best when viewed in low light


After the Apocalypse

When the meteorite comes (assuming that we go the way of the dinosaurs), the Earth will do just fine without us.

I can't help but feel both reassured and depressed by this fact.

I am not an arrogant human. I don't think my species is the best thing that ever happened to this planet.

An anecdotal aside: I took an Astronomy class in college. One day, the professor announced in the middle of a lecture that we would have to figure out a way to successfully colonize other planets within 5 million years before the sun expanded and consumed the Earth. He even charged me and my classmates with the responsibility for the indefinite continuation of our species through these means. I laughed. Actually, I guffawed hysterically in the back of a packed (and curiously silent) lecture hall. I laughed so hard I had tears streaming down my face and had to leave the room so as not to further disrupt the earnest, albeit blindered, teachings of my distinguished professor.

So, in the sense of a universal evolutionary trajectory, I have no problem with conceiving of the end of our species and the continued survival of our planet - even if it's not in the idyllic form proposed in New Scientist.

What depresses me is the idea that we can't muster the courage and the discipline to limit our impact on the environment in such a way that we can experience this Earthly idyll ourselves. And actually, I think we can. And I don't think it'll be as hard as everyone seems to believe.

Another anecdote: My uncle and I were having a conversation about energy usage and the almost irrational avoidance of solutions, even reducing consumption. How had we come so far in technology, only to lose much of the value of what had come before? For example, my uncle says, why waste so many materials on creating packaging that can not be reused or recycled, when 100 years ago - 1000 years ago, in fact - we already had a material perfect for this purpose? What magic material are you referring to, I asked. Glass.

If we in the post-industrial west choose to trumpet our cultural superiority, then why can we not equal or surpass some of the most evolved elements of the past? For example, if aboriginal cultures the world over can live in such a way as to make no detrimental impact on the environment, why can't we? Is the destruction of the atmosphere, a huge number of species, and the alteration of much of the Earth's surface the legacy of our "civilization"? Based on that fact alone, can we really consider ourselves civilized?

I can't abide the idea that the greatest achievements of our species are in the past, nor that our greatest legacy is bipedalism.

Connected White Man to Run DoD!

If I were running the world, and believe me, I should be, I would get so bored of getting away with underhanded shit I would just start telling people the truth about the way things work.

For instance, if I were the one selecting the next head of the Department of Defense, and let's assume for the sake of argument that Robert M. Gates is my guy, I would probably list his qualifications something like this:

1) He was in the Good Old Boy Scouts when he was a kid, and is now President of the Eagles.

2) He was in the CIA for 26 years, man, he's a master at hiding things. For example, he got off without so much as an indictment during Iran/contra even though (check this!) independent council had reason to believe he knew about diverted funds (wouldn't be much of an intelligence guy if he didn't). And he has also been accused of using intelligence information to present a US-centric worldview (imagine!).

3) He's got integrity. He wouldn't accept the CIA Directorship in 2005 because he was holding out for something better and now that he has the political influence he always wanted, he's going to sever all (publicly overt) ties to defense-related corporations once he is sworn in!

The beauty of US politics is that no one needs to say any of this stuff out loud - the people in power already know it. And what they know even more intimately is that, if it weren't for the daisy chain of favors that partially runs DC, they would never have gotten to where they were, either.

This guy has a long list of very impressive achievements. I don't intend to detract from that fact. But it is accurate to say that his achievements, which represent his choices and his self-determined path in life, reflect a particular perspective on the way the world works and what role the US should play in that world. Again, this is not a bad thing. A lifetime of loyalty and service to the country, in any form, is an admirable thing. The belief that one's nation state is superior in ideology and execution is understandable and not uncommon.

Head of the DoD is exactly the place Mr. Robert Michael Gates should be. The onus is on us (!) to stay alert to the choices the Pentagon will take under his leadership.

