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Discard yourself! 2010

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Posted on October 31, 2010 at 02:36 PM in Discardia | Permalink | Comments (0)

Great writing 2010

"The most unmistakable chemical transformation is that of a matter's state – a solid liquefies, a liquid evaporates, a vapor condenses into rain. For most of the furnishings of our everyday life, we associate a particular substance with only one of those three states. Wood, steel, and stone – solid. Oxygen and helium – gas. Alcoholic beverages – liquid (you can keep a bottle of Bombay Sapphire in the freezer, and somehow it remains an ever pourable starter to a gin and tonic). Water again bucks convention and seems almost equally at home in all three forms, as ice, steam, and liquid. In fact, Earth is exceptional in its possession of tristate water. Mars has a lot of water, but it's frozen away underground. Jupiter and Saturn have traces of water, too, but as orbiting ice crystals or a gas among miasmic gases. Only on Earth are there ocean flows and Arctic floes and sputtering Yellowstone fumaroles; only the Goldilocks planet has water to suit every bear."

- Natalie Angier, The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science

Posted on October 30, 2010 at 12:04 PM in Books, creativity, Science | Permalink | Comments (2)

Like the pharaohs... 2010

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Posted on October 29, 2010 at 07:17 PM in Discardia | Permalink | Comments (0)

be happier with your life 2010

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Posted on October 28, 2010 at 10:28 AM in Discardia | Permalink | Comments (0)

t-shirt quilt 2010

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Posted on October 27, 2010 at 12:14 PM in Discardia | Permalink | Comments (0)

Discardia shop 2010

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Posted on October 26, 2010 at 04:22 PM in Discardia | Permalink | Comments (0)

When possessions lead to paralysis 2010

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Posted on October 26, 2010 at 01:00 PM in Discardia | Permalink | Comments (0)

how can we both get what we want? 2010

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Posted on October 24, 2010 at 09:15 PM in Discardia | Permalink | Comments (0)

feed your stock of ideas 2010

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Posted on October 23, 2010 at 02:43 PM in Discardia | Permalink | Comments (0)

My voting slate for the November 2010 California election 2010

I was surprisingly on track with the Bay Guardian this time.

Governor: Edmund G. Brown
I like Jerry. He was a good governor the last time he was my governor.

Lieutenant Governor: Gavin Newsom
He's a little too much of a friend to super-wealthy people and corporations, but I don't hate Newsom and I definitely don't like Maldonado.

Secretary of State: Debra Bowen
Bowen does a good job and, from everything I have heard, runs a very clean ship.

Controller: John Chiang
Another good public servant worthy of continuing support.

Treasurer: Bill Lockyer
And another person who's served the state well and who I continue to support.

Attorney General: Kamala Harris
I hope she will improve (drastically) her performance over her time in San Francisco, but I definitely choose Harris over her death penalty lovin' opponent Steve Cooley.

Insurance Commissioner: Dave Jones
No nose-holding on this one: Jones is a strong consumer advocate and health care reformer and not a right-wing, corporation-lover like opponent Mike Villines.

Member, State Board of Equalization, District 1: Betty Yee
Bring back in my theme of continuing support for folks who've been doing a good job.

United States Senator: Barbara Boxer
See my full post on this race, but in short: I worked at HP when Fiorina was CEO; I definitely don't want her representing my state.

United States Representative: Nancy Pelosi
With the pressure against her and any vaguely progressive agenda, it's a wonder the House has been able to make the progress they have. Pelosi knows how to fight this fight, so let's keep her working at it.

Member, State Assembly: Tom Ammiano
My man in the assembly. Keep on keepin' on, Tom.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction: Tom Torlakson
Aceves wouldn't be the end of the world, but Torlakson's approach seems inclined to make him more effective.

Assessor-Recorder: Phil Ting
Seems to run a good team and to bring in the revenue the city is owed. Their communication during the Prop 8 case ruling was pleasing.

Public Defender: Jeff Adachi
Sure. Okay. Disagree with him on his Measure B advocacy, but he does fine as public defender.

Proposition 19: Yes.
Changes California Law to Legalize Marijuana and Allow It to Be Regulated and Taxed.
We need to change pot from a cost to a revenue source (and incidentally weaken drug cartels by giving them legitimate competitors). I just wish it didn't smell like cow ass.

Proposition 20: No.
Redistricting of Congressional Districts.
Allowing some unelected committe to redraw the lines is highly unattractive.

