December 18th, 2011

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Other More Risky Options

When the safe rational option is made unavailable to people, they tend to resort to other more risky options.  This case concerns abortion.  But you know what?  That really refers to all kinds of health care these days.  Many people simply can't afford it or are refused it.  So they try something else.  Maybe an alternative remedy.  Maybe something they heard a rumor about.  Maybe something they bought from who-knows-where. 

A society that drives people to do this is sick and wrong, and pouring sugar in its own gas tank.
Fiorenza

Poem: "Old and Older Ways"

This poem came from a prompt by siege and was written in September.  It's posted here in thanks for marina_bonomi, who collated the unsold poems for me so I could list them in the 2011 Holiday Poetry Sale.  This poem belongs to the series Fiorenza the Wisewoman.  You can read more about that series on the Serial Poetry page.


Old and Older Ways
-- a sonnet


The shrines are old, though not so old as stone.
Each genius loci  has a holy place.
Who worshipped here of yore is now unknown,
Yet villagers still come to beg their grace.

The church is old, though not so old as shrines.
Its crucifix is carved of dark red wood.
Its fieldstone walls are covered up with vines.
The folk pray here as well, and call it good.

The village too is old, like shrines and church.
It cradles people close from birth to grave.
Whatever soul may come will find its search
Fulfilled, be it in grove or vale or nave.

Still faith remains, down history's long days,
As people follow old and older ways.

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Rewarding Viciousness

You get what you reward.  America has been rewarding vicious behavior in business for several decades.  So in 2010, CEO pay in top corporations rose 36.5% as executives helped themselves to even more money.  Meanwhile HALF of Americans -- that is 1 in 2 -- are in low-income or poverty levels.  The deliriously rich aren't earning all that money; mostly they are simply taking it from other people who don't have the power to hold onto it.  I am not okay with that.  I think it's evil to hog so much of the resources when there are millions of people right here in America  who can't afford food, shelter, or health care.

Remember, 50% is a failing grade in school.  If half your country is poor, you're failing as a society.  No matter how much you adore your core idealogy, if it doesn't meet most people's basic needs, sooner or later they will kill it with pitchforks and try something else they think will give them a better chance of survival and a decent life.  That's history.  I would rather NOT see it repeat itself yet again.
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Veteran Statistics

The only one of these veteran statistics that surprised me was that unemployment is only 12%.  I would've expected it to be a lot higher.  Of course that number is probably fudged downward like other government stats on unemployment, so figure half again to twice that much ... closer to reality.
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Recompense for Culture

This article about digital piracy is ... partially right, partially wrong. 

Right: People need to get something for their effort, or they won't do as much.
Wrong: That has to mean making money from it.
Case in point: Fanfic is driven by intrinsic enjoyment and feedback, not cash.

Wrong: Companies have to be involved.  The Internet has failed to connect creators and audiences as promised.
Case in point: Crowdfunding is a direct connection business model.  While still young, it is growing rapidly.  Sometimes it takes a while for people to figure out how to apply new opportunities.  The wider the difference between old and new options, the longer it takes to figure out the really cool stuff that the new ones can do.

Right: Current copyright is not really benefitting the people who create cultural material, nor their audiences.
Wrong: Contraction is the only result of this.
Case in point: Look at crowdfunding, self-publishing, and other alternative models.  Even barter.  The mainstream system is failing to meet people's needs.  So they are exploring a whole lot of other options.  Some of those are parasitic.  Some are symbiotic.

Me, I'm hand-feeding the symbiotes for all I'm worth.
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Epic Self-Defense

I love this article with its examples of epic self-defense.  My favorite is the one about the strongman vs. the 20 Nazis ... because minion squads just should NOT go up against epic heroes.

Let these be lessons to those who attempt to prey upon their fellow humanity: you never know what attributes your "victim" might be hiding, sufficient to kick your pathetic atavistic ass.
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Read "The Wrath of Trees" by Bard Bloom

I'm delighted to see that Bard Bloom has released The Wrath of Trees.  I did the editing on the manuscript a while back, and I recommend it for fans of sociological science fiction, court intrigue, and espionage.  (Those meld better than might be expected.)  The main character is a sentient tree, enslaved by unscrupulous people for their own benefit.  The results are very mixed and very entertaining.  Highly recommended.