10-03-08 10:04Abortion Again

Michelle O: I can't believe its a choice between dumpster dumping and abortion. It is really sad what this world is coming too.

It is sad, but I assure you this is nothing new. People now are not different from the way people have always been. Anything you despise about today, there was just as much or more of it going on at all previous times in history.

If anything, human morality as a whole has taken an uptick in the last century. Ending slavery and granting women rights seem like something new in a positive direction.

But as for what crazy people do...there have always been crazy people and they aren't any crazier now than ever.

Michelle O: I feel that people who don't want to have children shouldn't have sex.

This doesn't work. It has never worked.

There is no force in the universe that can stop people from having sex. That is, some people can be stopped, but you can never stop everyone.

Even priests and nuns, who have sworn an oath before God to remain celibate, still have sex. And lots of it. (Before you panic, I'm not talking about pedophile priests, I'm talking about orindary priests who have consensual sex with women.)

Recently in Europe a construction crew stumbled on to an old underground tunnel. When they investigated, they found that it led almost a mile underground...from the monastery straight to the nunnery. People immediately suspected it was used for secret assignations between the orders.

This was confirmed when they found some tiny skeletons - babies nobody was supposed to have, gotten rid of.

If the monks and nuns can't stay celibate, even with God looking right over their shoulder, how does anyone expect ordinary people to do so?

Frogbender: I think that women should have a choice, but only in the first trimester.

I have always been massively pro-choice, but I think this is a more nuanced stand, and I have found myself coming more and more around to this position.

If you actually read Roe v. Wade, the essence of the bill was directed not at a woman's freedom of choice, but rather of privacy. Roe v. Wade establishes a woman's right to make this decision privately, without a mandate from the state.

This is the key to my understanding.

I can think of a million reasons why a woman might want to quietly end a pregnancy, early, before it completely changes her body, her relationships and everything in her life forever. If a woman wants to keep a pregnancy private I think that is her right.

This is why I have come to feel that only very early abortions are really about legal privacy - if you are showing, it's no longer your little secret.

Also important is the idea that abotions, if necessary, should be performed before there is really any chance that the fetus would endure suffering. A fetus does not even have brain-wave activity until after nine weeks, so it certainly could not experience suffering if it was aborted before that time.

My position on this has really changed. I had hoped by conceding that late abortions were probably not a good idea, that some people would come across the aisle from the other side and concede that prohibiting early ones was not a good idea either. I feel that, on this issue, we need more attempt at finding a compromise position everyone can live with.

I'm tired of politicians throwing every election over this.

Michelle O: You are absolutely right, but there are certainly a lot more crazy people out there now than ever before.

There are more of every kind of people. And if I had to guess, I would hazard that the ratio of sane-to-crazies has probably improved since we invented mental health care. But, there's always a few. :-)

Michelle O: I am not totally naive to think people are actually going to stop having sex, but they ought to be prepared to face the responsibility of their actions.

You just can't make public policy based on what people "ought to be." Sure they "ought to be." But that isn't what they are.

I really disagree with the notion that a woman should have to endure an unwanted pregnancy just to force her to "face the responsibility." For one thing, that turns the baby into a prop for "teaching her a lesson," and that's not fair to him. Also, I feel that an early abortion is a valid way to face the responsibility of an unwanted pregnancy.

Furthermore, I don't think that people who don't want children should be held to celibacy. For one, it's impossible. For two, why should the procreators have all the fun?

I admit I will be a lot happier when our birth control systems are more reliable. I don't think we should be having any accidental pregnancies. There ought to be a way that we could ensure total birth choice - deliberate pregnancies only!

But, you know what I just said about "ought to be"...

Michelle O: We need to teach both our boys and girls abstinance...

How can you teach abstinence? You can inform people that abstinence exists, but just telling people about abstinence doesn't make them be abstinent.

Michelle O: ...and sex education.

I agree.

Michelle O: You'd be surprised...the abstance education people have some great ideas as far as teaching good ways to say no...

That is not the same as actually getting people to say no.

But I'm really curious, what are these "great ideas"? Maybe I could try them on my husband! At least I'd be able to get the dishes done. :-)

10-03-08 10:03A True Compliment

Louise: I'm not pro-choice, but here is a long list of things I would do instead of making abortion illegal...

Louise, your whole post was very well thought out. Thanks for posting it.

Louise: WOW! That is a true compliment coming from you. I don't think you have ever quoted me and then followed with anything but questions. Thanks a lot. I appreciate it!

