Archive for January, 2010

College taught me the wrong way to write a cover letter

January 29, 2010

College students/recent grads beware: after writing many cover letters in the format I learned in college, I’m realizing that employers want quite the opposite when they are sifting through cover letters of prospective employees.

In magazine feature writing at OU, I learned that a cover letter should squish as much information as humanly possible into a one-page Microsoft Word document. “You have this one page to convince the employer why you’re best for the job,” my professor said. “So you need to utilize all the space you have.” WRONG.

My professor also preached an intro that catches the employer’s eye. We were taught that intro should be unique and interesting. WRONG.

Instead of a long, detailed, action-packed cover letter, I am finding that most employers actually want short, concise, and to the point. Keep the cover letter to half a page instead of trying to cram your life story into an entire page. I like to make the margins half an inch so it can look wide and short rather than long and thin.

I changed my first sentence from an attempt to be clever to the simple “As a copy editor/writer with more than four years of experience …” so that the employer immediately gets a hint at my qualifications. I listed every skill I have instead of talking about each individual job because I attach a resume that lists this exact same information. So I say, “I have experience with copy editing, news reporting, training employees, etc.”

A cover letter is a first impression, and it can illustrate the skills you have — as a journalism student/graduate, a concise and to-the-point cover letter itself is a testament to your ability to edit, write, and be clear. College taught me a lot, but it taught me a pretty backward way to write a cover letter.

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Maryland — the worst place for carowners

January 27, 2010

Maryland’s ridiculous vehicle safety inspection certificate requirement for new cars, newly purchased used cars, and cars new to Maryland is a perfect example of why the private sector’s greed makes it an awful choice as a regulator for the government.

A safety inspection certificate is not the Maryland version of an Ohio e-check — Maryland has its own separate vehicle emissions program which mimicks Ohio’s e-check. You see, you have to take your car (new/newly used/new to MD) to a registered safety inspection station so it can be deemed roadworthy. Although a good idea in practice, it leaves your car’s inspection most often in the hands of private mechanics.

The problem with trusting private mechanics to take care of a government requirement is that these mechanics hold a lot of power over consumers who must the inspection if their car is new to them or the state. An inspection can cost as little as $50 (if you have a coupon) and more than $75 depending on the station. The private mechanics regulate their own prices (although the Maryland State Police have put maximums on how much they can charge as a labor rate, I believe), which leaves the MD resident searching for the best value and crossing their fingers that the mechanic will be honest.

The finger-crossing is necessary because once the mechanics have your car, they make more money as they charge you more for repairs. My boyfriend’s car needed about $350 work and they (*cough*Rockville Service Center*cough*) wanted to charge him more than $1,000 to fix rotars, brake pads, and replace headlights and a brake light. Luckily we were able to find a local mechanic (*cough* Certified Auto Repair*cough*) who charged the proper price for the repairs (and told me that the claim the front brake pads needed to be replaced were bogus).

The problem was, though, that they already had our $80 inspection fee from the start — this puts the resident in quite a predicament. Do you get a second opinion and spend another $60 or so dollars, hoping to find the first mechanic was scamming but risking that the second mechanic will say the same thing? Do you take your business elsewhere upon reinspection and spend the extra money on a fee, or do you take it back to the original place — where the reinspection might cost close to $50 if they need to put it on a lift to check repairs?

I’ve read so many stories online from frustrated people who got scammed and don’t understand why Maryland follows this system of letting private mechanics go wild when it comes to doling out documents that people need to register their vehicles. I feel the same way — the opportunity for fraud and mechanics to take advantage of customers is high and prevalent, and this greed is the reason why the private sector often can’t be trusted to have honest and proper transactions with its customers.

Sure, business is business. You go to a mechanic to get something fixed, he scams you, you learn your lesson. But this is the state government saying you must go to a private company to get a certificate or else you can’t register your vehicle in the state. You are being forced to go to a mechanic even when nothing seems wrong with your car, and you’re told that you need to fix some things you aren’t even sure need to be fixed in order to get the piece of paper you want.

My other theory, aside from the fact that the Maryland Vehicle Administration is out to bankrupt me and everyone else in this state, is that Maryland secretly implemented these regulations as an environmental initiative to get more people to use public transportation. People will get so frustrated with the overly complicated process of bringing a vehicle into the state that they’ll just leave the car behind and walk, bike, or use public transit.

