NSA Spying Expires

Certain of the more egregious aspects of the Patriot Act have been allowed to expire, if only temporary.  I’m troubled that it has lasted as long as it has.  Americans have seemed too willing to give up freedom for safety ever since 911.  I know people in small-town America that literally sit around scared of terrorists when the odds are they’ll die of cancer, a highway pile up, or just about any other thing than terrorism.  We allow the government to spy on us, harass us at the airport, and foolishly spend a ridiculous amount of money all for something that has about as much a chance of happening to us as lightning.  Meanwhile our roads and bridges, places that there is actual danger, decay.  People want to complain about the government, but it is the foolish fear of so many people that allows the government to do what they do.

Why Are Americans More Afraid of Isis Than Climate Change?

Why Are Americans More Afraid of Isis Than Racism and Climate Change?

Earlier today I wrote about how the media often distorts what Americans should really be concerned about.  This is especially true when dealing with thetas that face the American people.  The above article gives a list of what Americans are afraid of.  In this country we are incredibly concerned about terrorism, which comes in at number three on the list, but not climate change, which comes in at last as things listed on this list.  What’s so absurd about this is that Americans had about one in 20 million chance of being killed by a terrorist in a study done in 2010.  Meanwhile everyone is going to be affected by climate change in some way.

The Fear of Education

The Right’s Fear of Education

The above article is by a former military man and right winger on why there is a dislike of education by some on the right.  (Most recently put in the news by Scott Walker and his people in Wisconsin.)  I don’t think that all on the right dislike education.  However, there does seem to be a strain of modern conservatism that is doing its best to strip it of anything but the ability to provide people with the skills to be a worker bee.  I think this writer has a plausible theory at least.  Discuss…

Highway Deaths > Airplane Deaths

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Most of the news sites that I visited this morning were going apeshit over the missing plane.  If we are being honest, this is news precisely because it doesn’t happen a lot.  Meanwhile, last year 32,719 died in road accidents.  The year before 33,782 people died on our roads.  The amount of people that were injured on our roads in those respective years were roughly 2.3 million (2013) and 2.4 million (2012).  These are just the totals in the United States.  (These numbers were gotten from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.)

I know far more people that are afraid of flying than driving.  Yet if you view the two side-by-side statistically it makes no sense.  Meanwhile, the news coverage is equally senseless.  I’m sure they will be spending hours and hours covering something that, while sad for the people who lost loved ones, comparatively to other issues, has no bearing upon our day to day lives.

Ebola, disappearing airlines, terrorist attacks, all have one thing in common:  You add them all up together and they don’t come even remotely close to other ways that people die prematurely.  They are just sensational and therefor gather larger coverage in the news.  This is why our democracy often fails to work.  Threats are distorted out of all proportion and people focus on things that bear no relation to their lives, while at the same time ignoring things that do.

P.S.  Order!  We must submit the following statement to the official record:  It’s sad to say, but my initial reaction on seeing that another plane had disappeared was, “Jesus fucking Christ, we’re going to be hearing about that goddamn plane for months!”  

Cuba, The Interview, and Freedom

My kid brother came to town and on top of it I have been a little under the weather with whatever cold is passing through town.  Because of this posting has been a little slow.  I’ve been paying attention to the news in bits and pieces.

I’m extremely happy that the U.S. establishing a diplomatic relationship with Cuba.  Our policy was outdated and clearly didn’t achieve anything anyway.  I think this is something that will be looked upon well in the history of the Obama Administration.  This is a victory for peace and sanity.  Anything that leads to a more open world where there is at least the chance that people can solve their differences through conversation is a good thing.

On the other end of the spectrum the whole thing surrounding the movie The Interview is mind boggling.  Did we really allow a movie to not be released because of fear of what might happen?  It kind of reminds me of the whole take your shoes off at the airport thing.  I have traveled a lot in recent years and we are the only country that I have been to that makes you take your shoes off at the airport.  One time someone had explosives in their shoes that didn’t even go off, and we are forever allowing ourselves to be hassled by it.  I think we need to have a serious conversation about freedom in this country.  The word freedom is too often a mask for allowing stupidity to run ramped.  If you want to live in a free and open society you have to allow for a certain manageable amount of risk.  We’ll allow ourselves to be scared into taking our shoes off at the airport when the odds of you dying in a suicide attack are slim and none.  We’ll allow ourselves to be scared into limiting free expression, yes even if it is goofy comedy.  Meanwhile we’ll shout freedom driving down the road in a giant vehicle while pumping pollutants into the air, which over the long run is proven to harm a lot more people in real and tangible ways.  We champion freedom when the results actually hurt other people and run scared when the things that actually constitute what freedom should be about are challenged.

