seryn: flowers (Default)
I have a post that I was half through composing when everything started to change yesterday.

I was complaining about something being too hard for me to do, and a friend heard me and said, "Let me do that then." So, for me, things got much easier much faster than expected.

Everything is still insanely crazy here. I went from not carrying a purse, because everything fit in my pockets to having 2 tote bags with me wherever I go. One is my emergency bag of hospital supplies, because it totally totally sucks to get your period while you're in the hospital--- I'm sure it sucks while you're a patient too, but it's not great for visitors because hospital restrooms here at least do not have vending machines for urgent needs. And when you're waiting you need a toothbrush and a comb and a multipurpose sweater (I usually use mine to pillow my head while sleeping in chairs.) And you should probably have vitamins and at least a day's worth of medications with you at all times. I have a book of crossword puzzles and emergency money enough to get the car out of the parking garage at the hospital plus singles to buy food or drinks. The other bag has 3 large folders, a couple manilla folders, and a half full spiral notebook plus a spare.

This is because when the phone rings, information might only be given once and it cannot be lost and then resurrected. People refer to information from 4 years ago like everyone remembers it by heart. There are ridiculous expectations, "Do you know the lab code for ____ (obscure test)?" Seriously. A nurse asked me if I knew the lab code while she was filling out the req. Even if I'd had the test done myself, or it was a standing order test, I might not know that... but for something I'd never heard of? Does she think I memorize the long form lab req? Well, it turns out I have one. So I looked it up.

I realize this means I'm probably pretty awesome at this compared to some people. But the expectations are that I will continue to live up to this standard.

Last Thursday, not yesterday, 8 days ago, was catastrophically bad. 2 days ago (Wednesday) was probably ranked up there. Today seems okay, but it's only 9:30 most medical people don't start calling until 10.

Most of the postings about this are not only locked but on a sub-filter. I asked last week for people to opt-in if they wanted to keep seeing the posts, keeping in mind that they're heavily featuring gloom and doom. Especially if you're on my access list and have been wondering where I've gone, it's because I thought you didn't want to hear more.
seryn: water drop  (water)
There was a line on the news this morning that said OBL was protesting the mistreatment of the Palestinian people by killing other people.

Interestingly, that makes me really convinced that I don't know enough about the underpinnings of the situation to have an opinion. Because I agree that the way Palestinians are treated by Israel is loathsome and I know the USA has long been on the side of Israel for reasons that are completely opaque to me since they seem, you know, totally bitchy toward everyone until one wonders if the persecution they claim wasn't presciently deserved. Like I said, obviously I'm not well informed to the nuances.*

I do hope that if OBL is actually dead, really truly dead, that means we can bring our troops out of Afghanistan. And since we technically don't have "troops" in Iraq, we could bring all those people home too. (The Iraqis don't want them there and I know I'm sick of the tremendous wallet-bleeding cost of having Americans overseas unnecessarily.)

I did enjoy one aspect of this, which the news did not mention, the announcement came 8 years to the day after the Mission Accomplished banner speech fiasco. (That was on May 1, 2003.) The timing was a giant "Fuck you!" to W and I sort of wish they could have mentioned that in public.

*Speaking of faulty nuances... I would like an apology from everyone who has ever thought, "Of course [insert Arab man here] is evil. He's got a beard. And anyone who has watched Scooby Doo knows the bearded man is always the villain." I don't feel that my off-the-cuff un-nuanced understanding of a complex foreign policy situation is all that pathetic in comparison to some of the drivel I've heard.
seryn: flowers (Default)
I saw that there was a ceremony to gild the former pope toward sainthood. It's completely incomprehensible to me that someone whose regime not only permitted, but smoothed over blatant sexual abuse of minors would be considered saintly.

Admittedly that wasn't a dude boning 8 year olds. But seriously, they took priests accused of raping second graders and sent them to other parishes (without any disclosure or investigation) where the priests defiled more children and were then sent to other parishes to defile yet more children.... and this was the policy from on high in Rome.

I could see the new pope absolving the old one for being an incompetent buffoon who wasn't focused on these issues, but I don't see how any organization where abuse is so pervasive that it is impossible to stop can laud someone who let it continue.

If that's saintly behavior, then Catholicism should be anathema to all thinking people in the world and it should be illegal with all the church properties and assets seized by the local governments immediately.
seryn: water drops (footprints)
I saw another news snippet saying people are arguing against mosques everywhere, not just "ground zero".

First, let me argue against NYC glomming onto the phrase "ground zero" as if they're the sole victims of a bombing, ever, when they weren't bombed at all that day. I know New Yorkers think they're the center of the universe, but that's ridiculous. Hiroshima can say "ground zero". Nagasaki can say "ground zero". No one who hasn't been hit with a bomb can say "ground zero". And preferably the term would be reserved for an area with lingering contaminates.

Second, why do people think mosques are the problem?

There are a slew of fundamentalist Christians in this country. They far far far far far exceed the number of Muslims in the USA at all. No one denies even the most radical of Christian churches permission to build a new facility (when they can pay for construction and permits). Even groups which are politically active and which foment violence are "protected" by the Constitution (despite laws saying that politically active groups are not protected religious organizations.)