Proposition 21: Yes.
Establishes $18 Annual Vehicle License Surcharge to Help Fund State Parks and Wildlife Programs and Grants Free Admission to All State Parks to Surcharged Vehicles.
Restores a funding source we shouldn't have lost.

Proposition 22: No.
Prohibits the State from Taking Funds Used for Transportation or Local Government Projects and Services.
There are already enough constraints on state spending. Let's not tie hands while we get this budget working.

Proposition 23: NO!!!
Suspends Air Pollution Control Laws Requiring Major Polluters to Report and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions That Cause Global Warming Until Unemployment Drops Below Specified Level for Full Year.
Climate change is going to cause more harm to our state's economy than holding polluters accountable for their sacrificing our future for their profits. Let's keep the pressure on as high as possible to jumpstart the green economy.

Proposition 24: Yes.
Repeals Recent Legislation That Would Allow Businesses to Carry Back Losses, Share Tax Credits, and Use a Sales-Based Income Calculation to Lower Taxable Income.
Repeal special-interest tax breaks!

Proposition 25: Yes.
Changes Legislative Vote Requirement to Pass a Budget from Two-Thirds to a Simple Majority. Retains Two-Thirds Vote Requirement for Taxes.
Let's get this state goverment able to operate effectively again. The party of inaction needs to be unable to hold back the rest of us.

Proposition 26: No.
Increases Legislative Vote Requirement to Two-Thirds for State Levies and Charges. Imposes Additional Requirement for Voters to Approve Local Levies and Charges with Limited Exceptions.
What's bad for budget approval effectiveness is also bad for other charges. Let's stop this now instead of having to repeal it later.

Proposition 27: Yes.
Eliminates State Commission on Redistricting. Consolidates Authority for Redistricting with Elected Representatives.
An unaccountable, unrepresentative commission is not a better answer than having the legislature draw these lines.

Measure AA: Yes!
Vehicle Registration Fee
Let's get cars working for a more livable city.

Measure A: Yes!
Earthquake Retrofit Bond
We need this. It will save lives and blocks. Building collapse is definitely a huge danger in an earthquake, not only to those within that building but to the surrounding area due to the risk of collapse leading to fire. As a NERT, I can help up to a point, but big fires are beyond our skills, training, or resources. We will not have enough fire crews to fight many major fires around the city after a major quake and we must do what we can to avoid this risk.

Measure B: No.
City Retirement and Health Plans
This is not the way to solve the issues in this area. Furthermore, charging the same increased amounts to workers regardless of their income level is unfair.

Measure C: No.
Mayoral Appearance at Board Meetings
A healthy relationship between the Board of Supervisors and the Mayor should be part of our city government, but given the current membership of the board this does not seem like the answer.

Measure D: Yes.
Non-citizen Voting in School Board Elections
The residents from our city come from all over the world. Those who choose to raise their children here should have a say in how those schools are run.

Measure E: Yes!
Election Day Voter Registration
Whatever makes it easier to get more public participation in democracy is good.

Measure F: Yes.
Health Service Board Elections
Was on the fence on this one, but swayed by Supervisor Chiu's support for it.

Measure G: Yes.
Transit Operator Wages
This is most definitely not a fix for all Muni's problems. However, it does send a strong 'get your shit together, people' message. A bit on the fence over this, but edging down on the yes side.

Measure H: No.
Local Elected Officials on Political Party Committees
I don't see why we would want to stop competent, experienced people from serving. Also, is this even constitutional?

Measure I: Yes.
Saturday Voting
We get to test drive this and someone else will pay for it? Hell yeah.

Measure J: Yes.
Hotel Tax Clarification and Temporary Increase
The increase in costs this brings will not keep people from visiting our city and we need revenue. Jump on it!

Measure K: No
Hotel Tax Clarification and Definitions
This measure makes some small improvements in how tax is calculated (like J), but does not add any new revenue. Kill it!

Measure L: No!!!!
Sitting or Lying on Sidewalks
You've got to be fucking kidding me. The problem isn't sitting or lying, it's aggressive panhandling. So you're gonna ticket someone lounging on a PARK(ing) Day installation and not the standing guy berating you for not giving him change? This measure is a load of crap.

Measure M: Yes
Community Policing and Foot Patrols
How about actually enforcing our existing laws and building strong neighborhood/police connections instead, hmm?

Measure N: Yes
Real Property Transfer Tax
A little more taxing on transactions over $5 million dollars? Duh. These guys can well afford to pitch in.

Whatever you do, vote! It makes democracy go.

