19 June, 2012

Moving House

and all will be transferred soon... I hope

to here:  The New Home of Iamindeed

Please come on over 

18 June, 2012

Racist Confessional. Part One

First, a little background on me. I'm a blonde, blue eyed female, in a committed relationship with an African American male, we have shared love, life and living space for nearly the last 6 years.  I have been pointed out as the reason of racial tension at a speech in Boston in the 1980's by Louis Farrakhan, as the only white face in the crowd - I was easy to spot. 

But, this post idea started with two things. The death of Rodney King and a news item about a GOP radio show where the host calls the President of the United States a monkey. Repeatedly. And feels justified in doing so. Discounting both the man and the office in a horrid, racist and ignorant way.

You can read it yourself here: Barbara Espinosa Babble

See- first I was amazed at the gall, and the fact that she is "a journalist" however loosely defined the word has become.  And this - is babble. But it made me angry, I was offended and disgusted. Then guilty. 

Guilty because I believe that we all harbor a racial bias, and I know that I have that little voice in my head that defines people on first sight by noticing the differences.  I also believe that this bias is widespread throughout humans, and readily apparent in the animal kingdom.  A genome-encoded survival mechanism that encourages us, by instinct, to gravitate to those most like us.  Which, being human, breaks out at it's most basic level to racial definition.  Break it out and it's like this: I am a Zebra and you are a Water Buffalo - both of us are snacking on the same Savannah grass in Africa.  When the lions come - I'm running with the Zebras, because they are my "known" and you run with the buffaloes for the same reason.  But, as humans, we are given the ability to reason beyond the instinct. 

And just because I'm a blonde and fit in with the wasp-y side of the American scale, it doesn't mean that I am immune to feeling discriminated against because of my race.  I have been called a "cracker bitch" repeatedly by a sloppy female who lived in this complex. The same sloppy female who would 'hide out' in her car, or startle and jump with an "eep" should she encounter my other half in the parking lot or entrance to the building.  Petty and stupid and since she didn't ( and stood no chance ) of knowing me - it shouldn't matter. But it did. It hurt and made me angry and feel "less than" what she felt she was.  Which wasn't much, in my opinion, but I would never be so bold or so rude as to address those issues. 

But, it was the 80's and I was out and about: living my own life and learning those things that I felt necessary.  I learned that while I could "notice" someone's skin tone, eye shape or hair texture, it really had zero bearing on the who the person was, unless or until I made it important. Now, here is where things start to fall apart for me, and I should have someone who can detail what their racial identity means to the "who" they are..but I'm not that organized, and perhaps it will come. But really, I don't see that any 10 people I could pick out would want anything different out of life, the big things, than I would.  Love, a job that interests and intrigues, being able to pay bills, enjoy some down time, raise happy and healthy and productive children, and to find a measure of success that you can attain and define.  Sure, I am certain that there are differences in the order, and even the importance of each issue, but we all have those desires in common.  

I went to that speech with the specific intention of telling my parents that I had been, and to irk my father.  I was young, and acting out. Typical adolescent stuff. My father was raised from the 30's and 40's in a less than desirable neighborhood in Baltimore, then after his father took a powder he moved with his mother and two sisters to a rough area in a mill town in northern Massachusetts.  In many ways, I consider him a product of the times, but one that was unwilling and unable to change when the paradigm shifted. He was always rather insecure as a human being and an engineer, and fell into that "put other's down to elevate yourself". His common response to racial commentary was "I am not a racist, I work with a negro, a Pakistani and an Afrikaans in my process department". Never did his mention of these 3 men ever contain just their names, like Jon, Rajiv and Hendrick.  So, early on, I was exposed to a racially-determined way of defining people, and it was an important inclusion in my father's definition of his world view. 

Left with a predetermined way of defining the people around me, I sought to find the key that would allow me to "not be like my parents". Also typically adolescent reaction.  But, in some strange and twisted way I owe my awareness of my racial bias and my unwillingness to live a life that is based on defining the people around my by their race to my father. Which, I am fairly certain, was not his intended result. 

Now I come forward and suggest that we are beyond the time that the discussion about race, racism, racial bias, racial tension and racial discrimination is long overdue. And needs to be happening now, everywhere, in all sorts of forums and groups. It is necessary that we remove race as the "emotional trump card' from the election discussion - there are far more important issues to be discussed.  But simply removing it will do nothing to solving the issue, not even with baby steps. Do we simply discount those who spew their rhetoric on an ever increasing decibel level as morons, beyond redemption or retraining?  Is putting this hate speech out there something that should be protected by the 1st Amendment, even though it is oftentimes serving as a "calling card" to others who may be isolated and afraid to act upon their heinous beliefs?   What about the frequency of the references that are purely racial and epithet laden in the media, on the street, in the political adverts? Are we willing to delay the discussion to such a degree that it becomes something we are inured to: much like we are inured to the 300th car explosion at the movies?

