Public Service Announcement

July 29, 2007 at 9:56 pm (environment, opinions)

A few years back, I became a bit skeptical of recycling (I am ashamed to say).  This had a lot to do with an episode of “Penn and Teller’s Bullshit” that G and I watched which basically claimed that recycling anything except for aluminum cans actually costs more energy than it gains back.  All of the water, electricity and other resources it costs to turn recyclable material into something useful was more than it cost just to make something new.  What I have now come to realize, due in no small part to the recent onslaught of go-green messages in the media, is that even though it does take resources to recycle things, its still worth it.  Its worth it because those items will not be in our landfills, will not be taking the next millennium or more to degrade, and will actually be reused in consumer products, thereby saving petroleum and trees.

My latest nagging-point (as opposed to talking-point) is that more people need to recycle plastic bottles!  Companies have figured out ingenious ways to reuse plastic bottles in the production of everything from carpeting, to polar-fleece to deck furniture.  And ironically, these companies can’t get enough of it!  So if you are lucky enough, as I am, to live in a city with an excellent recycling program, please take advantage of it.  And just so that this isn’t another trite “recycling rocks” blog post, here’s a tip that I just learned recently.  Almost all shampoo and conditioner (and many other bathroom item) bottles are #1 or #2 plastic – the kinds most municipal recycling programs accept.  You may be cooler than me and have known this already…but if not, there’s your tip of the day!

*also published on my other blog – just so you know its not plagiarism!

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The Tin Man

July 28, 2007 at 11:12 pm (politics, random thoughts)

I’m not a religious woman. You might say, I’m an anti-religious woman. But if I were the sort to believe in a higher power, I may see this as a message from above.

Cheney, 66, has had four heart attacks, quadruple bypass surgery, two artery-clearing angioplasties and an operation to implant the defibrillator.

Is he even technically human anymore? We Harry Potter fans have a pet theory that he runs on unicorn blood. Sadly, that may not be far from the truth. I just think that its a good thing they did the bulk of the medical research that has extended Cheney’s imperiled life before Bush and the evil overlords took over. Because clearly, that money is being spent doing much better things now…fighting evil-doers. Maybe if we just let them die in the beginning, we wouldn’t need to spend money actively fighting them! Oh wait, wrong evil-doer.

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Rise of Mercenaries and Fall of an Empire

July 28, 2007 at 3:51 pm (books, opinions, politics)

I am currently reading “Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army” by Jeremy Scahill. This is one scary book. I am not yet even a third of the way through the book, so I’m not going to hazard a commentary on the back-alley deals our government leaders are making with some people even shadier people than themselves…yet.

What I did want to remark on was a sentence written in just the preface of the book. Scahill writes, quoting Machael Ratner, who is president of the Center for Constitutional Rights:

“To the extent a population is called upon to go to war, there is resistance, a necessary resistance to prevent wars of self-aggrandizement, foolish wars and in the case of the United States, hegemonic imperialist warms. Private forces are almost a necessity for a United States bent on retaining its declining empire. Think about Rome and its increasing need for mercenaries… Controlling an angry, abused population with a police force bound to obey the Constitution can be difficult – private forces can solve this ‘problem’.”

When I read this passage I stopped in my tracks and re-read it a couple of times. Not just because it is an exact description of our country at this juncture (or at least its approaching it very quickly), but because I have had several conversations with friends recently about how I see this time in American history as the downfall of our “empire”. If only our heads of state would pick up a history book instead of “Guns and Ammo” once in a while, they might realize this too. No matter how great or powerful an empire is, it will fall eventually. The need for the U.S. government to hire organizations like Haliburton and Blackwater is a concrete example of the lack of faith and support the American people have in our leaders.

As for the demise of the American empire, I’m not talking solely about how we are perceived and respected around the world, and by our own citizens. Obviously we are losing favor precipitously in those regards. I personally think that the biggest factor in our national downfall is our priorities. We all know how many billions/trillions this war is putting us in debt, but sometimes people don’t think about where that money used to go. It used to go toward all of the sectors that made our nation well respected and a desired location for scholars to flock to. Areas like education, technology and research. Sadly, thousands of people die from terrorism each year, but how many millions die from AIDS, cancer, heart disease, etc? If we’re going for the numbers game, why not throw money at medical research? We’ve heard the news stories about how American school children are quickly slipping in the ranks of science and math proficiency. At the same time, our right-wing Christian leaders are halting new and important areas of technology like stem cell research, and they’re trying to put MORE religion in school and LESS science (evolution anyone?). What’s that sound? Oh yea, that’s the rest of the world laughing at us.

I predict that if the U.S. were to continue along the same track, and I hope it doesn’t, that we will quickly be eclipsed by the likes of China, India, and progressive EU nations in all areas of education, science, technology, you name it. In today’s world, military might will get you oil, but in our technology-driven times, it is the wrong strategy for staying on top. Maybe it is time for a shift. Let someone else police the world for a while.

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Not really so mysterious

July 28, 2007 at 5:25 am (random thoughts)

When I got my first blog I was just so excited to have an outlet for my endless opinions and rants. What I quickly realized was the explanation for why many of my friends have 2 blogs. They have one their family and all their friends know about. And then they have the one in which they can bitch about their friends an family. Not really, but it did seem quite limiting knowing that I should probably keep my most scathing opinions under the family radar.

So in a moment with a lot of extra time on my hands, I finally started my OWN thing where I can write whatever and not be beholden to anyone! Stay tuned, I’ll try to keep things interesting!

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