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Rights

In highschool, my social studies teacher explained that several students who lived in the north, were sent in buses to the south to help with the civil rights movement. He then asked our class if we would have been on that bus. All of us raised our hands.

He then begin telling us what it was like for those that stood up. Police violence. Water hoses. He asked his question again. A few hands were not raised.

He went on for days and weeks. He showed movies, read passages, quoted historians and explained the horrors (and triumphs) of the civil rights movement: the cross-burnings, the threats, the torture. Every time he asked the question of who would have stood up to this, the count was fewer and fewer. Finally, we ended the unit by watching Mississippi Burning in which civil rights activists were tortured and killed.

He asked the question for the last time, which one of you would still stand up to this. I was the only one who raised my hand.

It is not that dying or being tortured didn't scare me (oh, it does!) but that I can't stand injustice being done. The discrimination against nonwhites was outrageously ridiculous that if there was a movement to change, you bet I'd be on board. It isn't that I'm a better person, that's not what my story is here to illustrate, it's just that it's so obvious to me that it's the right thing to do and I just feel compelled to do it. It's just who I am, I guess. It's just blatantly obvious to me that everyone should have equal rights.

That being said, I think another great civil rights movement is upon us. I do not think it'll be as violent or as drastic as the ones for African-Americans in the 60s. They're rights were opressed quite a deal more, after all, but I do think it's atrocious that gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people are not entitled to the rights that heterosexuals have.

Thusfar, the only arguement I have heard against homosexual marriages is a religious one. To this, I say, seperation of church and state. If marriage is really a religious act, then why is government controlling it? If it is not a religious act, then why can't two legally consenting adults who are in a loving and committed relationship enter into a legally binding contract?

For those that say why should a loving and committed relationship need a 'piece of paper' validifying their union. Because marriage is more than a piece of paper. It comes with a whole slue of rights behind it. A married couple can file jointly, for example. Here is a sampling of what married couples can do:
joint parenting;
joint adoption;
joint foster care, custody, and visitation (including non-biological parents);
status as next-of-kin for hospital visits and medical decisions where one partner is too ill to be competent;
joint insurance policies for home, auto and health;
dissolution and divorce protections such as community property and child support;
immigration and residency for partners from other countries;
inheritance automatically in the absence of a will;
joint leases with automatic renewal rights in the event one partner dies or leaves the house or apartment;
inheritance of jointly-owned real and personal property through the right of survivorship (which avoids the time and expense and taxes in probate);
benefits such as annuities, pension plans, Social Security, and Medicare;
spousal exemptions to property tax increases upon the death of one partner who is a co-owner of the home;
veterans' discounts on medical care, education, and home loans; joint filing of tax returns;
joint filing of customs claims when traveling;
wrongful death benefits for a surviving partner and children;
bereavement or sick leave to care for a partner or child;
decision-making power with respect to whether a deceased partner will be cremated or not and where to bury him or her;
crime victims' recovery benefits;
loss of consortium tort benefits;
domestic violence protection orders;
judicial protections and evidentiary immunity;
and more....

By marrying another individual, all of these rights are immediately activated. By having a loving and committed relationship without the 'piece of paper', all of these rights are not inherent.

For those that say that a couple could gain these rights without marriage. For some of these rights, yes. But most of them would require the time and expense of attorney fees. That and it would be loopholes, paperwork, filing, etc. All because of what, exactly? Why do that when they should be able to, like any heterosexual couple, marry.

Yes, all of this is in response to California's failure to turn down Proposition 8 which effectively BANS same-sex couples. At first I was shocked, now I am outraged. Constitutions are meant to guarantee and protect our rights, not strip them away. How can there be that many people who are still denying people the right to MARRY? (When they are two legally consenting adults, of course)

I am ready to take action. I don't know what the next step is, so if someone does, let me know. I might join some local organizations, but I really want to fight and do what it takes to get people to understand that LOVE IS NOT A BAD THING.

I am getting married in less than a year. I am thrilled and excited to embark on this new journey and new chapter in my life. While I consider Daniel my family now, I know next September he will officially be family. I can call him my husband and I will be his wife. We will delight in the excitement and joy of marriage and we will have all the rights and responsibility that goes along with it. It makes me weep that some of my good friends cannot share this right. I will do my damndest to make it possible.

All you need is love...

Poly-ticks

Oodles of facebook, twitter and livejournal updates display the range of feelings based on last night's elections. I have seen people rejoice, shrug their shoulders, accept it as it is, have mixed emotions, despair, pray, threaten to leave the country, or any other full gambit of emotions and actions. I don't particularly feel I need to add my voice to the collection, because I have nothing novel or insightful to add, but I know this is a historic moment. I will want to be able to look back on this day and know what I was thinking.