If we're looking to eliminate radical groups, banning Christianity entirely would make as much sense as banning Islam entirely-- probably more because we have a lot more American Christians and they're used to being catered to legislatively.

Not to mention that when you deny people the right to peaceably practice their religions, that's when regular people start being reactionary. By denying Muslims mosques in America, we are encouraging the radical Islamic factions which say there are no good Americans anywhere. It doesn't hurt us for people to peaceably practice their religion. Islam is not about fomenting violence.

Also anyone who relies upon the Second Amendment to protect their gun ownership should appreciate that the First Amendment came first and all religions are protected. But a shocking number of people seem to think that rights are things they want and privileges are what people who look different from them want.

If I have to put up with radical Christians saying that contraceptives should be anathema and the government cannot cover them for anyone who uses public assistance.... that's a fundamental right for women, contraception is what allows women to be equal... then I don't see why those people can have a country where other non-violent religions are not tolerated. If they want America to be a Christian country, then we need to divide it fairly so everyone (including me) has a home. But if they want to continue the share the country, then they need to be a damned sight more tolerant of people different from them since they're the ones who are completely backwards from what a civilized people would want.

You don't have to be an Arabic man to be a Muslim. Admittedly, if you're a white American woman and convert to Islam, I'm not going to think a lot of your intellectual reasoning abilities because the way Islam is practiced in many places denigrates women. But Christianity isn't much better--- it's just more common. There are Christian women who voluntarily started covering their hair, no one even has to denigrate them first. The way Christianity is practiced in a lot of rural American areas is as bad as Sharia law.

It is my belief that all religions exist to oppress women. That is the sole point. There aren't even any Pagan religions that have room for childfree women, and some of those are cobbled together using the cafeteria plan from every mythology in existence. You'd think the people picking and choosing could come up with a role for women that doesn't involve pregnancy as the basis for their social placement.

If they want to ban mosques, that's really fine with me. But I think the government needs to Eminent Domain every single bloody church and strip all Christianity of its tax-exempt status while they're at it. You can't say everyone has to tolerate me and mine but no one should be allowed to tolerate you and yours if you want to be a tax-exempt organization. Plus Christians allow Fred Phelps to claim membership, so they're obviously hateful beyond what having a new mosque in New York City would mean.
seryn: flowers (Default)
Today's news has an article saying Syria is banning the full Muslim veil at universities. They call what is banned the niqab.

Apparently the Syrian government is concerned about the increase in one of the outward signs of conservative Islam.

Syria is not banning all head scarves at their universities, but Turkey does.

France has banned the burqa. Which is the full body covering with a similar facial coverage to the niqab or even moreso with the mesh over the eyes.

The grounds being used by European countries for the bans is that the wearing of these extreme veils is degrading to women. I agree with that perspective simply because the modesty requirements are inequitable between the genders.

I also agree that there has been a large push toward conservatism in religious requirements. I have seen it in my own life. Not in terms of the burqa/niqab, because those are rare enough here, but in terms of the number of women wearing dresses in public and on television. For now dress wearing remains a choice, but it hasn't been 50 years since girls were prohibited from wearing trousers in public schools in America. With the continued rise in conservative religious views, the wearing of dresses will return to a mandatory practice if we do not stop it. American women who are not Muslim are already voluntarily veiling themselves for modesty.

I have long been a very modest woman, I rarely wear sleeveless things, even for sleeping (which makes the shopping for summer-weight nightwear a real pain). I almost never go out in public with bare legs. But the women who wear dresses and veils for modesty make me want to buy a bikini and wear the skimpiest clothes I can find, just to protest. You will never, ever hear me say that a skirt is more modest than trousers though. Anything where there is a meter-wide access point or where falling will cause wardrobe malfunction is inherently less modest than trousers which specifically cover the legs. There is a theory that skirts obfuscate the shape of the legs, but I think the easy access routes under the skirt hem make skirts significantly less modest and less under the control of the wearer. Skirts make touching the legs easier. Trousers make looking easier. I think modesty should demand the clothing which restricts the touching since the only people who would invade your personal space directly have zero manners. Polite people will restrict the looking on their own.
seryn: flowers (Default)
Yesterday I had an interesting experience. Someone said that the only people who didn't like the new health "care" bill were the stupid Republicans.

I'm not Republican, nor am I stupid. I don't like this bill. Read more... )
seryn: flowers (Default)
I heard the health "care" bill passed. I am underwhelmed. First because it only fixes health insurance problems... you're still going to need to take half a day off work after waiting 7-15 days for an appointment in a place that has no parking, to get that preventative care they are touting as going to be saving money on ER visits.

It's hard to understand how there could be an industry so lacking in regulation that the things they do to screw people over could have gone on that long without any oversight or regulation. It seems like we should have regulated the health insurance industry 30 years ago.

Finally, I am livid that there is, once again, a law saying that women are not quite as human as imaginary proto-people.
seryn: flowers (Default)
I've been thinking about the health care bill going through congress.

From a humane perspective, I think we're being idiotic about it. There are really good reasons from a public health standpoint to have basic care available to all people. From a fiscal responsibility standpoint, it makes sense to have basic care available to all people because we have unemployment and welfare and disability and social security... we want to set someone's broken leg so they can keep working. That costs maybe a few thousand. But having them be unemployed or permanently disabled is extremely expensive.

