Friday, December 31
--From Bill Moyers' acceptance speech for the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School's Global Environment Citizen Award. (PDF version here. Thanks Maria for pointing this one out...)
Thursday, December 30
Monday, December 13
Tuesday, December 7
Friday, November 26
Tuesday, November 23
Sunday, November 21
Tuesday, November 16
Because the war on smoking anywhere at all is all about science, right?
Monday, November 15
Thursday, November 11
Tuesday, November 9
I've been rather deeply disdraught over Bush's re-election. Least of concern is where we are going, more of my concern is what Americans are made of--how could 51% of Americans have voted for Bush despite the present administration's domestic policies and patronizations (e.g., The Patriot's Act; the abusive use of State Secrecy from case law); and despite the danger that our government's horrifying foreign policy has put this entire country in. The world is a much more dangerous place today after Afghanistan and Iraq, after the Iraq prison mess, after the nonstop kidnappings and killings of Americans and foreigners in Iraq. Bush stuck our hands in a snake hole and yet he's being voted for his willingness to fight terrorism...
Americans are by and large lowly educated, who in an age of unrest and chaos, more or less naturally reached for what is easier to reach for--blind "faith" and phobia-filled "values" over educated and informed decisions.
It's utterly depressing. I feel such disdain over speech of how now we got to stand behind our president, because after all, we have only one at a time. I DO NOT stand behind ANYBODY if that person represents bigotry, intolerance, ignorance, incuriosity, jocky/imbecile zeal, pigheadedness, and dangerously unyielding arrogance.
Yet 51% of us believed that he stood for "values" that we cannot live without. I think 51% of us have become the reactionary majority that is deathly fearful of the multi-faceted, gray (v. black/white), and ever nebulous and complex entity called "truth." We can't handle the truth, b/c learning the truth requires patience, effort (lots of it), open-minded intelligence, tolerance, and willingness to self-critqiue.
So while this majority said that it stood for "moral values," it has failed its moral duty. It elected a president who's by far the most politically irresponsible in recent history. It gets more and more depressing as the days go on... it's going to be a long four years, very long indeed.
Saturday, November 6
And so it begins, folks, and so it begins. Next thing you know interracial marriages will be taboo, too.
Thursday, November 4
Wednesday, November 3
Tuesday, November 2
Tuesday, October 26
Monday, October 18
Monday, October 11
Thursday, October 7
Thursday, September 30
Monday, September 27
Friday, September 24
Thursday, September 23
Monday, September 20
Wednesday, September 15
Wednesday, September 8
Gary's gallery has been updated with all new work.
Monday, August 30
From Orwell, 1984, Chapter 1: The Ministry of Truth ... was startlingly different from any other object in sight. It was an enormous pyramidal structure of glittering white concrete, soaring up, terrace after terrace, 300 metres into the air. From where Winston stood it was just possible to read, picked out on its white face in elegant lettering, the three slogans of the Party:
WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH
Wednesday, August 25
Tuesday, August 24
Thursday, August 19
Monday, August 16
Friday, August 13
Monday, August 9
Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.
(I would question the sanity of a religion that holds up the ant as an example of how to live. The ant system is an exploitative aristocracy based on the unthinking toil of millions of workers and the complete inactivity of a single queen and a handful of drones.)
Are "good paying" jobs growing faster than "poor paying" jobs?
Saturday, July 31
Thursday, July 29
Children may be “vaccinated” against the effects of cocaine and other drugs in a plan recently revealed by the UK government, reports the well-regarded British newspaper, The Independent. The article explains that "Doctors would immunize children at risk of becoming smokers or drug users with an injection" and that the program would operate in a way similar to the "current nationwide measles, mumps and rubella vaccination programme." Further the authors reveal that "such vaccinations are being developed by pharmaceutical companies and are due to hit the market within two years."
OK folks, this is just the worst thing I have ever heard done "in the name of the children."
Wednesday, July 28
Friday, July 23
Thursday, July 22
The Observer on Che and the upcoming film The Motorcycle Diaries.
