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You are currently viewing archive for October 2007
Posted By Bakari

I went to see the exhibit where they dissect human cadavers, coat them in plastic, and display them in various poses in a cross between anatomy education and a morbid art form.

Two of my three companions skipped the section with embryos and fetuses, as well as a pregnant woman.

I found this surprising, as I found it among the most interesting of the sections there.

They said it made them uncomfortable (particularly in light of a job which involves pregnant women.)

I pointed out that they are, and interact with, people all the time, (like us, right then), and all the other dead people were people. But they felt it was different.

Although my third companion had not skipped this section, she found their aversion entirely understandable.

I've been thinking about that. People in general seem much more protective of pregnant women than anyone else.

Murdering a pregnant woman is seen as significantly more heinous than ordinary murder. A pregnant woman will cause people to give up a seat on the train who would not do the same for, say, an overweight person, or someone visibly tired, who may appreciate it just as much.

I suppose the roots may be biological, as embryos are delicate, or it may be social, but it seems pretty prevalent. The reason isn't important though.
Every person who feels this in someway should be able to understand the strong feeling of "right-to-lifers".
People who are against abortion are not misogynists, they are not advocating women be considered less important than men, or less in control of their bodies. They feel that life is valuable before birth. Apparently liberals feel this way too, just instinctively. When we argue that a several month old embryo doesn't have a brain, we are looking at a scientific issue. But in another, also objective, sense, there really are only two concrete lines that can be drawn - conception, and birth. Defining trimesters is very imprecise, and so in a way, a bit arbitrary. Of course if you believe (as most of the most passionate pro-life people do) that man is made in the image of God, then brain development is irrelevant, as the human soul is injected at the moment of conception.

I think this "reasoning" based on feeling may explain a good deal of (social) conservative views. Things like gay marriage, religion in schools and politics, porn and prostitution, sex-ed in schools, the death penalty, media censorship, or that every person should be responsible for themselves, what statistics say are irrelevant, what the practical consequences of a policy are are irrelevant.

On abortion we argue that a woman should have a choice in her reproductive choices. To a pro-life person this makes no more sense than arguing a mother should retain the right to kill her newborn. In each issue we put forth our own arguments, instead of addressing the issues the people we argue against raise.
Perhaps a more productive tactic would be to attempt first to understand our opponents view point, and then focus on education. Education of the science and statistics, but also of our own universal feelings. Anger management involves becoming aware of ones self. Irrationality management should contain the same. We need to acknowledge that we all feel unborn humans are valuable, and we all want rapists and murders put to death, we all feel homosexuality is a little gross, and that certain things shouldn't be said on TV.


<entire blog at MySpace>

Posted By Bakari

My neighbor came by a couple days ago.
(Neither the conservative in a tiny trailer nor the tweaker / junkies, I've never written about this one before)
I have new professionally made signs on the truck now, so its obvious I am running on bio-diesel (I think we had spoken about it once before a year ago or so).

He had read an article in National Geographic.
He came over to tell me that Bio-Diesel cost more than petroleum diesel.
Of course, I was already aware of this.

He asked why I used it.
I explained how being domestically produced and renewable meant we as a country were less reliant on imports, particularly from unstable places like the Middle East.
He was surprised that I thought we got a significant amount of oil from the Middle East. He thought it comes mostly from Mexico and South America.
I acknowledged that we do get a lot from those places, but it is not as much as we use, and we import huge amounts from across the ocean as well.
I asked why he thought we were in Iraq. He may actually have not heard me, because he is hard of hearing. Who knows?

So I went on to explain the significant difference in emissions, both in terms of greenhouse gases and regular air pollutants.
He was amazed that I actually cared about that, or felt it was a personal issue.
I pointed out that I have to breathe. He said "well we ALL have to breathe"
"That's exactly my point"

When I mentioned that we pay much less for gas than most places, he said he didn't believe it. He went on to say that the article said in Italy they pay over $6 per gallon. Yet he was still sure that because of license fees and unspecified taxes, we still paid more per gallon in the end.