Expect more cooperation between CIA and DoD activities (most of which, we the public, will never know about). Expect a more (overtly) diplomatic Pentagon strategy in areas of the world that remain undemocratic (read: anti-US foreign policy) and uncapitalist (read: anti-US trade and investment), coupled with covert military activities (that was Rummy's dream). In an effort to "streamline" military operations, expect a consistent improvement of military equipment (read: defense contracts) and a further effort to break all branches of the military into smaller, more specialized groups able to operate with very little central contact and wide-ranging operational leeway.

Funny, that sounds a lot like terrorist or guerilla military strategy...

You know that old saying, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em? Think US-sponsored, democra-pitalist sleeper cells positioned in hostile territories, ready to execute long-term plans at a word.

Scary? Bets are they're already in place.

The thing that keeps me interested in politics is the utter inanity of choosing sides and then changing them all the time. Making enemies, making friends, making friends with your's ongoing.

We can never all get along at the same time. That's what political systems are for. In their best iterations, political organizations can decipher differing perspectives, distribute resources, secure access to opportunities, and protect the integrity of cultural values. Trouble is, most political organizations end up being a small club of insiders who use power to principally benefit themselves, and to keep that power in their control in order to protect the status quo.

If you read the history of the formation of the United States, what you'll find is a group of rich white men inspired by the writings of progressive philosophers of their time, and who believed in these philosophies in so far as it complemented their existing worldview (not to fault them, everybody does this, it's one aspect of universal consciousness). What they constructed was a political system that applied these philosophies to those whom they understood as worthy of the responsibility: people like them.

Power works that way, and it's no different now. Gates may be advertised as the antithesis to Rumsfeld, but if you look at his past, there's no reason to conclude that this is true. If we the people do our parts, we won't be stuck with a warmongering unilateralist that masquerades as a liberal-mided Republican.


Small celebrations

Jose Padilla, suspected terrorist.

That's all I need to say to instantly stratify an entire roomful of people. Ultimately, it's not about whether or not Mr Padilla has done anything wrong. The issue, from my perspective, is whether or not the US judicial system is operating according to its own rules.

Given the last subject covered, it seems topical to address the article in today's New York Times addressing Mr Padilla's current legal circumstances. None of it is news, but it would appear that the media has been looking for a way to make Mr Padillas long incarceration more controversial, so it's no surprise that we would be faced with the video of Padilla being escorted to a dentist appointment in full torture-victim gear.

I don't know much about this whole debacle other than what I've read on wikipedia, so I'm not going to pretend a whole lot of insight.

What interests me is the legal jargoning, media wrangling and contentious, precedent-setting interpretations highlighted by this case.

I'll be back with constitutional issues in the next post, once I get around to it.


Propaganda Wars, Pt. 3 - The Exodus Begins

Oh boy are these guys good!

Let's backtrack a bit and follow the logic:

1. Invade Iraq in order to...(We still really can't be sure about this. My best guess - large defense contracts to close allies of the Bush Administration, but that is a bit cynical.)

2. Completely destabilize (aka "liberate") the country by removing a tyrannical leader AND demanding that the historically-divisive rift between the Sunni and Shiite branches of Islam be healed by a newly-elected parliamentary government.

3. Make complete asses of ourselves in the eyes of the Iraqi people and the international community by failing to 1) democratize as advertised, 2) stabilize an increasingly anti-US insurgency, or 3) find weapons of mass destruction and/or terrorists.

4. Ditch the warmongering, line-toeing Republicans from Congress and elect a bunch of moderately conservative, agenda-less Democrats in their place.

5. Realize we can't get out of a five year war until we drop the responsibility on somebody else. Only problem, Iran and Syria are the only ones sitting in on the auction.

But let's take a look at some recent developments, which, as the BBC News concludes, may be seen as politically motivated jockeying, rather than a genuine attempt to reach a point of resolution in our bungling of "Operation Iraqi Freedom."

Of course, based on the obvious inability of anyone in the military, Congress or the White House to solve the problem before now, I would just conclude that no one has any idea how to do it and still make it look like the US is running the show.

