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#notjuststraws

#notjuststraws

today i bought popsicles because the popsicle brand came out with a cane sugar, real fruit kind of pop. yum!

imagine my dismay when i opened the (cardboard) box and found that the traditional paper wrappers had been replaced with …

PLASTIC WRAPPERS.

today we get news that china is no longer buying our recyclables (a former large market).

there’s been a recent brouhaha over plastic straws and how mcdonalds and starbucks plan to eliminate plastic straws, either replacing them with paper straws or no straws. this begs the question: WHAT ABOUT THE REST OF THAT PLASTIC GLASS?

manufacturers continue to plasticize everything, and most if it isn’t recyclable plastic. my waste service only takes bottles for recyclable plastic. what does that mean for the rest of my plastic? it goes in the trash, which means it goes in the landfill, which means it sits there for thousands of years.

i’ve been really aware of my plastic usage lately. i haven’t done much about it yet, but i plan to crack down on myself in the upcoming months. i need to do some research on how to reduce my plastic usage, where i’ll need to shop, what brands to look out for. i’ve already prepped for my next batch of laundry soap, which i will make with borax, soda, and bar soap.

as our landfills fill and we see photos like below making more waves, what is it going to take besides some people clucking their tongues about plastic usage and very few actually doing what they can to reduce their plastic footprint? even with some chain stores eliminating plastic bags, i still watch people go through a checkout with one item, then leave with that item they carried up to the lane in a plastic bag (WHYYYYYY).

i know i can do better; i fail over and over on the reusable bag front, but when i forget them, i make sure to stuff my plastic bags to the brim. when the checkout dude tries to put my 4 items in three bags, i say uh-uh, you put that all in one bag. at coborn’s, i request a paper bag after they ask “is plastic ok?” NO IT’S NOT WHEN HAS PLASTIC EVER BEEN OK

this is not just about straws. this is about putting the burden of plastic consumption on the consumer. this has got to start with manufacturers and them realizing that plastic isn’t the answer, even if it’s the cheaper option.* as a consumer, i will gladly pay a little more for an item encased in glass, tin, aluminum, or paper over plastic.

i know this can be done on that level because i saw it with HFCS. in 2010 when i became hyper aware of eating devil’s syrup, it was everywhere. now, about half the products that i avoided in 2010 use sugar in their ingredients instead of corn syrup. if people start demanding that less plastic be used, i bet it will make a difference.

next year my goals will include using less waste. whether that means purchasing more items in bulk, bringing in my containers to the food coop, or even making sure i really do put my reusable bags in the car.

and until popsicle brand starts to wrap their pops in paper again, no more popsicles for me, even with the revised ingredients list.

*i never understood how plastic can be so cheap when gas is so expensive. they are both made from oil. ALSO, recycled paper is basically worth nothing right now. companies could grab up that recyclable paper for $ZERO and create recycled paper packaging.

on laura ingalls wilder (and the ALA)

on laura ingalls wilder (and the ALA)

when asked about the most influential books i’ve read, there are two series in my top ten: one is the harry potter series and the other is the little house series. i’ve written a few times before about LH, most often when reminiscing about my aunt colettie, who snagged me remainder books from her time at the rochester school system library. i also remember reading them very young, when the librarians at the small gradeschool i went to wouldn’t let me out of the children’s section to explore chapter books.

for me there’s a romanticism to reading the LH books – from laura’s time in the big woods, gathering food from the woods and eating maple syrup candy that had been poured onto smooth cold snow, to the endless prairies of south dakota and the harsh winters with grains stored in walls. i know it was rough going, but 7-year-old me wanted to live in that world.

this past week, the association for library service to children (a division of the american library association) voted to change the name of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award to the Children’s Literature Legacy Award.

first, a little background on the LIW award. the award was established in 1954 when it was giving to laura herself and it’s been given every 5 years through 1980, then til 2001 every 3 yrs, then 01-16, every 2, and now every year, to a childrens author or illustrator whose books have made a substantial and lasting contribution to kids’ lit. past winners include maurice sendak, beverly cleary, eb white, and dr. seuss. the authors who receive this award have a “substantial and lasting contribution” and “occupy an important place in literature for American children and that over the years children have read the books and the books continue to be requested and read by children.”

the ALSC decided to change the name of the wilder medal because of the LHoP books’ racist themes throughout. they claim that the books are inconsistent with their core values. i have a beef with that. the books are a product of their time, just like mark twain’s books. they also reflect the thoughts of people around her: ma hated american indians and pa didn’t.

this line from pa in particular is pretty ahead of its time:  They “would be as peaceable as anybody else if they were let alone.” Pa says. “On the other hand, they had been moved west so many times that naturally they hated white folks.”

