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LJ now == FuckBook

So, they rolled out Release 88, which arbitrarily went and abused every journal to rip out comment subject lines by their roots. Now all you see is a bunch of usernames, not what they are talking about. Take about ego bullshit.

Supposedly it wasn't going to break S2 styles.

Guess what? I use S2, and my LJ is broken. OK, they fixed it, except for pages that throw you into the new atrocity, despite what your settings are.

The new default comment page looks as juvenile and corporate as FarceBook.

If you want to comment on my journal with proper subjects, comment at My Dreamwidth Journal

If you want to leave a nastygram on feedback? Do it, I did.



Originally posted by kylecassidy at post
Via Citykitties (emphasis mine):

A good samaritan found this cat today in a gutter by Clark Park, half dead. He is now at the Cat Doctor with a body temperature of 90 (normal is 102) and blood PCV of 8. The Cat Doctor housecat, Diamond, is currently donating blood to save his life. During the exam, the vet found that this cat has a microchip. When called, his "owners" reported that he was acting sick, so they put him outside. If this makes you as angry as it makes us, please channel your anger in one of two ways: visit our website at www.citykitties.org and make a donation to help us pay for his care, or share this post and encourage others to do so.

Click to donate.

Add me: [LiveJournal] [Facebook] [Twitter] [Google+] [Tumblr]


Ugh, Dentists

So, Datapard's rear tooth wouldn't wait until the new year, when I have my next round of Flex spending available. $2700 later, on CareCredit, and I'm stuck for $225/mo for a year.



Do You Know The Way?

To San Jose! If you live or work in San Jose, California, you are eligible to Move Your Money out of a big greedy bank into the San Jose Credit Union (I bank there, I like them).

"SPECIAL SATURDAY HOURS: The Credit Union (both branches) will be open Saturday, November 5th from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m."

No, they usually aren't open on Saturday, but they will be on November 5.

If you are local, it would be a great opportunity to get shed of your greedy bloodsucking corporate bank, and get into a customer owned Credit Union.

Heck, a lot of the city cops bank there.



Via [personal profile] siliconshaman

What Is Your Battle Cry?

Sprinting amidst the hotel lobby, swinging a mighty sword, cometh Ravan! And she gives a mighty scream:

"I'm going to punch you with such zeal, you will see ultraviolet!"

Find out!
Enter username:
Are you a girl, or a guy ?

created by beatings : powered by monkeys


Mississippi Personhood Amendment

Originally posted by gabrielleabelle at Mississippi Personhood Amendment
Okay, so I don't usually do this, but this is an issue near and dear to me and this is getting very little no attention in the mainstream media.

Mississippi is voting on November 8th on whether to pass Amendment 26, the "Personhood Amendment". This amendment would grant fertilized eggs and fetuses personhood status.

Putting aside the contentious issue of abortion, this would effectively outlaw birth control and criminalize women who have miscarriages. This is not a good thing.

Jackson Women's Health Organization is the only place women can get abortions in the entire state, and they are trying to launch a grassroots movement against this amendment. This doesn't just apply to Mississippi, though, as Personhood USA, the group that introduced this amendment, is trying to introduce identical amendments in all 50 states.

What's more, in Mississippi, this amendment is expected to pass. It even has Mississippi Democrats, including the Attorney General, Jim Hood, backing it.

The reason I'm posting this here is because I made a meager donation to the Jackson Women's Health Organization this morning, and I received a personal email back hours later - on a Sunday - thanking me and noting that I'm one of the first "outside" people to contribute.

So if you sometimes pass on political action because you figure that enough other people will do something to make a difference, make an exception on this one. My RSS reader is near silent on this amendment. I only found out about it through a feminist blog. The mainstream media is not reporting on it.

If there is ever a time to donate or send a letter in protest, this would be it.

What to do?

- Read up on it. Wake Up, Mississippi is the home of the grassroots effort to fight this amendment. Daily Kos also has a thorough story on it.

- If you can afford it, you can donate at the site's link.

- You can contact the Democratic National Committee to see why more of our representatives aren't speaking out against this.

