Monday, October 25, 2010

On Education

Good video on our public school system.
Yet another reason to DUMP standardized testing....and a really good argument for home-schooling.

The Governors Race

Hmmmm...... he makes some very good points.....definitely worth considering.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Just My Opinion

This is not an insignificant thing. A military officer addresses his SUPERIORS as Sir and Ma’am….his subordinates are addressed by their rank. The higher an officer succeeds to in the military, the less people he will be calling Sir and Ma’am. So the officer in this case, a Brigadier General, was actually affording Senator Boxer an elevated position. Add to that the fact that military personnel are SPECIFICALLY taught to call members of congress by the more respectful term and you have a Senator that doesn’t understand the most rudimentary of military traditions. She shouldn’t be allowed to determine their fates.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

In Which I Take a Drive

Had to go into town yesterday to run a few errands, and after a few miles I notice that my darling teenage ‘doesn’t have a job but likes to drive’ daughter had left the car on empty. Not almost empty but EMPTY. I happen to be driving thru Farmersville (yes, that’s a real town) when I discover the problem so at least I’m close to civilization. Driving past the Shell station I opt to buy from the ‘10cents a gallon cheaper’ mini-mart. Tho I’m only getting $10 worth, I want that 30 cents. I’m just that cheap.

I pull in, turn off the car, get out, unscrew the gas cap and set it on the trunk.....where it promptly rolls off onto the ground and under the car...sigh. I stick the nozzle into the tank (I’ll get the cap later) and start the process of paying with my debit card. Sliding in and ‘quickly’ removing my card, the screen lights up with an ‘Enter your zip code’ command…and that’s it. The prompt appears on an otherwise blank screen. Hmmm. While trying to figure out the situation...beep, ‘Transaction canceled.’ Apparently I have exceeded my time limit for entering said code. It’s obviously some kind of intelligence test...and I will not fail. Once again, in and out with the card. Once again ‘Enter your zip code.’ Once again a blank screen. But at least this time I consider the 4 buttons on either side of the screen...also blank. Maybe this is like a phone where there are standard numbers assigned to each button and I could just guess which one of the eight buttons would represent the number NINE. Beep.....transaction canceled. Ugh.

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” I will need to enter the store. Minor inconvenience. Not a big far.

Handing my card to the clerk I smile and cheerfully say, “Your pump doesn’t work,” response. She asks if the card is debit or credit to which I respond, “Either, whatever is cheaper.” She rings up $10 worth of gas and hands me my receipt with a total of $10.49. “There’s a fee?” Yes, there’s a fee. Double ugh. I walk out the door mumbling something to the effect that I would NOT be frequenting their establishment in the near future. Ok, I believe my exact words were, “I’m not coming back to this joint.”

I approach my car ruminating on the 49cents I just spent in order to save 30 and I notice a hand written sign on the pump:

Credit and cash same price, We no longer charge a fee for credit card use.

Hmmm...heavy sigh. Back into the store. “Your sign says there is no extra charge for credit cards,” I say, not so cheerfully. “Yes, but yours was debit.” Wait for it...wait for it...WHAT?

When I repeat my statement about “whatever was cheaper,” …she sort of frowns and says, “Well, I can give you 50 cents.” Really? You CAN. I don’t even respond; I just put my hand out.

I’m still not sure if this is a calculated effort on the part of the market to make a few bucks from their distracted customers or if this gal was just a...ahem...moron, but I will definitely NOT be going back...geez.

At least I got my 50 cents back and felt good about standing up for myself. I felt good until I got to the grocery store and found that in all the commotion I had forgotten to retrieve my gas cap from under the car. Yup, that worked out well.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Something to Think About

The following is an excerpt from an article by Jerry Mander. I found it interesting and a bit frightening.

