Saturday, April 01, 2006

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Rethink: Part II

The Red Queen has challenged me to expound on my previous post...

Perhaps, tools was a poor word choice (though certainly the media we use here is a tool thingy). Resources may be a better word.

One resource is history. Another is common sense.

On so many issues we seem to be trying to solve today's problem's with yesterday's advice. The "American Dream" is still a goal for so many, when we live in a society of single moms/dads, unmarried, but happy couples, divorced extended families and people who either chose to be single or end up that way. In this light it seems counter-productive to extend toward the aforementioned 'Dream', which based on the available evidence is unattainable to a major degree. But since our culture uses this foundation as a base we end up trying to build round houses off of square blueprints--it can be done, but it makes the job much harder than it has to be.

The same can said of our economy. So many tie the argument for continuing to exploit our resources to death is that it will hurt our economy. Are we too shortsighted to see that once these resources are gone the economy will suffer more? The same is said on the immigration issue. We want cheap food! And the cheap food comes at the expense of illegal immigrants who strain other parts of the culture. We see the cheap food, but don't realize we pay for it somewhere else.

Keeping on this topic, since it helps me expand on my immigrant discussion, we need to trace the source of the illegals back to the source. People risk thier lives to come to our country because we have helped expolit their country to point where the incoming risk their lives. Would it not be better for all if we made the effort to improve their lot? This connection ties into the next logical topic: globalization. Corporations move jobs to places with cheap labor since labor movements (unions etc.,) have less power than companies. Thus, by ignoring their problems, we have created our own problem of not having enough well paying jobs here.

Now, trace the source of these expolitations. Western culture based on being at the right place at the right time were able and continue to use other areas to their (our) advantage. Leaders puposely used all the resources of other lands and more or less forced people in them to adhere to western market systems (see the decimation of Bengal cloth industry by the British). We are left with and continue the legacy. But the advantages we enjoy for a time must be paid for some time in the future. The circumstance is the same is for people as it is for the environment. Spend now, worry later.

This leads to nano-technolgy (and bio-engineering for that matter). Since western culture is only thinking about one side of the equation (progress, progress, progress) it ignores a basic tenet of life: what goes in, must come out. A recent article warns that nano-technology will produce waste with a half-life of hundreds of years. No one knows what the effect of nano-pollution will be, how it will affect organisms or how to get rid of it. Yet, the progress mantra pushes more and more investment in this direction.

So it comes down to one simple fact. We have become addicted to progress and by doing so we find ourselves on a treadmill to nowhere. The sooner we realize how we got here and where we are headed the sooner we can change our ways.

The history of progress leads back into history and information about the last Neptune-Pluto wave (1398-1892) in relation to this one (1893-2384). Are you ready for that story?...

More on the Fema Ice

The darling ReflectNaCl has made this comment
"I want to send the prosecuter a gazillion bags of ice"

Is there a way we could actually do that?

Why We’ve Lost the War on Terror (& are in danger of losing a good bit more)

This is my first post & of course I wanted to come out swinging, but I fear I might’ve bitten off a bit more that I can chew, so I’m thinking it’ll end up being a series of rants with a “& what the fuck are we supposed to do about it?” at the end. The WOT thing has been on my mind a good bit lately. In part because of the related madness on immigration & the “secure the borders” marching songs being sung by so many politicos. It makes me crazy.

The story works like this. “Security” from terrorism is an illusion. It’s just not something that’s compatible with an open society. If you want a picture of a society that is secure from terrorism you’ll need to imagine the iron boot of tyranny stomping on the face of humanity. The kind of centralized, spy on your own people, wiretap on every line, snitch on your neighbor, jackbooted secret police, presumption of guilt, indefinite detention without charges, goose stepping, flag waving, jingoistic government that would make China’s authoritarianism seem warm & feel good fuzzy.

The problem revolves around rational risk assessment. It’s the “pigs kill more people than sharks” quandary. Sharks are scary, they have big teeth, they’re gray & mean looking, but that barnyard hog is more likely to gore & trample you to death. Let’s have some fun with statistics. Assume a world where 9/11 happens every year, over & over again. Some time during the year planes will fall out of the sky & buildings will burn & collapse. What kind of threat does that represent? In a world where a 9/11 scale event happens every single year…your risk of choking to death on a hot dog are about the same as dying in the terrorist attack. You’re four times more likely to be assaulted with a gun by a run of the mill everyday thug (as opposed to a beturbaned terrorist madman), you’re about five & a half times more likely to be killed in an accidental fall, six times more likely to perish from accidental poisoning, sixteen times more likely to die in a (non terrorist related) traffic accident. Get this…you’re more than ten times more likely to kill yourself than to be harmed by a terrorist. This in a world where something as deadly as 9/11 happens on a regular basis.

