BLOCKBUSTER-- Coming in Sunday's LAS VEGAS SUN, By Lisa Mascaro/Washington Bureau -- BIDEN TO BE BARRED FROM SENATE DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS MEETINGS AS PART OF REID EFFORT TO RESTORE CHECKS AND BALANCES: "The new Congress will reassert its constitutional independence from the White House by barring the vice president from joining in internal Senate deliberations, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said in an interview with The Sun. The move is intended to restore checks and balances to a system that tilted heavily toward the White House in the Bush presidency. By giving Vice President Dick Cheney regular access to Senate Republican caucuses, at times with White House advisers in tow, party unity became more important to many Republicans than upholding their responsibilities to provide legislative oversight of the executive, experts say. Asked if Vice-President Joe Biden will be allowed to attend Senate Democratic caucus meetings, Reid said: 'Absolutely not.'" Must credit Las Vegas Sun. Full story 2 a.m. Sunday at http://www.lasvegassun.com/
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Sunday, November 9, 2008
She must not have talked before she was asked to be the VP candidate. I never noticed how stupid she sounds. Or is.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Sarah In Wonderland
By Madeleine Begun Kane
So what is Gov. Palin’s excuse
For the finding of power abuse?
She pretends it ain’t there,
While she claims it ain’t fair,
With the facts playing games, fast and loose.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Friday, October 3, 2008
Commission members wanted a relaxed format that included time for unpredictable questioning and challenges between the two vice-presidential candidates. On Wednesday, the commission unanimously rejected a proposal sought by advisers to Ms. Palin and Senator John McCain of Arizona, the Republican presidential nominee, to have the moderator ask questions and the candidates answer, with no time for unfettered exchanges. Advisers to Mr. Biden say they were comfortable with either format.
The debate formats were negotiated by Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, representing the McCain campaign, and Representative Rahm Emanuel, Democrat of Illinois, for the Obama camp. A handful of aides from both camps were also involved, hammering out issues between themselves and then holding conference calls with members of the commission to reach final agreements, people involved in the process said.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
This is silly. The theater of the absurd. Just freaking nuts. But I have faith that it is going to get better and better because we now have the DC Republicans here in Alaska to run things for awhile (not just Ted and Don, but other guys from back east.) These folks have done such a good job back there, let's bring em on up here. We need the help.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Busy summer. I was out west and in Kodiak for most of May and in Cook Inlet on a research vessel all of August. The rest was kind of a blur of prepare and decompressing from the trips. I want to write about those trips in the next month or so but I have to re-start with the easy stuff. I would like to say, Sarah Palin is more than just a small town mayor and hockey mom. (I initially wrote that she is a dick, but she doesn't deserve that, although.) She is a crafty and gutsy politician.
This is some weird melding of reality TV and an Alaska Tourism Marketing campaign. A staged drama given to us in every increasing amounts with a bunch of Alaskan imagery and myths thrown in for the viewers in the lower 48. Screw healthcare, the deficit, the wars, the country is now rivetted to see Bristol's emerging stomach, or hear stories about Mr. Palin falling off his snowmachine during a race, or mooseburgers. Who cares if she doesn't know what a vice president is supposed to do, this is great theater.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
I knew RaRa because I live in a small town where you end up knowing everyone. But more importantly, I knew her because she was a caregiver in the only daycare in Seldovia and my kid was in her care for a couple of hours a day when he was about 2 to 5 years old.
I was always grateful for her. She was an elder; the grandma figure I had deprived my kid of by moving so far away from my family. She never replaced, but taught the old people stuff. She taught the kids to count in Supiaq, she gave my kid a nickname, Gummuck, (I was Big Gummack) I don't remember what it meant, but sometime that is best. (Ask Tracy her nickname.) But she was most successful in teaching them Super Mario and Nintendo 64. She yelled alot, was cantankerous, but whatever. After my kid got older, when she saw him in the store or around town, she kissed him and slipped him some money for candy.
Like most things "village" it is very hard to explain the web of relationships. The give and take of being human and intimate with people that in a larger community you wouldn't have too, or more importantly, get too explore. You find the commons and go from there. It is much richer and much more real. I got to bury her. Put shovel to earth and covered her. It was an honor and an investment.
