oui oui

i did some research on the paris agreement/accord/whatever since i wanted to know more and figured you might too! 

the most incredible thing about the PA is that every country is taking care of its own business of its own accord and is actually doing it, with 202o as the goal start date. each country sets goals to combat climate change, and all countries except three have signed on of their own volition because IT’S THE RIGHT THING TO DO.

for the record, nicaragua at first decided not to sign the agreement because it wasn’t RADICAL ENOUGH. the president said 90% of its energy will be renewable by 2020, and they wanted countries to be punished for not meeting goals. (they’ve since are considering reconsidering because they don’t want to be lumped in the same category as the ridiculous US.) the US, of course, is out because trump. and syria isn’t a part of it because syria’s a war zone. 

so.

(i mean, even north korea’s on board. really, DT?)

the countries that are a part of the PA have agreed to some stipulations:

  1. they want to hold the increase in global average temp to below (like, way below) 2ºC above pre-industrial levels. ideally, the limit would be 1.5ºC pre-industrial levels. (pre-industrial means pre-1750.) for the record, pre-industrial average world temp was 13.8ºC (56.84F) and in 2014, average world temp was about 0.8 C warmer than that. so, the world’s countries want to keep that at 1.5º or less, with AT MOST, 2º.  (remember average world temp does not mean average MN temp. when idiots huurrr durrr about global warming when it’s -15ºF, please just roll your eyes so hard they end up in the snowbank across the street.)*
  2. they want to make sure that climate change does not affect food production. there are a lot of people on the planet, and we need to feed them (preferably NOT corn, but we’re using that as an example ugh). think about the impact of a global increase in temperature on the US bread basket – all those plains may just end up being desert that doesn’t support food production. insane weather patterns also affect food stores, as there may be droughts or floods.
  3. and finally, the first-world countries recognize the benefits they had with the industrial revolution and how coal and other polluting methods to create the standard of living they now have. through this agreement, the countries that had that benefit will help out the developing countries to make sure their paths to development is a greener one. 

witheartha couple important points:

this is completely voluntary.

and there is no repercussions if a country drops out or doesn’t meet its goals. 

THAT’S how serious the world is taking this. 

so, here’s DT’s quote on why he decided to leave the PA:

“The agreement is a massive redistribution of United States’ wealth to other countries,” Trump said. “It’s to give their country an economic edge over the United States. That’s not going to happen while I’m president. I’m sorry.”

let’s talk about that massive redistribution of US wealth. that’s how point 3 above is handled. the developed countries that had the advantage of early development are going to commit $100billion a year to help the developing countries and overall greenification of the earth. in march last year, the US gave $3billion to the green climate fund, and as of now, there is $10billion in it. i believe it works as a grant system. it will also directly help countries most affected by climate change, like small island countries.  

now, here’s a wrench i’m going to throw in the system. heard of the international monetary fund (IMF)? i feel like this is a perfect thing for the IMF to jump into. the IMF is “189 countries working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world.”

if there’s ever a time to use the money in the IMF to do all those things, i think this is it. as of 2016, the IMF had about $668billion in it. 

anyway, that’s an argument for another day. 

so, once DT announced the US withdrawal from the PA, it’s not like we suddenly aren’t in it. part of the provisions, even though it’s voluntary, is that it will take a good four years for the US to get out of it. a country can’t even begin withdrawal proceedings until it’s been in the agreement for three years, and after the withdrawal has been sent, it will be active one year after it’s been filed. the earliest the US can get out of the PA? Nov. 4, 2020…the day after the next presidential election

(seriously, all this brouhaha may be for naught.)

so, that’s a lot of political information on the PA and doesn’t really go into what countries are actually planning on doing as far as greenification. i was listening to “pod save america” this afternoon, and it already looks like china and india are well on their way to exceeding their goals, and china’s on its way to becoming a global leader (bye bye US as a global leader). but that’s another post. meanwhile, 400 new coal jobs were added in may in the US. we’re nowhere near 2011 levels of coal employment, and i doubt we ever will be. laid off from a coal job? time to go back to school and learn a new trade. like solar panel installation and upkeep. and that’s also another post.

REMEMBER: this is the only earth we’ve got. if the earth goes to pot and is inhabitable for humans, WHAT ELSE MATTERS**? who cares about the economy, refugees, travel bans, and especially transgender people in bathrooms. GET IT TOGETHER, PEOPLE.

*do you NEED a post about the science behind climate change? i mean, there are a TON of peer-reviewed sciencey environmental studies out there you can look at. and 97% of scientists agree that it’s human-made. that’s the same effectiveness as a condom when used correctly. you take those chances, so why not these? (also, you’re making cleaner air and water and a better place to live – is that REALLY so bad, even if climate change isn’t human-made?)

