Monday, February 4, 2008

A quick interjection about beggers...

I am basing this assertion on what I have observed in Portland and mostly intend this for my local readers, but it is probably relevant in more places than this.

It is with much dismay, that I have noted a horrible discrepancy between the "take" that different groups of panhandlers take in. To whit, there are a few different groups out there.

My favorites, are the ones with something to offer in return. One group is a number of folks in substance abuse recovery. They are forbidden by their supporting organization, to beg. So they are provided with boxes of candybars to sell in return for donations. Another major group that does this, is one that sell copies of a homeless issues newspaper. Finally, you have the entertainers. The problem that I have, is that these are the least funded of all the beggars. Which is sad really, as they have gone out of their way to actually provide something in return for your change.

Then there are the disabled, whether physically or mentally. They get the midrange of funding. I have no problem with these folks, indeed, I try to take one or two a week, out to lunch. (actually, I try to do that for some member of this group or the last) I wish I could do this more often, but I am not exactly rolling in the dough. The thing is, that I discovered it is really a lot of fun. Especially with some of the more colorful members of the mentally ill.

So now we get to the last and most highly funded; the lazy. The lazy are not mentally ill, not physically disabled. Now I am the first to accept that crap happens. I am all about a safety net to help a brother out, as it were. But many that fall into this category are there by choice. The thing is that they are far more mobile, than the others. They find creative ways to convince others to give them their hard earned money, all the while never even considering actually going to work. Yet they get far more money out of people than the other two groups.

So if you see someone who has something to offer for the change they are asking for, please give it to them. If it's the homeless paper, take it and read it. If it's a candy bar or somesuch, either give far more than it's worth, or politely decline to take any. Encourage the folks who are trying to do something. They, along with those less able, actually deserve the help.

Now back to our regularly scheduled blogging. Ominous as it is, private security contractors wins out. With one vote in comments and two by email, all for that one, there we go. It was rather atop my list too, so sorry Donna, I will get to the abolition of marriage ASAP. (I also am shortening the list of posts on the front page, in hopes of getting it to load faster)

Friday, February 1, 2008

Sorry about the silence

Complete and utter chaos, would be an understatement. Life is absolutely insane these days. But I do have several issues that have been grinding at me, that I hope to hit on soonish. Not sure what the priorities will come out as, but here are the topics;

The abolition of marriage as a civil institution, beyond marriage equality for GLTs. More and more, I am finding that I am far from alone on this. I have a lot to say on this issue, but in short, even allowing gay marriage, would still restrict marriage rights to those who are in, or are willing to claim to be in a romantic relationship. I for one, find this ridiculous.

The absurdity of simplistic dichotomies (to steal a phrase from my brother). As the primaries are getting into full steam, the stench of partisan politics is enough to make the strongest of iron stomachs retch. From republicrats, to the conservative/liberal dichotomy, where do I fit in? Where do you? When you really think about it, do the labels we are pegged with really fit, even if they are self imposed? I am prochoice, progayrights, for ending the drug war and believe in a comprehensive, if a not so comfy welfare state. I am also progun, fiscally conservative and dead against affirmative action.

Private security contractors in America. Another topic my bro has written a lot about lately, I would like to hit on it from a different angle. Though this article does a particularly great job of expressing what the America with PSC's might look like, I think it's important to look at where they already are. Do you have PSC's operating in your towns business district? Portland does and it is a problem.

The War on Vice. Because gods know, the guy down the street smoking a joint is causing irreparable damage to your lifestyle. Especially if he has a hooker once in a while. And that friendly poker game in his basement once a week, how dare he skirt the state and native monopoly on gambling. So lets spend billions upon billions annually, persecuting these folks. Lets continue to incarcerate a larger percentage of our population than any other country* in the world. Yeah! We're number one!

*Keeping in mind that China tends to execute, rather than incarcerate. And they're not alone.

There are these and more. Including more on ADHD, bipolar and neurodiversity. More discussions of rights in the abstract. More thoughts on euthanasia. More about denialism. And a discussion about about CAM "medicine" and a (hopefully) soon to be published print article, by your's truly. Indeed, if all goes well, I will have a print article out, about the HIV/AIDS denial (and denialism in general) as well as the CAM article.

So what do you think I should focus on first?

By and by, my baby has discovered the things that flop around him are hands and he controls them. He has also started smiling and giggling, though the giggles are rather a disturbing sound. Unfortunately, he seems to have some distaste for the camera, so the smiles are yet unrecorded.
Homeschooling is definitely starting to come together, though it is slow and unweildy as of yet. But we have found even more resources and are starting to get a stride.