Entries Posted in "July 2004"

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And I Thought I Was Ambitious
July 31, 2004

This kid, Ben Shapiro, puts me to wretched shame. Oh, and check out his bio too. Harvard Law at age 16? I ain't mad atcha.

Posted by Ambra in Education | Link to This Entry
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The Democratic National Convention in 60 Seconds
July 30, 2004

Much hype has been made over the fact that many prominent bloggers were for the first time, given exclusive press access to the Democratic National Convention. I think the idea's ingenious since often, bloggers can be some of the more blunt reporters around the internet. From what I've read, no reporting thus far has been earth-shattering. Instapundit has a pretty good round-up of opinions. However, I must say, I'm a little surprised if not shocked and embarrassed that no one even bothered to contact me about reporting on the convention. Surely there were some fashion faux-pas going on up in that place. I could've had a field day taking pictures and doing fashion critiques alone. People never believe me when I say it, but you can learn a lot about a politician by the way they dress. But alas, my feelings are not hurt and I have moved on.

Confession. Save the news and various transcripts, I didn't watch one bit of the DNC. Double confession. I probably won't watch a whole lot of the Republican's Convention either. Why? Because they are dry, typical, boring, and at times, I can have the attention span of an underdeveloped, ADD gnat. My aversion to politics kicks into high gear any time I see too many power-ties and blue pin-striped suits. And what is it with the fanfare? Yeah yeah yeah, so John Kerry got the nomination. And? We all knew that seven months ago so I realize it's tradition and all, bu talk about anti-climactic! No matter what party, I just can't get with the "hip-hip-hooray" celebration. Bill Clinton? In the words of Michelle Malkin, "Bill. Hill. Ill." Barack Obama? Aside from the fact that I just can't say his name without thinking "Osama", I'd say he gave a good speech, had some good thoughts, and well, he's for Kerry so I guess that's where we part. Al Sharpton? Aside from his vapid pseudo-sermonizing and this here "halleluiah" picture, I'll give him credit for waking up the front row and bringing a little "spice" to what otherwise seemed to be a dry concoction of conservative bashing.

Newsweek is reporting that among the "Gen-Next" (people under 30) crowd, John Kerry is the leading candidate over our dear incumbent president. That's all and well, but just four and a half months ago, Newsweek was saying that my generation was voting for Nader. What is it with these polls anyway?

"For the NEWSWEEK GENEXT Poll, Ipsos-Public Affairs interviewed 350 registered voters age 18 to 29, from July 5 to July 22"
Well golly gee, there's a healthy cross section of the youth population eh? Interestingly enough, 53% of those polled felt Democrats were too liberal. Now there's a novel idea.

With the work of various campaigns geared towards young people like "Rock the Vote" and "Citizen Change", along with unabashedly liberal, young, celebrities coming out against Bush, I wouldn't be surprised if the "Gen-Next" vote becomes way more important this time around. As a result, both candidates have brought their children onboard to rally the younger voters.

My piece of advice, if you want to engage my generation, throw some neon lights on that there convention podium (actually, the proper term is lectern), because the rhetoric gets dull and you need a sieve to get to any semblence of honesty and truth.

That's my piece at least.

Posted by Ambra in Politics | Link to This Entry
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Human Capital: The ROI of a Kid

Yesterday, I received an email from my mother that was rather poignant yet disturbingly offensive, all at the same time. She discussed the return on investment of children and her disappointment with its current dividends. "ROI" is a concept we use a lot in the business world, but perhaps I'd never considered it quite the way she expressed. I am not now nor have I ever been a parent, so I don't presume to know the type of emotions involved in watching your offspring head a different direction than you'd originally planned, but I can only imagine, it's no walk in the park.

