athelind: (cue howard)
To all the newscasters and DJs who report on temperatures in the high 80s into the 90s by saying "we're finally getting some nice weather":

You insouciant prats go right from your air-conditioned homes to your air-conditioned cars to your air-conditioned offices, then back again at the end of the day, don't you?

No tossing and turning trying to find the cool spot on the mattress. No desperate calculations of just when or whether it will be less uncomfortable to open the windows to the outside world or keep everything sealed up to try to keep the heat out.

There was a long, long drought in California back in the '70s. Three or four years of little-or-no rain, Santa Ana winds alternating with the marine layer, and every day, the news would talk about how devastating it was for the state's economy, how miserable it was for the state's populace. Of course, as soon as we got a day or two of scattered showers, they'd complain about the "awful weather" and how it would be "nice" again at the end of the week.

That's bad enough in Southern California. The local broadcasters need to understand that, if any of us here thought hot weather was "nice", we wouldn't have moved to San Francisco Bay.

[livejournal.com profile] kohai_tiger, I might be running a little late. I need to stop by the KFOX studios and punch Greg Kihn.


athelind: (cronkite)
An addendum to my last post:

Perhaps it's just that I have trouble equating "shot in the head by a death squad" with "justice".

"Justice", to me, would have bin Laden facing war crime charges in front of the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Of course, the U.S. refused to sign onto the ICC.

And "justice", to me, would have more than bin Laden before that court.


athelind: (cue howard)
Hooray, a U.S. hit squad finally took out the man who planned the World Trade Center attacks.

It only took us ten years of flushing our economy, our international reputation, our domestic freedoms and quite possibly our future into what amounts to a global-scale temper tantrum of invasion and conquest, primarily in a nation that had nothing to do with the attacks, and whose largely-secular government was also at odds with the Islamic-flavored Fundamentalist terrorist movement rooted deeply in countries who are nevertheless still our erstwhile allies.

"Justice is done," quoth President Obama.

There's a difference between "justice" and "vengeance", Mr. President.

With the civilian casualties, the devastation, the "collateral damage", I respectfully submit that this is more the latter than the former.

This changes nothing. This is meaningless. Our forces remain in Iraq. Our forces remain in Afghanistan. Every day, we seem to find new fronts to pour more of our country's soul into.

This all started when we were lashing out wildly, trying to find this one man, to have our revenge.

And now we've had it. Yay, us.

Are we done yet?


athelind: (eco-rant)
Okay, one reason, and one alone:

The United States of America consumes a disproportionate amount of the world's resources, and produces a disproportionate amount of its pollution. Even a massive socio-economic catastrophe isn't going to do more than moderate that, at least over the next half-century or so. this is an issue that I can't run away from, because the ripples affect the entire world, and not just economically.

I am an Earth Systems Scientist.

If I have any hope of having an effect on this globe-threatening situation, it's gotta be here.

I've got my lever, rusty as it may be, and I think I'm narrowing down my places to stand.


athelind: (politics)
This was originally tacked on as a footnote to my last post, but I think it needs to stand on its own.

For the record, the "Divided States of America" is only a "worst-case scenario" if the Balkanization is violent. That's not unlikely, because we're all pretty pissed at each other right now, and we do like our guns.

On the other claw, the Soviet Union managed to spin off its component without devolving into all-out war, though, even if there were border skirmishes; if the U.S. pulled off the same trick, California might wind up better off than we are now, with the Federal Government funneling money out of the eighth-largest economy in the world and into Red States who rant against taxation, welfare and government interference.


athelind: (prisoner)
Mostly for my own reference: some thoughtful and measured words about emigration.

I'll tell ya: ever since reading Toffler's predictions for the future of the two "Second Wave" superpowers in 1990's Powershift, and watching it come true in the Soviet Union less than a year later, there's a part of me that's been waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Yes, I'm fully aware that this kind of apocalyptic paranoia has contributed to the paralyzing stasis of my life since graduation.

