This is an idea blog. The intention was to kick-start discussions about ideas, but it has turned into my catch-all blog. I cannot take responsibility for any posts or comments other than my own, nor for where the links take you. If you are offended by what I say, you can let me know. Otherwise you are on your own. Not intended for children or the thin-skinned. Tell it like it is...
Like many of my generation, I grew up in a fading industrial city in the Northeastern U.S. This one's saving graces were being surrounded by the natural beauty of New England hills, and its proximity to New York City, making the area a prime spot for the country houses of the Robber Barons.
This is not disturbing, it is pathetic. "turnstyle jumping", whaaat?
Does 45 know that 1/15th of 1% (300) of the immigrants to the U.S. from the dreaded 7 countries have gone on to commit crimes here?
Yes, sick -- not physically, I'm in top shape for an old crippled guy :-)
But sick of the narrative of 45 (what Lawrence Fushburne calls him because he won't say his name, so I've adopted it as a sign of outrage). Sick of the garbage in / garbage out rhetoric: Briefs by Fox News, then confusing statements using Twitter. Travel Ban, Republicare, supply-side economics, the list goes on... but starts and ends with cluelessness. All of us, and I mean worldwide, are left confused and worried.
Start with something he claims to know something about...money.
Is he unaware that the value of U.S. currency is tied to trade?
He can start by reading this. It's at about the level of the Intro Macro-economics class I took as a freshman in college. He claims to have gone to college, or maybe that is an "alternate fact". He should be really, really careful about changing trade policies. The chair of the Federal Reserve could explain it to him, but she's not pussy-grabbing material :-(
I am reminded, in a very scary way, of 9/11, in that no matter how horrifying and tragic, I just can't stop watching. I'm not good with marching, but I am good at standing, sitting, teaching, and short filmmaking. Currently I am teaching an ESL class so that immigrants can support themselves by taking all those high-paying American jobs like cleaning my building and caring for our children and dying elderly people. I am ashamed of our government, and of the people -- racist, zenophobic (look it up, unschooled people who don't know the word), vindictive, ignorant, and pessimistic supporters.
Jones said the number of foreign fighters traveling to join IS had
dropped by between 75 and 90 percent, both due to it being harder to get
in and out of Iraq and Syria and because the reality of doing so had
been exposed as unappealing. What did they expect, Disneyworld? Nothing like youthful excitement followed by a distaste for actual work and disappointment in a cause.
I am of course past the deadline for Memorial Day Memorials, but this is honestly the first time I ever considered the meaning beyond BBQs and beer -- and maybe traffic. And being a peacenik hippie may have been a part of it as well, of course.
No one in my immediate family or among our friends was killed in any war or conflict, or whatever we are calling them now.
I live across the street from a wonderful place called "Constitution Park". I have shared many photos of it in the past, mostly because it was once the home of multiple movie studios in the silent film era. It also has multiple memorials to those who had served to protect our citizens, including firemen and policemen as well as the military. It has a prominent sculpture made from a large steel beam of the World Trade Center.
But this year before the BBQ and beer, I made sure to walk across the street and visit the monument to those who lost their lives in World War II, and place a single flower on it. My wife later said it is supposed to be a poppy, but all I had was a tulip. Here's why:
In March my father Ralph Gionet died at 89 after living a full and happy life. He was young when the U.S. joined the war, but knew he was needed and expected to serve. As it turned out he had a minor medical condition that prevented him from being recruited. So instead, he went to work as a welder in several shipyards in the Boston area throughout the war. Cannot have a Navy without ships, right?
Last year he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, which is caused only be regular, ongoing, daily exposure to asbestos.
This would likely make him one of the oldest American men to die from an injury sustained during WWII.
I placed this flower and took this picture to honor him and all of those other people who have given their lives, not in the trenches, but in the factories, kitchens, hospitals, communications centers, and every other place providing support for the people at the front. There are maybe way more than we could even know, given the chaos of war and passing of time.
Please remember their sacrifices as you go back to your regular busy lives.
Mandy Potankin is on Colbert tonight, oppressed. He says we need "a new paradigm".
That sum could go a very long way towards educating the world's disadvantaged, marginalized, and opressed.
Lack of, or poor, education is clearly the biggest problem the world's population faces. Ignorance encourages hatred and fear, which then incite violence. I have been saying since the 80's that the real chant of young people in disadvantaged and war-torn countries is, "We want our MTV". Sadly this desire for wordly goods and associated global perspective is denied those who could actually use it to advance their own messages of peace and commonality.
Sadly, in many parts of the world, particularly those with restrictive religious tenets, the concept of education is itself under fire, literally, especcially for girls.
My One-minute movie about the Boko Haram in Nigeria is only one extreme example. In our own country, we fan fear with the increase of mass shootings and the associated proliferation of guns. The fear of people "not like us" causes events like targeting Sihks and other Asians who at first glance may look like Muslims because of their garb.
