Dissolve into Evergreens
Obama At House Republican Retreat In Baltimore: FU...
AIG Loses Exec, Wins TARP Comp Ruling - Regulatory...
Man v. Nature
not why, but why not
Tea Party Zombies
Squishy Mice Pumpkin
Star Trek Pumpkin
Star Trek Follow Up
The Flaming Lips
The New Radicals
Death Cab for Cutie
Badly Drawn Boy
Coheed and Cambria
Atom Site Feed
Since You Asked About the Upcoming WTO Gathering
... and yes, you would probably consider me to be one of the "anti-globalization" people. Even though that term is so far off the mark as to be ludicrous.
Reuters | Latest Financial News / Full News Coverage
But countries remain far apart on the issue that will make or break the Doha round: how far to lower barriers to business in manufactured products, services and, crucially, farm goods.
Since trade agreements rely on an adherence to rules negotiated by all parties, there has to be a consistency on the part of the participants. But if some of those states are democracies you face the ongoing risk that at any moment a newly elected official will renage on those agreements. Since your alternative is to make it impossible for those elected leaders to do so, you come to the easy conclusion that trade agreements and democracy are an ackward fit.
1) you either restrict the ability of those democratically elected leaders to act in ways they are expected to in order to serve their citizens or,
2) those agreements last only as long as the current leaders are in power, and may be broken by one or more states as they elect new leadership.
The same conundrum applies to treaties as well. Many of which were torn up as soon as a new president took office. And this also applies to any international agreements between democracies.
In the upcoming week we shall see the convergence of two formidable forces, on one side you see the developing nations, who for the past few years have been undergoing painful measures to appease the IMF and World Bank, and on the other the political viability of a U.S. President that on May 13, 2002 signed a 10-year, $190 billion farm bill that promises to expand subsidies to growers.
Imagine if you will, that you are the leader of a developing nation and you have been forced to abide by various austerity measures imposed on you by the IMF and World Bank (Brazil, Argentina, Turkey, Nicaragua, Bolivia) only to watch the United States President sit down and ink a new massive ten year farm subsidy bill saying:
"Farming is the first industry of America -- the industry that feeds us, the industry that clothes us, and the industry that increasingly provides more of our energy," Bush said. "The success of America's farmers and ranchers is essential to the success of the American economy."
As the leader of this developing nation you know that an influx of subsidied farm goods will mean the destruction of your local agriculture who will no longer be able to compete domestically as well as internationally. You suspect that all the flowery rhetoric about globalizing trade and lowered barriers might just be hogwash intended to get you to subject to rules that others never intend to honor. It becomes an issue of trust:
Commenting on the farm bill's passage through the US Senate, Argentine President Eduardo Duhalde said, "the United States preaches free trade but then are the most obscene protectionists." For its part, Brazil criticised the bill for being detrimental to international trade, while Mercosur member Paraguay described the new farm legislation as "a big step backward" in meeting the WTO targets. A top farm group official of the fourth member of the South American bloc -- Uruguay -- accused Washington of "telling two different stories" at international fora, adding that the US "clamours against subsidies but, when push comes to shove, it opts for protectionism."
So in contrast to what you might think about the deftly labeled "anti-globalization" protestors you must understand that for the majority of us it is not an issue of whether the developing world should be further intergrated into the international marketplace, that is a given. The real issue is whether or not you trust the western nations to live up to their promises, or do you suspect that when it comes to make sacrifices those with all the bargaining power will leave the table. The third world is probably feeling a little like Charlie Brown right about now.
(For a heartwrenching depiction of how US Agricultural imports are having devestating effects on Jamaican milk producers you might want to watch Life and Debt, a movie about Jamaica and the effects that the IMF, WB and IADB have had on that country)
Random snippets of thought from the discussion board at freerepublic.com. Note, I make no claims that this bears any resemblence to any particular line of thought present there. These quotes ARE OUT OF CONTEXT. I make no claims to making any sort of point whatsoever. It was just fun on my part. Read and enjoy.
------------- spotlight over hear please.. testing testing... ok, ahem....
wacko false liberal churches three bags of vomit alert...
Let you libido go go....
Libertarian free will used to justify autonomous human behavior
Isn't the (Mystical) Body way cool???
It is worse than I had thought out there.
All of the people I have ever met had a name.
Something very bad happened to the world in 1968
Apocolypse soon is likely.
It makes me breathe, "Come quickly Lord Jesus."
Honestly, though, there is no reason in a mechanistic universe NOT to have sex in public.
I've been very happy there ever since in the Southern Baptist Church.
And if us premills are correct, the faithful could shortly be gone.
Lift up your head. Your redemption draweth nigh
Ah, yes, but the word is not the thing
Libertarian Christian is an extremely difficult balance.
Amen, Ghost Warrior.
We took a youth group there once on a gay day.
It's moving real fast, isn't it? Lost, lost, lost.
They'll have to start a new religion.
An enemy planted weeds amongst the wheat.
I think the word you're looking for is libertine, not libertarian.
Drugs is an extremely difficult balance.
You can't control sodomy.
Think of it as Evolution in Action
Isn't this amazing? We are living in Biblical times!
They become walking time bombs.
For every predestined marriage, there is a right man and right woman to fulfill that union.
It's folks who think like this that make me wonder if sometimes too much freedom is a bad thing.
we might as well let the Chicoms nuke us and start over.
you have decided to war against God and I assure you that He will be the victor.
The best way to eliminate homosexuality from society is to stick with the ban on ALL immoral behaviours
Liberals intend to create the greatest religion- in their own image, of course
I felt that these statements bore repeating.
Martin Luther King
"Where Do We Go From Here?"
I want to say to you as I move to my conclusion, as we talk about "Where do we go from here?" that we must honestly face the fact that the movement must address itself to the question of restructuring the whole of American society. (Yes) There are forty million poor people here, and one day we must ask the question, "Why are there forty million poor people in America?" And when you begin to ask that question, you are raising a question about the economic system, about a broader distribution of wealth. When you ask that question, you begin to question the capitalistic economy. (Yes) And I'm simply saying that more and more, we've got to begin to ask questions about the whole society. We are called upon to help the discouraged beggars in life's marketplace. (Yes) But one day we must come to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. (All right) It means that questions must be raised. And you see, my friends, when you deal with this you begin to ask the question, "Who owns the oil?" (Yes) You begin to ask the question, "Who owns the iron ore?" (Yes) You begin to ask the question, "Why is it that people have to pay water bills in a world that's two-thirds water?" (All right) These are words that must be said. (All right)
Do statues and National Holidays mean anything when we continue to drive ever onward the economic engine that supported slavery in the first place?
