Friday, December 30, 2011

So Many Issues, 
So Little of  My Patience Left

 You ever wish there really was a time machine ? No ? Wait til you hit middle age. Your fantasies take abrupt changes in theme and this is the sort of thing you might really lust after. I know for myself , physics, archeology, and cosmology would have been definitely on the "to do" list in high school and college.

  Ever since I saw that annoying article by Popular Science in an urgent care waiting room about universe theory, I have felt under-educated in things that really interest me.  Several years, and many frustrating hours of trying to learn on my own later, that regret stays with me. I am still almost as baffled as I was that day my 14 year old son had an ear infection. He calmly tried to explain string theory to me while we waited for the doctor on the paper- lined bed. I got a copy of that article and read it a zillion times. I discovered Stephen Hawking and added his writings onto my personal inventory of things that fascinate and confuse me. Things, I may never fully understand. It would almost be kinder to have that time machine and be able to go back and never have read that article.

 The same goes for my sudden political awareness. It can be quite disconcerting. As a young adult I did a lot of the searching and decided my values. Then I found the Democratic Party. They were the most closely aligned with my own opinions so it was a great match. The years flew by, I was busy raising children, marrying, and discovering I was allergic  to marriage. I faithfully voted my party in elections, watched some news now and then, and I even helped out on caucuses in 2008.

The truth though, is I have been incredibly lazy. This is becoming more evident each day. I had no idea how little I knew. Like my adventures into astro physics, it has been really trying to get up to speed. I thought I had a pretty good handle on things and I was  wrong. I never liked the idea of invading Afghanistan, it brought down the Soviet Union and history has a way of repeating such things. I knew Bush had dragged us into Iraq on faulty intelligence and I was pissed about it. I believe that we did a horrible wrong by invading a sovereign nation. But, to be honest, I really did not give it enough thought. Other than to be really angry that I had actually shook disgraced Senator Larry Craig's hand and believed him when he looked me in the eye and personally told me that we really had no choice, the security of our nation was at stake. That of course, was a flat out lie. Heaven knows where his hand had been before it shook mine.

 I grew up in a family with a tradition of service to our country. My dad was in the Navy. He was a flight engineer. He only stayed in 4 years as I was born and he did not wish to be away from his family. Now he is legally blind and the V/A is taking care of him. He worked 40 years in the mines only to have his medical retirement benefits stripped by some really underhanded company machinations. He never fired a gun at a single soul.

 My oldest son is now in the US navy. He is finishing a tour in Japan where he has been searching for dangerous mines in the waters. It has been ever so trying to not be able to call him.  I have only seen him twice since he got out of boot camp. Again, he has never fired a weapon at a single soul. He will be moving back to the US for his next tour and I am told he will possibly be a funeral director or working on a tug boat.

 My youngest son tried to run away to the army at 18. His dad and I almost threatened to disown him if he did. He wanted to join the FFO program and put a nice fat target on his lovely head. Now as parents, we never allowed our kids to play with guns or even GI Joes when they were little, so naturally we raised two boys who's idea of rebellion would be to go into the service. Well, what do you do? With  the younger one, we finally got him to see reason and he is in college. He still threatens to join the service when he gets frustrated with math and homework.

 My attitude about the military was always shaped by the idea of the US being a force for good. We helped liberate Europe and put an end to concentration camps. We put an end to many conflicts that rightfully needed to be ended. I assumed that is how things were still being done.

 See how naive one can be, even at my age? Imagine my shock when I started reading what we are really doing these days. Drones are killing children. We are policing, not for human rights but because our Oil Companies would like better access to certain parts of the world. It sickens me. I don't blame the enlisted people in the military. I blame those that are responsible for ordering them to do these things. I am FURIOUS with my government. I joined Amnesty International at age 18. I always thought that my country was the one working for the betterment of humanity around the world. I am now learning that we are problem in many cases and not the solution. The more I learn, the sicker I feel. That time machine would really come in handy about now.

 So like my lost youthful education, my lost innocence and my misplaced faith in my government are all things I must come to terms with. I must educate myself further. Every time I think I finally understand, a whole new pile of crazy lands in my lap.  The time for me to be blissfully ignorant is past. Now is the time where I scramble to atone for my own self involvement and laziness.