- Like this Facebook page to help spread awareness.

Poetry Fishbowl

[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith is running a Poetry Fishbowl with a theme of "ghosts." Read, and maybe get involved in some cyberfunded creativity!

Dear "Recruiter"

If you cause my phone to detonate at 06:30 my time, I will probably not answer it. At least you had better hope I can't claw the mask from my face and fumble for the phone fast enough, because you'll get an earful. Civilized people don't call a residence before 8 am local unless by prior arrangement.

When you leave me a semi-incomprehensible message? Don't expect a return call, you wouldn't like it if I called you back.

- The now very, VERY cranky person you woke up 2 hours too early after she got to bed at 3:30 am.

Fucker. I actually was sleeping, well, and he ruined it.



I can't go to them. I set my alarm... and sleep through. One time I literally slept through the day. I misplace times, dates, addresses related - so unless someone else tracks them, I lose it.

I think my subconcious aversion comes from the type of Christianoid or religious stuff that goes on, plus the empathic overload from everyone there. I don't deal well with the way our society doesn't deal with death.

Have a wake, have a party, that's a little better. But usually, I'll drink at home, alone or with a couple friends, to the person's memory.

Needless to say, when I kick off, celebrate. Celebrate the fact that I lived past my 21st birthday, past my 50th birthday. Celebrate the fact that I have had fun times and good friends. Don't let the preachers near it, though. My soul and afterlife are my business, not theirs.

Also, don't kick yourself like I do if you can't get yourself to go. I'll understand.


Food, Hunger, and Food Stamps

PSA: An LJ blogger I follow recently posted an excellent guide on this subject that needs to be spread more widely:
Foodstamps 101

Even if you don't need it now, put it in your memories, you or someone you know may need it in the future.

There are more Americans living with food insecurity and hunger than in the past 50+ years. The local talk radio station just had a fundraiser day for food banks, the need is so great. This is a consequence of the Great Recession, and not likely to go away soon.


Well, fuck...

So, the cops have cordoned off my block, and the bomb squad has detonated at least two bombs, and they've found about 4 more, according to what my roomie has heard. Part of the block has been evacuated, but they're letting my roomies stay in the house, at least.

I'm still at work, and staying until they leave, because otherwise I have to seek even more reduced parking several blocks away, then walk in and be escorted to my own house. Did I mention that I am mobility impaired?

Yeah, suckage. All because some asshole decided to play amateur chemist.

Final update: The cops finally let us in at around 11:30 pm. I got to hear the last "Kaboom"

Hey, PoC?

If you're gonna accuse all white people of having "Mammy issues", and also of taking over any fight for rights, common decency, or whatever, then don't accuse me of being "passive-aggressive" and doing nothing when I fucking tell you "I know I personally don't do X, and don't give my money to it. Anything else, you're driving, what do you you want me to do?"

You know why? Because you are expecting me to be fucking psychic, and somehow mystically know how you want white people to help, and when we don't, you accuse us of some fucked up mammy shit. I never had a "mammy", or any other "help" when I grew up. I don't crave it now, either. Does not apply, sorry to disappoint you. I'm not your stereotypical white chick.

I'm doing what you have told me you want: Staying out of the drivers seat, because it's your fight, not mine.

I try to be sympathetic, but if I can't understand *why* some people treat others in some really fucked up ways, it's not because of "privilege", but because I don't treat people in those fucked up ways!

There's some things no one should have to put up with, I don't care their color, ability, gender, gender identity, religion, or any other artificial division we make in the definition of human. The fact that some jerks think those things exclude people from being human pisses me off, but I can't walk up and change them. Sorry to disillusion you. I can refuse to do it, support it or feed it. That's it, without some other inspiration from you, because I don't really have any other tools or knowledge at my disposal. I'm not rich and powerful.

So I will do my best to not step in your way, and I try to ask what you want.

But I'm really not into getting abuse for being born white, any more than you are into getting abuse for being non-white. I'm not going to assume what's best for you - that's fucking patronizing - and I'll thank you to not assume that I know how you want me to help.