More logic:

Two days ago, the US "leaks" a memo reporting doubts that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki can't handle the heat in Iraq. [Is this some kind of pscyhological projection? Are we mistaking the Iraqi Prime Minister for our waffling President? Has anyone actually given Maliki an opportunity to do anything yet?]

Meanwhile, Iraqi President Jalal Talibani speaks with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmanidejad. They figure out that they both have a lot more to gain than we do in establishing a functioning, powerful government in Iraq, so they best collaborate to prevent further increases in sectarian violence and get us the fuck out of there. [Just imagine the laugh riot that meeting was! Tee hee, how can we get rid of the US?]

Yesterday, Bush goes to meet Maliki, who stands him up [the different stories on all sides only serve to illustrate the truth - Maliki was pissed about that leak and decided to show Bush that he's not the one in control].

Today, Bush makes a long term commitment: no doubts about Maliki, no premature pull-outs, no matter what anybody else says.

And then, Joint Chiefs Chairman General Pace, who basically denies anything specific and tries to confuse the public with overarching statements of rhetoric and asshole sunshine, backs him up.


Free Fucking Forever!

Men! Wake up from your fantasies of fucking without consequence and do it for real!

Don't you hate getting those voicemails four months after you broke up with that zany bitch that say..."Greg, please call me. I have something really important to talk to you about."
And, on the off chance that said zany bitch is calling to inform you of a previously-contracted STD, you call her back and..."Greg. I'm pregnant." drops out of her filthy hole (not that filthy hole, the one in her head...sorry, the one in her head that you can fit your cock in).
And even when you hang up on her she keeps calling back and saying the same thing. And a little while after you've been ignoring her calls, you wake up in a sweat, crying in the night having just dreamed about a little boy that looks just like you being pushed in a swing by a guy that looks like a responsible father, then you turn and realize it's you. So you decide that, based on some soft, sickening feeling in your chest or an effectively overwhelming sense of guilt, or maybe even genuine paternal instincts, you call her back and decide to take some responsibility for it.

Well, I hate getting those calls, and I hate the stab of evil in my heart when I wake up in the middle of the night and decide that the best solution is clearly to pay for an abortion, brokered through my lawyer.

But there is a solution! The brilliant Brits have been developing the male contraceptive - finally! You can never trust those clingy bitches and their whole "forgetting to take the pill" routine. Yeah.
So now I can take my reproductive choices into my own hands. Problem is, none of you fucks will go in for the test, so they may never market it!

Fools, fools, fools! You'll all go to hell with the souls of your murdered children on your backs. And it's worse after they've had a couple birthdays. Even though God approves of sacrificing your children, the US Supreme Court sure doesn't - those pansies.

Truth to Light

Mr Bell has not missed the point. His son is dead, and it's all about the politics.

There are three unmissable issues encompassed by the events of Sean Bell's killing by three members of the NYC Police Department.
1) The police in New York City have behaved in this situation and in others as if the law does not apply to them.
2) Racial tension exists today just as it has for the entire course of US (and world) history.
3) The political system of this city is not, and can not, be the source of the solution to either of these problems.

Regarding point 1:
I can't count the number of times I have seen police in their vehicles cruising through lights with a little "woop-woop" of the siren, gazing suspiciously at all us plebes on the street, as if we're up to some law breaking. Oh, the hypocrisy.
I compare the running of a red light with the fatal shooting of an unarmed citizen merely to illustrate the attitude of those who exercise the power of law enforcement.
When the enforcers feel it is their prerogative to bend or break the law in situations when there is no compelling reason to do so (and it can certainly be argued that there is no compelling reason to do so), it can be inferred by extension, that the same belief will apply to all situations. Thus, on the basis of a police officer's theory that Sean Bell or one of his companions could be carrying a weapon, and/or using a moving car to intentionally harm one of the other officers, it should be no surprise that they might not operate under the requisite guidelines.
I do not intend to prematurely convict the police officers of committing a crime, nor to exhonerate them on the basis of inadequate evidence. No one dares to argue with the conclusion that excessive force was used by the police.
The issue at hand is the sense of entitlement exhibited by the police department in their role as protectors of the populace - they have adopted a set of behaviors that illustrate a fundamental philosophical and moral failing in their duties. Their job is to uphold the law and defend the public from the law-breakers. Their actions reflect something different - the desire to use the law to their advantage in all situations, and to avoid punishment under the same laws they enforce, which supposedly hold them to a higher standard of behavior (if we can associate more rules with higher principles).
There are certainly other elements to address: repeated incidents of excessive force in similar circumstances, ongoing ethical and procedural training within the PD, extenuating events and response, morality of undercover law enforcement, etc.

