Thursday, September 25, 2014

Rule Britannia

I received this email today from my Vacations To Go contact. It made me feel nostalgic for the feel of the sea air blowing through my hair as I stand on the deck and lean on the railing looking out into the vast array of blue hues.  No not from a voyage I took in 1840, but from my Atlantic crossing in 2013. Seems like yesterday and also like a hundred  years ago. I really need to take another cruise.
"On July 4, 1840, the first ship built for Cunard, the RMS Britannia, set sail from Liverpool's Coburg Dock and crossed the Atlantic bound for the United States. Designed to provide trans-Atlantic mail and passenger service and sailing at a maximum speed of 9 knots, the wooden paddle steamer made the trip in 14 days. This was fast in an era when it could take six weeks for mail to cross the ocean. On board were 115 first-class passengers, 89 crew members, 600 tons of coal, the mail, chickens, a cow to provide fresh milk and three cats to control rodents."  ~ Alan Fox, CEO and Chairman, Vacations To Go
Excuse me while I fix a drink and ponder my next cruise.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Republican Men Weigh in Again on Female Rights

Well the Missouri legislature has done it again, or should I say Republican males have done it again.  Last week Missouri enacted a 72-hour waiting period to its abortion law. Now after receiving consultation on abortion the woman will have to wait an additional 72 hours, rather than the former 24 hour waiting period.

Missouri law already states that no abortion can be performed “21 weeks and 6 days after a woman’s last menstrual period.” Conception is counted from a woman’s last menstrual period since there seems to be no scientific way to determine actual time of conception.

First we had Republican Todd Akin who told us all about how a woman’s body is already immune from getting pregnant through the act of rape and now we have another Republican, Missouri State Senator, David Sater, who sponsored the extended waiting period bill tell us, “I’m sure the unborn child probably would like to see an extra 48 hours for the mother to decide on whether or not to have the abortion done.”

It might serve Messieurs Akin and Sater to understand a little more about biology before making such presumptive statements. There is no evidence to suggest that an unborn child at any stage of development possesses the ability of sapience and therefore it is doubtful that “the unborn child probably would like to see an extra 48 hours for the mother to decide” but it makes for nice, if inaccurate press.

Even in reading the NIH timeline of fetal development, there is no mention of the development of rational thought in a fetus. So let’s stop with these ridiculous statements, Mr. Republican Men.

Instead we should have compassion for the females who have just endured brutal rape, whether or not it resulted in a pregnancy, the act alone is traumatic enough. Now you want this woman to sit and ponder additional days?

Knowing if a female is pregnant has always been a waiting game; there is no special sign that appears the second a woman conceives. At best it might be seven to ten days after conception that pregnancy could be determined. So a woman who has been raped has already been “waiting” and giving thought to the situation long before the pregnancy was determined. Waiting another couple of days may not seem like a big deal for a man but believe for a woman who has just endured a rape those days are a lifetime.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Just Say No.

Davis, California

  1. Davis is a city in Yolo County, California, United States. It is part of the Sacramento–Arden-Arcade–Roseville Metropolitan Statistical Area.Wikipedia
  2. Area9.919 sq miles (25.69 km²)
  3. Weather89°F (32°C), Wind N at 2 mph (3 km/h), 31% Humidity
  4. Local timeSaturday 11:50 AM

  5. This sleepy Northern California town received a free surplus military vehicle described as, "well maintained and low-mileage" and the Police Chief was ecstatic as he told the city council the $700,000 armored car is the “perfect vehicle to perform rescues of victims and potential victims during active shooter incidents.”
    But the City Council wasn't quite as excited with this little gift and this is what the Mayor had to say on the subject.
    “This thing has a turret — it’s the kind of thing that is used in Afghanistan and Iraq,” said Dan Wolk, the mayor. “Our community is the kind of community that is not going to take well to having this kind of vehicle. We are not a crime-ridden city.”
    The mayor added: “When it comes to help from Washington we, like most communities, have a long wish list. But a tank, or MRAP, or whatever you choose to call it, is not on that list.”
    Here is the link to the full story that ran in the New York Times - 'Police Armored Vehicle is Unwelcome in California College Town.
    The militarization of city police forces is really getting out of hand in this country and hopefully we will be hearing 'Just Say No' from more city councils in the future.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Thirteen – Age of Responsibility

The attack on the World Trade Center is thirteen today – a day to look back and remember and a day to look forward and accept responsibility.

For the past thirteen years we have been waging a War on Terror that is not being won. We have invaded countries and ousted governments to no avail. Just this week the United States positions for stronger intervention on ISIS.

Most likely the cause for these terror attacks is the deep hatred the Middle East countries have for the years of meddling by the Americans and before them the British and the French.
“It’s not like we were just minding our own business and these malicious terrorists came along and attacked us for no good reason. We—and the French and British before us—have been fishing in those troubled waters for decades. The very state boundaries that the Islamic State challenges were imposed on the region by the victorious powers in the Versailles settlement after World War I. Both Saddam Hussein and the Assads in Syria came to power as part of a reaction against corrupt regimes imposed by the West. The Taliban in Afghanistan were armed by us to fight the Soviet occupation.”  ~ John Peeler, Making War on Terror: Thirteen Years and Where Are We? 

It might be time to listen to some different voices on this subject and come of age and accept some of the responsibility.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Airline Seats: To Recline or Not Recline? That is the question.

Lot's of horror stories having to do with irate airline passengers in the past few weeks. And I won't deny that airline seats are a personal torture chamber. It's not just the recline capability it is almost everything about the seat design, including the almost nonexistent armrest that Olive Oyl herself would have a problem with.

I ran across this article which was in the Science section of the New York Time a couple of days ago. Interesting if you enjoy the facts surrounding seat design.  But the article doesn't really address the core problem and that is the airlines bottom line, not the passengers bottoms.

If you make airline seats smaller you can pack more seats into the same space, and more seats means more revenue. It's not just the size of the airline seats, the quality of the seats seem to be diminishing as well, at least the coach seats.

Airline seats use to be sturdy structures that gave you the feeling of protection as you flew across the skies. Now days they are more flimsy than that couch you tossed out on the curb last week.

My friend Keith in his blog The Worlds addressed this subject about a week ago. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

From Charles Deemer A Writerly Retirement:

The great American fallacy

There is no greater disrespect for individual autonomy, choice and freedom than the practice of advertising. Advertising is driven by the premise that you can be persuaded to need and buy something that had not been on your immediate shopping list. Advertising does not satisfy needs; it creates needs.

Advertising is the very heart and soul of American capitalism. The business of America is business, and the business of business is advertising.

In a culture that truly respected the individual, ads would be replaced by directories. If you wanted something, you easily could find it with a range of choices. But you, and no one else, determined what you needed. Exposure to new products would be in special directories. Advertising as we know it would disappear. I wouldn't have to race through TV ads on our TiVo.

The American system has an engrained mythology about respect for the individual. It's like saying you have freedom of religion as long as you believe in God - there's a catch. Advertising says I know what you need better than you do, so buy my product. There is no greater insult.