10-03-08 10:02Pile of Money

Louise: What would you do if you had 2-3 million dollars, just to spend on yourself? You are not allowed to say anything about paying off bills for you and half the country, no college funds, no savings...this is all about splurging....understand?

From the ladies: I'd get a cook...an estate home...fancy cars....paloma picasso handbags...tummy tucks, boob jobs...

I would have the bank deliver the entire sum to my house in ones. I would just make a huge pile of it on the lawn and let all the neighborhood kids play in it and fling it around. At the end of the day I would set fire to the pile and watch it burn. Ought to be worth it just to see the apoplexy.

Ellie: LMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ill have "cook" make me some toasted marshmallows!

Louise: Only you...ha!!

Mandaday: I would actively do nothing. Sure, I might get better cloehes...but to be honest I would really love to just be lazy for awhile.

I want you to know that I find this truly admirable.

Most people will not even own up to this. But I'm really tired of everyone going on about how HARD we should be working all the time. Did we invent the plow, the printing press, electricity and the washer/dryer combo, all so we could still slave our lives away, busting our asses?

We live in a beautiful universe, and I would so much rather spend my time enjoying it, than working extra hours and stacking up dollars so that some day I can retire and enjoy it.

THIS is life! Life is NOW!

I really don't know how much more mindless consumerism our planet can take, anyway. Here is wishing more people would get off the work > buy > owe > work cycle and just sit still.

10-02-08 10:02Star Trek Ideals

Aurora: I don't fit as a Democrat or a Republican. I am a fiscal conservative, but tend to lean more left on social platforms. I don't feel like I am represented at all :(

I know how you feel. I, for one, think money is a lot of unnecessary suffering about nothing. I feel that humans should eschew materialistic post-modernism for an intellectual aesthetic. I feel that traditional hierarchical power structures are inherently disenfranchising, and that natural governance is achieved heuristically by consent and consensus rather than majority. I feel that human potential can be reached in transcendence.

That makes me a party of about one.

Aurora: What you are talking about reminds me of Star Trek. I dream of a future like Star Trek...call me a geek.

A Trekkie, yay!

Aurora: But the pursuit of knowledge simply for the knowledge itself is appealing. Once we have replicators the value of things will drop to zero because everyone will be able to own whatever they want. People will begin to actually value the intangible, like love, relationships, and knowledge.

The really happy truth is that we can do that NOW. There's no need to wait. We can do that now personally, even if society as a whole hasn't caught up yet.

Aurora: Until then, I am sorry to say this, but I am not sure that the kind of government that you want will be possible. People are simply greedy...

I don't expect that to ever change. People are people. We like shiny things. But, don't confuse economic systems with systems of governance. They really are two related but different things.

I really don't have a problem with people who want to spend their lives in the pursuit of ever-greater quantities of wealth. It's lame, but hey, whatever. Good for them. The only problem is that they cheat to do it - big time. And that exploitation comes at the expense of those at the bottom.

And, sadly, no one is free to set aside that struggle. I know people who don't give a fig for money but they are roped into the system anyway, because it's root, hog or die.

The best way to compromise is to practice pragmatic non-attachment. Do what it takes, don't worry about it, and don't bother going for the brass ring - very few ever catch it, and the endless cycle of pursuit and failure is not as much fun as simply enjoying the ride.

All that is really an aside from heuristic governance by consensus. HGC would work with a capitalist economy, as long as it had some regulation to keep it from spiraling out of control.

Aurora: It is tragic really, happiness is so close to our grasp, but always slightly out of reach.

The grasping is what makes it out of reach. Grasping is not happiness. Appreciation is.

As long as we have raised the subject of Star Trek, there are a couple of interesting things to note about it.

1) At least while creator Gene Roddenberry was alive, the shows were held to a strict ideology that humans had utterly transcended the need for money. Several early Next Gen episodes made a big deal about this. However, after Roddenberry passed, and especially with the creation of Deep Space Nine, they came up with a futuristic currency, and suddenly everyone was talking about "Gold-pressed Latinum."

I think this was done because it was just so difficult to write interesting and compelling stories when there was no way to put a value on anything. As time went on, the "latinum" started coming in different denominations - slips, strips and bars - first of all, so that characters could be motivated by greed, and secondly, so that various plot outcomes could have relative values.

In other words, the Roddenberry vision of a universe without money was sweet, but BORING. It did not make for good drama.

People really like drama. That is why I think high finance will always be part of human culture.

2) At some places in the Star Trek cannon, they make a point of noting that the leader of the Federation is an elected official, so they are ostensibly democratic. But you might have noticed that the main ranking structure of the show - Starfleet - is anything but democratic. Admirals and captains aren't elected, they are promoted.