I took my kid to the funeral at the Russian Orthodox Church. It was hard for a 10 year old; the incense, the dead body, the grief, the place. All a little overwhelming, but it should be, and he was a trooper. When we told him we would like him to go, he didn't protest but wanted more information. He is a good little man and I thank RaRa for giving that lesson too.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Friday, April 25, 2008
Wednesday night we saw further illustration of the slow dismantling of this city. A demonstration of the fact we can’t provide ourselves with basic public safety.
Recently, the city of Seldovia placed our one and only law enforcement officer, Andy Anderson, on an administrative leave after some allegation were made against him. This left us with coverage from the troopers in Anchor Point. A 20 mile drive and an airplane ride away. Everyone in town knows that Andy is not available to be called out and the Troopers are not going to come over at 1 am to chase down a drunk kid on an ATV. This was the case, and he is dead.
Everyone has been stupid to some degree and it is obvious to everyone the young man and his friends were being stupid. Half the town was woken up as they were racing around in the middle of the night on these ATVs that are un-muffled, light-weight, high rpm, crotch rockets. They are built for racing, not transportation.
The community has traditionally had law enforcement in town. Then we didn’t. When we failed to have an officer available, it gave these individuals the opportunity to act out their “Grand Theft Auto” fantasies, and there was no re-start button. There has always been a contingent of people in Seldovia that think we don't need a full-time officer in town: too expensive, too much for such a little town. Now we have a bunch of traumatized EMT's, the kids that knew him are traumatized, another young man is under investigation and a baby does't have a father. Civilization costs, the wild west was a myth. A myth to sell you movie tickets, wars and guns. All folks that ascribe to the NRA bullshit about an armed populace is a polite populace, are idiots. It doesn’t work that way. Seldovia is pretty well armed and no one could, would stop him. The police should have stopped him.
The deterrence of just having someone who enforces the law (even if some Seldovians think he is arbitrary at times) cannot be underestimated. I suppose we are experiencing the difficulties of many of our Alaska villages. We have failed here and as a State, we are failing these villages.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Buy some solar panels and plug them in. It isn't really that complicated once you have it installed. I put up my meager 4 panels 12 years ago. I have a 1500 watt inverter, a charge controller, a little doohickey that I have forgotten what it's called (it reads my battery charge and lets me know when to charge with the generator.)
For the most part I have almost totally forgotten how it works. It maintains itself except for the charging with the generator and the battery maintenance. (I bought a more efficient diesel last year. I am never going back to gas. And I have changed the batteries 2 times.)
The main reason I am doing this is to not have a power bill, and that there aren't transmission line nearby. But now with H.E.A. pushing to fire up coal plants so they can energize the Pebble Mine, I don't want any part of that.
To be honest I am not sure how green all this is with the initial energy needed to produce the panels, the equipment and the batteries. And I do have to run a generator 6 months a year. But it makes me acutely aware of every amp I use (my family would say overbearing about every amp they use.) Before buying any electronic device I turn around and look at the power specs on the back prior to buying. (I made an exception for the kids Xbox, those thing are energy PIGS.) I try to buy efficiency and stuff that has a trickle charge to maintain setting, like most TV and radios, is out or a least unplugged when not being used. (In Europe, they have regulated out these little energy draws .)
I think that people living on the grid can easily be "greener" than what I am doing off the grid. I believe the environment will be "saved" not from small things we do individually,but the big changes that have to be made systemically. We can feel smug that we are reducing our impact, but really we have to put people in charge who see aren't placating us. I see movement to change things, but no real effort on the part of people in power.
I heard a commentator the other day talking about the credit and housing crisis and how back during the Depression, FDR would have Fireside Chats and explain to the American people what was wrong with the economy and how they were going to fix it. Now we get platitudes and denial. We need leadership. We need to immediately get the Republicans out of the White House. I miss President Gore.