Were we a less racist nation before people had the internet to come together and anonymously be able to post venom and epithet freely? Is an "openly" hostile or vocal racist easier to discount and deal with than those who perhaps are more subtle, and would we all see it as a racial divide? 

What do you do when someone calls you racist? Do you react in a manner similar to my father or do you stop and think if perhaps your actions were motivated by race? Or have you taken steps ( and what ones ) to overcome your natural bias, and how do you know that you aren't 'overcompensating' in the other direction so as not to appear as a racist or racially motivated?

Most importantly.. WHAT do you think?

10 February, 2012

Who is Shutruk Nahante?

"I am Shutruk Nahante, King of Anshand and Sussa, Soverign of the land of Elam. I destroyed Sippar, took the stele of Niran-Sin, and brought it back to Elam, where I erected it as an offering to my god." ~ Shutruk Nahunte, 1158 BC

"Great ambition and conquest without contribution is without significance.  What will your contribution be? How will history remember you? "  ~ Kevin Kline in The Emperor's Club

Why these quotes? We have reached a time in our history when what you have done is far less important than how many likes, hits, views, quotes or comments you can get. Where mediocrity is the cause celeb, an ass will make you famous and a "role model" and trademarking a baby name is headline news, even when it would best be used in a garden centre.  

People are refusing to see, or are unaware of the reality that real contributions that last are not comprised of the above, and a sore lack of substance to a time capsule created to memorialize the 21st century to date.  It would leave those in years to come wondering, and not in a good way. 

Contributions are comprised of many things and from many people: Socrates, Plato, Cleisthenes, Solon, Aristotle.  The Moors brought glass lenses to the Crusaders, Chinese created gunpowder, the pyramids of the Incas, Maya, Egyptians and Aztecs, Mummification by many cultures.  Sun Tzu created the Art of War still used as a guide in conflict and conquer.  Mohammed created his view of Allah, and the Buddah removed the omnipotent to revel in the beauty and process and path of all life. Right Angles - both definition and idea came from Africa, as did the idea of community governance and housed the forefather of man, Homo Sapiens. Someone built the Moai ( statues ) of Easter Island, and it has been recently revealed through pottery fragments that the Japanese found Peru some 500 years or more before Columbus "discovered" the Americas. 

The striking fact about this information is that not one single sex, race, nation or geographical area has a monopoly on innovations that stood the test of time and were noted and remembered by history. 

So then, because this is me - I take a look at what passes for "best we have on offer" from the GOP in terms of candidates.  And I think .. Really?  Is there a single one who has the capacity, the capability of being little more than a stain on that book ? 

They are all, to a one, rich, white males.  Some have earned their money 'honestly' some garnered it from our tax dollars.  But every single one of them is divisive and detrimental because of their attitude toward Americans.  They are a group of men screeching to all who will listen that it is an Us versus Them. Problem is, unless you are a rich, white male and think of America in terms of Donna Reed and pearls and Jesus .... you are "them".  

They've even taken the essential premise that is ( as I see it ) racist and prejudiced - and no one is calling them on that.  Really?  Really?!! 

They are hard for me to stomach, these statements.  Even harder to write.  Because, let me be honest, I am a white, anglo-saxon female, who has ties to the Revolution, the Mayflower and the Church in my family.  My experience is not one fraught with pages of examples of not getting in, or ahead, or snubbed because of how I look.  My father was a Republican, from a long line of them: mother voted Democratic when she naturalized.  She was a member of NOW and worshipped at the feet of Steinam, my father screamed about government and "them" and always felt and spoke as if he were one step "better" or "higher" than others who didn't look like him. 

So - as children, it's normal. We gravitate to like - people that look alike, sound alike, sit in the same church, then we get older and perhaps gravitate to the "ideas" we do tend to be most comfortable with those who are most like us, liberals with liberals, conservatives with conservatives, zebras prefer to be with other zebras to donkeys or wildebeasts.  It's a natural 'gravitation' that often happens without thought.  But when your ideas and attitudes are stuck in the playground mode, and are outdated, closeminded and frankly not even close to reflective of the world around you, or you truly believe that your "white is right" ( or whatever phrase best reflects your staying with 'your own kind') ..you cease to be valid - and tar all who follow you with that brush.  And sadly, these statements are pouring forth like cream to kittens, and being lapped up without question or challenge.  

