Thursday, May 31, 2012

Argument Against Same-Sex Marriage

I guess I did a same-sex marriage mock trial in one of my classes. In a legal context it's interesting to see how the basis of my argument is that no rights have been taken away from gay couples. New case law supporting same-sex marriage often uses the reverse of my argument now; gay rights have been taken away via Prop 8, DOMA, or others and must now be given back.

RESOLVED: States have a legitimate interest in restricting marriage to couples consisting of one man and one woman so that legal challenges to marriage licensing statutes, which are interpreted by State Departments of Health to apply only to male/female couples, must fail.

Two questions regarding the resolution have been posited. The first question is whether marriage rights are within the jurisdiction of the judicial system. The second question put before us is whether to apply strict scrutiny to the restriction of same sex marriages. While the opposing side finds that marriage is indeed a right that the courts must preside over, it most certainly is not and must be considered a priori to any other issues brought up at all.

To begin with, as Commonwealth v. Chou clearly states, the courts cannot actively hand down rights to people until a legislature has passed or restricted said rights. In reviewing the resolution it becomes more than clear that marriage is not a right granted to anyone in these United States. The very necessity of a blood-test, a willing partner, and many other chance factors makes the right to marriage a silly and unrealistic view of our modern society. To say that marriage is a right is to trivialize the meaning of marriage itself. Marriage is a privilege that the legislature has yet to regard as a right and until that day this court will not even consider the issue of who gets to marry whom.

However, those in the opposition will surely ask this court to consider it, and I suspect that this court will eventually have to deal with marriage as a right. And on those grounds, for same-sex marriage, one party will argue for strict scrutiny. And they are right, strict scrutiny must be applied, and surely, when it is, same-sex marriage will be struck down. Strict scrutiny relies on a compelling governmental interest in the law in question, and marriage, being the prerequisite for the fundamental economic unit in this country, is wholly in the government’s interest. The question then arises; why not generate more of these essential roots to the functioning of this country? The answer is simple: opening the door to freely defining the basic economic unit of our system would drastically alter the landscape of these United States and ultimately ruin the chances of making accurate guesses as to the outcomes of our economy. Conferring benefits to same-sex couples would necessarily reduce the government’s ability to govern. Furthermore, strict scrutiny requires the government to narrowly tailor its laws, and by opening up marriage to all couples regardless of composition the legislature would effectively be opening the floodgates. Passage of a same-sex marriage law could never possibly be so closely tailored as to allow only the “best” people to marry, and if it did then it would fail strict scrutiny as under-inclusive. I refer the court to Korematsu v. United States wherein strict scrutiny was applied in a fashion similar to how it would be applied here. While the circumstances were very different, it nevertheless set precedent for de jure discrimination. As a reminder, it required openly discriminatory language and eventually, the court upheld executive order 9066. Basically, for a ban on same-sex marriage laws to be struck down by this court, there would have to be a significant harm being done to any parties including a historical precedent set for real benefits lost. Same-sex couples could never provide this and thus find that they are unable to realize a discussion on equal protection.

For those reasons the court neither has to hear nor consider same-sex marriage at all, and if it does it must promptly strike down any laws because they would be surely seen as destructive to the regular functioning of government.


What she says: I’m so sad, I lost my phone and my boyfriend just broke up with me.

What he hears: you are getting laid tonight.

I’m not sure my building manager knows who lives in her building—or even what her building is. Direct quote, “I haven’t had anyone move out in a year and a half.” Fact we moved in last November—7 months ago. In that time we have witnessed three apartments become vacant and have new people move in.

If I’m in the papers tomorrow, don’t worry, it was just really controversial. Seriously. Bristol Bay. Triangle facilitated the first of seven EPA hearings on their environmental assessment. And I was the timer—on stage. So I might be in a picture.

I walked out of the house without a shirt. But I had on a sweatshirt. Is that still kind of dirty?

I’ve been exhausted.

I used to be cool. People used to listen to me. Now I just sort of yell at the TV. I have money though. Is that still kind of dirty?

A bureaucrat in the Treasury department can pull in $149,000 a year. Far less than their counterparts in the private sector. And we wonder why policy slants toward higher income brackets. Even our public servants who make a ‘marginal’ sum are raking in 3x the median household income of average Americans every year. Multiply everything you own by three. That is a poor public Treasury worker’s life. Granted that is for the higher levels of management.

I have little else to say yet I must post three hundred and sixty five words per day. I suppose others have far more difficult lives.

But right now I am stuck and very angry that I am dedicated to finishing this and that I cannot quit. All I want right now is a little sleep.

I want to write a novel. Have I mentioned that? Because I do. In the novel there are all these characters in crazy situations that they can’t escape. And everyone has funny accents and off-beat timing. In the novel, life is an absurd out-of-control world where the children are in charge and the adults are vagrants.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Beach Art

I may have posted some of these before.  Nonetheless I wanted to make sure they were in the cloud.  This one I drew backstage at 12MM.

I love drawing, it's so much fun and sometimes I can actually draw something worth a damn.

Some art sells for over $300,000,000.00 but I'd settle for $30 on some of mine.  Think about that, because it's all in the name after a certain price.

This is based on a short story I wrote.  Seriously though, think about that.  Good art can't possibly be that many magnitudes greater than my so-called art.  It's all about name recognition and being the jerk that can afford the expensive history.

Land Leave stuff.

More Land Leave.

This one? $10,000,000.00.  A bargain at a fraction the cost of an original Picasso.

Beach Objects

Maybe these are just "artsy" pictures but I like them just the same--at least they aren't in black and white.

Not that there is anything wrong with black and white.

I quite like black and white actually.

It's the "artsiness" of B&W photographs taken by amateurs such as myself that seems to mean that all the rules of light and composition--or even interesting subject matter--can be ignored because it's vintage.

It's not vintage.

Ciera and the Beach

My muse painting by numbers

The second day at the beach was far less beautiful.  But it was augmented with great company.  Crystal and Micah made a surprise visit and we stayed up late talking about everything.

Plant Matter

These things come off the top of the pine trees that look like they are flipping the bird.  I thought they were pretty.

My Aunt Vera is in charge of the garden.  In May, it is wonderfully colorful.

Ciera and I did little and it was good.

The Jovian Rebel 4 (Final)

short story

Gregory snapped out of his memory and looked for a way in. A dust devil was headed for the checkpoint. He jumped into action. Grabbing some rocks and throwing them at the turrets. The dust devil came by and the turrets started firing. A symphony of gunshots, then silence.