Posted on October 23, 2010 at 02:31 PM in politics & philosophy | Permalink | Comments (3)

unclotting 2010

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Posted on October 21, 2010 at 08:58 PM in Discardia | Permalink | Comments (0)

someone who reaches more people than you 2010

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Posted on October 19, 2010 at 02:46 PM in Discardia | Permalink | Comments (0)

Start spending time on it now anyway 2010

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Posted on October 18, 2010 at 11:44 AM in Discardia | Permalink | Comments (0)

Do something perfectly seasonal. 2010

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Posted on October 17, 2010 at 12:03 PM in Discardia | Permalink | Comments (0)

simple miracles 2010

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Posted on October 16, 2010 at 02:39 PM in Discardia | Permalink | Comments (0)

Neighborhood preparedness drill 2010

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Posted on October 16, 2010 at 02:00 PM in preparedness, San Francisco | Permalink | Comments (0)

Why I love living in a retirement home 2010

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Posted on October 13, 2010 at 03:27 PM in Discardia | Permalink | Comments (0)

This one's easy: Barbara Boxer for U.S. Senate 2010

There is, as usual in a good democracy, a lot to consider in this coming election, but one which requires no additional research on my part is who to vote to be my senator. I have been paying attention to what Barbara Boxer does and I am pretty consistently pleased.

  • She is not a corporate tool.
  • She has been a long-time opponent of the war in Iraq and one of those who helped keep the pressure on to get us out of there.
  • She helped us get health care reform. There's still more work to be done, but something big and positive and life-changing happened and I'm grateful to her for her part in it.
  • She is a defender of education, the environment, reproductive rights, and small business.
  • She opposes Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
  • She acknowledges scientific reality and is a strong advocate for green jobs and a cleaner economy.
  • She is an experienced and effective force for positive change.

Her opponent, Carly Fiorina, is also known to me. I worked (on contract) at Hewlett-Packard when she first came on as CEO. Though I was initially rooting for her – the sexism of the entrenched 50s/60s good-ol-boy culture still infected the company at all levels – as time went on my enthusiasm was replaced with profound disappointment. She was unable to pull together disparate groups to make the company more effective. She did not succeed in keeping internal infighting from tearing things apart from the inside and motivating the most skilled employees to jump ship for competitors or small startups. The merger with Compaq can accurately be described as a trainwreck. Under her leadership HP stumbled, badly.

California is diverse, large, complex, struggling to find its direction, just as HP was. Fiorina has demonstrated she is not the right person to have at the helm in that situation.

But that was a while ago, so let's look also at some other reasons not to support her:

  • She favors the mega-rich (individuals and corporations) over the rest of us in her fiscal and intellectual freedom policies.
  • She opposes net neutrality.
  • Unlike the leaders of almost every democracy in the world she does not believe in climate change. I only support reality-based candidates, so she's off my list on this alone, but of course there's more:
  • She doesn't regularly vote.
  • She wants to repeal the healthcare bill despite the very real benefits it is bringing to many, many people.
  • She is a big supporter of big oil and the BP spill did nothing to sway her support for offshore drilling in California.
  • She opposes abortion rights even in cases of incest or rape.
  • She opposes marriage equality.
  • She opposes the closing of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.
  • In a world with an increasingly global perspective she is obsessively fixated on closing our borders, proposing approaches which would drain resources from other vital services.
  • She has no political experience which would allow her to be effective from day 100 let alone day one.

There is no way I see Carly Fiorina bringing positive change to the Senate or my state.

I'm definitely voting for Barbara Boxer again.

Posted on October 11, 2010 at 02:04 PM in politics & philosophy | Permalink | Comments (0)

What would you like to look back on a month from now? 2010

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Posted on October 10, 2010 at 05:03 PM in Discardia | Permalink | Comments (0)

Be kind, especially to yourself 2010

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Posted on October 10, 2010 at 05:01 PM in Discardia | Permalink | Comments (0)

Stepping in where I can be helpful 2010

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Photo by Ann Larie, "Dinah made us amazing cocktails!"

Posted on October 8, 2010 at 12:00 PM in Food and Drink, friends & family | Permalink | Comments (0)

Welcome to the Discardian new moon! 2010

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Posted on October 7, 2010 at 12:18 PM in Discardia | Permalink | Comments (0)

But if you are going to do it, do it. 2010

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Posted on October 6, 2010 at 01:44 PM in Discardia | Permalink | Comments (0)

Know when to quit 2010

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Posted on October 5, 2010 at 05:32 PM in Discardia | Permalink | Comments (0)

Like what you like! 2010

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Posted on October 4, 2010 at 10:04 PM in Discardia | Permalink | Comments (0)

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