Adrienne Crezo's Comments

I wrote this post without bias just as I do each of these discussion posts. Comments are for debate, which is where I share my opinion, which is independent of and not necessarily in line with that of Neatorama. As for your censored comment, I haven't deleted any. But I'm not the boss around these parts, just the chick who writes here sometimes. If your comment was removed then it either contained profanity, an assault of character, or was deemed overly vitriolic by someone in charge of determining whether the comments have gotten out of hand. Personally I think your remark about JohnJ's math skills was out of line, but you can see it's still there.
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Statistically, black men are the largest ethnic demographic for HIV incidence according the CDC. Should we now ban blood donations from black men?

Statistically, female sexual partners of MSM are more likely to contract and pass along HIV than a male, yet they are deferred for 12 months from exposure.

Statistically, the incidence of confirmed HIV contamination of donations was not higher after than before the ban was lifted in Australia. The total number of donations were higher, though.

The good thing about the US being behind in this particular area is that we can watch hard data roll in from countries who have loosened the MSM donor restrictions to see if there is evidence of increased public risk. If not, then perpetuating the ban is senselessly limiting the available resources for people who need blood transfusions based on an imaginary risk perpetuated by a willful disregard for evidence against it. Statistically, this would mean that more people will die from a lack of available blood than from contracting HIV from a tainted transfusion.

Any group will represent something statistically that is not true for the group as a whole. So rather than targeting a demographic that represents the highest risk, why not target the source of the problem, which in this case is being in contact with HIV any time in the previous 12 months. Anyone can catch it, anyone can spread it, and anyone can engage in the behavior that encourages both of these things. So ask the questions that determine the individual's risk rather than assuming it exists (or in the case of everyone who isn't a gay or bisexual male, assuming it doesn't exist).
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The silliness here, in my opinion, is that they already test all the blood for HIV anyway, defer patients for other risky behavior anyway, and ask donors most of the pertinent questions regardless of their Kinsey scale rating anyway. If all of the systems are already in place to open donations from gay men, then why restrict further what is an already limited resource?

JohnJ's point about risky behavior is made nicely by Ginsberg in the interview linked in the article: If a monogamous gay couple who test negative for HIV are banned from donating blood, why then is a woman who was exposed to HIV over 12 months prior allowed to donate? The deferral makes sense, and a continued ban on donations for a risk that can easily be tested for is simply discriminatory.
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I donate platelets regularly because a friend who works for the Oklahoma Blood Institute was born in Germany and has a lifetime deferral. (Employees are required to donate or have someone do it on their behalf.) The questionnaire is definitely intense, but I always laugh. "Nope, still haven't had that brain membrane transplant. Still haven't used intravenous drugs with a recycled needle. Still not a man who sleeps with men."
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A reader emailed to ask for clarification on my use of the words "traditional" and "new" in the last paragraphs of this post. To which I replied:

The definition of "new" that I use here is one which describes marriage as we are familiar with it--husband, wife, kids--defined for us by our parents and theirs in the 20th century. That is, specifically, a marriage sought on the basis of affection rather than material gain (property, wealth, nobility or familial ties), which was common in the preceding centuries. It also was meant to include only a husband and wife; as marriage transformed to the union for companionship and affection that we know now as "marriage," the commonly kept and acceptable mistress and secret lovers of past centuries became declasse and, in general, wholly prohibited. So in short, the marriage that we would now define as "traditional" is one founded on love and exclusivity, which we come to expect from a traditional marriage. Historically, neither of these things were expected or particularly valued in a marital union, as couples were aligned for the purpose of protection of land, property, wealth and bloodline.

In the last half-century, the rising acceptance of alternative marital arrangements (open or polyamorous marriage, common law, same-sex and second, third, fourth spouses) has veered strongly from what modern Americans would call "traditional."
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I think Rumson and Alex make good points--people do live longer and expect to know people who don't live within their immediate vicinity. The fact that we're all here discussing this speaks to that. And I do agree that remaining unmarried is a better alternative than marriage that will likely end in divorce (or worse yet, a couple or three of them) when there are kids. Though the nuclear family is ideal, people should be realistic about their relationships and what they expect of themselves and for their kids. I would prefer to see kids growing up with happy-but-unwed mothers than in a household where marital tension affects their ability to develop strong and healthy relationships in the future.