In other words, "Your whole structure (Yes) must be changed." [applause] A nation that will keep people in slavery for 244 years will "thingify" them and make them things. (Speak) And therefore, they will exploit them and poor people generally economically. (Yes) And a nation that will exploit economically will have to have foreign investments and everything else, and it will have to use its military might to protect them. All of these problems are tied together. (Yes) [applause]
It seems to be the conventional wisdom supported by some that the left, who is still struggling to transform our society would not be embraced by King today. Of course there are those that will always trumpet any small change as "enough". But I think its pretty clear that King himself shared a broader vision that addressed rascism as the clearest indication of the indignity that our economic system will impose on human beings if left unchecked. Race was a way of dividing people into classes. Even if we stop using race to decide who gets to receive the brunt of exploitation, but that exploitation still exists, we must still struggle.
After reading that last quote, would anybody honestly believe that King would not be out there in the anti-war marches of today? We see the same powers, that King fought his whole life, attempting to usurp his image to defend their economic advantage. Thankfully we have his words, which speak for themselves.
Why is it that every time North Korea is in the news, they feel compelled to drag out the stock footage of North Korean troops high stepping past a television camera? As if that's all they do in North Korea... and do they constantly show footage of the Los Angelos riots in Korea?
I draw the majority of my income from:
a) the wages I earn from my labor
b) interest I earn off of investments, rents and ownership.
Most of us will answer "a" despite a few of us having a little money in some form of interest bearing investments. But can you really quit your job and still have enough money to live? Do you find the idea of life without a job unfathomable? You are a worker. Plain and simple. No matter how well you live, your livelyhood is dependent on your wages. If you lose your job you must find another.
Your position as a worker, despite being in the clear majority amongst the people in this country makes you practically invisible to the eyes of the government and the powerful people that control policy. Our ability to make a living is derived from whether or not investors see an oppurtunity to make money from what they own. When they don't see oppurtunity they hold their capital and we suffer through recessions and layoffs. Only when conditions are ripe again for profit to be derived from investment will we be employed. These conditions are promised by our politicians who say they will "fix the economy". What this usually means is that worker desperation has to rise and wages have to drop; new markets are created by new technology or new consumers become available.
Profit = selling price - (cost of labor) - (cost of raw materials).
When I say "this is class warfare" it relates to the above equation. The opening quiz tells you on which side of the equation you fall. Workers are considered cost of labor, and our wages are to be minimized to the greatest extent possible so that profit can be maximized. You can also see why environmental regulations are considered "bad for the economy", a phrase that ultimately means "bad for generating profit". Protecting the environment adds to the overall cost of raw materials. Keeping the above equation and your relation to it in mind while thinking about politics or economics makes understanding much simpler.
Where you fall in ideologically usually depends on whether or not you consider giving owners greater and greater wealth a reasonable trade off for the wages you hope to earn by doing so. I call this the "king's men" philosophy. In the old days you could earn a pretty good living by helping the king maintain his power. If that meant that millions starved but you lived well because of your help in securing the king's riches you might think it was a pretty good system. Your advice to the starving? "Make yourself useful to the King like I have". This idea is prevalent in America today. We scramble to find a "well paying job" which usually ends up being pretty dirty work that in some way provides direct benefit to the owning class. Its not an over-simplification to say that our ability to make someone else money determines our overall worth. When you hear that "productivity has risen" but you are earning the same wage, it translates, your value has increased but it will not be passed on to you.
thats all for now...
good andy, andy used to play with ani. Now he plays for himself, and makes good music. Give him a listen. I have a copy of Five Star Motel headed my way. Cheers!
'Bush vs. the Beltway': Kicking the C.I.A. While It's Down:
"Mylroie complains that the C.I.A. seems to have been duped into believing that Al Qaeda is a loose-knit group of Islamic extremists, and that the agency's analysts have turned a collective blind eye to the evidence suggesting that Al Qaeda could well be a front organization for Iraqi intelligence. She believes that Iraq was behind almost every major terrorist attack of the past decade, dating back to the first bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993.
In short: This writer from the AMERICAN ENTEPRISE INSTITUTE thinks that sept. 11th and Al Qaeda are just fronts for the secret work of Iraqi intelligence. In shorter: All terrorism runs out of Baghdad. And for the flashback prone that sounds alot like the 80's concept that all terrorism was directed out of Moscow. That was wrong, as well as this is wrong. It might be politically useful to take our big bad enemy of today and make him responsible for all evil actions in the world, but its not realistic in my opinion.
President George W. Bush Speaks at AEI's Annual Dinner : February 28, 2003
At the American Enterprise Institute, some of the finest minds in our nation are at work on some of the greatest challenges to our nation. You do such good work that my administration has borrowed 20 such minds. I want to thank them for their service, but I also want to remind people that for 60 years, AEI scholars have made vital contributions to our country and to our government, and we are grateful for those contributions.
For a mugshot of Lynne Cheney, The Vice President's wife, you can also find that on the American Enterprise Institute website.
Volume 2: Appendix F - Personal Observations on Reliability of Shuttle by R. P. Feynman
"If a reasonable launch schedule is to be maintained, engineering often cannot be done fast enough to keep up with the expectations of originally conservative certification criteria designed to guarantee a very safe vehicle. In these situations, subtly, and often with apparently logical arguments, the criteria are altered so that flights may still be certified in time. They therefore fly in a relatively unsafe condition, with a chance of failure of the order of a percent (it is difficult to be more accurate).
What Feynman had observed was that NASA managements poor grasp of statistics led them to overestimate the safety of the Challenger shuttle. Every time a shuttle was launched, without a failure, it only increased the confidence that the shuttle was safe under what would be objectively considered "unsafe" conditions. Of course it only took a small tilt on the wrong direction to go from an "unsafe but successful flight" to "disasterous". I don't doubt a similar conclusion might be drawn this time with Columbia.
Go read some Feynman books: read the James Gleick biography and the "Surely You're Joking..." and "What Do You Care What People Think?" for great stories and nice background on science's rise in the forties and fifties.
Ask Candidate Bush
C-SPAN: Presidential & Vice-Presidential Debates 2000:
"Your question was deployment. It must be in the national interests. It must be in our vital interest whether we every send troops. The mission must be clear. Soldiers must understand why are we going. The force must be strong enough so that the mission can be accomplished. And the exit strategy needs to be well-defined.
Spending money is one thing. But spending money without a strategic plan can oftentimes be wasted.
Words of wisdom from Candidate Bush.
You see, I don't think the surplus is the government's money, I think it's the people's money. I don't think the surplus exists because of the ingenuity and hard work of the federal government. I think it exists because of the ingenuity and hard work of the American people, and you ought to have some of this surplus so you can save and dream and build.