And then.......... I am gonna make a hell of a lot of noise.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

SOPA & PIPA  The Damage They Can do.

With permission from Dr. Barnathan, I am reprinting his letter to Congressman Lamar Smith. Congressman Smith is the author of SOPA. A law, which threatens to devastate our DNS system and takes a giant hatchet to free speech. This letter can be  found on the congressman's Facebook page, a link is provided below.

" Michael Barnathan - If I may join the chorus of angry voices posting on an unrelated wall topic (because you don't allow more general commenting on your wall) for a moment, the SOPA bill you authored threatens to undermine one of the foundations of the Internet, the Domain Name System (DNS).

As a computer scientist, allow me to enlighten you as to just one reason, though a major one, why this implication of your bill is fundamentally problematic:

DNS is the "phone book" of the Internet, and is the reason you can access Facebook at rather than, say, If your bill succeeds, large swaths of the 'net could potentially go dark in very unpredictable and scary ways. More fundamentally, your bill would irreparably weaken DNSSEC, the system which provides DNS with its network security, making it impossible to legally implement DNSSEC in a working manner. This (re)opens sites to a type of attack known as DNS poisoning.

Here's what this means in English: let's imagine we're in a post-SOPA world. Say that you log onto Facebook to post on your wall. Your browser reads, but unknown to you, a DNS attack on Facebook has taken place, and Facebook's "phone book" entry now points to an illegitimate site. You are sent to that site, most likely hosted in a foreign country. Since the browser still claims you're at and the site otherwise looks like Facebook, you feel no hesitation when the site prompts you for your password. Your account is now compromised, and you don't even know it.

And it wouldn't be just you. Everyone logging onto Facebook at that time would have their accounts compromised. Individual hackers would love it. So would hostile foreign governments looking for ways to weaken the American infrastructure and economy.

Are you starting to see why weakening DNS is a bad idea? Here's another reason: the current Domain Name System is largely an American-owned service. Almost all of the "root" servers which form the system's backbone reside in the USA, and the system is controlled by the Department of Commerce. That is the only reason why your legislation could have any jurisdiction over the system at all, of course.

But the Internet is a vastly complex worldwide network. It has a knack for routing around damage. So what would most likely instead happen is a massive switch to an unregulated and highly distributed DNS system which is completely outside of any national control. Whoever owns DNS owns the Internet, and such a system could quickly grow to such a scale that you could never suppress it, unless you relish the entire network going down.

If you're still reading by this point, I'm impressed. Did it make sense? With all respect, if it doesn't, you need to acquire a better understanding of the technologies which make the Internet work before you propose legislation which will impact them. I will be happy to explain anything further, as I suspect will anyone with expertise in this area.

If nothing else, think for a moment about the unusually large number of people and organizations with technical expertise coming out of the woodwork to tell you how bad an idea this bill is, and admit that perhaps there are sound reasons why it is untenable.

Best Regards,
Dr. Michael Barnathan
Ph. D. Computer Science."


****Thanks to Dr Barnathan for so kindly allowing me to reprint your very informative letter.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Christmas Miracle in the Making

  There is a bill sitting on President Obama's desk right now. I am pretty sure that is not unusual. However, this bill is unusual. The NDAA  bill, on it's face, is just a defense appropriations bill. Well in this day and age, we need a military unit, and we need to pay for it. So that is really not anything to get all worked up about.

 Here is the problem. Those rat bastards in the congress are always adding some stupid crap to necessary bills. This practice has been going on ad infinitum for years. It annoys the  people they serve, but they do it anyways. They write up a law to do anything in D.C., and the next thing you know there is a funding attached to it for scuba diving lessons in Malaysia.

 What I cannot credit, is how this foolishness is allowed to continue. NDAA was drafted by Senator Carl Levin, a democrat from Michigan and Senator John McCain, a republican from Arizona in a closed door comittee. Now, a bill to pay for our military expenses is an admirable thing for our senators to finally agree on and get taken care of. If only we had better senators.