Monday, April 14, 2008
The amount of corn it takes to produce 75 litres of ethanol -roughly a tank of fuel- is enough corn to feed one person on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet for a year.I heard this on the NPR earlier this week and have been thinking it over it. There are many things I could do which, in the abstract, would end up feeding an entire Thai village. But the point that we are directly trading food for gas is powerful. Now that oil isn't cheap we are having to look to other sources of energy.
The United States has already lost the leadership it had in solar photovoltaics and wind, thanks to deep budget cuts by President Reagan and the Newt Gingrich-led Congress. By 2010, China will be the top manufacturer of photovoltaic cells and wind turbines. Must we also abandon our historical leadership in concentrated solar power to conservative doctrine? Other countries, particularly Spain but also Israel and Australia, are poised to be dominant. And China, which has already begun importing coal and pursuing CSP projects, will not be far behind. CSP could well be one of the major job-creating industries of the century.
Both these items resonate after I read the book "Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed" by Jared Diamond. The main point of the book is that the successful societies are the ones that remain adaptable, are efficient and can evolve quickly enough to match changes in the environment and social conditions. If you keep doing the same thing as your world is falling apart, then you fail.
"Doctrine" is holding us back, again. It isn't reality that is pushing energy and environmental policy in Washington, but a view of the way the world "should" be. "The the invisible hand of the free markets should shape the world. When solar energy is cost effective...." I think the invisible hand of Nature is going to slap the crap out of all of us, or maybe slowly squeeze the breathe out of us.
We all know that trying to find more hydrocarbon and using food for gas isn't going to fix the world's energy problems. It would be doing the same thing over and over even as we know it is bad for the long-term. But with a little foresight, looking at the facts, the science, we could make headway to solving both problems. It is going to require leadership and tough choices, but really quite an opportunity.
The current President thought being a "war president" would cement his name in stone as a great leader, better than his daddy at least. I think the next great president is the one that is going to directly address these issues. Where is Al anyway.
The photo up top is of the family on the hill across the valley.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
What gives? "Not a state responsibility" last year:
This year, apparently it is:
I am glad we got the funds for these capital projects that were vetoed last summer by the Mrs. Palin. As a matter of fact almost all of the projects proposed and requested by local communities last year that were vetoed are in the budget this year.
Last summer it was all about the principles and controlling spending. This year it is about what? Maybe $112.00 a barrel oil.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
The lengthy amendment from Rep. Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski, would authorize the death penalty for first-degree murder as well as for first-degree sexual assault involving victims under 12 years old.Murder is bad, sexual assault is bad. Yes, the individuals who perpetrate these crimes revoke there rights to be in a free society. They should be punished, maybe incarcerated for the rest of their lives. But what really gets me is the stupidity of Mr. Chenault. He goes on to say,
This man is proposing to kill people and he hasn't done the research. He is just "thinking" the facts support him. Get the facts and get back to us, alright. What an ass.
“I realize this is a pretty big step,” he said. “But I say in the case of child molesters, they can’t be fixed. I THINK STUDIES HAVE SHOWN THAT. If we don’t keep them in jail for all their life, Mr. Chairman, I would just as soon execute them.”
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Again I wonder, "why do people vote for Republicans?" We must remember that they are better at foreign policy and keeping us safe from _______. The last 7 years are further demonstration of this.
The Republicans are better politicians than the Democrats. All the while they hold politicians in disdain.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Back in the early 90’s when I was a mental health case manager, the medications for schizophrenia that we prescribed were damn well barbaric. Haldol, prolixin etc are the nuclear bombs of anti-psychotics. They would turn an individual suffering from psychosis into a passive, drooling zombie in the course of a few hours.
The delusion and halucinations may subside and the person would appear better, but it was a definite trade off. Good yes, in that a person was no longer in danger, bad in that this person could barely function. It was always tough. When the newer generation of antipsychotic starting coming on the “market” everyone was thrilled. These were more focused on the actual chemical imbalance and had fewer side effects. They seemed to be so much more effective. We thought that these meds would offer an opportunity of a better life for people living with major mental illness. And they did.
Then this crap. The drug companies were holding back information on potential serious side effects. I can see the drug company sales reps coming into the offices with boxes of pizza and a bunch of pens and coffee cups with Zyprexa branded all over. They got their “fact” sheets and corporate training on selling the medications. It is just gross.
