Sunday, August 30, 2009

Prop 8 supports... What kind of ******** argument is this?

Fight the H8
A bunch of conservative and religious organizations have united last year to pass Proposition 8, which amended the California Constitution to define marriage is between a man and a woman, thus making "same-sex marriages" illegal. There was a huge media blitz left and right, and in the end the Right won. But one wonders why are these people so anxious to 'save' it from the same-sex couples?

If you read their brochure, you can figure out where they're coming from:

[The following is translation of a real Chinese brochure passed out during Prop 8 mania. ]

Peace Protesters: wasters of money and time

LAFAYETTE, CA - SEPTEMBER 11:  Mark Kirby, dre...Image by Getty Images via Daylife
Every time US goes to war, such as against Iraq, Afghanistan, and so on, some "peace protesters" dominate the news by staging huge rallies, disrupt people's lives in general, raise a lot of ruckus all over the place. In the nutty place known as Berkeley California, there's even a protest right in front of an Armed Forces recruiting station. What exactly do they hope to accomplish with such actions?

It sounds like the protesters themselves don't even really know. If you ask them "how will your actions today stop the war and achieve peace?" Their answer is pretty much, "we need to show the government that fighting is not the answer!"

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Not "legalize pot" again...

With California budget in such a mess, it's no wonder some folks with ulterior motives are trying to lobby CA to legalize marijuana for some additional revenue.

Frankly, this is going to cause so many issues, esp. with the Federal government (esp. the DEA, among others) that it's automatically a non-starter.

However, I may consider voting for it given that following condition(s) are met:

* any person who voluntarily choose to smoke pot will NO LONGER be eligible for ANY government-sponsored health care, be it city, state, or Federal funded, except detox. They may be reinstated provided they go through detox successfully.

WHY: If you choose to mess up your own body, why should we spend taxpayer money to fix you? If you want to get fixed, sure, go through a rehab program first. Relapse will mean a PERMANENT ban from public-funded healthcare, PERIOD.

This may require the state to create a detox prison, for addicts ONLY. After all, do you really want to lock up the users along with the peddlers and other hard-core criminals? No, you can fix the users... IF they want to be fixed. And a threat of NO HEALTHCARE EVER may scare them enough.

What do you think?

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Is rap... music for people who are tone-deaf?

Is rap... music for people who are tone-deaf?

Or can rap be considered music at all?

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Don't let your babies be satellite babies...

An SVG map of China with Fujian province highl...Image via Wikipedia

What are satellite babies? It's a term believed to be coined by Yvonne Bohr, a chilinical psychologist at York University in Toronto. It describe children of Chinese-American families, whose parents are working so hard, they decided to send their recently born children to live with grandparents in China, and bring them back when they are old enough to attend preschool.

The problem is, these satellite babies grow up to have MASSIVE psychological issues adjusting to life in America after spending their earliest years in China, and they are not old enough to recognize and discuss such issues. Some refuse to recognize their parents, some want to leave and are perpetually unhappy, some cry for no particular reason (that adults can see), some even turn masochistic, such as hit their heads against walls or other self-harm acts. Many are initially (and mistakenly) diagnosed as autistic. ALL needed psychological help, and not all are getting it.

Interestingly, it is a phenomenon virtually unheard of outside the Chinese-American society, due to several... peculiarities of the Chinese culture.

1) Chinese value their filial duty, and many defer to their grandparents when it comes to childrearing
2) Living standards in China are much cheaper than in the US, even if you count the plane tickets and long distance calls
3) Chinese families often live on opposite sides of the world. The old generation stay behind while the younger generation venture out and establish life in America,
4) The Chinese parents are working way too hard to provide any sort of proper family life (many are small business owners who works like 80 to 100 hours a week), and
5) these said parents want some Chinese culture indoctrination for their children early on, lest their children turn into... banana (yellow outside, white inside, a derogatory term for American-Born Chinese who looks Chinese, but acts completely American, with no trace of Chinese heritage other than genetic)
6) the grandparents have NO exposure to American culture, language, and so on.
7) a mistaken belief that young children will more readily adapt to new environment

If you are a satellite baby, your earliest memories would be a Chinese upbringing. Everybody is speaking Chinese. Every care is taken care of around the clock. You learn to be quiet until spoken to, and to appear obedient and cute (in other words, passive, don't stand out, don't make waves...) and mostly, be spoiled rotten by doting grandparents.