I try to be understanding of experiences I've never had. But some shit I don't, and can't get my head around. Not just color issues, either, but lots of it dealing with breaches of common (to me) courtesy and respect. I don't condone it, either. But that's not good enough for some people.

BTW, this is in my blog, instead of someone else's, because this kind of piss and vinegar doesn't belong in somebody's "home" that isn't party to it.

Fucking Sick

Video shows white teens driving over, killing black man, says DA - I grabbed the link from [personal profile] karnythia's post on the subject. More people than just those that follow her need to see this.

This makes me sad, angry, and a whole lot of other things.

A bunch of teenagers beat and then killed another human being because of the color of his skin. No other reason.

I could go into the cultural shit behind it, but I won't. It's just fucking wrong.

It was wrong 50 years ago, it's wrong now.

Now the victim's family gets to deal with everything that it dredges up, inside and out, including the freaks coming out of the woodwork, on top of burying the victim of a senseless, vicious murder.

Lynching isn't gone, they just don't bother with the rope now, they use pickups instead.

Can I leave the planet now?


Crowdfunded Poetry & Fiction

I enjoy this, but seldom have the inclination or cash to buy in.

Well, for this one, Stained, I have the inclination, but not the cash.

But hey, I can at least point other people to it so they can enjoy...

Oh, the first payday on the new job won't be until the 25th...

There are others, as well, and I really should highlight them now and again.

On Abuse Within Community/Subcultures

In another post on someone else's journal, [personal profile] mac posted this link: The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Violence Within Activist Communities. It mentions a book that I currently can't afford to order, but also has a link to an excellent PDF of the zine version.

It is an intense read, but very valuable, IMO. So far I'm only a third of the way through it. One takeaway I have is something I knew at a gut level, but didn't really follow all the way through: Just because a person is an activist doesn't mean they automatically are not capable of being an abuser.

I know, peripherally, of incidents in various subcultures/communities I'm involved in that are not pretty. What I hadn't really internalized is how much it happens, but is ignored *within the community*. Sure, the outside will take a hint and make it a federal case, but ignoring it within isn't the solution either.

BTW, for those who wonder why I am bothering with any of this, since it's not my fight? Because I can. Because if someone hates me because of what I say on the net, it wouldn't be the first time. Because I have this obnoxious tendency to ask "Oh, really?" and be a bit sparing with my trust and credence. Not everyone whose journal I follow do I like or trust, either.

I'm sorry if I don't conform to your idea of what a pagan/feminist/queer/gimp/fan should be like. I'm not trying to please you or conform, and pushing me to do so just gets my back up and me being contrary. Call it crazy if you like.

But if I can inspire someone to think past their knee-jerk, then it's worth it.

That's why I've chosen to highlight this link/document - because it has made *me* think.

Rush to Judgment Draaaamaaaaah

So, person A is making a name for hirself as an advocate for oppressed groups M and N. Person B, an ex of person A, says, "Hold on, this person raped me at a con, they aren't as pure as they claim to be". Person C, a friend, and probably now lover of person B, says "Yes, I was there, it was baaaad" and describes something eerily similar to a previous case described in fandom circles a couple years ago, with different people, and then spreads this among groups that are innately hostile to groups M and N. Person A says "I've been accused, I admit no guilt, see you in court." essentially "I won't play along with trial by net."

These accusations come immediately on the heels of person A's success - not a surprise, I guess, since such things tend to bring skeletons out of closets. But the fact that person A had a ton of nasty harassing phone calls just the week or two before, to the point that they had to involve the police and change their number, and that they were also subscribed to a slew of disgusting porn email lists, makes the timing a bit more... suspect.

I call the question, ask "qui bono", because something stinks, and doesn't pass my BS filters. Person C and hir choir gets downright nasty, accuses me of enabling "rape culture", "victim-blaming" and other melodramatic sloganeering.

What's worse is, A, B and C are into BDSM, so at the time, C supposedly wasn't sure if it was a "scene" or not. But there was no scene monitor, but they may not play that way.

