Monday, November 27, 2006
I missed it on TV last night, but 60 Minutes ran a story on a pill that could wipe your memory clean of past unpleasantries.
If there were something you could take after experiencing a painful or traumatic event that would permanently weaken your memory of what had just happened, would you take it? As correspondent Lesley Stahl reports, it’s an idea that may not be so far off, and that has some critics alarmed, and some trauma victims filled with hope.At our core, we ARE our memories.
We moderate our behavior when we've done something embarrassing in the past.
Memories of past atrocities allow us to remember the horror of acts against humanity, such as the Nazi concentration camps, or the jets slamming into the twin towers.
On the radio at lunch, a woman called into the station to relay her story of being raped. She said that that experience is what pushes her - drives her - to work so hard to teach women how to protect themselves so it does not happen to them.
On another station, the host said that the 60 Minutes piece had a story about a woman that had been traumatized when she was knocked down in the street by a bike. She fretted over being stranded in the street and getting injured again. How in God's name would this pill help her in the long run? I don't know the circumstances of her accident, but it seems as though if she had looked both ways before stepping into the street, she wouldn't have been hit. Wipe away the memory, and she'll end up once again splayed on the asphalt sometime in the future.
I can think of nothing more horrific than anyone being able to take a pill to remove unpleasant memories. The doctors and pharm companies are saying it will only be used in extreme instances, but this lady in the street incident sure doesn't seem extreme to me. Extreme, I guess, is in the eye of the pharm companies.
It will be just like what has happened with ADD or ADHD. If you're over 35 or so, think about the number of kids you went to grammar school with that may have had ADD. I can think of one, and a second one that may have been borderline. This is in a K-6 school with two full classrooms of 30 kids for each grade. Two possible hits out of 400+ kids.
My wife - a 5th grade teacher - has 9 kids on "behavior" medication out of her 35 students. And she has the "good" class. Last year, over half of her class was on this type of medication. Half.
We no longer allow or expect people to learn to deal with difficulties in life. Have a problem with concentration in class? Take a pill. Have a bad memory? Take a pill. Get drunk and have unprotected sex? Take a pill. Maybe two.
We don't have to face life and its consequences. Something or someone will fix it for us.
No one has to deal with the shame of being on the government teat. No one has to deal with the shame of an out-of-wedlock baby. No one has to deal with the shame of not graduating from high school. No one has to deal with the unruly child in class. We can simply abrogate our responsibility to a little pill, and everything will be better in the morning.
That's not a world I want to be a part of. Maybe I'll take a pill...
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Pay attention to the following exerpts, and think about what is glaringly missing:
Wow, sounds pretty bad. There's more:
Decades after the civil rights movement, racial disparities in income, education and home ownership persist and, by some measurements, are growing.
White households had incomes that were two-thirds higher than blacks and 40 percent higher than Hispanics last year, according to data released Tuesday by the Census Bureau.
Man, life must be a bitch. The article goes on to say how whites have more homes than blacks and hispanics, blah, blah, blah.
"Race is so associated with class in the United States that it may not be direct discrimination, but it still matters indirectly," said Dalton Conley, a sociology professor at New York University and the author of "Being Black, Living in the Red.""It doesn't mean it's any less powerful just because it's indirect," he said.
It then sneaks in this little tidbit:
Asian Americans, on average, have higher incomes and education levels than whites.Huh? How could any race have higher income and education than the oppressive whites? Isn't this the same race where we had the Chinese Exclusion Act? Didn't we take away their property during WWII? During the Gold Rush period, didn't we bring the Chinese over to build our railroad, but not allow them to bring their families? And didn't we segregate them into their own communities with names like Chinatown and Japantown and Koreatown?
Thirty percent of white adults had at least a bachelor's degree in 2005, while 17 percent of black adults and 12 percent of Hispanic adults had degrees. Forty-nine percent of Asian Americans had at least a bachelor's degree in 2005.
Hmmm. And yet they are still able to do better than white Americans? Why is that?
If you're the sensitive type, turn your eyes away now, because what follows won't be pretty. Or PC.
The simple, one word answer is: Family.
Asians respect and promote the nuclear and extended family more than any other race, whites included. Look to pop-culture for your clues.
Blacks heap praise on their rappers. The biggest and riches are the ones that denegrate the family the most. All women are "ho's" and "biatches" and toys for the men. They aren't considered partners in life. The Lone Wolf that knocks up the skanks and leaves them wanting more are their heros.