So - now you are on edge, and wondering "Is she calling me a racist?"  

Have you not questioned, seriously questioned and researched and perhaps had a second thought when you heard 

Santorum ( google it frequently ) 
"I don't want to make black people's lives better with welfare" 
The reality is that African-Americans self identify as  less than 20% of the US population - more caucasians are on welfare, disability and aid than any other race. 

Brewer ( Governor of Arizona ) 
"This law is a fair, effective and necessary response to what amounts to Washington turning it's back on border security"
What borders Arizona? Mexico. Who carries there documents with them all the time? I have a green card.  I keep it safe since I shouldn't need to produce it. Especially not for a "random check".  

"Bilingual education teaches the language of living in the ghetto".  Really? Funny - my daughter was educated in a bilingual system and speaks French and English. In university, she took Latin and Ancient Greek.  Most countries have a requirement that educates children in more than one language. My daughter's best friend, daughter of Vietnamese immigrants speaks English, French, Vietnamese, Spanish AND German and is in Medical School.  Yep - looks ghetto to me. ( and please - what IS a ghetto - cause I've seen some trailer parks in east scratch your ass Arizona dn Missouri and Texas where all the folks were caucasian - and it was tore up and disgusting.  ) 

But, my favourite is Mr Ron Paul - King of the "blank stare" You only 'hope' the wheels are turning in there somewhere.  HE said - 
"I never read that stuff. I was probably aware of it 10 years after it was written, and it's been going on 20 that people ask me about it." The is - a series of monthly publications full of homophobic and racist content, statements and rants, on HIS company letterhead - and signed, by him.  In fact, Jonathan Chait, a columnist for New York Magazine states "statements of racist paranoia appeared regularly enough in Paul's newsletters to represent a consistent ideological theme". 

And this is the best there is on offer? Has the look of the President, the colour of his skin, the texture of his hair so threatened Joe Redneck that he feels that he cannot tell his children they too, can be president? That one man of caramel complexion is so glaringly overshadowing the portraits of the 43 white men that preceded him? That the cliffs in South Dakota with the white men upon them, every image of Uncle Sam, every portrait on the currency is so ingrained on your limited world view that you can't stand the change? Are you so calcified and afraid that you may be wrong, and that would open a whole can of worms? Then I shan't tell you that Santa is a myth, there is no Easter Bunny - and Jesus was not a blonde-ish white man with blue eyes.  Deal with it. 

What this whole bunch is doing is solidifying and emboldening those who I once thought was a relatively isolated minority of mouth-breathers, troglodytes that are reveling in their ignorance being validated.   

But - few people are talking about it. ANY of it.  Race and racism is uncomfortable and gets emotionally charged when people are more apt to talk the talk and not walk the walk.   I would be an incredibly rich woman today if I took a dollar from every idiot who told me "I'm not racist, my friend A is ___ and we've been friends for years. She's slept over at my house too."  That tells me so much. 

When you honestly tell me - before the discussion is ever raised - that your friends are all funny and smart and writers or readers and make you laugh and share your tears and live all over or right next door.  And weeks later, when I come to visit, and you send a friend to meet me, and the last thing before signing off is that I am meeting a stranger - and oh yeah - you can recognize them because they are an albino.  I know you are walking the walk.  Those others .... they tell me of Anton the Albino who is a friend who came over for dinner once in 1982. 

I've rambled enough -I made my point. Look at the quote from the movie, the one Kevin Kline delivered.  Do any of them look like more than a post-script ... would you want ET to know any of them in the year 4000 ? 

24 January, 2012

A Cookie

for the first person who can explain to me why this is right and ethical and an act you could live with.

You make, about 45 MILLION a year.  That's according to your tax return.  Sure- some of that is investment income - but it's income.  So, essentially you have close to 40 million in expendable income yearly.  You know - that stuff that the rest of the world needs to spend on food, gasoline, entertainment, travel, clothes, bills, housing.  *I've pulled 5 mill as the number dedicated to taxes ** 

Yet - you pay the same effective tax rate as someone who makes 70K a year - after they take their deductions if they itemize.  And the same rate as someone who makes 40 K a year before or if they do not itemize. 

That rate is roughly 14%. Of your Gross.

A person making 45 Million - that works out to be $675,000

Making 70 K - that works out to be $10,500

Making 40 K - that works out to be $ 6000

Who is getting the short end of the stick there?  

And this is supposed to be a non-issue in the current GOP Primaries? 

Tomorrow we will discuss the "race baiting' by several candidates.  