Ah yes, the "S" word. We won't be pummeled over the head with that one this next election. Thank god we don't have to worry about what to do with all that extra money. It was funny money to start with, and it evaporated faster than you could blink. It never got spent on helping people, reforming this or that, but it still got spent in tax cuts. And now, we'll have to listen to that darn "D" word all through the next year. You see though, its a little political ploy that gets played. When the government has money to give away, its the "people's money" to spread about with good cheer. When the government is swimming in debt, you hardly hear anyone running around saying "its the people's debt" and we are responsible to pay it. Bush ran as a straight talking guy that didnt believe in all those beltway games. Well, we've had three years of some of the most impressive talking out the side's of mouths that we've probably ever seen. Lots of games have been played. Lots of promises have been shoved under the dark cover of bad memory.
New Approaches? Wi Fi?
batesline.com : Wi-Fi as a tool for downtown redevelopment:
"Why not in the Blue Dome and Brady and Greenwood districts -- and why not now? This could be a cheap way to get people excited about downtown and send a message that Tulsa is a city committed to technology. And it could be done by businesses alone or in partnership with government."
One of the issues I have with the upcoming Vision 2025 plan is its reliance on what I would consider "follow the leader" style issues; paying for bribes from big corporate blackmailers, and doing what city X did last year. I would rather see an appraoch that looks into the future and asks "what can we do different". We expect that from new businesses who must look ahead and find a new niche that hasn't been exploited yet. With the exception of Microsoft, that is what innovation is all about. Why not take that mentality and apply it to city and state issues? People like to be part of new and exciting revolutions in society. People will flock to cities they see as forward thinking and progressive. People will leave cities that fail to embrace the world and the new wonders that modern society has to offer.
Its not an exhaggeration to state that the internet and network computing has transformed our world in ways that will radically shift how we see everything. Why not use the collective power of the citizens to move in a forward direction? I would love to see the City of Tulsa wheel and deal to get city-wide high speed internet access at dial up prices. Put the right people in a room together and something could come about. Moving hundreds and possibly thousands of Tulsans to high speed connectivity would increase our national profile and provide new business opportunities for those citizens.
BusinessWeek has this to say about Ebay:
This year, at least 30 million people will buy and sell well over $20 billion in merchandise -- more than the gross domestic product of all but 70 of the world's countries. More than 150,000 entrepreneurs will earn a full-time living selling everything from diet pills and Kate Spade handbags to $30,000 BMWs and hulking industrial lathes.
That sounds like a massive expansion in trade to me. Why not carve out a piece of that pie for Tulsa instead of chasing after the small convention center market?
Wi-Fi, of course, its cool, its too expensive for me. But someday, I'll be there. I hope Tulsa will be too.
What? You Mean You're Suprised?
Yahoo! News - Fox Loses Bid to Stop Sale of Franken Book:
"'There are hard cases and there are easy cases. This is an easy case,' said U.S. District Judge Denny Chin. 'This case is wholly without merit both factually and legally.'
Funny, you think they used a TRAIL LAWYER to argue this case? Would you call this a FRIVOLOUS LAWSUIT?
ok kiddies? Let's take an objective look at things. What wing, right or left has just been laughed out of the courtroom TWICE this week for flagrant attempts to distort the very ideas of law, justice and democracy? I mean hmm... it not like Alabama Panel Suspends Ten Commandments Judge? Right?
The Alabama Commandments?
Ok, this can all be settled pretty swift-like. What you ask? The Ten commandments at the court house in Alabama I say. Judge Moore put up a monument of the Ten Commandments and now they (more judges) have said "Hey, take that down!"
The supporters of the monument should just let them take it away. If a lightening bolt, horde of locusts or any other "natural" event should befall the monument movers then we are agreed, maybe God wants it there. Otherwise the cheery group of yahoos should just go about their business... er, I mean their business that has something other to do with turning our country into a theocracy.
Reclaim America Website:
To make matters worse, Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor has chosen to honor the law of a federal judge over the laws of God. On Tuesday, he showed a commitment to enforce a federal law. “My responsibility is to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law, and I will be doing my duty,” Pryor stated. “I expect it to be removed very soon.”
Read that carefully, especially you right wing apologists. That's right. The problem is that "Bill Pryor has chosen to honor the law of a federal judge".
What? Let's try that one again:
To make matters worse, Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor has chosen to honor the law of a federal judge over the laws of God.
The very concept of human self governance is an affront to these people. All human progress is a blight on our relationship with God. Does anybody reading this want to live in a theocracy?
joe satriani - discography - joe satriani
Every so often I grab the self titled Joe Satriani Album from out of the stack of cd's I own and think "Hmm... I remember thinking this was good". Of course as soon as I put it on I remember why I liked it so much. Excellent drum work by Manu Katche, tight rhythm playing all over the place and Joe himself just settles in and grooves. There's no shortage of guitar virtuosity but it sneaks in here and there and you don't realize that you had just heard some incredibly complicated and next-to-impossible to play guitar lick until maybe your third or fourth time through the song.
The production by Glyn Johns is very tasty and doesn't suffer from any of the harsh too-loud-to-listen-to over-use of the limiter that seems to be plagueing modern rock recordings much in the same way reverb tainted every early 80's release it touched.
Best of all you can pick up a copy from an Amazon.com used reseller for about five bucks plus shipping. Nice deal. You owe it to yourself if you like tasty guitar playing and impeccible groove.
I don't belong to any Amazon.com program, its just that I like music. You should too.
Oklahoma at Political State Report
Political State Report: straight from the trenches
Kudos to Mike over at Okiedoke.com who has started writing for the Political State Report for Oklahoma. He's been writing over there for about a month now already, so I'm a little late with the news.
If your not familiar with the Political State Report you should click on over there and catch up on how independent politcal observers are reporting the news from the states. Its a novel idea brought to us by Kos.
Mike is doing a great job with his site, Okiedoke.com and I urge any and all of you to check it out as well. With the primary for the state moved up to right up behind New Hampshire, Oklahoma may well see some politcal action leading up to the Democratic nomination. Already we have seen more candidate visits than in the last ten years combined (I guess).
ChannelOklahoma.com - News - Aides Say Inhofe Safe, At Secure Location:
"Inhofe was four miles away from the U.N. headquarters at the time of the explosion, his spokesman Ryan Thompson said.
He's safe and sound. We can still work to vote him out of office next election. It was a bad day in Iraq and Isreal with many people getting killed over politics. Let this be a reminder that we should always seek to resolve our differences through debate, compromise and rational governance.
Tonight, peace be with Inhofe and the rest of the delegation.
Its the Clue Phone, Its for You.
