Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Song For Arizona

Sing Loud, Sing Together.

As I was walking a ribbon of highway
I saw above me an endless skyway
I saw below me a golden valley
This land was made for you and me


I've roamed and rambled and I've followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
And all around me a voice was sounding
This land was made for you and me


The sun comes shining as I was strolling
The wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling
The fog was lifting a voice come chanting
This land was made for you and me


As I was walkin' - I saw a sign there
And that sign said - no tress passin'
But on the other side .... it didn't say nothin!
Now that side was made for you and me!


In the squares of the city - In the shadow of the steeple
Near the relief office - I see my people
And some are grumblin' and some are wonderin'
If this land's still made for you and me.

Chorus (2x)

“This song is Copyrighted in U.S., under Seal of Copyright # 154085, for a period of 28 years, and anybody caught singin it without our permission, will be mighty good friends of ourn, cause we don’t give a dern. Publish it. Write it. Sing it. Swing to it. Yodel it. We wrote it, that’s all we wanted to do.”

There's more...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Quick Question For Sarah Palin

Photo By U.S. Coast Guard

How's That "Drill Baby Drill" and "Drill Here, Drill Now" Thingie Workin' For Ya?
There's more...

Friday, April 23, 2010

It's a Parody, Dammit

Guess how long before YouTube takes this down in Germany? In the U.S.?

After all... This is technically illegal in Deutschland. (But not the U.S.)

The "illegal in another country" issue is why Google said they left China. Because Search Results shouldn't be upgafucked-with by any given country's laws (says Google.) Yet here we have Germany saying it's illegal to talk about Hitler in certain ways. Such as making fun of him. (I'm not totally clear about the precise laws in Germany vis-à-vis Hitler, but I'm fairly certain the above video breaks them. Hell; this conversation likely breaks them as well. *smiles sweetly*)

Well Google? Whatcha gonna do now, hmmm?

As to the second issue, that the copyright owner wants the video pulled down everywhere, including in the United States...

It's a parody. Funny as hell, also.

Parody is one of the primary tests for fair use under U.S. law. No question that this mix survives any challenge; the copyright owner is a legal fool -- other than causing lots of hype -- for even raising the issue. However as the mix points out, unless one has enough money to stay in the game, you're going to end up folding.

So Google... Are you going to cave in the U.S. under copyright law? Are you going to cave in Germany on the "no Hitler" issue? What's it going to be? Are you being evil today? Or... not.

There's more...

Monday, April 19, 2010

We Are Better, But, Not Safe Yet

Photo by Regina Avilos

The Roads Suck, But They Were Never All That Great

I want to begin by thanking all of you who stepped up to help, and post links. Thank you.

Aftershocks are close to continuous. We don't even notice most of them. Some of them are downright troubling though.

Food, what we have, is moving well. Special thanks to the Firefighters of Calexico and El Centro. I know that their job description is to be the hero when it's what is called for, but these guys are special. Viva Los Bomberos.

Many businesses, notably Lowe's and Smart & Final have really stepped up to lend us what help they can. Immediately after the quake hit, the El Centro Lowe's was a shambles, but they managed to be open for business. After a big quake like that being able to buy emergency building and repair supplies was critical. Smart & Final will match people buying supplies for quake relief pallet for pallet. When the situation is that through the First United Methodist Church we are getting matching funds we take those funds to a place like Smart & Final and our purchasing power is doubled yet again.

BorderAngels has reported a bump up in their donations. That's a good thing. Absent a disaster these are good folks doing good in our world.

Last night, we had a rain. Nothing horrible. We almost never get that kind of rain. It's a desert after all, but, the rain reminded us all that shelter needs are next on the triage list. In a few short weeks the temperatures here will be topping 100° on a consistent basis. The homeless will need shelter from thatI'm searching for things to link, but, I can't find any. We are still mostly the forgotten disaster.

That's OK I guess. It's not like we are used to being anything but the Pochos and Norteños we is.

Food Banks everywhere are in dire need of help, and anyplace that has anything resembling a surplus is sending it down. If you feel better about doing your giving locally, I understand.

Again though, thank you all very much for your help recently.

We'll dig out of this mess. That's what we do down here. There were some sections of the locally hated Border Fence that were severely damaged by the quake. I suspect more than one emergency shack will utilize that wreckage. Finally, something good coming from that bullshit.
There's more...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Mexicali Relief

The Earthquake of Easter Sunday Was a 7.2

That's fucking huge. Large parts of Calexico, El Centro are damaged, but Mexicali was devastated.