Whites, especially on the two coasts, are adopting this lifestyle in greater numbers. This probably explains the declines. They even have a slang name for them: Wiggers - A conjunction of White and "The Nasty 'N' Word".
Hispanics, who have traditionally had very strong core family values now strongly associate with the black icons. And they're paying the price.
Asians, though, continue in great numbers, to support and grow the family. As an anecdote, I had a Vietnamese guy that worked for me. He fell in love with a co-worker who was Filipino, and he asked for her hand in marriage. She said that she would not marry him until he finished his degree. Oh, and her mom was going to move in to help with the future kids.
Now, this may seem controlling to some, but to me, it's all about setting standards. This young lady was not going to get married unless she was pretty sure they would be able to raise their family the right way.
The extended family is not just a part of their lives, it drives their lives.
This way of thinking is foreign to many blacks.
"The wealth gap is not just a story of merit and achievement, it's also a story of the historical legacy of race in the United Sates," said Shapiro, author of "The Hidden Cost of Being African American."Naw, it couldn't possibly be a problem caused, encouraged and maintained in the black community. It's someone else's fault, and if we just throw some more money at the problem, everything will be all better.
Shelton, of the NAACP, called for more funding for preschool programs such as Head Start, improving public schools and making college more affordable.
Yeah. That's worked so far.
Monday, November 06, 2006
I send this type of thing as an email to my friends each election with the admonition to read the voter guide then make up their own mind. Oh, and that they're dumb-asses if they vote differently from me.
Voter Guide: http://www.voterguide.ss.ca.gov/
Click the individual Propositions on the left side of the page, then the “Analyst” link near the upper-middle of the page to get the “non-political bias” impact of the bill.
My philosophy on passing bills:
- If a bond is to be paid from the General Fund with no corresponding increase in taxes, that means we have extra money laying around, right? Not likely. What is likely is that in the near future, we’ll have another emergency and have to raise taxes because we won’t be able to afford the debt payments. Nothing is ever free. Chances are it will NOT get my vote.
- Forced Charity bills. Such as state money for Alzheimer’s or ADHD or battered women or disabled Californians. Those are “causes” for private organizations such as
United Wayor Salvation Army or Red Cross, not the government. These organizations are less expensive and more efficient. If they’re not getting enough private donations to “do their good work”, too damned bad. It then is clearly not important enough to enough citizens. Chances are it won’t get my vote.
- If a law will increase personal rights and/or responsibilities or lessen the rights of state and local governments, it WILL generally get my vote.
- If a bond is even to be considered, it must provide a benefit for at least as long as we will have to pay it. For instance, you want money for a freeway? How long will it last? 10 years? 20 years? Match the benefit to the payment period and it has a chance at getting my vote. Maybe.
1a. TRANSPORTATION FUNDING PROTECTION
VOTE YES. Simply maintains (no tax increase) the money to go towards transportation infrastructure projects, and does not allow the politicians to use the money elsewhere.
1b. HIGHWAY SAFETY, TRAFFIC REDUCTION,
AIR QUALITY, AND PORT SECURITY BOND ACT OF 2006.
VOTE NO. This is a CYA bond to fix our infrastructure because of mismanagement. States it is for Port Security. That's a federal issue. Only $100 million (of $19 BILLION) goes to Security while $200 million goes to School Bus Retrofitting. Typical pork laden crap. Bond measure for $19 billion (that will cost us nearly $39 billion when paid off in 30 years). Will cost us $1.3 billion a year, but not raise taxes. Where will the money come from? Doesn’t say. What no longer gets funded?
1c. HOUSING AND EMERGENCY SHELTER TRUST FUND ACT OF 2006.
VOTE NO. A forced charity bill. That is not the purpose of government. Helps with down payments on homes, gives money to developers of multi-family housing, and less than 10% is for homeless shelters and the like. A $2.85 billion bond issue (costing over $6 billion over the 30 year life). Will cost us $204 million a year, but not raise taxes. Where will the money come from? Doesn’t say. What no longer gets funded?
PUBLIC EDUCATION FACILITIES BOND ACT OF 2006
VOTE NO. A bond to supposedly rebuild the infrastructure in schools. They get 50% of our tax dollars and now want more? Good money after bad. Show us results before you come to us with your hand out. A $10.4 Billion bond that will cost $20.3 Billion to pay off (does not say the time frame). Will cost $680 million a year, to come out of the general fund. Where will the money come from? What no longer gets funded?