If only this were true, it would be brilliant, because it is 39234612029 times easier to just buy a Metrocard or a bus pass than to deal with a safety inspection and the true/faux repairs it brings, plus finding some time to get your vehicle registered during their weekday hours of 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. — the most inconvenient hours on the planet. Would it be that hard to be open on a Saturday, even for just a few hours?

Never move to Maryland if you have a car — just sell it and get a really nice electric bicycle. Or get a cheap inspection by a mechanic you trust before you move, use Google to try to find an honest and registered safety inspection station, and/or look for a coupon in the mail.

CCINAC: 2. Toxic chemicals in toys

January 23, 2010

It’s not breaking news that a lot of toys are made with toxic chemicals. But it’s important to know what they are, what threats they pose and why they are even used in the manufacturing process in the first place. And if you’re too old to play with toys, keep reading – the new toxic threats can be found in household items and fashion jewelry.

I’m not going to go through every chemical, but I am going to highlight a few of the dangers because most of the toxic chemicals share ill effects on development, learning, behavior, growth and the nervous system of children. It might seem like us environmentalists are always coming at you with a new toxic chemical, but science is getting better at detecting chemicals, defining their health effects and, well, don’t you want to know if you’re paying to put toxic chemicals near or in your body (or your those of your kid(s))?

It’s extremely important to protect children from these chemicals because they can have detrimental effects on their developmental growth, learning ability, behavior and nervous system in general. Adults need to protect themselves, but they also need to be aware of what toxic chemicals they might be introducing into their children’s environment. Children are vulnerable, growing and tend to have vulnerable immune systems as well. Even if you are childless but searching for a birthday gift for a niece, nephew or family friend, it’s important to take that child’s health into account when buying that gift.

Here are a few examples of health hazards commonly found in toys:

Lead

Lead is the most popular toxic chemical to cause recalls, and it’s the main toy toxin people associate with numerous health problems (nervous system/brain damage, learning/behavior problems, slowed growth, hearing problems, headaches). Although lead still can be found on some toys – often used in the paint applied to toys – the use of lead has been on the decline.

 

According to a study conducted by the Ecology Center, the amount of toys containing lead has gone down by about two-thirds since 2007. There was a lot of public outcry to get rid of the lead, and there were new regulations put forth to address the use of lead in toy manufacturing.

Cadmium

Aside from the fact that lead is still found on some toys, another problem that has erupted from avoiding lead is that some companies chose to use cadmium, a very toxic metal, instead of the safer zinc alternative.

According to CBS News, the cheaper price of cadmium might have influenced some companies to use it as a substitute for lead (not to mention there are no regulations on cadmium when used in jewelry). Cadmium is often used in jewelry – this is especially concerning because older children and even teenagers and adults shop at Wal-Mart and Claire’s for cheap jewelry alternatives to gold or silver.

 

Although the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is currently investigating cadmium concerns, it’s likely they won’t find anything positive about this metal. It’s poisonous, carcinogenic and can cause kidney damage. Because of its long half-life in the body, it’s possible that small amounts can accumulate over time and lead to cadmium poisoning.

PVC

The next problematic poison doesn’t come in the form of a metal, but plastic: PVC, polyvinyl chloride, is a carcinogen that is found in toys and household items alike. You know that plastic-y smell you get when you open a new shower curtain, air mattress or tablecloth? That’s the smell of PVC – it smells awkward and unnatural because our noses are really good indicators of toxicity (it’s the same reason you gag at the smell of paint or car exhaust).

 

Polyvinyl chloride (AKA vinyl) is common in a lot of toy balls, children’s swimming pools and teething rings. As if it wasn’t enough that sometimes kids just shove toys in their mouths when they are meant for other purposes, PVC can be found on toys that you want your toddler to chew on! The Ecology Center study found PVC in 42 percent of the toys it analyzed.

PVC is an interesting toy element because its negative effects are especially dangerous – in its manufacture dioxin is created, and dioxin can cause cancer and neurological damage; if dioxin spreads from toy plants into the water, it bioaccumulates up the food chain and seafood-loving humans could ingest it.

In the production of PVC, additives are used – such as the aforementioned lead and cadmium – and the risks posed by these additives leaching are just a few paragraphs above this one. Countless other toxic compounds that go into the production of PVC also can leach out and be dangerous to children or anyone who inhales, touches or ingests the material. Children eat a lot of weird things, and the last thing you want is to see them chewing on or swallowing some PVC.

Poison in production

Toxic chemicals like bromine, arsenic and mercury are also found in toys, and most if not all of the same health risks apply. What’s worse is that children aren’t the only ones who are vulnerable – although adults also purchase and use many toxic items, the people who work in the manufacturing plants work around these toxic chemicals all day long. These people truly risk constant exposure from inhalation or contact.