there was this line in the books when it was first published:

There the wild animals wandered and fed as though they were in a pasture that stretched much farther than a man could see, and there were no people. Only Indians lived there.

laura was just mortified when someone pointed out the line to her. she wrote her publisher post haste:

You are perfectly right about the fault in Little House on the Prairie and have my permission to make the correction as you suggest. It was a stupid blunder of mine. Of course Indians are people and I did not intend to imply they were not.

that line now says settlers. i think that in itself is reason to keep the wilder name on the medal. the thing is, her books fully embrace the theme of the medal. and given the above, i think laura the author embraces the ALSC’s core values, “which include inclusiveness, integrity and respect, and responsiveness.”

and if the ALSC really wants to embrace their values, well, they’ll change the name of the carnegie medal as well. despite his philanthropic ways, there were some controversies in his life. and perhaps we should pore over randolph caldecott’s illustrations to make sure they also embrace those core values? and dr seuss, who also has an award named after him, supported the internment of japanese americans during WWII! (afterward, he changed his mind a bit with horton hears a who as an allegory for hiroshima.)

this all said, i can understand how someone reading the books outside of the white person lens sees these books as a glorification of racism and stereotyping of native americans. but as a set of historical, semi-autobiographical fiction that was explaining the time and perspective, i don’t know how we can’t see that laura’s books aren’t still relevant and educational.

i was reading reddit’s books forum and saw this comment:

As a proud Native American and member of the Blackfoot tribe, I am disheartened to hear that children will no longer have it explained to them what our roots are.

Growing up in public school we often learned of the struggles minorities faced in the history of this country, but my Native ancestors were ether under represented or left out all together.

These books were my first experience of what non-res people heard about my people. It raised questions that were sometimes hard, but gave all the class the ability to look at our history through the lens of today. A reminder not to repeat the mistakes of hatred from the past.

I think that this award for all its flaws sparked an important conversation. A conversation that is no more. One less source of truth about my nearly extinct people.

i think it’s important to hear those other voices. but did the ALSC just get complaints and decide to change the name based on those, or did they go out and find other perspectives from american indians, like the one above? and do the ALSC’s awards reflect the author or the author’s works? in EITHER case, if the ALSC is going to change the name of the wilder award, it needs to take a closer look at its other awards and how they relate to its core values.

i’m disappointed that the award has been renamed. while her award hasn’t been revoked and her works still widely published and read, stripping laura’s name from the long-time award does a disservice to historical viewpoints, a turn-of-the-century female author, and to the spirit of laura and other long-read authors.

no title please

no title please

i have so many things i want to do an armchair legal review of and can’t focus on which one i’d like to do. on top of that, sometimes a person just wants to not listen to the news because it seems like every day there’s another piece of craptastic news that happens. at some point it just becomes noise.

anyway, if i ever get inspired to pull out my legalese hat and put it on, perhaps i will. or maybe i’ll just turn off my phone and go for a paddle on the lake or sit on my patio and hope nothing blows up. not like i can do anything about it*.

*my resignation is starting to be overwhelming. is this the point? can i be done being angry?

ambivalent gun control

ambivalent gun control

wow it’s been a while since i blogged! well, no time like the present.
first things first: i signed up for the earth day half marathon. huzzah. i’m still not sure how i feel about that. 
***************
but what i really want to talk about, and i’m kind of afraid to, is gun control/violence. 

first, i want to tell three short stories. 

when i was small, i went with my uncle squire to buy a gun (for him – not me). we went to a house out on a lake, where squire checked out a couple guns the owner was selling. he ended up leaving with one. i do not know if the whole enterprise was legal or not. 
then in my early 20s, i went with a friend to fleet farm, where she placed an order for a gun that would be in her name and under her background check, but was actually a birthday present for her minor brother from her parents. this is a straw purchase and illegal (which i didn’t know at the time). 
and just recently, i heard a story from a friend about how her niece’s first year of hunting was shot down (pun not intended!) after she mishandled her gun. she took the classes and training, but on deer opener a bee (or wasp or some ugly bug) got in her face, and she waved her gun around, pointed it at people. that was it for her. no more hunting.
and second, a disclaimer: i am not going to do [much] research in the post, as it would take hours and hours that i don’t have. but i am going to pose a lot of questions that i may research later. 