By the way, I do think we need to address our illegal alien problem, but I don't think the way to do so is to deny illegal aliens access to the basic healthcare system. A shocking number of illegals from Mexico have TB and AIDS and hepatitis and other ghastly illnesses that we cannot effectively treat but which are hugely contagious. And now with the severe dearth of jobs (12% unemployment in California!) I'm wondering why we're still hiring illegals to be field workers. If there are no jobs, there would not be illegals and the problem would be solved... Also because there are periodic amnesties allowing illegals to stay, we'd better not have fucked them over entirely.

From a mildly successful adult's perspective, I'm really incensed that now they're coming up with health care options. It should have been addressed at least 40 years ago so I never had to struggle. I've paid my dues and took my own financial risks, why should we fix it for other people at my expense?

But mostly I don't see any of the things as being actual reform. Insurance companies will still dick people around without any recourse for the individual or family affected. There will still be pre-existing condition exclusions. There will still be the problem that if you need your individually purchased insurance they can drop you for needing it. And on top of this, we're talking about mandating that people who have shitty jobs or no jobs pay for this lousy coverage themselves. There's a lot of numbers being mentioned when I read the news about this, but it's almost all going to overhead and administration. Very little of it is actually going to help people.

I don't want my taxes to go up when I don't get anything for it and when what it buys won't actually help anyone else either.

I think if we're going to tax people to provide health insurance, we should go all out and tax everyone in order to provide health care. The difference between a Scandanavian tax rate and what one of the proposed tax increases would be, to me, is actually relatively negligible. It's less than what it costs my SO's employer to cover both of us.

I think a citizen of a first world country should be able to get urgent care. (There should be triage centers so people don't end up in the emergency room when that could be handled without the full-fledged equipment of a hospital.) I think obvious things should be covered by the government. Vaccinations, broken bones, various things that if treated when it costs a bandaid will save tens of thousands later on.... There is a level of basic care that everyone should receive for being human.

But whenever I think about health insurance and providing health care... I remember friends of my SO whose first baby was born with only half a brain and the remaining half was so cancer-riddled that there was no hope. Emails from those friends say that their insurance refused to cover anything after the first two million dollars. WTF. It didn't live a month and we wasted two million dollars on trying to save something that was born with half a brain? I know no one wants to hear that their baby is worthless but honestly, are there any objective people who thought that was a good use of money?

We need to balance things better. Anyone should be able to walk into a clinic and get a free flu vaccination and have their blood pressure taken. That should be covered by the government. Children should get all their immunizations for free (and the number of exemptions should be dramatically reduced). Right now vaccinations are so expensive that if you don't have insurance, you cannot afford them. But people who have insurance can spend two million saving an already dead baby.

There's a lot to this issue, and I definitely believe we need to do something because the situation is truly intolerable unless you're employable and your employer provides group coverage. But I'm not convinced that a bill which does nothing to regulate the industry, which does nothing to make health care a public priority, which does nothing to change the situation from one where insurance companies profit margins depend upon them not doing what they've contracted to do---- I don't think this is worth spending time or money on.

And if congress cannot pass any real laws about reform, then we should all find someone else to represent us.
seryn: sad face sheep (sadmiro)
A while back I endorsed Miro, which is a podcast downloader/player. I must withdraw this recommendation. It will not close cleanly. It always wants to report an error whenever I quit the application. That is very annoying. It also uses a gob of memory waiting to see if it should download something. My computer is old now, 3+ years, so memory hogs are a problem for performance.

However the dealbreaker on my use of Miro has nothing to do with the software. I stopped watching the podcast news. I stopped being able to tolerate Keith Olbermann's show. Some of it has been because of his personal reasons where he was gone 60% of the time and the substitutes they had were terrible. A lot of it is that I think the healthcare debate was hyped by the media without thought for what else was happening. (Which was exacerbated by the subs who were monotopical.) But really, there's a difference between watching the opposition news pointing out the obvious failings of an administration you disagree with and watching the same news program when their people are in power. Obama's doing a lot of stuff wrong and not living up to his campaign promises in a lot of areas--- not worse than other presidents assuredly, but not as much better as expected.

I never liked the Rachel Maddow Show as much, even though they rapidly overtook Keith's show for content immediacy. (Keith's show tomorrow covered what Rachel's show covered tonight.) I kept thinking that there had to be more news out there that wasn't political. Or more issues than what were discussed by the repetition. Some of Rachel's segments were astonishingly good--- especially the ones where she outlined things with historical and geographical causes that explain why something cannot be viewed in isolation. I know it shouldn't be her job to explain why something is news, but when she did, it was really stellar. But it was always followed by some bogus nonsense about sports or drinking or strip clubs or motivational seminars or music.

I need a better source of news. I want one that's not full of pop culture trash. And I need one that actually talks about more than just politics. Preferably one that's done in California (because that East Coast slant often means they forget about the other 90% of the country and if we're going to be biased, I want it to be applicable bias.) And if it's going to be team anchored, I want the male anchor not to interrupt the female one.