What’s worse is that like many plants that deal with hazardous materials, these plants are often built or opened in places of poverty. Lots of people who are eager and in need of work are drawn to working at plants which deal with these toxic chemicals, putting them at a higher risk of suffering the health effects (or having their surrounding environment affected, e.g. contaminated waterways).

Another reason that metals are so often found in toys is that their production often starts overseas in countries like China, where the metal is extracted from electronics shipped from all different countries. E-waste – the TVs, computers, cell phones, etc. that people throw away in the garbage – is often shipped overseas where people take the machines apart to search for metals that can be reused in new products. I will talk about e-waste in a different post, but the recycling of the e-waste particles into toy manufacturing is partly to blame for the metals being found in toys.

 The good news

 

The good news is that about two-thirds of the toys tested in the Ecology Center’s study were free of lead, cadmium, arsenic and mercury, so it’s definitely possible to manufacture toys without using toxic chemicals. There are also alternatives to PVC on the market, so it’s not impossible to watch out for the safety of your children, your family or yourself when shopping.

For PVC, avoid the words “PVC” and “vinyl,” and also check the product for the number “3” with the recycle arrows around it. The “3” indicates that the plastic resin used in manufacturing was PVC, so avoid those products to avoid PVC.

For a list of toys recalled, check this list provided by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. These recalls not only list recalls because of lead exposure but other hazards such as choking or burn hazards. Because no cadmium recalls have ever been made, you’ll likely not find cadmium information here (this is subject to change with regulation changes).

Cadmium is mostly used in jewelry, so avoiding cheaply priced jewelry – especially if it was made in China – is your best bet to avoid cadmium exposure.

Click here to search for specific toys and learn whether their toxicity level should be of concern. The Web site also has news about toxic toys and lots of other great resources.

As always, you can get involved with your Representative or Senator by e-mail or phone and urge regulations when it comes to toy toxicity. Get e-mail updates about toy recalls and safety news by signing up for the US Consumer Product Safety Commission’s e-mail list by clicking here.

(Note: How to divert e-waste from being sent overseas will be addressed in the future blog focused on e-waste.)

CCINAC: 1. Mountaintop removal mining

January 20, 2010

Mountaintop removal mining is a dangerous activity that I feel very passionate about ending. I think it’s a mix of going to college near Appalachia, an interest in toxicity and writing my senior research paper about female activists in this arena whose stories really touched me. It’s a horrible way to get coal out of the earth, both for people and the environment.

Mountaintop removal mining is the process of trying to get to coal seams by blowing the tops of mountains with explosives. Typically, one might think of the coal carts and underground mines when imagining coal extraction, but this new process is sweeping through Appalachia and taking countless mountaintops with it.

This is what it looks like when someone puts explosives into a mountaintop and blows it to pieces:

This picture, from www.ilovemountains.org, illustrates just the visible damage done to the mountain. Trees and wildlife destroyed, as are the benefits that come from those trees and wildlife — e.g. flood prevention, food, habitat.

Plus, the explosives used catapult toxic debris into nearby streams, ponds and lakes, which contaminates the water that people drink and the water that many animals drink or use as a habitat. It’s not uncommon for water tainted by the debris from blasting to come out of the faucet orange instead of clear. It’s also common for valleys to be filled with rubble from blasting, which leads to rainwater being mixed with the chemicals from these rocks and seeping into streams.

Mountaintop removal mining has also been associated with respiratory problems for people who live near these sites, as they inhale the fumes and the ash created by blasting. Stomach problems are also common — not surprising considering the water near these sites is likely contaminated with toxic chemicals.

People who live near these sites are often very torn, because it’s not as easy as picking up and moving elsewhere. Their households are often their only assets, their households are often in the family or even were built by a family member, and Appalachia is poverty-stricken and people don’t necessarily have the money to pick up and start a new life elsewhere. Even selling their house would be impossible — I mean, would you buy a house where the water was orange and the foundation was cracked and flooding from MTR?

Like many solids extracted from the earth, coal must be washed to separate the coal itself from the rock attached to it. Washing the coal leaves a watery sludge mixture, which is usually just put in some kind of sludge impoundment similar to a lake or pond — and people must cross their fingers and hope the impoundment stays put so they aren’t flooded with slurry.