Again, I think that humans really just like the drama of competition...the drive to get ahead...the triumph of outpacing the rest. If bloodlines and wealth are removed as the way to measure status, some other means for competitive ranking must be found. A true meritocracy, with achievement as the buy-in and promotion as the pay-off, is very realistic and would make a good system. Especially with plenty of the ol' "the only one you're really competing with is yourself" ideology thrown in to maintain a high level of ethics.

In other words, even Roddenberry knew that a world without money would still need a system of competitive ranking to be at all interesting. As much as we proclaim that "all are created equal" I don't expect it will ever really shake out that way in practice. Competitive ranking is a deeply ingrained primate behavior pattern.

10-01-08 10:01Who's to Blame?

The blame for the financial crisis does not rest solely with Republicans, who are for less regulation, or with a Democrat President who signed a repeal of an act. It does not lie solely with careless borrowers or with careless lenders or in any one segment of the economy.

The problem is that a lot of factors colluded together to massively ratchet up the value of our money system.

Money is nothing more than an idea, an agreement. It works pretty good when there is good basis for agreement about what it is worth. The problem occurred when everybody started agreeing that everything was worth a whole lot more than what it actually is worth. Like houses, for example.

Now, people really love it when this happens. Their bank accounts get bigger. Their houses go up in value. Wow, look at all this yummy money! We're rich! This is mainly why it happens.

I would say the one thing that all the players at fault had in common was greed. The greedy careless borrowers wanted more house than they could afford. The greedy bankers wanted more and bigger mortgages than their clients could afford. The greedy debt traders who passed this stuff around to make it bigger wanted more derivatives.

Greed on the part of everyone involved just drove it up, up, up.

But when such huge amounts of money get concentrated into such big piles, it starts to lose its value. What does "seven hundred billion dollars" even mean? Where is "seven hundred billion dollars" stored? How can "seven hundred billion dollars" buy something?

When it gets this absurd, people start to realize that it's all just imaginary. When that happens - Pop!

When the bubble pops, everyone has to start over and figure out how much everything is actually worth again. The higher the greed pushes the bubble when it goes up, the more of a crash back to the bottom we get as everything resets.

People have known this about economies for centuries. Economies have to be managed to be kept from over-inflating. But, like so many humans of the past, we all let our greed get in the way of doing a good job managing it.

I would say that everyone in the system is culpable to the extent that they were greedy. For careless borrowers that's not that greedy, they just wanted one house. For careless lenders, it's pretty greedy. For derivitive traders, it's naked avarice.

A to Z: I thoroughly enjoyed this post RaverLady.

Aurora: You are absolutely right, it is greed multiplied on greed. As always your post is thought provoking and on point.

This is why economies need a reset button.

As I have mentioned, in biblical times, the Hebrews had a tradition that every fifty years or so, ALL debts would be forgiven, erased. It was called the Jubilee.

Why did they do this? Because they were pretty smart about money, and they knew that money systems often spiral out of control. The money becomes worth much less than it was - inflation - and the debts get massively expanded when people trade "owsies" back and forth.

So, once every couple of generations, all debt was forgiven to reset the economy.

The Jubilee really worked. It kept the simple capitalism practiced by the Hebrews intact for many centuries.

However, I seriously doubt people would do it now. For one thing, people are still clinging to the idea that all those "owsies" are really worth something. It would be hard for them to let go.

10-01-08 6:66Really Sick

SG47: Wanna hear about something sick? I just heard about a 30 year old femaile teacher who had an affair with a 13 year old boy!

Actually, would you like to hear something really sick?

We were visiting with all the family for MIL's memorial service this weekend. My husband's loopy sister brought her giant dog with her.

Now, this is one annoying dog. It's one of those gigantic animals that thinks it is a lap dog. But that wasn't the sick part. When my SIL left the house, the dog started molesting the children! He chased my daughter down in the back yard, knocked her to the ground, got on her back and started going for it. It was sick! I shooed him away but a moment later he was at it again and I had to bring the little kids inside.

When SIL got back I told her what happened. She said, "Well, did you smack him a good one upside the head?"

I said, "No, of course not. That dog could kill me."

She said, "You have to teach him a lesson! And you know, Buster is just a big sweetie, he wouldn't hurt a fly..."

I said, "Forget it, I'm not going to use physical force against a dog that size who doesn't know me."

She said, "Well, I don't know what you are going to do about it then."

What am I going to do about it!? I only know that if that stupid dog was a person he'd fucking be in jail or dead right now after what he tried. My little girl was very upset and the other kids were grossed out and we were all supposed to pretend that it was nothing.