U.S. July budget deficit nearly doubles
Bush: "Hello, who is it?"
Corbett B. Daly, CBS Marketwatch: "Its me Corbett Daly, from CBS Marketwatch"
Bush: "So? What do I care what you think?"
Corbett B. Daly: "The U.S. federal budget deficit nearly doubled to $54.2 billion in July from $29.2 billion a year ago, the Treasury Department said Tuesday."
Bush: "That's all Clinton's fault, Karl says so."
Corbett B. Daly: "So far in fiscal year 2003, the federal deficit has totaled $324.0 billion, compared with $145.5 billion a year ago. Receipts fell 3.9 percent so far this year to $1.48 trillion, while outlays rose 7.1 percent to $1.80 trillion."
Bush: "Yeah, well, we've had terrorush and the war in Iraq that I started, that's not cheap you know, have you seen gas prices, now imagine a fleet of tanks and hummers."
Corbett B. Daly: "Analysts said the larger deficit is the result of several factors, including a sluggish economy and recently enacted tax cuts."
Bush: "Well, that's their opinion now isn't it?"
Corbett B. Daly: "The White House has forecast a record $455 billion dollar budget deficit for fiscal year 2003, which ends September 30. For fiscal year 2004, which runs from October 1 to September 30 next year, the administration is predicting a $475 billion shortfall."
Corbett B. Daly: "The non-partisan CBO earlier this month projected that the U.S. would record a $401 billion deficit this fiscal year."
Corbett B. Daly: "Hello, Mr. President?"
Yar's Revenge: "Pass the Kleenex
Witness Dennis Prager performing the journalistic equivalent of coating both hands in a half-inch thick layer of Astroglide and engaging in an all-night masturbation marathon!"
oh my. Go read, but stop once you're either grossed out or laughing your ass off.
GeorgeWBush.com :: Call Talk Radio: "The Rush Limbaugh ShowRush Limbaugh1-800-282- 2882"
If I dial Rush while connected to the Bush website, will I get feedback? ;-)
For those with no sense of humor, yes, I understand that its impossible!
Show Your Support, with Form Letters and Branded Belt Buckles!
GeorgeWBush.com :: Write News Editors:
= Add text to letter
Hmm, yeah? Strong!!
The President’s economic growth agenda creates jobs. His economic plan is focused on job creation and helps working families with immediate tax relief. Promoting investment is another critical component in the President’s agenda. Reducing the overall tax burden on small business and eliminating the unfair double tax on dividends spurs investment by individuals and businesses, enabling much needed capital investment and spurring job creation.
Growth, Focused... Unfair!!!
President Bush understands that we must save Social Security for seniors and for generations to come. His approach preserves the current Social Security system for those at or near retirement while providing new options for young people.
Understands... preserves, new options!!!
The President’s plan puts money back into the pockets of working Americans. Accelerating already enacted tax cuts will encourage consumer spending by giving 91 million taxpayers an average $1,126 in tax relief this year, immediately injecting billions into the economy. This issue is just one more example of how our President is providing the courageous leadership America needs."
Money! Average Tax Relief?! Courageous!!!
My favorite item at the online store? The "W The President" Money Clip!
"Whichever look you choose from our selection of high-quality products, you’re sure to find the right way to express your support for one of the most popular presidents in U.S. history."
What more needs to be said, branded president.
Fairerest and Balancederest?
Google Search: fair and balanced
The most hilarious thing I've seen in a long while, the whole freaking web is fair and balanced it seems. Its about time now isnt it? Anyways, I'm way back there on page 23, or the eleventh "O" on
I'm fair and balanced right? :-)
Artificial Population Density
The key to the survival for any business is to have customers. But what if your customers are spread out across a large area and therefore see frequenting your store as cumbersome? Obviously most businesses look for ways to reduce the barriers that people need to overcome to visit their establishments. This fuels the massive overbuilding of certain areas of cities as each business looks for ways to be in a location where people are already shopping. This raises the likelihood that customers will visit your store even if they are not specifically making the trip to do so. This can lead to certain negative effects especially if those customers are visiting that area by car. Congestion can actually serve as a deterrent to potential customers. Additionally, space has to be set aside to accommodate the parked cars.
Connecting important or highly trafficked areas of a city with an easily accessible and reliable means of transportation effectively extends the range of each customer. If this is done in the way that would actually decrease the amount of automobile congestion then it would in effect lower two barriers at once. By only connecting critical areas you bypass the cost and hassle of creating a comprehensive city-wide transportation network. Once a person visits one of the hubs of the network they have quick and easy access to all points along that network including a way back to their original destination and more importantly, their car. In addition to connecting places such as key attraction, airports and major shopping areas you also create a means to access other cities as well by tying the city-wide network into a larger city to city one. The willingness of people to visit locations is dependent on the price, time and ease by which they can do so. People will travel longer distances if the price, difficulty and time are reduced, traversing vast distances if the destination becomes desirable enough.
A rational plan for Tulsa would be to build this network along lines of utility. Locate the areas where people are already frequenting and tie those together. This has already been done for the highways system but with the major flaw of moving people and cars. By moving cars with people you multiply the area that each transporting person occupies, thus creating greater congestion and more parking than necessary. While cars are still the best ways for individuals to get from one specific location to another specific location what we are looking at here is a very conscious movement of masses of people along more prescribed routes.
Take for example, a visitor from Kansas City. If that visitor has the ability to visit Tulsa and each of its major attractions without actually having to know or navigate the city then they will see the actual trip to Tulsa as more desirable. More importantly consider a visitor from one of the numerous smaller metropolitan areas that wishes to visit a specific store in Tulsa. If once they arrive at that store they have an easy way to access other places within the city without the extra hassle of navigating the roads with their own vehicles do you think they will see it as an opportunity to spend more time and money in the city? You bet. If the shopping, dinner and entertainment can be had with little more than a few rides around town on a cheap, fast form of transport then why not?
In my imagination this transport takes the form of a train of some sort. But I don't rule out any better alternative that someone else might be able to dream up, but it must be able to travel outside of the normal traffic flows or else it will be subject to the same speeds and congestion as cars already face. It can utilize many of the same right of ways that have already been established by the highways and it will have the extra advantage of not interfering with existing traffic flows by either traveling above, below or between automobile traffic.
The system, or network would be expandable and would offer the most benefits as it reaches wider and wider audiences in and outside of the city and state. The first critical step would be to tie Tulsa and Oklahoma City together and then to tie each of those locations to other cities to the north and south, with the most obvious choices being Kansas City to the north and Dallas/Fort Worth to the south. Promoters planning an event could then extend the reach of their potential audience to those cities and as long as access to the venue would require little more than a few trips on a fast and air conditioned train then you can count on people being willing to attend that event from other cities. Its no fun driving five hours either north or south to attend an event only to have to drive that distance back after the event has ended. It would be much more pleasurable if you knew that the return trip home might mean taking a nap or reading a book, watching a movie or visiting with friends.