We all know the whole healthcare system is broken. It is very very bad. It is killing people. These drug companies along with the insurance companies are going to be part of the solution for Clinton, Obama and I assume McCain's health care plan. They want negotiate a solution to this system built on deception and exploitation.
I miss John Edwards.
What does Nadar say again?
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
The wealth will go to shareholders and probably a bunch of Canadians and Brits if the trends hold. Some Alaskans will have a few jobs, make some money, if it is a Union Mine, before they move to Arizona, or Idaho. We will be left with a hole and a dead watershed.Should be fun to watch the comments roll in. Oh and the Coal leases are owned by the Hunts Brothers and Dick Bass, not the Canadians. I like Canadians, but really they don't do natural resources well. More of us Texans in Alaska! They don't do natural resources well either.
Search the data on hazardous spills in at Red Dog. Enter Red Dog in the "Facility Name Search" at http://www.dec.state.ak.us/spar/perp/search/FacilitySearch.asp This is what got reported. There will be spills, ships hitting the bottom in Cook Inlet, broken retaining dams and broken promises.
I would rather rely on a intact eco-system than promises from corporate boards. With the news lately, you and I are bailing out greedy corporations with our taxes. Unchecked capitalism is killing us all. Climate Change? Have you been paying any attention?
I have been a little lax in posting. The summer is getting ready to start and I have to prepare. It could be that playing the kid at Xbox/Halo 3 has been taking up some evening hours. He loves to kill his father. Little Oedipus.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
As a new resident in Seldovia, a mere 13 years, I cannot claim to know the intricacies and origins of long standing rivalries and conflicts that exist within this community. They certainly seem entrenched and poisonous, so I try not to get entangled. But like a drift net of hate and venom, we all run the risk of being swept up eventually.Small towns can be poisonous, but they can also be great places to live. I think the main thing that makes it work for people is the knowledge that you can't get away with anything. You have to be honest, open and willing to work with everyone. Secrets can make you incredibly miserable here.
I am amazed by how, as a community, we can continually undermine and undercut each other while everyone claims the mantle victim. The overlay of universal victimhood and my maintenance of ignorance of the longstanding conflicts, was working well for me as I was thinking about the latest City/Tribe conflict over the Senior Meals Program. The Tribe made a decision, for whatever reason, and the City is once again scrambling to adjust to that decision, for whatever reason. Now we watch as the newest under-resourced city manager tries to adjust, and the end result is that the community suffers. It is once again as lose-lose situation. Same as it ever was. I think, “Why bother, these people seem to be meeting some inner-need.”
Then I heard a story on the Alaska News Nightly that outlined a study by UAA on small businesses in rural Alaska, “Viability of Business Enterprises for Rural Alaska; Community Factors and Entreprenueral Strategies.” Google it. (SVT’s Tribal Cache, Crystal Collier, along with 34 or so other business owners, was interviewed for the study. So I am sure some of her input is in the study.) The study outlined challenges that small business’ face in rural Alaska and how business development can be fostered. I have skimmed the study and it looked pretty familiar, but it just nailed us with the following:
“Community Cohesion. Many owners talked about the business climate being
influenced by the community’s cohesion. If the tribal council, the city council,
and the village corporation work together towards a common vision for the future
of the village, it was good for business. If, by contrast, there was division,
competition and bickering among community institutions, the climate for success
for businesses was eroded. The energy for expansion of entrepreneurial activity was
a reflection of the level of cooperation among community institutions.
Community in-fighting could undermine new entrepreneurial activity.”
We are not alone in this predicament. "....competition and bickering among community institutions, the climate for success for businesses was eroded.” That is us. As I look at the businesses down on Main Street, I don’t think we need any more unfavorable climates.
This is a critical and chronic problem for this community. There are no innocents: everyone has played a role. We will continue to see little progress in developing and growing our town without cooperation and cohesion in a shared vision of this community. No one is going anywhere, we all need each other, the question is how do make it work.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
The bad ju-ju comes out in the comments as it becomes a pile on for all us greedy Alaskans. You get a feel for another way in which these asses have damaged our State.