But the whole thing just reeks of a virtual lynch mob, and I feel that degrades accusers in rape cases. Just like the Julian Assange thing felt like the rape accusation was only useful as a political tool to "get" Assange.

Was there rape? I don't know. Was there miscommunication? Yes, from what I've read! Is that miscommunication rape? I can't say, and I hate that I can't. In a BDSM scene context, "no" may not mean "no", the safeword does.

But I can't jump in with both boots on person C's say-so. Person B didn't ask for that, and they are the only one with the right.

People who know me know I often take the side of the underdog. When I see sharks circling and people throwing around slurs due to this kind of accusation being made, I start to think that there's more in play than simple justice and wanting to warn people against trusting this person's activist credentials.

Person A hasn't made any brownie points with me either, posting hir accuser's whole name in public in what limited response they have made. So that stinks too.

Now, someone whose opinion I trust has said that person A has a history of not respecting boundaries. That I will believe, because the person who has said it is credible to me. That kind of behavior can lead to rape, and needs to stop.

The worst actors on the drama front are person C and the chorus of hate and drama. The jerking knees, the instant "off with their head" condemnation, and rush to judgment make me furious, and wade in with both rhetorical fists swinging.

Would I share a room at a con with either A, B or C? Not a chance - I don't want any part of their drama. Would I 86 any of them from a con I ran? No, because my standard of proof hasn't been met, either for rape or excess drama. Would I invite any of them to a party? No, too much drama for my personal comfort.

I've left names and specifics out of this for a reason: The issue is really a meta one, of where the line is on the use of rape accusations as a political tool, both in real world politics, ala Assange, and in fannish politics.

Rape accusations are a special breed of criminal accusation in our society, because of the twisted culture that makes "consent" a murky mess, because of the intersection of reputation and crime, because of the "he said, she said" nature, because some people assume consent where it isn't, because some people believe in "surprise sex" as sex, and a whole lot of other reasons. But using it as a political weapon is abhorrent to me. It trivializes it, IMO, and that's wrong.

I must apologize to the person whose journal that some of my objections to this erupted in. They didn't deserve to end up at the nexus of my fury at the level of wank this whole thing has engendered.

Surprised? No!

So a Christian Fundamentalist committed a major act of terrorism in Norway, and people are acting all shocked, like they can't believe it. Guess what, folks? Right Wing Christian Fundamentalists, especially Dominionists, are just as terroristic in nature as Al Queda and their ilk. It's perfectly acceptable in their world view to "Kill a 'Commie' for Christ" or a gay, Muslim, woman, liberal, jew, black, etc. Who the hell do you think started the Crusades, anyway? It wasn't the Muslims, folks! Who did the Inquisition?

Right wing Christian fundamentalist extremism has been glossed over, passed off as the work of "lone wolves", or "fringe groups" that "aren't really Christian". Guess what? They go to "Christian" churches, wear crosses, read bibles, pray to Jesus, etc. They are just as "Christian" as the Muslim terrorists are Muslim. You don't get to say they "aren't really" members of the dominant religion in the Western world.

You say that if the Muslims don't stop the Muslim terrorists, then they are complicit. Well, guess what, folks, that sword cuts both ways: If average peaceful Christians don't stop Christian terrorists, they are just as complicit as average peaceful Muslims are in Muslim terror.

If you think it's not a problem, do a few google searches on words like "steeplejacking" and "dominionism". Check out SPLC and their right wing watch. White Militant Right Wing Christian groups are very, very popular. A lot of them are behind the Tea Party, and call them selves "Libertarian", too.

I feel sorry for the people in Norway, with their peace shattered by something within their own society. Let's hope they're smarter about how they deal with it than we were.
Go read When "minor" and "devestating" are used in the same sentence. I'll wait.

The most brutal part:
They called it a minor stroke...but the results were devastating.

However they found that both arteries feeding the brain stem were either partially or almost fully blocked and the decision was made to place stents into those arteries and restore flow to that part of the brain. Some of the tissue was already dead from lack of blood flow and oxygen.

The stents were the main plan of attack...

