Wednesday, September 17, 2014

I, Too, Have Often Tried to Fuck Trees

I ran across this item at Addicting Info today:
A community made up of American ex-pats deep in the South American hills of Chile – far away from America’s annoying taxes, healthcare mandate, and legal abortions — was supposed to be a libertarian paradise of rugged individualism. Instead it cost many of the people who bought into it almost everything, and now is buried under lawsuits — a reminder that everything that glitters is not inflation-proof, Ron Paul-backed gold. 
It seems pretty obvious that basing one’s society on a single work of (poorly written) fiction is folly, but for many adherents of Ayn Rand and her seminal book of Objectivist allegorical grandstanding, Atlas Shrugged isn’t just any book. It’s about as close to the Bible that many libertarians have — apart from the Bible, of course. It’s influenced an astounding number of conservative public figures — from Ron Paul to Rand Paul to Ronald Reagan. Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s Rand-loving running mate and probable 2016 presidential contender, said it was his favorite book growing up.
I don't think I have to analyze the immediate idiocy involved, do I? You didn't build that means that, well, you couldn't build it.

But let me personalize the tale of woe for you:
GGC is an environmentally protected area and it would take the political movement of heaven and earth to allow a community based on small lots to be officially approved. I had the opportunity to ask a question of the salesman who showed my husband and me “our property.” I claimed it because I fell head over heels for the most beautiful tree I’ve ever seen. I felt an instant connection as though the two of us were old souls who had found each other. I could believe it, I could see it… waking up each morning and having coffee under that tree, telling it about my plans for the day.
Never mind the splinters implied, focus on that first sentence. Galt's Gulch Chile advertised lots as small as 1.5 acres (for $48,500. Remember, this is Chile, not California) but were prevented from selling them because...government regulation. In Chile.

And did that stop the shysters at GGC? Nope. They knowingly sold 1.5 acre lots on a piece of land zoned for nothing smaller than 10 acre subdivisions.

And now, your moment of Zen:
 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Nobody Asked Me, But...

1) Imagine if ITN or The Guardian were to write an article, "Why is Alabama breeding so many racists?" and you'll understand why this is just a stupid article for NBC to publish. Bad form, chaps. Bad form.
2) So far, I've ducked this whole ice bucket challenge thing, but here's my idea: I'm going to write a check on camera to the ALS charity of my choice, then issue my challenge to three people to post check-writing videos. While ALS is a worthy cause (my dad was diagnosed with it along with about a million other conditions before he finally died of what they called "multi system atrophy," which essentially means "We don't know what the fuck he had but it was serious!") it's sucking the air out of the charitable universe and really, and for a genetic disorder that might affect as few as 30,000 Americans. I'd rather see this kind of effort made for breast cancer or gun control.
In fact, come to think of it, I'll write my check to the Brady folks.
3) The reason Ferguson has such a powerful hold over our attention span boils down to this: Ferguson is a micro-laboratory representative of what is happening nationwide, I think. Despite a significant minority population, blacks and Hispanics don't have a real say in anything that governs them. For a nation built upon "No taxation without representation," this sticks mightily in our craw.
4) On that note:


5) Damn. I picked Florida as the "Last State Standing"...
6) Now, you might think this is good news for global warming but in fact, it's terrible news. At the bottom of the Atlantic lies a layer of ice with vast quantities of methane trapped within. That warms up, the methane bubbles up and it's goodbye Greenland!
7) Reefs talk to fish? Who knew!
8) It's not just legal weed that has the West getting higher.
9) Florida, ladies and gentlemen.
10) Oh my.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Disconnect

According to a study released Monday by Feeding America, 1 in 7 households in the United States now rely on food banks.
Ridge is typical of millions of Americans who rely on food banks to survive: She is in poor health and lives on disability payments as she undergoes chemotherapy treatments for ovarian cancer. But as a nationwide study released Monday by the nonprofit group Feeding America makes clear, the number of people who rely on food pantries, soup kitchens, school lunch programs, senior citizens' Meals on Wheels deliveries, or other food initiatives to supplement their daily diet is a complex and growing mosaic that cuts across the nation's demographic lines. 
About one in seven Americans—more than 46 million people—rely on such programs to get by, according to the study, which involved confidential surveys of more than 60,000 recipients of food aid from groups affiliated with Feeding America, a network of 200 food banks that distribute donated food to programs in all 50 states. 
The ranks of the hungry include 12 million children and 7 million seniors, plus millions more among the working poor, military families, the unemployed, and young college graduates. Those in each group said their reliance on food aid stemmed from a daily struggle to put healthy and nutritious food on the table when all that many can afford is inexpensive processed food that fuels a cycle of chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and obesity.
14% of Americans. 40% of those the most vulnerable citizens in the country: the young and the elderly. And mind you, these are food banks, which people rely on to fill in the gaps in their public assistance. Here's a mind-boggling statistic: 86% of people on "food stamps" exhaust their monthly stipend within the first three weeks of the month.

Eighty. Six. Percent. So we're not talking about an abuse problem. We're talking about a starvation problem. In America. In the 21st Century.

We're talking about people dropping dead in the streets and on the roads of America. We're talking about a hidden Great Depression that the media has managed to avoid really covering because the stock market is doing so well.

We're talking about working class people, mostly employed, trying to get by and eat enough so they don't lose their jobs to health issues.

In 2008, in response to an alarming rise of 24% in people who were suffering the euphemistic "food insecurity," Congress passed emergency legislation to supplement the food assistance programs.

Last year, Republicans repealed that act of "kindness". This year, 46 million people are starving.

Conservatives suck.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Greetings from Bonaire!

Sorry for the silence lately, but these little fellows have been keeping me busy.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Today, I Am the Luckiest Man on the Face of the Earth

No, I’m not dying…well, not yet. A series of events have conflued and I am able to take an extended sabbatical from all forms of wage-earning to pursue some things in my personal and artistic life. I anticipate at least a month off, but more likely, I will be off work until the end of the year.

It’s a beautiful opportunity to write, shoot photos, dive and vacation, and release some of the stress that working some 40 years (since sophomore year of college) has built into my body. Mostly, I get to clean up the rat hole I live in and ride my bike to boot.

I’m excited and terrified, at the same moment. This is now on me. I don’t have a boss to complain about – the Bag of Salted Rat Dicks was fired, altho his tenure will outlast mine, but only by dint of some legal wrangling on his part – and while I don’t have a routine, I have to put one into place until I’m comfortable being busy doin’ nothin’, as the old Beach Boys tune put it.

As events have unfolded over the past four months, it seems more and more likely that I picked the perfect opportunity to walk out, because my suspicion is I would eventually have been carried out on my shield.

I paid attention, and the world told me what to do, is the message.

I’ll still be blogging, perhaps even more frequently and at more places. One cannot tell these things in advance. My first adventure awaits in two weeks, and then the looking glass is entered upon my return.

Wish me luck, gang!