By now, many of you know my story of educational rebellion. All my life, I was "set-up" to become a [insert cliche lucrative profession] of sorts. I never really had the heart for anything traditional or pre-formulated, but being in college only reinforced the fact that I was indeed on academic, analytical, and high-expectations overload. The thing I usually fail to mention in "my story" is the absolute fear I felt when I had to make that frightful decision to leave my "prestigious" college for a world of uncertainty. As I sat in my obsessively organized dorm room, I was unable to appreciate the beautiful Connecticut Springtime because I knew the mountain before me. When I picked up the phone to dial the dreaded number of my parents back in Seattle, I felt like Sean Penn in Dead Man Walking. I knew I wasn't coming out of the conversation alive, so I said my last prayers and was read my last rights. Around that time, I could have desperately used a Susan Sarandon in my life. The burden to make one's parents proud can be incredibly motivating. The burden to make one's parents proud can be incredibly oppressive.

To understand the graveness of my decision to quit school prior to even declaring a major, you'd have to understand my educational background and the expectations placed on me since birth. For whatever reason (wisdom I presume), our parents made the decision early on that their children would never set foot in the doors of a public school. This wasn't a judgment against public schooling, but they were insightful enough to see that Seattle Public Schools were not particularly the best back in 1981. Instead of your run-of-the-mill private school, my parents opted for the most rigorous college preperatory education they could find. Throughout our lives, there was a clear educational target put into place for all of us. College was the rule and graduate school was the exception.

Keeping us in private school was a struggle, and we were by no means upper-class. Upper-class is when your money works for you. Upper-class is when you can choose to work. Upper-class is when relationships and affiliations are currency. Upper-class folks didn't need a major scholarship to attend our very expensive private schools. Aside from a solid education, the thing I most enjoyed about private school was rubbing elbows with the oldest of money-makers. I had the privilege of attending school with children of great means from famous and influential families. I was no fool. I took notes every chance I got. Although there are times when public school had something to offer, the reality is, my family sacrificed greatly to afford myself and my siblings the education we received. I know we received a good education and that's not something we take lightly or trounce upon as though we were ungrateful.

Then comes me, the eldest daughter, "irreverent", "unappreciative," and "indignant". Actually, not really, but having been groomed for higher education all my life, I think my parents feel I did them a disservice by forfeiting college altogether. I believe the figure in my mother's email was $1,352,000.56 that she believes they've spent on the private education of my three-siblings to prepare us for success in college (and you thought I was an overexaggerater). Clearly, that's very inaccurate, but I see what she's getting at. She jumped to an extreme to prove a point. After all, it was a lot of money when they could have opted for a "free" education.

[ I'm having flashbacks to the famous Cosby Show episode where Sandra and Elvin announce they're not going to law school and medical school respectively, and instead want to start a wilderness store. A declaration to which Clair Huxtable demands $75,350.92 in Princeton University tuition paid back to her immediately. ]
So what is the ROI on a child? Was that time and money invested into my brain or was it invested into me as a person? Which is more important, my ability to think intelligently and independently, or my ability to succeed in the workforce and academia? Are they mutually exlusive characteristics? So was it all a waste of money? I suppose only time will tell. These are questions I'm slowly having answered. Everyday that I wake up and realize I have more common sense and headway than many of my peers, my immediate reaction is to say, "Yes, it was worth it". College is fantastic, but it wasn't for me. One would hope that your education is worth more than what college you go to and which profession you choose. I'm certain most sane parents would just be happy with a child who grows up to be an integrous, productive, contributing, and leading member of society. Thus far, I don't think I have failed in any of the aforementioned but there are miles to go. The ROI of children is multi-facetedly more than just a professional destination. When my parents eventually head into the latter portion of their lives, part of that return will be us taking care of them the same way they took care of us. The years to follow will be revelatory for me as I gain clarity on what exactly it is my parents "deserve" in payment for all they've given me.

I don't necessarily blame my parents for being disappointed. After all, they got shafted in their expectations that I'd fulfill my end of the bargain. Expectations are a funny thing. When they're unmet, we immediately consider it a horrible thing instead of doing what we should do which is re-examine the fairness and honesty of what was expected in the first place. To be honest, a child's life is never owned by the parents to begin with. It's more like a loan situation where they're given the awesome privilege and responsibility of steering its direction. That desire to make my parents proud has not disappeared, it's just changed manifestations. I want to make them proud in my obedience to who I'm supposed to be and not what they expect me to be. And if the clarity of my words are any indication, I think I'm on the right track.

