Apr 9 2005

i know im minnesotan because. . .

You call highways “freeways.” (seriously, what is the difference?)

Snow tires came standard on your car.

You’ve never taken public transportation.

75% of your graduating high school class went to the University of Minnesota.

“Perkins” was the only hangout option in high school.

You assume when you say “The Cities” people know where you’re talking about.

People from other states love to hear you say words with “o”s in them. (and “a”s too)

In a conversation you’ve heard someone say “yah sure, you betcha” and you didn’t laugh. (sadly enough I have said it within the last 24 hours)

The only reason you go to Wisconsin is to get fireworks.

You’re a loyal Target shopper.

You’ve frozen your tongue on a metal handrail before.

You wear shorts when it’s 50 degrees outside in March, but you bundle up and complain in August when it goes below 60. (and a swim suit in the negatives!)

You have gone trick-or-treating in 3 feet of snow. (yeah what was it in, 1994?)

You’ve not only walked across a lake, you’ve driven across one.

Everyone you know has a cabin or, at least, access to one.

You keep the snow tires on your truck all year because it ain’t worth taking them off for only two months.

Your local Dairy Queen is closed from December through February.

You know that everyone has a city preference — Minneapolis or St. Paul. (St. Paul, all the way)

You can honestly claim Germanic / Scandinavian ancestors, and have been known to say “ya” instead of “yes” (guilty)

Upon seeing an ocean for the first time, you say, “Hey! That looks like Lake Superior!” (Lake Baikal, happens to look a lot like the North Shore…)

I know these can be severly annoying sometimes, but some moments; it is right on the spot. . . any other Minnesotans out there, that agree?

Apr 8 2005

the writings on the wall

Brick masons work through the cold and snow to erect the massive Wall of Silence, on the morning of Friday March 25th, which was built in front of the Marriott Library at the University of Utah. The wall represents what people face every time they are silenced by a derogatory word. These bricks tell a story of the struggles that we face everyday because of things like prejudices, bigotry, sexism, homophobia, ignorance, hatred and so much more. The students of the “U” found a way to come together to give the campus a visual image of what these things come to look like and how huge of a wall we face when we silence each other.

The wall was smashed down on April 1st, with an attempt to create a campus that despite all of our differences are able to work together for a common goal and purpose and destroy these things. Images of the wall

Apr 8 2005

financial aid

I came home from school today to find my most beloved most awaited piece of mail of the year (ok, the second), waiting in a big white folder for me to open. I open the heavy folder peaking inside, uncertain if I wanted to see the subject matter of its contents. Inside I find that they, because of my parents income are only able to aid me with $7825 per year. I have yet to hear back from the other grants that I have applied for, but hopefully their contributions will help pad the amount of money that I will be required to find in other places, a.k.a. loans.

Although I did kind of throw all of this on me when I chose to go to a private university that costs $26k per year. And of course with my luck my parents were quite belated, when they brought up the issue of “How in the world do you think that we’re/you going to pay for this?”. But it seems that the finances are beginning to fall in place, now if only I can manage to get my hands on a little more!

Apr 6 2005

making poverty a thing of the past

As of there 2004 are approximately 6.4 billion people inhabitating this small world. And over 1/5 of this population (1,280,000,000) are living in extreme poverty (under $1 a day). Today the gap between the worlds?s rich and poor has never been wider. Malnutrition, AIDS, conflict and illiteracy are a daily reality for millions. But it isn?t chance or bad luck that keeps people trapped in bitter, unrelenting poverty. It?s man-made factors like a glaringly unjust global trade system, a debt burden so great that it suffocates any chance of recovery and insufficient and ineffective aid.

Each year more than 12 million children under the age of 5 die in developing countries, most from a combination of preventable causes, including malnutrition, AIDS, and HIV. While millions others are left orphaned by the death of their parents to many different kinds of communicable (usually sexually transmitted) diseases.

According to Unicef:
640 million children do not have adequate shelter
500 million children have no access to sanitation
400 million children do not have access to safe water
300 million children lack access to information
270 million children have no access to health care services
140 million children have never been to school
90 million children are severely food-deprived

Makepovertyhistory says that there are 3 things that can make poverty a thing that is only seen in the history books: TRADE JUSTICE. DROP THE DEBT. MORE AND BETTER AID.

Trade Justice
We need trade justice not free trade (allows rich countries to pay their farmers and companies subsidies to export food.) This means the EU needs to single-handedly put an end to its damaging agricultural export subsidies now; it means ensuring poor countries can feed their people by protecting their own farmers and staple crops. This means ensuring governments can effectively regulate water companies by keeping water out of world trade rules; and it means ensuring trade rules do not undermine core labor standards.

Drop the Debt
Despite grand statements from world leaders, the debt crisis is far from over. Rich countries have not delivered on the promise they made more than six years ago to cancel unpayable poor country debts. As a result, many countries still have to spend more on debt repayments than on meeting the needs of their people.

Rich countries and the institutions they control must act now to cancel all the unpayable debts of the poorest countries. They should not do this by depriving poor countries of new aid, but by digging into their pockets and providing the money.

The task of calculating how much debt should be cancelled must no longer be left to creditors concerned mainly with minimizing their own costs. Instead, we need a fair and transparent international process to make sure that human needs take priority over debt repayments.

And to avoid another debt crisis hard on the heels of the first, poor countries need to be given more grants, rather than seeing their debt burden piled even higher with yet more loans.

More and Better Aid
Poverty will not be eradicated without an immediate and major increase in international aid. Rich countries have promised to provide the extra money needed to meet internationally agreed poverty reduction targets. This amounts to at least $50 billion per year, according to official estimates, and must be delivered now. Rich countries have also promised to provide 0.7% of their national income in aid and they must now make good on their commitment by setting a binding timetable to reach this target.

However, without far-reaching changes in how aid is delivered, it won?t achieve maximum benefits. Two key areas of reform are needed.

First, aid needs to focus better on poor people?s needs. This means more aid being spent on areas such as basic healthcare and education. Aid should no longer be tied to goods and services from the donor, so ensuring that more money is spent in the poorest countries. And the World Bank and the IMF must become fully democratic in order for poor people?s concerns to be heard.

Second, aid should support poor countries and communities? own plans and paths out of poverty. Aid should therefore no longer be conditional on recipients promising economic change like privatizing or deregulating their services, cutting health and education spending, or opening up their markets: these are unfair practices that have never been proven to reduce poverty. And aid needs to be made predictable, so that poor countries can plan effectively and take control of their own budgets in the fight against poverty.

Poverty is a thing that if we take enough time to acknowledge that not only does it exist, it single-handedly is killing off billions of people each year. According to Oxfam, one person dies every three seconds from poverty related issues; that means in the time that it took you to read this post over 60 people have died. Don’t you think that now is the time to stop this? That now is the time to take action? Well guess what it is, and you don’t have to be Bono Vox, Brad Pitt or Cameron Diaz or even P Diddy to make a difference. You can make a difference even by just making the miniature contribution of buying a white silicone band that says “makepovertyhistory for just one euro (plus shipping and handling). Today is the day for you to be the difference in the world that you want to see.

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Apr 6 2005

dont you dare say that there are no more heros

For those who believe that there are no more heros.

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