Gregory heard the guards scrambling to reload the guns. Gregory jumped out and carefully aimed his first bullet at the one guard with a free hand. A gunshot, and a body in the dust. He aimed at another and fired. Another and fired. In just a few seconds, Gregory had taken out the checkpoint and was nearly inside. The compression chamber unlocked and four guards greeted Gregory with automatic rifles pointed at his chest.

Gregory snapped out of his daydream. He looked at his readout--83% failure. At 85% the failure would increase exponentially. He took a deep breath and started to move when he felt a hand on his shoulder. It pushed him back down and commanded him not to move.

His hands were above his head. An arm grabbed him and turned him around. Three soldiers stood before him aiming their guns at him. He felt numb. No grand escape, no big surrender, just caught.

A gust blew by and knocked a soldier down. The other two scrambled to try to recompose themselves. Gregory reached for his sidearm, and pulled the trigger quickly. One, two, three. All were down and he was running to the gathering point.

As he ran he thought about a crater he had passed on the way. It looked like there was something mechanized in the dirt. Something that was part of the larger infrastructure. It could be an essential line. He could hold it hostage and get supplies in return. He could live for years like that. He started running toward the crater. Then he heard a jet in the distance. A strike force was coming for him. They were far more equipped to track him down than he was to evade them.

He saw the rim of the crater and he dove into it. He immediately lost traction and started rolling down the slope. The jet faded and he made his way to the center of the crater. There he noticed a geometric shape. It looked metallic; part of something big.

He glanced at his wrist 91%. The running had accelerated his condition. Soon he would feel the effects and start losing his mind. It already hurt to breathe. He looked back at the edge of the crater. Several soldiers appeared at the edge.

Gregory grabbed his sidearm and put it to his head. Three gunshots rang out. Gregory’s ears rang. He looked at the hand that had been holding his gun--it was a mess of blood, quickly vaporizing in the thin atmosphere. His helmet screen was half-covered in blood. He coughed and spit blood.

Through the smears and spatters he could see the square. He knew that if he could just get to it he would be ok. He reached out with his good arm and tried to hold it. Everything started to fade and he was cold.

The three soldiers made their way down to Gregory’s mangled corpse. They checked for life-signs and found none. The commanding officer called in the body and sighed to himself solemnly. “HQ we have a body. And call in a technical team. There’s something they need to look at.”

Jovian Rebel 3

short story:

Gregory fumbled with the belt buckle, finally getting it released. When Gregory pushed his friend back to take off the belt he could see the damage. A bullet had ripped through his friend’s stomach at an oblique angle. His friends’ insides were torn up badly; he had very little time. Gregory applied pressure to try to stop the bleeding.

“It’s--it’s no use,” his friend coughed.

“Let’s go, we gotta go, you’ll be fine,” Gregory lied.

“Sh--shu--shut up, I’m done,” he half-chuckled, “I’m sorry. I--I--sold us out.”

Gregory went pale; the bleeding mess before him was his best friend, a good man. And he had just been responsible for the death of the entire squad. Gregory tried to focus, “how long do I have?”

“Don’t run, they’ll find--they’ll find you.”

“How long do I have.”

“two minutes--at most.”

Gregory lifted his hand away. His friend sputtered and wheezed. Gregory pulled his sidearm out of its holster and aimed the gun at the slumped body on the steering wheel. His friend looked at him with gaunt eyes; filled with regret and pain. “Do it” his friend said. Gregory held his gun steady, trying to forget the image. “Do it god damn it!” He yelled. His friend slammed his hand on the horn filling the quiet streets with noise.

A gunshot rang out and Gregory was in the car suddenly driving to the edge of the city. The rebellion had been thwarted, the only safe place was outside; maybe one of the smaller towns in the outskirts had succeeded. He wasn’t sure but it was the best bet.

Gregory cinched his helmet down and activated the emergency exit button. As long as a priority one lockdown wasn’t called he would make it through. As luck would have it, there was no lockdown and he was able to safely make it out. He drove to a cave that he had scoped out weeks previously with four other team leaders. This was the place of last resort.

He surveyed the equipment and found it in decent shape. He opened a bag of k-rations. It was full of filler, styrofoam and rocks. He cursed and threw the bag. He opened another, and another. All of them were empty.

He checked the jeep. There were two k-rations and a bottle of water. That was everything Gregory had. He would have to go back.

The Jovian Rebel 2

Short story cont'd

He shivered. He had turned his suit’s climate control down to its minimum level to conserve energy. He peeked his head over the hill to see the layout of the guards. Three were standing at the door, checking incoming traffic. They were connected to the main atmo systems with long extension cords. It saved energy in the soldiers’ suits in case of an emergency. There was a tank, but it seemed to be heading to the next checkpoint.

There was little heavy armor and the AmU units were overstretched in the Jovian system. In the attacks three days previous, the military had been unprepared for a rebellion. Gregory had been a team leader. His team had started in the retail district, and was the first inside the AmU weapons depot. He quickly secured three jeeps and enough supplies to last months off the grid.

As they were getting ready to go, a steady stream of gunshots rang out from inside the depot. Gregory ran back to the depot and saw a bloodbath. All of his team save for two were dying or dead on the ground. The two remaining survivors were behind crates on opposite sides of the depot trading shots.

Gregory was momentarily stunned. A bullet whizzed by his head and he made a tough decision, he turned around and jumped in a jeep, driving off. He heard one last gunshot and the sound of a jeep coming toward him. He looked in the rearview mirror and saw one of his comrades coming after him. The man was bleeding profusely, and swerving slightly.

Gregory was unsure if he was being followed by a comrade or an enemy. The man in the mirror waved his hand out and formed his fingers into sign of the Jovian Rebellion. Gregory slowed his vehicle hoping it wasn’t a trick. Gregory held his hand on his pistol ready to draw it if necessary.
The jeep pulled up along side him; it was one of his closest friends. Gregory loosened his grip on his pistol slightly.

“Gregory stop. Pull over, I can’t--” the car slowed to a stop. Gregory pulled to the side of the road and jumped out of his Jeep. He kept his hand on his sidearm, hoping he wouldn’t have to use it. He came up to his friend who was struggling with his seatbelt. Gregory jumped in the passenger seat and reached for the buckle. There was blood everywhere.

