May 2, 2010

Parade and Times Magazine

I had some Parade articles pointed out to me today. Barred from responding on the website by my lack of account, I'm talking about it here.

Article One:
"Developed World Leads on Gay Rights"

Countries that have Legal Same-Sex Marriage:
  1. Canada
  2. Belgium
  3. Spain
  4. The Netherlands
  5. Norway
  6. Sweden
  7. South Africa
  8. ...Unspecified others

Countries where homosexual acts are punishable by death:

  1. Iran
  2. Saudi Arabia
  3. United Arab Emirates
  4. Yemen
  5. Mauritania
  6. Parts of Nigeria and Sudan

Places where sanctions seem to be easing:

  1. China
  2. Singapore
  3. Cuba
  4. Nepal

Shouldn't America be sad that South Africa, of all people, is beating them in legalizing gay/lesbian marriages?

Article Two (An Ask Marilyn Question):

I was born in the US and have worked in countries with less wealth. Americans are the biggest complainers of all the cultures I've experienced. Any ideas why?

I have an idea.

Blame the Constituion. It's almost a legal responsiblity, certaintly a legal right, to complain loudly and publicly, as often as possible. It's called the First Amendment. Americans grow up with the proud tradition of public complaining; about taxes and wars and whatever was wrong with the government that week, ingrained in them from the time they can understand what's going on around them. America was pretty much founded on people complaining.

Complaining is an integeral part of America culture, government, and life.


Today, I read Times Magazine's "100 Most Influential People of the Year". Here's a selection of some you've probably never heard of (and a few you have).

  • President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (Brazil). Founding member of the Workers' Party, jailed for leading a strike. "What led him to politics in the first place? was when, at age 25, he watched his wife Maria die during the eighth month of her pregnancy, along with their child, because they couldn't afford decent medical care. There's a lesson for the world's billionaires: let people have good health care, and they'll cause much less trouble for you."
  • Yukio Hatayoma (Japan). Formed a counter-party to the Liberal Democratic Party, broke it's "virtual monopoly on power in 2009".
  • Prime Minister Salam Fayyad (Palestine). "...a passionate advocate of the Palestinian cause with a clear vision of the unequivocal, nonviolent path to statehood and peace with Israel."
  • Mayor Annise Parker (Houston, Texas). "...lesbian businesswoman with three kids and a longtime partner." "...she would focus on her city's $100 million budget shortfall during her time in office."
  • Bo Xilai (China). Former mayor, former governor, former commerce minister. "There [Chongqing] he launched a crackdown on organized crime that has seen more than 3,000 suspects arrested, including the former chief of police."
  • Robin Li (China). CEO of Baidu, a Chinese search engine. "Even before Google created a furor by refusing to censor its search engine, Baidu has been handily whipping it in China."
  • Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan of Abu Dhabi, President of the United Arab Emirates. Bailed Dubai out of its real estate crash. "The prince has been a sober steward of Abu Dhabi's oil wealth and is planning for a post-oil future: the emirate aims to be a world leaser in sustainable energy."
  • Neil Patrick Harris (America). Actor. "The public's perception of gay men is shifting because of this guy, and they'll be too entertained to notice."
  • Lea Michele (America). Actress, singer, creator of the Liv Aid breast-self-exam device. " Rachel Berry on the hit TV show Glee, she is inspiring young people to get involved in musical programs in schools and encouraging communities to fund them..."
  • Han Han (China). Novelist, racecar driver, blogger. "He doesn't focus on the mundane details of his daily life or celebrity gossip. Instead, he zeroes in on the ills of contemporary Chinese society, his barbed posts targeting topics from official venality to the failings of a state-produced movie about Confucious."
  • Elizabeth Warren (America). Chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel, attorney, law professor. "She minds the government's purse strings." "...a thankless high-profile government position overseeing the $700 billion taxpayer bailout of the US financial industry."
  • Jaron Lanier (America). Composer, preformer, computer scientist, philospher, author "You Are Not A Gadget". "...he celebrates the potential of the Internet but also laments the way its misuse can suppress the individual voice."
  • Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew (Singapore). Former Minister Mentor of Singapore. "Lee inspired his polyglot population to become the intellectual and technical center of the region."
  • Comissioner of Rhode Island schools Deborah Gist (Rhode Island). "When Deborah Gist became Comissioner of Rhode Island schools in 2009, she pledged to make every decision in the best interests of children- something we've heard before and rarely seen happen. Then she started doing it."
  • Amartya Sen (India). Author, philospher, professor. "His notion of measuring human development is now central to the work of the UN and the World Bank."
  • Justice Sonia Sotomayor (America). Supreme Court Justice. "...she would bring to the bench a deep understanding of how most people who walk down Broadway, or Main Street, live their lives."
  • Mir-Hossein Mousavi (Iran). Leader of the Green Movement, 2009 Presidential Candidate. "...Mousavi, 68, and those in his Green movement understand that the revolution's broken promises must be fulfilled and that their nonviolent protests for change must be Iran's true path: governments must be formed at the ballot box, not at bullet point."
  • Temple Grandin (America). Animal Scientist. " extraordinary source of inspiration for autisitc children, their parents- and all people." "...she has developed corrals for cattle that improve their quality of life by reducing stress."
  • Nay Phone Latt (Burma). Poet, blogger, recipient of PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award. "...the voice of a generation of Burmese who are finding ways around an aging regime's desperate censorship. When the junta there cracked down on Buddist-monk-led demonstrations in 2007 and restricted press coverage, Nay Phone Latt's blog was a go-to source for international journalists. For this, he was arrested and is serving 12 years."
  • Reem Al Numery (Yemen). Child bride. "When I protested, my dad gagged me and tied me up. After the wedding, I tried to kill myself twice."
  • Zahra Rahnavard (Iran). Artist, educator, organizer in Iran's Green Party. "The woman Ahmadinejad fears."
  • Malalai Joya (Afghanistan). Ex-Iranian Parliament member, revolutionary. "To be so lucky as to become literate in a place where girls are shrouded and denied even fresh air is close to a miracle. To start underground schools and educate girls under the noses of turbaned, self-appointed defenders of virtue and forbidders of vice is truly extraordinary. But to get a seat in parliament and refuse to be silent in the face of the Taliban and warlord zealots shows true fiber. When Malalai Joya did this, her opponets responded in the usual way: expulsion from parliament, warnings, intimidation and attempts to cut her life short."
  • Will Allen (Milwaukee, America). Urban farmer. "Everybody, regardless of their economic means, should have access to the same healthy, safe, affordable food that is grown naturally."

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