"Why, Alaskans will all tell you that by the act of moving up there they became the sole owners of everything found in the ground. Earmarks are only a small recognition of their generosity in allowing the rest of us to enjoy a little bit of their God-given inheritance."
I had to respond and am surprised to find myself defending Ted.
That is a pretty broad brush to paint all of us Alaskans with. I do believe I have an inheritance and I work to ensure that it is here for my kid and his kids. The inheritance is open space, wildlife and intact eco-systems.
Not all of us are pleased with the job that our delegation has been doing. Many of us are like you, and I am hoping a majority, are disgusted. This process of earmarking is wrong and certainly needs a revising. But, I ask you to look around your community and identify how much is built with federal dollars. Airport, roads, infrastructure that makes the economy run. We don't have an infrastructure here. We have many basic needs that haven't been addressed. Many of our villages have water and sewers that are third world. Stevens has done much to solve this issue and many others here. He also has sold out many Alaskans to greedy corporations and is corrupted by the power he has. I have never voted for him.
You can knock the politicians, but please don't lump me in with them.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Come on! Really. These Supremes put that oilman in the White House, most are Republicans and Republicans are all about personal responsibility. Kinda like they want their personnel to take responsibility for all the bad shit the corporations do. It was Hazelton's fault.
He got tanked up at the Pipeline Club before taking that tanker out of the Terminal. He paid his debt to society doing community service and picking up all that trash. It is over, right, forget about it. Exxon has.
Friday, February 22, 2008
Although Alaska’s representation in Congress is shameful, shortsighted and downright dumb, the Texans have put forth Senators dumber and so shortsighted, they view the world in reverse. (Isn’t that the definition of a conservative.) Check out the League of Conservation Voters National Environmental Scorecard comparing our Senators with theirs. We kick their ass with positive score of 27% and 40% versus 0% and 7%. How do you get a 0%. You would have to be really motivated to get a 0.
So as bad as we have it, it can always be worse. Could you imagine if Frank became President! And I have been thinking I may have to vote to return Don Young to Congress. What if he returned to teaching? Think of those poor children.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Wow. I just heard on the news that Amtrack is now placing guards with automatic weapons on the boarding platforms in the busier train stations. Security measures.
That is so dumb. I get the overwhelming sense that this loosely gathered band of a couple of thousand radicals has won. On both sides. And we are paying for their party. Banana Republic?
Maybe living out in the woods and only getting into the "city" once every 4 months has given me a false sense of security. I just don't realize how bad it is out there. Should I get one?
Who are these guards going to shoot and how are they going to miss all the rest of us standing around. Are we now going to be considered collateral damage? Is it better to be shot by your own guys than blown up by some "terrorist?"
Infrequently I travel, and when I have been in Mexico in the past and have seen their military/police walking around with their little machine guns, I get the feeling that it is more a show for the general population. I have always been impressed.
We have lost our minds.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Around Alaska, coastal communities lucky enough to have ferry service are struggling with the cut backs in the Alaska Marine Highway System as proposed by our Governor. The reduced service could cause quite a shift in our communities with increases in the cost of living and reductions in the ability to maintain, not to mention expand, current levels of, well, everything.
Some of it smacks of an administration that is unaware or uncaring of the needs of the smaller communities or some it smacks of the chickens coming to roost. With the legislative personalities and rail-belt power-base still holding sway, cost of fuel and labor, I am not saying that a democratic governor wouldn’t have been facing similarly hard decisions. I am fairly certain that a democratic administration would be more likely to support the continuation of the historic levels of service to communities. (Rightly or wrongly, Gov. Knowles expanded service to communities back when the state was in a rough patch financially.)
Zero taxes, reduction in the size of government, and privatizing government services has been the mantra repeated over and over and voted for by the majority of Alaskans for the past 25+ years. All my Republican friends who are now crowing about reduction in this government services strike me as a little hypocritical.
Thursday, February 7, 2008
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Friday, January 25, 2008
East German Prison
Saint Reagan took those evil commies down and made the world safe from these kind of prisons.
The easily accessed window and bright lighting make solitary confinement so much more humane. I am so proud of my country.