**in all seriousness, the earth don’t care. we’ll get wiped out and the earth will live on for millions more years and not give two hoots about people. but i’m sure you care, at least for the next 50 years or so. #humansnowhereearthdontcare

Sources: wikipedia, wikipedia, and pod save america.

i’m a state worker. i belong to a union. contrary to popular belief, i do work a lot. that said, the republican-controlled state legislature decided to put language in the MN state agencies funding bill to cripple bargaining rights for wages and health insurance.

i’ve worked in private sector and now in a unionized environment. at my current job, i know i’m getting a fair, equal wage (you can actually go online and look me up – go ahead). my health bennies are pretty awesome. and guess what? i actually am a full union member. after seeing what happened at roch comm and tech after the new president came in and tried to clean house, i consider it a small price to pay for the knowledge that the union has my back if i’m ever unfairly let go.

and after five years, i’m actually pretty proud to work for the state of MN. and i’m proud to be a union member. now, if i were to go back to the private sector, i’m not going to cry about it; i work hard and i do good work, so i know that any job i hold is because i’m good at it. but after seeing 8 rounds of layoffs at my last private-sector job, i can easily say that i will take my union state job over that. 

i wrote to the governor to ask him to veto that bill. gov. dayton is a pretty pro-worker governor, so i’m fairly confident that it won’t pass. and after seeing five emails come through about this, i’m sure state workers all over are calling and emailing him to get rid of that bill. to all anti-union people, i get it. you think your employer does a fine job, and it’s probably so. but are you willing to quit when it’s not doing so fine? that’s what unions help with. i am still ambivalent about unions in general, but i’m glad i have one. 

power

this past weekend i visiting melissa in her new house in rinkadink north dakota. traveling more south of fargo and little more west was a different experience; there are more hills, a little more softness to the landscape. it made me want to head a little more south and little more west and go to the black hills or head just west and go to mandan. 

when i visit melissa, i have conversations that i don’t have with anyone else, save for something similar with my brother on the philosophical level. one thing we talked about, which i’d never really considered before (and probably should have) is the idea of women being more powerful than men. i’ve thought about that over the past couple days. 

the gist of it: men don’t want to control and conquer what is already weaker than them. now i’m not sure i 100% can get behind this idea; i think men wan to control and conquer what threatens them as well as what is more powerful than them. but i am open to the idea that women are more powerful than men.

but what is that power? if it is what i think it is, sexuality, therein lies a problem. why is sexuality such a means of power for men? why is the mere presence of a woman, or being alone with any women a la mike pence, such a hard thing (heh) for men to deal with? why did paul/augustine/other church dudes hold women in such disregard? 

if being in the same space as a woman brings on sexual thoughts that a man can’t control, that’s the dude’s fault, not the woman’s. and thinking about a woman in an impure context is going to bring about eternal damnation, right?

so, because men can’t control their sexual thoughts, then perhaps the next best thing is to control the thing that is causing such angst in the moral life. lovely.

what is the real problem here? maybe it’s time to take a look at why a species that is, at its core, sexual, promiscuous, and polygamous, holds beliefs that having sexual thoughts, a completely natural human thing, is bad. 

on an aside, i was listening to a ted radio hour on mpr today and heard a portion of this guy’s ted talk. now i’m going to read his book!

it goes both ways

i’m pretty passionate about the first amendment, if you haven’t figured that out by now. a lot of left-leaning people generally are pro-first amendment and make a big deal out of it: see the recent marches, etc. but what baffles my mind is when they can’t see that the first amendment goes both ways. you get to say your piece, and the other guy does too. THAT’S HOW IT WORKS.  

exhibit a:

Screen-Shot-2017-01-25-at-10.25.07-AM

is it ok to punch a nazi?

this guy, whose name i don’t know nor do i care to know, was giving an interview. he is a white supremacist, aka nazi. someone came up to him mid-interview, punched him, and ran away. 

twitter exploded. every liberal person i follow on my feed had some pithy 140 characters about how it’s american to punch a nazi. how punching was too good for the nazi. how they wanted to punch nazis all day long.

and my mouth dropped open, thinking, what on earth is wrong with you people? this guy is talking about his nazi ideals, which he is entitled to think and talk about as long as he doesn’t use them to infringe on anyone else’s rights. and someone punched him.

if you brought up the first amendment to any of the it’s-ok-to-punch-a-nazi people? well, hellfire was wrought. you basically had to shut down you twitter account forever at that point. 

i unfollowed my fave web cartoonist (questionable content!) because he would not shut up about how he didn’t want to hear that punching nazis was really an affront to the first amendment. and many of his followers would twitter-attack you if you wanted to make a case.

the nazi has every right to speak out about his beliefs as long as he isn’t infringing on someone else’s rights*. his opponents had every right to speak out against him as long as there are no personal threats (that’s fighting words, kids). OR, his opponents had every right to turn around and ignore him. 

you know that episode of the simpson’s where the giant ads come to life, and the whole town sings “just don’t look”? that’s how you deal with a nazi. ignore him.

exhibit b:

fire-berkeley

the berkeley riots

well. i haven’t done a ton of research on this, and my twitter feed was conspicuously silent about this (surprise surprise). i’m really disgusted by this. 

this dude named milo last name is greek and begins with a Y, who is an editor for breitbart and a general right-wing rabble rouser, was scheduled to speak at berkeley, invited by the college republicans. he’s been on tour and in one of his previous engagements, he called out a transgender student by name for ridicule. (hate speech! not cool at all.) students called for cancellation based on his previous inciteful speech, but the president of UCB didn’t cancel. hence a protest. 