Until they found she was uninsured." (italics mine)
Yes, they could treat it in a jiffy, fix it all up, IF ONLY SHE HAD INSURANCE. But she worked for a NON-PROFIT, and was in the retirement gap, so was UNINSURED. So now, this person who has worked to help people without computers get them, may just DIE OF A TREATABLE STROKE BECAUSE SHE LACKS INSURANCE OR THE MONEY TO PAY FOR IT!!


Is this America? If you aren't a rich stockbroker, or in the service of one*, you don't deserve to live? Is this how far we've fallen?

This woman isn't eligible for Medicare, and now the GOP wants to make Medicare harder to get, so more people just end up waiting to die of treatable conditions.

I guess that's better than starving due to the cuts in Social Security that they want to make, so that people my age don't get back what we've paid in to all of our working lives. Oh, yeah, we were supposed to save "enough" out of our ever-shrinking wages to invest in the great Ponzi SchemeStock Market in 401(k)s. (Mine have all shrunk over the last ten years, unless I literally added boatloads of cash I couldn't afford.) I bet our corporatist overlords will be happy to import melamine contaminated dog food for us to eat so we die and are out of their hair even quicker. After all, a slave who can't work should be put out of their misery, right?


* Corporate wage slaves are by definition in the service of the rich stockbrokers who own, buy and sell their employer's stock.

No WorldCon Unless I Get Work Real Soon

Being now unemployed, my plans for WorldCon in Reno are in ruins. This sucks because it was going to be a belated birthday shindig for both DataPard and I.

However, being a financially responsible person, I haven't got the $1300+ to go: $390 for memberships, $134 for trainfare, and well over $745 for hotel (5 days at $149, plus tax), and that doesn't even count food and spending cash. That's easily a month's cushion for paying my actual bills and rent (unemployment doesn't pay it all.)

Now, if I get a job by my birthday (July 14) that pays my usual rate, I might be able to swing it. But I am not reserving any rooms, booking any train rides, or buying membership until I have the job.

Also, I will only be attending WesterCon for a day or two, unless my dealer friends are willing to sponsor DataPard and I as helpers, which I doubt - they have family for that.

So if you don't see us, that's why: I can't spend money on cons when I'm broke. I'm too midwestern pragmatic for that.

For those of you who are going, have fun, and say hello to my friends for me.


To all who have served,
In peace or in war,
Even if they never admitted
Your war existed:
Thank You.



I have DW invite codes for those who want them. Send your email in a message (don't post it to the comments!) to me here.


Trick question

This quote is attributed to:

"We must close union offices, confiscate their money and put their leaders in prison. We must reduce workers' salaries and take away their right to strike."

A) FDR, Mar 2, 1943
B) Adolph Hitler, May 2 1933.
C) Richard Nixon, Mar 2, 1973
D) Ronald Reagan, May 2, 1983
E) Scott Walker, Mar 2, 2011
F) Barack Obama, May 2, 2010



Meme, swiped from [personal profile] arlie

Gee, I have no accent! I can be a broadcaster!
What American accent do you have?
Created by Xavier on Memegen.net

Neutral. Not Northern, Southern, or Western, just American. Your national American identity is more important to you than your local identity, because you don't really have a local identity to begin with.

Take this quiz now - it's easy!


Originally posted by ladyqkat at Dear GOP - the collective you are an Idiot
(Post originally seen in this post by [info]ramblin_phyl. I have been notified that it was originally posted by [info]suricattus in her journal post. The story and words are hers, but I do believe that it needs to go viral and that as many people as possible need to get their stories out there. Only by making a noise about this can we make a change in our society.)

There is a move afoot in the nation -driven by the GOP - to repeal the new health care laws, to protect corporate interests, to defend against fear-mongering (and stupid) cries of "socialism!", and to ensure that people are forced to choose between keeping a roof over their heads or getting necessary health care.

This movement is killing people.

Think I'm overstating the fact?

Ask the friends and family of writer/reviewer Melissa Mia Hall, who died of a heart attack last week because she was so terrified of medical bills, she didn't go see a doctor who could have saved her life.

