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You are currently viewing archive for November 2008
Posted By Bakari

Media and politicians would have us believe that consumerism is good for "the economy".

Most consumption is done at chain stores.
The majority of the durable goods (and a high percentage of food and other consumables as well) stocked at the majority of chain stores is imported.
That money only increases the American trade deficit.
Of course a percentage also goes to the corporation which owns the store.
This money goes to those people who have a significant amount of stock in chain retail stores.
Since most manufacturing jobs have been outsourced for cheaper labor, the only jobs this supports are the generally low-paying and benefit-free retail sales and stocking jobs.

Unless you buy exclusively from independent retailers selling exclusively US made goods, shopping has no beneficial effect on "the economy".
What they really mean when they say "its good for the economy" is that it supports the people who own stock.
Because, ultimately, there is no such thing as "the economy".

There is only people.
People have more or less money.

To a large extent value is created when skilled people make valuable things out of cheaper raw materials.
But a lot of economics also has to do with transferring wealth from some people to others.

When we transfer wealth to those who already have it, by shopping, or with government bailouts, its called supporting the economy.
When we transfer wealth to those who actually need it, its called communism.

Posted By Bakari

First of all, I wish to formally express my displeasure that the scientists and therapists were thoughtless enough to name a condition without giving thought to its potential for school yard ridicule.
They already have trouble with socializing, and are likely to be identified as different, (even though the in class helpers generally do a good job of hiding the fact that they are there for anyone in particular). Eventually the term is gonna leak to the general public, and it won't be long after that until it trickles down to the school yard.
There was a time when "retard" was not an insult, but simply a descriptor of a person whose intellectual development was significantly slower than average. It meant "mental disability". "Cripple" just means "physical disability". No matter how many times we change the names, kids will start using the new term as an insult, because its the content that carries the offensive meaning, not the eventual term.
But did we really have to give them "Ass-Burger"?

But I digress (and that's pretty bad, since I haven't even started yet)

I noticed quite a while back that I seem to attract a disproportionate number of teachers into my life - there can not possibly be as high a percentage in the general population as the percentage of my friends, dates, and clients are. Who would do all the other jobs that need doing in society? I don't know why this is. I don't go looking for them. They find me. I am not, and have no interest in ever being, a teacher. I haven't even gotten a bachelors degree. And the chances are pretty high that I never will.
But as it turns out, it gets even more specific than that.
Of all of my favorite people, 4 of them are currently or have in the past worked as in-class therapists/tutors for autistic/aspergers grade-schoolers, or in some similar way worked closely with them on a regular basis.
I realize it is being diagnosed more and more these days, but that's just weird.

Or is it?

"...difficulties in basic elements of social interaction, which may include a failure to develop friendships or to seek shared enjoyments or achievements with others...
This social awkwardness has been called "active but odd". This failure to react appropriately to social interaction may appear as disregard for other people's feelings, and may come across as insensitive. The cognitive ability of children with AS often lets them articulate social norms in a laboratory context, where they may be able to show a theoretical understanding of other people's emotions; they typically have difficulty acting on this knowledge in fluid, real-life situations, however. People with AS may analyze and distill their observation of social interaction into rigid behavioral guidelines and apply these rules in awkward ways—such as forced eye contact—resulting in demeanor that appears rigid or socially naive.
Abnormalities [in language use] include verbosity, abrupt transitions, literal interpretations and miscomprehension of nuance, use of metaphor meaningful only to the speaker... unusually pedantic, formal or idiosyncratic speech...
Children with AS may have an unusually sophisticated vocabulary at a young age and have been colloquially called "little professors", but have difficulty understanding figurative language and tend to use language literally."


[Entire blog at MySpace]

Posted By Bakari

I'll write something of my own soon, promise.
Until then, here are two articles, with some steps you can take in your own daily life which will ultimately benefit everyone (not to mention your wallet and health!)

Because every time you buy gas, the terrorists win:

"Wayne's driving obsession began after 9/11. Before then, he drove "75 miles per hour in the left-hand lane," but in the wake of the attacks he vowed to minimize his personal consumption of Mideast oil. As he sees it, Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda received their operating funds from all the U.S. consumers who bought Saudi oil... There was a direct relationship between our addiction to oil and the World Trade Center coming down."

Less consumption of Mideast oil would also make our economy less susceptible to spikes in the price of opec oil, which have triggered U.S. recessions. More than half the gas we pour into our vehicles in America is imported, and we send more than $4 billion a week abroad to buy oil. If we all got a 25 percent improvement in fuel economy (far less than the 50 percent improvement that Wayne and his hypermilers routinely get), we could reduce by half the oil we import from the Mideast for our cars. And then there's global warming. "I'm not just doing this for myself," Wayne told me before we met. "I'm doing this for my country and the world."


"guys in Priuses were bragging about 44 mpg, and I was doing better in a Corolla."