Regarding point 2:
With reference to point 1, it is true that the police are constantly overstepping their bounds, and it is also true that black people are more often the target of their enthusiasm than others. And inviting a bunch of local black leaders into City Hall (I'll refrain from the obvious plantation metaphors here) does not solve the problem.
I could include an exhaustive list of the instances of racism illustrated by the interactions between the governors and the governed, but I don't feel like finding that many links. Plus, you have your own, for sure.
What I do want to say is this: while white people are mostly in control (and slowly realizing that they are vastly outnumbered by the non-caucasian members of the human species) they are going to grab hold of that power dynamic and drain it for every drop of superiority and control they can.
If the race war hasn't already started, these 50 shots are not going to do it.

(Just a side note: If inter-ethnic and inter-racial wars are actually happening right now, how are we going to pick sides? And why hasn't someone made this into a videogame yet?)

Regarding point 3:
Sanction the police, mourn the victim, pet the favored black leaders and promise them action if they promise you votes. Does anyone actually expect this to solve anything? Call me cynical, but I think the only real source of a solution for this problem is on the ground. And it's at least four generations of major mind-shift away.

My suggestions for improved racial relations:
Integrate the public and private school systems through an income-bracket quota system (that does not factor race into its admissions decisions).

Redraw the zoning lines to include a certain percentage of stratified-income housing in each neighborhood, and include laws against gerrymandering.

Dump every police cruiser into the recycling bin, and replace them with open-sided electric zip-cars, and schedule foot patrols for every officer, every shift.

Rotate the beats of police officers citywide, regardless of seniority, requiring each officer to serve at least 6 months in each borough within 3 years.

Integrate bookstores, drug stores, clothing stores, grocery stores, music stores - get rid of those ridiculous "Black" and "Latino" and "Asian" sections.

Place a ban on all racial or ethnic qualifiers in media, i.e. "some of the community's black leaders" will become "some of the community's leaders".

And, as many great comedians have said, start fucking each other and having mixed babies until everyone's the same color!


Happy Hypocrisy

Sometimes real life is so much better than fiction, it makes you wonder why anyone bothers to make up stories. I mean, people actually believe that the stuff in the bible really happened.

But this is about as close as we can get these days.


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Africa Kicks Our Ass!

Are you kidding me?!

South Africa, the same South Africa that in only the past 25 years brought apartheid to an end, has passed a law approving same sex marriage.

Really, what else is there to say?


I VOW to never vow again.

As soon as a politician vows about anything, a hole should open up in the ground and disappear him or her from the face of the earth. If anything, politicians should know not to make promises, vows, or anything else related to permanent commitments.

And we the voters should know that promises are meant to be broken. This is the reality of politics (and life), and no other rule (or guideline, or truism, whatever) encompasses the uncertainty of context, circumstance and the imperative of flexibility in democracy.

Politics, which is of course the semantic result of governors and the governed haggling over who gets what, is by nature a process of evaluation and reevaluation. Governing, even in totalitarian or rigidly hierarchical cultures/nations/states, is the process of negotiating between the prerogatives of everyone that shares a geographic space, a set of cultural ideals and an economic livelihood, and nobody gets what they want all the time.