From another writer friend: One person. Not the only one. That could have been me. Yeah, I have access to insurance -- I live in New York City, which is freelancer-friendly, and have access to freelancer advocacy groups. Through them, I can pay over $400/month ($5,760/year) as a single, healthy woman, so that if I go to the hospital I'm not driven to bankruptcy. But a doctor's appointment - a routine physical - can still cost me several hundred dollars each visit. So unless something's terribly wrong? I won't go.

My husband worked for the government for 30 years. We have government employee (retired) insurance. It is the only thing of value he took away from that job. His pension is pitiful. He still works part time. My writing income has diminished drastically. Our combined income is now less than what it was before T retired fifteen years ago. Inflation has diminished it further. In the last 30 days I have racked up over $8000 in medical bills for tests and the beginning of treatment. Our co-pay is 20% after the deductible. And there is more to come. Our savings are already gone. I have the gold standard of insurance and I still can't pay all the medical bills.

Another friend lost her insurance when her husband lost his job. She couldn't afford medication and ended up bed ridden for three months at the end of over a year of no job and therefore no insurance until he found work again.

It's our responsibility. All of us, together. As a nation.

EtA: Nobody is trying to put insurance companies out of business. They will always be able to offer a better plan for a premium. We simply want to ensure that every citizen - from infant to senior citizen - doesn't have to choose between medical care, and keeping a roof over their heads, or having enough to eat.

We're trying to get this to go viral. Pass it along.

I'm going to post my story as the first comment to this post if anyone would like to read it. If anyone wants to tell their story, please tell it on your own journal and post a link in the comments. Maybe, just maybe, TPTB will listen to the slaves peons who clean their toilets before they have to clean their own.

Originally I wasn't going to bandwagon this, but several things changed my mind:

  1. I finally got insurance again, but the bastards have hit datapard and I with a 6 month "pre-existing conditions" clause. So it is almost useless. Thanks, Indian carpetbagger company that I worked for just before this job, for being too fucking cheap to insure your employees. I have been without insurance before, ten years ago, and wasn't hit with a pre-existing, but that was before Bush the GOP got fully in bed with the health insurance mafiaoligarchs.

  2. There was a teabagger on suricattus original post prattling on about socialism and how health care was just a wedge to make us all socialist drones. I flipped, sick of seeing the same pack of lies and distortions, packaged up as some great concern for freedom and democracy. He was quoting Reagan, or some other such asshole, bleating about how socialism would destroy us. (Reagan and the machine behind him is a big part of why our society is so badly fucked up now.

  3. Trying to claim that it's "just a few outliers as victims" is nonsense. datapard and I are victims of the GOP insensitivity that refuses to see real, basic healthcare as a human right. Our teeth are rotting out of our heads, and we haven't dared go for checkups or mammograms because of the costs. Before the first of this month, if either of us had been in a wreck, we would have been pretty much SOL, dead or bankrupt, because car insurance medical doesn't begin to cover the costs. I would have ended up working the rest of my fucking life to pay off medical bills. This is very common among many people I know, in the "liberal" state of California

  4. Another self-employed friend was telling me how she wanted to get a "Do Not Resuscitate" tattoo on her chest, because she couldn't afford to pay any medical bills if she was hospitalized. Small business owner, pure bootstraps, but no love from the GOP.

  5. Covering everyone under a basic single-payer plan would be the most cost efficient for the country as a whole. It would remove the major cost burden for small businesses, and would enable entrepreneurship in those who are now chained to an employer to provide their families health insurance. Want to kick start the economy? "Socialize" basic medical and dental care, so that small businesses and their employees do not have it as a burden. It does wonders for productivity.

What is it...

What is it with some programmers, who write really powerful tools like rsyslog, and then have the CRAPPIEST documentation. I mean, yeah, I get that the guy is German, so English is not his native language, but even accounting for german style grammar still had it too fragmented and incomplete.