What I'm really looking for is news that's accurate, unbiased, in-depth (and with pointers for background if I'm confused about the underpinnings), and covering all topics. 30 years ago I would have said I'm looking for a newspaper. 20 years ago I would have thought I was looking for a newspaper with hyperlinks. Now I just think the media shouldn't matter and we need some actual fucking journalists.
seryn: flowers (Default)
Some positive news. The asshole who killed that doctor in his own church in Kansas? Convicted of the full charge. Minimum sentence of 25 years before parole.

I haven't heard much about the case on the news, but I am astonished that he was tried and convicted in under 6 months.

I'm pretty astonished that he was convicted in Kansas too since they have a reputation for being backward and anti-woman. Maybe it helped that the deader was killed in church?

My early reactions to the incident were complete outrage followed by incendiary anger. Mostly because one of my friends, a female Christian, defended the killer instead of the doctor.

I cannot possibly see how anyone who provides abortions to 10 year old molested girls is anything but a hero, especially in the current religio-political environment. But apparently Christianity means damning raped children to being mothers and killing anyone who helps them end their nightmares.

The fact that people known to me endorsed the killer makes me extremely upset and I am glad those people do not speak for everyone or everyone in Kansas or even everyone on the jury.
seryn: flowers (Default)
I think the news media is lazy.

First they created a false dichotomy about the abortion debate. They went out and found the looniest crazy people who would scream on the air and contrasted them with educated people who know that reproductive rights are the foundation of gender equality.

But the same news media puts assholes like Pat Robertson on the TV saying that Haitians made a pact with the devil and deserved what they got. Jon Stewart was on his show saying, "NOT THE RIGHT TIME!" but no one else was denouncing him. There are a LOT of people who have their own forums and no one, not even my friends, said anything publicly against the asshole.

Where was the dichotomy? Why didn't they have local church leaders saying, "We believe Christianity is about helping others." Or even regular people saying, "He doesn't speak for me."

The news media created the mainstream pro-life movement (which is, at the heart of it, about the subjugation of heterosexual women) by allowing the crazy people on the air. Now they put the crazy church guys on the air and make Americans sound like complete assholes who have no compassion for anyone else.

Christianity is lacking one major major thing as a religion. Smiting by god-thrown lightning. I'd be happy to be in church every Sunday if there was the face of a dude in the sky who exploded Pat Robertson with a ball of electrical force, preferably while he was on the TV so everyone would know god hates people who blaspheme. Without that, god seems ineffectual.

God can't get rid of assholes who speak in his name, why would god care if women use contraception so they can have fulfilling careers and not overpopulate the planet with children they don't love or want?

Pun intended. There are two kinds of dichotomy. The kind that says if it's not A, it's B. And the kind where if it's A, it can't be B. Called jointly exhaustive and mutually exclusive, according to wikipedia. So the news media manufactures dichotomies that appear jointly exhaustive and are probably mutually exclusive. I doubt that the scarily high percentage of Americans who claim to be Christian actually want Pat Robertson speaking for them. I've always taken their apparent silence for tacit consent, jointly exhaustive... if they're not Agreeing with Robertson, they'd Be telling him off. And that's a false dichotomy, there might be a C or D option or even a Q option.
seryn: sad face sheep (sadmiro)
What do I have in my pocket? Better than String or Nothing... a video camera.

I did find a tolerable court/legal news blog, written by Jonathan Turley. He's a frequent guest on Countdown and it eventually occurred to me to check to see if he had anything to recommend as far as keeping up with the legal news.

It really bothered me when the TV news I watch did not mention the outcome of a Supreme Court decision after announcing previously that the SC was reviewing the case. I realized I did not even know where to look to find out. (Though Google did.) When I got to the actual decision, I didn't understand what it meant because there was no summary and I wasn't going to actually read it all.

The news has recently been full of the Proposition 8 trial and specifically the question as to whether it would be televised, filmed, or on YouTube. The trial judge said it would be televised. When the Proposition 8 supporters (the people who are anti-gay or anti gay-marriage... it's hard to remember that supporting the proposition stripped rights from people who had them; this was not a proposition to grant rights because the courts and legislature were slow in catching on.) protested the decision, there was a change and the trial would be filmed and shown delayed (or something). The Supreme Court stepped in (not sure if someone asked or if they just butt-in.) and said actually it could not be filmed at all.

A handful of years ago, there were petitions for granting marriage rights to homosexuals and anti-gay people campaigned for those names to be publicized. (I have no idea what the outcome was.) The argument against it was that being assumed gay is harmful for many personal and professional reasons. I hope, despite the argument, that the petitions were publicized because that is what signing a petition means. It means you are willing to stake part of your reputation in support of a cause. It is, by definition, a public statement. And all petitions should be viewable by the public (perhaps not in electronic form, and perhaps with contact information obfuscated) as public information.

[I do not sign petitions I am unwilling to be interviewed on a national news program about my support of. Not that anyone would actually want to interview me, but to me, that is what signing a petition means.]