Posted by Ambra in Education, Life | Link to This Entry
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Who Needs Abortion T-Shirts?
July 29, 2004

When you can wear clothing with these phrases on it:

- I Had an abortion

- I Sold drugs to support the Taliban

- I Threw a chunk of concrete off of an overpass

- I Loostened the fittings on the workout equipment at the gym

- I Pushed an old man into a busy intersection

- I Stabbed a man in the back of the neck

- I Looked into my neighbor's daughter's window last night

- I Set fire to the hospital burn ward

- I Killed a dog with a bat

- I Kicked a 12 year old in the groin

- I Pee'd on a woman walking down the street

- I Cheated on my wife with a crack hooker ... without using a condom"

Lets all revel in our failures an exhalt them as if they were sacraments.
(Credit to: The Brilliant Commenting Genius of Reader "Byron")

I say, down with censorship, up with idocracy!

Posted by Ambra in Politics | Link to This Entry
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Cos Conundrum Continues

At a recent college conference in South Carolina, Bill Cosby once again defended his remarks. The AP reports,

"'I'm going to keep on saying what I've been saying,' he[Cosby] said Wednesday, speaking to a group representing 118 historically black colleges and universities nationwide, the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education.

On Wednesday, he said the music industry glorifies music that demeans women, praises life in jail and uses profanity.

He said college educators should prepare students to help poor blacks from backgrounds of violence and single-mother households.

Instead of joining the Peace Corps and going to Africa, 'go across the street into the projects. These are people who need to see another picture, a brighter picture.'"

People have been saying this for years. That doesn't make it any less true today. Oppression is in our own back yard. In the case of Seattle, it's "their" backyard (the projects in Seattle actually have grass).

People still continue to pick apart Cosby's comments for the better and the worse. In "The Black World Today" (rolling eyes) Playthell Benjamin (if that's not a name!) wrote a lengthy open letter to Bill Cosby called Dear Brother Bill. I'm still sifting through it, trying to figure out just what exactly he's getting at. Then in the piece, Bill Cosby Was (Mostly) Right, Stan Guthrie of Christianity Today, cites the "redemptive role of the church" as being the one thing missing from Cosby's message. Agreed.

(Cool Points to: Mark Shea for the tip on this event)

Posted by Ambra in Culture, Race | Link to This Entry
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If You Design it, Idiots Will Wear It

I realize this is old news but my typing fingers couldn't help it.

I don't care what type of convoluted statement the Spawn of Satan at Planned Parenthood are trying to make, these t-shirts are an abomination. The online store on Planned Parenthood's website reads

"They have finally arrived!

Planned Parenthood is proud to offer yet another t-shirt in our new social fashion line: "I Had an Abortion" fitted T-shirts are now available. These soft and comfortable fitted tees assert a powerful message in support of women's rights."

Their new social fashion line? Just when you thought people couldn't get anymore psychotic.

Inevitably, these maniacs are trying to pass this off as an effort to bring people from behind the shame of having had an abortion. Interesting. Instead of helping people deal with the shame, they're gloating about it.

Reason #48596067683742244 Planned Parenthood is a wicked, evil, tool of an organization.

Hip-Hip-Hooray for free speech!

Posted by Ambra in Abortion, Fashion | Link to This Entry
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Because My Readers Are Over-Reactors

Okay. One email too many.

I intentionally used the second half of my rant to bash pharmeceutical companies in the hopes that readers would get the revelatory irony. Perhaps I'm asking too much.

I realize that many people have struggled with many things and you just never know what you say/how you say and the way it is perceived. I am completely sympathetic to the varying degrees of abuse and addiction other people have experienced, but I feel the need to point out that everything on this website is 50% tongue-and-cheek and 50% serious. (Must I continue to state the obvious?) For this reason I announce to the relative world:

Ambra is not addicted to vicodin.

Ambra took vicodin as prescribed.

Ambra is no longer taking vicodin because the pain has subsided.