Considering all these risks. A rational person might conclude that we should ban firearms & declare war on internal combustion. Sadly, there aren’t a lot of rational people running around out there. I think Katrina & it’s aftermath have rather conclusively proven that this administration couldn’t find their own asshole with two hands & a flashlight. But just for the sake of argument, let’s assume that the reason building aren’t blowing up is because of the investments made in homeland security ($180 billion since 9/11). Spending for 2006 is expected to top $50 billion. Using 9/11 as our filter, that works out to about $17 million dollars for each life saved from terrorists. If we’re to believe the president in his assertion that the reason we’re fighting in Iraq is to prevent ourselves from having to fight at home, that adds another $9.8 billion monthly, bringing the per life cost of preventing another 9/11 to $55.68 million per life saved from the evil terrorists. ( be continued)
Where the heck is this "Template Tab" the help file keeps telling me about?

I wanna post a link!

Dr. Misogyny

I know I shouldn’t watch the network news. It just pisses me off. And if you can’t tell, I’m in the mood to tear someone’s head off.

Today I was busily answering email with the 12:00 news on in the background. The newsreader (I refuse to call them reporters) started an interview with Dr. Misogyny on how to be a single parent. Some of his stuff was pretty basic: kids come first, don’t make any rash decisions, and have a support network. But then he went into how single mothers shouldn’t date- ever. He put on a shrill fake-girl voice (the one that only men use, real women never sound like that) “oh but I want a man to be there for my kids” (note- the quotes in this one are approximate since there is no posted transcript and I was too busy guffawing to type him word for word). Then he says something about having some class by picking up men in church rather than bars. But even that’s not good enough cause moms aren’t capable of choosing guys who are decent people.

I really hate it when fat, balding middle-aged men think they know what’s best for women. I also noticed that this guy never directed his advice towards single dads. Oh yeah- and let’s perpetuate the Madonna-Whore idea because women who have had children should never be sexual creatures again if their marriage fails. Things only go into the vagina until you’ve pushed something out of one.

No one thinks kids should have revolving daddies. But mothers teach their children nothing valuable by living like a sexual martyr after a failed relationship except that relationships fail and then your life stops being yours (if you’re a girl).

I don’t do that with The Kid. I have taught him that people date (including his mother) and that most of the time dating relationships don’t work forever but you enjoy the person’s company while they are there. And The Kid knows that no matter who mama is seeing, he’s always got me there for him. His ability to trust that I will always be there is unshakable because it’s true, not because all temptation to distract me from The Kid has been eliminated by not dating.

The best piece of advice I was ever given was shortly after I became a single mom. I was in that martyr stage and a single dad friend said “Nope- you gotta make sure you’re ok or The Kid never will be”. Part of my being ok is acting out those biological urges most of us have, getting to flirt and be charmed by cute boys, and getting to have that ping-pong zip of conversation with someone I’m attracted too. It makes me a lot less stressed out and a lot more fun as a mom. I don’t feel like I’m sacrificing my life for my kid. Because I am more than just his mom, he gets to have an example of a complete person as a role model, not just some patriarchal view of a “mother” who has blinders on to everything not child related.

frickin' asswipes

I've been hanging around with my cousin for the last week or so. She's in a wheelchair and rented a van with a ramp for her visit here to make it easier to get around. We were waiting in the drugstore parking lot for a handicapped space with the ramp area on the right side for at least 10 minutes this evening. The guy who was in the space (waiting for someone to come out of the store) made nice and was going to pull into the other handicapped spot so we could park. In the middle of playing Chinese firedrill with 2 large vehicles this asswipe cuts off the other guy and steals his space.

I can't abide this kind of behavior. I tell people off when they cut in line. I pick on people who use handicapped placards for rock-star parking when they don't need it (which is what the asswipe who stole the space did). I've told off a soccer mom in a yuppy grocery store parking lot for stealing spaces by telling her "It's really good that you're teaching your kids they don't have to wait their turn if it's inconvenient".

So I told the guy that off that took the space. And he said something about how I should "be afraid of him cause he's a black man" and that "we all can't be privileged". What. The. Fuck?

1. I've lived in the CD for years. My kid and I are the only white people in our building and I love all my neighbors. Not just "some of my best friends are black" but we loan each other bus money and sugar and look after each other. We cry on each others shoulders when shit hits the fan and share beers when it's all good. The kid is one of only 2 white kids in his afterschool program. His best friend there is a black girl. So me, afraid of a black man cause he's dark is the funniest thing ever.

2. Exactly when did being paralyzed from the waist down and getting to spend the rest of your life in a wheelchair become a privilege? When did it become a privilege to know that in a parking lot of 50 spaces there is only one you can use and some scam artist is taking it because he's to lazy to walk an extra 10 feet?

The asswipe said I was disrespecting my son because I told this fuckwad that he was "a bastard whose mama should have taught him some manners". What I am teaching my son is that you wait your turn because living by society's rules is not always convenient and that when someone else breaks those rules you tell them to fuck off. That's not disrespect, that's what you do when you have the strength to stand up when someone else can't. Someone like a girl in a wheelchair who is just trying to get in the drugstore.