My hubby said, "Buster is a dog and not subject to the same moral and ethical code as a human. Otherwise dogs would all be arrested for public nudity."

Well, I see his point. But I had to spend most of the trip trying to shield my kids and the other children from this gigantic menace. Someone finally convinced her to take the dog home, but I felt we never should have had to deal with it in the first place.

09-29-08 11:11More Wealthiest Man

This is a continuation of The Wealthiest Man Alive here.

Jessica: I have inner peace when i'm sitting in my paid for house...when my daughter does the dance and gymnastic routines that I paid for...in the shoes that i paid for...paid for...relaxing with my husband on the fine leather couch that we paid for.

Yeah, you sound really relaxed.

Jessica: i had inner peace last year when we all spent time together at a jamaican resort, making memories and loving each other.

I just do that now. I do it here.

Inner peace that you can only have at a resort in Jamaica is useless.

Jessica: i do NOT have inner peace when we are watching our business fall apart, when we are arguing over which cd to invest the money in, because if we choose wrong, it might ruin us.

This is when you need inner peace the most.

Your inner peace is worthless if you don't have it when you need to make an important decision.

Jessica: i dont have inner peace while i watch my husband pace the floors of our home until three in the morning, trying to figure out what on earth we are going to do.

Listen, did you actually read my post? We have been there. We had it all, lost it all. Got some back.

And, in all that time, my husband never paced. Not once.

I never said my husband ignores the bills, or pays them with "inner peace." Right now he pays our bills on time, with money. But even when we didn't have money, we managed to get along pretty good too.

Take my word for it, inner peace is better. We always sleep just fine.

Jessica: ...money does matter, and money is the foundation of happiness..."

Wow. I wish I could give you this beautiful moon.

Jessica: ...unless you can be happy watching your kids go without the best of everything.

Happiness is not about what you get. I can always be happy and make my children happy.

Looking 4 Logic: The problem you have Raver, is...

I do not have any problems thank you.

Looking 4 Logic: Anyone who thinks money is not important is usually a free spirit...

That's a pretty good thing to be. My husband is one and he's a great dad, a great lover and a lot of fun to be with. I'll take that over the alternative any day.

Jedi Princess: You say you have no problems. Well, I've usually found that the people who think they are problem-free are the ones with the biggest problems.

That's fine. If you think I have a problem in my life why don't you tell me what it is.

Jedi Princess: I think Logic already laid it all out for you, however, you don't want to listen.

What "Logic laid out" has nothing to do with you or with me. I'm listening to you. If you think I have an actual problem, you tell me what you think it actually is. Be specific.

Unless you can name an actual problem that I actually have you are just talking out your ass.

Jedi Princess: A LOT of what comes from you is this hippy-dippy, far-out, zen stuff that I don't think anyone's taken seriously since 1969.

If you think THAT constitutes a problem you are going to have to explain how it's not working.

Looking 4 Logic: You keep saying, believe what I believe or my god will make your burn in hell......

Now you are just getting hysterical. I have never mentioned belief, god, burning, hell, etc. I'm sorry you have so little understanding of what I have said.

I have suggested only that a good night's sleep beats pacing the floor at 3am, frantic with worry. If you really think the pacing and the worry beat the sleep, pace away. Your choice.

Sunny: I can't say that I would be up at 3 am pacing floors but I can pretty much say that if I was about to get evicted from our house and have no money for a place to stay, then I damn sure wouldn't be sleeping a restful sleep!!!!

That's too bad. When times are tough is when you need a rested mind and a clear head the most.

Sunny: Well, I just can't fathom ever being so peaceful knowing I may be on the streets with my kids."

When you are "out in the street" it is more important than ever to be peaceful. Otherwise it will bring you a lot of suffering and that won't help your kids one bit. Seeing you hopeful and calm will do a lot more for them.

Sunny: Now, I really don't have to worry about it because my hubby would never allow such a thing to happen.

Mine never has either. See?

Sunny: I can respect that you have that inner peace, but honestly, if I were to be on the streets with my kids, I can't see where being at peace with it is going to help. What works for you may not always work for someone else."

Doesn't mean I can't suggest it. Or brag about it. :-)

Sunny: Some people, like my self, use stress and anger and all that to get done what needs to be done.

I just do what needs to be done without stress and anger and all that. It's easier, and it makes me a lot more fun to be around for my hubby and kids.

As I have repeatedly pointed out, we are getting what needs to be done accomplished. Everything in our lives is working, and working well.

But, I should point out that this is not just some part of my natural personality. I used to tear my hear out. Had ulcers. That was NOT working.