Still, there's an important truth in play: things aren't getting any better in the Untidy States, and the best-case scenario is to hope that the continual erosion of our rights and freedoms will be sufficiently gradual that we won't notice.

And the alternatives ... well, we seem to be using all the worst clichés of Cyberpunk as a road map as it is, why not that one, too?*

I would really like to convince myself that this is just pessimism due to the latest economic downturn, but even during the boom years of the '90s, I saw the "New Democrats" quietly and casually continuing the trends of restricting the rights of biological individuals and increasing the freedoms of "corporate persons". Some oppressed groups have made a few advances in acceptance, but really, it's just welcoming them to the same Village that the rest of us live in. One step forward, two steps back.

I'm in the process of reevaluating my life, realigning my goals, and trying to get a better grip on how the "real world" works.

And around here ... it doesn't. Not very well. Not in ways that will do me any good, now or in the future.

Realistically, if I'm trying to reconstruct my present to make plans for my future, "emigration" needs to be one of my options—even and especially if I land the elusive "Real Job" locally.

The big issue, of course, is that the other Anglophone nations don't really want more USian expatriates.


This is not a post about pessimism or defeatism. This is a post about options.
*See next post.

athelind: (fascism)

White House Caves on Miranda Rights



We don't need to read terrorist suspects their Miranda rights! This is a Public Safety Matter, based on realistic case scenarios from the best U.S. policy thinktanks!

Don't worry! Nobody could ever get falsely accused of terrorism!

... why would you even think that such a thing could apply to you, hmmmm? Maybe we should keep an eye on you ....

Like I said a few days ago, I'll celebrate my country's independence when it happens.

As I was typing this, the radio just blabbed an ad for a local TV news series inciting panic because the restrictions governing where sex offenders can live can't be applied to homeless people, because they don't have an address. ONOES! Homeless people are out to rape your children!

I am so fucking tired of fearmongering.

athelind: (cue howard)
Earlier today, [livejournal.com profile] ceruleanst pointed out an article about a wounded American soldier whom the U.S. Army subjected to enhanced interrogation torture, until he signed a paper indicating that he had a preexisting personality disorder when he enlisted, and thus was ineligible for health benefits or disability.

This is, as it transpires, part of a continuing effort to misdiagnose wounded soldiers as having preexiting personality disorders specifically to deny them care and benefits.

Shortly after reading the first article, above, I discovered another article about the suicide rates among military personnel over the last decade, which is larger than the death toll from either the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq. Last year alone, 330 active duty suicides were reported.

That doesn't count the deaths among veterans, who are considered civilians; the VA estimates the suicide rate among veterans at around 6,000 per year.

I wonder how many of those vets were denied health care because of their "personality disorders"?


athelind: (V)

Better Off Deadbeat



Craig Cunningham is suing abusive credit companies and bill collectors.

It's one of those framing issues: "oh, no, he's trying to weasel out of debts he racked up, fair and square" -- but, you know, we've all been manipulated into this debt-based economy anyway. We're expected to play nice and be cooperative and toe the line, while they don't even see fit to follow the rules that already favor them.

The only way that's gonna change is by telling the bastards to take a flying leap. And sometimes, that takes another bastard to lead the way.

More power to ya, Mr. C -- and back to you, Howard.




For the record, I'm not seeing this as some kind of easy way to deal with my own economic woes;
for one thing, I don't have a whole lotta debt right now, myself. This just pleases me.

athelind: (Default)

Better Off Deadbeat



Craig Cunningham is suing abusive credit companies and bill collectors.

It's one of those framing issues: "oh, no, he's trying to weasel out of debts he racked up, fair and square" -- but, you know, we've all been manipulated into this debt-based economy anyway. We're expected to play nice and be cooperative and toe the line, while they don't even see fit to follow the rules that already favor them.

The only way that's gonna change is by telling the bastards to take a flying leap. And sometimes, that takes another bastard to lead the way.

More power to ya, Mr. C -- and back to you, Howard.




For the record, I'm not seeing this as some kind of easy way to deal with my own economic woes;
for one thing, I don't have a whole lotta debt right now, myself. This just pleases me.

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