The media's "revolutionary" sensationalism, broadcast as a result of the Democrat take-over of the US Congress, is hilarious for three reasons, some of which are beautifully, though limitedly addressed in this BBC News article:

1. Our electoral system is built to mitigate revolutionary changes in the system, thus the nearly imperceptible difference between the espoused values of the Republicans and Democrats, and their dominance in all elected venues. And that's the way the idolized Founding Fathers planned it!

2. The penchant of the US electorate for belief in values as the determinants of good government over stated legislative platforms is the source of unending conflict, and eventually, disappointment. And we keep digging our own graves.

3. The pseudo-liberal Democratic resurgence pleases the media just enough to pump up the underdog revolution story and then - inevitably - drum up popular support for the most convenient, indulgent and normative solution to every problem that faces us in the days, months, years ahead. But it makes for great TV!


Rummy takes the fall

Not that I am sad to see Rumsfeld out but I wonder why he's the one to take the fall for the Republicans. He's done a long list October 2004, April 2006 part 1, April 2006 part 2, April 2006 part 3, October 2006, of things that are evidence of his incompetence, but I still wonder why the GOPs failure in this election is the impetus for his leaving.
I just wish I could have been a fly on the wall during these negotiations, cause who else was a candidate for taking the blame? There are so many possibilities...

I received an elated email from a friend anticipating an immediate and dramatic change in the way Washington does business with the Democrats in power, and I just can't get that excited. Different doesn't necessarily mean better, and I have yet to see any Democrats willing to stick their neck out on the things that are really going to be obstacles to our country's success in the future.

Who's the leader on climate change policy? Or domestic poverty? Who's going to revamp our immigration (and I'm not just talking Mexico)? Who's going to save us from ourselves in Iraq? Who's going to revamp the priorities of our education system? Who's solving the health care debacle, not to mention the impending Social Security disaster?

Yes, the Democrats are taking over, but what will that really entail? More moderation?

This gets right to the heart of the inadequacies of our political system, because no incentive exists for courageous politicians willing to incite disapproval from their constituents to achieve noble goals in the short or long term. US culture encourages normative behavior, especially in electoral politics. There will be changes, yes, and for the better for some, most definitely. But "the beginning of the end of the darkest period in the history of American government", I think not.

We can only hope...

And some
words of wisdom from the man himself...


Propaganda Wars, Pt. 2: Mislead, misinform, anything to get the vote

The Democrats have already lost if their only objection to the recent employment of misconception-breeding phone calls used by the Republicans to get votes is that they're misleading. Of course they're misleading! That's the point, and of course, acting like integrity plays an important role in getting votes is so naive as to be almost ignorant.

The real problem with this scenario is that the Democrats aren't using similar tactics to "inform" their voters of the potential evils of electing a Republican.

And I can't help but be frustrated that, instead of instituting an equally biased response using the same or similar technology, the best the Dems can do is call the NY Times and say it's misleading. Do they still really think that voters choose based on the real issues?

Has anyone been paying attention for the last 8 years?


A Whole Dark Era

Let's not even start talking about "crimes against humanity" because when you start to get into it, what leader - in the name of goodness, righteousness and justice - has not committed inconceivable atrocities? Because neglect is the same thing as action when it comes to doing harm to others.

Think Bush before, during and after Katrina.
Or Dominique de Villepin during and after last year's riots. And now, more of the same.
Or, depending on whose side you're on, Chavez, Castro, Khomeini (note the disputed neutrality especially), Lenin, Queen Victoria,, Abraham Lincoln, Richard Nixon...
the list goes on and on.

And what about the leaders who sell their countries to the IMF, or who sign up for free trade agreements that allow international corporations to overtake the native industry of their countries (think every banana republic).

And how are we going to convict every contemporary leader in every industrialized and developing nation for their responsibility in fast-forwarding the planet's destruction? Who pays for that? Who dies for that?

I can't even rant about this because it causes such rage that I become unintelligible and irrational.




