Monthly Archives: October 2006

YOYO Americans

Sigh. So how did Americans get so selfish, or have we always been this way?

I’m a libertarian and I’m working with the progressives right now. Libertarianism is about rights, sure, BUT – it’s also about responsibility. Not just for your own behavior, but for how that behavior affects others and the world around you.

Being libertarian is not about doing whatever you want and screwing everyone else. It is about acting responsibly and encouraging others to be responsible as well. I’m sick to death of the label libertarian being hijacked to excuse stupid, greedy selfish behavior.

Enough of this selfish excuse of a people we call “Americans”. The NASCAR dads and security moms need to wake up and realize we’re all in this mess together.
They need to realize that some people really do need help, and sometimes, we all need help. There are things we simply can’t do by ourselves.

Like change our oil addiction so we stop overheating the planet, for instance….
preferably BEFORE global warming destroys our crop lands. Most people don’t remember the dust bowl, but it could happen again. I really don’t think most of us want a repeat of the 1930s, do we?

WorldChanging: Tools, Models and Ideas for Building a Bright Green Future: WITTs, YOYOs, and Why Americans Don’t Go Green

The findings of the research are too detailed to do justice here. But here are some big-picture takeaways:

# There is no common agreement on what environmental concern means or what to do about it. To the extent Americans are concerned, they are concerned about widely divergent environmental issues, from global problems to local ones to their ability to hunt, fish, swim, hike, and canoe. This diffusion of knowledge, perspectives, and interests makes it hard to gain credibility, let alone achieve consensus on most issues.

# Libertarian values are gaining over communal ones. Jaren Bernstein of the Economic Policy Institute has described two competing mindsets that affect politics and the environment: “We’re In This Together” (WITT) and “You’re On Your Own” (YOYO). (Linguist George Lakoff describes a similar divergence between the conservative right, which values self-reliance and self-responsibility, and the liberal left, which favors caring, empathy, cooperation, and growth.)

The environmental community — and most green marketers — lean pretty strongly toward the communal, WITT side of the house, a position at odds with the political zeitgeist, at least as practiced for the past quarter century by the YOYO Republican Party. Clearly, there’s a need for more “macho” (in Lakoff’s terms) marketing — the notion of man as protector, and of personal responsibility to protect families, communities, and the planet.

Many environmentalists I know believe they have a better understanding of the state of the world than do other people. And they might. But that’s of little consequence. The millions of Security Moms and NASCAR Dads who haven’t yet tuned into how climate change and fisheries loss might mess with their kids’ future aren’t about to be beaten into submission by the latest arguments or evidence. They’re not about to make purchase decisions based on a maybe-someday rationale for stemming environmental problems. They want to know: what’s in it for me, today?

So, big news: Americans are shallow, misinformed, self-interested, and unsophisticated. But they’re our neighbors, our colleagues, and our relatives. And they’re likely your clients, customers, or constituents. If you want to move them toward greener behavior and actions, you’ll need to deal — carefully and creatively — with all of these sobering realities.

Poofy!

The younger son just got his hair cut from past shoulder-length to a short bob. I keep teasing him ’cause I think the lil’ poof is so cute now…

Sigh. Moms.

And yes, it is THAT red….

Shoe Shoppin'

I hate shoe shopping. I’m thinking of getting these cuties from Dansko, though – whattaya think?

UPDATE:

OK, bought ’em from Houser Shoes – $10 cheaper than anywhere else with free shipping, got free socks, and bought another pair of shoes on sale. Yay!

UPDATE UPDATE:

Yay! They are so comfy!!!! Me like! And they sent me TWO pairs of the sale shoes – guess they really wanted to get rid of ’em.

Grim New Turn May Harden Darfur Conflict

Grim New Turn May Harden Darfur Conflict – New York Times

Haroun Abdullah Kabir stepped from one bloodied corpse to another on the parched, rocky battlefield. He searched the soldiers’ decomposing faces for an aquiline nose, fair complexion or fine, straight hair: telltale Arab features.

Instead Mr. Kabir, a field commander of the Darfur rebels fighting the Arab-dominated Sudanese government, found among the Sudanese soldiers his men had felled only the dark-skinned faces of southern Sudanese and Darfurians. He looked away in disgust.