Time for a Major Rethink

Many stories, articles and events continue to convince me to believe we humans need a massive think-tank to rethink about where we are going. It is so silly to me that we have people arguing about the science of climate change, when a fifth-grader can figure our its happening. But instead of doing something about it we become paralyzed by politics and economics. In so many ways we possess the means to repair our messes, but we argue about the solutions, the problems fester and rot into irreperable quagmires. In so many ways life is better than it has ever been. Our conveniences number in the hundreds, from instant gratification to complete forms of information to access to some of the best health care in history. Yet, when it comes to addressing what we can see will be major roadblocks to our way of life, we cannot reach any sort of consensus. I think we need a way to use all the tools at our disposal to get better access to the political process, to stop the process of trying to solve new problems with old solutions.

We have the tools, now we need to develop our minds to use them!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Sheriff Who Seized FEMA Ice Could Face Charges

Sheriff Who Seized FEMA Ice Could Face Charges
By HOLBROOK MOHR The Associated PressPublished: Mar 25, 2006

JACKSON, MISS. - Randy Walker swears he would have died from his diabetes after Hurricane Katrina had a sheriff not seized two FEMA trucks filled with ice and distributed it to residents, many of whom had to keep their insulin cold.

Now, that sheriff could be prosecuted on charges of interfering with a federal operation.

Forrest County Sheriff Billy McGee commandeered two 18-wheelers full of ice from Camp Shelby, a Federal Emergency Management Agency staging area, after five days passed with little relief for residents living without electricity in the wake of the deadly storm.

I have to say, it seems extremely unfair that this guy could be facing federal prosecution for doing his job... It's late & I'll post more later

Opinion from The Red Queen (only cause I can't post a link in the comments section)

These were poor people in the south. In this administration's eyes they should pull themselves up by the bootstraps and be greatful if they get any charity at all.

Now if it had been a swing state in an election year..........

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Is Al-qaida Winning? Possible Op-Ed

I am thinking of writing an Op-Ed article for Washington Post, my latest American media outlet I can tolerate.

Some things to note about this. Their organization killed many Americans, but the US of A has not been able to exact any precise revenge. Al-Qaida still exists and killing Osama BL, if they find him, ironically would only fuel AQ getting bigger or at least more vigilant. They have cost the west $billions in lost productivity, property and the need to create more security. They may be costing us freedoms. I know, not directly their fault, but nonetheless, you could be eavesdropped upon as we speak. Oh, yeah, did I mention that USA started a war, in which it is just as confusingly embedded for who knows how long? This war is costing $billions that could be used here at home (can you say Katrina?). In my mind, AQ is winning, whatever that is.

Of course, the problem is that those looking for and excuse will attack the messenger, instead of seeing the message. If I do decide to publish this little ditty, I need to figure how to protect myself from, irony of ironies, the people who see themselves on the side of freedom.

Your thoughts?

Immigration Protests

I am working on a much longer post about the current immigration "reforms" being bandied about, but until I go did up a paper I wrote 2 years ago tearing Bushy's temporary worker program to bits I thought I would spout a little from the top of my head.

First, I am tickled pink by the good people in LA and DC who have protested this atrocious bit of legislation. The LA Times has an article about how a local DJ brought the people to the streets

Second, the temporary workers program basically creates a slave class of foreign workers with no legal rights. The bit that makes it a felony to not follow every single one of the complicated immigration rules retroactively means that most of the legal immigrants, even ones who have become citizens would be felons.

Finally, we rely on illegal immigrants more than anyone wants to admit to. Without them our food would be much more expensive and they contribute more to society than they actually take from it. I am working on the numbers and will explain more when I'm not just spouting.

Till then Vivan Los Immigrantes!

Monday, March 27, 2006

This girl makes me squishy

Laura Logan, CBS's Iraq correspondent. She's hot, she's smart, and she kicks ass when it comes to the idiot media readers. I can't decide if I want her or want to be her when I grow up. A little of both actually.

Link is from Video Dog

Ah fuck it!

I have been trying for the last week to figure out how to create a custom template for this damn thing. I know exactly what I want it to look like, but everything I try has ended in fucking hieroglyphics.

I know some of you are anxious to start ranting, so for now welcome to the Generic Craptastic Blog Template of Boredom! Whoooopeeee!

While you're waiting for a more interesting graphic experience - here's some stuff to chew on. I've been reading more blogs on feminism lately than anything else because they cover so many issues that are important to everybody, not just those of us with vulvas. However, since it seems to be only declared feminists that are willing to talk about this stuff, half the population can discount it as women's crap. Healthcare, reproductive rights, access to higher education, whose on the supreme court, etc. are all things that impact boys too. Really, the reproductive stuff should have you straight boys shakin' in your boots. If access to birth control and abortions disappear then your paychecks are going to be infinitely smaller when they get garnished for child support for a whoops baby.

That's it for my opening rant. I'll write something more detailed when the promise of thrift-store shopping is not pulling me away from my keyboard.