the intro

ok, so i don’t deny that the rash of school shootings is a horrible, horrible thing. i don’t deny that we should be doing more thorough background checks and making sure that those whose names the guns are in should be the actual owners.
and if we as a country outlawed guns, then those people who would lash out like this would find another way. but for a moment, think about the st. cloud mall stabbing: no one was killed when that maniac went on his stabbing spree (besides him). can you imagine if he’d had a gun? there would have been so many casualties. so yes, outlawing guns could help curb quite a bit of gun crime. 
but i also see the other side. people choose to pick up that weapon and kill other people. i know many responsible gun owners, whether it’s for hunting or funsies. i’ve shot guns. my sister and dad own guns.
so what is causing those people to bring an arsenal into a school (and other places) and kill people? and how can we help those people while also letting responsible gun owners partake in the 2nd amendment*?
i’ve been seeing a lot of posts on FB about how bullying is a cause of school shootings.  shooters are generally outcasts and not well-liked. to stop school shootings, be nice to your classmates.
welcome to high school. that’s what high school IS. a bunch of cliques of popular people and not so popular people and nerds and the weirdos. 
a while back, my HS classmates (i am a member of the FB group) were trying to brush aside the clique thing, saying we were above that. what on earth! of course it was the popular people who were saying this (read: not me). of course there are cliques. there were cliques in my gradeschool, in a class of 18! 
what pushes the few over the edge? can we agree that it is not violent movies and video games?
is it a combination of being low on the totem pole combined with mental illness/abuse/substance abuse and then access to guns? and why is it mostly boys**? 
and can we blame this entirely on just mental illness and access to guns? i don’t think so.

i think there are two contributing factors. 

first, we live in a country that is inculcated with fear. we are afraid to go out at night. sometimes i’m afraid to go running in the SJU woods (rape). george zimmerman was afraid of a black teenager in a hoodie eating skittles. people in st. cloud are afraid of change. so we arm ourselves against the things we’re supposed to be afraid of***. 
are we really afraid of these things, or are we afraid because we are told we should be afraid? this is a huge cultural problem that is partly due to the media focusing on tragedies and bad news instead of the good things. we are actually safer these days than back in the “old days” when kids would run around all evening without a care in the world. we just hear more about when bad things happen. sometimes those rose-colored glasses were helpful.
second, US citizens need access to helpful, affordable (maybe free!) health care and support systems. instead of spending all our federal dollars on arming ourselves with weapons (again with the fear), perhaps we keep that in-house and spend it on arming ourselves with healthy, fulfilling lives. 
oh, there’s a third i guess. we need to stop the over-masculinization of society. a man’s a man and doesn’t show any vulnerability or sympathy. so what if boys cry? who cares if they want to play with a barbie instead of a tonka truck? does it matter if a girl beats a boy at soccer? “you’re going to let a GIRL beat you?” when some father is screaming this at his son, not only does that shame the boy, but it shames the girl for being better than a boy. and why is shame involved at all? if we can’t prepare ourselves to lose to other, whether woman or man, life is going to be pretty miserable.

call for a ban?

let’s talk about banning certain guns and accessories. i’m not convinced it will work. it MIGHT reduce casualties. i briefly tried to find out if the columbine shooters used bumpstocks and couldn’t find anything. they used a pump-action shotgun. 
In the 49 shootings from columbine to 2013 (https://www.cga.ct.gov/2013/rpt/2013-R-0057.htm), the AR-15 was used in two. (a few were unidentifed, so we can’t rule those out, but i’m focusing on what we know.) a majority of the guns are semi-automatic, but they also include revolvers, handguns, and shotguns. 
shootings will still happen if we ban certain items. the only way to completely eliminate this is by eliminating guns altogether (which at this point i may have convinced myself of, but i go back and forth on this issue all the time).

where we’re at

but here’s what to remember: when your rights start to infringe on others’ rights, that’s when we have a problem. and i understand that responsible gun owners’ rights are to be taken into account. but it’s a tool – a very violent, deadly tool.  but i have a right to live. and someone who is mentally unstable with a gun cannot infringe on those rights, and i can’t infringe on the rights of gun owners.
see the circle? what i think we need to focus on is making sure our populace is healthy and those who aren’t are noticed and treated well, and we need to work on erasing this overwhelming feeling of fear that we in the US are so hardwired to exalt.
but that may take a while, and in the spirit of being a fence-sitter on this issue, a ban might not be a bad idea.

appendix

*people forget about the first half of the second amendment: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
**the first “modern-day” school shooter was actually a girl. “Brenda Ann Spencer, a chronically abused and molested mentally unstable 16y/o girl on a cocktail of intoxicants, is actually considered by many to be the first modern school shooter. On Jan 29, 1979 she took the 22 shot gun her father (the abuser and molester,) had given her a month before for Christmas, (immediately after a school psychiatrist recommended she be institutionalized as a danger to herself and others,) and opened fire on the morning crowds outside the elementary school across the street from her home. ”
***of COURSE there are things that some people should be afraid of. people in violent relationships, in precarious situations, etc. fear shouldn’t be ABSENT but it shouldn’t RULE our lives.
http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20140728-why-is-all-the-news-bad
https://www.quora.com/Has-there-ever-been-a-school-shooting-carried-out-by-a-girl

happy christmas! have some birds.