All's Fair

Israel and Palestine are at war once again, or are still at war, or are never at war but battling incessantly. It's almost impossible to say which.

This is one of those situations where, before engulfing myself completely in futile rage, I think it best to present the duality of my feelings on this matter. For the short version, watch Spielberg's "Munich" (more on that later).

I have so much respect for the Israelis. They have successfully established a community and culture that is located in the midst of unending hostility and conflict. They have bred warriors to protect themselves and to expand their culturally imperialist regime.

On the other hand, if establishing a close connection to God is what Israel is all about (and based on their desire to be physically close to the historic sites of God's contact with the Israelites - keeping in mind that my knowledge of all God-related stuff is pretty fuzzy - it seems a safe assumption), you have to wonder why they would bring so much suffering on themselves. Israel could have been anywhere. And it could definitely have been in a place where there was less open hostility to the existence of a Hebrew/Jewish nation.

And then there's the whole idea of nationhood which, at this point in global communication, labor flows and cultural homogeneity, is somewhat archaic. But everyone still wants a place to call home. I understand that.

Then there are the Palestinians. How would you feel if one day, you came home to find that 3/4 of your house, yard and possessions had been incorporated into a large new apartment block filled with people that didn't speak your language and who blatantly disregarded your claim to the property that so recently had been yours? Pretty fucking angry and resentful is my guess.

So I also respect the Palestinians for doing what they feel is necessary to reestablish their homeland in the place they choose.

Funny thing about this whole scenario: if there were no nations, and therefore no borders, there would be nothing to fight over. Except that whole cultural misunderstanding, of course. And that's the other funny thing: Judeo-Christian and Islamic values are identical. (There, I said it. In a public forum, no less.) Both religions believe in a male-dominated hierarchy. Both believe in an absolutist measurement of human behavior - you either live by God's code or you don't. If you do, you go to heaven to receive your reward, if you don't, you rot in hell for eternity. (Since when do people actually behave this way?)

And the hysterical part of this religious absolutism - it provides both cultures with the motivation and justification to (attempt to) oppress, insult and conquer the other as its inferior and ungodly foil.

So the Israeli army opens fire on Palestinian women acting as human shields. If you were Israeli (or if you are, maybe) why would you feel that this was in any way a violation of God's laws, much less a cease-fire? As far as you're concerned, these people are not grown from the same molecules you are, and the world is better to be rid of them.

If you were a Palestinian, and you saw this ruthless action by the Israelis...

Let me interject something here. The Israeli army claims that they fired in response to fire from the escaping militants. Whether or not this is true - and given the penchant of all military regimes for lying to protect their own ass, it's perfectly reasonable to think that it is not true - there is NO REASON for the soldiers to fire on unarmed citizens. This is a war crime! (See Rome Statute, Article 8, Section 2, paragraphs (a)(i) and (b)(i).)
Problem is, using civilians as a human shield is also a violation of the Rome Statute (Article 8, Section 2, paragraph (b)(xxiii)).

So if you were a Palestinian, and you saw this happen, what would you do? I know I would pick up the largest, most destructive weapon in my vicinity and kill as many Israelis as I could. But then, that never solves anything.

Back to "Munich": Spielberg sets the battle of man against himself (because really, we are all the same and killing each other to try and get our way is puerile at best) beautifully in the context of the Munich Olypics and its aftermath. Though we, as the audience, might completely identify emotionally with our "hero" Avner, an unofficial hitman enlisted by Golda Meir to protect the Israeli civilization from the Palestinians ("these people, they are unrecognizable"), we can not help but see the futility of his fight against himself - projected in the form of his wife and child, as well as his Black September mirrors. Eventually, Avner breaks with Israel to establish a psychological home with his wife, child and his own measurement of right and wrong. And we get to watch as the moral justifications on both sides of the conflict disintegrate before our eyes, leaving us with the question: What are we fighting for? And we come to find that we are all fighting for the same things - but they are just words: home, family, love, identity. And we also see that we have none of that without our own integrity.