However when I met J. he was already this way. He just taught me how to do it. It really works.

Jedi Princess: You said, you would brag?! ~ That right there is probably my biggest problem with you.

Well, as you are the first to point out, this is your problem, not mine.

But, I understand what you are saying. I can certainly keep that in mind in the future. I'm happy to work on it.

Jedi Princess: what it looks like to others is that you're pushing your beliefs and thoughts onto them....

I'm just explaining what works for me. I am not planning to keep quiet about it. Please, take it or leave it.

Jedi Princess: Why do you even care how someone else lives?

I do care. I care about people's happiness. I care about what works.

Sunny: Actually, since being with my hubby, I don't stress over things like that."

Well, that's great.

Sunny: As far as my kids are concenred, they think I am the happiest person in the world.

It sounds like you have it covered, then.

09-29-08 11:11Sue Happy

I saw this line in a recent thread:

"I think the only reason this is an issue is because so many people are SUE HAPPY."

First of all, why should this surprise anyone? In the United States the value of a person is measured entirely by their financial status. We already think that the rich should be allowed to pursue further wealth by any possible means, regardless of the cost to others. So why would the poor and middle class, when they see a shot at higher social status without much work, be expected to NOT take that course? If the rich can make money without working why can't anyone else?

Second of all, and far more importantly, lawsuits are a vital part of a functioning economy. If people couldn't sue to be compensated for gross negligence, then there would not be any negative consequences for gross negligence, and businesses and doctors would have no reason to pursue safer and fairer practices.

Some lawsuits are frivolous, of course, but that is why they are decided by the courts. The frivolous lawsuits can easily be thrown out on judicial review.

Is there any reason why we should limit the circumstances that people can use to pursue lawsuits?

Seana: I think there should be a limit on what you can sue over. Ex: the lady who sued McDonalds because she burned herself with her coffie. that was the dumbest thing I have ever seen.

However she did provide the one example that everyone always mentions. That lady is to lawsuits what Hitler is history - the towering example of wrongness that no one can resist bringing up. So she did serve a purpose. :-)

I would never say that she should not have sued. But I might posit that she should not have won.

Seana: Or criminals who sue when they get hurt breaking into homes, etc. None of that shit should ever make it to court. If your too stupid to realize that yes, coffie is HOT or your breaking the law in the first place you should have NO RIGHT to sue.

I disagree. Anybody can try to sue. But if they have no case they should not win.

Seana: Okay, I'll give you that they should be allowed to try to sue, but I don't think it should make it to court. So many legit cases get put off for long periods of time because our courts are flooded with crap that has no business getting any legal attention.

The courts exist for the purpose of working things out. That is their raison d'etre. This is like saying the garbageman is too busy picking up garbage to take care of the trash.

Remember what Doug Llewellyn used to say? "Don't take the law into your own hands. You take 'em to court." Courts were invented to provide reasoned justice and closure in place of vigilantism and revenge fueds. They are doing their job and it takes what it takes.

Maybe we just need more judges. :-)

Seana: Yes, we do need more judges! That would be ideal, our entire legal system from the patrol cops and jails to the courts needs more QULIFIED ppl. On that, I will gladly agree with you!

09-28-08 9:00Ritual Pollution and the Caste System

When I was studying cultural anthropology in college, my professor was talking about caste systems, and the beliefs that hold them in place, like ritual pollution. She gave an example - in India, they have a very rigid caste system. The Untouchables are the members of the lowest caste, and they are considered so spiritually filthy that any touching of them would be a "pollution" of a higher caste member. This belief was so rigid that the Untouchables could only come into the village at noon, when their shadows were smallest, because even the shadow of an Untouchable falling across a higher caste member was ritual pollution.

I was shaking my head at how people could believe such silly things, and how great we are in America that we don't have beliefs like this.

But, for her next example, my professor brought up the rigid caste system that dominated the United States for much of our existence - the Whites making up the freemen caste and the Blacks belonging to the slave caste.

Even once slavery was abolished, strong taboos against ritual pollution remained in place - such as segregated lunch counters, or "Whites only" and "Colored only" drinking fountains.

These examples of ritual pollution existed until quite recently. I don't think anyone should be surprised that there is still racial tension when the silly ideas of caste and ritual pollution are such a part of our history and have not fallen that far behind us.

Looking 4 Logic: Racism in our country is being eradicated.

Being eradicated is not eradicated. The effects linger.

Looking 4 Logic: Someday it will be completely gone...

I agree. Acknowledging the lingering effects is part of how we make that happen.

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