I am popular with the ladies this week. First there was 17-year old Sammi who likes my photography but thinks I’m creepy. Then, late last night I got some email from a young lady:
Yes, this is strange, I’ve never emailed a random blogger before.
Let me just interrupt and say that I get a lot of messages (especially on my MySpace account) from young ladies that start with an “I’ve never done this before” declaration. All of them say I seem like a really cool person in my profile and maybe we should get to know each other better so why don’t I check out their webcam? Oh, and by the way, they’re using their friend’s account and I should email them back at a different email address. (That last bit means they’ve stolen the account they’re sending from or spoofed the email system.) All it takes to get into that business is some pictures of a hot babe and some spam generating software…I almost deleted it without reading any further.
But I digress…
Yes, this is strange, I’ve never emailed a random blogger before. But I wonder…maybe I could ask your thoughts. By your blog I gathered that you are very politically conscious.
Well, I’m in a bit of a pickle. For my Political Science class my big assignment is to write a proposal on a current issue. I have been researching all the main issues, from the immigration bill, to the phone tap issue, and it’s all been so tedious. While I find all the issues I’ve researched gripping, I just can’t decide on which one. I also don’t want to write on the “hottest” topic that probably a lot of my classmates will be writing on. Anyway, I feel like I’ve been hitting my head against the wall for two weeks now. So, I’m asking you…what is the one or two topic(s) that makes your blood boil? I might just base my paper around your viewpoint…or the opposing one…if your argument is convincing, or intriguing enough. That is, if you wouldn’t mind. :) Thank you.
I Googled around a bit to make sure this wasn’t some new kind of spam I hadn’t seen before. It turns out Deserae is a 27-year old just-starting-out music promoter in Salt Lake City. [Insert lame joke about Utah club scene here] She also has a blog where she posts as FreeSpiritGal on which she mentions her PoliSci assignment. As a blogger, she’s the anti-me. I’m irreverent and swear a lot, she’s religious and pleasant. I’m angry and analytical, she’s hopeful and writes half her posts as prose poems.
But the important thing is that after years of ranting about all these important issues to my friends and my family and anybody who reads this blog, someone has finally come up to me and said “Mark, what’s going on in the world that pisses you off?”
Well, let me tell you…
Deserae is in college, so she might want to explore the impact of the Higher Education Act’s provision that permanently takes away financial aid from any college student convicted of possessing drugs. Wealthy students don’t need financial aid, and students whose grades suffer because they abuse drugs will lose their financial aid anyway, and students who lie on their financial aid application won’t get caught, so this law mostly just affects poor students with good grades who answer honestly. By the way, student shoplifters, robbers, and rapists are still able to get financial aid as soon as they get out of prison.
Or maybe Deserae should mine her music background for topics. How about the way law enforcement agencies are conducting military-style raids on concerts because some people there are using drugs? People use drugs at football games too, but you don’t see swarms of cops raiding the stadium and stopping the game so they can search everybody. Decades ago, they used to raid rock concerts, and before that it was jazz clubs. Nowadays it’s raves and electronica. It’s not about the drugs, it’s about a music and a culture that they don’t like and don’t understand. (By the way, the incident I linked to happened in Deserae’s home state of Utah.)
Continuing the Drug War theme, what about the recent law enforcement crackdown on pain medication? The most famous example is radio host Rush Limbaugh, who was caught illegally buying hydrocodone and oxycodone without a prescription. He has by now admitted his addiction and sought treatment for it, and it looks like he’s not going to be prosecuted.
No such luck for Richard Paey, who has multiple sclerosis and a serious back injury and requires a wheelchair. When he moved to Florida, he couldn’t find a new doctor that would prescribe enough painkillers for him, so rather than spending his days in unbearable pain, he created fake prescriptions for his meds. He got caught and was prosecuted and is now serving a 25-year prison term.
They’re going after doctors too. Pennsylvania prosecuted Doctor Paul Heberle for over-prescribing painkillers after one of his patients overdosed on fentanyl. A jury acquitted him of all charges last week. But while his practice was disrupted during the prosecution, six of his patients tried to kill themselves (one succeeded).
These are people in so much pain that some of them are on the brink of suicide, and rather than trying to help them, the government is investigating them to see if they’re abusing drugs. I’m ashamed that these prosecutors are my fellow countrymen.
How about Zero Tolerance Zealotry in our schools? There’s the 12-year old boy who was charged with a drug felony for pretending to have cocaine. Or the 17-year old arrested for conspiracy to start a food fight? Or all the students facing disciplinary action for things they wrote on their blog.
At a time when oil companies are being accused of colluding to artificially tighten the oil supply to increase profits, how about looking into the way many businesses have gotten local governments to tighten supplies for them? In Utah, for example, you need a license to be a Cosmetologist/Barber (which requires both a practical exam and an examination on Cosmetology/Barber theory), a nail technician, or an Esthetician (defined by statute as someone who does skin care procedures on the “head, face, neck, torso, abdomen, back, arms, hands, legs, feet, eyebrows, or eyelashes for cosmetic purposes and not for the treatment of medical, physical, or mental ailments” such as “cleansing, stimulating, manipulating, exercising, applying oils, antiseptics, clays, or masks, extraction, depilatories, waxes, tweezing, natural nail manicures or pedicures, or callous removal by buffing or filing,” in case you wanted to know). Actually, Utah is pretty good compared to Louisiana, which requires licensing to sell flowers. (Follow that link and check out the map of “States that License Florists.”)
Well, that’s more than the two issues Deserae requested. Anybody who knows me knows there are lots of other things that make my blood boil, but these are some of the ones that I thought might make for an interesting classroom topic.
How’s that, Deserae? I hope it helps. Now it’s your turn: Anything you think I should blog about that people would be interested in reading? Anything you think I’m wrong about? Would you rather just see more pictures of cats? Let me know.