Now Proposition 8 supporters (remember, the anti- gay [marriage] people) want to remain anonymous in court as witnesses, so they do not want the trial filmed in any way. Courtrooms have had procedures in place for the privacy of witnesses, where the cameras are faced away, possibly with voice distortions. But court proceedings are PUBLIC. ((When I was a juror, I had to give my name, address, occupation, and explain my beliefs about fairness while standing in front of a room full of people who mostly do not resemble me in educational, economic, religious, or ethnic background. All of that information is not only public to the people who heard it in that room, it is part of the trial record. I was forced to disclose my home address in front of someone accused of murder (who was writing something down on a pad at the time) just because I was "randomly" selected for jury duty.)) The witnesses for the Proposition 8 trial had the option of refusing. I do not believe that anyone should be able to be anonymous while testifying unless they are being threatened or the testimony is required by law.

But your courtroom testimony is, again, staking your reputation. Your good name and your words are weighed in relation to the case.

If you do not want to pledge yourself, then you should not be voluntarily testifying. It is dishonorable not to stand behind your beliefs and professional obligations.

I believe the trial should be visually recorded. Witnesses who have a reasonable cause to fear for their lives should be obscured. But it has to be more than "I don't want this to be held against me in the future." because jurors are not given the option of refusing to disclose personal contact information publicly during a criminal trial when any reasonable person would assume a conviction would garner retribution.

I do, actually, agree that the trial should not be televised or YouTube displayed live. There should be at least a one-day delay so people are not attacked at the courthouse. However, all trials should be visually recorded. The court reporter nonsense is ridiculous. (Especially since in many courthouses the court reporter is 6-12 months behind in filing transcripts.) There is no reasonable excuse for the lack of implementation of pocket-standard technology.

I am concerned that the US Supreme Court's decision to intervene in this case overrides the trial judge's purview and presages the outcome of any appeal which rises to that level.

At least Sotomayor has not joined the side I disagree with. I am somewhat surprised by that since she had seemed overtly religious and I therefore presumed intolerant toward homosexuality.
seryn: fountain pen nib (screed pen)
Let's see. Today I have a proto-post about my interest in pre-medieval history which has the blatantly unsupported thesis that Christianity caused the Dark Ages. (Yes, I really believe that. And I do, occasionally run across hard data which does not contradict that premise.) I don't think I need to continue more here since I'm not going to convince anyone with vitriol.

If I was going to convince people of something I believe passionately, I wouldn't start with "Christianity is full-fledged evil." I'd start with "Having children is immoral." And vitriol didn't convince anyone of that either. Weirdly nothing convinces women they don't want to get pregnant. They either come to that realization alone or they don't even think about how one in ten thousand women dies from childbirth in modern America. Talk about squicky! I cannot think of a single reason on Earth why anyone would want to do that when all you get out of it is a baby.

I made it out for lunch. My food was... adequate. Considering that it was less expensive than the restaurant appears that it should cost, I wasn't disappointed. If the dinner entrees start at $20, I'm not expecting lunches to be under $10. I had a monte cristo sandwich. It was bland. Like it was missing an essential component. I'd ordered fries separately. They were perfectly cooked, under salted, and hugely over-seasoned. Still. I had a nice table, good service, a view out over a lake and spent less than $20 total even after a generous tip.

Several people have complimented my hair. I don't do anything to it, so I don't understand. I smile and say thanks. It makes me wonder how bad it used to look that a scrunchied pony tail is worthy of comment.

The season opener for Law&Order had some really stunning stuff. Like how we took detainees into shower rooms and killed them viciously. That turns out not to be fiction. Appalling. I think our behavior with "enemy combatants" detained in secret prisons and not-so-secret prisons has been deplorable. I think the way the American people did nothing is also deplorable. I think the way Congress rolled over and passed laws saying if Americans complained they could be "detained" and sent to unregulated prisons on foreign soil was horrible. But what really got to me was the specific room they chose. There are things you do not want to emulate and one of them is killing lots of people in "showers".

I still don't understand why anyone thought it was a good idea to create a Jewish homeland in the middle east. It seems like North Dakota would have been a better choice for the political climate of the world.

Speaking of political climate... people are fucking moronic. Carter lost the re-up election and Reagan won, largely because of the American hostages in Iran. The Reagan administration proceded to have illegal arms deals between South American countries and Iraq. We armed Iraq with modern weapons so they could stave off Iran. Fast forward to Bush I, now Iraq is evil and well-armed with American-bought weapons. We should have felt a LOT more stupid than we did. After the first Iraq war, we gave a lot of weapons to Iran to help them stave off the evils of Iraq. Then we went back to fighting in Iraq because they have oil that Cheney's best buds wanted to get for free and none of them has a soul that could be tarnished by the deaths of millions in search of pure profit. Now Iran has nuclear weapons. Want to bet who sold those to them?

California wants to have part-time legislators. I think it would be an excellent idea if we could have 5 times as many of them and they only worked a quarter as much and did most of it remotely via web-conference. I think I should be able to have a personal relationship with my representative in the state legislature but that's not feasible.

I'd like to see a real competitor for Dianne Feinstein too. She caved on Bush II's Supreme Court nominees and didn't stand up for ANYTHING that I consider important. I think she's been in Washington DC for too long to remember that she represents California.