As for Bolick's points--if you're happy and don't feel that being married is something you require to maintain satisfaction with life, then why marry? Critics of her article say it's "sad" and that she's atoning for bad decisions. I disagree; I think she found what works for her and is eager to show other women in similar situations that it's ok.
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My big concern here is that allowing a kid to get a nose job in response to being bullied is that you tech kids that there's something wrong with not looking exactly like everyone else. It reinforces aesthetic homogeny and the (terrible) idea that if someone dislikes something about you that you should change it. When you're 14, you get teased. Everyone does. Kids are evil little things and that's not to say that it's ok, but there are different (and less invasive) ways to fix a bullying situation that will improve a child's character rather than their face.
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Yep, triple-deckers count. The third slice is part of the filling, basically. And I'm ok with quesadillas being sandwiches, too. It's a grilled cheese variant, right? I don't know about pop tarts--the bread is connected, so it's technically an encasement rather than a sandwich. I'll have to think about it. Anything rolled rather than sandwiched doesn't count for me, either, so burritos and wraps are out.
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I'm pretty generous in my own definition in that I'll accept just about anything on a bun, in a wrap, or between two pieces of the same thing (be it bread or lettuce or *eulk* fried chicken patties) as a sandwich. What I don't like is the open-faced allowance. If there's no sandwiching, there's no sandwich.
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@Vmax: This article is an opinion brief--that is, it's a round-up of what people think about a given topic, based on the information available to everyone. There are official news reports linked 3 separate times in the story (two local news, one video) from sources who were in contact with school officials. The remainder of the commentary are the reactions to that information, with author and publication credits for each. This was never presented as a piece of investigative journalism, and I won't pretend that it even resembles one. Any bias in the piece comes from the reaction of the reporters who offered opinions in their own reports about this story. This was never intended to be a criticism of your technology or your company and certainly not of you, but rather a collection of reactions to the measures taken by one school to curb class-cutting.

That said, there's a reason people find this topic scary, and it has nothing to do with your technology, its efficiency, and especially not you personally. It's a matter of public perception regarding fingerprinting or finger scans (whether or not an actual print is taken--as most people assume it is, though we're aware that your system only uses a few specific points of reference): The only time a person is ever required to submit a fingerprint for identification is if they've been arrested/incarcerated or have to file certain (generally unpleasant and/or highly confidential) legal documents. There's an inherent negative reaction to being fingerprinted or scanned in any capacity and it has everything to do with prior experience (whether first-hand or on TV or what-have-you), which is largely doupleplusungood, to continue the Orwell theme.

Unless a person is in a profession where he or she is frequently exposed to high-level security locks, then this sort of identification is out of sync with daily life; it can be jarring and offensive. Submitting to a finger scan feels like being booked-in, and this tends to freak people out.

So it's not you, it's not your company, it's not personal. It's 235 years of being a country that doesn't finger-scan its children. This is what you're working against, and I don't envy your position. I do, however, commend you for being patient and thank you for answering questions, because clearly there's a lot of information that's not evident even in the sources who spoke directly to school officials about this.
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@Vmax: I think you misunderstood the tone of Alex's questions, which were presented with genuine interest. As you mentioned before, information about exactly how the system works (or, at least, how it's implemented here) is a bit limited. I can assure you that Alex wasn't being provocative, but sincerely curious.

That said, I'd like to ask (in seriousness) his question again: What is the metric for success with a system like this? Is it simply improved attendance?
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@Vmax, re: text - It's not necessarily true that you can't text your kids at school. My daughter is 6 and her elementary school has a "carry silent" policy for cell phones. She doesn't have one (I mean, she's *six*), but if I were to send her to school with a phone , I could text her while she was there.
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Personally, the only positive thing I see about this system is that a kid will never misplace a fingerprint and is therefore not capable of showing up unprepared. They sent us home to get our ID card or made us purchase a new one if it was lost.
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Alex, I think the school's concern is that kids are just coming and going during the day. The price breakdown suggests there are around 730 kids on campus--I don't know how that figures per class or grade, but in high school where kids aren't all in the same room all day, there's probably a lot of opportunity to sneak out. That said, I find this a bit ridiculous. We had student ID cards we swiped when we left for lunch and entered school functions. A check-in and check-out process might have worked as well without requiring a fingerprint.
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