With the heightened fears of flying and the questionable long term viability of some airlines it might be time to look for better alternatives for at least the short distance traveler.
This from the Kansan Online, August 18, 2003.
The proposed route to connect Oklahoma City with Kansas City would pass through Tulsa and eastern Kansas, where most of the members of the rail task force live, Herbert said.
My personal opinion is that the sooner that we get connected to a larger netwrok of people the better off we will be, and I would say this is a higher priority than building new projects. Improving the ways and means that people can move from place to place will always drive economic activity.
PDF of Amtrak service to the nation
A quick look over the rail service that Amtrak offers and you will notice a fairly obvious gap between Oklahoma City and Tulsa and a green line between Tulsa and Kansas City. That green line means that there is a Greyhound available from KC to Tulsa. How lame is that?
That is what I have decided is one of the solution to the woes from which Tulsa suffers.
Schools offer a chance to attract and retain and important group of people, the 18-25 age group. This is an important age because they represent a very attractive demographic for business. They traditionally have free time and disposable income. When kids go off to college they invariably take some of mom and dad's money with them. That money gets spent in the community where the school is located. An extra added benefit would include the addition of young people to the cultural scene in Tulsa. They would add much needed time and energy that would fuel various cultural scenes.
We already have the University of Tulsa that is a great Engineering school. We have Oral Roberts that attracts students that want to learn in a Christian environment, We have Spartan that has been attracting flight students (under the radar?) to town for years. So what do we need?
An Arts and Music school.
Think about the possibilities. We would no longer have to watch our young who want to pursue the life of art and music leave the state in order to pursue their ambitions. It would have the added benefit of contributing to the cultural capital of the city as arists and musicians got involved in the local cultural elements. We'd have better art stores, better bands, better music stores that the citizens of Tulsa would also benefit from but would be primarily driven be the need to serve the student population.
Daily Kos: Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation:
"'He knew he wanted to see the world and go to college,' said Dan Hebert, Justin's uncle. 'The way the economy is, the service is just about the only chance these kids have.' "
Justin was killed in Iraq.
... original article here.
Just take a second to think about the life choices that Justin had to make and then think about the life choices that Bush had to make. Who do you think understood the true nature of sacrifice?
Collect Call from India, Will You Accept the Charges?
Bush’s party to raise funds via Noida, Gurgaon
In what can only be a test of voter loyalty in the face of an economy suffering from massive job loss the RNC has hired a firm in India to do their fundraising calls.
HCL eServe has put in place a team of 75 people to work on the project out of its call centres in Noida and Gurgaon. According to industry sources, the number of seats could be ramped up depending on the success of the campaign. These operators are required to call up people in the US seeking their support for President George W Bush and a donation for the Republican cause.
How do you defend this? When Bush is stumping on the campaign trail and he starts talking about "creating" x number of jobs, in the back of your mind you have to be wondering, "are those U.S. jobs, or Indian jobs?"
But hey, what are you doing reading this, isnt there some guy on Fox screaming about "liberals"?
In Our Efforts to be More Fair and Balanced
NEW YORK: In what may be the most bizarre story to come out of the great power outages that swept the East Coast and New York City. Internal documents leaked from power companies involved in the crisis show that the outages where carefully coordinated by F&B Corp. and the Republican party. The documents, which included several grainy black and white 8x10 photos of power companies executives with their various mistresses, contained several memos from high up in the Whitehouse urging the power executives to launch "Project Coffee Grounds".
Four Degrees of Eschaton
Thanks to Cam over at (scratches head...) umm his site, for a few links to okie bloggers.
Deepermotive:: Todd Lemoine's personal site where he has just revealed his purchase of the wonderful Canon A70 digital camera. My choice as well.
Numskullery:: Chris Maddera, who his website says is reading The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay: A Novel by Michael Chabon, which I intend to read someday as well, provided I can remember to look for it the next time I'm in a bookstore.
Elephant Soap:: Cindy's site where you'll find pictures of Chihuahuas and Babies. Which is more intimidating. You decide.
From what I can tell, all OKC okies. Which leads me to the conclusion that there just isn't that many Tulsa Bloggers. Maybe the new Vision 2025 should have a couple of million dollars set aside to fund Tulsa Bloggers as some sort of Public Relations effort.
Our lone Tulsa entry is A Girl Called Harmony who is spending some time in DC this week it seems.
You'll all get added to the blogroll once I look up the password ;-)
UPDATE: I found a couple of other blogs o' Tulsa; there's batesline.com, who has lots to say about the upcoming 2025 vote, which he calls Myopia 2025. Michael, as the main voice of opposition has a genuine take on why we shouldn't vote Yes. It may seem strange but I agree with most of what he says. Tulsa needs more than anything to establish its own identity, which chasing after OKC will not accomplish. Right now we look like the main landing point for an invasion of church-shaped spacecraft.
Then there's Feeling is Mutual who may just be away for a bit. Last post was July 22nd. So we'll see what happens there.
TULSA AMP EXPERIENCE:: is alive and kicking.
Molly's Musings, Molly's Music :: (from the website) "Molly is a singer and songwriter who lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She sings original music. Her songs are stories of love, loss, joy, pain, hope, friendship, laughter, courage, and life." And from her we learn that the Eurobean Coffeshop in Bixby has closed. Which bites, I went by there last month for the first time. It was a pretty cool place. There was some guy playing guitar and a couple of people drinking coffee. Overall, I was glad it was there. Apparently that status has changed.
thats it for now, I'm finding that long stretches of time spent staring over the top of the computer monitor is unproductive, to say the least.
"He was once a little fat baby."
I Had A Friend Like This Once
"In November 1992, Bush and Betts were in Santa Fe to host a dinner party, but they had just enough time for one set of doubles. The former Yale classmates were on opposite sides of the net. 'There was only one problem—my side won the first set,' recalls Betts. 'O.K., then we're going two out of three,' Bush decreed. Bush's side takes the next set. But Betts's side is winning the third set when it starts to snow. Hard, fat flakes. The catering truck pulls up. But Bush won't let anybody quit. 'He's pissed. George runs his mouth constantly,' says Betts indulgently. 'He's making fun of your last shot, mocking you, needling you, goading you—he never shuts up!' They continued to play tennis through a driving snowstorm. "
The Official Steve Vai Website - http://www.vai.com
Joe... Steve... and Yngwie? Good lawd.. I haven't listened to Yngwie in years but it would be a laugh-riot to see him up on stage. Why couldn't they get Petrucci on board again?