There's a missing link in the discussion (on ecomomic growth), ignored by nearly everyone in the mainstream debate: nature. They speak about our economy as if it were a separate entity, its own ever-expanding universe, unconnected to any realities outside itself, not embodied within a larger system from which, actually, it emerged and can't escape. Nature cannot be left out of the discussion. It may be the most important detail of the entire conversation. Leaving it out of consideration is, well, suicidal. Here's the point: never-ending growth on a small planet with finite resources is a profound impossibility. It's an absurdity. A fantasy. It's time to wake up.

The whole situation is something new for capitalism, a shock. For two centuries it's been like a closely guarded secret that the entire economic system we live in, and assumed was forever, is actually part of another larger system, but with only so many resources and dump sites. But the secret is out. We are eating up the materials that sustain us, and the feast is almost over.

During the great heydays of capitalism – the last two centuries of spectacular development and growth – we lived in what the great ecological economist Herman Daly called a "full world" of resources. We thought they were unlimited, some kind of permanent gift to the human race from God, so we could display our stewardship, or something. But it's not a "full world" any more. Somebody should tell our leaders.

Watch for the big announcement: THE PARTY IS OVER. Without ever-expanding resources, ever-expanding production and consumption, our economic growth model becomes a relic, instantly obsolete. But so far, no one in leadership roles is admitting to that. If they know it, they're too scared to say so.

So, we are left with a profound dilemma: do we serve the short-term interests of profits and growth? Or do we face reality and serve long-term planetary survival? How to solve one problem without exacerbating the other? So far, the decisions have favoured the corporate side, as usual. But circumstances may change that.

President Evo Morales of Bolivia, the only head of state from an indigenous heritage, made his position clear, first in Copenhagen, and then in Cochabamba: "We have a stark choice between capitalism and survival," he said. "The countries of the world have failed in their obligations … Either capitalism lives or Mother Earth lives."

The conclusion is clear. From here on, no one gets off easy. Everyone's in the same boat, caught in the same systemic conflict. The conundrums apply as much to Morales as to Obama. Growth is over, and they need a real, clear vision of a way forward. That's true for all of us. Surely it's time to agree that the first step is to start drawing curtains on an obsolete, out-of-date system that could kill us all, and to shape a new one. Which brings us to the good news.

The universal quest is to define systems that that can deliver economic sufficiency and equity, permanently, while remaining within the carrying capacities of the planet. Most accept that systemic economic growth will soon be over, though growth is encouraged in specific timely activities – for example, certain renewable energy forms, local agriculture practice, sustainable building and the arts. Other ingredients of a new economy that some groups advocate include:

• Adoption of an international "oil depletion protocol" for an orderly, equitable decline of fossil-fuel use and a transition to less total energy use; a commonly used term for this is "powering down" – that is, aiming at minimum energy for sufficiency and equity.

• Universal emphasis on conservation and efficiency in all activities.

• Emphasis on localisation not globalisation (thus reducing negative impacts of global transport). Local production for local consumption, especially in crucial areas such as food, housing and energy. Restrictions on the conversion of food-growing lands. Emphasis on the revitalisation of sustainable local agriculture systems. On national levels, revival of the "import substitution" model; an emphasis on local production for essential needs, rather than trade. Greater regulation and less movement of capital across borders.

• Less long-distance shipping, not more.

That is the tiniest sample of what thousands of people are now discussing in various forums, including Cochabamba, World Social Forums and many others. For more information, I suggest internet searches of some of the following: Post Carbon Institute, Transition Towns movement, Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy, New Economics Institute, Global Footprint Network, Ecosocialist International Network, New Economy Working Group, ETC Group, The Story of Stuff,, left or green biocentrism, Dark Mountain Project, Indigenous Environmental Network, Tebtebba foundation, Food and Water Watch, Navdanya, Third World Network, International Center for Technology Assessment, Global Alliance for Rights of Nature, Rainforest Action Network, Institute for Policy Studies, International Forum on Globalization. These will doubtless lead to dozens of others.