31 October 2008

The Bailout - The Real Deal

I have always been very wary about this so-called 'Bail Out'. The way it is was presented seemed to be some indecent haste to fleece the coffers prior to Bush leaving office. History has shown that this has happened time and again. Nothing new.
But what is amazing to me is that so many people, the 'ordinary folk', the person struggling to make their mortgage payments, worrying about a future for their children, paying education fees, meeting car payments and even basic day-to-day costs, are not aware that this whole bailout was a scam. Pure and simple.

I don't purport to be the best writer in the world and will defer to someone who has explained the situation so succinctly and concisely that I have no option but to share the article with you. It is written by Naomi Klein for 'The Nation'. Here is an excerpt of her view of the bailout:

"In the final days of the election, many Republicans seem to have given up the fight for power. But that doesn't mean they are relaxing. If you want to see real Republican elbow grease, check out the energy going into chucking great chunks of the $700 billion bailout out the door. At a recent Senate Banking Committee hearing, Republican Senator Bob Corker was fixated on this task, and with a clear deadline in mind: inauguration. "How much of it do you think may be actually spent by January 20 or so?" Corker asked Neel Kashkari, the 35-year-old former banker in charge of the bailout.

When European colonialists realized that they had no choice but to hand over power to the indigenous citizens, they would often turn their attention to stripping the local treasury of its gold and grabbing valuable livestock. If they were really nasty, like the Portuguese in Mozambique in the mid-1970s, they poured concrete down the elevator shafts.

The Bush gang prefers bureaucratic instruments: "distressed asset" auctions and the "equity purchase program." But make no mistake: the goal is the same as it was for the defeated Portuguese--a final frantic looting of the public wealth before they hand over the keys to the safe.

How else to make sense of the bizarre decisions that have governed the allocation of the bailout money? When the Bush administration announced it would be injecting $250 billion into America's banks in exchange for equity, the plan was widely referred to as "partial nationalization"--a radical measure required to get the banks lending again. In fact, there has been no nationalization, partial or otherwise. Taxpayers have gained no meaningful control, which is why the banks can spend their windfall as they wish (on bonuses, mergers, savings...) and the government is reduced to pleading that they use a portion of it for loans." Read the whole article here.

Do you agree with her?

22 October 2008

This Word - 'Fancy'

I recently spoke to a relative of mine who had been on a few dates with a man who she felt was truly lovely - kind, caring and was a balanced human being who made her laugh. Problem?

She didn't 'fancy him'. After hearing this reason for rejecting this man as a potential partner I asked her why it was important that she had to 'fancy' him. (Such a strange, weird term.)

Obviously there was something wrong with me for asking such a stupid question, but think about it. You meet a person who seems to tick all the boxes and you reject them because you don't...fancy them. I can't get to grips with that word. I looked it up in the dictionary and here's what Merriam-Webster had to say about the word 'fancy' in relation to this issue.

Fancy (as a noun), from Middle English: fantasie, fantsy imagination, image, illusion, preference. From around 15th century.

1 a: a liking formed by caprice rather than reason : inclination b: amorous fondness : love

2 a: notion, whim b: an image or representation of something formed in the mind

3archaic : fantastic quality or state

4 a: imagination especially of a capricious or delusive sort b: the power of conception and representation used in artistic expression (as by a poet)

5: taste , judgment

6 a: devotees of some particular art, practice, or amusement b: the object of
interest of such a fancy ; especially : 1boxing

There are some interesting elements here: fantasy, image, formed by caprice rather than reason, etc. So if someone isn't fancied yet is totally suitable then who actually misses out?

I have never been someone who chooses a partner based primarily on their looks. In fact, it is difficult to get past first base with me if you are rude, obnoxious, have an uncaring personality, focus on self, have a need to keep up with the Joneses, rave/moan about your flashy car or your personal wealth (or lack of).
Your looks are way down the list for me. To hear of someone being rejected because of this imaginary, society-fed idea of what is attractive just seems plain silly. Whilst discussing my views on this issue with my relative she appeared lost for words as she looked at me as if I had lost my mind! 'How can you have a relationship with someone you don't initially 'fancy'?' Some of the best relationships I have had have been with people who I wasn't initially physically attracted to - people who by the societal norms I should have rejected. But I make a choice to value people for who they are and not judge them on their irrelevant bodyshape, size, hair colour, race or any other superficial boxes we are encouraged to place people in.

I have not regretted my decision to forego any need to 'fancy' someone and have intentionally focused my attention on getting to the heart of a person rather than posed, conforming behaviours.

In short, who you are is important to me. I'll try and get to know you first.
Am I alone on this one?