The story followed a Stasi agent and a playwrite. The agent was covertly watching the writer who was deemed OK by the government. Eventually he is transformed into not being OK and speaks out against the censureship and governmental control over the arts. It was a very well done movie. And certainly there are always parallels to the present that make you connect with the characters but it seemed rather close at hand. Wiretaps, surveillance, torture, secrecy, stupidity, ideological certainty and state sponsored paranoia. Same as it every was.
Tracy was a little sleepy during the last half; she doesn’t do well with plot driven movies, especially political thrillers. She likes to feel the movie. So I don’t think she was in total control of her facilities, and she was being her contrary late-January self when she flippantly said, “Those damned people should just shut their yaps. They didn’t have it so bad. If they were in Russia or China they would have been shot.” Wow, Dr. of English Literature and poet Philpot, daughter of a lesbian, feminist and green party member, interesting thinking. She spent the next 10 minutes of the movie or so trying to retract or reformulate the statement until she fell asleep on the couch. Even under assault of rapier wit and intellect, she wasn’t really engaged.
My point is Tracy doesn’t really believe that in her heart, but the idea easily takes a root in all of our brains’. I am sure I have said such things about similar situations, matter of fact I think I did even last night. It may take a late night movie, in a warm house, after a couple of beers, feeling kind of sleepy, stressors such as these to break us down but I think we all have a little Stasi in us.
But the smart amoung us realize that this is why we have laws, that Constitution thing that ensures rule of law and that NOBODY can make that kind of judgment stick on someone else. Checks and balance on our government and on our dark impulses. That whole system is working pretty well, right?
“Mr. President,” one aide in the meeting said. “There is a valid case that the provisions in this law undermine the Constitution.”
“Stop throwing the Constitution in my face,” Bush screamed back. “It’s just a goddamned piece of paper!”
Not sure if the above quote is true but......
Just keep quite and you will be OK.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
This was as close as a humpback got to me as I was sailing back home from Homer this last summer.
On another note.
Our legislature wants to give money back to the oil companies. These people are making record profits; they, by design, have limited production to raise gas prices, they polluted our ocean and refuse to pay the settlement; and most damning, for me, willfully subverted our democracy. Treasonous!!!! Read the ADN article.
It is shameful and worse yet, so obvious. It would be kinda funny if it wasn't so sad. I continue to be amazed.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
I guess I should dig out the solar panels.
I have no idea how that ski run appeared right there.
So I cruised over to his campaign website and looked up his position on healthcare and how he was going to get it out to people who don’t have it. It wasn’t too darn informative, but I did find out that he wants you to tell your school to have better food so kids won’t get fat and we can deal with obesity and diabetes.
The Republic Party paying lip service to health care reform is just that. Romney wants to require that everyone buy insurance, or they will fine you. They will have “market reforms”, which will look a lot like their Social Security Reform. Suddenly all our health care money is going to corporations, who will ensure a snappy business model built on efficiency, maximizing resources and therefore profit, for themselves. What happens if the business isn’t meeting their quarterly projections and they haven’t meet them in a couple of years and they are going bankrupt. What happens then and who pays. Does anyone remember the Savings & Loan shit of the 80's. Neil Bush does.
I agree that we need to include everyone in the risk pool, therefore covering everyone and pooling the risk and responsibility for all of our care. The best mechanism we have for that is the US Government. They know everyone already. The myth is that government is less efficient than business. It isn’t; it just has to serve everyone (sometime it doesn't feel like service.) Business gets to throw out or choose not to serve some people or target certain markets. It is apples and oranges. Each has its place.
We already do it, you know; Medicare=socialized healthcare, Veteran Administration=socialized healthcare, Medicaide=socialized healthcare, Indian Health Service=socialized healthcare, I get a tetnus shot and flu shot from the public health nurse=socialized healthcare. I bet there are alot of republican voters in those systems.
People go off on the evils of socialized healthcare limiting access and rationing care. The subtext being that Hillary will smother you in the hospital as you recover from butt crack surgery. You will die young and the evil commies sell your organs to the Chinese. But rationing is already happening. It is being done by corporations and I have no recourse, except, of course a trial lawyer after the fact. Maybe we should put one in the White House instead. Go John.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
2: It needs to warm up just a little so the mountain in the outhouse tips over; I made it shallow so it would compost instead of fill.