1e. DISASTER PREPAREDNESS AND FLOOD PREVENTION BOND ACT OF 2006
VOTE YES. Repairs levies to protect property and our water supply. Our water and farm lands are literally the life-blood of
83. SEX OFFENDERS. SEXUALLY VIOLENT PREDATORS. PUNISHMENT, RESIDENCE RESTRICTIONS AND MONITORING. INITIATIVE STATUTE
VOTE YES. Increases penalties, requires GPS on predators, Changes current two-year involuntary civil commitment for a sexually violent predator to an indeterminate commitment, subject to annual review by the Director of Mental Health and subsequent ability of sexually violent predator to petition court for sexually violent predator’s conditional release or unconditional discharge. This will cost us “several tens of millions of dollars” growing to hundreds of millions in 10 years. OK. Ed.: I suggest we stop the arrest, prosecution and jailing of all non-violent drug “offenders” in
84. WATER QUALITY, SAFETY AND SUPPLY.
FLOOD CONTROL. NATURAL RESOURCE PROTECTION. PARK IMPROVEMENTS. BONDS. INITIATIVE STATUTE
VOTE NO. A “save the world” bill that is ripe for abuse. Allocates money for items such as “$1 billion for Integrated Regional Water Management Grants” and “$180 million for forests” and “$135 million for wildlife”. WTF? Are they going to buy a bunch of bobcats or feral pigs? I don’t get it. A $5.4 Billion bond that will cost $10.3 billion over its 30 year life. Paid out of the general fund. Where will the money come from? What no longer gets funded? Overlaps other projects (i.e. Prop 1E), and offers no requirement that the work done will last 30 years.
85. WAITING PERIOD AND PARENTAL NOTIFICATION BEFORE TERMINATION OF MINOR’S PREGNANCY. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.
VOTE YES. Cleaned up language in a previous Proposition that would have affected an ADULT’s ability to get an abortion. If you are a dependent minor and are going to have a hospital procedure, your parents need to know. A minor can’t have a mole removed without the parents knowing about it, so this is not unreasonable. The Proposition allows for judicial intervention if the child does not want parents notified if this will cause certain types of problem.
86. TAX ON CIGARETTES.
INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT AND STATUTE.
VOTE HELL NO. In addition to the money (a tax of $0.13 PER CIGGARETTE) going primarily to hospitals and not for education, it also grants these hospitals certain anti-trust exemptions. While this TAX would initially increase state revenues by $2.1 Billion per year, but within “a few years” (the state analysis does not specify) it will COST us hundreds of millions of dollars because of some mandated child programs. Scam.
87. ALTERNATIVE ENERGY. RESEARCH, PRODUCTION, INCENTIVES. TAX ON
OIL PRODUCERS. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT AND STATUTE CALIFORNIA
VOTE HELL NO. Taxes oil produced in
88. EDUCATION FUNDING. REAL PROPERTY PARCEL TAX.
INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT AND STATUTE
VOTE NO. More money for the schools sinkhole fund. California schools are a money-pit. Not another dime until they start producing results. They waste what we give them now, why throw good money after bad? This would slap a tax on every property parcel in
89. POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS. PUBLIC FINANCING. CORPORATE TAX INCREASE. CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTION AND EXPENDITURE LIMITS. INITIATIVE STATUTE.
VOTE NO. Raises taxes on corporations and financial institutions to pay for political campaigns. If you’re a Republican, you’re paying for a Democrat’s campaign, and vice versa. If it’s a Nazi party or KKK member’s campaign, you’re paying for that, too. It restricts the amount of money a private individual can contribute to a candidate, but lets the political parties contribute UNLIMITED amounts. Oh, and if you’re from a “minor political party” – anything other than a Republican or Democrat – you get less money, up to 50% less. It helps to perpetuate the two-party system. Bull shit. Also, since candidates used to be able to use excess campaign funds to pay for office expenses once they are elected, the state (that means YOU and ME) will now pay members of the State Assembly and State Senate $50,000 per year for these expenses, and all other offices $100,000 per year. So instead of private money paying for these expense, YOU and I get to pay for them. The $200 Million a year that is raised will have to come from somewhere. Do you think the corporations and banks may pass that cost along to YOU and ME in the form of higher prices? Yeah, me too…
90. GOVERNMENT ACQUISITION, REGULATION OF PRIVATE PROPERTY. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.
VOTE HELL YES. This is in response to the Kelo decision of the Supreme Court. Stops the state and local governments from taking your private property and giving it to another private party. Also, if the state/local government does something that reduces your property value, you must be compensated. The cost is unknown. And irrelevant. This is a Constitutional issue.