The Jovian Rebel

Part of Land Leave, a short story:

The sun was little more than a pebble held at arms length. It was much further than the sun of Earth. Gregory squinted at the bright light. A yellow haze passed in front of the sun scattering the light and making the barren landscape just a bit colder.

That didn’t matter much; Ganymede was always cold. The solar arrays that kept the tiny Jovian moon from killing the hardy colonists were always only functioning at 70 percent. Gregory checked his wrist panel; 80% filter failure. At 90% he would feel the effects of increased blood toxicity, by 95% he would go crazy and have permanent brain damage. At 100% he would--he didn’t want to think about that.

He still had some time to get to the station; plenty of time. He wasn’t sure what he was going to do when he got there. He could surrender and give up the fight in exchange for oxygen. He could try to fight his way through to the supply room where he could restock and make an escape. He could sneak into the side panel, hope the codes hadn’t changed.

Who was he kidding? He grasped the pistol in his hand, there were only four bullets left and he was storming a checkpoint. A unit of AmU soldiers was guarding one of the few access points to the central city. They would be heavily armed and possibly have several robotic turrets as force multipliers.

The turrets were easy to distract with some rocks and a nice enough gust. An idiotic procurement officer on Earth had asked for all the best human killing features but none of the necessary sensory equipment to withstand the climate of the Jovian colonies. Unless they were cleaned every hour, a turret would register the reflective dust as a human and empty its entire ammo store in less than a minute. Reloading could take another thirty seconds.

Gregory thought about that tiny window of time as he arrived at the crest of the hill, he could see the smoke stacks pumping out sulfuric acid high into the atmosphere. Ganymede’s thin atmosphere was being thickened and slowly warmed by the actions of man. In another two hundred years it would rain acid and the average temperature would move to just above 1.1C.

Who cared though? Nothing lived on this god forsaken moon except for the nearly starving miners. They could tear the place apart and never worry about environmental consequences. That didn’t make it any less of a home for Gregory. He had a wife, two lovely daughters, and a dog. It would have been picturesque if it weren’t for the 80 hour work weeks, the mangy qualities of the dog, and the malnourished faces of his two daughters. The low gravity also wreaked havoc on the body. No matter how much exercising one could do in the grav trainers, the day to day would still atrophy the muscles. If he were to go back to Earth his eyes would be unaccustomed to the bright sun. His lungs the clean air. His heart and blood the gravity. If he were to return he would be an alien. Ganymede was the last place he’d ever live.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Auntie Marian

I have to talk about my life. My life seems to be the hardest thing to talk about sometimes though. It often seems uneventful and boring. And quite possibly that’s true.

But the truest truth is that the days where there is so much to talk about are the days that I want least to talk about them.

I never feel I can give the moments their weight and proper justice. Life is a movie—a painting, a still frame, a soundtrack. Life is hard to hold.

With that drawn out entry point I must point out that I recently lost my great-aunt Marian. She was a wonderful woman. I don’t know what to say about this loss.

It happened suddenly although we knew it was going to happen. It was unfair somehow.

I suppose there is always something unfair about death.

I have been listening to the free album previews on NPR. They get albums in before they are ever out. And I get to hear some phenomenal albums.

The latest that I have fallen in love with is Regina Spektor’s new album “What We Saw from the Cheap Seats.” It is as if she is performing in front of friends giving them her favorite secret songs. I can almost hear her chilling out with friends in between tracks, talking about love, life, and death.

The big three. And she puts them into her music quietly, letting the music color in the words. A soft pastel.

Her fingers deftly take on the keys of the piano, finding the minor chords to remind us that life has a darkness to it. She never forgets the majors though; the rising history of man from Greek myth through the Baroque; from the subway to the bright light of day; the indigent masses to the shining city on the hill.

And vocally she complements her soft key strokes with confidence and control. In her living room concert she gasps for air in one song and in the next she coyly smiles at us; letting us hear and feel the vastness of life in the compactness of a woman, her voice, and a piano.

This is an album of loss. And like all loss; there are always people left behind. Left behind with sadness and the magnitude of the moment when something was taken. Yet those left must move on. They must move on in the deafening silence.

I will miss Auntie Marian.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

BJ's Polarized Politics 3/3

Enough philosophy. The Civil Rights Act is an excellent example of this tension. Jeffrey Bell asserts that “Rousseau was the true founder of the left and that the ultimate aim of the left is to deliver humanity to the ‘state of nature’ liberated from corrupt institutions and free of laws and binding obligations.” This doesn’t make sense in light of the passage of the CRA—if the left wanted the destruction of institutions they would pass laws that forbade the establishment, strengthening, or continuation of institutions. Jiffy Bell acknowledges this and asserts that the CRA caused a crisis of identity on the left; that the subsequent race rioting between 1963 and 1968 was the result of the left coming into crisis with its philosophy. That’s a stretch, it probably has a lot more to do with the continued disenfranchisement of minorities despite the laws that had been put in place to guarantee those rights; rights to equality that were being denied primarily by social conservatives and their precursors (which is obviously a direct contradiction to the whole “all men are created equal” thing).

J-Bell disregards this argument, alluding to the Left’s “tip toward society’s harshest critics, toward the darker view of America these critics held.” He disregards the Kerner Commission’s assessment that urban rioting from minority voter disenfranchisement was a result of institutional racism. Yet he fails to offer a counter-theory or explanation for civil unrest clearly caused by institutionalized factors that kept (and continue to keep) minorities from fully realizing their rights. His explanation would be at least minutely plausible if he offered up a logical counter to a bipartisan commission’s report. His assertions are ideological and for lack of a better word—ignorant. That this commission’s findings were not in line with his philosophy is not reason enough to disregard it. Basically, there is ample evidence—well-researched, peer-reviewed, and comprehensively tested—to show that racism exists in formal and informal institutions; Jeffrey Bell is wrong.

Perhaps controversy is his currency though. He speaks in terms of victories and defeats, election cycles, and absolutes. But the world is rarely absolute, election cycles are filled with legislative sessions, and sometimes everyone/no one wins. His world view—and his book—are limited by half-truths, fabrications, and oversimplifications. If one would like to see into the mind of a high-powered social conservative forming policy, then this is the book. This book, and its author, are ample-reason to see why politics in the US has become polarized—people like this profit off this kind of divisive politics.

Read this, like I did, by getting it from the library. And don’t think too hard, because it’s obvious he didn’t.