Of course Joe and Steve are a sight to behold in themselves. Right now I got Vai's "Boston Rain Melody" playing and its a beautiful thing indeed.
... and for those who have no clue what I'm talking about... listen to this
Competitive Enterprise Institute
Remember these guys? Inhofe's best buddies?
Well if you don't you can easily figure out who they are.
Just take a bunch of right wing money from the Bradley and Scaife Foundations, add a little more money from various Fossil Fuel industries and other corporate giants, and give that money to a bunch of hacks that do nothing but run around preaching that anything that might question the holy sanctity of our energy dependence on various stuff dug/drilled out of the ground is spawned from evil stupidity and you have a pretty clear picture of the CEI.
They're back in the news with a new lawsuit against the Whitehouse. The kicker is that officials in the Whitehouse itself may have helped coordinate the lawsuit!
Rowe and Blumenthal said they want to know whether White House officials working at the Council on Environmental Quality solicited a lawsuit filed by a conservative Washington think tank to discredit a 2000 report that documents the dangers of global warming.
So here we have the idealogues at the Whitehouse actively working to thwart the efforts of the people they hired to provide them with the information they need to do their jobs. Follow that? Its a pattern that is becoming all too familar in this new era of Bush. If you don't like what people are saying then put the political or legal pressure on them. Meanwhile you fast track anything that greases the political wheels. The Iraq system of information control is pervasive in the Bush Whitehouse. Its not a new approach. I'm sure inteh old days before political spin and public relations they might have called this sort of thing corruption. Now, I'm not sure what we call it. But it still smells like a rat.
In the world of science, if a hypothesis is tested and the results don't prove your hypothesis to be predictive you have to throw it out and start all over with a new one. Researchers found fudging their data to make their observations fit their hypothesis don't last very long in the world of scientific research. Why? Because there's no practical application for theories that don't work.
Fair to Partly Balanced, of course.
Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced! Fair and Balanced!
Is Now, Now?
One looks back at the monumental events and time periods of history and wonders, "Did people then realize that they were living through such significant times?"
... and are we, now living through another time period that will be referred to by historians and armchair storytellers of the future? I alternate in my belief that we are.
Surely, September 11th will live on in the collective consciousness as an event of importance. But will this invasion of Iraq and the self destructive Presidency of George W. Bush and his cronies live on in the annals of American history? We might eventually find that this time period may be significant only for the events that follow well into the future. People may indeed look upon our actions as beyond comprehension as we toiled on in ignorance of what they feel was obviously the outcome. "Hindsight is always 20/20" they say. But isn't trying to see into the future what all social and political commentators strive to achieve? Some of us always fail to see any negativity that might arise as a result of our actions while others may always see certain doom just up the road. Who to believe?
Some say that the skeptics are too negative, that they never see the good in American. They only see the certain corruption and rot that will inevitably lead to our utter failure. While some extend the eternal good blessings of righteousness and moral certitude well into the future and indefinately into the past.
We have always been good and we will always be good.
We have always been evil and we will always be evil.
Certain goodness gives us the faith to move forward with blissful confidence while knowing evil means we step hesitantly for fear of our own failings. An anchored boat creates no wake, but never arrives at its destination either. The only possible compromise comes from knowing our own potential for evil and preparing ourselves for the consequences of our actions, and plotting our course with deliberation and debate. When we fail to do so we risk doing harm. To which some say "never happened" while others will say "had to happen".
I feel like we are in fact living through a significant moment in history and few if any of us are sure of what will eventually unfold. The only thing I know for certain is that as long as we proceed with blind faith in our own righteousness we will surely run aground.
Pearls of Wisdom (in d minor)
Reflections in d minor:
"I see this sort of thing happen so often and it's not only about religion, which I realize is very important to some people. A young woman finally finds a guy who is exactly the kind of guy she's been hoping for except for one or two details. There's always something that must be changed. Look sweetie, you can't order up a man like you would an ice cream sundae with all the toppings you like and none that you don't. You have to take them as they come. Even if you do manage to change him there's only a small chance that the change will last. More likely he will end up resenting you for trying to force him into the mold you created. "
peach on... preach on.....
"08/08/2003: 'Inhofe and Me'
How often is your blog cited in the US Senate?? (And inaccurately at that.)"
Science Writer David Appell finds himself trotted out by Inhofe to illustrate how alarmist the environmentalist are. Does Inhofe quote him out of context? Yup, Does Inhofe give unwarranted credence to marginalized studies that seem to contridict the growing concensus on mankind induced global warming? Yup. Does Inhofe consume a steady diet of oil and gas industry funded propaganda produced for the sole purpose of protecting private profit? Umm.... Yup again. Do you think he actually reads or understands any of the studies that he comments about? Not likely. His game is to run out the clock on any real environmental regulations while his sponsors pad their wallets some more.
Rcently Inhofe was reported to have issued an ultimatum to Rove. Pass clear skies or you'll get nothing at all. Now there's a big leap. The passage of a watered down environmental red herring or we get nothing at all.
Geez, there's a win-win for Inhofe and his oily backers.
kudos to Kimmi B for the heads up.
[Hpn] FW: [BRC-NEWS] An Anarchist View of Bush, Jr.:
"Even by the logic that allows American power to credibly
... from a longer, more thorough analysis of Bush's presidency from an anarchist's perspective. I pulled out this little bit to once again illustrate that the visceral revulsion felt by those opposed to the Bush presidency stems from more than bitter partisanship, bur rather from the knowledge that Bush represents a giant step (backwards) towards a more obvious application of the Golden Rule: Those who have the gold make the rules.
Paul Krugman: Everything Is Political:
"Still, why does politicized analysis matter? One answer is that it undermines democracy: how can Congress or the public make informed votes if both are fed distorted information?
Ok, you see the pattern yet? Its not merely a case of partisan politics, though that may have some influence. What really pisses people off about Bush is his disregard for facts, reason, debate and honest accounting. If it doesn't mesh with the preconceived ideology then it gets thrown back into the closet to rot, and anything that helps advance the agenda gets trumpeted as truth. It's a pattern we would recognize from such esteemed enterprises as Enron.
Its the same logic that led the builders of the Titanic to provide too few lifeboats in their (wrongheaded) belief that their ship was unsinkable. There was probably someone that pointed out this fact but was shushed for being too pessimistic.
That ship sunk.
Just Passing Along Some Info
ACT News: "8/1/2003
Mars Watch 2003 September 5 - 6
On August 27th Mars will reach its closest approach to earth in 59,619 years. Several weeks on either side of this date, Mars will be a beacon in the sky outshining everything except the Moon. Mars is the only planet on which you can actually see surface details.