Wednesday, July 21
Really, shouldn't all such attempts to control people's behavior that isn't harming anyone else be seen as what they are - authoritarianism, even if in the guise "doing what's good for us?"
And don't leave the US out of the loop - we can ban (non-government approved and possibly harmful) happiness here, too! (1 example)
Meanwhile, the Feds are keeping their heads in the sand (or elsewhere), and obstructing efforts at legitimate scientific research into the medical uses of herb. Fear, prejudice and politics apparently play bigger roles than science does in federal health policies.
Thursday, July 15
Tuesday, July 13
Now, I'm going to take the glass-half-full approach and ASSUME that the new recommendations calling for MORE DRUG INTAKE come from pure, unbiased research and have NOTHING TO DO with any sort of DRUG INDUSTRY influence.
I just LOVE when the medical community makes recommendations that call for more pills, rather than a healthier, more disciplined lifestyle. Oh, and I couldn't help but notice the ad for Crestor embedded within this NYT article. How convenient...just in case I need to up my prescription.
Monday, July 12
The Bush administration wants to increase the price of drugs overseas because, their argument goes, the burden of research and development is currently borne disproportionately by the United States.
So, let me understand this: Instead of finding a way to make prescription drugs less expensive here, we want to make them more expensive for the rest of the world? Now THAT is some dandy logic...
Friday, July 9
Tuesday, July 6
Wednesday, June 30
Monday, June 28
Thursday, June 24
Wednesday, June 23
Tuesday, June 22
Sunday, June 20
Friday, June 18
Wednesday, June 16
Like them or hate them, this strategy seems like a smart way to get around the idiotic and opressive laws designed to limit the inlfuence of money in elections but do so by restricting the political speech of Americans and their organizations.
Friday, June 11
Todd Zywicki, director of the Federal Trade Commission's Office of Policy Planning, noted a problem with drawing a link between fat kids and fat ad budgets: If anything, children are less exposed to food commercials than they were when they were thinner. The frequency of food ads has not increased, while kids are spending less time watching broadcast television and more time playing video games, using computers, or watching cable TV, DVDs, or videotapes—media with fewer or no food ads."
Thursday, June 10
Tuesday, June 8
Monday, June 7
Friday, June 4
"I was always someone who wanted to be different -- who wanted to work harder, who wanted to achieve more, who wanted to succeed," she said. Instead, "I was basically repeating my family history of teenaged pregnancy. I felt like a failure because everyone had such high expectations for me and thought that I would be the one who would break the cycle."
She gave up on her college plans. She had moved out of her mother's apartment and was ricocheting among temporary homes with the baby when the movie was released.
But then, a kind soul got involved and changed things for the better...
Friday, May 28
The war in Iraq, said Mr. Gore, in an interview on Wednesday, "is the worst strategic fiasco in the history of the United States. It is an unfolding catastrophe without any comparison."
... the former vice president said: "What makes the United States special in the history of nations is our commitment to the rule of law and our carefully constructed system of checks and balances. Our natural distrust of concentrated power and our devotion to openness and democracy are what have led us as a people to consistently choose good over evil in our collective aspirations, more than the people of any other nation."
It may be that the president never understood what made the U.S. great. In that case, he'd be among those who could benefit most from a reading of Mr. Gore's speech. If he followed that up with a look at the Bill of Rights (it would only take a few minutes), he'd have a better understanding of what this country, at its best, is about. (NYT login: opensewer; password: iswatching)
Monday, May 24
Speaking of America's volunteer army ... 'They serve so that we don't have to. They offer to give up their lives so that we can be free. It is, remarkably, their gift to us. And all they ask for in return is that we never send them into harm's way unless it is absolutely necessary. Will they ever trust us again?'
Friday, May 21
"The teaching of writing as a machine procedure gains momentum by the day. In Indiana this year, the junior-year English essay will be graded by computer, and similar experiments have been tried in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Oregon."