Final note: I am sorry for being so condescending about this but I am obviously too frustrated with his inept portrayal of my philosophy and my motives to be fair. All I can say is that thus far (I’m only half-way through the book) he has failed to show any scientific rigor in his writing and I am disappointed by the lack of evidence to his inflammatory and often hurtful claims.

BJ's Polarized Politics 2/3

The defining feature of American government, distinct from other forms of Western European government is our lack of a parliament—and accompanying institutional parties. To keep the argument short, in Western Europe there are many parties that form coalitions and work together on issues but remain independent while in America there are two dominant parties that have to distinguish themselves on issues to get votes—basically, they have to be visibly polarized. In short, polarization in America is the product of institutions favorable to this arrangement. Policy and politics are both factors—but J-Bizzy’s argument ignores one and overly favors another. His view is skewed.

Possibly too much. Like this, “Bush had to deal with the most damaging military attack on the American mainland since the War of 1812.” Not sure why he thinks the most recent period was 1812 and not Pearl Harbor (not a state at the time so maybe not mainland?), the Mexican-American war (also territories), or the Civil War (maybe seceding states don’t count?). He doesn’t even have to be inaccurate here, and a lack of clear reasoning makes this statement dubious at best. The point is that Bell J makes a lot of unfounded, dubious, or wrong statements without any clear reasoning as to how it improves his argument.

Jeffy believes that there is a war going on—a tacit one where the righteous right faces the anarchic left in a showdown that pits literal believers in the Declaration of Independence against institution destroying Godless Rousseau followers. Neither depiction is true. For the record, the “left”—his ill-defined other—does have some extremists in its midst who believe in some or maybe even all those things, but they certainly don’t run things. Mainstream liberalism is more concerned with the preservation and endowment of rights to people via reasonable legislative or regulatory frameworks. The inalienable and self-evident nature of human equality may be implicit but there are far too many explicit examples where this has not been so.

BJ's Polarized Politics 1/3

I’ve been reading Jeffrey Bell’s book The Case for Polarized Politics: Why America Needs Social Conservatism. Jeffrey Bell (can I call you Jeff? Jeffy? Jiffy Bell? J-Bell? J-Bizzy? Bell J? BJ?) was a policy adviser to Ronald Reagan and an early advocate of Jack Kemp’s supply-side tax cut. He also worked closely on the Reagan-backed Tax Reform Act of 1986. He is also an Army Vet of Vietnam and directs the Gold Standard 2012 project of the advocacy group American Principles.

He is not an academic nor is he non-partisan (if the home audience is counting double-negatives that makes him partisan). He is very much biased, but so is everyone; he can hardly be faulted for wearing his on his sleeve. His book is less an accurate and well researched portrayal of the social conservative movement and its role in polarized American politics (he has hardly any footnotes, zero endnotes, and no bibliography) and more a glimpse into the mind of a modern social conservative. This narrows two things: the scope of the book and the greater accuracy of the book. Reading it can be a frustrating experience as facts are glossed over and ignored while certain events are given undue prominence and weight. But this is coming from a Washington insider whose professional life has been in the service of determining the politics in play and making a convincing case for his perspective. His bias therefore, is one of inherent motive and less one of human error (as would be an academic’s). Ok, BJ enough about you, what about your book?

Aside from spending an entire chapter to how W tried to end polarized politics only to be rebuffed by angry liberals hell-bent on trying to change all of society, he gives a fairly straightforward and accurate depiction of the rise of social conservatism in America. What he gets wrong—often offensively so—is the perspectives and motives of the liberal left—like the first part of that last sentence. Example: “The argument of this book is that the United States has polarization, while Western Europe does not, because the United States has a social-conservative movement and Western Europe does not.” For the record, there are polarized politics in Western Europe—one need only look to the recent French elections with Marine Le Pen. They don’t manifest themselves in the same way though.

Spring Cleaning 2012

We cleaned today. It was good to get the floors clean. The carpets clean. The spaces and corners clean. All the things that needed to be cleaned. They got cleaned. And what a peculiar thing to see into places you haven’t since you moved in and find that dust bunnies have been gathering slowly. Somehow, that space you can’t seem to quite fill has filled itself—if only with dirt.

Dust bunnies, old nail clippings, skin, and hair. All the things we leave behind. But never intend to. And it felt good when we cleared it out. I felt refreshed and happy. A clean space signifies new beginnings. It is a recharge, a do-over, a restart, an extra life, a one-up. Everything is clean now, but I feel empty somehow. As if knowing that things were building up, some sort of record of my presence—even if they were just scraps of my body—was a comforting reminder that I exist. And that I will persist.

That’s foolish though. I do not feel the loss of an eyelash. It is no more me than a house is a city.

I’m not sure what I’m driving at. I’m not sure what I’m trying to say.

I suppose that I feel compelled to sluff off my baggage and become something new. But I want to keep the old in a way that is neither distant nor too familiar. I want what I cannot have.

I feel clean though. And I feel like I can live and breathe. The winter stuffiness is gone. The air is crisp. The apartment feels new again.

Today was long. Don’t get me wrong. The day was very long. And everything we do will be undone soon. My hair will fall back to the floor. My skin will shed itself quietly, leaving itself on our dressers and in our most unreachable corners. Ciera will drop her bobby pins everywhere. Sometimes, when she is in a hurry and cannot find where she stored her used ones, she will briefly reverse the entropy and find a bobby pin on the floor.

It’s all fractional though. Everything happens so gradually we barely notice. And when we look back we can only say that there was a moment when it was clean then dirty then clean again.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Pizza Apt F Style

Pizza. Whole wheat crust. Soy chorizo. Romano. Fresh basil. Mozzarella. Lightly sauteed onions, bell peppers, and garlic. Fresh rosemary.

Also a hot chick in a toaster.

Stanley Serendipity: A Tale of Two Stanleys

At the needle, Flat Stanley met another Flat Stanley. Seriously. The world is full of fun coincidences.

Flat Stanley

Korena sent me a flat Stanley. I took him to see the Space Needle.

Ciera gets cookin'

Avocado and Roasted Carrot Salad. Corn Chowdah. Yeah my girlfriend is hot and a good cook.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What a mother's day weekend 2/2

And this weekend was the end of the waiting. We had it together and we were excited. On Saturday morning I woke up and talked to grandma. Later we went with Pete down to Saturday Market. And then we picked my Dad up at the airport.

After, we drove to Salem and attended a barbecue for Ciera’s cousin Morgan. It was a nice gathering and we got to see a lot of Ciera’s family. Her grandparents, the cousins, and aunts and uncles. A warm sunny day under a big gazebo with lots of food, drink, and family. All by the river? Why yes.

