This is a post I've been mulling over for a while, and I think I'm finally ready to write it out.

In May 2002 I received my PhD in mathematics from the University of Arizona, and subsequently accepted a tenure track position in the College of Education at the University of Texas at Austin. That was about as good a job as I could have possibly hoped to get coming out of grad school, and the future seemed wide open. We had always planned to start trying to have a baby as soon as I graduated, with the idea that we would have two kids early in my tenure years, leaving me the last few years (when those kids were pre-school aged) to push hard for tenure. I imagined myself as a tenured professor, a successful researcher in my field and providing a example of a strong career woman to my children, who would be enrolled in the best preschool around.

But as most of us know, plans don't always work out the way you expect them to. )
Okay, seriously, WTF??? Is Elizabeth Dole really this stupid?

A plan by Senator Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) to rename the current AIDS relief bill after the late conservative Jesse Helms has caused an uproar.

Among those offended by Dole's proposition are Tom Viola, the Executive Director of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, and Philip S. Birsh, the President and Publisher of Playbill, who also serves as the BC/EFA Treasurer.

Helms was a long-time opponent to HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and research. In fact, the blog Joe.My.God has recalled many of Helms' AIDS-related comments:

• Jesse Helms, the man who in 1987 described AIDS prevention literature as "so obscene, so revolting, I may throw up."

• Jesse Helms, the man who in 1988 vigorously opposed the Kennedy-Hatch AIDS research bill, saying, "There is not one single case of AIDS in this country that cannot be traced in origin to sodomy."

• Jesse Helms, the man who in 1995 said (in opposition to refunding the Ryan White Act) that the government should spend less on people with AIDS because they got sick due to their "deliberate, disgusting, revolting conduct."

And she wants to name the bill after him, really? This is so disgusting, I have no words.

Article here.

Update: Okay, the date of the press release from Equity Fights AIDS must have been screwed up, because the bill was just passed last Thursday, WITHOUT Dole's proposed amendment to change the name. So, crisis averted. But still? Not cool, Lizzie. So not cool.
Last March, the federal government took the gray wolf off the Endangered Species List after 30 years of protection. There were an estimated 2000 in the wild, what the US Fish & Wildlife Department called a "thriving population" -- despite the fact that scientists have stated that a population of 3000-5000 was the minimum to ensure genetic diversity.

Hunters jumped at the chance to start killing them again, and in a little under four months, nearly 5% of the population was killed, including wolves who had been made celebrities in wildlife documentaries, wolves that schoolchildren read about in books and watched films of. Shot dead by hunters. The government's protections would not have kicked in again until the population was down to 300 wolves.

Disgusting, sickening, and heartbreaking, right? Finally, someone managed to do something about it. From USA Today here:

A federal judge in Montana has restored protection to gray wolves in Northern Rockies. They were taken off the endangered-species list March 28 after federal officials said the species — once hunted, poisoned or trapped to the verge of extinction — was "thriving."

The order, by U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy, is expected to halt public hunts being planned by officials in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho.

The National Resources Defense Council claims that 106 gray wolves have been killed in those states in the 118 days since being removed from the list. An estimated 2,000 wolves now live in the Northern Rockies after a decade-long restoration effort.

I'm still sick over the whole thing, but at least this is a step back in the right direction.

March 2013

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