here’s what i’ve learned happened based on my minimal research (remember: you can do your own research on this! and make sure to visit multiple sites of varying viewpoints. i visited the NYTimes and the national review.). a professor from UCB pepper-sprayed a woman wearing a make american great again hat. a person in black ran up to a student, said “you look like a nazi”, and pepper-sprayed and beat with a rod. the student who was attacked? definitely not a nazi; he was a muslim from syria. (makes you wonder which side the attacker was actually on…) then there was a fire, and the speaking event was cancelled because people were worried for milo’s safety. 

the best way to have handled this? let those college republicans have their speaker. ignore it completely, or if you do protest, do so legally and peacefully. or go to the speaker, listen to what he has to say, then ask a bunch of questions about why he thinks that. bring your facts and piecharts. but by inciting violence or hate speech, you’re infringing on someone else’s rights. and THAT’S NOT THE POINT of the first amendment.

i saw very little in my twitter feed about this. i remember seeing one tweet about how people were spelling berkeley many different ways and missing the hashtag. but my regular tweeters i follow? not one peep. 

and this is what’s wrong. 

conclusion

if you support the first amendment, you need to 100% support it – no exceptions. if it’s something you absolutely hate, then you speechify/protest right back, but you cannot punch a person, pepper-spray a person, or threaten said speakers. or, best scenario, don’t give them an audience. that’s the ultimate slap in the face when you think about it. there is nothing more irritating to someone with a very hot-button opinion than no one to listen. 

and, lord help me, i’m ending my argument with a quote from the national review. 

Setting aside the question of political violence, our so-called liberal friends should be asking themselves some uncomfortable questions about their participation in a political movement that feels the need to silence critics and to bully institutions into excluding nonconforming points of view from public forums.

the very thing we dirty hippies are fighting for are what we’re showing to be our downfall, in a way. different points of view in public forums is what shapes our country to what it is. i had a coworker once ask me if i liked talking about politics (in person!), and i said no because my views were completely different from his, and neither of us would change our minds. he said that’s all the more reason to discuss politics. by sharing our viewpoints, we can find a middle-ground and compromise.*

*i am NOT condoning nazism as a valid thing to compromise on. remember: infringing on someone else’s rights and autonomy (like, say, nazi human experimentation or exterminating an entire people based on religion) is not in the cards. 

putting the bad in badlands

i have a feeling i will be posting a lot of politiblogs over the next four years. that said, i’m going for a quick run because it’s time to start training for my half marathon. 

life goes on?

brb.

wow i run like the wind when i’m fired up.

let’s talk about what’s happening to the national parks’ social media accounts. and the gag order on the EPA and the USDA. 

today, the EPA staffers were ordered stop releasing press releases, blog updates and social media posts. the USDA’s research department was told to stop releasing press releases, photos, and other public-facing docs. basically everything the public should be interested in, and SHOULD see, they were ordered to stop sharing. *

the head of the EPA said, “We’re temporarily dimming some of the communication aspects of the department while we get it under control, to shape the message towards what the new administration would like to be talking about.” 

(my guess is the new administration would like to shape the EPA to be the EDA (environmental destruction agency) and change its message completely.)

in addition to the halt in public communications, there’s been a hiring freeze, and i’m guessing they will reduce the staff size by not replacing employees in the upcoming boomer retirements. 

in a POSITIVE light, we have some rogue national park service peeps making appearances. first, we see the NPS tweeting about crowd size comparison on inauguration day, which were promptly removed. 

C2-E6KbWIAA525t

of course we got some screenshots before the ballsy social media peeps in the badlands got the boot.

second, today, the badlands official twitter account** went on a climate change missive, sending up a tweetstorm after the ruling came through to shut up. tweets were subsequently deleted. but major, major props to that social media manager. if there’s any reason to support the NPS, this would be it (you know, besides taking in the splendor of our nation’s natural  beauty while we still can and before public lands are sold to the highest bidder). as a social media manager myself, i highly commend this action, even if it would inevitably mean a firing.

one VERY important lesson to learn about the internet, which DT’s team seems to be missing: when you put something on the internet, it STAYS on the internet. and removing it by presidential order is one way to GUARANTEE everyone sees it.

meanwhile, i will say that DT’s nominee for head of department of the interior, which oversees the NPS, does not believe climate change is a hoax. he also has been against handing public lands over to the states. it’s a low, low bar, but it’s SOMETHING. 

[as an aside, DT has done ONE thing that i agree with – he nixed the TPP. i was not a huge fan of that and wondered why obama supported it.]

and here’s what DT said himself about environmentalism today: “I am, to a large extent, an environmentalist; I believe in it. But [edit: AND] it’s out of control.”

i think you misspoke your conjunction there, mr. t. maybe he’s talking about his personal environment of gold elevators and sketchy hair products? 

