Monthly Archives: November 2010

Obama Appoints BATFE Director

…and taps the Chicago ATF field office chief agent. Shocked, I am.

A little digging shows that Mr. Traver may have some issues and is  no friend to 2nd Amendment rights. John has some more details and links to other info, I intend to contact my representatives in the Senate and insist they oppose his appointment.

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Currently Reading…

I think I’m going to start doing regular posts about what I am currently reading. This presupposes that any of the 7 of you out there who read this blog care about what I’m reading *g*, but it’s also partially because as an academic reference librarian I see LOTS AND LOTS of book reviews and often come across some very interesting items that I think deserve some web promotion (hey, nice run-on sentence!).

Saturday I started on this:

Urban theorist Davis takes a global approach to documenting the astonishing depth of squalid poverty that dominates the lives of the planet’s increasingly urban population, detailing poor urban communities from Cape Town and Caracas to Casablanca and Khartoum. Davis argues health, justice and social issues associated with gargantuan slums (the largest, in Mexico City, has an estimated population of 4 million) get overlooked in world politics: “The demonizing rhetorics of the various international ‘wars’ on terrorism, drugs, and crime are so much semantic apartheid: they construct epistemological walls around gecekondus, favelas, and chawls that disable any honest debate about the daily violence of economic exclusion.” Though Davis focuses on individual communities, he presents statistics showing the skyrocketing population and number of “megaslums” (informally, “stinking mountains of shit” or, formally, “when shanty-towns and squatter communities merge in continuous belts of informal housing and poverty, usually on the urban periphery”) since the 1960s. Layered over the hard numbers are a fascinating grid of specific area studies and sub-topics ranging from how the Olympics has spurred the forceful relocation of thousands (and, sometimes, hundreds of thousands) of the urban poor, to the conversion of formerly second world countries to third world status. Davis paints a bleak picture of the upward trend in urbanization and maintains a stark outlook for slum-dwellers’ futures.

It’s interesting, and more than a little frightening. If you look at how fast urban populations are growing, and how this growth largely has NOTHING to do with modernization or income increases, you start to get a sense for how much of the world lives in a fashion of which I, as an upper middle class American, have exactly ZERO knowledge or understanding. While I was intellectually aware of this, I hadn’t given it any actual thought – now I am starting to do so.


Justification!

For my otherwise regrettable habit of staying up waaayyyy too late, often while reading a book with the TV on and watching a video on my computer, all at the same time. I expect many of my friends do the same thing…

From Psychology Today:

There is thus no indication in any of the ethnographic evidence that any sustained nocturnal activities occur in traditional societies, other than occasional conversations and singing, in these tribes. It is therefore reasonable to infer that our ancestors must also have limited their daily activities to daylight, and sustained nocturnal activities are largely evolutionarily novel. The Hypothesis would therefore predict that more intelligent individuals are more likely to be nocturnal than less intelligent individuals.

Of course, this would mean I am smart and I don’t know that experience bears out THAT hypothesis.

H/T to my lovely wife


So, Now I’ve Seen “Avatar”…

…and I don’t get the hype. Was it *that* much better in 3-D on a big screen? I swear it was “Dances with Fern Gully”.

I’d surely like one of those AMP suits though.


John Maynard Keynes – He’s Not just a Progressive Economic Theorist Anymore

He’s evidently also a small country in East Africa.


Lost Our Home Pet Foundation

I know at least a couple of the 7 people reading this *g* are in the Phoenix metro area, so I want to plug  an organization that is helping people who are losing or have lost their homes in this swirling mess of an economy hang on to their  pets.

http://www.lostourhome.org/

It was started by a group of real estate professionals who were appalled at the number of pets they were finding simply abandoned in houses either in forclosure or whose owners walked away from them. The stated goal is to find a way to help people keep their pets via donations of food or money, temporary fostering services if they just need time to find a new place where they can have their pets, adoption services and rescue. There are strict requirements for eligibility to prevent abuse and they vet pretty thoroughly.

If you know someone who needs this type of help, please steer them towards this group. If you can help them in any way and are so inclined, I’m certain they would greatly appreciate it (NB: I am not affiliated with this organization in any way other than having donated to it, though I am considering volunteering for them – they just came back onto my radar because I learned of someone in the area in exactly this predicament and I recommended they contact this group for help).

And all of the rescue groups are overwhelmed at the moment, so if there’s something you can do for any of them it will help. Remember – pets can’t take care of themselves and we’re the ones who domesticated them in the first place. 

Oh, and always keep in mind when dealing with me – I like my dogs far better than I will ever like you. 😉