I'm more and more repelled by the health care debate. Everyone "liberal" keeps saying we need a single-payer government-run system. Except Obama's right out in front saying that system will pick and choose what kinds of things are covered... like contraception will not be. I don't think that's better health care if 95% of Americans have no reproductive choices other than abstinence or unwanted babies. If the health insurance "fix" is going to tell me I'm not an important contributor to society because I am female, I hardly see that as an improvement. Sure, I have money and I can buy contraceptive services for cash, but it's not likely those services will remain viable. Lack of coverage when everyone has the same coverage is going to make certain things quasi-illegal by common experience, regardless of legality. Seems like this whole problem could be solved if Congress would just regulate the health insurance industry. And it would be a hell of a lot cheaper.
seryn: flowers (Default)
Today's attitude: I really hate children. And I loathe and detest the whole LJ/Facebook mentality where people you know tangentially are your "friends". Having a child tell me I was her best friend was really obnoxious. I looked at her and said, "No." She's actively friends with at least 6 of the other children in the group, and the one who told me last week I should have had children.

I'm still watching the podcasts from Countdown and The Rachel Maddow Show, but I no longer think they are "news". The biases are extreme. Do we think we could find something that reports the news without slanting it and without presuming an equal dichotomy? Phelps is wrong, his side should never get news coverage beyond, "There are people who disagree."

If 80% of the American people think we should have health insurance available to everyone, then the debate should not be presented as equal and people who disagree should be interviewed and questioned about what their problem is. I think it is completely reasonable to be angry about being asked to pay for other people to get health insurance. I think everyone should have to buy their own, since I did; why is this suddenly a priority now that I'm doing okay for myself? But I don't think insurance should be allowed to drop people for using their insurance. I think it's reasonable to ask which kinds of poor people will be included and whether there will be restrictions on the types of care available.

Obama's speech saying that federal money will not be used for abortions really bothers me because there are medically necessary (not elective, will cause the mother to die without it) abortions that make up a huge percentage of abortions performed. Plus if there is a move to make all health care single-payer, government run, then that effectively means no abortions will be covered by insurance regardless of medical necessity. And obviously if the government is interfering in medical decisions, what's to say they're not going to regulate something else too? Like contraception.

They are already conceding the fight on abortion because of pressure from the Christian-leaning folks. But most anti-abortion crusaders think contraception is equally anathema. They also think that cancer screenings should not be covered by insurance because cervical cancer is linked to promiscuity. So I have become against single-payer health insurance because Obama has explicitly stated that I cannot receive medically necessary procedures and will likely be prevented from receiving on-going medical treatment in the future.

I am a woman, if I choose to have sex, I should not be required to pay for it with childbirth. If I am sexually assaulted, I should not be required to endure the medical risks and complications of an imposed pregnancy. But if we have single-payer health insurance, and government money cannot be used for abortions, abortions are not paid by the insurance. See? Women on Medicare do not have quite the same concerns since it requires extreme medical intervention for 65 year old women to become pregnant. I am not poor. I can pay for my own treatments above what insurance pays. And I definitely would. But how many doctors are going to have non-covered treatments available?

I think we need to look at this differently. It costs $8-10K/year for public schooling per child, for 13 years. Plus tax credits for "parenting" and deductions. Plus all the people who are poor and who get massive handouts for breeding (compared to responsible people who don't have children they can't feed). Having children is currently optional (as of yet, we have drugs and procedures that prevent them.) Why aren't we out there screaming that people shouldn't be allowed to waste government money having babies? Maybe abortions aren't part of some people's religious beliefs, but how could we ever have a system where having an unwanted child that will go hungry and never be loved is considered a "blessing"? That is wrong. ANYTHING someone does to prevent damning someone innocent to a lifetime of suffering should be preferable.

But Obama says no abortions funded with federal money.

I guess it's fine to waste money on welfare and food stamps and public schooling of children nobody wanted. Personally I'd much rather the government pay $500 for pill-based abortions than spend $150,000 (low estimate) per child.

My oversized COD.

Friday, 21 August 2009 05:12 pm
seryn: fountain pen nib (screed pen)
Supposedly the CARS program (also known as "Cash For Clunkers") is ending Monday.

Liberal news people have been touting the huge success of this program, reminding us that because of this program (cause not entirely proven, but I could stipulate to it for the duration of this portion of the discussion) almost $2B in cars were sold and that is about half a million cars. Because of this dramatic uptick in car sales, GM is re-hiring some of its laid off workers.

Of course, that presumes that people are still going to be buying cars without a 20% off coupon from the government, which I think is either unlikely or if true, then the CARS program was not the actual cause of the increased sales.

But! My big problem with this program is that it heartily rewards over-consumption. Yes, we want cars with shitty mileage off the roads, but I don't see why we should bribe people to do so. (Not to mention that it causes a dearth of parts available for other used cars. And that it adds a huge volume to already over-burdened landfills.) My car, which is a dozen years old, gets about 30-35MPG at highway speeds. I don't know what it gets "in town" because there seems to be a lot of overhead fuel consumption for small trips. But the sticker said 22MPG or so. That makes my 12 year old car superior MPG to the cars many people are buying via the CARS program.

Remember also that the original Prius got craptastic highway mileage, it was under 25MPG highway--- therefore rewarding people with that kind of car by giving them access to HOV lanes was counter-productive... those are the cars you want waiting in stop-and-go. And now that they have "hybrid" SUVs.... it's not even a useful designation. So, actually my old car has comparable average mileage to a hybrid.