*******

*i guess george w’s administration had the same sort of policy so it’s not unprecedented. same thing happened in canada, as well: “There was a feeling that the government was not interested in expert opinion, and I think it’s the same kind of thing that you are probably going to see with the new [Trump] administration” in the U.S., David Tarasick, a senior research scientist at Environment and Climate Change Canada (the equivalent of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency), said last month.

source to read: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/trump-administration-restricts-news-from-federal-scientists-at-usda-epa/?WT.mc_id=SA_FB_POLE_NEWS

**support the badlands’ twitter: https://twitter.com/BadlandsNPS 

IMG_0371

THIS HEADLINE IS NOT THE ARTICLE

i want to expand a little on what i wrote on facebook yesterday in light of the press secretary lying in a press conference and then the chief of staff saying that his statements were “alternative facts”.

here’s the thing: i’ve taken a 300-level media law class and a 500-level media law class, one at st. ben’s and another at st cloud SU for my master’s. i took journalism I and II at st. ben’s. then i spent almost 3 years working for a newspaper. granted, it was a small weekly, but it was still a newspaper. 

my master’s degree is in mass communication. i had to take a media ethics class to get that sucker. so when i go on and on about the first amendment? i literally have studied it for semesters. then i literally have applied it in my workplace for years, even now as i work in a public institution.

so when the press secretary, who theoretically has taken the SAME CLASSES I HAVE, steps in front of a podium and outright lies to the press representatives about inauguration numbers, that makes your mouth drop open. then when he tells them that “we (the white house) will hold you accountable,” that’s when you literally gasp. 

excuse me, sir. that is NOT how this works. 

let’s review.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble*, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

here are the fundamentals of why the press and media are important.

the press is the watchdog of the government. the watchdog of the press is the readers and citizens. 

if you truly want to hold the media and thereby the government accountable, make sure the news you’re reading is TRUE, FACTUAL, and ACCURATE. i’m not talking about the opinion page. i’m talking about the news. any journalist worth her or his salt will investigate beyond talking points and make sure the news is correct. see something that’s not correct? stop buying that newspaper; call them and let them know why you’re no longer reading them. less readership means less subscriptions and less advertising, which means less newspaper. write a letter to the editor and tell them the information is incorrect and show your sources. call for action from that media outlet. (first make sure it’s not a satirical outlet.) 

readers (YOU), ombudsmen**, and outside organizations are the watchdogs of the media. instead of repeating soundbytes, memes, and headlines, how about delving into the news to see if what you’re seeing is actually the news. if it isn’t, then contact the news outlet. if it is, how about helping them stay in business with a subscription or visiting their website without adblock.

so there’s my two cents. it’s not hard to find out the real news and to stay informed. it takes a little more effort than scrolling past a meme, but you and the people you consort with will be better for it.

*some states are now considering legislation that will make protests (assembly) illegal. that’s the next topic. UGH. 

**an ombudsman is sort of like an internal quality control for a newspaper – a reader’s advocate in some ways. the ombudsman, who keeps an objective lens, will go through all reader complaints and grievances, then check to see if any thing called out as incorrect or checking on stories that readers need explanation on. this is a lot of running around to keep journalists accountable, but it’s a great way to make sure the news is reported correctly. unfortunately, the newspaper ombudsman has gone out of style lately, and probably just when we need it. with readership down, it’d be a great way to keep readers engaged and informed about how the newspaper keeps itself objective and accountable.

party like it’s 2006

a couple years ago i had started thinking about getting rid of my iphone. don’t get me wrong; i love that thing. if i could, i’d marry it. therein lies the problem

the iphone introduced a magical world where every thing you’d ever want to know was right at your fingertips. 

15972522_1430143347016414_1385155669758435752_o

want to know how to get to the nearest mcdonald’s? google maps. stopping by jcpenney and wonder if there’s a coupon? google it. grocery shopping at target? cartwheel. need to remember to bring something somewhere? set up a reminder. want to track your runs? runkeeper. need something to listen to during your runs? podcasts and spotify. out and about, see a fake colosseum, and wondering what the downfall of the roman empire was? instant google to the rescue. 

we’ve created this culture of instant information and instant gratification, right at our fingertips. it’s very empowering, very satisfying, and very addicting, when you think about it. 

ten years ago, you’d have to print out directions from mapquest if you were going somewhere new, or look at a map. you’d have to make sure you have your penneys coupon printed before shopping. same with target coupons (as an aside, you CAN print cartwheel coupons out at home and bring them with you). you’d have to carry a small notepad and pen in case you needed to remember something. tracking runs meant timing them and then figuring out distance on a map and then doing some math. ten years ago, you could bring an ipod with you, but you’d have to make sure all your music was downloaded and stored on the device. see a fake colosseum? well, make a note about the roman empire in your notepad to look up later when you get home (via wikipedia OR your encyclopedia if you’re a true luddite). 

not IMPOSSIBLE. but certainly more inconvenient than these past ten years have been.

so why would someone want to go back there? why would i want to give up my iphone? 

nothing pushed me more to give it up than this last election cycle. the constant information, the “always on” aspect of the news, the bombardment of opinions and news or propaganda via social media was completely overwhelming for me. and that rush of just being able to pull out my phone and look was too much to turn away. social media addiction is real and documented; you get a high from checking it. and i know i’ve devolved into a weird sort of ADD personality when it comes to that stuff. if it’s not a soundbite or headline, it’s not worth the time and effort to read. this is how misinformation get spread, and this is how you become a lazy bum. 

it was time to just bite the bullet and start to step away from information overload.

i know the best way to do this is to get rid of my facebook and twitter accounts, but since a lot of my job is involved with that, that step is a bit too drastic at this point. i started to take some steps:

