mousemusings...multimedia, music, progressive politics, video, web design and general rants
Human beings will be happier - not when they cure cancer or get to Mars or eliminate racial prejudice or flush Lake Erie but when they find ways to inhabit primitive communities again. That's my utopia.
~Kurt Vonnegut
Saturday, February 04, 2006

The Big Fix

by Dennis Kucinich
translated

"Soon after Hurricane Katrina ripped through New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, destroying hundreds of thousands of homes and jobs, President Bush said the region looked like it had been obliterated by a weapon. It was. Indifference is a weapon of mass destruction. And the Bush Administration's indifference to the economic security of New Orleans residents continues to this day.

"For the 500,000 evacuees still not back in their homes, unemployment is epidemic: About one-quarter of whites, and one-half of African-Americans, are still out of work. It's not because jobs are scarce; in fact, there is a labor shortage in New Orleans. Most of those who have returned from the Katrina diaspora have found jobs. The massive unemployment is caused by the lack of housing near the reconstruction job sites.

"The indifferent Bush Administration, through the now-infamous FEMA, is compounding the unemployment problems of hurricane victims. FEMA located the largest temporary housing facility for evacuees ninety-one miles from New Orleans, in Baker, Louisiana. That's hardly a reasonable commute, especially for low-income folks. Barry Kaufman,
business manager of Local 689 of the Construction and General Laborers, told the New York Times he had "at least 2,000" evacuees willing to take cleanup jobs. The trouble was getting them there; the local's hiring hall, along with thousands of evacuees, has been displaced to Baton Rouge, more than an hour's drive away.

"So the cleanup jobs are going to out-of-town contractors, young single out-of-towners and undocumented workers. Not that these folks are getting a great deal either: President Bush suspended the Davis-Bacon Act, requiring that the area's average wage be paid on all federal construction projects. George Miller led the fight in Congress to roll back that suspension. But the President also lifted
the requirement that all federal contractors have an affirmative-action plan, and the Department of Homeland Security granted a waiver to employers from collecting the immigration status of reconstruction hires.

"Unlike the damage caused by Katrina, these problems are entirely man-made -- and they can be solved. Several steps can be taken to address the employment problems the Administration has exacerbated. First, we need to put housing near jobs. ACORN has recommended that temporary housing facilities be re-sited in New Orleans, or as near
the city as possible.

"Second, all federal reconstruction contracts, subcontracts and grants should require corporate recipients to hire locally. A high standard, such as the 50 percent requirement in Senator Ted Kennedy's bill, or the 40 percent level in the Congressional Black Caucus's bill, should be the guide.

"Third, let's recognize that New Orleans today is an extreme microcosm of America -- saddled with a broken infrastructure and significant unemployment at a time when federal budget deficits are peaking and dampening the prospects of adequate rebuilding money. Nationally, estimates of what it will take to fix our crumbling
infrastructure exceed $1 trillion.

"Where will the money come from? Congress should direct the Federal Reserve to make zero-interest loans available to states and municipalities for the express purpose of modernizing and repairing our nation's schools, water systems, bridges and streets. These loans would be integrated into the normal open-market operations of the Fed, which controls the nation's money supply in a similar way.

"I will be introducing the Repairing America's Infrastructure Act, a bill that already has bipartisan support, in the upcoming session of Congress. While creatively financing the rebuilding of New Orleans, we can start rebuilding the rest of America's infrastructure -- and creating good jobs, with fair wages, in the process."

I hadn't seen this in the US media so when I found the translation, I found it worth passing along.
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

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Friday, February 03, 2006

Contemplative Science (Listening)

Sam Harris writes about a week spent with fellow scientists on a silent meditation retreat sponsored by the Insight Meditation Society. "Many of the scientists found the experience grueling. Some said it was the hardest week of their lives."
... when seated, pay attention to the sensation of breathing; when walking, notice the feeling of moving your feet; and whenever you find that your mind has wandered into thought, simply come back to the mere awareness of sensation. Once meditators have developed an ability to concentrate on the flow of physical sensations in this way, they are encouraged to pay attention to the entire range of their experience. The practice from then on is to be precisely aware, moment by moment, of the full tumult of consciousness and its contents: sights, sounds, sensations, thoughts, intentions, and emotions. Of critical importance for the purposes of science: there are no unjustified beliefs or metaphysics that need be adopted at all.

For more about Collaborative Research Among Buddhists and Western Scientists and future retreats see
Mind and Life Summer Research Institute Focusing on four mental states, these meditative techniques cultivate different mental faculties, some of which have received scant attention in the modern scientific literature.