This picture, from www.mountainroadshow.com, shows a coal sludge pond in Kentucky:

In December 2008, coal sludge flood actually happened in Tennessee — a retention pond burst and more than 500 gallons of coal slurry flooded a city in Tennessee, leaving the city flooded with a sludge that contained toxic chemicals like mercury, arsenic and lead. This kind of disaster is the result of trying to just put toxic waste in a fenced-in area and ignoring the fact that it is toxic and needed proper disposoal (or, if there wasn’t such a thing, it shouldn’t have been created in the first place if it couldn’t be disposed of safely).

The government continues to permit MTR mining even though it poses dangerous and well-known threats to the environment and to the people who live near these MTR sites. Advocates of MTR mining say it creates jobs, when in reality it is a much more mechanized form of mining that uses machines more than manpower, and has cost many Appalachians their jobs in underground mining. MTR mining completely disregards the environment and the health of the people who live near these mountains in order to feed our country’s “need” for coal, and we need to realize the effects that our habits can have on the people who suffer because we demand more and more energy and electricity.

Coal River Mountain Watch’s Coal River Wind Project is a great solution to the problem of MTR mining because it suggests harvesting a renewable energy resource (wind) in the mountaintops instead of blowing them to pieces. It creates jobs, protects health and keeps energy flowing. Visit the Web site to support the cause.

You can visit countless Web sites to support the end of mountaintop removal mining, and ilovemountains.org is a good place to start. Contact your representatives and let them know how you feel about MTR mining, and visit this EPA site to find out how clean your electricity is. Simply reducing your overall energy use can reduce the demand and the act of MTR mining, as can supporting alternative, cleaner, renewable energy sources through your senators, representatives, activism and donations.

Climate change is not a crutch

January 19, 2010

I hate when people who aim to discredit climate change try to simultaneously discredit environmentalism as a whole. I mean, if you can’t prove climate change is caused by humans, then how can anyone trust environmentalists on all their other claims?

Thanks to “climategate” — last November when someone hacked into a climate change research center’s files and found e-mails between climate scientists, some who suggest excluding any views contradictory to manmade climate change from scientific publications — people who have had a problem with environmental regulations and environmentalism are sitting back and rejoicing. After all, if the science is being skewed now, who’s to say it hasn’t always been skewed?

My problem is that climate change is not the crutch of the environmental movement. It’s the most publicized, scruntinized and debated topic in the environmental realm right now, but I hate the idea of anti-environmentalists sitting back and acting smug because they think they’ve really socked it to the tree huggers.

My blog series is called “Climate change is not a crutch,” because I want to show people that I can still provide 50 broad environmental concerns that need to be addressed without a single mention of climate change. And the science isn’t as disputed or controversial as climate change, because — for instance — it’s just scientific fact that too much mercury is poisonous, however there are lots of ways it gets into our environment and our bodies that need to be remedied.

I have a list of 50 broad environmental problems that need to be addressed, and I won’t once mention climate change or global warming when it comes to why it needs to be solved or what will happen if it doesn’t get addressed. I feel like certain people are saying, “Good luck fighting the environmental fight without your precious climate change/global warming argument,” and I want to tell those critics/skeptics/anti-environmentalists: “There are so many environmental problems that I can talk all day about it without even mentioning climate change.”

Each blog will address a certain environmental concern, the environmental harm it causes, a little history and some possible solutions and ways that people can help solve the problem.

grouping shootings under PTSD is easy way out

January 13, 2010

In Tuesday’s Harvard Crimson, three Arab-American students wrote an opinion piece where they claimed that the person responsible for the Fort Hood shootings, Maj. Nidal Hasan, was being targeted for his religion rather than the true motive for his actions — PTSD. I find this article problematic for a number of reasons — its misunderstanding of PTSD, the way it blows off his ties to extremist Muslims and — most importantly — the way that it groups Fort Hood with a number of other military shootings, alleging the common link is PTSD, when in reality these shootings cannot be blanketed with PTSD.

First of all, PTSD is not the same as depression or an anxiety disorder. The specific characteristics of PTSD are reliving events, hyperarousal and avoidance. Although avoidance is a common symptom that could be seen in depression or an anxiety disorder — avoidance is avoiding situations that cause reliving of traumatic events, so likely this means a lot of seclusion and anti-social behavior — the other two main symptoms are related to experiencing a trauma.

PTSD is common and not regulated to veterans — anyone who experiences a traumatic event (a car crash, watching a loved one die, being raped) can relive the event in their minds and experience hyperarousal, which is when people are on “high alert” and are much more aware of their surroundings, perhaps being on guard all the time or easily startled by loud noises.