“You see, they send black men to kill black men,” he said. “We are waiting for them to send Arabs for a real fight.”

This is the new battlefield in Darfur, a blood-soaked land in which at least 200,000 people have died since early 2003, many of hunger and disease, as a result of a campaign of violence the Bush administration and others have called genocide.

It’s hard to blog about Darfur. It’s such a sad, vicious and tragic state of affairs. I’m glad on one hand to see it getting media coverage again, but sad that we have still done NOTHING to address what is happening there.

Coalition for Darfur has this story blogged today as well. They blog every day on Darfur, which I can’t imagine doing. Please go there and read a bit today about what ha happened, and more importantly, not happened, in Darfur. There are many links to organizations trying to help where they can, too.

Passion of the Present is another great place to find Darfur news. I used to read this blog and Coalition on a daily basis, and it just became too depressing for me. I read them now when I’m in my stronger moods and can handle the anger and disgust I feel for our government not doing more to aid this area and help resolve these issues. I know America can’t be everywhere doing all that is needed, but we’ve tied up our resources in a mess in Iraq instead of doing so many other things we could be doing. It is disheartening. And hard to see how it can actually get worse, as this NY Times story implies. But maybe I still underestimate human cruelty, much as I underestimated American stupidity in electing an administration that is too heartless to care about the world’s problems and only cares for their own pocketbooks.

What Watermark Says

I’ve never really seen Watermark get political before.

My, she does it well. And eloquently.

Watermark

Just as most rape and child molestation is not about sex, the core of these scandals is not about sex, either. It’s about hypocrisy, greed, abuse of power (which is, after all, what many who have too much do with it), selfishness, narcissism, and the arrogance of the untouchable. But criminality — the abuse and deception and exploitation of the weak and uninformed and easily led — uses the same techniques, in both the commission of the crime and the denial of responsibility.

We have seen all of this in the past few weeks. In the past months; in the past years — as military contracts are let without bids to companies with connections, which are then not held to the terms of the contracts. In the public flaying of those who question the war and so ‘don’t support the troops’ by the very people who refuse to provide our soldiers with sufficient equipment and armor. In the pretense that we don’t torture. In the lies about who knew what, and when.

It’s about votes. It’s about money.

But really, right down to it, it’s about power.

The Troll of a Conservative

I just love Stirling’s eloquence…. and his deep understanding on so many things at so many levels ….

The Troll of a Conservative | TPMCafe

The right might want to run and hide from the reality that they are, in fact, a bunch of conservative inflationists who have a wide streak of political sadism in them, but it does not take long wandering in the wilderness of right wing ranting to realize that what unifies the right wing is not a love of small government, nor a love of rights, nor any particular economic theory, but a personal belief that other people’s right to a face stops at your fist, and that problems are best solved by beating the guts out of whoever crosses you – whether in the foreign or domestic environment.

This attitude can be seen in the area of education – a worship of “the Western Canon” by a host of academics who then procede to violate just about every tenet of humanism contained in it. People who thump Adam Smith as if Wealth of Nations were a bible, and biblical literalists who scowl and spit out truisms contained in the 30 verses they bother to memorize. It is a narrow, nasty, creed, and one that gets narrower all the time. It is also what unified the Thatcher, Reagan, Gingrich and Bushite revolutions. Not reason, nor conservatism, nor libertarianism, but a basic faith in the triumph of the will.

Jane Pauley on bipolar disorder

Doonesbury’s War – washingtonpost.com

AT 55, JANE PAULEY IS STILL BEAUTIFUL, and she still projects frank vulnerability, or vulnerable frankness, or whatever is that subtle combination of qualities that made her America’s preeminent morning-show host in the 1980s. We’re meeting for breakfast because there is something Trudeau wouldn’t really talk about, and Pauley will.

In 2001, Pauley nearly lost her mind. After receiving steroids to control a case of the hives, she began doing oddly intense things. How intense? She bought a house one day, for no good reason, on impulse, from an ad on the Web. Misdiagnosed with depression, she was hospitalized under an assumed name, to protect her privacy. Eventually, she was found to have a bipolar disorder — triggered but not caused by the steroids — for which she is still undergoing treatment. Pauley chronicled her struggle in a 2004 memoir, Skywriting .