Ambra is anti-drug abuse.

Would you like me to flush the remaining prescription down the toilet?

Oh yeah, by the way, yeah I'm still a Christian too.

There. I said it. If only you knew how funny these accusations are. As you were soldiers.

Posted by Ambra in Life | Link to This Entry
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The Case for Why I Won't Join a Political Party. Exhibit A:
July 28, 2004
Posted by Ambra in Politics | Link to This Entry
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The Demise of Andrew Sullivan is Moving Far Too Slow

I don't usually blog about the blogosphere itself. Sometimes I prefer to treat this growing organism as though it doesn't exist. It's more fun this way and it keeps my writing honest and un-abashedly disloyal to anyone but my web-host, who's really the only one who can pull the plug on this whole offensive deal anyway. Today's different. Now maybe I'd been living under a rock, but up until about six months ago, I'd never heard of Andrew Sullivan, author, blogger, conservative, and gay-rights activist extraordinaire. After surfing a few of my favorite conservative weblogs, I came upon links to his site rather often so one day I decided to see what the hubbub was about.

As suspected, the hubbub was about absolutely nothing. It only took me moments to see that Andrew Sullivan was nothing more than the confused moderate's poster-boy for politics, but more specifically, same-sex marriage. Every time I write about this issue, someone always wants to ask me if I've read good old Andy Sullivan. Well I have, and I'm not impressed. I wasn't buying it then, and I'm not buying it now. Thankfully, others are starting to notice the same.

Many bloggers have recently come out (no pun intended) against Mr. Sullivan. Nathan at Brain Fertilizer cites his inability to relate to anything outside the realm of his "homosexuality" as "Why We Should Stop Reading Andrew Sullivan" (good thing I never really started). Meanwhile, reading Michelle Malkin's post on his recent stooping to the lowest of lows by starting a "sponsorship" campaign to cover costs for his blog, with varying levels of partnership (again no pun intended) and special perks when you give more money (my goodness, he'd fit in perfectly on TBN), led me to these lovely words from one of her brilliant commenters, David Blackmon

"Andrew Sullivan is a classic example of an otherwise intelligent and fairly astute political observer who allows himself to become utterly and completely consumed by a single issue, in his case gay marriage. His pathological need to destroy the institution of marriage in this country has led him to develop a similar pathological hatred of President Bush, and that in turn has basically rendered him irrational on all other political topics.

It's too bad - a year ago he appeared to have a promising future. It has been almost painful to watch over the last year as he has devolved into utter and complete irrelevancy."

Yes! If I had a tambourine right now, surely I'd play it.

Posted by Ambra in Blogging | Link to This Entry | Comments { 7 }
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They're Raising Up Seventh Graders Now

Being that I remained silent throughout approximately 50% of high school about my dissention on key politcal issues, I know what it means to do have these type of guts. Although it's much easier to do public speaking with a popular message and a crowd full of partisan-folk, I must give credit where credit is due. Last night at the DNC, 12-year-old Ilana Wexler, founder of "Kids for Kerry" (that's right, the chick started her own 501(c)(3). Deal), chided with great passion and convicition,

"When our vice president had a disagreement with a Democratic senator, he used a really bad word. If I said that word, I would be put in a timeout. I think he should be put in a timeout."
To which the crowd of course stood to their feet. Can't say I agree that Cheney was in the "right" for his choice expletive. But really though, when's the last time you heard a young Conservative publically speak up with such conviction? If we keep raising sissy, weak-minded thinkers, it will be a long, long time. Take notes Republicans, them Dems are onto something.

Posted by Ambra in Politics | Link to This Entry
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Why I'm Not a Republican Parts I, II, III, IV
Reflections on the Ill-Read Society
The ROI of a Kid
The Double-Minded Haters
Hip-Hop in Education: Do You Wanna Revolution?
Oh parent Where Art Thou?
Requisite Monthly Rant: the State of the Nation
College Curriculum Gone Wild
Walmart Chronicles
An Open Letter to American Idol
Gonorrhea and the City

I Have a Talk Show