Tracy is naked; Aidan and I have catastrophic health insurance. We two are scantily clad.
I am certainly not proud of the fact that we can’t provide health insurance for everyone in the family. We probably could scrape together another $400 a month and buy Tracy insurance, but what else do we give up.
We don’t live extravagantly, pretty modest really. I guess if we stopped buying the beer, we’d be almost there. Maybe we could stop eating one day a week too, and we could let the house go cold and not use any electricity for a couple of days a week. Stop the Netflix; stop the internet; stop moving around at all. Sit real still and hope that nothing happens to us. I shouldn't ski anymore, dangerous. Stop buying books, sell the boat. We could afford insurance then.
Tracy and I both have college degrees and been employed in social work field. Tracy has a PhD and teaches college courses right now. We could move and find employment in the cities and get more of everything except sanity. I think about that. But Clinton was supposed to fix this back in 92'. What happened?
I suspect that even with insurance, we won’t get health care. In the past 5 years I haven’t gotten a dime from the Blue Cross, but they have gotten around $30,000 from me. I still pay for my real medical care everytime I go see the Dr. Larry here in Seldovia. We are lucky to have a lot of backcountry skiing around here and that the Dr. is addicted to fresh powder. He forgot to get rich and I think he may be naked too.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
The only political party affiliation I ever claimed previous to this point was as a Green. The Greens kinda faded after 2000; couldn’t quite recapture the Nader magic after that one. And until today I have been registered as an independent. But I am not part of the great “middle” of the political spectrum. That coveted voter who along with the support of a party’s base will put that will put them in the White House.
I am that pissed off liberal that sees an amazing opportunity for this country of great wealth and resource to be an amazing force for good in the world. I have resisted the Dems because they have always seemed to be the other side of the same coin; served the same corporate masters. I wanted them to know that I if they wanted my vote they had to move my way. I believe in almost all of what the Green Party of America platform states, but registering Green was a protest vote against the right ward drift of the Democratic Party.
That only mildly worked. I give. I have reached middle-age and gained a full understanding that I am not going to drastically and cataclysmicly change the world. A little shift to my way of viewing the world would be nice, it might even give me a little hope that this country can right itself and get back to the reality based world view.
So as an Alaskan voter, how am I going to have an impact on the candidate that will be elected in 2008. This has to be a Democratic year, not that they can’t blow it, history shows. But look at the candidates. I am certainly prejudiced, but the Republicans, who have always valued style over substance, haven’t even been able to agree on a style this year. Usually one style has to take the fore front: Macho Cowboy Swagger, Big Business CEO, Military General, Christain Warrior. They just aren’t on their game this cycle. And let’s face they are wrong.
But Alaska will more than likely reflexively vote for a Republican. In the all or nothing system of the electoral college, my vote will mean nothing. By participating in the Democratic Caucus and voting my preference of candidates at this point. I will lend support to that person going into the National Democratic Convention. If my candidate isn’t the party choice, they will have an ability to at least affect the party platform. My view point will have some credence and the world will being to bend to my will.
Well the past seven years have taught me a thing or two. But these years have been decades in the making with a cadre of motivated and crazy right-wingers moving their party further and further right to capture a fringe herd of fundy nut-jobs that will vote as told. Now the great right-wing boogeyman of old, Barry Goldwater, would seem to have a lot more in common with Clinton than he would of with GWB. The swing of the pendulum of American politics, I feel, has to have reached it’s zenith on the right. It is our responsibility to get hold of that pendulum and swing it hard as hell the other way.
The two party system sucks, but a one party system sucks even worse!
Friday, January 11, 2008
I read Glen Greenwald every day at Salon.com. I am usually with him 90% of the time, so we know he is smart! Today I read his post and viewed the accompanying videos. It is nothing I don't already know about the situation in Iraq, but I found it more depressing than usual.
