Saturday, November 24, 2007

Radio Free Everywhere

Article in the Atlantic Monthly (Bill McKibben) - December 2007

It's an article that said things that I've known but never was able to say. Read it.

Radio/Programs to remember!
WOJB - a place without cynicism
KBOO - time travel back to the politics of a less hard-edged day
Oman FM - Koranic chanting
WHRB - music 'orgies' - round the clock music of all kinds of music
ZIZ - caribbean ambiance
BBC 4 - the aural equivalent of the encyclopedia brittanica
...and more

Reaction to an Article - Masters of the Senate, Sept 22 Edition of the Economist

This post drafted and accidentally not published several weeks ago. Oops.

Basically, the article posits that the presidential race gets the press but the Senate race is where the real massacre will be. Several reasons are given: 21 republican seats are up for reelection, to only 12 democrat seats. Many of the republicans won their seats at the height of republican popularity under Bush, which has changed a bit, shall we say. At least 8 republicans are retiring. Republicans have raised only a third (nationally) of what democrats have raised for the 2008 senate race. Republicans are scandal-ridden, ethically, sexually, financially... Most polls show around a 10% margin in favor of the democrats for 2008 in the senate.

So that's nice.

Does it matter? e has concerns here, shall we say... it doesn't matter if the democrats win their way in if they do nothing. That is, do nothing in terms of accomplishing things, rather than merely seeking to consolidate power, hold power, reward friends, spend money for their districts, etc ...

I think that a democratic congress coupled with a democratic president would have to see change, if for no other reason than the presidential candidates all have such sweeping healthcare reform plans, etc, and to not have any follow through would result in a giant BOOT four years later.

To not believe that change could happen - where does that leave you?

Friday, November 23, 2007

A thanksgiving surprise


I felt really free being away from my family for thanksgiving this year. I love my families traditions of thanksgiving in Utah, don't get me wrong. I would spend it with my grandparents and eat delicious freshly made rolls which are full of butter. We would also eat the most delicious strawberry jam. There were roles at R's house, but i didn't try them. I later found out after the meal that these roles were warm and one of the most delicious parts of the meal according to K's dinner run down. AGGG. i hate myself for being so bias. Regardless, i am sure they weren't as good as my families. But still, i got to try new things! Like CORN Cassorole!!!! delicious! and Grandma Gross's chocolate pudding.

I was also able to bring one of my family traditions to the meal. I brought See's candies. In my family we eat See's candies at every occasion. We love must be something about growing up in a family of three women and living with a my father, a complete chocolate addict ohh yeah, and something about that mormon sweet tooth! Anyways, in my family with my father as an exception, the women would eat and share the chocolates. I remember hearing stories of my aunt as a young girl who would dig holes in the bottom of the See's candies to see what kind it was. This is something i would do. This year, K, S and I all took bites of our delicious different chocolates and then shared bites with each other. When we offered a bite to R, he took the whole chocolate and popped it into his mouth. We all shared agreement that this was the incorrect social action. IT was a funny incedent.

i also got to experience a drinking culture which goes along with R's family's thanksgiving. This is unheard of in my family. Of course, hardly anyone drinks in my family, so i guess this makes sense. as i have gotten older on my other side of the family, drinking has become a small element to Christmas time.
I really love the idea of drinking with my family. I love being silly, yet only to a certain extent. it is a fine line between being able to do other things and being able to drink. Why do i think of these things in such binary terms?

Freedom or Family...i guess it depends on what side of the family we are talking!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

On Loud Noises

Voila a quote from the Rude Pundit (a blogger):

Remember that the Republicans are liars and that Americans have a short-term memory that makes the guy in Memento seem like a talking encyclopedia. And the thing about good liars is that they can say their lies with a straight face, say them so it looks like they believe the lies with all their hearts and who are we to dare question them. You have to treat them like the liars that they are. The way to do this is not to politely tell everyone how incompetent the Bush administration has been. The way to do it is to say they are liars and make their lies plain.

Rude is a good word for it.  Brutal, and sometimes brutally pointless.  Very good at raising hell in an often funny and pointed fashion.  So.  Is it necessary?  The above quote, coupled with just having read the blog, points to a belief that Americans in general respond only to public conviction, as forceful as possible and with a dollop of patriotism, if you please. 

Loud, angry, forceful, rude, convicted.  Is this what matters?  If some guy yells, "Gays are unnatural!!!!!" and someone else quietly states, "So are plastic, air conditioning, and SUVs..."   Who wins? 


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Response to a friend's doubts on climate change

Below is a pretty much literal copy of an email I sent a friend earlier.