Fun at the Airport

In LAX waiting to fly to Australia.   I realized today that there was no way I could blow up a plane, aside from any moral misgivings I might have.  Under no circumstances could I ever choose to have an airport be the last place I see.  How depressing is that shit?!!!  Not only do you have to blow yourself up, but you have to agree to an airport being the last place your feet touch the ground. 

Kevin Russell once said that an airport was, “a mall, a jail, and a bus stop”, all added together.  But like one of those great bands where the sum is infinitely bigger than the sound of the members, an airport might be worse.  I’ve spent a night in jail.  It made me want to kill someone, but not myself. 

At what point did Americans become such a pussified fear ridden country?   One dude has explosives in his shoes that don’t even go off, and we take our shoes off when entering an airport for the rest of eternity.  

And when did we start having stores in airports which have items that cost more than the GDP of some third world countries?  Why do they hate us?  Because when Muhammed is the first from his village to study abroad, the first thing he sees is a purse that costs more than every hut in his village combined. 

And does fear of flying turn everyone on a plane into rambling idiots?  I have never heard one conversation on a plane that didn’t sound like the adults in Charlie Brown.  Do you know what the sound of crushed souls combined with the failure of the test driven American education system is like?  And let’s not even talk about the babies.

Oh, don’t go getting your panties in a bunch, I am just having fun. 

Epilepsy and Fear

Recently I was diagnosed with epilepsy.  I only told close family and friends, people who were already aware of what I was dealing with in some way.  Why did I only tell a couple people and why am I now writing about it openly?

First of all I hate playing 20 questions.  I would find it really tiresome if everywhere I went people asked me how I was doing and how was I dealing with it, when truthfully I don’t even think about it that much.  I also am not a fan of small talk, and I know that it would just end up being a topic of discussion with some people, that weren’t really that emotionally involved in my life, just to pass the time.  If you don’t have anything interesting to say, then silence is the best policy as far as I’m concerned.

Second I feel that there is an overabundance of sharing in modern life.  I write a lot and you will get small glimpses into my life through this writing.  But overall you have no idea what I’m up to on a daily basis.  You don’t know what I’m eating for breakfast, who I’m meeting in the afternoon, etc.  I only like to use my life as a jumping off point for bigger topics, and not as a topic in and of itself.

Really the only difference it has made in my life is that I have to take two more pills each day and that I can’t drink like I used to.  I was actually relieved when I got the diagnosis, because it allowed me to deal with it.  The last few years I have had a couple seizures and I didn’t know what caused them.  It’s way better to know why something is happening and to be able to deal with it than living in a state of ignorance.  Usually they happened after a night of heavy drinking when I went on a long walk or something the next day.  Was it caused by allergy medicine I was taking, drinking too much, dehydration, etc.  You try to get the balance right and it happens again and then you are like what the fuck?  Nothing came up in all of the early tests that I had.  So again, it was actually a relief to find out what it was, as epilepsy is something that can be cured over several years of treatment.

So why am I writing about it now?  Because I believe in this life we must battle to kill off fear.  We must learn to not care if we are accepted by those whose acceptance is meaningless.  We should not care if we are judged for things that are beyond our control.  When we are faced with a new challenge we must learn to face it head on.  I wrote before that I don’t care if people talk behind my back as long as I’m not aware of it, and I really don’t.  Epilepsy was once something that faced a stigma.  Although that stigma is mostly gone I’m sure it is still out there in lesser minds.  If people judge you for how much money you make, or a malady you may have, or how you look, or whatever, that is on them.  Don’t let people that are weak minded influence you to be likewise.  Unless you are dead or a confident beautiful looking billionaire, there are people who have it worse than you and those that have it better.

What I am dealing with now isn’t a big deal and will not be mentioned again on here.  It’s just another speed bump on the road of life.  Life’s like that, isn’t it?