It's like he took the documentation for each component out of the comments, threw a few words and headings around it, then threw them all on the floor. Then he picked up a few, and half-assed typed them into documentation pages, with hyperlinks based on thrice translated keywords, but in no particular order - just the order he picked them up in. He did this until he had picked up 80% of the pieces of paper, and slapped them on a few erratically indexed (and unsearchable) web pages, but missed a few that went under the couch. There is no consistency of terms, no clear definitions for some things, but perfectly fine lists for others, and no goddamn index!

Don't get me wrong, the software is brilliant, and configurable as hell, but the documentation just plain sucks big, fat, boulders through a 25ga needle.

A Note on the Giffords Shooting

I can't say that I didn't see this shit coming. The brownshirts just haven't picked their uniform yet.

From my predictions on terror:
The biggest terrorist acts in the US will be from home-grown, non-Muslim, right-wing radicals, and will be virtually ignored or downplayed by the corporate media as "lone wolf acts". Those who do investigate will find that some elected government officials are involved, but they will be shouted down as "conspiracy theorists" or "engaging in character assassination".
This is not the first (the Tiller assassin was a right wing terrorist, downplayed by the media as a "lone crank"). It won't be the last, unfortunately. Not until we as a nation get a spine and start indicting people who advocate "reload"ing, "locked and loaded" and "dead liberals" under sedition laws.

If Palin, O'Reilly, Limbaugh, Bachmann and their ilk were Muslim, they would be in Gitmo right now. But they're not, they're "Christian", and they wave the US flag and Christian Cross. So they get a pass from the corporate media, our law enforcement, and our society. That's Christian privilege. So is the fact that a gunman following their exhortations is described as a "lone nut", but if a Muslim (or anything else) advocated the same crap, and someone followed through, the whole race or religion would be tarred with the same brush (like what bigots say about the mythical "new black panthers".)

Welcome to fascism, people. It's here. I'm just waiting for our Kristallnacht. This isn't even it, BTW, but it's getting there.

Predictions for 2011

I apparently skipped 2010 - and most of my 2009 predictions ran over into 2010 - like we lost a year!

So here are my predictions for 2011. They aren't pretty.
Read more...Collapse )

Fire and Safety

I recently read two posts about fires in one day.

One, 5 people died in an apartment fire, and a friend of mine knew and cared for them. There was one survivor, injured also. The whole story was tragic, and shudder-worthy. This made me cry.

Another had a better ending. A friend who had just moved into her new house heard the commotion and called 911 for a fire at one of her new neighbors' house. She had already headed for bed.

The holidays and New Years are always a little more risky with fire, it seems. People get caught up in the season, and forget the risks.

Christmas trees top the list. Last year, I watched a video of a Christmas tree go up and engulf a living room in under a minute (it was a demo, no people). It still was shocking. Artificial trees may not have that nice pine smell, but they aren't tinder with ignition sources attached to them, either. If you have to have a "real" tree, keep it moist, and throw it out after New Years. Either type should have the lights on a switch and a timer. Don't leave tree lights on while you're out or asleep. Have a combo wood/electrical type fire extinguisher between the tree and the door.

New Years firecrackers are next. Don't play even with the "poppers" inside. Don't use them near people's wooden houses. I love pyrotechnics, don't get me wrong, but not near shake roofs, thank you. If you are set on playing with bang bangs, keep a fire extinguisher handy.

Fireplaces are third. Sure, they have brick casements and chimneys, but unless you keep stuff cleaned out, and the chimney swept, tar can build up and ignite. Plus, if you don't have a screen or grate, a slightly wet log can pop and launch sparks onto your carpet. Don't have a "roaring fire" unattended. A fire extinguisher is a great thing to have between the fireplace and the door.

Kitchens and heaters rate next. Don't use your oven to heat your house while you sleep. Don't use space heaters that can tip and ignite stuff, or go *krizz* and burn up while you're away. If you can see a red heat element or flame, don't leave it on when you're not in the room. Again, fire extinguishers are not just for garages. Smoke detectors can be useful if set properly in your kitchen, so that you know if grease catches fire.

