Monday, April 28, 2008
Saturday, April 26, 2008
children are beautiful
lyrics: something or other by hank mohaski from thebutterscotchthreshold.com (seems to have lapsed...)
colors: red white and blue. pabst blue ribbon in a can.
mood: okay, back to studying tho.
chant/prayer/mantra: prayer for strength and discipline to keep ploughing through these last few weeks of class.
agape to all,
Saturday, April 12, 2008
At this Onion link, we have the following statement by a fictional person:
Lynn Fitzpatrick, Florist, "Giving money to institutions that failed at their only job, which was to have money, may not be the best strategy."
I read a few months back now about how congress was voting to add $168 billion to stimulate the economy. And the cynical part of me was wondering, "Which part of the economy are they stimulating?" I say this because the U.S. governmental budget stimulates the military-industrial complex part of the economy every year now to the tune of ~$600 billion, and yet the renewable energy part of the economy gets stimulated by the government to the tune of $210 million. That's a factor well over 2000 times as much going to the military for oil-based interests than to research on better energy sources that would provide us with real security.
agape to all,
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
I just saw this from CNBC that shows a simple slideshow (courtesy of the National Priorities Project) of how federal tax dollars are actually spent. I'm going to say this and try not to express any outrage. Simply by the numbers.
Out of every dollar, here is how much goes toward the following expenditures:
|BUDGET CATEGORY||CENTS PER DOLLAR|
|Health Care:||22.1 cents|
|Interest on Debt:||10.2 cents|
|Anti-Poverty Programs:||8.7 cents|
|Government and Law Enforcement: :||3.9 cents|
|Housing and Community Development:||3.3 cents|
|Environment, Energy, and Science:||2.6 cents|
|Agriculture, Commerce, and Transportation:||1.5 cents|
|International Affairs:||1.0 cents|
The US government spends:
- about five times more for war than for helping the poor.
- about nine times more for war than for educating its youth.
- over 2600 times more for war than for research on renewable energy.
And from here, regarding funding for solar energy development, the Bush administration requested from Congress $11,068,000 LESS in 2008 than was enacted in 2007. Likewise, he requested over $9 million less for wind energy, $5 million less for geothermal (actually requesting zero dollars!), the exact same amount for and even asking for $20 million less for biomass research (which I find less inspiring than the first three anyway).
Excluding the biomass, all of these combined (<$210 million) are slightly more than 1/3 of their budget request for fossil fuel R&D ($567 million), and about 1/4 of the budget request for nuclear power ($802 million) That says something about energy priorities. What do we say about a president who works against a positive trend? I haven't had words for a long time, but they wouldn't be words I'd use in front of my mother. I'm always uncomfortable using negative words around my mother. I want her to see me finding the positive things and praising them. Go, solar! Hooray for wind! Go, geothermal, go tidal power!
lyrics: "Jesus would never forgive what you do." from Masters of War, by Bob Dylan
colors: pick a pie chart color theme
chant/prayer/mantra: love your neighbor
agape to all,
Saturday, April 5, 2008
Currently Studying the Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses of the First Amendment to the US Constitution
.Just thought I'd note that. It's really astounding to see how the interpretation of those two clauses has evolved over the years, thereby setting precedents that we have to live with. (Actually we don't have to live with them into perpetuity, because of the "redress of grievances" clause, and the likely never-to-be-written "riot clause." And presently of course we do have to live with bad laws and bad interpretations* for now, since the executive branch is actively pursuing some laws as written and interpreted by the other branches.) It's equally astounding to consider the considerations and assumptions that the members of the supreme court turn to when laying down new precedents.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
I understand that being human, its essentially impossible to be non-ideological, though the ideologies of the judges show through fairly clearly when one adds a critical eye to the bright light that gets shined on the procedures and decisions they make. By that, I mean that some start from the assumption that the founding fathers/parents of this country meant to honor freedom of conscience above all else, by creating this document. And others go so far as to start from the assumption that they meant only that the nation could not establish and endorse a religion, and that people were free to go to any religious house they choose.
Further, at this stage, a small and growing group of the justices on the supreme court believe that the laws of this country come first, rather than the freedom of conscience. If the courts are not protecting our freedom of conscience from the tyranny of the majority and from the tyranny of corrupt laws, then who??? The supreme court is a (if not THE) primary vehicle in which the nation's laws can be tried and found to be in error. Here, specifically, I am referring to the Employment Division vs. Smith case, but really, to the whole process. When a judgment is handed down that says, in effect, "Since what this religion is practicing is against the law, and the law was not written specifically to single out out that religion, that religious practice is still against the law. YET for these ideological people (who also happen to have ascended to the very seat of human justice in the US), there is no reason to assume that the government should have to prove why the law is required, or that there is no less constraining legislation that could more justly address the grievance.
In that case, the justices throw true liberty out the window, and are interested in a continuation of laws, putting written legislation and past interpretations above the inherent freedom of decision and action afforded to individuals. After all, as we join together out of a lawless "natural state" of cavepeople into social contracts where we recognize that the government has as one of its major roles that of determining the boundaries of freedom between rights of people against each other, and against the powers ceded to government in exchange for freedom from others' freedoms to. But when government goes bad, it forgets that its powers come from the people, and begins to define the freedoms with greater allowances to some parties than others, in effect breaking the contract with people whose views differ from the majority, thus violating their right to be free to express themselves as they please, as long as they are not imposing unduly on the freedom of expression of others. And yes, there is a line that must be determined there, and determining the line between the freedoms of two different entities is the purpose of courtly jurisprudence, but I would warrant with every fiber of my being that neither the lines being drawn by the the legislation, nor those practiced by the executive branch, nor those interpreted by the judicial branch -- none of those lines are drawn justly, with individuals' rights in the fore of consideration.
That's my thinking.
lyrics: "Clean up your shit, man, before I change my mind." -Beth Wood
colors: white and yellow
mood: studying hard, should be writing the above in a paper
chant/prayer/mantra: focus. focus. focus.
agape to all,
*just to clarify, while i am certainly critical of the government (as every true patriot should assiduously be), i think that for one to be critical and always partisan against the government is foolish. to me, being critical means to critique and examine something with open eyes, through as diverse a sequence of lenses as one can produce. then to discern the flavor of the thing (or to judge it, if you will).
the government is not all bad. there are good people within, there are bad people within, and there are people who exhibit both good and bad actions. the policies and laws are not all bad or good, nor are there interpretations. and those deciding how to carry out the laws are not all bad or good, but of course "teh george" does seem to be attempting to set a record for the former...
that's why having freedom for honest and open conversation/dialog/trialog/quadralog in our country/world is so important, and why i'm a media reform advocate. the minute a law or interpretation gets written, it starts to decay. if we can critically talk about it, our democracy survives and thrives. those who would hinder that are NOT interested in democracy. EOM.