Trudeau was largely absent from Skywriting , and he had been guarded with me about the effect of Pauley’s illness on him and the family. He volunteered only two things: “I was told by a doctor that 40 percent of marriages just don’t survive it, so from the beginning I knew we were up against something really significant”; and, “The disease subverts your basic survival instinct in the sense that the people who you need to help you survive are the same people you are attacking.”

So that’s what I ask Pauley about.

“Yes,” she says, dryly, “there is a free-floating anger that needs a target and will find one.”

For a year or so, Pauley says, before her symptoms were under control, Trudeau and the family lived with her irrational rages. The twins were hunting for colleges, Trudeau was pressed by deadline after deadline, and Mom was a fulminating piece of work — demanding, histrionic, impossible. “It was just incredible torment for them,” Pauley says. “Garry was keeping the house together. It has to have been the most painful part of his life.”

Pauley has recovered with the help of lithium, a drug she says she will be on for the rest of her life. Things are mostly fine, she says, except for some side effects, such as a persistent tremor to the hands. She looks murderously at her coffee cup, which the waiter has overfilled, almost to the brim.

“For example, I can’t risk trying to pick that up.”

Wow. So of course, this is the part of the Trudeau article that resonates most strongly with me. I hope perhaps one day, Trudeau will be able to talk about bipolar disorder, maybe in his strip, and let people know how much it means to someone with bipolar for people to stick with them throughout this illness.

Of everything I’ve had to deal with in having bipolar, losing friends was the worst, hardest, still most painful part. The people I needed to stick by me didn’t – and the pain from that will never go away.

I am so, so thankful to those who stayed, like my wonderful husband, and the good friends who didn’t just walk away. They will never know how much that means to me.

Doonesbury's War

Very good article about Garry Trudeau. Well worth a read.

Doonesbury’s War – washingtonpost.com

The very first person he spoke to was a 27-year-old MP named Danielle Green. She had been a college basketball star, a left-handed point guard at Notre Dame. Green had just lost that hand in Iraq. She’d been on the roof of a police station, behind sandbags, trying to defend it from enemy fire, when she took a direct hit from a rocket-propelled grenade.

“This was an elite athlete, and she’d lost her whole professional identity,” Trudeau said, “but that’s not what she wanted to talk about. What she wanted to talk about was how her buddies carried her down, put her on the hood of a Humvee, where they stopped the bleeding, then went back up to the roof, against orders, and found her hand buried under sandbags. They took off her wedding ring and gave it to her. She’s telling me this with a million-dollar smile. This was not about bitterness or loss. It was about gratitude.”

And so Trudeau started taking notes.

“When I talk to wounded veterans, I usually don’t ask them what they think the mission was. I don’t presume, because their lives are wrenching enough without the suggestion that their sacrifices may have been without meaning. Moreover, if that is so, it will become apparent to them soon enough . . . The young men and women who we’ve repeatedly put in harm’s way are paying the price for this misbegotten mission, and as long as it continues, I, like so many of our countrymen, must walk this strange line between hating the war but honoring the warrior. I don’t know how long we can keep it up. . .”

Twins

Baby sisters’ colour mix a rare phenomenon | NEWS.com.au

BEAUTIFUL twin sisters Alicia and Jasmin Singerl certainly make people look twice.
Alicia has dark brown eyes and complexion, and Jasmin is blue-eyed and fair-skinned.

Experts say the chance of twins being born with such different physical characteristics is about a million to one.

Via Stranger Fruit

I had a new air conditioner and heater installed this week, and at one point, one tech was hooking up the thermostat and confused by the wire coloring, and the other tech was telling him, “color is just what you make of it”. I laughed, because it was funny to me. One tech was of french heritage and the other was black, and the comment was from the black installer.

I wish it were as true of people as it is of electrical wiring, that the color is simply a marker, that skin color would matter as little as any of our other individual features. Sadly to some, this isn’t true. I wonder at how these girls will be treated, the comments that will be made to them. But I imagine they will form a very special bond and be very supportive of one another.

These girls are a unique combination, a one in a milllion chance. But, we are each that one in a million chance, if we but realize it. The wonders of genetics makes us all so similar, yet all so unique. And what a wonderful thing that is.