But really, the government is giving people ~$4K for buying cars that get less than 18MPG originally. WTF! It should have been illegal to sell a car that gets that bad of gas mileage. And anyone who had one from before the law was passed should have been required to retrofit! Like you should not have been able to get license plates registering a car that gets 12MPG. The Army or whoever that needs armored vehicles doesn't do state-based registration anyway, but state-based National Guard units could get waivers. There should have been a program to help people with retrofit costs. But they should have done this in 1975. Certainly during the gas shortages before Reagan, the government should have enacted legislation. There should have been mandated increases in CAFE standards (where the fleet of cars sold by a manufacturer must average a certain mileage... so they could sell 3 guzzling SUVs if they sold 10 econocars) throughout the past 3 decades. If we had mandated it, cars could easily be averaging 50MPG since they sold cars like that in 1980. (New manual shift Honda CVCC in 1980 got 55MPG on the highway.)

So. I bought one of the most fuel efficient cars available anywhere when I bought mine. There were no government kickbacks rewarding me for doing the right thing. But now there is government handouts for people who said, "FUCK the environment, I want a car to be my oversized codpiece so everyone thinks I have a huge penis!"

Basically, since my car would qualify now for the CARS rebate standard, I'd like my free money. "Because you've been a good person who chose wisely for a dozen years before it even occurred to us that the environment mattered...." They could get that money by fining the people with the guzzling cars. Or they could have just added a gas tax that completely sodomized people who got 3MPG. Like $3/gallon in taxes. I buy about 60 gallons of gasoline per year, I can afford the extra $180. And if we'd used that tax money to subsidize public transit, then poor people wouldn't need to drive places. And it wouldn't cost more to repair roads than we take in in car-based taxes.

I don't mind, not really, not getting a handout for making the right choice. But I think it's wrong to reward anyone who deliberately chose wrongly.
seryn: flowers (Default)
It's one of those days. It feels like I should be doing something, but it's sort of a holiday. My SO is home today, so we went to lunch. We got home and there is someone vacuuming where I can hear it. I don't know what they're vacuuming, but it's obviously a folded space where several square miles fit into the typical apartment size area. After about 5 minutes I closed the window. After about 10 minutes I pulled the drapes and at the 15 minute mark, I got my headphones. [It's been more than an hour now... Gods. I should really hire an answering service and advertise as "Thor's Smiting Hotline" even if we didn't do anything, it would be honestly nice to have somewhere to call when you have a complaint but nothing can be done about it.]

One of my favorite songs is on: Sisters of Mercy's "When You Don't See Me". *shrug* I really like depressing music. Generally the angstier it is, the better I like it. It's strange because most people prefer balladic or love songs or things that don't have much emotional stridency. I don't want to sound judgmental but most people seem to like music that's the auditory equivalent of a Harlequin novel. I feel like that shouldn't be judgmental because I like those kinds of books where you know you're going to have trivial conflicts and easily understood semi-plot that results in the Happily Ever After.

(Remind me that I owe you all a story with a young woman named "Happi-Leah" I would really love to mock that.)

Recently I was asked if I like classical music. It's hard to imagine anyone having anything to say against it. Most of the time classical music is used as the baseline that no one can dislike. Obviously that's not the same as liking it, but something that's often used as background music, it's hard to have a defined opinion about it.

I like instrumental music when I'm writing. Can't stand to have worded music while writing any more than most people can have someone reciting phone numbers while they're counting a jar of fruitflies.

Another favorite song (I've been scooting ahead), because of the line, "Were his lies easier than my truth to believe?" (from the song "Him" by Collective Soul--- the album I almost didn't buy because of the potentially churchy name. I try not to support gospel enterprises because of my opinion that Christianity is equal to hypocrisy and their "spread the hatred" endeavors are poisoning humanity. But seeing their "Better Now" song used in a commercial with a slag convinced me they weren't Phelpsian-churchy.)

That makes me digress... I like Rachel Maddow's show pretty well, when they have it (it's been inexplicably canceled all week and MSNBC couldn't be arsed to tell anyone who puts up their schedule), but I keep wanting to send her a couple hundred bucks so she can afford shirts to wear under her suit jackets. She's supposedly got a PhD, why do they allow her to show up at work half naked like that?

Intergalactic bypass

Saturday, 27 June 2009 12:09 pm
seryn: fountain pen nib (screed pen)
You know, if we're just going to have one news story, I think each show or channel should publicize it in advance so I can just watch the ones that matter to me.

I'm sick of the Iran coverage. It fucks the Iranians over if we care, so maybe we should stop watching since never has America been able to keep its nose out of something it's seen other people doing.

I'm sick of the coverage of out-of-office Republicans. These people do not deserve to be interviewed on national television. They're losers, they're gone, stop paying attention to them. NEVER put Rush Limbaugh on the screen to argue against what he says, he'll just say more and more outrageous things then. If we ignore him, maybe his audience will stop feeling like they have to agree with him just to be a counterweight to the liberalization of the country.

And, just so you know, Michael Jackson hasn't been news since the mid-1980s.

Sometimes I notice that really important news is buried under these paparazzi type scandalous "news" items. I wouldn't be surprised if the government did something egregious while the media was off obsessing about Michael Jackson. They know no one will notice and then they'll argue that if we'd really be upset about it, we should have said something earlier. We are all Arthur Dent.
seryn: flowers (Default)
I found something interesting.

