November 11th, 2009


Money over Mothers

I was utterly appalled by this article. In what ethical system is it morally defensible to leave the corpse of a woman's child rotting inside her body, simply because she does not have however much money people demand to remove it?

Not mine. This country disgusts me. I am growing ever more offended by people's insistence on putting money ahead of human beings. I am further disgusted by "freedom," particularly freedom of choice, becoming something that must be bought and paid for or you don't get any.

Robin Marty | Will the Stupak Amendment Force Women Who've Miscarried to Lose Insurance Coverage?
Robin Marty, RH Reality Check: "This weekend, a group of male pro-life Democrats gambled with women's health, and women lost. By broadly writing in that insurers can chose whether or not to cover abortion services, pro-life amendments don't just affect their intended victims - women seeking a way out of an unwanted or medically harmful pregnancy. They also affect another group of victims - women whose pregnancies have already ended but have not yet miscarried."

Family Skills: Walking or Hiking Together

Many family skills amount to fun or productive ways of spending time together. A key example is walking or hiking. For this essay, I define "walking" as foot travel in a developed area, usually on a paved surface or easy trail, that may involve reaching a particular destination rather than just rambling, and which requires no special equipment. I define "hiking" as foot travel in a wild or semi-wild area, which may include more challenging trails or none at all, may be just for the fun of hiking instead of destination-oriented, and may require special hiking gear or other stuff for a long excursion.

First, foot travel is a great activity unto itself. It provides exercise and thus promotes health. It has no inherest cost; only at the high end does it require special equipment, although you can acquire all sorts of gadgets if you want them. It saves fuel and avoids polluting the environment, which can also save you money.

Second, foot travel benefits social connections. A community designed to encourage foot traffic more than car traffic tends to develop much closer ties between neighbors. On your own two feet, you move slowly and have time to enjoy the world around you. It is comfortable to converse with someone alongside you, although some people enjoy traveling in silence. If you meet someone, you may stop and talk, or just smile and wave. If you find something interesting, you can easily stop to observe it in more detail and point it out to other folks so they can enjoy it too. In today's hectic world, slowing down and spending time with someone is a great way to show your love or friendship.

Autumn and spring are ideal times for foot travel because there are plenty of clear, temperate days. Summer can get too hot, and few people enjoy foot travel in the cold and snow of winter. So watch for a nice day and be prepared to go somewhere fun to walk or hike.

Walking is a travel option in most areas, though far more effective and safe in some places than others. Towns have a "walkability" rating that indicates the quality and extent of their sidewalks, safety, density of services and many other factors. Many people enjoy walking to or through a city park, a street full of small shops, a street fair, a mall, or other places. For small children or elders, a walk around the block or a large yard can be a fun adventure, studying and enjoying the world on a very local scale. You can find kid-friendly parks and walking trails near you. Walking vacations are gaining popularity too. If you live in or visit other countries besides the United States, check their resources such as Walking Britain; you can even find walking trips from travel agencies or tour guides. Walking is a great way to meet new people and make friends, and it has many family benefits too.

Hiking is a wonderful way to explore nature because it is less obtrusive than most other options. You can learn to be very quiet and observe wildlife; with experience, you can venture into some rather hard-to-reach places. Hiking helps encourage people to think in three dimensions while traveling up and down slopes, perhaps with tall trees all around. You can search for national parks or state parks, hiking and backpacking trails, hikes near major cities, organizations for hikers, and other resources near you. There are also tips for hiking as a family and planning for a family hike.

Bear in mind that an important part of family life is making good memories. A family trip to a state park may be remembered fondly for many years. Family traditions are also important -- consider a regular walk to a city park or ice cream parlor every clear weekend. Children who grow up walking around their town are more likely to develop a strong sense of community. Children who grow up hiking will probably come to love nature and want to protect it. Make these activities part of your family life and you will build happy memories for many years to come.

What are some of your favorite memories or tips for walking or hiking as a family?

Poem: "Shumáad Delineha - Space Flight" (revised)

Here is the revised, final version of the poem "Shumáad Delineha / Space Flight" rendered in Láadan and English. This poem came out of the November 3, 2009 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from haikujaguar plus the Láadan language originally created by ozarque. Special thanks to amjbarnhart for additional input on the Láadan portion. You can read about the revision discussion, and see the rough draft, on the original page.

Shumáad Delineha

Bíilan melolin with ranileha we.
Nashumáad yo.
Mehéedá with áwith benethath.
"Bó il na!" medi with.
Mehil áwith.
Mesháadehul óoyahonetha yulomathath.
Meshumáad óoyatha.

Bíi le dáanashoná wa.
Bíi ril ozh le wa.
Be aríli ozh le we.

* * *

Space Flight

Rejoice! I have dreamed:
The women gather outside.
A spaceship takes off.
The women lift their girl babies.
“Look, lovey!” say the women.
The girl babies look.
Their minds grow wings.
Their hearts fly.

I am a poet.
I dream in the present.
I will dream in the distant future.

Banks Against US...

Here is the latest in a long string of articles about bully banks to cross my desk. It's one of the corroborating hits I got from following up a comment on Gaiatribe about Witter Wildlife Refuge being foreclosed.

Since banks don't seem to have much sense of civic responsibility anymore, let's try something else...
1) Instead of putting your money in a bank, put it in a credit union (run by members, including you).
2) If you need to get a mortgage, seek a "halal" or "equity" mortgage instead of a standard bank mortgage. "Halal" is what the Muslims started with for religious reasons, but they're onto a good thing here and other people can follow suit. There are some opportunities in America and Canada, others in Britain.
3) If you can't find a credit union near you, minimize your support of banks by finding other safe places to put your money. A good, secluded stash in your home is pretty secure -- especially since modern banks no longer care much about protecting your money. There are even home safes available.
4) Explore progressive issues and consider voting to take power away from people with more money and leverage than manners, and promote equality instead. Here is one "Progressive Party Platform", another "Progressive Party of America" version (there are also state parties for this), and here is the "Green Party Platform" plus their "10 Key Values." There is more than life to money, and there should be more to society than money, too. So check out these organizations, and if their goals sound like the kind of world you want to live in, please lend them your support.