Oh - and the links to keep on top of and complaining about the SOPA and PIPA issues are on the left margin .... go on - be heard! 

19 January, 2012

Now that the outage is over

Where do you go from here?  Because, believe that it's NOT over.  SOPA and PIPA are both up for votes by the house and senate - and both are dangerously encroaching on your ability to interact, write, learn, share and even be certain of obtaining multiple viewpoints on any issue. 

I suggest that you make a concerted effort to both complain ( loudly and often ) and make your voice heard. 

Because, I look at it like this.  No one, that is NO ONE should stand for copyright infringement.  You should always credit work that isn't your own; I have been known to credit the germination of an idea with the work that spurred it.  Perhaps overkill, but I think it makes the experience I am trying to explain clearer. 

But - when the whole of us are punished because one person is unable to live by the standards of both legalities and common courtesy, in a forum that tends to promote and popularize the anonymity of it all -then how do you manage to exert the very real influence of peer pressure? 

Do you not see that this proposal can engender a series of self-appointed vigilantes who could then cry FOUL with not only the instances of poached content - but even to those who are expressing an interest that is vastly divergent from their own? 

And - for those of you who think that cannot happen - what fairyland utopia are you living in for it isn't this US of A that I see.  It is happening daily - from the news readers who only present a sound byte to build a story - to the talking heads that do little but shout down opposing voices while promulgating their own skewed take on 'how it should be'.  And sadly - more and more - it is ALL becoming like that. 

From the "patriot zones" created around the Bush and McCain speaking engagements, meant simply to remove citizens from voicing their outrage with policies and platform, to the 'guarded public events' held by Romney, and the 'staged' questions from the audience at other candidate's events ... you are being managed and presented with a package that is edited, revised and polished for television stories of 90 seconds or less.  And you have accepted it as "the norm". 

Well - quoting Tom Petty, I won't back down.  You need to be cajoled into making a stink about SOPA and PIPA to your senators and congressmen - to actually be heard by the people YOU elected to represent YOUR wishes. I can do that.  I can and will take every piece of the law - explain it, define it, push you to see why it's bad.

And together - perhaps - We the People can create enough noise for They that are Elected to Represent to hear.

This is my answer to "what do we do now".  

Go here to see the Bill as written:  SOPA Bill HR 3261

Go here to find your Congressman: Congressional Directory

Go here to join the Movement: Stop the Wall

18 January, 2012

Be Careful WHAT you wish for ....

Just last night I was lamenting on my inability to write.  More my "not finding anything in my list of things I had started to scribble on that demanded to be heard".  I think I used exactly those words. 

Then today, 18 January, I went to read one of my favorite bloggers, bubblesdeux.com.  You can't read her or any of my others reads on that provider today.  It's not because they don't want you- but the site is shut down.  Along with several other sites shuttered in protest of two "anti-piracy" bills due to come up for a vote in the Senate and Congress soon: SOPA and PIPA.

See - the upshot of these laws is that they are M-15's being used where a flyswatter is much more appropriate.  Like most, I despise plagiarism - and I am not one who uses ( or used really ) the multitude of "free share"  sites that passed about content that one person sweated and cried over in creating on a site like Napster.  I believe that people should be credited for their work, and where there is money to be made - paid.  

But, like many things this Senate and Congress decide to enact, there are serious concerns as to who is their "information guru".  And, how much of the issue do they really understand?  From my vantage point, like many things, this law is far too broad in scope as written, and far too non-specific in its working.  When any moron with a wild hair across his ass can point and scream "violation" ( much like the robot with the vacuum hose arms waving and shouting Danger Will Robinson! Danger! Danger! ) this particular law, should it pass the 'legislative follies' and become law, will be just as effective in a real sense - and not nearly as quotable. 

Who am I to contest or complain? Let's see.  I am a long term resident of these United States.  Fully versed in the thought that I will not have some random moron decide what I can read, see, buy, speak on or even look into.  The web is my entertainment and a door to social interaction, it gives me facts and news and lets me connect with friends and family.  It has become my encyclopaedia in multiple volumes - with endless options for sourcing and differing degress of veracity that all can and do combine to keep me amused, informed, confused, laughing, crying but most of all, connected to information and opinions.  This law threatens to remove that ability by punishing not  those who choose to use content that is not their own, but the website on which they post the non-credited content. 

Like the million dollars in fines to the college students, teens and tweens who got caught up in the Napster stings and suits ( still ongoing, mind ) - this bill goes too far.  Go ahead - read it: THE REAL BILL http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c112:H.R.3261:
Read the information about the bill ( there is tons out there - good and bad).  Note that there are good, bad and moronic comments ( some best written by those for whom a muzzle should be required daywear ) - but people CAN have a say AND you can read it.  I'm not so sure that will be the case should this law pass.