Right now. Right the fuck now. We need help down here. We're not exotic like Haiti, or an emerging democracy like Chile, but there are over 50,000 homeless who are hungry.

The First United Methodist Church of El Centro has a food program for the homeless that they have kicked into bigtime service.

Rotary International has pledged to match any funds raised through the church.

Their Pastor, Ron Griffin, is a personal friend. This is front line service here. The money donated for Mexicali Relief ends up on the plates of people in Mexicali within hours.

Please. Every little bit will help.

The local firefighters of Calexico and El Centro along with the local sherriffs have all been their usual hero selves, making sure that what aid they can pull together gets across quickly.

The local Border Patrol has also been very instrumental in seeing that supplies and help get delivered.

Medicos Sin Fronteres has also done huge and thankless unnoticed service.

I'm heading back to the front. Please. Help us.

Updated 20100413 12n by Evan Robinson:

I hope Minstrel Boy will forgive my piggybacking here. Unlike Haiti or Chile, it's actually work to find ways to donate to the Mexican quake relief effort.

Here is a link to BorderAngels, who have dropoff sites "thoughout San Diego County and in Imperial Valley (San Diego, Chula Vista, Lemon Grove, Clairemont, Vista, Santee, Imperial Valley...)". Their main dropoff site is the Universalist Unitarian Church in Chula Vista. Other locations and phone numbers are on the site.

Here's another link to Direct Relief International. They seem to be a more indirect route, and in fact their personal donation page does not list Mexico, only Haiti and Chile.

The Red Cross is accepting donations, but once again their donation page only allows direct donation to Haiti and Chile. The best you can do for Mexico is either "Where the need is greatest" or the "international response fund".

Without further research, I'd send my money to BorderAngels.
There's more...


Today I want to share revelations from just-released scientific studies which have political and cultural implications we might want to consider. All of these are taken from the excellent blog Eureka! Science News.

Fear of getting fat seen in healthy women's brain scans

"A group of women in a new study seemed unlikely to have body image issues – at least their responses on a tried-and-true psychological screening presented no red flags. That assessment changed when Brigham Young University researchers used MRI technology to observe what happened in the brain when people viewed images of complete strangers.
If the stranger happened to be overweight and female, it surprisingly activated in women's brains an area that processes identity and self-reflection. Men did not show signs of any self-reflection in similar situations."

I didn't actually need the confirmation that looking at me causes many women's brains to light up "in ways that suggest extreme unhappiness and in some cases, self-loathing" -- I'd already figured that out -- but do read the study for some interesting details.

(Japanese artist Koshi Kawachi uses old manga collections to plant and grow vegetables)

Why humans believe that better things come to those who wait

'New research reveals a brain circuit that seems to underlie the ability of humans to resist instant gratification and delay reward for months, or even years, in order to earn a better payoff. The study, published by Cell Press in the April 15 issue of the journal Neuron, provides insight into the capacity for "mental time travel," also known as episodic future thought, that enables humans to make choices with high long-term benefits.'
Short version: Maturity as reflected by impulse control and ability to plan for long-term benefit is dependent on the ability to concretely IMAGINE that long-term result. World-views or emotional states which inhibit functional imagination -- such as dependence on authority figures and hierarchies for decision-making instead of individual consideration or operating from a place of fear and avoidance -- will also interrupt rational long-term planning.

Hurts so good: Chronic pain changes brain response to acute pain

"New research reveals why a stimulus that healthy human subjects perceive as a reward might be processed quite differently in the brains of humans suffering from chronic pain." This paper requires a careful read, but what I got from it was that if you live with chronic pain, you are more likely to view a switch to acute pain as a "good thing" because it interrupts the chronic cycle, and perceive the relief of such acute pain, with return to the "regular chronic pain", as a disappointment.

Given how much disability and debilitation of health in this country is linked to chronic pain, going largely untreated by the current for-profit-ONLY health care system, this dissonance is important to remember.
There's more...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Wilma Mankiller, A Great Woman, A Great Leader, Dead at 64

Activist For Native Rights, Feminist, Cancer Survivor
The list of things that Wilma was goes on and on. She was the first woman to be elected leader of the Cherokee Nation.
She joined in the occupation of Alcatraz.
She also told a good joke.
Goodnight Wilma, rest easy, your work here is done.
I rode with you. I got no complaints.
There's more...

iPad is UP

A 2.5 Year Old Meets iPad...

Cuteness, Great Design, and a NEW GENERATION Collide.

Comment away.

H/T The Laughing Squid.

There's more...