MoveOn.org: Democracy in Action - Al Gore's Speech on August 7th, 2003:
"Americans have always believed that we the people have a right to know the truth and that the truth will set us free. The very idea of self-government depends upon honest and open debate as the preferred method for pursuing the truth -- and a shared respect for the Rule of Reason as the best way to establish the truth. "
This is the message that the Democrats must maintain. Reason and open debate are the keystones of a sustainable democracy. Without these components we lose our soul and what we stand for, a hallmark execution of humanist government is lost. The alternative is the past, where exalted people or interests hold the reigns of power with little regard for the wishes of the general masses. The old ideas of Higher Power should yield to the greater truth of Lower Power.
Those who cannot fathom the depth of loathing that many have for the current administration must not see that everything that Bush and his cronies stand for is counter to what our democracy is and can be. It is by no mistake that Bush's core constituency is one that claims no responsibility for their own fate here on earth or the hereafter. But if you want to abdicate your role in determining your own fate, fine with me, but don't hand over the reigns of our government to your self-appointed diety here on earth. It is the equivalent of letting go of the wheel in rush hour traffic and trusting a higher power to guide you to your destination. We know what happens in that situation and we should not be delusional about what would happen if we did the same with our government.
We know what works: Reason, Debate, Facts, Science and giving responsibility to the people whose fate will rest on it.
Do you want a President or a King?
I ask all of you to try a little experiment: make yourself a minority at something, even if you're just pretending. Try going without a car, or tell people that you're a Muslim and you need time to pray every day, try eating like a Vegan for a week. Grow your hair out, stop shaving and dress down when you go shopping. Just something to pull yourself out of the world that meets your needs and accepts your beliefs and caters to your appetites.
For some people following the path of least resistance is not an option.
"The two of us mixing
Going Once, Going Twice...?
from: comments at Daily Kos about the California recall election.
They should just auction the Governorship on eBay and use the proceeds to pay down the debt.
AlterNet: Astronomical Incomes:
"The plaque showing the federal poverty level for a family of four in 2002 – about $18,000 – would be located about 25 miles west of Salina, at the exit for Ellsworth, Kansas. Eighteen miles beyond, in the town of Wilson, would be the spot for the 'zero income' plaque (assuming the good people of Wilson would accept that dubious distinction).
Starting from point zero, Wilson Kansas, and getting a mile per $1,000 of yearly income, most of us wouldn't make it out of Kansas. Many corporate CEO's can make it halfway around the world. However "The individuals at the pinnacle of the income pyramid, those with the top 400 incomes (IRS year-2000 figures), averaged $174 million, which, at $1000 per mile, is almost three-fourths of the distance to the moon."
"Regardless of the hardware possessed by Heather's, um, parental units, marriage is fundamentally about children, about providing them a structure within which they can grow and develop; the partners themselves, like it or not, are secondary players. This is not to say that childless couples don't deserve to have their unions sanctified by church or state or whatever, but the fact remains: marriage is fundamentally about children. "
Playing devil's advocate I'm going to assume that marriage is fundamentally about children. From there it follows that we would:
1) Not allow people to marry unless they are planning to have children, maybe even make the marriage legal only once a child has been born. After a year of probation if a child has not been produced then the couple will have to go back before the state and declare their intentions to bear children or else have their marraige dissolved.
1b) People that have children are forced to marry even if the pregnancy was a mistake. (Just like the old days!)
2) Not allow married couples with children to divorce or separate unless the child has reached eighteen years of age and has declared his/her independence.
2b) if rule #2 is not applied then once couples have divorced, their children are taken away from them and given to a married couple. Same rules apply in the case of the untimely death of a spouse. Remember that if marraige is about children then single mothers/fathers are no good.
3) Not allow marraige for people with fertility problems unless they agree to adopt a child. After adoption rule #2 applies.
4) Allow gay couples to marry if they adopt a child. Again rule #2 would apply.
-enough of that! Admittedly we have some sort of system like this in place already when you consider child support.
The fundamental issue is that you receive special privileges as a married couple.
Here are just some of the Rights you lose as Same-Sex Partners without the Civil Union:
While not being gay myself, I have had a long term commited relationship where some of these special privileges would have been nice, especially the access to the other partner's benefits. I resent the fact that in order to gain access to these perks I have to go and get married, which we both decided we didnt want to do. I know many people that have been in long term commited relationships that never proceeded to marraige, and I have known people that have been married multiple times for short periods of time. But somehow making it official (italics denote sarcasm) means its binding? Hardly. The decline in the relative value of marriage may be due to the fact that there is incentive for people to get married, the aforementioned benefits. When you gain special access because of your marital status then that may be enough to overcome the threshold of marriage. Whereas it might be harder to come to that decision were it not for the carrot dangled before you. It may be respect for the gravity of marriage that many people do not enter into it hastily, despite having to pay a penalty for doing do. Consider that.
Granting some form of legal standing to gay relationships is a no brainer in my mind. It doesn't have to be a religious marriage but I don't think that's what they're asking for. They simply want access to the same rights and privileges that heterosexuals get by virtue of being married. Its ironic that straight people can get married and divorced, married and divorced, over and over again but we deny commited life long partnerships of the same sex the respect it deserves.
Its a done deal, its only a matter of time. The people fighting this same sex civil union are cavemen in my eyes. Go bang on your cave walls the world will go on without you.
Academy of Humanism - Challenges:
"The Enlightenment was an intellectual movement which began in seventeenth-century Europa and espoused an optimistic project: an end to human ignorance and the slavish adherence to ancient texts and dogma; the application of scientific principles to solving the world's problems; the elimination of inequality between the sexes; and the advocacy of political rights for all citizens. Modern western society, with its democratic institutions and its reliance on science as the basis of technology and industry, is largely an outgrowth of Enlightenment ideals. "
Apparently the reason why it took so long to figure out the heliocentric model of the solar system is that at the time people refused to believe that Earth was not at the the center of the universe. At first the idea of putting the sun at the center was considered a mathematical device, with the understanding that the Earth was still really at the center.
Today We Mourn the Loss of a Useful Myth...
'Conservative' Bush Spends More than 'Liberal' Presidents Clinton, Carter:
"Supporters and critics of the administration are tripping over themselves to blame the deficit on tax cuts, the war, and a slow economy. But the fact is we have mounting deficits because George W. Bush is the most gratuitous big spender to occupy the White House since Jimmy Carter. One could say that he has become the 'Mother of All Big Spenders.'"
Are we ever suprised when the rhetoric coming out the political mouthpieces is more true about the people spreading the meme than about the people it is supposed to smear?
