CONTROL ISSUES

15 04 2018

There are a number of seemingly disparate issues affecting the country these days. When I examine their roots, and the way our society is attempting to deal with them, I see that they actually have a lot in common, and that the commonly accepted responses to them are failing to have their hoped-for effects, for a common reason. Likewise, the optimum solutions to all these very real concerns, while individualized according to the particular manifestation they treat, all spring from a common root. I am going to describe these problems, the conventional-wisdom solutions to them, look at the unintended consequences that these solutions engender, and, as best I can, suggest a Green,  radical–literally “to the root”– solution to them.

GUNS AND PUBLIC VIOLENCE

Gun violence has been a hot-button heart breaker for far too long. The natural, and obvious, response is to make it more difficult to obtain firearms, or at least, as comedian Chris Rock has suggested, to make the price of ammunition prohibitive. Five-thousand-dollar bullets would certainly rearrange a lot of people’s priorities. Hey, the Constitution guarantees the right to keep and bear arms–it doesn’t say anything about ammunition! I have no problem with making  high-tech rock throwers, or the rocks they throw,which have no other purpose than to harm or kill other beings, a lot more difficult to obtain.

But, in spite of the tremendous hue and cry about this devastating fact of American life, legislatures, especially Republican-dominated ones, remain deaf to the appeals of the growing clamor for gun control. Read the rest of this entry »





A HOCKEY STICK STORY

12 11 2017

Maybe I’m sentimental, but I still subscribe to Mother Jones Magazine. I first connected with it back in the 70’s, when, like the labor organizer it’s named for, it was a radical voice that both took a clear-eyed look at what is, and laid out a promising, hopeful view of, and path toward, the better future that could be. In the forty years since, the magazine has increasingly become a cheerleader for the mainstream of the Democratic Party, to the point that I think that  if Mother Jones were she still alive, she would be taking legal action against the magazine for sullying her good name. So far, though, every time I’ve felt just about fed up enough to cancel my subscription, they’ve come through with some kind of a must-read-and-share article that has renewed my faith in them.

I’m curious to see what they’ll make of Donna Brazile’s recent tell-all memoir, in which she reveals that the DP really did rig the primaries in exchange for certain financial considerations from the Clinton campaign. Perhaps the lawsuit on those grounds against the DP will be revived. But that’s not what I”m going to focus on tonight. I want to focus, instead, on what I think is the first science fiction story Mother Jones has ever printed. That story is called “You Will Lose Your Job to a Robot.”   It features a hockey stick graph of the rate at which computing power, and thus, automation, is expected to increase.aihockeystick,

The science fiction aspect of this story is not so much the potential advances in computer technology as it is its casual, offhand treatment of climate change, regarding it as a minor inconvenience that will, of course, be managed and dealt with without any serious impact on our Sacred American Way of Life. That’s kind of like confusing spinal meningitis with the flu. Climate change, like spinal meningitis, has its own exponential growth curve. hockeyprojection

Read the rest of this entry »





HOW I BECAME THE OPPRESSOR

5 06 2013

As I said, I’ve been having a bit of a time adjusting to life with a decentralized kitchen and  without a hot shower.  The internet, on the other hand, I have hardly missed at all–with so much needing my attention right here at hand, it was actually been a relief to have access to the virtual world simply out of the question, and, now that it is available, it just doesn’t seem as all-fired important as it did when I had a roof over my head.  Most of what needs my attention is right in front of my face.  On the other hand, with most of our reference books burned up, there’s been questions that were hard to answer, like, “Are the boils on Cindy’s leg from a brown recluse spider?”  We took that to the “doc in a box” at a local drug store, and, for about $70, were assured that they were not.  Likewise, a couple of worrisome birth marks on my neck and arm required a visit to a dermatologist to determine that they were just what happens when you get old, but that another, much less conspicuous little white dot on my forehead was precancerous, and needed to be removed while it was still simple.  These are the kind of services that will be harder to come by in a more general collapse/disaster.  Our fire was just a one-family version.

It’s strange.  Here we are, hauling cooking and drinking water from a tap in our basement and living mostly outdoors, while within sight of us, our neighbors’ lives are completely normal.

While I bore the fire, and the loss of my books, clothes,family mementos, and CD collection with a fair amount of equanimity, I panicked one night last week as a thunderstorm bore down on us. Read the rest of this entry »








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