But- after reading the law, and looking around - you can decide for yourself.  If you favour an entire site being shut down for one person's inability or unwillingness to credit content is machine gunning a fly. Collateral damages everywhere, and the price, like with all collateral damage - far too high.

Want to be heard?  It's easy actually.  Go to your local Senator and Congressman. Use the time you would be reading on these shut down sites on the web today to make phone calls.  FLOOD their switchboard.  Email them.  Repeatedly. I repeat: flood the congressional and senatorial switchboards and servers with your voice. 
Senators and Congressmen are YOUR voice in government.  They are the voice that speaks for you .  You Elected them for their promise to WORK FOR YOU. CALL IN YOUR MARKER.  Demand that they listen to you and NOT pass this Lobbyist created and driven bill.  

Go to https://www.google.com/landing/takeaction/  for an easy link for email. 


21 December, 2011

Think of yourself as a Chicken...

Yes, a real chicken - the kind that lays eggs or fries up so neatly. Essentially, what few of us realize and all of us experience is that curious moment, in the coop, when the cannibalistic nature of the species comes to light.  And while you have been happily wandering about in the belief that everyone you encounter is honest and without agenda, with your rose coloured glasses - you fail to see that you are leaking blood from every orifice, and the natives are restless.  

There used to be ( and perhaps still is - I'm not up on my chicken facts ) a large market for 'Rose Coloured Glasses' for chickens.  This is real. 

It's a real photo.  It's a wooden chicken.  But yes- they are quite "hot" items for collectors of the 'oddities' of farm equipment. But, most importantly - it keeps the chickens from devouring themselves, and each other.  Because they are cannibals, and the sight of blood sends them into a frenzy, and the rose tint removes the 'red' contrast.  

It's not so easy on the internet.  While it is a wonderful tool, and can connect you with people from all over - it also can, and does, create a wonderful sense of 'remove'.  Those who ascribe to the theory that the person behind the words you read is little more than a cardboard cutout, with little value and lesser emotions than the displays at the liquor store you find hurt feelings, improper impressions, and callous words. 

See - this is not my first ride on the merry go round of blogging.  Those of you who read back see that I have blogged before - both in a similar venue to this and ( be prepared to be shocked here ) at a sex site.  No - I wasn't offering hints and tips on what position or technique will help you 'keep the excitement' - I was writing what felt right at the moment.  What amused, intrigued, angered or even needed to be said.  And there is feedback there - lots of feedback.  Which makes it addictive, because at heart I like the attention.  We all do when we sit down to write.  

And I entered the fray being over confident in my ability to sort out the 'fakes' and 'trolls' from the legitimate people.  Those people who were looking for another outlet or venue where the F-word was not taboo...

Fortunately, after many stops and starts I found that key group - those people who you just know that were you to sit down for coffee the conversation and discussion could last for hours.  

But what few talk about honestly is those people who are there for a single reason, and since it is integrally tied to their ego and view of their place in this world, everything, literally everything is wrapped up in your walking lock step with them, affirming their every move ( even the horrendous ones ) and for this writer the worst offense: making thoughtless comments that neither relate to what has been written or add a damn thing to the conversation.  

What we often fail to realize as readers is that while it does feel like a conversation with the writer, we are not privy to those oh so intimate tells that we have in real life, tone, facial expression, body language, even whether or not someone will meet your eyes.  While the words may bring you to tears at the horror of the scene, you don't know if the intention was simply to retell a story OR to create a sense of sympathetic openness in the readers one is cultivating.  Because in the mind of some, any attention is positive - keep them patting me on the head and I can continue to behave abominably because 'I've had it rough'.  I don't want to sound harsh or even dismissive of the natural and real ( and in my mind  GOOD ) stirrings of empathy and perhaps pity and even admiration. 

And yes - there is a point...

We all, those who blog; imagine, dream and fancy ourselves as facile and competent with our manipulations of the written word.  We read, see, relive and even imagine scenarios and scenes in our daily lives with a mental note ( or perhaps a jotting with a real pen to real paper ) "I must develop that idea".  And sometimes we do it extraordinarily well.  Exhibiting skills to rival Shakespeare in his facility with setting tone, scene and emotion.  Bringing you in, and making you see as we do.  Other times it's a near miss, and still others litter the floor with crumpled bits and half formed ideas. 

I'm just expanding to spend more energy in this exercise called writing in spaces where the coop isn't so crowded and the chickens don't require the rose tints.