Essays graded by computer if you didn't catch that.
Tuesday, May 18
Friday, May 14
Thursday, May 13
I live in a city with no population growth, no job growth; a city attempting to find its future. "Turning the economy around" in a city like this is a monumental effort. The last thing people here want to think about is all-encompassing social and economic change. They just want to know their job will be around next year.
With the income gap in this county widening, and many Americans going deeper into debt, one must ask the question: Is there a way to operate an economy that does not require growth? ...that does not require constant increases in consumer spending? ...that does not require those of lower income levels to go into debt so they may exist at the same standard of living as their neighbors?
Wednesday, May 12
Tuesday, May 11
Friday, May 7
What a shame, because wouldn't Nuremberg-style trials in post-Soviet Russia have powerfully discredited the socialist fairy tale that continues to have such a powerful hold on so much of the world's imagination--despite the horrifying historical record? Wouldn't it have done much damage to the efforts of the gulag deniers that you describe in your book? What do you make of all of this?"
Following up on my post from Wednesday, an interview with the authors.
1) "The message from the government is clearer than ever: Submit or we'll nail you, innocent or otherwise, for even the most picayune dodging and weaving... when the government falls in love with a crime for which it can pretty much arrest, prosecute, and incarcerate anyone at any time, we are none of us safer for it," writes David Feige, explaining how anyone, anywhere, suspected of any crime, is liable to be nailed and jailed for obstruction.
2) Henry Blodget explains how accountants get more years in jail than murderers.
Wednesday, May 5
Related anecdote: Saw an ad for a talk about, and rally against, Ashcroft and the growing police state. The talk was at a gathering of socialist intellectuals. Life imitates parody sometimes, too.
Tuesday, May 4
Monday, May 3
Thursday, April 29
In 2002, I began working for a large, publicly-traded company. I did this because I believed (and still do) that it gives me the opportunity to do the right thing, and at a big scale. My situation has made me think about the following type of question quite a lot:
Does big always mean bad? The Starbucks Paradox.
Wednesday, April 28
The use of clay in molding pitchers comes from the hollow of its absence;
Doors, windows in a house are used for their emptiness.
Thus, we are helped by what is not;
We use what is.
Monday, April 26
Thursday, April 22
Wednesday, April 21
Tuesday, April 20
Friday, April 16
Sunday, April 11
...the global surface temperature increased 0.6° Celsius (1.8° Fahrenheit) in the last century. Oceans have become warmer, too, expanding while storing heat. This has caused sea levels to rise 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 centimeters) in the last hundred years.
Saturday, April 3
Friday, April 2
Is this not insane? Holding band members or promoters responsible for the action of one of their 20,000 fans at a concert?
If you think it is as crazy I do, do something.
Thursday, April 1
Friday, March 26
Thursday, March 25
1) The scientific explanations that "disprove" paranormal phenomena are based on the scientific method and its insistance on replicating events and isolating variables, while the nature of paranormal phenomena is grounded in circumstance, sycnchronicity, and the unique experiential moment. The "objective science" of debunking can't challenge the subjective and experiential nature of the phenomena; it lacks the emotional truth to shake someone's belief.
2) Science itself is, in fact, very weird. Very weird, very legitmate science includes:
nonlocality - things don't actually have to be near each other to interact (flash demo here);
string theory (a multi-demensional explanation for the nature matter);
and the whole commonly accepted idea that all the matter of the universe was compresses into once place billions of years ago and exploded from that one point and has been moving out from there ever since - you know, the big bang idea.
All of these ideas have logical and emperical facts backing them up and great scientific validity, but all are way out there from the ways we think about our world during everyday life.
Tuesday, March 23
Monday, March 22
Friday, March 19
Tip of the hat to Jacob Sullum who'd "like to direct Port Orange's leaders to (his) proposal for banning fat people from public parks--an idea that seems all the more appealing now that excess weight is expected to surpass smoking as a cause of death any day now."