When I pointed out that gas prices will explode within the next decade as supply gets lower, he said he doesn't expect to be around that long (which is odd - he is retired and hard of hearing, but he still has brown hair, and is very active. He still rides his Harley. He isn't all that old. I think.)

I asked if he had kids. He said they were older than me. I asked if he was concerned at all about the air quality and economic climate for them. His response was not straight forward, but seemed to be a combination of 'it won't get too bad in their lifetimes either' and 'someone will solve those problems sooner or later'.


He kept going back to asking why I would spend more on fuel if I didn't have to. I said it was a matter of being a good citizen, like voting. I decided against asking if he voted.

He found it very interesting that I felt that things like international politics and the environment were relevant to me personally.
He insisted he had NEVER met anyone who thought that before. (Or at least no one who admitted it.)

I said I had a lot of customers who felt that way.
He said "maybe in San Francisco". "And Berkeley" "Well, yeah in Berkeley".
We live in Oakland. Oakland in right in between SF and Berkeley. He has lived here for at least a decade or two (I can't remember, it may have been longer) and has never met what you might call an environmentalist!?!?

This is a guy who occasionally flies an American flag over his home (more often its the Jolly Roger).
He babysits for another neighbor. He never rants about "liberals". We talk now again - we both have motorcycles, so sometimes about that. He tells stories of his life. Regular guy. He wasn't the slightest antagonistic about my views. He was just surprised.

He could see how if that stuff mattered to me it might be worth it to buy bio-diesel. For him, he said, all that mattered it the dollar cost.

We tend to focus on the exploitive corporations, corrupt government, fundamentalist religious people, and hummer drivers.

I think our biggest obstacle is all the ordinary people in between.

Posted By Bakari

November, 2007 Issue, page 46.

Its so fun to be published.  Now, not just my handful of blog readers, but Playboy's 3 million readers (well, ok, maybe half of them just look at the pictures.  I imagine with the availability of free hardcore internet porn a higher percentage actually reads it) have to hear my thoughts and opinions.

I remember writing the letter to the editor, but I hadn't realized I had ever sent it.  Guess I did.
They reversed my first and last names.  That's ok.  Trust me, "Kafele Bakari" is really me.

In answer to your question, no, there is no naked picture of me.  It is possible that I was naked when I wrote it, but not very likely. 

Incidentally, the first topic on that page, by Brett, I believe it is the first time I have ever heard anyone (besides myself) point out what he does.

Posted By Bakari

You'd think that after having been the vocalist in several bands, recording some solo stuff (like my profile song), and all, I'd be used to it.


Fridays I switch off with a co-worker.

I thought it was my day off. I get the phone call "Are you coming in?"


"you know you're supposed to be at the bikestation, right?"

"oh $@! really? I'm so sorry. I'll be there in like an hour"

"And the film crew is waiting for you"


"Theres a film crew here waiting for you"

"What the hell are you talking about?"

"Didn't the manager tell you?"

"No. Are you serious?"

"Yeah, I'm serious dude, there right here."

And its true. When I get in, there they are.

They wanted me to talk about bike safety and helmets.
Not that I am an expert on the subject, I'm just a guy who rides, a former messenger, one-time long distance tourer, and now a mechanic. None of that qualifies me as a safety consultant, but, I guess i know a bit more than average, and everyone is there waiting, so I figure what the heck?

This was all months ago.

The video has just been released.

You can see it here:

They cut everything but the helmet stuff, for time reasons.

Here at the bike station we have about 30 helmets for retail sale. Turns out almost all of them are size small, and small is very small. I don't know why this is. We needed a helmet for the demonstration. None of our helmets fit anyone. Besides extra small we have a handful of extra large. I can't remember how we ended up finding one that was remotely close enough to use in the video, but as you can see, we did.

Then we needed someone for me to use it on. The model was one of the film crew. She was very reluctant to put on the helmet wrong, in order for me to correct it, because she thought people seeing it would think she was an idiot, instead of a model.
At the very end, after the credits, you will notice she got them to put in a note to that affect.
That's my favorite part.