(Hopefully that becomes magically clickable, but I'm to the point now that I rarely click on hidden links... following a tinyurl makes it trivial to be rickrolled or goatse'd.... so visible text links that are hopefully magically clicky for those who are lazy.)

It is discussing the idea that the newspaper which sat on Governor Sanford's emails for 6 months might have done so because the emails are protected by copyright.

There isn't a lawyer on Earth who would say printing those emails in their entirety was Fair Use. It doesn't matter whether the person writing them is an elected official because that only covers work-related email; although there are gray areas about what is work-related, these emails were clearly personal. And copyright is automatic and instant, you do not have to claim it or register it in order for your work to be copyrighted. (It might be hard to prove if there is a competing claim, but the copyright exists.)

I found that to be extremely interesting.

Also: after yesterday's screed against the piss-poor news coverage in this country (both newspapers and television) I went out and found quasi-official blogs covering legal news and signed up for the feeds. I saved so much time yesterday by not needing to watch the news... all they had was blather about Michael Jackson. I didn't get it. He's been gone from the public eye for like 20 years, he might as well have been dead already, so what's the big deal? Sure it deserves a mention, but not 6 hours of solid coverage. The news media was so absorbed by this, I was surprised no one was suggesting Governor Sanford had hired a hitman to kill Jackson. Nothing else would have gotten them off Sanford so fast. I'm feeling a little cynical because I really was thinking how damned lucky Senator Ensign was that Governor Sanford was "off hiking the Appalachian Trail" and again how lucky Sanford was that someone pop-culturally famous died. If Farrah Fawcett had waited a week, I'm sure Senator Ensign would completely get away with his infidelity.

(Aside question, is there a word for men cheating on their wives like "cuckolding" for wives cheating on husbands? If not, can we create one?)

When it isn't news.

Thursday, 25 June 2009 09:19 am
seryn: flowers (Default)
The SC governor thing continues to astonish.

Partially because the newspaper breaking the Argentina angle apparently had emails for 6 months and didn't launch an investigation or break that as news. Kind of like the newspaper that didn't bother telling the American people about Edwards's affair when they knew about it while he was running for president. How are we supposed to trust news organizations when they omit necessary information about people who want to run the whole country, but tell us every damned detail about Britney Spears's underwear?

One of the things that saves me a lot of time when I'm watching the local news is ignoring the teasers and the stories they lead for. If it was actually important, then they'd interrupt regular programming, certainly they wouldn't be going to commercial. There were almost no commercials during the first gulf war in Iraq. CNN ran pictures of blackness with intermittent starbursts for hours without hardly an interruption. Middle September 2001... there must have been a crushing blow to the bottom lines of all networks because I don't think I saw a commercial for days--- of course I stopped watching early on, but it was all about the coverage and nothing about the commercials. So now, if they say, "When we come back, important news about your children's health!" I know it's neither important nor news.

I'm really ready for user-selected news from actual journalistic sources where they try to report facts without bias and they do not tell you what people are guessing.

I'm tired of hearing what the stock market is expected to do, especially since the people reading the morning news don't sound smart enough to spell NASDAQ. I want to know what happened. "The market closed down 0.3% yesterday and overnight trading pushed stocks lower. The DOW is set to open at [number here]." I don't want to hear what the Fed chairman is expected to do, I want to hear that they are scheduled to meet today (because it does affect the markets) and later, after the meeting I want to hear what the results were.

I also want news sources to be forced to follow up on stories. So if they say someone was arrested for a crime, I want to know what the verdict was if it went to trial or if the person was released. I want the news to actually say which cases are pending to the Supreme Court and report back on ALL of them. They've supposedly got a 24-hour news cycle, but somehow no one has any clue what the Supreme Court is doing--- besides not invalidating Don't Ask Don't Tell. There was a bunch of discussion about the military tribunals for suspected terrorists we have "detained"... the concern was that the proceedings would be conducted in secret. I just don't see much difference. The government leaks when stuff is supposed to be secret (Plame, illegal wiretapping, Abu Gharib (sp.) etc.) but you pretty much need to be there in person if you want to find out what the Supreme Court does---- because nobody reports on it making it effectively more hidden.

I want it to be user-selected because it is ridiculously hard to find out what's going on locally--- my local stations cover a 400 square mile area. It's hard to get good weather, good traffic, no one does public transit updates until there's a crisis. (How hard would it be to have "public transit reports no problems" in the ticker at the bottom?) If I just watched national news, I wouldn't even hear about earthquakes, let alone cop shootings, gang wars, and presidential visits that will close off highways for miles.

It really irritates me that I have to work so hard to stay informed. I have just enough knowledge that I know I am missing stuff that's important. And I realized recently that my news sources are really skewed. The best local news is on a very conservative station, they reported that Carrie Prejean was fired from being Miss California because of her anti-gay marriage views. The national news said she was fired because she hadn't shown up to work in more than 6 weeks and it had nothing to do with her views on gay marriage. I suspect that it's probably something between that... she stopped doing public appearances because she was tired of being publicly derided about gay marriage or something. Where is the honest reporting?
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