The reason we basically block out from our public discourse the effects our behavior has on innocent human beings -- the reason, for instance, we don't bother to count Iraqi victims and the reason we exempt our own behavior from any sort of scrutiny other than the most self-absorbed -- is because that's the only way that the propaganda can be sustained ("Freedom is on the March. We're Liberating Them. They're so Grateful. Winning Hearts and Minds"). Is there anyone who could make a list of all of the pros and cons from our invasion of Iraq and -- while including the hundreds of thousands of innocent dead human beings and the 4 million who are displaced -- argue that it was worth it? What kind of moral depravity would allow that argument to be made?
Read the whole thing.
When I was in the mental health field, I worked with some clients who were sex offenders as well as having a major mental illness. I received some training on treatment issues with individuals who are sexual predators and learned what seems so obvious. A major problem identified in research was that they had no ability to develop empathy with their victims. They can't put themselves in other peoples shoes; they can't see the havoc they do to other people. I believe, obviously, we as a country have the same problem.
For the sexual offenders, the most powerful tool is group therapy with others in various stages of "recovery". The offenders call each other on their bullshit and rationalizing and confront what they have done. Who is doing that for us as a country. We all don't go too deep, we don't demand an end to this because what we have done is just so amazingly horrible. And now, to have political candidates triangulating, avoiding this issue and using this war as a chest thumpin' , big balls swingin' test to show you aren't afraid of killin' is a sham and that they are considering bombing Iran, is criminally stupid.
A white American girl goes missing while on vacation in some tropical country or a girl falls in a well, we come unhinged and the need to do something. Spare no expense. But look at this photo and caption.
It is all so sad. I know those kids. I have played with them at the Boy&Girls Club, they play with my kid, they ARE my kid and I AM that parent that got shot. (I have shitty brakes in my car too.)
But I am also struck by the soldiers; one has his entire face covered, the other is down with the crying kids trying to not look so scary. I bet he has kids. He is comforting a kid and appears to have his hand on the kid's head. Moments before he might have been the guy who shot and killed the parents. You can almost see that he is disassociating from the whole deal, staring at the ground.
I don't know how you could go on. The VA's are going to be filled, the shelters are going to overflowing, the drug companies will make a killing on the prozac and valium, cigarette and alcohol companies are going to do really well numbing people out. We are going to be supporting those troops until they die, long after this crazy empire building is done. But how will we ever make it up to those children.
We gotta work on little empathy and someone make this stop.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
I will post some signs around town later. It should be interesting to go into the Bar after that. I can't wait. I know eventually someone is going to hit me.
Saturday, January 5, 2008
1. Another Canadian Company is going to get a piece of the Alaska action. Mother Palin has deemed that TransCanada is the best company to put up a gas pipeline. Damned socialist with there health care and taxes. It makes the Canadian companies have to work that much harder I guess. The second best was a Chinese company. Communist, I am glad they lost.
2. I was reading this article over at TPM about the Bush administration’s EPA being so pro-corporate as to deny California the right to regulate car emissions. (This is the party of States Rights, right?) And then the Pope says people concerned with global warming are out of line. The ruling elite are pissed, the church is upset, the monied interests concerned. The stars are aligning, as the people most entrenched in the current paradigm are threatened. They are digging in their heels and pinching the profit from the cheap inefficient hydrocarbon fueled economy. Actually they are taking profits by the tanker load. (as an aside one full tanker coming out of Prince William Sound now has almost $100,000,000 worth of crude onboard.)
I recall reading that economies need a new focus, a new thing to produce to stimulate growth anywhere from every 7-14 years. This is the next big thing, efficiency and new energy. Alot of other economies are getting it. It is going to be bigger than oil as it will effect everyone and everything.
Currently the people who set policy and focus the energy of the government are old oil execs or in Alaska’s case, have had there families supported by employment in the industry. Not that one can’t eat at the trough and still be a critical consumer. You would hate to put your husband out of work and the truth is that everyone in Alaska is a dependent of Big Daddy Oil. Oedipus did what he had to do and it was painful too.
Credit to Palin for putting in some funding for renewable energy development in Alaska, but we should be going gang-buster on this. Thinking simplistically, we should tax the hell out of big oil with carbon taxes and use it to develop the next energy base. KISS.