  1. curate my facebook feed so it makes me happier. this meant blocking the people who posted negative (to me) information, unfollowing all news sites, and start following a bunch of pages dedicated to cats, baking, cooking, grammar, writing, books, yoga, and running. i also made sure my starred friends were my like-minded siblings and close friends and relatives so i’d see their posts first.
  2. my twitter feed pretty much WAS curated this way already. i could always count on my twitter feed to focus on my ideals versus FB, which was hit or miss before #1. there are a few political people on there that i should unfollow though, as their tweets tend to get overwhelming at times. 
  3. a couple years ago i had stopped bringing my phone to bed with me. i had been using it as an alarm, but it ended up being more of a “let’s look at stuff until 1 a.m. and i’ll be dead tired the next day.” so i’ve been using an alarm for a while now. 
  4. stop reading the FB comments on MN-based news outlets’ stories. you want to see the cesspool that has become humanity, just go to your local newspaper’s FB page and read comments on a controversial article (i.e. anything having to do with muslims in the st. cloud times). 
  5. no really. just stop. 
  6. STOP.
  7. ok, we’ll start that one tomorrow then.

right now i’m at a better place in my social media feeds. it’s not perfect, and it’s not going to be perfect until i get rid of them completely. even then, my job will require me to look at social media for a while yet.

but i figured one GOOD step would be to get rid of its constantness. which meant setting aside my smartphone. 

now: i’m attached. if i leave my iphone at home when i go out, i feel like i left a body part behind. i was checking FB on my laptop once and picked up my phone TO CHECK FB.

watching a TV show? phone is in my hand. it’s rare that a movie or show i watch at home has my full attention anymore. i’ve tried leaving my phone in the kitchen while i watch a movie, but i’m always thinking about getting my phone to look at twitter or FB or reddit or the latest news.*

i have a problem.

15994831_1432184796812269_3680105502422106203_o

i bit the bullet. i went on ebay, found a pink motorola razr like i had back in 2006-2009, and i paid $25 for it. i bought a new battery for $30, put my sim in it, and fired it up. 

hello, moto.

image1 IMG_1709 IMG_1710 IMG_1711 IMG_1712 IMG_1713

(yes, i took all these pics with my iphone.)

oh god, it was all coming back to me. i set up the ringer, the wallpaper, punched in the numbers of a few people, and sent a couple texts. called jane to make sure it worked. so far so good. 

then i kept picking it up and looking at it, expecting it to entertain me like my iphone. but it’s JUST A PHONE. the only way it will entertain me is if some real, live person gives me a call or sends me a text. even the TZONE doesn’t work anymore, and connecting to the “browser” brings me to google circa 2006. 

it’s weird. it doesn’t do anything, yet i still keep it on me all the time. i could easily set it on the kitchen counter and nothing would ding or beep or notify or have anything new happen all evening long. it’s bizarre. and it’s all me that’s placing this expectation on it. 

i’ve had it switched for two days now. last night, i left my iphone at work ON PURPOSE. and life was fine. sure, i use my laptop a little bit more, but i feel using a laptop is more intentional than just slipping your phone from your pocket or setting it beside you. you can’t just drop your laptop between your leg and the couch cushion to absent-mindedly pick it up again 30 seconds later; you need to intentionally place it and pick it up. 

Screen shot 2017-01-13 at 10.02.49 PM

My current iphone screenshot

for now, i still have my iphone, but in a neutered format. i removed a bunch of apps, including my google drive, alienblue (RIP), pokemon, all the games, all the cooking stuff, all the news apps, etc.

i can still use imessages if i’m logged into my desktop mac (laptop is too old).

i kept my running app because i will still use my phone for that, as well as music apps and podcast ap. (i have an extra phone number/sim from tmobile because it was a cheaper package, so it will be the “second line” and my gps.) i kept twitter, FB pages manager, instagram, and outlook for work stuff; i will use it more for work, is my guess. and i kept google maps, my bank app, wunderground, and all my coupon apps (the coupon apps may be deleted soon). you just never know; i may go on vacation and want to use my iphone instead of my flip phone (OR MAYBE NOT??).

what i’ve noticed so far? it may be all in my head, but there is less of a need to check everything all the time. i feel less angry at things i can’t do much about. i don’t feel compelled to check FB just because. and those phantom pocket buzzes? pretty much gone.

what i’m expecting will happen? i’ll print more directions. i’ll have to just guess at some stuff instead of look it up. i won’t be able to check my email constantly. i’ll check FB and twitter less. i’ve pretty much already stopped looking at reddit. 

and if the last couple days have been any indication, my mental health will be a little less angry and annoyed, and a little more hopeful and happy, and it should be rising exponentially the longer i stay away from that iphone.

i’m not saying this is the best thing for everyone to do, but if knowing so much about the world is making you unhappy, this might be a step to take. the question of “would you rather be ignorant and happy or informed and unhappy” always had me ambivalent, leaning toward informed and unhappy. these days? i’m leaning toward ignorant and happy.** 

so i’m embracing my inner luddite. the only way my phone will entertain me these days is if someone calls/texts me, or i call/text people, just like the old days back in 2006. this may be short-lived; this may be a wake-up call and i’ll never own a smartphone again. either way, i’ve already noticed benefits, and if it makes me a little bit happier, i’ll take it for as long as i can.

*not that knowing the news is a BAD thing. i love that i find out a lot of “breaking” news via twitter. generally i know more about a current event from twitter users than from the news.