Where does it stop? In the 60's and 70's we feared nuclear annihilation, but those potentially responsible were easily identifiable and located, and their motives clear.
Now it is far more like Orwell's 1984, including "doublespeak", supporting the sociological perspective known as conflict theories.
Conflict theories detract from ideas of society being naturally in
harmony, instead placing emphasis on political and material inequality
as its structural features (which we seem to be suffering from now).
Fast plastic bag facts • Over 1 trillion plastic bags are used every year worldwide (Earth Policy Institute). Consider China, a country of 1.3 billion, which consumes 3 billion plastic bags daily, according to China Trade News. • About 2 million plastic bags are used every minute around the world (Earth Policy Institute). • Approximately 32 million tons of plastic waste are generated annually, representing 12.7% of total municipal solid waste (Environmental Protection Agency). • Only 1 in 200 plastic bags in the UK are recycled (BBC). • The average American family takes home 1,500 plastic bags a year (Natural Resources Defense Council). • Americans use and throw away 100 billion plastic bags every year, which requires 12 million barrels of oil per year to manufacture. (The Wall Street Journal).
Why are plastic bags bad? • Scientists estimate that every square mile of ocean contains approximately 46,000 pieces of plastic floating in it (United Nations Environment Programme). • A single plastic bag can take up 500 years or more to degrade (Measuring biodegradability, ScienceLearn.org). • In good circumstances, high-density polyethylene will take more than 20 years to degrade. In less ideal circumstances (landfills or as general refuse), a bag will take more than 500 years to degrade (ScienceLearn.org). • An estimated 3,960,000 tons of plastic bags, sack and wraps are produced annually. Of those, 3,570,000 tons (90%) are discarded. This is almost triple the amount discarded the first year plastic bag numbers were tracked (1,230,000 tons in 1980) (Environmental Protection Agency). • Anywhere from .5% to 3% of all bags winds up recycled (BBC, CNN). Plastic bags' impact on the environment • The U.S. goes through 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually at an estimated cost to retailers of $4 billion (The Wall Street Journal). • According to data from the Ocean Conservancy's annual International Coastal Cleanups, plastic bags are consistently in the top 10 pieces of trash collected on beaches around the world. • The extremely slow decomposition rate of plastic bags leaves them to drift on the ocean for untold years. According to the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, these plastic bags cause the death of many marine animals (fish, sea turtles, etc.), every year when animals mistake them for food. • When plastics break down, they don't biodegrade; they photodegrade. This means the materials break down to smaller fragments which readily soak up toxins. They then contaminate soil, waterways, and animals upon digestion (Earth911). • 10% of the plastic produced every year worldwide winds up in the ocean. 70% of which finds its way to the ocean floor, where it will likely never degrade (United Nations). The solution? Reusable shopping bags > • The solution is not a plastic bag ban, which is an emotional response which fails to strike at the heart of the issue; instead of a market-based solution, a ban shifts production to paper bags and compostable bags, both of which have heavy environmental consequences. • The solution is not switching to paper bags or compostable plastic bags. A study on the life cycle of three types of disposable bags (single-use plastic, paper, and compostable plastic) showed that both compostable plastic and paper bags require more material per bag in the manufacturing process. This means "higher consumption of raw materials in the manufacture of the bags...[and] greater energy in bag manufacturing and greater fuel use in the transport of the finished product. ...The added requirements of manufacturing energy and transport for the compostable and paper bag systems far exceed the raw material use in the standard plastic bag system." (from a peer reviewed Boustead Consulting & Associates report) • reuseit.com™ supports a multi-pronged approach that discourages the distribution of plastic bags with a tax and a cultural shift away from use-and-toss plastic bags: - Plastic Tax: In 2001, Ireland implemented a plastic tax (or PlasTax); the first of its kind, this route acknowledges the fact that people will still occasionally use plastic bags. This market-based solution discourages daily, thoughtless use of plastic bags by charging a nominal fee per bag at checkout. In a study by the Irish Department of the Environment it was found that plastic bag usage had dropped 93.5%. This breaks down to a drop from 328 to 21 bags per person each year. - A cultural shift away from use-and-toss culture: Each reusable bag can eliminate hundreds (if not thousands) of plastic bags.
Okay, that seems clear enough. Now my solution to reducing it is both practical and elegant (in the programmer or mathemation sense).
World War 3 started long before 9/11 or any other specific event. However, now that ISIS is an actual nation with land, there is a sort or relief that we are now fighting an actual geographical enemy.
As I look over my realm of Pavopolis, including Treemania (where I was duly elected), currently visible to me now through only the heart, not the eyes, I support our inner fight for peace and outer show of strength, not fear.
your most solemn and obliged King,
Bruce the Mindful