After years of hearing the unrelenting mantra of "tax and spend liberals" we hear nary a peep when we are now engaged on a reckless course of "spend and borrow".
In general I don't agree with the Cato Institute on anything, but I bring this up because it should clearly illustrate that there is a great rift between the libertarian and the "power-mongering" components within the GOP. Its not uncommon to hear a Bush supporter arguing along strict libertarian lines (which I have sympathy for) in clear contradiction of the actual policies that Bush promotes. Bush policies, such as the USA PATRIOT act, his willingness to intervene in people's personal sex lives, and the clear promotion of the christian religion through his "faith-based" scam should drive a wedge between the GOP and the libertarians.
But will it?
ChannelOklahoma.com - News - Inhofe: World Might Be Better Off With Global Warming:
"'It is necessary for life,' Inhofe said. 'Numerous studies have shown that global warming can actually be beneficial to mankind.'"
That's our boy. Let them eat Chat!
Today I had the misfortune of being at a house that had cable. I witnessed the spectacle of right wingers bashing liberals and Clinton for several hours off and on during commercial breaks. Its like I would watch twenty minutes of a movie, switch over and some former Republican politican or Heritage guy would be going on about how Liberals are stupid commies that want to turn "our great nation"(c) into a socialist hell.
I don't begrudge these guys their opinions, but hey, this is not news. This is editorializing, and its seems to be all that the so called "news" channels are doing these days. Its like their following the lead of the National Enquirer, who have at least the decency to make their made up stories so outlandish as to be obvious to all but the most gullible among us.
MSNBC is the worst. They are not a news network but a mouthpiece for whomever puts up the money.
(c) "our great nation", "america", "our troops" and the waving flag symbol are trademarks and anti-intellectual property of the Right Wing Propaganda Network and are not to be used without the prior written consent
What to say?
I'm in a surly mood today.
What do you say to a person that immediately defines who you are and what you think into a nice little package? Liberal! Conservative! Democrat! Republican!
I can't tell you how many times in debates I have run up against people that start declaring that they know exactly who I am and what I think, usually based on some sort of outrageous caricature. I'm a Green, hell bent on destroying the Democratic party, I'm a Democrat hell bent on turning the US into a communist state. I'm a Liberal that wants to outlaw people to make more room for trees and furry animals. Most recently I am a Political Liberal that wants everybody to drive itsy bitsy cars, ride the metro and eat vegan. I always think the "Evil Corporations" are out to get us, and I think that people are too dumb to think for themselves. It seems a heavy piece of irony that the very same person that accuses me of being a mindless sheep then goes on to tell me what I think.
Besides recognizing the obvious memes that have been floating around for ages I'm not sure what to make of this. I know one thing for sure, it puts me off of party politics, when people will not allow themselves to criticize a member of their own party (tribe) even when situations warrant it.
Hey, You There with the Camera?
The Independent Weekly: Counter intelligence:
"In Atlanta, a retired attorney of impeccable reputation was arrested for trying to take photos of some storage tanks. An amateur art photographer, he admired the patterns of light and shadow."
As an amateur photographer myself I know that in the back of my mind every time I go around taking pictures is the constant worry that I will get harrassed. After the September 11th terrorist attacks the gumption of the police has risen. Before there was a slight chance that I would get harrassed for taking pictures in strange places (after all thats what makes the pictures interesting right?). Now I can almost bank on it.
A few years ago a friend and I were taking pictures out behind a strip mall. There was a demolished lot where a bank had been torn down but the signs still remained. Thinking this a interesting piece of irony we whipped out our cameras and began to walk around the outer edges of the site taking a few shots of the small signs still standing amidst the dirt and rubble. Of particular curiosity was the sign with an arrow stating "drive thru" pointing out into the ruined lot.
A few minutes go by and a police car pulled up and stopped. He informed us that someone in the neighborhood had seen some suspicious activity and called the cops. He asked to see our ID's which we showed to him and he asked us what we were doing. We informed him that we were just taking a few pictures of the demolished bank and the signs that were still standing. I tried to point out the curiosity of the remaining signs. He only seemed confused by our actions. He asked us a few more times what we thought was so interesting about the demolished bank. We told him again but in the end he just decided that we didnt look dangerous, only weird. And pre-sept 11 being weird was not an arrestable offense.
No sooner than he police moved away than we heard a voice from one of the adjacent yards.
"Hey, the fuzz giving you some trouble?!"
I remember distinctly that the man used the word "fuzz" as it conjured up images of Ponch and John from CHiPs. He stood there in his backyard with his garden hose spewing water and told us that he would vouch for us being safe, that the "fuzz" just couldnt stand people acting in ways they didn't think was normal and they should just leave people alone. I made the joke that we confused him by being young people that were actually doing something constructive. That when we turned out to be bright young articulate people that was engaging in some creative pursuits he didnt know how to respond. My favorite joke for the next week was an impression of the confused cop:
"Ok... let me get this straight... No drugs? No weapons? No paint cans? ok...wait a second! let's start over... " (confused look)
My post Sept 11th story takes us to Texas, a little town on the edge of Fort Worth, small place, just people living and working, a Braums, a couple of Burger Joints and few good thrift stores. In all not a bad place to hang out.
While a friend was visiting with some relatives I decided to get out my camera and walk around a bit. I had previously scoped out a few nice places that I wanted to get a closer look at. I slung my camera over my shoulder in full view and I walked over to a nearby church that had a nice patterned metal grill disguising some outside stairs. I took a few shots of the front of the church, the metal grill and a few details. I never take pictures of people's houses or property, mostly just relatively public places like the backsides of businesses and other architecture. I say this because as I was walking back through the neighborhood to the house a small truck comes up besides me and stops. Its a police vehicle and the officer wants a word with me. I show him my ID and explain why I'm visiting from Dallas. He lets me know that someone had reported seeing a suspicious person taking pictures of people's houses. I had seen the person peeking out of the curtains earlier. The officer is nice, lets me know that he's just doing his job, watching out for the people here, and apologizes for stopping me. He explains that some people can get paranoid when they see people out wandering around acting strange. He was very nice and I was relieved that I wasn't subjected the the petty power tripping that is sometimes possible when your stopped from questioning.
Thankfully I've not been arrested, but I'm more careful now about where I go to take pictures. Which is a shame because one of the great things about being in America is the vibrant curiosity that can only be found in a society where people are not intimidated into inaction. I can only hope that as time passes we will one again return to where we used to be. But that normalcy will be far into the future as long as politicians keep using the terrorism scare to win votes. Sometimes I think the terrorists got what they wanted and they are being helped along by our own elected officials.
Hold on... there's someone at the door.
Dissolve into Evergreens