Wednesday, January 28, 2009

25 Things

So there's this 25 things thing going around Facebook (I know, Facebook... shudder). You're supposed to post "25 random things about yourself." Problem for me is, I'm such a narcissistic loudmouth, I've already told everyone in ear-shot everything they could ever want to know about me, and many things they never wanted to know. So, in lieu of 25 random things about myself, I'm going to post 25 things on a different topic.

See, thing is, tonight the "Stimulus Bill" proposed by President Obama passed the house. That is the good news. The bad news is that the President and the House Democrats watered the bill down to try to make it palatable for the Republicans. They did things like take out funding for family planning, and add tax cuts. You know what they got for these compromises, made in the name of "bipartisanship" and unity? Nothing. No GOP representatives, exactly none, voted for this bill.

So I'm writing this note to say: To hell with bi-partisanship! Here are 25 things I want added to the Stimulus Bill in the Senate, just to piss off the Republicans.

1. Money to buy 14 billion condoms and 300 million doses of Plan B, and to drop said supplies out of low-flying C-130 cargo aircraft over every populated area in the United States.
2. Language declaring National Coming Out Day a National Holiday, and providing funds to celebrate it in the public schools.
3. Block grants for bloggers, with 10 million dollars specifically earmarked for the Daily Kos.
4. Funding to install organic rooftop gardens on all public housing projects
5. To raise funds, the bill should establish a program to forcibly re-posses Hummer SUVs and melt them down. Scrap to be used on public works projects. All Hummer owners to be issued pink Priuses as replacement vehicles.
6. Full funding for Bike trails in all urban and suburban areas. All bike trails to be marked with clearly legible signage reading "YOUR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT LOVES HIPPIES."
7. Oklahoma to be sold back to appropriate Native American Nations for a set of Rosary Beads and one of those "Magical Prayer Mats" you get in the mail unsolicited.
8. Charles Darwin and Issac Asmiov's birthday to be celebrated as joint holiday (like president's day) to be called "National Secular Humanism Day." Army of MFA metal sculptors hired to build giant abstract sculpture depicting Darwin and Asimov's love for humanity in the medium of their choice. Homoerotic overtones are to be encouraged, but not required.
9. Travel grants for same sex couples to go to states where full marriage equality is practiced and get married. Extra funding to be granted if couples need to avoid traveling through Congressional Districts with GOP congresspersons.
10. NEH funding increased 4000% At least half of the funding must be devoted to special projects on Pro-Feminist Pornography
11. Money to tear down border wall and replace it with "Borderlands! A Water-Fun Park Devoted to the Work of Gloria Anzaldua" Several Waterslides will cross the US-Mexico border.
12. UAW/SEIU/AFL-CIO get their own bailout grants. Money is specifically permitted to be used on government lobbying and lavish parties.
13. "The L-Word" to be named national treasure. Vast staff of Queer Theory scholars hired at lavish salaries to maintain archival material and perform fan ethnographies.
14. Funding for Peace Studies programs to be established at Annapolis, Quantico, and West Point.
15. Residents of East Hampton and Orange County to be evicted by armored units of the National Guard. Funding provided for homes to be converted to communal housing for musicians devoted to copyright-free music
16. Money to hire coders to re-write Linux kernel. They will be instructed to "Make it more communist."
17. Biologists hired to establish the species with the highest incidence of same-sex sex (other than human beings). This species to be named a special protected species. Homes of high profile GOP politicians to be seized in eminent domain for the purpose of creating parks for preserving this species. Homes will be preserved intact, signage to be posted reading clearly "Government Preserve for Gay Animals."
18. Massive farm subsidies for Arugula farmers. Tofu producers to be given similar subsidies.
19. Hire crew of painters to paint a giant Pot leaf on the Hoover Dam, while we're at it Hoover Dam to be renamed in honor of Ralph Nader
20. "Faith Based Charity Funding" provided for Nation of Islam community self-policing projects.
21. PBS and NPR funding to be massively increased. Specific earmarks for programming on "Why Kinky Hair is Good Hair," "Gay Communities in the Islamic World," "NASCAR is Stupid: An Expose," and "No, For Serious People, Global Warming is Very, Very Real."
22. Money to establish K-12 curricula on Critical Examination of White Privilege, Critical Race Theory, and Advanced Evolutionary Biology
23. Funding for Vegan school lunch programs.
24. Coors bottling plant to be seized, sold to Tsingao brewing company for write-down of Chinese held debt.
25. Money for changing signage etc such that, all gov't buildings, vessels, etc. named after Ronald Regan to be renamed after Harvey Milk, Al Gore, Bobby Kennedy, and Eugene V. Debs