Finally, I have to address smoking. I'm not going to preach at people to quit, either tobacco or 420. Hypocrisy isn't my thing. But try to smoke outside, with proper ashtrays. If you can't do outside, then don't do it in a bedroom or anywhere that you might fall asleep. If you doze off while watching TV, then stand up to smoke. Don't just sit it in an ashtray and let it burn (why waste the money, if nothing else.)

The long and short is, if you have anything flammable around, keep it away from sparks and other ignition sources. If you decide to burn it, do it in a safe place, in a safe manner, and with an awake, aware attendant with a fire extinguisher handy.

I probably should have made this post a month ago, although most all of you know this stuff.

Please, be careful, and be glad for the time you have your friends and family.



I don't go to LosCon - I don't drive/fly to LA much in general, since I don't have huge numbers of friends and relative down there.

I will be at SorcererCon, a nice, quiet, intimate relaxacon right here in downtown San Jose (you can get there by light rail!) I will be in the small dealers room, with a few filk CDs and other stuff.

So if you are local and don't have plans to make long treks out of town, come by, have fun with us. The room rates are reasonable if you want the hotel stay without the drive on either end.

For those of you making the pilgrimage to LosCon, please drive safely, and enjoy yourselves.


Veterans Day

No one in the valley except banks gets it off. After all, our competitors in India don't care. Global economy, blah, blah.

I never served. I won't pretend I did. But a very large number of my friends have. This post is for them.

I've watched our people and our own government pay no more than lip service in respect to their service for all of my life. We show our veterans less real, tangible respect in terms of remuneration and physical care now than we did after Vietnam! Yeah, when it comes time to court the veteran vote, they make the damned promises for pensions and funding and yadda yadda. They spout what they think that the white-bread 'Middle American" wants to hear - but forget how much of our service is not that privileged demographic of white, male protestants. (Yes, I know they try to make them all protestant, in violation of the 1st Amendment, but they can't change the rest.)

I ask you, is Veterans Day and Memorial Day the only time you think of the people who work for the citizens of this country, in high risk, demanding, and often futile occupations while directed by political hacks who never learned to tie their own shoes properly? Or do you think of the stupidity every time you hear "When Johny Comes Marching Home" and things like that? How about every time you see a homeless person?

Our military is not there for political adventurism, corporate protection rackets, and religious crusades. It's not in the damned charter (you know, that pesky Constitution that Washington, especially the GOP, loves to ignore when it suits them.) But it keeps getting used that way. Dirty, secret wars, "police actions", etc, all fucking excuses for wars without plans or ends, and justified long past the point of ludicrousness with the "sunk costs" fallacy.

We have a "volunteer" military - well, as "volunteer" as it can be in the depth of a recession when it is probably the career of last resort (serve or starve?) for a lot of young people. I guess dismantling the safety net is one way to guarantee a steady supply of recruits. Severely restricting birth control and abortion is another.

The obvious one is the whole "Stop Loss" and perpetual redeployments of service members with head trauma and PTSD. I guess it's OK if they have a pulse when they get over to the theatre, if they commit suicide they can just chalk it up to "enemy action", right? The brass must be really pissed when they get hit but don't die - then they have to spend a little money, but only for a few years, taking care of their injuries. Then they throw them back onto the streets, used up and burned out.

23% of the homeless population are veterans (link), yet only ~ 7.5% of the US population is veterans. That's right, military service means you're 3 times as likely to end up homeless! Some thanks, and some great pension, eh? Yet the first place they trim the military budget is in VA benefits, not in corporate procurement deals - can't let those fat stock portfolios drop, eh?

The ex-military guys can just get a job, right - oh, wait, they've all been outsourced to China, who really won the cold war. But the Tea party whackos don't want you to take any of their money, they stoleearned it fair and square on the blood of those who fought for them.

The social contract that fueled the rise of this country to the political and economic powerhouse has been destroyed. The selling out of our veterans into homelessness and neglect started with Reagan *spit*, and is a symptom of a broader disease - the "I got mine, fuck everyone else who made it possible" syndrome.

You want to thank veterans? IMO, work to change our society back to one that makes sure that they are properly cared for and compensated for risking their lives for us, not just given lip service a few days a year and shafted the rest of the time.

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