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Gwen's Spot

27 July 2005

Me with my buddies Max Planck and Albert Einstein: In Which Gwen Goes Groupie

Left to right: Max, me, and Al

Note: The "Read more- click here" for this post is pointless, because this is the entire post. So don't click.

16 July 2005

Supreme Court Land Decision: In Which Something Happens, And Gwen Talks About It

Okay, this is actually kind of older news, but it happened within the last month and I haven't gotten a chance to be on here recently...
The Supreme Court recently decided that it should be up to states and municipalities to decide their laws on eminent domain, if a private commercial owner wanted a private property, whether or not to give it to them. Basically, this means that if you have a nice summer home on a lake, and a casino or hotel chain decided they wanted your view, they could tell the city or state, and the city or state could tell you to get out and find a new place to live. If you have a family business and a McDonald's decides they want your property, they can get it legally through the state.
Now I think that if you aren't hurting anyone, you should basically be able to do what you want on your own private property. This was the basis for the eminent domain laws that were in place. For instance, someone owned a whale in South Dakota (I've heard, may just be an urban legend, but it's still a great example). They could not get enough water or food to keep the whale alive, so it died and stunk up South Dakota for miles around. Would the state be within its rights to say "Get that whale off your property, it smells horrible and it's bringing down people's property values, not to mention all of the people allergic to rotting whales"? Absolutely. Or, to take a more common example, someone who has a rotting-tire, rusting-traincar, old-rusting-car collection sitting out in the middle of his yard, along with a half-ruined couch covered in mold and an old box-spring mattress. Should the city be allowed to say "Clean that up"? Yes.
But to allow states and cities to take away perfectly normal, harmless residential properties, only to turn them over to private companies, seems like a huge violation of Fourteenth Amendment rights. (No state shall deprive a citizen of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, don'tcha know.)
Thousands-of-years-old question: What is this world coming to?!

ABC's Brat Camp: In Which Gwen Takes On A Major Corporation, And Loses

ABC has a new reality TV show called Brat Camp. This show, which is apparently "entertainment" subjects teenagers, some with learning disabilities or developmental disorders, to Turn-Around Ranch, a ranch where the teenagers are not permitted to have free time, must wear their hair in a pony tail if female, must keep their beards or mustaches non-existent if male, follow other ridiculously unnecessary rules, do forced, unpaid labor against their will, and follow their strangely level-up, cult-like program, completely against their will, supposedly for the purpose of "counseling" and getting them back on track in life.
One teenager has dyslexia. One teenager has Attention Deficit Disorder. All of them could benefit from true, confidential counseling and therapy. Instead, their parents have decided to send them to be enslaved (yes, that's what I call forced, unpaid labor without due process of law, viz. Thirteenth Amendment), have their rights to freedom of expression curtailed, and denied any free time (which, I note, could not be good for anyone's mental health, let alone of those whose mental health is supposedly so precarious to begin with). Commercials for this program depict teenagers battling their way uphill with snow-laden wind whipping them in the face and a girl who has, predictably, broken into tears at her treatment.
The idea that any place which considers its patients "brats" and vilifies them constantly could be in any way considered helpful to mental well-being is quite frankly ridiculous. The idea that forcing these teenagers to suffer in this way before millions of people against their will could help them in their future life- can you imagine trying to get a job when you have been humiliated in front of possible future employers like this?- is delusional. The idea that ABC could consider this popular entertainment, or that anyone could watch this show in good conscience, is unbelievably disgusting. At least SOME of the gladiators in the Colisseum chose to have their suffering entertain their fellow countrymen. The idea that these parents could subject their children to such a place, and condone promotion of the forced behavior modification industry (in which dozens of children have died of abuse or neglect) is abhorrent.
Walt Disney, I'm sure, would have been wonderfully pleased to hear that his company, which owns ABC, would allow this kind of disgusting show to air. I cannot believe that Disney, who supposedly has a mission of making children happy, not tortured, would stoop so low as to create this program simply to line its pockets, especially when ABC has very high-rating-ed shows such as Desperate Housewives to line its pockets in a much more ethical manner.
If you think that this show is great, comment. If you think that it is horrible, comment, then write a letter to ABC letting them know your opinion. I know I will.