Then suddenly, when you're three or four, old enough to be preschool, start to have some ideas about the surrounding world and how it works... BLINK, you're in America. Unfamiliar surroundings, nobody you'd really recognize, everybody speaks ENGLISH except at home, NONE of the stuff you learned in the past few years apply any more. Who are these adults (parents) that are taking care of me but don't really have time? Where are the kind people that took care of me? Why doesn't any one else speak my language? Who are all these strange looking people? Why doesn't anything make sense?

No wonder some kids go bonkers! It's like taking them from Earth and drop them in the middle of an alien culture! Combine that with the Chinese upbringing they already got (internalize everything, don't make waves, etc.) it's small wonders why their heads aren't more messed up! Children without the early Chinese conditioning will act out violently, such as fights, screaming, and so on. But Chinese children are taught NOT to cry, not to make waves, and so on. So they turn into self-harm, passive aggressive behavior, and so on. They internalize, often withdrew into their own world where they are in control, or act out control fantasies such as superhero (and everybody else is "bad guy", including the parents).

And I can attest to this bad adjustment first-hand. I have a friend who has two rambunctious kids that had been living with grandparents in China for past several years. They almost appear to be twins, even though they are a year apart. They show absolutely NO discipline when they first got here. I personally witness them them HIT (punch) their own parents! They aren't as bad though as these parents go back every few months, and I think the mom stayed in China for several months to acclimate the kids before bringing them back. Still, it was NOT a happy family for a while.

This phenomenon is not new. During WW2, Germany Luftwaffe was bombing London daily in the period known as the "London Blitz". Some children were evacuated from London without their parents, often with their parent's wishes. Later psychological studies show that many of these children were so traumatized by the separation, it may have been better to let them endure the danger of the bombing instead.

And the idea of satellite babies is not new either. Immigration experts pointed to Chinese women who were smuggled over over a decade ago, often from the Fujian province of China, having children here, but due to various circumstances, chose to send their children back to China for initial upbringing. These children, however, are brought back much later, often as elementary school students or even later. It was only in recent years, when free all-day childcare became available in the US, that younger and younger children are brought back, and the problem exacerbated.

What can be done? Don't create satellite babies in the first place. If yo're too busy to have children, then don't! If you got them, then make time for them! If you don't pay the price now, you will pay later... WITH INTEREST TACKED ON.

So what to do if you already have satellite baby(ies)? Find professional help ASAP. Most large cities have a "Newcomer's Center" which can often refer you to child psychologists who can help deal with the issues. Also check with your child's teacher(s) and other school resources, as some areas have recognized the problem and have developed therapy for such children. Even so, expect years of adjustment, and even then the child may not fully recover.

Just to show you that EVERYTHING has a price. You may not pay it, but your children may instead.

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Judicial Activism: the new double-speak

Sen. John McCain speaks at Albuquerque Memoria...Image via Wikipedia

Judicial activism is currently defined as a judge using his or her position to affect/change law, instead of defining/interpreting law.

A judge's role is often to clarify law, like when multiple laws come together which one has precedence, would a law apply to a new situation previously unintended or never before existed, and so on. For example, on many constitutional issues, some local laws are claimed to interfere with such rights as Bill of Rights and so on, by one side, and the government on the other side, claiming the laws are perfectly fine as written.

A while back, several California Supreme Court judges declared that the California constitution, which protects against discrimination against various things, including sexual orientation, trumps over any local law or even state assembly laws that blockss "gay marriage", despite the previous State Assembly passage of "In Defense of Marriage Act". They are accused of "judicial activism", as religious right accused them of "imposing their minority view on the majority of Californians".