... As he drove, he began to see how little things—slight movements of his foot, accelerations up hills, even a cold day—influenced his fuel efficiency. He learned to wring as many as 638 miles from a single 19-gallon tank in the [Acura] mdx [SUV]; he rarely gets less than 30 mpg when he drives it. "Most people get 18 in them," he says."

(Summary: You don't need a hybrid. Just slow down.)

But wait, there's more:

Our collective diet uses as much energy as our driving. Eating vegetarian, local, and organic, isn't just about health or the poor little animals. Its also about our environment and energy independence. Eating low on the food chain needs to be a priority for everyone.
Excerpted from:

"Since America is responsible for 22 percent of annual emissions, I suggest we set a target of shrinking our personal carbon footprint by 22 percent, or 9,606 pounds...

So what would a 22 percent diet look like? Step Two is all about losing weight.

Seriously. Body fat. My personal flab is not just a private matter between me and my coronary arteries. Nineteen percent of US energy usage—about as much as is used to fuel our cars—is spent growing and delivering food to the average American who consumes 2,200 pounds of food a year. That's a whopping 3,747 calories a day—or 1,200 to 1,700 more than needed for personal or planetary health. The skinny truth is that as much as 7.6 percent of total energy in the United States today is used to grow human fat, fat that translates to 3,300 pounds of carbon per person.

For starters, half of our food energy use comes from producing and delivering meat and dairy. If we gave up just meat, we could maintain that hefty 3,747-calorie intake but consume 33 percent less in fossil fuels doing it."

(Entire Blog at MySpace)

Posted By Bakari

 [This was written by my mother, and is re-posted here without permission]



There are so many reasons that I am euphoric about Obama's landslide election to the position of President of the United States that I can't begin to name them all, and when I try, I get tangled up in words, none of which can adequately express all the reasons.

At first I was happy not to have to explain anything as most people around me share my elation, and people all over the U.S. , and indeed around the world, understand in great measure the significance of what just happened here.

However, by the day after the election I was disheartened by the number of people in my LGBT community who were so disillusioned and depressed by the gay-marriage set-backs that they failed to be moved by the significance of Obama's election. It is not all LGBT people, by any means, who are too boggled down by that single issue to appreciate the magnitude of the good thing that just happened. But a significant number seem to be.

Then too are those whose political understanding is narrowed in other ways; those who, for example, believe that the only event worthy of the term "revolutionary" is one where a capitalist system is replaced by socialism overnight. Surely there will be those who say of Obama, as they said of Roosevelt , "he saved the capitalist system from itself," and they will see him, therefore, as an anti-hero.

My initial reaction was to feel sorry that some of my friends and associates were missing out on something so wonderful and I put forth my arguments of why they should celebrate, not mourn, this incredible moment.

As I continued to hear from more and more LGBT people for whom the (temporary) gay marriage defeat overshadowed the election of the first Black president of the United States (who also happens to be more progressive than most presidents of our lifetime), I began to get annoyed by the tunnel vision of so many in the LGBT community who, (like so many individuals in so many oppressed groups), can only see their own oppression, their own struggle, their own specific needs, and can do no more than give lip-service to any other cause. I don't know why I always expect more of activists, (and of everyone I know personally), but I do.

Finally, I came to terms with the fact that badgering people haphazardly with various reasons they should be absolutely elated right now rather than sad and self-pitying was not helping anyone, and that I was wasting too much time reacting to the statements of individuals one at a time. I decided it would be much more productive for me to try to organize my thoughts and share them with everyone at once – and then let it go and let people choose to appreciate or not the wonder of this moment.



[entire blog at MySpace]

Posted By Bakari

I wrote some months ago about this same thing, but this time its even more extreme.

On my original MySpace blog, I have reached over 5,000 page views.
Its been 2 and a half years, 125 entries.
5.5 views per day, on average (although, of course I don't write nearly that often.  More accurately, about 40 views per entry)
9 readers.
That would be, on average, 570 views per subscriber, or 4.5 views per blog.
But why would you read each one 4 times?
So then are actually 4 times more readers, who haven't "subscribed"?
Kind'a seems like a lot.
Who are they?
Why won't they leave a comment?
This is what I asked last time.

My new blog, on my website server, has only been up since Feb. of this year.
8 months ago.
It has over 10,000 hits
(I was planning to write this at 10,000, but by the time I noticed, it was already up to 10,200)
33 new entries since then.
Over 40 hits per day, average.
80 per entry, assuming people reading the new one went back and read every single past one.
300 views per entry if people only read the new ones as they are posted.
And presumably my MySpace readers are still reading on MySpace, since they get automatic updates when there is a new entry which they can access by just clicking the link in the email.
So that eliminates 9 (or 40) people.
I can think of a few obvious people I know are probably checking for updates on the biodieselhauling server now and then.
But not 80-300.
Maybe extra because of checking when there is nothing new. 4 times per day?  I can't even think of 10 people.

I ask again.
Who are you?
Write in the comment section.
I am so curious.