At some point we headed back and screeched into my grandparents’ house where George and Nate had arrived. We chatted for a bit and I coordinated the night. I was going to go see the Avengers if it killed me. So I looked up times, invited everyone, and drove them to the theater.

The Avengers is an awesome action movie. Don’t expect anything too cerebral but it certainly was great fun. Joss Whedon really has an eye as a director and it made every bit of the action fun. The only thing I really wish from this is that the enemies were a little scarier. They just sort of tried attacking and did a lot of dying. I mean, it was all really cool to watch but I never felt like there was anything on the line.

I suppose that the movie was difficult to run though because there was so much to do. Every hero had a back story. Every action sequence had to advance a plot. And every enemy had to be scary in some sort of fashion. Everything was just the slightest bit skewed. It is just difficult to make a movie with near immortal characters fighting and to continue to pull the audience in plausibly.

But that was mostly overcome and I loved it. Even enough to give David a ride to his friend Kyle’s place. The next morning I awoke to mother’s day. I promptly talked to my mom. I drove Olivia to her place, walked around Pioneer Square a bit and then came back to celebrate a mother’s day brunch.

It was a mostly low-key event but still a lot of fun.

Eventually Ciera and I packed up and got out. But not before first stopping in and saying hi to her aunts and cousins. We stayed for lemonade and cookies and were off. By the time we arrived back in Seattle we could barely move. We were asleep by eleven. And it was a great weekend.

What a mother's day weekend 1/2

What a weekend.

On Thursday night Ciera and I went to the premiere of The Producers. The play is looking really cool now that all of the set has been built and is fully functional. The actors did a superb job. Mel Brooks is a genius.

Hearing about Ciera’s trials and tribulations in helping the production team produce The Producers illustrates what a joker Mr. Brooks is. He made putting on the show one of the most difficult things a theater could possibly do. It is an expensive technical nightmare full of puppets, moving sets, Nazi regalia, and hundreds of costume pieces. Without a good team and ample funding, The Producers is a disaster in waiting.

But the Village Theatre is better than most. And they pulled off a wonderful show that had me in tears laughing.

After the show Ciera and I went to the after party where I felt so cool talking to the people that had put on the show. Actors and techies are fun and funny—often in unintentional ways. We stayed until they nearly kicked us out.

The next morning Ciera and I managed to wake up, have brunch, get a haircut (Ciera), clean the place up, pack our bags for Portland, and hit the road. Driving the stretch between Portland and Seattle is awful. The drivers are extraordinarily bad.

But we made it into town and picked up Olivia. Then we went to grandma and grandpa’s. Right as I walked in the door grandpa told me that his printer wasn’t working—again. So I told him I’d work on it in the morning and took the evening to chill out.

I had a three day weekend and was feeling good. It was nice to spend some time with family and Ciera too. A few days previously Ciera had called and we didn’t have much time to talk, so we scheduled a time to talk. “Are we in a long-distance relationship?” I asked her. She laughed and then made a disappointed groan. Our schedules had gotten so far off of each other’s that we were scheduling time to talk. We both sighed the sigh of people who had stumbled upon a truth that they couldn’t change. We would have to wait it out.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

History's Side

I don't want to jump the gun but I think that a lot more has changed than we think. On Wednesday when the president announced that he supported same-sex marriage the media went predictably crazy.

But something else happened. And that was a bit of a change. Instead of the traditional "gays are bad or at least letting them marry is bad" rhetoric from the typical conservative sources, there was instead a political reaction. How will this affect Obama's campaign for re-election? Will this actually lead to gay marriage?

This is interesting because until this time same-sex marriage has been debated on moral grounds. Gays are bad for society--or at least their marriage is. That is the standard line of attack. Preserve traditional marriage. Save the children.

And since Wednesday? It's been surprisingly quiet. I mean, of course all of the people who believe those things haven't disappeared. But suddenly their voices are on the fringe. Suddenly it seems that the president's position is more mainstream than many would like to admit.

Let's be real for a moment. There is still a lot to be done. But, same-sex marriage poses no threat to any of the following: population growth, traditional families, the very fabric of society, children, or anything else. What we have created is second-class citizenship for no reason other than sexual preference--something confined almost exclusively to the bedroom. This is literally denying rights to someone because they do not conform to some skewed view of what is right. We do not deny rights to those who engage in s&m, swinging, asexual behavior, or nearly any other kink out there. To take it to extremes we don't deny rights because someone prefers one sexual position over another. Appropriately the Massachussetts Supreme Court saw this logic and approved gay marriage because they saw that there was a distinct separation of rights given from those owed.

Gay marriage is simply upholding the laws as written and the American philosophy. We all have rights to privacy (4th amendment) that shall not be infringed, and those rights shall be equally enforced (14th amendment). Besides, in America "we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." For any American who believes in our founding principles and the rule of law in this country, there is no reason to continue this denial.

Or perhaps it is in the Bible where the intolerant make their stand. Yet there is plenty in the Bible we as a society no longer enforce, the stoning of adulterers on Sundays being one. Patton Oswalt said it best (and I'm paraphrasing) "I'd love to be tolerant of the gays but this darn Bible just keeps getting in the way." When logic and reason fails, defer to a vague document to justify one's unkind attitudes. The message of Jesus was and will always continue to be love. No convoluted argument can water down this argument. If the homosexual agenda is love, then those opposed are indeed on the wrong side of history.

And the president, by making clear his support of gay marriage, just called everyone out on their intolerant positions. The relative silence on the morality of gay marriage foreshadows a sea change. It is the beginning of the end and how long it takes is just a matter of impetus to action.

Racism isn't dead, but it's dying and on the fringe. So too will go the opinions of homophobes. It may not be today, it may not be tomorrow, but it will happen. So get over it.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Read things you disagree with

Read things you disagree with.

Talk to people you disagree with. Try to understand the thought process. Being a better person doesn’t mean shutting out that which unbalances your life. Being a better person requires growth and input.

Constant growth is so important. I think old people think they are smarter and wiser. Sometimes yes. Often though I think we go through life trying to become more and more entrenched in our worldview, just trying to reaffirm what we already believe.

And people who are older than me get set in their ways, believing their experience is enough to justify themselves. But it’s not. Sometimes the young people are smarter than you. Sometimes they can do things better. And sometimes they are our peers.

