. He didn't seem too impassioned by those thoughts; otherwise, he might have argued with the Democrats out there or just raised his voice a little. We've got an amendment for tort reform on the ballot, but I'm worried that it's taking all the attention away from an equally disconcerting amendment to require parental notification for teenage abortions.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Sometimes I wonder if there is an outside force working against me. After a hellacious week (was awake for 22 hours on Thurs. and only had 4 hours of sleep the previous nights), I was looking forward to a weekend where I could sleep and actually get ahead in school instead of having to finish assignments the night before they're due. Alas, my precious weekend had to wait. Saturday morning the alternator in my car died, subsequently draining the battery of all its power. I was able to make it home, but definitely needed a tow truck to get to the repair shop. Having a membership to AAA is well worth it, even if I only use their services this one time this year. The towing was free. I couldn't get to the repair shop that I wanted, because of traffic.* So, he took me to a closer shop next to the mall. I was reluctant to go, because it was more commercial and I knew they would charge a fortune. I didn't exactly have too many options, though.

*The traffic this weekend was caused by FAMU, "a historically black college," homecoming. This is when every white person in town inexplicably fears for their life. I've had people tell me to not got out that weekend, especially not to the mall. Police presence is at its highest. Some of the caution might be a result of one incident years ago, but, honestly, I felt no different than if FSU had their homecoming. In fact, I'd feel more threatened by a drunk fraternity boy.

Back to the original story...I wasted two hours at the mall. It would've been easier had the time I dropped off the car coincided with the movie schedule. Shopping wasn't too desirable; so, I went to Barnes and Noble. Did you know that David Sedaris' books can provide all sorts of tips on entertaining? Barnes and Noble says so. I found his books in the cooking section. My guess is that they based their decision simply on the fact that Holidays on Ice has a picture of a mixed drink on the cover. It was difficult for me to relax and find something to read because I did not want to invest my time in a book that I couldn't return to until December. I haven't touched a fiction book in many months. The latest Real Simple suited me just fine, but what I really would've liked was a chance to play at an arcade. They don't exist anymore and that's a shame. I love Nintendo, etc., but I hate they fact that their products have indirectly driven up the cost to play an arcade game--something like$2--forcing arcades to go out of business because no one can afford it, nor do they need to leave their house now to play video games.

My car was fixed that day. It did cost alot, but it was worth it to have access to car the rest of the weekend considering no one I know was around. The day was already wasted; so, I bypassed the school work that needed to be done, went grocery shopping at our new Fresh Market (it's so lovely), and watched the original Alfie. There's really no need for a remake. This version is quite perfect. I think it can translate well into today's culture. The only thing that might not be so controversial is abortion.

I found this interesting for a couple of reasons. I'm with the human rights perspective on this one. Allowing juries to review the prior offenses of the defendent potentially biases the outcome of the trial. The purpose of the jury is to decide guilt or innocence for that particular case. When you introduce offence history, the jury is then basing their decisions on prior cases, the present offense, and on future dangerousness, which is difficult to determine and should be left to the judges during the sentencing process.

This article reminds me of a discussion in class last week regarding the increasing punitive nature of both the U.S. and Europe, who are still tame in comparison to the U.S. We read a book last week that compared the criminal justice policies of the U.S. to those of Europe (actually it was only France and Germany) and attempted to give an explanation for our extreme harshness. Although, his historical analysis was decent it didn't quite exlain our dramatic increase in sanctions over the past 25 years, nor did he address Europe's shift toward harsher c.j. policies. I could give you possible political and economic explanations for the change in U.S. policy, but I'm not so sure of the reason for change in Europe given their recent history of praising human rights. I suppose knowing more about European criminal justice policy would help.

A Modest Proposal
Did anyone watch Real Time with Bill Maher this past Friday? In his "new rules" segment he suggested that Republican women who oppose stem cell research on the grounds that we're destroying real life should implant the "fetuses" in their uterus and carry them to term. Holy Jamoley! I think that's the best thing he's ever said. The title was "Get Ova Yourself." Brilliant.

Speaking of television, I caught a few segments of the new reality show on NBC called the Biggest Loser. I was thinking it would be like the Discovery Channel's weight loss challenge. Nope. If you don't lose enough, you get eliminated from the team. What kind of encouragement is this?! The teammates get disappointed when someone only loses 5 pounds. Hey, five pounds is at least a start. Jeez. Because weight loss may fluctuate, measurements should be made at the end. Furthermore, they're only looking a pounds. What about the amount of fat vs. muscle mass? I'm so disenchanted with reality programing--not that I ever loved it. The Apprentice (a guilty pleasure) is even starting to bother me, namely the females on the show. Are they not the worst representation of women?

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