I voted for Barack Obama. I believe in Obama more than I have ever believed in any other politician. Generally I approach politics with hesitation. That may surprise you because if you've talked to me in the last year, you know that I seek out politics regularly. I listen to public radio, I joined the League of Women Voters, I read The New Yorker on a regular basis, I engage friends in political conversations, I research, I read, etc. But yet I still approach politicians with hesitation because, as most people feel, politics is corrupt. I am not cynical; I am hesitant.

In the past, I have voted for the guy I have disliked the least. I say this as if I have a long standing history of voting. This is only the second time I have voted for a president because it is only the second time I have been eligible to vote in a presidential race. Heh. But I have been aware of the elections since at least the Clinton vs. Bush election in 1992. Yesterday I cast my vote in a man I truly believe in.

When I heard why Obama became a civil rights attorney, my heart was won. He talked about how his mother was never the type to get angry unless she saw injustice being done. That was inspiring and motivating to him. He talked about his sense of helping the underdog. His whole campaign was built on hope and change. Well before he was even a politician, he gave speeches on how the world was and how the world could be. He is an idealist, without a doubt.

Of course, I do not agree on every single issue that Obama proposed, but I agreed on the ones most important to me. I vote for candidates based on where they stand on the issues. I believe in candidates because of their underlying philosophies.

Every presidential election is a case for history, but last night, especially so. It is hard to talk about Obama making presidential history without mentioning that he will be our first African-American President. I have heard and read comments, articles, discussions, news pieces on racism in America over hast several months. I wrote my own position paper that I have not published anywhere yet. I am still working on it.

It's absolutely fantastic that within half a century we have come so far as a country. It still shocks me when I hear about the wide acceptance of racism only 40+ years ago. I know that by electing an African-American President that our racism is not going to automatically disappear. I know that it's not a sign that All Is Well on the racism front. But I do think it is a milestone and a marker that is worth celebrating. I do think that our children now will grow up in a society where they will be just as shocked that there was a time that an African-American being President was a highly unlikely possibility. I would believe in Obama regardless of his race, gender, religion or sexual orientation. I believe those things helped structure who he is today, sure, but I believe in him because of his underlying philosophy. Yet, still, I am thrilled that we have broken away from the white-man-only presidency. What a huge step for America.

Congratulations, President-Elect Barack Obama.


Picture taken by Dan Francis

My Cat.

My cat slipped a note under my door this morning. No Joke. Here's the story:

Last night Daniel and I stayed out relatively late. It was, afterall, Halloween. So we wanted to sleep in this morning but the cat had other ideas. She wanted to play. So she kept attacking our feet, walking around us, trying to get us to play. Daniel picked her up and put her in the living room with all her toys and shut our bedroom door so we could sleep in a little bit.

We heard her playing with her toys and then with something else. It sounded like she was in the room again, so I peeked at the door and saw a piece of paper partially under the door.. that wasn't there before. She was slowly pushing it under the door and eventually, when we woke up again, the full 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper was entirely in our room and several inches away from the door.

I picked it up. It was a letter I had written Daniel last week that was sitting on our table. She somehow jumped on the table, pushed the paper on the ground and shoved it under our door.

I was highly amused.

Neil Gaiman <3

This morning I walked into Barnes & Noble. I don't think I have ever been in this bookstore so early in the morning before. It was odd to see it in daylight, for one, and odd not to have oodles of college students lounging and studying, for another. It was certainly not empty (though it felt as such). There were still people there, but they were bustling, chirpy, and moving about to prepare for the day. It felt fresh, bright, new.. instead of laid back, whimsical and friendly. It felt like the store was just awakening; like it was one of those eager beings ready to watch the wonders of the morning unfold. Really? Because I would have thought it to be the begrudging sort of being that drags itself out of bed and shakes itself hard as it downs an obscene amount of coffee. It isn't supposed to really be full of life until after supper at least! So that was a surprise. It was not the Barnes&Noble I had thought it to be.

Well, anyway, not a minute into the store, I had a salesperson ask if she can help me find something. I told her what it was and she eagerly tromped off to find it. But really? Eagerly tromped off? This is Barnes&Noble, I wanted to inform her. You are supposed to be a) hard to find in the first place and b) busy when I do find you but c), and this most important, too emo and too intellektual to eagerly tromp off into anything and instead stand there and stare at me while making judgement calls on the sort of person I am by the sort of books I read.

So I now have The Graveyard Book in all its Dave McKean beauty.

Listen to Neil Gaiman read the first chapter of The Graveyard Book!

HOUSES!!

To-day Daniel and I went over to our friends' house to watch the Colts vs. Vikings game (Go Colts!) and I casually mentioned we were sorta kinda thinking about looking at houses. Well, wouldn't you know, there was an Open House only 4 houses down from their house. We went to take a look and I was pretty impressed. I am surprised because normally I do not like newer houses. I like old character homes. :) However; I totally dig this place. I like the neighborhood. We're good friends with the neighbors (obviously). It's a decent price for a good home and here it is:

HOUSE!