I say our because I am guilty of this crime. I have few years, but I leverage every single one as if it were a currency. I should listen more to not just my elders, but those who are younger. And I don’t like I should. I dismiss them based solely on age.

This doesn’t happen often, but it happens enough. And we don’t call it discrimination; we call it qualifications based on experience.

Sometimes the most qualified individuals have the least experience. There are few opportunities in life for us to test that theory. And so often we fail to see our own hubris.

There is an ingrained mental imagery of a ladder that we all climb. And everyone starts from the bottom rung. And we climb it slowly over the years.

But maybe that’s crap. Maybe we start at different places and some people get jetpacks. Maybe talent is not just based on experience but a wide array of factors. Maybe equality is a lie fed to us while some struggle up the ladder and the people in jetpacks wait at the top.

The moral? Age certainly gives us all experiences. But those experiences should not be used to justify negative behaviors or discrimination. Merit is a fickle thing tainted often by undeserved privileges. Being a better person is understanding that there is always work to be done, and even when you are an expert, space remains infinite and your journey is but one in the 13 billion year history of the universe. Be humble and open.

Self Check-in: A Little Lonesome

I haven’t written much about me lately. I guess I’ve been living in the political world. I have been kind of lonely lately. My friends work odd hours or don’t live in Seattle. And Ciera has been working on the Producers into the wee hours of the morning. I see her for a few minutes in the morning and a few minutes when she comes home.

One of us is usually asleep when that happens. I feel kind of alone. It’s hard to get out and make friends or meet people or even be active when your life has turned into a one man show. I don’t know. Sometimes I think about how to make friends and the prospect sort of scares me. I’m not very outgoing when it comes to meeting people. I just sort of hang around and awkwardly think of ways to jump into conversations.

It’s painful. I know other people feel that way but this really gives me anxiety. It’s hard to not be stressed in unfamiliar social situations for me. And all I really want is to talk to someone but I don’t want to be an imposition and I can’t read any visual cues.

It all bugs the crap out of me. And then there is the entire awkward deal with people at work. I like the people I work with a lot but I don’t know how to be professional and colloquial. I’m no good really at being appropriately social. And my attempts to interact sort of end at the “let’s talk about work briefly and I’ll say something kind of funny or tension breaking then I will keep on moving” level. I’m not very good at breaking past that.

I guess I could try to join a sports team. And I would love to do that but I get a ton of anxiety just thinking about being the new guy on any team. I guess this is a big ego thing. I never feel like I bring any value to any interaction. That’s why I feel comfortable with my friends. Because I don’t worry about my value. I know there is nothing to prove with them, there is nothing to do other than be there for them. And being there for a stranger is hard work.

Right now for me it’s a little impossible.

But the weather has been nice and I love walking around Seattle. I just feel a little small in the big city sometimes.

Obama's Coming Out

Today was an historic day. What we suspected all along has finally become reality. Obama declared the country a communist atheistic nanny state that wants to tear families apart and give everyone big checks cut from the private accounts of every corporation and rich person in America. Also he told us that his birth certificate is faked and that he is a Muslim terrorist hell bent on making sure that everyone gets an abortion and marries gay illegal immigrants.

Actually Obama merely came out in support of gay marriage. Everyone sort of suspected that he already supported it but never really said anything. Then Biden slipped up—he says things! What a throw back to W. Anyways, Biden’s constantly running mouth revealed that the current administration is not necessarily opposed to gay marriage in any meaningful way.

Now, it seems that Obama said so himself. Here’s the full quote:

“I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors, when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together; when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that 'don't ask, don't tell' is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I've just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.”

That’s right, the president supports equal marriage rights for gays. The implication is not going to really be a policy one; the middle of election season doesn’t inspire much by way of actual policy. But it does draw a pretty sharp line in the sand.

Mitt Romney is pretty anti-gay rights. He has two things to say about this. The first is that it’s a state’s rights issue and that they should decide. And his platform states that he supports a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Obvious hypocrisy relating to federal versus state action aside, Mitt Romney doesn’t really seem to care too much about queer rights.

And the pundits are asking, “will black people who are anti-gay be mad at Obama? Will they vote for Romney instead?” Don’t be daft. The African American community largely supports same-sex marriage and there is little doubt that they won't switch their vote based solely on gay marriage. Even less likely is that Romney is going to get those votes. People probably just won’t show up to the polls.

Even that’s ridiculous. The Republican Party is having a lot of trouble with its platform because it is already fairly exclusionary. Obama can afford to take up one or two divisive issues without losing entire sections of his voting block. Realistically the Republican Party is composed of a far more uniform group of individuals that have been leaning on extreme ideologies. Obama has plenty of wiggle room to firmly support some controversial issues while still keeping many of his diverse constituents.

Sometimes it feels like the pundits are just trying to make this race look close or the implications vast. Realistically it affirms only that Obama is thinking like the young people who will be running this country someday. They want a world free of arbitrary distinctions based on sexual preference. For if the bedroom is truly outside the domain of government, why are all gay discrimination laws based solely on an individual’s bedroom acts?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Michigan and the New Jim Crow

Click here 4/6/2012

Too tired to keep writing but this is a very important issue. This is why the media is also important.

Rachel Maddow has done an excellent job of tracking disregard for democracy in Michigan since April.

also click here 4/10/2012

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

From 4/26/2012

and this:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

From 4/30/2012


Here’s why you aren’t as worldly as you think you are.

I know it’s another article guilting you into snubbing yet another thing. First it was fair trade coffee, then it was organics, lately it has been meat, and now it’s quinoa.

The problem comes down to economics. The pesky model of supply and demand does very interesting things in world markets. Increasing globalization affects more than just the buyer and the seller. But why quinoa? According to the latest article in Time, “the gluten-free staple is produced solely by small-scale farmers and 90% is organic.” That’s hipster heaven.

If you eat quinoa give yourself a little pat on the back for supporting small farmers and healthy farming practices. Also give yourself a pat on the back for alleviating poverty for these small farmers because you have increased demand—and therefore prices—dramatically. These farmers are making tons of money. Anyone buying quinoa is single-handedly bringing Bolivian high altitude farmers out of the third world.

I mean, “the price of quinoa has tripled in the past five years, to $1 per lb., a boon to growers in the poorest region of South America’s poorest country.” According to the article the farmers can buy real farming equipment like tractors now.