And in other news, Mel "I am an idiot in the first degree" Gibson's new movie inspires love, er, fighting among lovers in Georgia.
Wednesday, March 17
Tuesday, March 16
Friday, March 12
Thursday, March 11
I don't like being off-line that much, though I have been reading more books in this time.
I don't like the president's attitude on bio-ethics and politics.
I don't like Disney that much, and I don't like the fact that they get so much government welfare, neither.
I don't like the brewing culture war and the government getting all prissy and indignant.
I do like having HBO in my new apt., though (for this!)
I may have exceeded your daily allowed intake of crankiness. Sorry.
Sunday, March 7
Saturday, March 6
Thursday, March 4
Wednesday, March 3
Monday, March 1
Thursday, February 26
Wednesday, February 25
Tuesday, February 24
This is a particularly American way of thinking about food, said Greg Critser, author of 'Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World.'
'The Europeans don't have this mentality,' Mr. Critser said. 'There's more a culture of the enjoyment of food, not just the amount of food. The problem is that behind whatever diet is in ascent in this country, the background noise is one and the same: a license to gluttony.'
Monday, February 23
The ... Earth Simulator ... is five times as fast as the [next fastest supercomputer] and is being used by the Japan Marine Science and Technology Centre to make predictions about the future of the Earth's climate and its crust.
... The previous record holder, ASCI White at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory in the US, was built by IBM and is used to simulate nuclear weapons explosions.
How appropriate that a computer simulating the earth trumps a computer built to simulate destruction. To continue the analogy, we can also say that this represents the shift from mechanistic, war-like, simplistic thinking to a complex, holistic, systems world-view.
Tuesday, February 17
Of course many parties will have many different answers to my simplistic question...but how screwed up are our moral priorities when there even exists a debate on this issue?
Saturday, February 7
Monday, February 2
Thursday, January 29
Seriously, if we have Ashcroft on the GOP side, and ideas like this coming from the Dem's side (not that Dean will win, but he's called the most radical of the Dem choices), we are all screwed. Because, you know, there are only 2 sides possible, and, um, the GOP and the Dems represent all possible political options in the USA....
Tuesday, January 27
Sunday, January 25
Saturday, January 24
Friday, January 23
Wednesday, January 21
I'd like to support the European Union more, but when the EU proposes idiotic and opressive laws like this, and stupid money wasting programs like this, it's a not so easy.
Monday, January 19
Friday, January 16
An example from Justice Kennedy, who dissented in finding it un-constitutional: "[The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act] makes it a felony for an environmental group to broadcast an ad, within sixty days of an election, exhorting the public to protest a Congressman's impending vote to permit logging in national forests."
Advocacy groups aren't going to be allowed to inform voters. Groups formed for purpose of getting people together and expressing their views are being shut-up. So this is supposed to be good for democracy how?
Also, it's worth noting, private individuals will still be allowed to buy all the ad time they want. So I guess if you are rich enough, the restrictions don't apply. Read more.
Thursday, January 15
Monday, January 12
Sunday, January 11
Friday, January 9
Thursday, January 8
Tuesday, January 6
It's 2013, and under prohibition, the illegal trade in high quality chocolate has reached new heights... Border patrols have dogs to sniff for cacao and hydrogenated oils... turf wars break out in US cities over Twizzler dealing rights... Soldiers under the authority of the FDA patrol resturaunts, markets and backyard-gardens...
Monday, January 5
Here's a sample from the article:
Experts say the growing criminalization of student misbehavior can be traced to the broad zero-tolerance policies states and local districts began enacting in the mid-1990's in response to a sharp increase in the number of juveniles committing homicides with guns, and to a series of school shootings.
While the juvenile homicide rate has since fallen, and many studies have found that school violence is rare, the public perception of schools — and students — as dangerous remains. Experts say zero-tolerance policies have created an atmosphere in which relatively minor student misconduct often leads to suspensions, expulsions and arrests.
nytimes sneak-in code: login:opensewer; password:iswatching