Harry Potter's Asian Fetish

No, not really.  At least I wouldn't say that about the Harry that Rowling wrote, but the movie did leave me wondering about the screenplay writer and director.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix came out today on Friday the 13th!!  woot!!  And Cho Chang, Harry's Chinese-Scottish love interest figures somewhat prominently in the plot.  Like most Asians living in the West, I notice things like that.

So Much for Peace III

One Unitarian Universalist was so disgusted by the recent disruption of a Hindu Senate prayer by conservative Christian activists that she blogged about it, calling the protesters "intolerant and ridiculous." Another Unitarian Universalist was so put off by the first UUs characterization that she blogged about that, calling the first UU an "asshole."

In the interest of full disclosure let me say that the first UU is a colleague of mine. Even so, I don't think that it's purely the bias of proximity that makes me think ChaliceChick's comments were not only inappropriate but highly ironic.

Obama at Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood threw a party for the Democratic presidential candidates to talk about women's health and only Barak Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Elizabeth Edwards came.

Perhaps you heard: it's where Obama supposedly advocated teaching kindergarteners about sex. Not. What has the conservative media in apoplectic fits and UUs and UCC cheering is Obama's unequivocal support for teaching age-appropriate comprehensive sexuality education in schools.

Aren't we in the 21st Century?

It's not that I thought that racism was dead in this country. Surely not. But I did think that overt racial hatred and intimidation, such as hanging nooses from trees, was a thing of the past. I thought the only people who would have the nerve to do such things were the guys hiding under the white dunce caps.

It's not that I thought that I thought that our court system was racially fair. One need only look at the "not guilty" verdicts for the cops caught on tape beating Rodney King to see that there is still racial inequity in the courts. But again, I did think that it would be slightly more subtle than this.

On Sept 1st, 2006, some black students of Jena High School in Louisiana sat under what is known as the "white" tree. The next day, hanging from the tree were three nooses in school colors. horror #1.

The school officials dismissed it as a "prank." Nooses, in the South, a "prank." horror #2.

Hairspray

I went to see the new "Hairspray" with an officemate today. If you've lost track, this is the movie version of the Broadway show that started off as a John Water's movie that came out in the late 80s.  Written and directed by Waters, it takes place in his Baltimore in the early 60s, the town and time in which he grew up.  

I had seen the original movie, being a big John Waters fan at the time (still am).  What's shocking to me is how obvious the racial justice theme is in this movie given that I have no memory of this from the original movie.  I'm sure that it was in there; I was just not framing things in terms of racial justice as much as I am now.  It makes me wonder how much we miss due to what we filter.  And it explains why people can be at the same event and walk away with completely different experiences.

The New Minimum Wage

Welcome to an ever so slightly better today. The first phase of the minimum wage increase passed by this Congress takes effect today, raising the minimum that an employer can legally pay an employee from $5.15 to $5.85 per hour.  While I'm happy for this much needed increase, it is painfully obvious that it isn't enough. 

It has been almost a decade since the last time Congress increased the minimum wage, the longest stretch of drought since the minimum wage was enacted in 1938.  Taking inflation into account, the increase to $5.85 is still far less than what it was equivalent to at the time of the last increase,  $6.67 in today's dollars, and far far less than its buying power at its peak in 1968, worth $9.56 in today's dollars.

Hope for Darfur

The death toll for the genocide in Darfur is thought to be over 200,000. We have sat idle and watched (or not watched as the case may be) while innocents are slaughtered. This week brings some reason for hope. Both the United Nations and the United States took significant steps yesterday to bring an end to the killing.

Internationally, the UN Security Council authorized a peacekeeping force of 26,000 to protect aid workers and civilians. Domestically, the House of Representatives passed by a vote of 418-1 the Darfur Accountability and Divestment Act of 2007, which authorizes states and local governments to divest funds from companies that conduct business operations in Sudan, prohibits U.S. government contracts with companies fueling the genocide, and authorizes states to also prohibit contracts. (For the record the one naye vote was Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul from Texas.)

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