**this is NOT to say i am uninformed; i generally know what’s going on. but i am not so informed so much of the time and thinking about it constantly. there’s a difference between being informed and inundated.

classy

i watched pres. obama give his farewell speech, and i feel more relaxed about this presidential transition than i have in a while. of course he said the right things the right way, like he always does. he thanked the right people and made them cry (made ME feel a little weepy). despite his occasional stuttering and propensity to say “ta” instead of “to”, he has a way with words to make people feel a little calmer, a little more centered, and a lot more energized.

“I do have one final ask of you as your president―the same thing I asked when you took a chance on me eight years ago. I am asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about change—but in yours.”

this made me just so happy. it’s why i was drawn to bernie – the fact that americans need to realize THEY have the power. it’s why you call your representatives and make some racket, even if others think you’re a weirdo or you don’t deserve to have a say because they just want to be complacent. being a citizen is not complacency!

if you haven’t seen his speech, i recommend finding it on youtube and giving it a watch. if ain’t nobody got time for that, check out this quote list to get you feeling a little more balanced in life (if you’re like me and have been feeling rather ragey and anxious for a while).

in other news, this flip phone thing is weird. i keep picking it up, expecting it to DO something. i guess you people need to start calling or texting me! things i’ve noticed so far: less facebooking when i’m not at work; less redditing for sure; still use my laptop all the time and keep twitter up. (i watched twitter during the trumpster fire of a press conference this morning, and it wasn’t fun.) still got some work to do, but i’ll get there. 

the 1/5 compromise electoral college

WELP. let’s get political and talk about the electoral college. why? because i THOUGHT i knew why it was in place and actually tended to agree, being a rural person, then i read something that contradicted it, so now i’m out for the TRUTH. in this world of fake news, i’m hoping that katerrific.com can provide you with some facts and more truthiness than trumpiness (read – lies). 

right now, hillary clinton has a popular vote margin of 2.8 million votes. MILLION!! al gore had 500,000 more votes than GW in 2000. GW won by SCOTUS appointment in 2000, and now DT will win by electoral college in 2016. 

at this point, if you live in a less populated state, say, in the rocky mountain region, your vote is one of the most valuable in the country. if you live in a densely populated state on the coasts, your vote is crap. If you live in wyoming, your vote has the same power as about 4.5 new yorkians*. this “everyone’s vote counts”? not true. 

these days, the reasoning behind the electoral college is that if it weren’t in place, candidates wouldn’t pay attention to flyover states and instead do most of their campaigning on the coasts in well-populated areas. 

but is this what the founding fathers had in mind? they couldn’t have predicted the current reach of the country or the populations back when the college was put into place. 

so what were they thinkin’?

well, some wanted congress to elect a president. others wanted a group apportioned to the states’ populations so that there would be no collusion amongst congressmembers. and some wanted a popular vote.

however, there was concern with a popular vote in the southern states due to slavery. they figured the south could have no effect in the election because voting rights were much more extensive in the north (because slaves couldn’t vote; you’d think they’d think that through…). so, in a way, they were concerned about population, just not the one you are currently thinking. 

they set up the electoral college using the 3/5 compromise (which they used to elect population-based congressmembers and figuring taxation).

alexander hamilton’s had a resurgence lately. he thought there were some good things about the electoral college: the electors weren’t federal representatives, so in theory they wouldn’t be able to elect based on party affiliations OR someone influenced by foreign interests. hamilton was also concerned about someone gaining office who was unqualified and more along the lines of “low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity”.

obviously the electoral college has morphed from the 3/5 compromise days, but its unfair representation of people is still has a stronghold. the number of electors a state is allotted equals the total number of congresspeople (number of representatives plus the two senatemembers). the number of representatives states have is kind of wonky, also, and not truly representative of their populations. but that’s another story; we’re talking about the electoral college right now.

we’ve had five presidents elected who’ve lost the popular vote: in 1824, 1876, 1888, 2000, and 2016. in 1824, no candidate got the minimum number of electoral votes, so the choice went to congress. in 1876, rutherford b. hayes won by ONE electoral vote. in 1888, we have an electoral college situation similar to what we have currently, but with a much, much narrower margin of votes. we all know what happened in 2000 (hanging chads). and now we have a popular vote winner with a margin of nearly 3 million votes losing to the electoral college winner. 

so the current thought is that without the EC, the low-population states wouldn’t get the same attention or representation. guess what – when you think about it, they don’t get a lot of attention as it is. if we’re worried about the general populace not being informed enough to make a logical decision (which the founders were concerned about in the 1700s WHEN THERE WAS NO PERVASIVE INFORMATION DISBURSAL), that is definitely not the case**.

at this point it seems that the EC is so disproportionate that it needs a revisit. when one voter’s say is 1/5 of another voter’s say, that’s worse than the southern states’ 3/5 compromise. our current voting system (and house of representatives) is representing the american people in densely populated states worse than slaves in the 1700s. think about that for a moment. 

that, my friends, is what i would call a degree of disenfranchisement. and what we don’t want to become is a country that stifles its core beliefs of representation. time to get rid of the electoral college† and revisit how the house of representatives is allotted***. 

*http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/map_of_the_week/2012/11/presidential_election_a_map_showing_the_vote_power_of_all_50_states.html

**unless you count fake news, countless lies and promises not intended to be kept, etc. etc. but lack of information or ability to research a candidate is NOT a problem. ability to discern what is correct and is incorrect, probably is.

