Monday, December 22, 2008


For those of you who haven't read Steven Strogatz's book Sync, I highly recommend it. I come at you guys with a lot of books and some of you read some of them, I thank you for that. On this recommendation though there is also a TED talks presentation by the author that you all simply must see. I will refrain from inserting a hyperlink but you can link from here to the TED site through my recommendations on the right.
I have been attempting to explain to myself why I am leaning more and more towards Socialism lately, and I suppose it is informative, though you are all free to disagree. People are very self interested, and self promoting these days. I'm not finding fault, just observing. Take my word for it, it is almost impossible to put the well being of "others" ahead of your own. If you neglect your own interests for too long you find it difficult to meet your responsibilities. If you take too little from the commons, especially if you go so far as to work on their behalf without hope of remuneration/compensation, you are feeding energy into a vacuum. There will always be those, scarred by circumstances, through no fault of their own, who take and take and take and spend a percentage of the profit ensuring they will always be able to do so. You could say the same thing about government bureaucracy, the bigger we make it, in hope of protection from the takers, the more powerfully it will protect it's "right to grow". Balance anyone? Compromise? No thanks, I'll just shift further away from center to compensate for those crazies (on the left/right, no matter). Well, I've always had this sense that my lot in life closely paralleled that of my country's role in the world. I almost feel like I should be paid to represent the "national average" in a survey. I could write more about that and convincingly elaborate but it would just bore you. No one person is an effective barometer in a country as complicatedly heterogeneous as this one. Merry Christmas and season's greetings everyone, lay off the worrying for a few days and just enjoy the chance to hang out with your loved ones.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Well if he were perfect he wouldn't be human.

You know guys, Monsanto gets a bad rap. I won't go into why I believe they are often misrepresented, or why the perverse American love for grassy lawns is far worse than our research of genetically modified crops, but it will suffice for me to say I will never buy a Monsanto T-shirt, but if one were given to me I would wear it under a sweater and not feel bad about it.
How are we to respond to the new picks for Interior and Agriculture? We applaud in the spirit of the old axiom, "keep your friends close but keep your enemies even closer". If we are expecting him to repeal the legislation forced through under bush (this is the only way to spell the contempt I feel) we need to support his political appointments that fall under the heading "olive branches". I say the man has done more to impress me with these two appointments than any other two taken together. Now if you believe all that, and it was spoken with some modicum of sincerity but then I reread it, I've got a few beach front properties in Bangladesh to sell you. And if you're not sad enough yet how about this?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Food for thought and American Gluttons (for Punishment or Nourishment?)

"Put another way, when we eat from the industrial-food system, we are eating oil and spewing greenhouse gases." --- M. Pollan

Kudos Mr. Pollan both for your outstanding rhetoric and for your citizenship. When my mother decries the medical establishment's treatment of diabetics (she's a PRN with a diabetic son), I often retort sarcastically "The cure for diabetes is to grow and harvest your own food then eat it". I feel for her and for those with a genetic predisposition, but sometimes harsh words are necessary to draw attention to difficult situations. The question for the president is a complex one. Do we treat the causes of the health care crisis by addressing behaviour and mandating change? Do we continue to punish the poor and lower middle class with food that is causing their health to deteriorate? Do we continue to favour large farms over family farms with corrupt and outdated legislation sponsored by lobbyists and lawyers (I hate them by the way) who wouldn't know a turnip from a beet? Where do we begin to put our legislative foot down without stepping in cow/pig shit? Methane production on industrial farms is being treated as a marketable commodity. How is that an incentive for sustainable land use? Ethanol and corn syrup each have their own lobby along with advertising budgets, and yet, we already consume more corn than we can possibly justify nutritionally. Thank God for subsidies. The economy is failing because of its remarkable even unprecedented reliance on debt and we tell farmers debt is a way of life they must embrace if they want to raise children and send them to college. Where does this end? It does not, quite frankly I could go on but I am weeping and depressed. Good luck President Elect Obama. YOU ARE GOING TO NEED IT.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Weep, for the water is needed.

We have been reminded recently that there are too few miles between the borders of India and Pakistan. Hell, they practically overlap (see Kashmir at Wikipedia). I am of the opinion that the political and socioeconomic pressure cooker the British left to the world when they began dismantling their empire is whistling very, very loudly. Maybe we should check to see about lifting the lid. How, you ask. Well now, there's a good question.
Pakistan and Afghanistan are in the tumultuous process of carving out an identity that is less defined by American influence. American aid in the form of dollars and ordinance (some may argue that calling explosive metal devices aid is stretching the term but....) has long been the heart of a foreign policy program of insistent and deliberate destabilization. Has it been an attempt to stave of competition in tech and science sectors with burgeoning Indian and Chinese economies? Yes, but only in the sense that American Foreign Policy is never proactive but instead, REACTIONARY. I suppose this is why I am hoping against hope that Hillary has it in her to be the kind of Cabinet member wily Willy Seward was. Diplomacy and statesmanship are usually political virtues of those who have given up the hope of re-election (or in this case election period). You can quote me on that.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Being and Nothingness

There are still some mysterious phenomena that defy my understanding. That should not shock anyone. If anyone out there thinks that perhaps they can explain everything, I recommend brushing up on String Theory. After spending an inordinate and maybe excessive amount of time thinking about what I believe and why, I am actually further from a comprehensive ideology than I was before. That, also, should surprise no one. How is it possible that anyone thinks they have it figured out to the extent that they can tell anyone else definitively, the whole story? If you harbor uncertainty about the nature of the Universe, and if that uncertainty is peculiarly comforting to you, please speak up.