Now, stop patting yourself on the back and strap in. What is quinoa’s role in the country? Well, it’s traditionally been a staple for the poorest people in the country. It’s eaten instead of rice because they can’t afford rice. And it’s known as “comida para los indios” or food for the Indians. Indians in most South American countries are basically the bottom rung economically. So that means that quinoa is the cheapest food for the poorest people. They have no other food sources.

Imagine yourself as an indio for a moment. You are poor, and all you can afford for you and your family is quinoa. For years you have bought just enough to keep your family healthy. Lately, the price for quinoa has tripled and now you can barely afford it at all. You have been pushed out of the market for your only staple food and now have to compensate by purchasing another good or simply eat less. And there are no cheap substitutes for quinoa. So the answer is the only choice left—you eat less. While farmers become empowered to serve their SoCal Fad Dieters, you are left only with hunger.

Ultimately, it’s not inherently bad to buy quinoa. In fact, all of the positive economic effects could potentially help develop these South American countries and reduce their poverty levels. As it stands, fair trade programs have targeted a staple food—which reacts far differently than a luxury good like coffee—in the local economy. This has vast and far reaching consequences that ask us not simply to buy based on labels or perceived benefits, but rather to fully inform oneself to the entire context.

Food, of all things, is sacred and all should have a right to it. In trying to give people more economic freedom, we have perhaps taken away their right to food. It requires no malice to do harm to another human, only willing ignorance.

Common Theme 2

I said earlier that the commons has become part of the political dialogue. Or at least, I am going to conjecture that it has and we have largely been unaware of it because we continue to deal with many goods as if they could be fully privately held and not be part of the commons. Bear with me because this goes a little of the beaten path.

Ok, if a common good is one defined by two characteristics—subtractability and difficulty of exclusion—then there are many markets that may be defined as common. The issue is that traditional economic transactions may not occur in these instances and thus their nature becomes hidden.

The first would be in areas where the value on a resource is extremely difficult to qualify or quantify. Take for example scenic view scapes. Certainly everyone can agree that a view adds value to a property but quantifying that is difficult. It becomes even more difficult in situations where a view has been obstructed by a nearby property owner. There are few laws regarding view scapes and many are left vulnerable because there exist no protections for this resource.

The second is in the world of money. Money in the modern world is supplied in quantities that are hard to fathom. There is so much money in circulation that one business couldn’t possibly make a quantifiable subtraction from the resource. Yet it is difficult to exclude anyone from using money as it is the basis of all financial transactions. Widespread exclusion from any rights to money would lead to revolt and chaos. Therefore, in order for civil society to function, most people must have access to some amount of cash.

At the level of big banks, governments, and the Federal Reserve the money supply is regularly produced and constricted based on market factors. These factors change the supply of money and the ‘cost’ of it. When large sell-offs and occur, the money goes into short supply. A drought. When this happens it is likely that people and institutions will overdraw and hoard cash, pulling it out of the market. This means that all subsequent uses of money in this system are not just constricted but ‘overdrawn’.

The only solution when money supply is short is to release reserves or borrow money.

If this doesn’t happen then the supply is restricted and people lose access to it. Yet it is hard to keep people fully excluded from the resource and there are increased pressures to release more supply in the form of loans or debt forgiveness.

Basically, money on the scale of economies can be treated like a common good and under those circumstances users have to treat money—at least at certain scales—as such. This means that choke points that restrict how much value can alter in a given time period are necessary. It also means that some institutions may not be self-regulating and may need regulations to keep the resource from widespread depletion.

This wouldn’t require radical shifts in how laws deal with money right now but it would open the door for creative methods of managing the resource that could help prevent further corruption and crashes without overburdening users with regulations.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Movie Vignette and Whine

Here’s my latest idea. Shoot a movie where similar to Love Actually or New York I Love You the plot is a series of intertwining stories. But more than that the genres are different. Think of it as a mash-up of Hollywood similar to my other idea where a character wanders through different films to tell his story.

In this version, the camera follows different people through their day in the city. And as the camera shifts between stories, it adopts the tone of each piece. So what may be a coming of age teen story in one scene is a kung-fu movie in another. A romantic comedy lives next to a drama of a family falling apart. As tone, characters, story arcs, and genres shift the goal is to derive the human from it all.

And as a motif I would also like to capture a city. I’d like to capture the things that we lose by being consumed with ourselves. I pass hundreds of people each day and all of them are in different moods. They all have different destinations and different origins. Each bit of them is unique but somehow connected to me and the rest of mankind. At what point do those differences constitute a distinct individual?

At what point do all of the camera angles, directors, actors, writers, and special effects average out into an accurate portrait of life?

So that’s my idea. More or less. I think it has a lot of potential. I’ll work on it in my little brain/

I really need a new computer, I can’t live much longer in the current system. My netbook is cute and good for typing but I can barely browse the web. My big computer is nearly completely useless because I have no space for it in the apartment. My work computer is ok but it can barely handle any graphics capability. Productivity is nearly at nil because I spend so much time waiting for things to get done.

And realistically I can barely even browse youtube. I couldn’t even waste time effectively. It’s a mess.

And those are the thoughts on my brain at the moment. Three more words.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Common Theme 1

One of the most important concepts in the modern world is an often overlooked but critical piece of the puzzle in American politics. It is seldom (if ever) mentioned by any national political figures and on a local level it barely gets lip service. Yet, it guides a significant amount of domestic policy. In fact, many debates about the role of government seem to revolve almost exclusively around this ‘it’--common pool resources.

Part 1: The Basics

This unglamorous name, hereafter referred to as the commons, is a type of resource that has some peculiar qualities that exclude it from much of the traditional governmental framework. Technically the commons is defined by two main characteristics: the difficulty of exclusion and the presence of subtractability. Basically, it’s hard to keep people from taking some of a resource, and the resource can be taken.

Information is a peculiar case of a resource that is difficult to exclude but does not subtract. Almost anyone can learn but no one can take that information away.

Water is the classic example of the commons. In a given region everyone pulls from the same aquifer, the borders are amorphous, and it is nearly impossible to keep people from using the aquifer. In these cases traditional property rights have no meaning. A person may not buy part of a stream and use it however they please. Nor can a heartbroken harlot poison her ex-lover’s well without jeopardizing the entire aquifer.

In the early days of the West, the solution to these water problems was simple. Get a big straw, settle upstream, and suck hard. And that worked ok. Eventually though, that stopped working. The text book example is the Colorado River where water became so over-allocated that today it no longer even flows to its mouth. Instead it dries up somewhere in the Mexican desert, miles from the sea.