Compare this with Spielberg's "War of the Worlds" (released the same year, intentionally, no doubt). You are looking at two movies that are about exactly the same thing.

As with everything, I encourage you to formulate your own conclusions. Here's the real reporting:
From the BBC News, Al Jazeera, the NY Times, Ha'aretz, and the Jerusalem Post.

It's worth it to read at least three. The overlaps and omissions, even the language, reveals biases on all sides.


Extinction Looms

Don't you fucking get it???
If everything else dies, we die, too. There's no future for us if we continue believing we can do anything we want without consequences.

And who the fuck are these ignorant fucks in office? And how did we vote them there? Do we really think that paying fewer taxes now is going to save our lives? Is having that fancy new TV what this is all about? Stay plugged in, with a really clear picture, and you can just ignore our impending self-destruction. Fuck you.

Bush pulls out of the Kyoto talks and we just blink. No lights on.

Actually, I wish there were no lights on. I make a general practice of using as little electricity as possible, but I walk down the street in Cambridge MA - one of the most highly educated, wealthy, liberal demographics in the country (and let's not forget totally self-important) - and I see Halloween themed lights on ALL NIGHT! Those huge blowup pumpkins with little blowup ghosts floating around inside. An utter waste, and an emblematic reflection of our self-inflicted ignorance.

I talk to PhD students at MIT, and brilliant though they are, none of them are even trying to save the world from itself! What else is there???

Enough ranting, now read this:

All the fish in the sea are dying. Being fished out of existence.

Have you ever walked through New York's Chinatown at 3:00 am? Do you know how many of those fish rot? How much fish do you eat? Ever caught one yourself? Watched it fight for breath, for its own life?

Ever get the idea that's what you'll look like, feel like, when your food supply is gone and your air supply is toxic?

I watched the movie Quintet last night (or at least the part up until the disc error ended it). If you haven't seen it, get it now and make yourself watch it. It is a horrifyingly prophetic vision of the end of our species. Congratulations to Robert Altman and crew for living through the making of that one. I would have been too haunted, but I am so reassured of the general consciousness of our species by its existence.

It gave me weird dreams. I was engaged in a game that involved running around stairs and walkways that descended into a black hole, and I had to carry another person the whole way.

This is not a metaphor.

So what do we do about it?

Here's a suggestion:

End commercial fishing globally. Allow only individual, privately owned boats into the water with limited crews. License the boats and each fisherman. Allow only line fishing for the most endangered species, and limit the size of nets for all others. Restrict the fishing boundaries to local and regionally-focused fishermen so that each boat has a protected local area to fish in, and becomes a specialist in a certain type or types of fish, thereby raising the value of each fish caught so that the fishermen can stay alive, keep their boats maintained, and have the incentive to support the continued growth and survival of their aquatic biosphere.
In addition, each government creates a centralized body that will check the licenses of the boats and fishermen before they leave the dock each day and on their return. Their catch will be checked for species types and quantity to ensure cooperation. The other principle activity of this fishing authority will be to create a centralized system of storage and transportation so that the fish can be brought to markets in larger communities and urban areas, even provide a mechanism for international export.

This doesn't solve all the problems, and it creates others, certainly. Continuing as we are is unacceptable. Something must be done. If you can think of something better, I encourage you to broadcast your ideas as well.

I know so many talented people who don't care about the future. If you think that making money, art or power is important, you are a dinosaur, munching leaves until the comet comes to save you from yourself.


Fantasy Fantasy

Dear Imaginary Reader:
Interspersed with observations about the comedy that is our daily lives, you'll happily find little reveries about what's coming...the sooner the better. Though my distaste for the inadequacies of human development is palpable, I assure you I have great hope for the future. In fact, it is the promise of the future paired with my intense idealism that nurtures the ever-growing canker of disillusionment and dissatisfaction with reality.

So bravely into the alt/synth world of the future of human evolution we go...

