Sunday, September 21, 2008

Underneath it all

The current Wall St. state of affairs is pretty heinous. People saw it coming, saw it coming since the deregulation. Then the government said "Y'all are too important to fail," and while that may or may not be true, I personally resent those billions of dollars not only on behalf of human rights efforts being underfunded all over the world, but on behalf of solar research, on behalf of victims of disease, natural disaster and war, and most personally on behalf of someone who is trying to get invited to the Peace Corps in the face of increasingly frightening budget cuts. I mean, couldn't we be spending that money somewhere else? Somewhere better? Somewhere, oh, I don't know, like maybe reducing our national debt, or on the falling-apart public schools across the nation. Or maybe double the Teach For America corps.

We have a vice-presidential candidate who seems to have actively tried to miscarry her Down's Syndrome child (chose to go on a two-day airplane trip after her water broke, heading away from top hospitals--which Down's babies very often require--towards her sticksville hospital to give birth...and also, she's pro-life, but she had amnio done, so she knew it was a Down's baby...you tell me, is that suspicious?) and who believes that the Endangered Species Act is a conspiracy to keep the oil barons poor and their children hungry. She thinks it's appropriate to spend 2M of taxpayer dollars to mount a campaign to legalize something Alaskans had voted down twice--the aerial bounty hunting of wolves and bears. It's not necessarily relevant, but she got her passport less than two years ago, and has been out of the country twice. But, you know, you can see Russia from her state.

We have a presidential candidate who has lost what honor and upstanding-ness he had left when he chose a VP in a clear bid for minority (female) votes. (Why he didn't pick a more competent woman--like, oh, I don't know, someone who knows the head of her party's foreign policy doctrine from a dead horse--from a battleground state with more electoral votes is beyond me, but Obama's good luck, honestly.) Smear campaigns galore, and Drill, baby Drill. Distancing himself from Bush, but with enough of the same policies that he's pretty much More of the Same.

And we have a close race between these two terrifying clowns and Obama/Biden. I'm strongly prObama, but I do wonder what is wrong with the Democrats. This election was locked. It was LOCKED until they decided to try to go for an historic election and run only minorities. It's like they can't bear to flat-out try to take office. I mean, last time, they nominated Kerry, for crying out loud. Mr. I-have-no-facial-expressions. I'm enough positive-Obama, though, that I'll be sad when he demonstrates himself publically to be Just Another Politician. If he becomes president and starts being one of those, I will take it personally. But honestly, Democrats, even if you'd run Kerry this time...having a close race (especially with McPalin) is indicative not of their prowess, but of your lack of it.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sneakiness and the Peace Corps

Internetworking is one amazing thing, that's for sure. And I know where I'm going for the Peace Corps, if in fact I leave with the nomination for which I'm scheduled to leave.

But you have to read the story of it first, because I'm rather proud of weaseling it out the way I did.

It didn't start out as weaseling. I originally had called the PC office in Washington, D.C., to try to find out when they'll be inviting me. IF, as they so strongly reminded me. If they invite me, when would it be? The rule says "six weeks before your departure date". Being as half of February is six weeks from early January (which is when I'll have just barely arrived in Kenya for the Field Biology course), and being as I'll only have 10 days after receiving the invitation to accept or refuse it, and being as that will *only* be able to happen if I am allowed to do so via phone or email and parental power-of-attorney-type-stuff. So, basically, I wanted to know if my parents could accept or refuse something for me.

The PC told me that I should be getting invited in early January or very late November (maybe they meant December?), because the program for which I am nominated leaves on--and I should understand that this is highly tentative, without any guarantee of me going with them or of that exact day, so don't make any plans or form any expectations whatsoever--is February 8, 2009.

Then, I was in a yahoo group for PC- stuff (-applicants, -Vs, -Ts, R--Vs, parents of any or all of the above, etc), and the chat was empty except one other person. She told me that for various reasons, she'd learned that the program for teachers leaving February 8 was going to Uganda.

"Don't get all excited yet," I tell you now and told myself then, "You still have no confirmation whatsoever."

I went to the PC recruiter here at Cornell, and tried to beg him to tell me where I was going, but he couldn't tell me, because he didn't know.

So, I called the PC again, but a different desk this time. I said that I wanted to let them know that I'd be abroad from December 28 to January 21 (margins for travel, but I will be functionally nonextant, for purposes of communication, between those dates, for any of you planning ahead...). They said "Great, we'll put that in your file," and pulled up said file. "You're going to sub-Saharan Africa as a Secondary Science teacher..." I interrupted, and said "Yes, I know that if I'm invited to the program I'm nominated in, I'll be going to Uganda," as though it were just another fact. "Who told you that?! Did your recruiter tell you that?!" I said no, that my recruiter hadn't told me anything (I didn't want him to get in trouble, and it's also true), but that I'd been talking to a lot of other applicants and we'd found out the leave date, and put it together from there. But after that, it was confirmed.

And she made a big point of telling me how I'm probably never going to get invited, etc, etc, etc. But, so it goes. They tell you that you have no chance of invitation up until you're invited, and if you express any preference, they'll call you inflexible and a bad match for the PC. It's all in order to keep expectations at a level that they can be dealt with (or not) in an efficient way--I understand this--but it gets a little aggravating.

So, Uganda. My recruiter is sure I'll get invited, and with the number of "file-strengthening" I'm doing, I'll be surprised if I don't.