Laws regarding the use of the commons are a hodge-podge. Largely the issue is ignored or traditional property laws are modified to manage the commons. In the West, water rights are allocated based on acre-feet. The mean quantity of the water source is determined and separated into units known as acre-feet, or the amount of water that would cover an area of one acre to one foot of depth in water. These acre-feet are then sold as water rights and the holder of the rights are allowed to use that amount of water in a given time period--generally a year.

This is doesn’t always work. Water quantity is rarely exactly the amount estimated on paper and often the rights are over-allocated. Water quality is often poorly monitored and polluters rarely punishable under the full force of the law. Even in cases where a party overdraws water according to their rights, it is hard to track down and prosecute the offender. Then there is the case of gradual pollution from non-point sources. Basically, if everyone were to flush their prescription drugs down the toilet, there could be significant health effects to users downstream but placing blame on one person would be unfair.

In this sense, the commons is truly society’s fault. Conceptually, this is hard to grasp for many people and thus laws regarding it have been apt examples of square pegs getting shoved into round holes.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Town Theatre: Matching Funds-raiser

Dear Friends and Family,

We have really great news! On May 2, 2012, there’s an exciting event that will amplify the impact of your gift to us.

GiveBIG [] is a community-wide day of giving hosted by The Seattle Foundation that will increase the size of your donation to us. Last year during GiveBIG, $4.1 million was raised to support over 900 nonprofits in our community. We plan to be a part of this success again in 2012!

GiveBIG will increase your impact in several ways:

  • Grow your gift! A share of every contribution made through The Seattle Foundation's online Giving Center between midnight and midnight on May 2 will be matched by The Seattle Foundation and GiveBIG’s corporate sponsors, who have put $500,000 into the “stretch pool.”
  • Win a Golden Ticket! During the day, you could be chosen at random to have your charity of choice—[THE TOWN THEATRE]—receive an additional $1,000 from GiveBIG’s sponsors. This year, the selected donor will also be eligible to win a Starbucks gift card worth $100!

We encourage you to join all our supporters to give big on May 2. Your gift will help us fund our ongoing project with Homeless in Seattle (facebook community page) and will allow us to pay for rehearsal and performance space and costumes for our upcoming original production of “Domesticity”.

Mark your calendar! Donate to THE TOWN THEATRE between midnight and midnight on May 2 through our page in The Seattle Foundation’s Giving Center:

Thank you in advance for giving big. With your help, we can continue to pursue community, tell stories, and challenge audience and performer to engage in honest human experiences.  

Amber Hughes, Eleanor Withrow, Cierra Iveson, Nicholas Hara, and Amberlee Williams
The Town Theatre Artistic Team

PS: You can learn more about GiveBIG online at

May Day

I would like to formally announce to Ticketmaster and any other services that charge a “convenience fee” that nothing you do is convenient. It is completely misleading and you all suck. In the process of purchasing tickets I was never clearly informed that there would be a fee for using your services. The tickets cost one amount but I paid $40 dollars to have them for “convenience.” This unexplained charge I can only imagine to mean that they find it convenient to take an extra bit of cash from me.

In other news today was May Day; international workers day. Four anarchists were arrested for trying to blow up a bridge in Ohio. Anarchists started breaking into buildings downtown in Seattle today. The coordination and matching black outfits leads me to believe that they are pretty half-assed anarchists.

Downtown was crazy today. But not in the transformative way that I thought the Occupy Movement could beI would like to formally announce to Ticketmaster and any other services that charge a “convenience fee” that nothing you do is convenient. It is completely misleading and you all suck. In the process of purchasing tickets I was never clearly informed that there would be a fee for using your services. The tickets cost one amount but I paid $40 dollars to have them for “convenience.” This unexplained charge I can only imagine to mean that they find it convenient to take an extra bit of cash from me.

In other news today was May Day; international workers day. Four anarchists were arrested for trying to blow up a bridge in Ohio. Anarchists started breaking into buildings downtown in Seattle today. The coordination and matching black outfits leads me to believe that they are pretty half-assed anarchists.

Downtown was crazy today. But not in the transformative way that I thought the Occupy Movement could be. Instead, it felt like people waiting for a riot. The police in riot gear didn’t help. Everyone hid their faces. Why can’t we have public gatherings anymore where people don’t have to protect themselves? Why do the protesters put bandanas on and write inflammatory “Fuck You”s on cardboard signs? Why do the police wear riot gear and stand ready with crowd suppression tactics?

What the hell happened to our right to peaceably assemble? A right that must be upheld by both sides.

It was disappointing to see that downtown today. It was less a show of solidarity or a cry for change and more a desire for conflict and tension. It’s easy to demonize the man without a face. It is far harder to craft a future with people of differing views. International workers day should have been a celebration not an excuse to inflict pain.

It is laughable to think that we will get what we want by wrenching it from our allies. As Americans it should be our duty to find common cause with each other. We should acknowledge that we are far stronger not as protesters smashing windows and cops wielding batons but as a citizenry dedicated to better public discourse and the empowerment of everyone in this nation.

Also, I just got promoted yesterday, and it is effective today. That was exciting.. Instead, it felt like people waiting for a riot. The police in riot gear didn’t help. Everyone hid their faces. Why can’t we have public gatherings anymore where people don’t have to protect themselves? Why do the protesters put bandanas on and write inflammatory “Fuck You”s on cardboard signs? Why do the police wear riot gear and stand ready with crowd suppression tactics?

What the hell happened to our right to peaceably assemble? A right that must be upheld by both sides.

It was disappointing to see that downtown today. It was less a show of solidarity or a cry for change and more a desire for conflict and tension. It’s easy to demonize the man without a face. It is far harder to craft a future with people of differing views. International workers day should have been a celebration not an excuse to inflict pain.

It is laughable to think that we will get what we want by wrenching it from our allies. As Americans it should be our duty to find common cause with each other. We should acknowledge that we are far stronger not as protesters smashing windows and cops wielding batons but as a citizenry dedicated to better public discourse and the empowerment of everyone in this nation.

Also, I just got promoted yesterday, and it is effective today. That was exciting.

Also,Read this for a perspective on the military industrial complex and the need for police forces. I may comment on it later; suffice it to say that the metaphor is a bit overwrought, the writing is so-so, but the content is compelling and illustrates an intriguing (if a bit simplistic) world-view. Thanks to Roger for finding it.