Nick Yee is my new best friend. Well, not really, but if I were a PhD student at Stanford, I would be bringing him coffee and donuts in the library every day, trying really hard to get him to be my friend.

His observations of human behavior in the expanding world of MMOGS and MMORPGS, based on actual statistical data and voluntary, user-generated qualitative data, deserves a serious read-through. Especially if you're not a gamer. If you want to know what those crazy kids are up to these days, check out some of the articles on his blog:

The one that caught my attention, and the one that held it for hours, scrolling, scrolling...

The real beauty of this alt fantasy synthetic immersive environment? You can get past all that prejudicial bullshit that your eyes and sex drive dictate. Funny thing is, based on these two articles, and especially the comments, everyone's still just trying to find someone to fuck.

Ahhh, the human instinct for survival is alive and well.

French Toast

Sick, I know.

I realize that my mission in life is to point out the things that don't make sense, so that we know about it, and can then bury ourselves in distractions so we don't have to do anything about it. But someday I will really become an activist instead of a complainer, but in the meantime...
Back to the BBC News, where the reporting of the recent violence in France just points out again that knowing what's wrong and doing something about it are totally disconnected.

Dominique de Villepin, the French Prime Minister (who I actually remembered incorrectly as the Interior Minister - who gave him the top job? This guy is a complete douche), does his usual evasion - rather than deal with the overt racism and complete discrimination evident in relations between the dominant white French and the African post-colonial diaspora, he decides to pass tougher laws. Cause that's going to stop the violence.

Two things:

The French are racist against everyone, not just "the blacks" that have come from the African nations they overran back when all of Europe was grabbing for land, labor and gold. They hate Americans, Brits, and bad french speakers from all over the world. They hate tourists with a passion.

(Just face it, the upperclass, white, educated and liberal French elite are just better. Why should they dilute the perfection they have nurtured like Champagne grapes for centuries?)

This is evidence of yet another government knowing that there's a domestic problem that they don't know how to solve (we've got'em too: immigration wars, disintegration of the industrial complex, education - or the complete lack thereof) that they are just washing over with legislation that is aimed only at punishment and statistical results. They will never get the results they want, but since the results they are actually hoping for will last just long enough for them to get out of office, they won't have to worry about it the next time the shit hits the proverbial fan.

Problem is, we have to deal with their incompetence, their misjudgment, and their half-assed attempts, because we have to live every day past the one when they're out of office.
Hasn't anyone realized that short-term, bottom-line socialism (in France or in the US or anywhere else) doesn't work?

Please comment. I would love to argue the point about the US being socialist. No one recognizes this extremely obvious fact. It ain't about electoral systems, baby.

Propaganda Wars: Or, Why I love Dick Cheney

Dick...Oh, Dick. No one tells the truth like you do, man.
Not only is he frighteningly insightful about the internal workings of the Iraq-based terrorist organization that threatens our precious western civilization, but he knows - and when I say "he knows", I mean he KNOWS how much time those dudes spend on the Internet. And when I say "Internet" I really mean that high technology source of US security leaks and independent observation that lures so many of us into terror.
And let me reassure you, when Dick knows, he doesn't require evidence.
You gotta love the BBC for reporting it as it is, and using enough quotation marks to imply a certain level of distrust when it comes to the blatant and unimpressive propaganda war that the always-spot-on Department of Defense is waging to combat those Internet-obsessed wannabe terrorists.
The real reporting here.

Someone else loves Dick, too.

Opening day

I finally realized that if I didn't have a way to entertain myself at work (and a way to work around those horrendous "non-work-related-site" blockers so efficiently implemented by the IT Compliance Dept) I would start screaming about how everyone's life is meaningless and how can they bullshit around so happily as they sell soulless souls at invented prices. Plus, I want to make comments on Gawker, which has saved me many an afternoon, and it seems that the only way to have some real credibility is by posting my own snarky comments about the ridiculousness of life elsewhere.
Here we go.
What the fuck is up with the lame font choices?

In the past...