***another thing low-population states are worried about: not getting the money and support from the federal government they need. i don’t know; at this point, i’d say it’s pretty up in the air who has it better or worse: urban or rural people. besides, urban people contribute WAY more to the tax base than rural areas do because of the number of people. they should, in theory, get more spending, and can get kind of defensive about it. now, i like a decently paved road as much as the next person, but i also know that i spend some time in the cities as well, using their roads. i don’t spend as much time roaming around grand rapids. anyway, that’s also another story. 

†another option could be to allot votes within each state according to whom it voted for. so minnesota’s 10 votes would be like, 6 for clinton and 4 for trump, instead of all 10 for clinton. it would be more in line with the popular vote, and it would allow the third-party candidates to show up on the map and maybe start an insurgence of third-party candidates, which would be really really nice.

pffft stockholm syndrome

for my last day of kablpomo, i’m going to do the thing that i said i would do before this month started! commence….

1224576_1369926251642_full

beauty and the beast! i’m going to blog as i watch it because i’m running out of time!

we are watching for weird sexual references (like raping the feather duster) and analyzing stockholm syndrome.

mmm i love this beginning!

here’s the point of the story: the enchantress told him not to be deceived by appearances! beauty is found within!

she had seen there was no love in his heart! 

“if he could learn to love another and earn her love in return by the time the last petal fell – the spell would be broken”

ENTER BELLE! (ps – you need to watch this on blu-ray; you can actually see the color from the sunrise!)

unneeded sexual reference #1 – buxom woman asking a drooling man how his wife is in the bonjour song, and said wife beating the guy on his head with a rolling pin? if said movie has an age range of the younger set, why is this needed? 

and what’s up with gaston? way to equate pretty with the best. also, his admirers are the US standard of beauty – tiny, top-heavy, blonde.

also, the whole town thinks belle’s a weirdo but her looks make up for it? because she reads books and has an inventor for a father? just wait til the transgenders start moving to town! what will happen then! 

off to the fair! i’m sorry, but philipe might be the smartest one in this movie. “no, let’s go this way!” philipe looks a little wary at the scary looking woods. “where have you taken us, philipe!” way to gaslight, maurice. philipe got out of the situation. good horse. 

so now we have maurice opening up cogsworth’s clock door, and messing around with his pendulum. WHAT ON EARTH is the pendulum supposed to represent???!?!?!? is maurice sexually assaulting cogsworth? good ol’ C did have to close the door on maurice’s finger.

the beast is angry. 10 years of being a beast and holed up in his castle has not done him well. weirdly, all his staff seems to have kept their sanity. but they probably weren’t mean and cold-hearted before they got turned into household objects.

meanwhile, gaston is preparing a wedding he hasn’t even gotten consent to have!! woohoo! gaston sure is coming on strong. keeps walking toward belle, she’s walking away from him. he ruins her book with his muddy boots and stinky feet. bleah. then he corners her at the bookshelf and again at the door, trying to kiss her? well, belle didn’t come outright and say “no”. but she did get him out before things escalated. 

philipe comes back! belle gets down to business and goes after her father. 

oh, cogsworth and lumiere are getting all riled up, expecting belle to be the one they want to break the spell. expectations set!

beast is pissed. maurice trespassed and is in jail. and belle offers to take maurice’s place. “you must promise to stay here forever.” and he shows himself, but she makes the deal. beast is not very compassionate at this point, BUT has he EVER been compassionate? NO. 

THIS IS THE TURNING POINT FOR MR BEAST. we see him show a little remorse when belle was crying over her not being able to saw goodbye. he shows a little less gruffness, but when belle asks what’s in the west wing, he gets all uptight. sounds like the beast might be bi-polar!

now we get to hear gaston’s very macho, very manly song about how he’s the best at everything, which can be a difficult thing for a dude to live up to. but, gaston turns out to be the bad guy, so does that mean the manly, macho man isn’t the best thing in the world? the pretty, weird girl won’t go for the best looking guy in the room if he’s a jerk? well, that’s something, i guess. if he had asked one if his blonde admirers to marry him, one of them would sure have said yes. “i’m especially good at expectorating!” (hey, at least we get to have a vocabulary lesson while we’re watching.) i wonder if gaston were to have a pinterest page, would it be all antler rooms?

enter maurice, raving like a lunatic. and instead of listening to him, they throw him out in the snow. then gaston decides to exploit him. what does that say about people believing other people? mob mentality?

meanwhile, mrs. potts has some words of advice – “don’t worry, my dear, everything will turn out ok in the end.”

OOOOH i want that nice fireplace. beast is loaded. then he loses his temper wondering where belle is, saying he’s thought belle might be the one. and we hear lumiere’s infantile theory on breaking the spell,” she falls in love with you, you fall in love with her, poof, we’ll be human again by midnight.” potts of course sets him straight.

mrs. potts’ more words of wisdom: “help her to see past all that” in response to beast implying he’s hideous. and potts and lumiere both address the, uh, beast in the room: “you must control your temper!” i think the beast’s temper is what his big downfall is. 

i think i see what the problem is here: none of the beast’s staff really never talk back to him. point 1 for belle, standing up to him. beast throws a temper tantrum, runs to the rose room, and sees belle in the mirror, who’s telling the wardrobe that she wants nothing to do with him.