More recently, Supreme Court candidate justice-to-be Sonia Sotomayor was accused of judicial activism by no less than Senator John McCain, former presidential candidate. This is probably fallout from her "wise Latina" remark made years ago.

So what's the point? I believe there's a fundamental logic problem with the critics who accuse ANYONE of judicial activism.

If judges are to interpret law as written, irrespective of public opinion, then if they do pass a decision that is unpopular, they will be lambasted as "judicial activists who are forcing their will on the public", correct?

But the whole idea of a judicial activist is someone who used his/her opinion, instead of law as written, to interpret the law, isn't it?

So what are the critics saying? That it's okay for the judge to use PUBLIC OPINION to interpret the law, but not his or her own opinion?

Even though a judge is ONLY supposed to use the law exactly as written, and perhaps, a bit of background information to guess at the circumstances and the original INTENT of the lawmakers who passed those laws, correct?

So what are the critics really saying? That any judge that makes judgments against public opinion is a judicial activist?

I always thought "activists" are those who are trying to make a difference (I make no judgment on the worthiness of their cause). It seems that only among POLITICIANS that activist is a NEGATIVE word.

So the politicians are against judicial activists (who are best defined as judges who buck public opinion, according to above). Which would make sense, since politicians fight for public opinion.

But what about the rest of us? Perhaps we should just embrace judicial activists BECAUSE the politicians hate them.

Until they rule against your subgroup, of course.

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Deliberate misinterpretation, ARGH!

Van conversion minibus with full height entran...Image via Wikipedia

Why do some people choose to interpret stuff their way, instead of the normally accepted definitions?

One job recently called for a "15-seater".

A 15-seater van, as most people are aware of, has 15 seats (including the driver's position). Last row has 4, then 3 rows of 3, then two up front, for a total of 15. That's TOTAL capacity of 15, thus, 15-seater.

The person who ordered it actually did ask me, upon seeing the invoice (on which I wrote "15-seater charter") how many people is that, I replied "that's including the driver, so 14 additional people".

On the day of the ship, she argued and basically forced the driver to take one additional people, claiming that 15-seater means 15-passengers. The driver refused, as that would mean a ticket for him if he was ever stopped by police, for "overloading", no seat belt, and other offenses. They had a big argument. You don't need to know the result, suffice to say it got escalated to me, and I was exasperated to hear such lack of reasoning, esp. when I *did* tell her that it means 14-seats for passengers, no more!

When we say "it's a sporty two-seater", it mean two people in the car, including the driver, right? We don't call it a one-seater.

So how can anyone then expect a 15-seater to seat 16? (15 passengers, plus driver)

There *are* exceptions in the charter business. For example, when you go ABOVE van, to minibuses and motorcoaches, then the seating capacity no longer includes the driver, mainly because the driver sits in a DIFFERENT area, nominally SEPARATE from the passenger cabin. For example, in one of my old minibuses, the driver is separated from the cabin by a small partition. Even though it's based on a heavy-duty E450 step/van body, there is no passenger seat next to him, unlike some models. So, seating capacity is 25 (5 rows of 4 seats, plus a final back row of 5). I call that a 25-seater, seats 25-passengers. I don't call it a 26-seater. In a different vehicle of the same class (different maker) there IS a passenger seat (and a passenger door, in fact), but there's still a separate cabin. Those are technically 24-seats (6 rows of 4-seats each) with an extra seat for the tour guide / escort. It is "sold" as a 24-seater, not a 25-seater. In fact, some remove the seat and put in storage bins.

In larger vehicles, such as motorcoaches and buses, driver is NOT counted in the 'seating capacity'. It's just convention. When driver is separated from the cabin, they are NOT counted in the seating capacity. When they are NOT, then they are counted.

But there are no partitions in a van. So a 15-seater van seats 15, including driver. Enough said.

(Later we found that that every person she squeezed onto the van means more money in her pocket, which is why she wants that extra person in there. I don't want to mention any names, but this person works for a non-profit, the charter was for an excursion by a bunch of elders, and she solicited me for kickback on this job. Yes, I said KICKBACKS.)

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