There you go! 25 things! Who has more?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Economics of War

I don't agree with much of Classical economics, but I will agree with this: if you make a certain course of action cheap, people will tend to pursue it rather than alternatives.

If you make bombs cheap, for example, everything starts to look like a target. Take the current situation in Gaza, almost certainly helped along by the United States providing Israel with Two Billion Dollars of military aid annually (aid that must be spent for US-made weapons, making it essentially a giant welfare check for Lockheed, Boeing, and Raytheon). So the Israeli's attempt to solve the "Palestinian Question" by using multi-million dollar fighter planes to drop bombs on tenement buildings.

Oh, and shell the place with nice, cheap, readily available American made White Phosphorus shells.

Follow that link. It couldn't be clearer. That brightly burning stuff falling from the sky, trailing white smoke? That's White Phosphorus: a high temperature incendiary that keeps burning after it lands on you, and has the handy side-effect of being highly toxic. Whether the photograph shows an intentional strike or the side-effects of using WP as a light or smoke source over a built-up area hardly matters. You can see what this stuff does when used over one of the most densely populated places in the world.

Hey, I've got an idea, if we really want mid-east peace, why don't we stop giving all this crap to the Israelis? Why don't we make war expensive, and see if that generates some more creative thinking on how peace might be achieved?

That would be change I could believe in. Why do I feel like we're unlikely to get it.

Monday, January 12, 2009

So Late It Is Early

Trying to reset the old out of whack diurnal clock by brute force, seemed like a good idea two hours ago when I was nice and alert and able to read...

Now I'm watching the sky grow brighter and the temperature fall on my little weather station.

Morning like this, you step outside and can feel the cold of space against the skin, thin skein of the atmosphere is no protection... body heat just wicks up and out, into the long dark deepness between the stars.

Morning like this, it occurs to you that this moment now is, effectively, the moment you die, no rupture, no protection, just the all too brief present unfolding in its always accelerating way until it runs headlong into oblivion's grasp. Into the long dark deepness of the inanimate from which you sprang, to which you shall return.

A morning not so unlike this one, not so long ago, I sat in the window seat of a tiny turboprop, waiting to take off on the first leg of a transatlantic trip. Flying makes me nervous, the sheer number of moving parts involved in commercial air traffic overwhelms my ability to make sense of the system, forces me to take on faith the notion that one will safely be conveyed to the edge of space and back as one flies from here to there.

My imagination being what it is, I began it picture how things could go wrong. Imagined the blades of the prop outside my window coming apart violently. Imagined myself decapitated, my head surviving a few seconds as the urban legends say it will. If that were the last bit of the moment granted me, I thought, what will I wish I had done?

And I looked at the play of the raindrops being blown back across the plexiglass window by the propwash, their tiny convexities splitting dull gray morning light into subtle, leaden spectra. Watched them dance up, then down, as the engine throttled.

I thought, I would wish I could write that down.

And now I have.

It must suffice.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Lazy Food Blogging

Originally uploaded by choo_choo_pictures
I took some pics of my prep from the food I made to share with friends on New Year's eve. I meant to write up a "food blog" post, but I am too lazy. The pics are on my flickr with some basic descriptive captions, though... so click the picture to them out if you would like.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

New Year's Day

We've made it to see another year friends.

Remember, whatever happens in 2009, so long as the Supervolcano under Yellowstone doesn't explode, taking two-thirds of the Continental US with it, I'd say we've done ok.

That kinda puts our human-level tragedies in perspective, don't it?