“i’m just fooling myself. she’ll never see me as anything…but a monster.” WITH AN ATTITUDE LIKE THAT BEAST, OF COURSE SHE WON’T. big reveal of the day!! she sees him as a monster for the way he’s behaving, not for the way he looks!!!

OOOH we see some hanky panky between lumiere and the duster! (sad that she doesnt’ have a name.) “i’ve been burnt by you before” – ooh double meaning there hahaha.

(how many kids does mrs. potts have? chip’s in the cupboard with his brothers and sisters?)

ok, so if this is a “kid’s” movie, why is no one worried about the beer steins and champagne?

UH OH BELLE. she’s been poking around in the west wing, and the beast finds her, yelling, telling her to get out. then realizes what he’s done. he’s got to figure out what his bi-polar self is doing. 

and here come the wolves! i have to say, belle was doing pretty well there for a while, beating on the wolves and trying to get philipe unstuck. she has that going for her, taking care of herself! then the wolves are just too many, but the beast comes to save her! and she’s a little freaked out about it. after he collapses and she just stares of philipe’s saddle, you can see her mind shift.

OK, here’s a turning point, i think. the beast is flat down in the snow. philipe’s ready to go. the beast has been pretty awful til this point, and instead of turning tail and running away back to maurice and dumb gaston, belle decides to help the beast back to the castle. SHE COULD HAVE LEFT. he’d just blown up at her, and she knows he’s not a great person. but she decided to go back. i feel like from this point forward, she’s in the castle due to her either 1) deciding to see what happens iwth this beast or 2) she doesn’t want to go back to her provincial life (of some of each). i believe, at this point, it has nothing to do with her promise to the beast. he told her to get out. she had her window. she closed it.

and then belle stands up to the beast, which i think surprises the beast (and certainly his staff). this isn’t stockholm syndrome!! this is finding the person who’s willing to call you on your crap!!!

enter the scene where we see the beast start to transform into someone not so…beastly. is there something called reverse stockholm syndrome? the captor starts to sympathize with the captee? because i feel like that’s what we’re seeing here. the beast who’s pulling belle into the library is NOT the same beast who made her promise to stay in the castle forever. he’s OBVIOUSLY changing. 

(i would die for that library.)

“something there that wasn’t there before” is probably the anthem for stockholm syndrome theorists. *eyeroll*

anyway, the beast is getting ready, and do we all realize he’s naked? we see him in the bath, after the bath, all with no clothes on. come to think of it, we see everyone in the castle naked except belle! how disturbing!

after the dance, the beast asks if belle is happy there, and she says yes, but she wishes she could see her father again. i feel like that’s the only part of the movie that could be construed as any type of stockholm syndrome. the beast lets her go at this point, and she’s off to help her father. and he lets her go because he’s finally figured out how to love and get over his cold-heartedness. i think this says something about belle too at this point – she doesn’t seem eager to get back to her old life, per se, just her father. 

and now the mob’s come to get crazy maurice, and gaston can get her out of this if belle marries him. what a loser. and belle calls him out as the real monster, then gaston calls belle crazy too. that’s one of the real issues with this story – the moblike mentality of the townpeople is pretty disgusting. belle’s odd and weird, maurice is crazy. well, belle did want to get out of her provincial life. my guess is all those townspeeps would’ve voted for trump.

OK fight scene!

a guy just got eaten by a trunk. another got scalded. wardrobe landed on a dude, whose legs are there for the next few scenes. a guy got a makeover into a bikini, tutu, and beehive hairdo, which is somehow more horrifying to him than his two defeated buddies at his feet.

lumiere’s getting his wax melted, so cogsworth pokes lefou in the rear with a scissors. then we see feather duster getting her feathers pulled out, which liz thought alluded to rape. so i will paste what i posted on facebook on that thought: on the one hand, there isn’t a lot else you can do to damage a feather duster (i suppose you could break the handle in half). on the other, did the scene NEED to be included? on the third, did they just want a reason for lumiere to get so mad he’d to blow flames up a bad dude’s rear?

(i think it’s all about a butt joke.)

ugh, then we gaston being all ultra-manly with beast. what a loser. being kind a gentle are things men shouldn’t shy away from. everyone should be!

“did you honestly think she’d want you, when she could have someone like me.” oh gaston. i think the real message here is that if you don’t realize what a jerk you are and change your beastly ways, you will not be a worthwhile human being. or find love. or not. whatever floats your boat. 

oh! and to say “belle is miiiine” like you own her? get a life, gaston! belle can make her own decisions. 

and when the beast decides to not drop and kill gaston, we know that he’s a better man/beast/person. and he’s so surprised she came back! 

(i gotta say, belle has some super strength. not only did she pull beast back from falling over the railing to his doom a la gaston, but she managed to get him on philipe earlier in the movie. and kudos to philipe! beast was almost as big as he was! not sure how he managed that.)

oh, and then we get the happy ending! belle says i love you right as the petal drops, we get the fireworks and sparky stuff, she realizes it’s him, everyone changes, and we wonder why 70-yr-old mrs. potts has a five year old.

another inappropriate sexual reference: feather duster dusting lumiere at the end? needed? why is the maid sexy? why is lumiere a horndog?

THE END!!