For veterans, PTSD manifests itself most often when soldiers deal with combat. The things they see, hear, do in combat are often scarring and horrifying — killing someone, treating wounds for children who were tortured by the enemy, watching friends and mentors die in the line of fire — but Hasan had never seen combat. The Crimson’s op-ed authors claim that just hearing these horrific stories from other people caused him PTSD, but I think it would more make him depressed or nervous/anxious to be deployed. PTSD results from a first-hand experience, not a second-hand one.

Second, they make the claim that people are too easily diving onto his Muslim heritage as a motive for these killings. An understandable criticism, but one that simply can’t be ignored in this case. One can’t ignore the fact that he had contact with a radical Muslim cleric or that he felt like Muslims should be allowed to leave the military as conscentious objectors. The importance he put on his religion makes it impossible to ignore as a possible motivation, especially when he connected his religion to his deployment.

Third, all cases of military shooting cannot just be thrown under the category of “PTSD” — this article blankets several incidents of military personnel opening fire on other military personnel without mentioning the distinct differences that make it inaccurate to label their causes all as “PTSD.” I think it’s all too easy to slap “PTSD” on something and then neglect to look deeper into the cause/motivation.

The cases mentioned are:

1. Fort Bragg, Oct. 27, 1995: William Kreutzer, Jr. opens fire on soldiers at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. Random act of PTSD? Not exactly — Kreutzer had been deployed, and he had an obsession with certain killing rampage statistics and was often ridiculed and teased by soldiers. Whether he had psychological issues before deployment or not, he reportedly gave several warnings that he was going to snap and even made a telephone call the morning of the shooting to warn that he was going to open fire. His threat was dismissed because he was deemed a “pussy.” The resulting event is as much the consequence of ignoring serious threats and ridiculing as a person who had serious psychological issues.

2. Camp Pennsylvania, March 23, 2003: U.S. Army Sgt. Hasan Akbar launches a grenade attack on fellow soldiers sleeping in tents, then fires his rifle as troops wake up from the attack. Akbar was with troops in Kuwait. He had a documented history of mental illness, and he also reportedly felt extremely ridiculed by his fellow soldiers. His story mimicks Kreutzer’s in that both men had a history of mental illness that seemingly began before deployment, and both were mistreated by their fellow soldiers. Akbar shared something with Nidal Hasan, in that he was Muslim and torn about the thought of killing fellow Muslims.

3. US. National Guard Headquarters in Tikrit, Iraq, June 7, 2005: Two soldiers are killed when a claymore mine detonated in the window of the room where they were playing the game Risk, and Sgt. Alberto Martinez is originally charged with the crime. Martinez was eventually acquitted of the charges, but there was no mention of PTSD in the prosecution or defense’s arguments. The prosecution focused on Martinez’s rocky relationship with one of the victims, Capt. Phillip Esposito, in which arguments between the two were witnessed by many before they were deployed to Iraq. The defense argues that the evidence in circumstantial. No one mentions PTSD, although the possibility of a mental disability such as Martinez being mentally retarded is mentioned. It’s also hard to say PTSD is the root of this attack because no one was ever convicted, and it’s dangerous to assume Martinez was the person responsible even though he was not found guilty of the crime.

4. Tinker Air Force Base, Feb. 25, 2008: Dustin Thorson kills his two children after an altercation with his estranged wife, Michelle, and then kills himself. This is the first case of PTSD that I found in the list of the authors’ supposed PTSD cases. Thorson was deployed to Iraq from July to October 2006 and had PTSD, and it is likely that his irrational and tragic response to an angry argument with his wife is because of his PTSD. He returns to combat mode and responds to a difficult situation the best way he knows how, using threats and eventually violence.

5. Camp Liberty, May 11, 2009: Sgt. John Russell gets into a fight at a clinic in Camp Liberty in Iraq, stole a weapon from a fellow soldier and went back to the clinic and opened fire. Five soldiers were killed. This is another more relevant case involving PTSD, as Russell was seeking counseling and was on his third tour of duty in Iraq. He believed he was being run out of the military, but the case is so recent that details aren’t as prevalent as the aforementioned cases.

What we can learn from putting these five cases under a microscope, and also the Fort Hood shooting, is that it’s not as easy as blaming incidents on PTSD and ignoring other important factors. The fear of having to choose between your religious identity and national identity, and possibly kill people who don’t share your citizenship but share your religious beliefs, is not PTSD, but it’s a valid concern that can’t be swept under the rug.