The thing about this house that you don't see from the description and the pics is that it has an unfinished basement. The wood framing is done, the plumbing is done and the electrical work is done (but needs to be inspected before being 'hooked up'). All that needs to be done is to put up sheet rock (cheap and easy) and to put in flooring. Carpeting can be kind of expensive, but cheaper doing it ourselves than buying a finished basement. Daniel's brother owns his own business laying wood floors so I am sure we could have him put in real wood floors at a fraction of the price.

In addition, there is a bathroom downstairs, sort of. The tub is installed and ready to go. The plumbing is there to add a sink and toilet. There is also an additional two unfinished bedrooms and one unfinished room. So it would be a 4 bedroom and 2 bath after we're done with an office to boot. That would significantly raise the price for when we want to sell.

---

Thoughts?
<3

Neverwhere.. FOR FREE!

Ever wanted to read something by Neil Gaiman but thought shelling out some cash was too much or heading to the library to check a book out seemed like a daunting task? Well, be rest assured. Now you can read Neil Gaiman from the comfort of your home computer, for free!

That's right, as a limited time offer, Harper-Collins (a publishing company for those of you who can't bother to know these things) is offering Neverwhere as a free e-book.

So, wander over to this site, download the e-book and Happy Reading to you! (If you do check it out, let me know what you think. It's the first Neil Gaiman book I've ever read)

Also, only 27 more days until The Graveyard Book. Whoot.

Try this!

Okay, here's the contest. I will post a video and here's the directions:


1. Count how many times the basketball is passed between people wearing white shirts.
2. Post a comment here about how many times you think it is.
3. DO NOT read any comments ahead of time; that's cheating! :)


It's harder than it sounds, so pay attention. You can watch the video at this site. Remember to comment! :)

Pictures

Daniel and I went on a photoshoot yesterday in Trollwood park. He already worked on some of them and sent them my way. The last one is my favorite. Please let me know what you think.

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Photoshop

I was messing around with photoshop. Usually photoshop leaves me near tears because I am so frustrated that I know what I want to happen but I don't know how to get it to happen that way. Anyway, so I was playing around and this is what I did:

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So that was fun.

So you want to know me, huh?

(mostly stolen from daysprings but heavily edited enough to be considered my own)



Name: Amanda Kelly (which means: Beloved Warrior)
Also Goes By: Mandee
Age: 25
Stats: 5’2”, dark brown eyes, high cheekbones, small feet which is consistent; short brown hair with blonde highlights, 125ish,and emerging muscular build all which is not very consistent at all.
Date of birth: December 30
City of birth: St. Augustine, Fl
Current residence: Both my hatred and my love: North Dakota
Alma Mater: Minnesota State University Moorhead
Major: Speech-Language-Hearing Science
Special Education (certificate)
Psychology (minor)
Work: I am the program manager of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society North Central States Chapter. Huzzah. Basically, I am in charge of all the programs and services in North Dakota and the six counties in Minnesota that border North Dakota. What do I do? Well, a whole lot of everything.
What I do in my spare time: Reading, writing, graphic novels, friends, board games, movies, internet, internet, internet, spending a ridiculous amount of time with my boyfriend
A few of my favorite things: simple pleasures in life, warm blankets, chai tea, dancing in the rain, red umbrellas, willow trees, the excitement of coming up with a novel idea, the sound of highheels clicking against the floor, the smell of lavender, the look of a clean kitchen, treasure trunks as coffee tables
What you need to know about me to understand this journal:
+I am not nearly as angsty as I sound (I hope).
+I live with my amazing and wonderful boyfriend, Daniel. He's a 5'10.5", blonde hair, blue-eyed photographer. He's the cheese to my macaroni. :)
+I am an avid dreamer.. probably moreso than anyone you've ever met.
+I do not get along well with my mother, though I try. It's a yo-yo effect, really.
+90% of my topics revolve around the previous facts I stated.

More facts about me:
+I tend to develop huge and unpassing crushes on people I admire like : Neil Gaiman and Ellen DeGeneres.
+I am easily excited over anything that I enjoy which is mostly everything.
+If I give you a negative review of something, believe it, because it is very rare indeed.
+I am an optimist, hoper, dreamer and champion of justice: at least, in my mind!
+I dream of ways to develop superpowers such as working with chemicals in a thunderstorm, exposing myself to gamma radiation or evolving my dna sequence. Thusfar, nothing has worked. I will keep you posted on any further successes.
+I'm a nerd: through and through.
+I love reading random trivia books and facts. It never gets old becuase by the time I pick up the book again, I've forgotten what I've learned and it's all new fascinating facts for me.
+My favourite authors are: Neil Gaiman, Madeleine L'Engle, GK Chesterton, Douglas Adams, CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien, Ray Bradbury
+I love love love listening to music on a record player far more than on any other media.
+I play videogames.
+I am mentally addicted to chai tea (though not to the caffeine within it)

That is all, for now! <3

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