Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Not even an indictment?

November 25, 2014

A grand jury decided yesterday that despite conflicting testimony in a case that involved a cop fatally shooting an unarmed citizen, a formal trial of the officer wasn’t necessary.

An ironically titled “Peace Officer” shot an unarmed black man to death, and no formal trial will occur.

When should a formal trial happen, then? What set of circumstances prompts a trial? A white corpse? A rich corpse?

How’s this idea: when dealing with a law enforcement system which has shown systemic bias against black people, when officers of that system shoot black people we should bring greater scrutiny rather than less.

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Beautiful American Cussedness

November 12, 2012

6 days ago the final votes were made, and the tallies reveal some remarkable things, such as the youth vote increasing by a percent from 2008.

More impressive than that, though, is the American response to people trying to suppress our votes.

In Florida, early voting days were cut from 14 to 8 by Florida Secretary of State Rick Detzner (R). In response, people waited for 6 hours to vote or- in some cases- left after a long wait one day only to come back and vote another.

In Pennsylvania, Republican legislators tried to reduce the vote by passing a restrictive Voter ID law, which was then blocked by a judge. And the Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted (R) originally tried to have extended voting hours in Republican leaning counties, and not in Democratic leaning counties. When that was challenged, the hours were made the same in all areas- but much shorter than had been planned for the Republican counties. The outcome in both cases? The states went Democratic in the Presidential contest.

Let me just make this clear, in case the election results didn’t: Don’t suppress our votes, we don’t like it, we will vote, and we will vote against whoever tries to prevent our vote.

I’ve returned.

November 9, 2012

Now that I’m back, I’m planning on spending more time articulating, organizing and developing my ideas, and spending less time on daily politics. I’m also thinking of adding more weekly topics to join Sokka, (who will still be appearing on weekends, fear not) and spending some time reviewing occasional extraordinary nonfiction as well as fiction.

Starting with a somewhat unusual take on Nightmare before Christmas, which I will post shortly.

Dolphins following boat, filmed by underwater camera

August 13, 2012

From 1:45 on, this is beautiful. I recommend watching without sound, though: the dolphins are better without accompaniment.

The Blue from Mark Peters on Vimeo.

(Updated to add: I remembered where I originally found this: Why Evolution is True.)

Thank Atheism for Sunday Mornings

August 12, 2012

Normally on weekends I just go about my routine: cleaning, reading, writing, playing computer games, getting together with family on most Saturdays, with friends every Sunday, and lounging around with Emily as much as I can manage. I don’t generally think “what if.”

But today I am acutely conscious of the fact that if I was still laboring under the belief that church was some sort of mandatory and necessary part of life, I would be wasting 1/7th of all of my mornings reading the same book over and over instead of exploring new books. I would have 3 or 4 hours of my day barred from getting things done around the house, and on Sunday evenings I would probably be too socially exhausted from dealing with people I don’t necessarily like- but who happen to share the same religious views and live near the same church- to consider having a gathering with people I genuinely love being around.

So, I just want to express- not really gratitude, because who to?- but relief that I have my Sunday mornings to do what I like with, that I can consider my actions in light of how they affect other people without the muddying up of considering how they might affect a theoretical man in the sky, and that I have more time to read and write and get things done.

Sokka Saturday

August 11, 2012

Sokka curled up without a concern in the world.

Economic solutions are available: Political will is wanting

August 10, 2012

It will surprise nobody to hear that some state budgets have structural deficits.

But solutions may be easier to find than our political discussion indicates. Economist have a striking degree of agreement on some issues that are being heatedly debated by politicians. 40 economists surveyed – including Democrats, Republicans and others- gave answers to public economic policy questions and the results of two questions are as follows:

92% agreement that the stimulus reduced the jobless rate

0% thought that cutting taxes from current levels would create jobs.

If our political system had more respect for facts, perhaps we’d already be a great deal closer to being out of this recession with countercyclical fiscal policy, along with paying attention to what types of stimulus has the greatest impact.

As is, maybe we can pay attention in time to make use of the fact that more stimulus could still help.

Thanks to Wonk Wire for links.

A Call to Clean Energy

August 8, 2012

I’ve been reluctant to post about climate change recently, for a couple of reasons:

One is that it is getting so obvious that it seems like rubbing it in to climate deniers to point it out.

And the second is that the effects are so great and the widespread pessimism (“We must do something about this. But we won’t.”) so profound that it is depressing to think about.

But Bill McKibben makes an intriguing argument for a two prong attack on climate change: one being carbon taxes, and the other being  divestment from oil companies, similar to that which helped end Apartheid. I think that it could work, if we strongly support both.

I would like to add a prong though: building wind turbines.

Nearly every college and university the world over has engineers, wood shops, metal shops, and all of those institutions have energy needs. If we could organize building wind turbines for our universities and colleges, and then spread from there to libraries, statehouses, K-12 schools, nonprofits, homes and businesses-we could to a great degree reduce our energy overheads, increase the supply of clean energy, and reduce the demand on and price of oil. That last means more oil stays in the ground where it does no harm.

I’d love to start this, but I’m not an engineer: if anybody is an engineer or a Maker -or both- and can recommend designs which could be put together fairly cheaply for the energy output, I’d love to make one for the college where I work, and hopefully use it to inspire clubs on campus to make more.

Bill McKibben’s article found through Political Irony.

(Edited to add more examples of pessimism related to climate change, as I’m not trying to pick on anyone)

Happy Birthday to me.

July 24, 2012

Traitorous rich abandoning country after putting holes in ship of state

June 25, 2012

“Wealthy Americans Renouncing Citizenship at Record Pace.” This is why you can’t build a country for the rich- they see their first allegiance as to their wealth.

To build an efficiently working economy, you have to build your country around laborers and thinkers. Capital is the result of labor. Land has to be cultivated, metals must be mined, tools must be made.

Taxes should be levied proportionally to the benefit derived from the services the taxes pay for – if you are one person driving the roads you should be paying less to maintain those roads than the corporation that runs a trucking fleet. Such measures would encourage small businesses and innovation, niche markets and great variety in services and render communities immune to the sort of devastation that results when a business leverages its distant wealth to destroy all competition… and then uses its new monopoly to price gouge.

Loopholes favoring corporations and the very rich should be discarded. They don’t help the country, unless by country you mean corrupt politicians, the idle rich, lobbyists and boards of companies.

Let the rats leave, but lets not repeat the mistakes that let them loot the country.

Edited to fix link issues that my wordpress app was unable to address.