This one talks about a more recent incident of an outraged scientist speaking out. misssster scientist. (the way south park says it)

This refers specifically to the report i talked about

This one tries to pull together various incidents so it is harder for people to respond to each incident by saying 'oh, but that's anecdotal'

This is a FOXNEWS report about the white house "eviscerating" (fox's own words) CDC testimony about warming and its potential health effects,2933,304669,00.html

Monday, November 19, 2007

Movie - Good luck and good night

is a good movie. But why did I have to so accurately predict the one guy's suicide?

So, it's about the role of media. Well, at least it raises this question. E has questions and thoughts and ideas for this....what do I have?

There should be a difference between editorializing and reporting.

Media should question.

But they should be 100% fact-oriented. What does that even mean?

This needs an update...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

An unreasonable third post in, like, 8 hours

Good things, from my point of view (literally):
1. Ghostly Tales and Eerie Poems of Edgar Allan Poe
This awesome touch lamp. I love touch lamps.
3. Map of the world.
4. Chair. I won't try to describe it - it's awesome.
5. Piece of wood that holds wine bottles perfectly horizontal, balanced.
6. Lady of Shalott.
7. Scarf.
8. Empty bottle of wine. (debatable)

A thought.

In this town, there is public transportation. It has never seemed that great, but at least it's adequate.

Except, it's not.

There is barely a bus on Saturday, and there isn't one on Sunday. It is starting to get pretty damn cold out and, ok, I like biking and I'm pretty fit, so fine. I can go places (except my bike is starting to break down) as long as I bundle up. Others? Too bad.

Maybe there is an argument that Sunday most businesses aren't open, so people don't need to go anywhere, it should be a day off, a day at home. Perhaps, even, a day for family - except, of course, if your family doesn't all live in the same house/same neighborhood/etc. My neighbor works at Taco Hell and walks over an hour to work if he doesn't take the bus.

It just seems like a total f u to poor people.

I would call it a book review but that falls short

I have just read Tracy Kidder's book Mountains Beyond Mountains. It's an incredible book, incredible story. It gives you hope, it inspires…

So, the back cover says "an astonishing book that will leave you questioning your own life and political views…" Hmm. It affects you, this is sure.

What do I remember from the book? At one point, Kidder responds with cynicism to something Farmer (the doctor) said. Kidder then writes, "I felt as though I'd punched him. Among a coward's weapons, cynicism is the nastiest of all."

The book is written very honestly. Kidder writes about an encounter where he and Farmer had dinner with an important, high-ranking health official in Cuba, "Farmer made sure I noticed that Perez's driver ate with the family." He doesn't 'notice' it himself, he doesn't lionize the act, he writes matter-of-factly that it was explicitly brought to his attention, probably to highlight the egalitarian society in Cuba (my opinion, this last). Personally, the little section where they visit Cuba was a window on a country I know basically nothing about. A very interesting, and encouraging window.

One of my favorite parts is when one of Farmer's closest colleagues saves the day in Russia, uniting the health workers with the skeptical (to say the least) generals in charge of the jails – he does this by singing karaoke which breaks the ice and they all sing and dance and drink and become close friends. It's easy to disbelieve, question, react with cynicism to this little aside. But it's true.

I learned about the issues in global health. Did you know tuberculosis is still a real, active disease????? I feel like such a tool. It kills millions…of poor people. Farmer wrestles with different people's understanding of cost-efficacy relationships when it comes to treatment. Basically – poor people don't have healthcare, they will probably die and it isn't very cost-effective to try to help them….. there is a fair deal of blaming the victim involved as well.

Over and over again, Farmer and an assorted group of people who believe and care prove the naysayers wrong. They are told second-line TB drugs, to treat the drug-resistant kinds, are too expensive. They claim and then prove and then make happen over a 95% reduction in price in the drugs. They are told that their patient-centric approach to healthcare for the poor is unsustainable. But they cure and care for people who are so poor they don't have doors or roofs for their mud-and-stick-huts, and they do it at rates as high as places like Boston, Massachusetts. In Peru, they cured multiple-drug-resistant-tuberculosis patients 25 percentage points higher than the best lab in the US, located in Denver, Colorado, was able to achieve.

Farmer travels, travels some more, then sees some patients, then travels, then answers his hundreds of daily emails, then hikes through the mountains to visit some patients, speaks at international healthcare conferences, ……

People accuse him of setting an impossible and unsustainable example. Indeed – he is a hero and a man unique on this earth. He receives an email from a medical student who believes in Farmer but says he doesn't think that he could do what Farmer did (is doing). Farmer's response, "I didn't say you should do what I do. I just said these things should be done!"