happy christmas! have some birds.

happy 2nd day of christmas! know what i can’t understand? people who take their christmas decorations down the day after christmas. don’t they realize that the christmas season has just begun??
so here’s the deal. the 12 days of christmas? no, it’s not a marketing ploy to rack up sales 12 days before christmas. it’s the liturgical christmas season between dec. 25 and jan. 6, the epiphany (you know, when the three kings* visited the baby jesus in bethlehem).  unfortunately, all the hype for christmas happens a month before christmas, and the season itself is practically forgotten. 
so, let’s take a look at how the christmas season plays out. before dec. 25? it’s actually advent, the time of waiting and preparing your heart for jesus. each sunday we get to light an additional candle on the advent wreath, purple, purple, pink, and purple, until christmas arrives. my friend melissa, a liturgist at a catholic church and sponsor of this post**, actually runs purple and pink ribbons on her tree until christmas, when she decorates it. i remember growing up on the tree farm and having one family come out on christmas eve to cut down their tree. 
so what happens during the 12 days of christmas besides a very rich lover sending you a bunch of birds? here’s what we’ve got for the 12 days of christmas:
12days
The first day  is Christmas, the celebration of baby jesus’ birth. it’s also a day you traditionally give your loved one a partridge in a pear tree.
The second day is Boxing Day and is also known as St Stephen’s Day. he was the first christian martyr. and two turtle doves.
The third day celebrates St John the Apostle. three calling birds.
The fourth day is the Feast Of The Holy Innocents – the day when people remember all of the baby boys who were killed by King Herod in his search to kill the Baby Jesus. four french hens!
The fifth day is remembering St Thomas Becket – he was the Archbishop of Canterbury in the 12th Century and was killed on December 29 1170 for challenging the King’s authority over the church. fiiiiiive goooooldeeeeen riiiiiiiings
The sixth day remembers St Egwin of Worcester, who died on December 30 717. he was known as the protector of orphans and the widowed. six swans a swimming.
The seventh day (New Year’s Eve) celebrates Pope Sylvester I. In some eastern European countries New Year’s Eve is still known as Silvester. seven geese a laying.
The eighth day (New Year’s Day) celebrates Mary the Mother of Jesus. (this is also a holy day of obligation, which TOTALLY BLOWS when you’re up all night revelrying. eight maids a milking.
The ninth day honors St Basil the Great and St Gregory Nazianzen – two important fourth century Christians. nine ladies dancing.
The tenth day is the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus – this marks the day Jesus was named in the Jewish Temple. ten lords a leaping.
The eleventh day  celebrates the Feast of Saint Simeon Stylites who spent 37 years living on a small platform on top of a pillar in Aleppo. (WHAT ON EARTH. this might need some more research.) eleven pipers.
The twelfth day, January 5, is also known as Epiphany Eve – it’s the day before January 6 which is known as the Epiphany. 12 drummers drumming.
many countries in europe still celebrate the 12 days, but in the US it’s practically forgotten. once dec. 25 rolls around, it’s sayanora christmas.
what i’d like to start doing? i wouldn’t mind celebrating christmas like hannukah is celebrated. each night get a small present or do something fun, with the big party on ephiphany (which makes total sense since that’s when the kings came with their GIFTS).  OR, for those families who have multiple christmas parties and people to exchange gifts with, why not do it during the 12 days FOLLOWING christmas, during the actual season? 
i know that the retail marketing has got us all hyped up and wound up and grabbed by our wallets, but it wouldn’t take much to make the christmas season part of how we celebrate christmas. and i’ve said it before: i wouldn’t mind seeing more off-color christmas celebrations become more mainstream. like actual caroling, or something equivalent to trick or treating. or krampus  (hee heeeee!). i feel like christmas has gotten too ooey gooey and blown out of proportion and saccharine. 
*or two, if you’re the kings at my mom’s house. one got beheaded for coming out of the closet (hannah was playing “kissy kissy” with two kings, and being ceramic, one broke.)
**(she says not to take her too seriously. i had to school her on what the triduum*** was her first year as a liturgist.)
*** the three days before easter: holy thursday, good friday, and holy saturday. 

oui oui

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

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

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:

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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

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. 

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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 
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