* Focused attention (Samatha) or 'one-pointed concentration' involves sustaining attention upon an object without being distracted away from it
* Open attention (Rig pa'i cog bgzag) is a state of total openness in which the mind is not focused on something. It is unconcerned and unaffected by perceptions, recollections and imagination, yet there is no intent whatsoever to block or prevent them;
* Visualization consists of both the mental construction and mental viewing of highly detailed visual mental images;
* Compassion consists of the voluntary cultivation of a positive affective state that Buddhist practitioners consider essential to counteracting self-centered tendencies. It involves the generation of a state in which love and compassion permeate the whole mind, with no other consideration, reasoning or discursive thoughts.

More resources about mindfulness, insight meditation, or vipassana can be found on my del.icio.us page tagged as mindfulness. (a further extension of sorts of my 'listening' musings)
I have to smile at the reference above as 'grueling', while I wonder how many of the same scientists are now looking forward to another retreat.
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

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Thursday, February 02, 2006

Test for magic mushrooms glows in dark


Nicole Anastos, an Australian researcher, has developed a new test for mushrooms that produces a glowing light if they contain the hallucinogenic ingredients that make them 'magic'.


The technique uses chemiluminescence, a light reaction that occurs when two chemicals react, to detect psilocybin and its metabolite psilocin.
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |


Party On

posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Laing

'As adults, we have forgotten most of our childhood, not only its contents but its flavour; as men of the world, we hardly know of the existence of the inner world: we barely remember our dreams, and make little sense of them when we do; as for our bodies, we retain just sufficient proprioceptive sensations to coordinate our movements and to ensure the minimal requirements for biosocial survival to register fatigue, signals for food, sex, defecation, sleep; beyond that, little or nothing. Our capacity to think, except in the service of what we are dangerously deluded in supposing is our self-interest, and in conformity with common sense, is pitifully limited: our capacity even to see, hear, touch, taste and smell is so shrouded in veils of mystification that an intensive discipline of un-learning is necessary for anyone before one can begin to experience the world afresh, with innocence, truth and love.'
~ R D Laing in The Politics of Experience.

Still thinking about that lost flavor of childhood and tasting the bitter realization that as adults, we are all whores. Pitiful.
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Year Of the Dog(s)






From the Albuquerque Journal, HT: Fresh Chaos.
posted by : Joseph j7uy5 | link |   | |

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Sunday, January 29, 2006

Do You Remember These?





I wasn't much of a doll person, and now, looking back, I guess this must be why I'm not very focused on fashion. How weird it is to think of the things you played with as a kid. (and no, I don't remember most of these, because I'm really not a boomer by most definitions, yet close enough to pretend)
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

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Friday, January 27, 2006

How to Get Your Own Sign


Click on sign for info
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

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Thursday, January 26, 2006

I do not like that Abramoff!

Only slightly irreverent, this was found on a New Mexico blog, Fresh Chaos.

That Abramoff! That Abramoff!
I do not like that Abramoff!
"Would you like to play some golf?"
I do not want to play some golf.
I do not want to, Abramoff.
"We could fly you there for free.
Off to Scotland, by the sea."
I do not want to fly for free.
I don't like Scotland by the sea.
I do not want to play some golf.
I do not want to, Abramoff.
"Would you, could you, take this bribe?
Could you, would you, for the tribe?"
I would not, could not, take this bribe.
I could not, would not, for the tribe.
"If we strong-armed corporations
Into giving you donations?
They'd be funneled to your PAC.
Would you then cut us some slack?"
I would not, could not, cut you slack.
I do not care about my PAC.
I do not want to play some golf.
I do not want to, Abramoff.
"A plane! A plane! A plane! A plane!
Would you, could you, for a plane?"
I could not, would not, for a plane.
Not for a bribe, not for the tribe.
Not for donations from corporations.
Not for my PAC, not for some slack.
Not from any schmoe named Jack.
"Would you help us buy some ships
Perfect for quick gambling trips?
Talk to people in the know
For a little quid pro quo?
Oh come now, don't be a snob.
Let us give your wife a job."
I will not help you buy some ships.
I do not wish for gambling trips.
My wife does not need a job
Even if she is a snob.
We do not like bribes, can't you see?
Why won't you just let me be?
"You do not like bribes, so you say.
Try them, try them, and you may.
Try them and you may, I say."
Jack. If you will let me be
I will try them, then you'll see.
Say.... I do like playing golf!
I like it, I do, Abramoff!
I do like Scotland by the sea.
It's such a thrilling place to be!
And I will take this bribe.
And I will help the tribe.
And I will take donations
From big corporations.
And I will help you buy some ships.
And I will take quick gambling trips.
Say, I'll give anyone the shaft
As long as it involves some graft!
I do so like playing golf!
Thank you! Thank you,
Abramoff!