15 October 2008

Is it Ever Right to Physically Punish Your Child?

This is going to be a short post:
I read Monique-Renae's blog this morning - she wrote about the physical abuse she experienced at the hands of her father and how it has impacted on her life and her relationship with both parents. (Do visit her blog and say 'hello'.)

It got me thinking about the issue of whether it was ever right to physically punish your child. Do parents have the right to give a child 'a little slap'?

My feeling is that it is never correct to inflict physical punishment on a child. If we are trying to raise children in an environment where attacking others (regardless of how 'lightly') is wrong then how can we expect them to treat others?

I have heard the arguments that sometimes it is necessary to immediately stop a child from doing something dangerous and a slap is required to show them just how serious their misdemeanour is.
I don't buy it. I believe children should not be violated and physical punishment is out and out abuse, in my book. You may disagree/agree - I would like to hear your views.

09 October 2008

If You Are American...

...then I urge you, implore you to watch this film - and even if you are not.

I try to limit the number of videos posted on this blog but I believe this subject is so important and pressing that it warrants inclusion here and now.

I would be interested to hear from people who not only agree but disagree with this video.

05 October 2008

Cartoon Banned by the Mormon Church

This is an interesting cartoon which highlights the purported beliefs of one type of supernaturalism.
The latter part of this video shows a group of people having a discussion about mormonism. I would prefer to have more information about these people as they may have an agenda which is not apparent to the viewers, i.e. are they believers in another form of Christianity and have a need to discredit anything other than their own views? Just questions to ask.
Still a thought provoking cartoon. People believe some weird things, wouldn't you agree? Let me know what you think.

01 October 2008

De Rerum Natura - 'On The Nature of Things'

"Sweet it is, when on the great sea the winds are buffeting the waters, to gaze from the land on another's great struggles; not because it is pleasure or joy that any one should be distressed, but because it is sweet to perceive from what misfortune you yourself are free.

Sweet it is too, to behold great contests of war in full array over the plains, when you have no part in the danger. But nothing is more gladdening than to dwell in the calm high places, firmly embattled on the heights by the teaching of the wise, whence you can look down on others, and see them wandering hither and thither, going astray as they seek the way of life, in strife matching their wits or rival claims of birth, struggling night and day by surpassing effort to rise up to the height of power and gain possession of the world.

Ah! Miserable minds of men, blind hearts! In what darkness of life, in what great dangers ye spend this little span of years! To think that ye should not see that nature cries aloud for nothing else but that pain may be kept far sundered from the body, and that, withdrawn from care and fear, she may enjoy in mind a sense of pleasure! And so we see that for the body's nature but few things at all are needful, even such as can take away pain.

Yea, though pleasantly enough from time to time they can prepare for us in many ways a lap of luxury, yet nature herself feels no loss, if there are not golden images of youths about the halls, grasping fiery torches in their right hands, that light may be supplied to banquets at night, if the house does not glow with silver or gleam with gold, nor do fretted and gilded ceilings re-echo to the lute.

And yet, for all this, men lie in friendly groups on the soft grass near some stream of water under the branches of a tall tree, and at no great cost delightfully refresh their bodies, above all when the weather smiles on them, and the season of the year bestows the green grass with flowers. Nor do fiery fevers more quickly quit the body, if you toss on broidered pictures and blushing purple, than if you must lie on the poor man's plaid.

Wherefore since in our body riches are of no profit, nor high birth nor the glories of kingship, for the rest, we must believe that they avail nothing for the mind as well; unless perchance, when you see your legions swarming over the spaces of the campus, and provoking a mimic war, strengthened with hosts in reserve and forces of cavalry, when you draw them up equipped with arms, all alike eager for the fray, when you see the army wandering far and wide in busy haste, then alarmed by all this the scruples of religion fly in panic from your mind, or that the dread of death leaves your heart empty and free from care.

But if we see that these thoughts are mere mirth and mockery, and in every truth the fears of men and the cares that dog them fear not the clash of arms nor the weapons of war, but pass boldly amongst kings and lords of the world, nor dread the glitter that comes from gold nor the bright sheen of the purple robe, can you doubt that all such power belongs to reason alone, above all when the whole of life is but a struggle in darkness?

For even as children tremble and fear everything in blinding darkness, so we sometimes dread in the light things that are no wit more to be feared than what children shudder at in the dark, and imagine will come to pass.

This terror then, this darkness of the mind, must needs be scattered not by the rays of the sun and the gleaming shafts of day, but by the outer view and inner law of nature."

Lucretius (B.C. 96 -55)
[Translated by Cyril Bailey from Book II of the opening paragraph]