Archive for the ‘Rants’ Category

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#elxn42

October 10, 2015

“I don’t vote because my vote doesn’t matter.”

It seems like that sometimes, doesn’t it?

But you know what? There are some powerful influences that are trying very hard to create that feeling.

They like it when you don’t vote. They know how to play the game as it is, the game where few people vote. They can control that. They get to win every time.

And so they do all they can to keep the feeling that the everyday person’s vote doesn’t really make any difference.

But here’s the thing.

They wouldn’t know how to deal with a lot of voters.

Sure, one of these current parties will still win. And they may not be all we want them to be.*

But when the voices have grown loud, they will listen.

And through that voice, we can have them turn to be who we want them to be.

I’ve seen it in California, where well heeled and well backed and very moneyed campaigns and referenda have fallen to the power of the pencil.

If you want to scare the living crap out of those in power, there’s one thing to do. Go to the polls in droves, and vote.

If you are a young voter, maybe a first time voter, I (and Rick Mercer!) invite you especially to vote.

It may seem intimidating, but the process of voting is very easy, secure, and empowering.

You will want to be informed, and there is a bit of a ramp-up to get familiar with the parties and the candidates, and to learn about what policies they have implemented, and they are proposing. And some time to think about what effects those policies have.

But it isn’t as long or daunting as those who enjoy their control make it out to be.

Even this late in the campaign, it’s still very doable.

That you’ll examine what they’re doing, and then speak up about it, is what keeps the powers that be up at night.

So let’s claim our voice.

 

* – Sure, sometimes it can feel like voting for the lesser of three evils, yet, remember that if you don’t vote, and evil wins, then that means you essentially voted for evil.

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Drought 4: The Droughtening

March 6, 2015

With the recent snowpack measurements reporting that the Sierra snowpack is now at 19% of multi-decade averages – some areas are down as low as 5% of average – it’s pretty clear we here in California are headed for our fourth year of severe drought. Which, while nasty sounding on its own, doesn’t actually tell the whole picture of how 11 of the past 15 years have been abnormally dry. If you look at a drought map of California, it’s almost funny with the map pretty much covered in its entirety in colours representing “holy crap dry” to “oh gods the abyss has invaded.”

I can’t help think about Australia here, and how they ended their decade of droughts: they legislated an end to them. With a stroke of a pen, they ceased having a drought. No water fell from the sky, of course; a drought is just a drought based on some past average. They realized, this isn’t an anomaly – this is the new normal.

Welcome to the new normal.

I think we’ve been hiding and hoping and praying that this will shift, this will change, as though all the signs are somehow wrong and we’re just fine, thankyouverymuch. But we have made our bed, and now we need to lie in it. Or, rather, stand up and face it. We can take steps to aid in removing that which is propelling this climate shift forward, and, moreso, we need to re-visit our water use policies in this state. I’m talking about more than just not watering lawns, I’m talking about the byzantinian gaggle of water “rights” that bleed rivers dry to flood irrigate fields (where it happily evaporates mostly away) amongst other things, the irresponsible drilling that is depleting aquifers faster than a soda at a diner, and the fouling of water through poor industrial use and other runoff.

I invite everyone to this new challenge. We’re all needed to get behind this, push for altering the “normal/conventional” way of doing things (from our stores to our manufacturers to our habits to beyond) and make a dent now. Look, choose, and talk.

There’s possibility in them thar hills, if we take the actions to seize it.

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Supreme Error

December 8, 2013

Late Friday afternoon, likely trying to slip it under the radar (it is the prime time any administration tries to bury something it doesn’t want known), the Canadian Environment Minister (a misnomer, I would say in this case) approved a huge expansion to one of Shell’s tarsands operations in Alberta – approved it despite even admitting it would “cause significant adverse environmental effects.”

The ministry’s report concluded the project would result in severe and irreversible damage, including the permanent loss of thousands of hectares of wetlands, harming migratory birds, multiple wildlife species, and wiping out “traditional plants used for generations.”  Continuing, it expressed doubt at any potential for mitigation, and that impacts would likely approach levels that the environment couldn’t support.

For an administration that has sought to discredit science in any form and muzzle its scientists, this is a pretty surprising disclosure.

However, the expansion was labeled “justified in the circumstances.”

Pardon me, but I am baffled?  “Justified”?  By what measure?  By what circumstances?  Note that this report may only be noting the destruction of the immediate area of the expansion, I’m not sure if it even takes into consideration the huge depletion of freshwater resources, the impact and danger of long-term tailings ponds and runoff, and the immense energy and emissions required to access and process the tar, and the dangers of shipping it across yet more of the rapidly dwindling lungs of the planet in the form of our wilderness areas… and even without that consideration I’m at a loss for a justification to strip mine and poison an area that approaches the size of the City of San Francisco.  And this is just one project.

Equally galling to me is that beyond this bizarre logic the minister is acting without even keeping her own agreements.  The ministry promised to give a 35-day stay to approval to the local population (out of a request for 90) to work through the concerns of safety and long term impact.  They didn’t even wait until the 35 days were up.  They just said, “Tough luck, we’re doing it.”

I strongly assert this is a wrongheaded move in so many ways.  Please join me in taking action.  Additionally, consider supporting:  National Resources Defence Council –  Earthjustice –  Sierra Club of Canada.

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Movie Pontifications

July 21, 2013

Several weeks ago I saw one sequel, one reboot, and a sequel to a reboot – Iron Man 3, Man of Steel, and ST: Into Darkness.  Quick thoughts about each and an overall discourse to follow…

Spoilers! Read the rest of this entry ?

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California Drivin’

April 1, 2013

I have a request for all drivers in my area.  Please remain aware of the situation around you and, more importantly, drive as though there are other human beings on the road.  I do not understand what possesses one to do as a driver did this morning, as I was in a single-lane merge onto an expressway, who with their SUV came on the outside of me in the lane (trying to turn it into a two lane merge?), thus dangerously blocking my view of the oncoming traffic as I go to merge, while gunning it as I try to merge, almost running into me.  I do not understand what is your view that makes this an OK thing to do.  I do not understand what is the view that makes it OK to traverse four lanes of freeway traffic, forcing others to dodge you, just so you can take some exit.  I do not understand the view what makes it OK to barrel off the freeway into a merge lane to get two car lengths ahead and then cut someone off to get back onto the freeway.  I do not understand the view that makes it OK to turn right on a red light when someone is pulling a U-turn, then blocking the crosswalk because there was no space for you to actually turn right in the first place.  And I do not understand the many of other things I see on a daily basis that has me starting to wonder if the Russian model of a dashcam in just about every car would be a good thing.

Please.  Your actions have an impact on other people.  And on you.

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Rethinking a holiday

October 8, 2012

This kinda freaked me out.  Saw this article a couple of weeks ago on Columbus.  Now I’ve never given much thought to the Columbus Day holiday as it isn’t a day off at work for me.  I knew of it and thought it seemed like a holiday fraught with some negative aspects, given the history but.  Yikes.  I didn’t know the half of it (and I bet I am not the only one).  Slavery, repression, millions dead, and the guy kept a diary of it?  That’s just disturbing.  It is strange that it remains a holiday, cutesified and even venerated.  Add my voice to the chorus who think replacement is in order.

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China Travel Advice

August 9, 2012

If you are headed to China for travel or vacation, I highly reccomend not using Traveller’s Cheques, especially not in the local RMB currency.  Instead, bring some RMB to start your trip and bring your ATM card.  You can withdraw local currency from Bank of China ATMs if you need more cash.