Unfortunately, the blog doesn't have permalinks, but the post is dated 1/25/06. Also, it doesn't say who wrote the poem; they attribute it to "a reader from Texas."
posted by : Joseph j7uy5 | link |   | |


Independent Gore

After reading this article, I continue to think that the idea of Gore running for President as an Independent is, in fact, a very good idea. I wrote a little line of thought regarding this the other day.
George Bush and his minions are not an aberration. They are the natural and expected fruit of capitalism run amok. Capitalists believe in plutocratic and corporate rule, the concentration of wealth and power. They are the product of a system of economic inequality and privilege that exploits the huge majority of the population and subjugates them into wage slavery as ‘at will’ employees. It preys upon the just—those who play by the rules. The quagmire in Iraq, and the one to come in Iran, and in hundreds of other places, is the result of the social and economic injustice fostered by capitalism. Treating the symptoms will not effect a cure. Only addressing root causes can do that.

By engaging in party politics, the practice of pitting conservative against liberal, liberal against conservative, we are playing into the hands of the status quo. I have been all too guilty of this practice myself. It is an easy trap to fall into. By so doing we are unwittingly creating a diversion, a smoke screen, for the empire builders and power brokers to continue to play the game safely out of public view, assuring the same results, regardless of which party is in power.

...) We must stop working against ourselves. We have enough to do to overcome the real enemy.

As incredible as it may seem, the average liberal and the average conservative have more in common with one another, than they have in common with their respective political parties and their champions. The great majority of conservatives and liberals are victims of a system that not only does not serve them—it exploits them.

The New York Observer has an article titled Gore is Bigger Than Ever. He is portrayed as a man playing his own game, and feeling quite comfortable doing so. His indebtedness is to the earth he lives on. His fire is one we all share. If he could run as Independent and win, which I think is highly possible, it would break things that need desperately to be broken, and would open a wide door to third parties.
Gore is intelligent enough to wander through these concepts in a day and understand the implications, whereas, for me to grasp it all, I will have to immerse myself for much longer. I pass on the link for those readers who have the time and inclination.
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

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Sunday, January 22, 2006

All it takes is courage

William Rivers Pitt has a wild and crazy idea.
His idea, if implemented, would speak volumes. The press couldn't ignore it and the citizens watching would finally get a real glimpse of an opposition party. It would go very far in demonstrating that we have reached the tipping point and will no longer allow this country or the people in it to be pawns in the book of lies. It's brilliant.
What I am talking about is political theater on a grand scale. No opposition party in American history has ever turned their backs on a President and walked out of a State of the Union address. No opposition party has faced the degree of potential extermination the Democrats face today. The stakes have never been higher. You are dealing with a President who wants to make his Executive powers absolute, and with a Republican party that has been usurped from soup to nuts by extremists that would be cartoonish if they were not so very real.

Abramoff won't help you. The fear factor will subsume you. You can sit there and take it, clapping politely as the ram rolls towards you, or you can stand up and make yourselves relevant again. To walk out of the speech would be a huge statement, bold and potentially dangerous. But if you don't do something bold, something grand and unprecedented, something to take back the initiative, you will join the Whigs in the dustbin of history.

Stand up. Walk out. You have a week to get this organized.
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

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Saturday, January 21, 2006

Molly Ivins Will Not Support Hillary Clinton As President

as, I'm willing to bet, neither will the MAJORITY of Americans.
What kind of courage does it take, for mercy's sake? The majority of the American people (55 percent) think the war in Iraq is a mistake and that we should get out. The majority (65 percent) of the American people want single-payer health care and are willing to pay more taxes to get it. The majority (86 percent) of the American people favor raising the minimum wage. The majority of the American people (60 percent) favor repealing Bush's tax cuts, or at least those that go only to the rich. The majority (66 percent) wants to reduce the deficit not by cutting domestic spending, but by reducing Pentagon spending or raising taxes.

The majority (77 percent) thinks we should do "whatever it takes" to protect the environment. The majority (87 percent) thinks big oil companies are gouging consumers and would support a windfall profits tax. That is the center, you fools. WHO ARE YOU AFRAID OF?

Oh come on, people -- get a grip on the concept of leadership. Look at this war -- from the lies that led us into it, to the lies they continue to dump on us daily.
[ read it all ]
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

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