Sovereignty is merely a matter of the eloquence of your declaration…

…In December of 1999 only moments after Dena and I put the lettering on the transom of our ship S/V Sovereign Nation I said to her, If I was ever going to get a tattoo with any kind of spelled out message in it, it would be this, and I pointed at the most beautiful transom I’d ever seen on a sailboat, the one we had just completed (above)… …Then, in 2003 Dena and I actually got serious about the idea and printed out the design, tapped it up on my back, shot some pics, posted a web page for Gypsy Jill, Dena’s friend and Tattoo Artist, to see and make her drawings from.  After putting the lettering on my back I fantasized about what kinds of things I could add to the lettering to enhance the story value. I thought of adding chain down my arms that ultimately attached to a pair of anchors that would be buried in both of my arms. Later that year, for reasons I don’t really need to go into, I wasn’t able to get the design applied to my skin so the whole project was put on the furthest back burner and all but forgotten. …Well, yesterday after nearly 12 years since the original lettering was put on that transom and 8 since I back-burner-ed the entire project , I finally did something about getting some kind of permanent  artwork on my body that would somehow represent the story that IS my life, I got that tattoo. I was in that chair for five hours… …And the artist, Mick Beasley of Dragon Moon Tattoo, Dena and I talked all day about what it was that I was doing, not only to my body but to the very story of my life.   …We[…]

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With? Against? How do we decide whom to bomb?

Here’s some analysis of the situation in Yemen. It’s fascinating to me – in a queasy “I’m tied to this” kind of way – how the US government decides when to focus on human right violations. http://zunguzungu.wordpress.com/2011/03/21/yemen/ How long it would take the world to gain some sort of balance if the US went completely insular.  Closed the economic borders, neither importing nor exporting.  I can’t help but feel that some of the biggest evils of the last hundred years have been the meddling of the US and the northern hemisphere’s sucking of resources from the south. We must become denizens of a global neighborhood, but our history shows how easy it is to create ghettos, enforce the “other side of the tracks” value-assignments on people, segregate, and accrue value for one’s “own” people.  How will we bring together the world without assigning entire portions of it as dumps? Anytime I read of a tangle of influences, agendas, and broken promises of this scale, I slump farther into a deep distrust, a cynical lack of hope, and fear that we in the US won’t be impervious for long.

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Prohibition = Civil War

I get the updates for Dear Coke Talk in my reader.  The newest one touches on the relationship between drug trade and violence and it seems a good time to set down some Drug Crazy ideas. This is what went down on her website as a cut-and-paste. Go to the site if you want to read the comments. *************************************** On the drug war. What are your thoughts on ruthless violence of the drug cartels in Latin America? That shit is almost entirely funded by our greedy demand for and mindless consumption of cocaine. I just spent two weeks down there and got a much better sense of how grave the crisis really is. I’ve now decided to kick the habit and stick to good ol’ California-hippie-grown pot from now on and I think you should hop on board. Just sayin’… Two whole weeks? Wow, you’re like an honorary Latin American or something. I guess I should really listen to you. You’re like an expert. I bet you even know how to ask for bottled water in Spanish. Listen, when you’re done patting yourself on the back for supporting your local pot farmer, maybe you could set aside your smug sense of self-appreciation for going on a field trip and take a hot minute to learn the basic principles of a black market economy. When it comes to cocaine, it’s not our greedy demand nor our mindless consumption that’s causing the ruthless violence. It’s prohibition. The law is to blame. The illegality of cocaine is what vastly inflates its price above the cost of production creating an artificial price bubble worth hundreds of billions each year. That money is the ultimate cause of all the violence. If the United States ended the war on drugs tomorrow and the DEA became strictly[…]

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Very interesting – Australia’s PM Gillard on Carbon Pricing

From http://grogsgamut.blogspot.com/2011/03/on-qt-well-that-was-expected.html Ms GILLARD–Let me explain in detail our mechanism for pricing carbon. The first proposition is an incredibly simple one. At the moment carbon pollution can be released into the atmosphere for free. There is no disincentive for doing that. We will put a price on carbon, a price on every unit of carbon pollution. It will be paid for by businesses and as a result, because our business community is smart and adaptable and innovative, they will work out ways of pursuing their business and generating less carbon pollution. They will work out ways of making sure they pay less of a price when carbon is priced. Then they will enter into contracts, they will make investments on the basis of understanding the rules and understanding that carbon will be priced. And as they go about making those transitions, innovating, making the new investments of the future, we will work with those businesses in transition to a clean economy. Having priced carbon and seen that innovation, yes, there will be pricing impacts; that is absolutely right. That is the whole point: to make goods that are generated with more carbon pollution relatively more expensive than goods that are generated with less carbon pollution. But because we are a Labor government this will be done in a fair way. We will assist households as we transition with this new carbon price. What that means is that people will walk into a shop with money in their pocket, the government having provided them with assistance. They will see the price signals on the shelves in front of them—things with less pollution, less expensive; things with more pollution, more expensive—and they too will adapt and change. They will choose the lower pollution products, which is exactly what we want them to[…]

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Oversimplifying Gender Differences Obfuscates Issues

There’s this thing called the Sexual Strategies Theory.  This theory uses shallow evolutionary arguments to explain perceived differences in male and female behavior.  In 1989, a paper was published that seemed to support evo theory using a simple study.  An opposite-sex stranger walks up to a person and asks them to have sex.  All the women turned down the offer, while some men accepted. The simplicity of the original study was its downfall.  First, it positioned itself as having one variable – man hits on woman or woman hits on man.  But that’s really two variables, right there.  Both parties change.  Second, third, etc, etc…all the other variables that are ignored in that study strip the meaning from the results. There’s a new study.  (Isn’t there always?)  The great thing about this new study isn’t that it has all the answers.  The great thing is that it shows how complicated sexual decisions are.  The new study shows that people quickly and not always consciously weigh lots of factors in deciding whether or not to have casual sex. There’s a wonderful synopsis (not short but very well done) on the YesMeansYes blog.  It’s here: Gender Differences and Casual Sex: The New Research. What I take away from reading Thomas’ synopsis is that everyone, male and female, makes the decision to have or not to have casual sex based mostly on two factors – how much pleasure they believe they’ll get and how much risk they will run.  The gender of the person who has been propositioned is not the element that introduces a change in the study results, as was posited by the previous study.  The element that changes the result is actually the gender of the person doing the propositioning.  And to be more specific – it’s the perception of[…]

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