Feeling like an outsider and being ridiculed to the point of no return is reminiscent of the motive behind many school shootings, and it’s a plausible motive for a few of the shootings mentioned in the Crimson’s op-ed. You can claim PTSD, but you’re ignoring the hypermasculinity of the military, the way that threats are taken as non-issues and the fact that PTSD is not a synonym for all psychological issues.

The interesting thing about the fourth and fifth cases is that both men were deployed to Iraq and committed murder in fits of rage after arguments, immediately resorting to violence. One in five soldiers who returns from Iraq reports symptoms of PTSD, and the Crimson is right to shed light on this topic because soldiers are being sent on multiple tours of duty, which only reinforces their PTSD and makes it more difficult to separate themselves from a combat lifestyle.

In sum, I think it’s irresponsible to focus on PTSD as the sole issue while ignoring other factors in incidents when soldiers attack their fellow soldiers. It’s a scapegoat that allows people to ignore other possible motives, and ignoring other motives could be detrimental to preventing future soldier-soldier attacks not motivated by PTSD. Giving Nidal Hasan’s religion attention is not an attempt to disgrace all Arab-Americans or Muslims, but rather it’s an appropriate step in understanding Hasan’s motivations as a whole.

carfree conversation

January 13, 2010

Sept. 22 was World Carfree day, a day meant to urge people to travel via bike, bus, train or on foot, just so they saw how they could get around without using their cars. Transportation accounts for 28 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, so people can have a big impact on reducing that number if they reduce their driving.

But of course, there are the pro-car-industry types that want to ridicule this day. Competitive Enterprise Institute, a public interest group dedicated to “free enterprise and limited government” thinks that World Carfree day is dumb — one of my co-workers ended up on their mailing list (definitely by accident) and they said this about the day:

Tuesday is World Car-Free Day.  That means you’re supposed to walk, or bicycle, or take a bus, to make some sort of anti-car, anti-prosperity statement.  Good luck getting to and from the grocery store.  Even more fun if it rains (and can you imagine if this day were scheduled in the dead of winter?).  The fact is, the automobile plays a major role in making our lives happen – it empowers all of us to get where we need to go (not to mention respond to emergencies).

At first, I was just incensed because of the sheer ignorance: the claim that you can’t get from point A to point B without a car. And with rain? Sheesh, I always jump in my car when it’s raining and I’ve got to get the mail. But when my friend commented that she felt smug on carfree day because she didn’t have a car and was always carfree, I realized she wasn’t the smug one — CEI was.

About one in 10 people doesn’t have a car, and the mocking tone in CEI’s assessment of people not driving is a slap in the face to people who choose not to or can’t afford a personal car. By associating not having a car with being “anti-prosperity,” CEI is claiming that the path to prosperity lies in the ability to own a car. Although for some this is true — people who don’t own cars are limited in job choice because they must rely on walking, biking, or whatever public transit is in their city — are these people at CEI going to assume that the carless are against bettering themselves?

The CEI e-mail leaves out those people who can’t afford a car — they claim a car is empowering, it gets us where we need to go; well, at least 10 percent of the American population is left to wonder if they should feel bad about themselves and disillusioned because they don’t own a car. Carfree day for some is an attempt to try out life without a car, but the reality is that many people don’t have a car and survive just fine.

Should they feel like they’ll never amount to anything without a car? Of course not. A car is not the devil, but it’s also not the end-all, be-all of transportation. You can go to the grocery store, walk or bike around in *gasp* weather that isn’t 72 degrees and sunny, and be a hard-working individual without a car. For many people, its carfree day every day, and the CEI is quite ignorant to claim that someone who doesn’t drive is someone who doesn’t want to prosper — although many people don’t drive because it’s a political statement, many people don’t drive because they don’t have the economic bandwidth to finance it.

When you mock the “liberals” (it’s obvious to me that an interest group that is limited government probably is assuming carfree day is a liberal event) who attempt to live carfree for one day, you’re mocking the people who live carfree everyday — whether by choice or not.

the blog’s final resting place

January 13, 2010

I love to blog, but I was having a blog identity crisis during the past months. My previous blog, www.sedhe.net/sandwich is going to disappear soon because my brother isn’t paying to keep the domain name, and I wanted to move my blog somewhere so it could stay alive. But I got lazy about blogging, tried creating a blog theme, tried revamping it many times — and then I finally realized I am just going to blog about what I did before: whatever I want.

There are a few posts from my in-between blog which took many names, and I am going to re-post them here. From now on, I’ll be blogging regularly, and I even have a blog series in mind … mwa ha ha.