 There is a lot of transparency missing here. Time to get on My Trusty Tin Foil Hat. There were no open hearings regarding the drafting of this bill. There was very little media communication about this bill. On the face of it, that would be ok. I mean really, who wants to read about how many toothbrushes we are gonna need to buy for the guys on the USS Enterprise?  But this time, our senators were really incompetent, or else they are really sneaky. I cannot say which is true.
Either way, I would like to take a giant boot to their asses.

 In the language of the bill is something that is just incredible. America, we are so hosed. The bill states, that the president may detain and imprison US citizens indefinitely without trial. HUH ? Who thought that was a good idea ?  All you have to do is be suspected of terrorism. Well, you may be thinking, I am not a terrorist so it does not affect me. Not so. I just threatened to take a giant boot to the asses that wrote this thing, as a result, it could be me. A middle aged, pissed-off mother with one child in the US Navy and one in college. Some one, who has never even gotten a DUI. Yeah.... there were a few parking tickets.

  I see it going down like this:

 Special forces swarm my small town in a camo-colored Humvee caravan. Seal Team Six blows down my door with C4 weapons-grade explosives. They catch me in my  yellow flannel nightgown and my fuzzy green slippers. I am eating a bowl of Ben & Jerry's, Schweddy Ball's flavored ice cream.
They throw me down on the carpet, point an M16 to my head and handcuff me.( I woulda vaccumed if I had known I was getting company.) Then they drag me out into my yard, with my neighbors watching and a Black Hawk helicopter swirling overhead. That gossipy Mrs Davis tells Old Man Peterson "yeah I always thought she was a terrorist."

 Next thing I know, I am in a grey cinder block room. I am tied to a chair, with bare light bulb hanging over my head. The CIA interrogators are asking me who else is involved in my plot to install giant boots into the asses of incompetent senators. I tell them, "I was smart enough to think of it all on my own" but they don't believe me. They investigate my friends and my 70 year old mother. They decide that my mother could be a risk. She is a "known associate of mine" and she spends a lot of time on her IPhone. They are not convinced she is really playing Words With Friends.

 So I get sent to a prison camp, with no legal recourse and no Kindle. Indefinitely. Ugh... kill me now.
 I cannot live without my Kindle.

 The outrage over this bill, is causing something of a stir.

 Even the Tea Party seems to be upset about it. I cannot understand how easily this pile of suck, and abridgment of basic civil rights has gotten by all of us. Twitter streams regarding NDAA are lighting on fire. President Obama said he would not sign it. Then he reversed his position. There are last minute petitions flying all over the web, begging him to reconsider. Most civil rights groups are unable to speak coherently, they are so shocked.  We don't know how this is all going to end.  I admit, I am very concerned. If a bill is bad enough for the left to want to work with the right, you know it is a really bad idea. That is the "Christmas Miracle" that no one saw coming.

 As for me, I will miss hearing from all of you.
I am not sure I will be able to get mail in Guantanamo.

Friday, December 16, 2011

 Learning More About Occupy 
My Excellent Trip Into Crazy Town is Time Well Spent.

 So this political awakening I have been experiencing is sorta like eating beets. I don't like beets, they make my plate look messy, and they taste bitter. But they might possibly be good for you.

 The Occupy kids (oops I should say young adults sorry)  are such a  bright spot in all of this for me. They are going everywhere where and telling everyone off. That is what young people SHOULD be doing. Geesh, all this video gaming and obsessing over celebrities is turning our kids minds into mush.

  I spent some time watching the Boston group on Ustream and man, they are so sweet. The mayor Thomas M Menino decided to evict them, shame on you. There were so many people there supporting them, and none of them were the least bit violent. One moment that really hit me, was when they put a projection on the wall of a large building that said "You cannot Evict an Idea". Another, was when a marine in full dress uniform stood at the front of the protest group as a visual aid of what our military is supposed to be in place for. They did get evicted this week, the police apparently did it after all of us that were watching went to bed. Seems to me, if they have nothing to hide, they would not need to use these kinds of tactics.

 AJ and the Washington group did a tour of their camp on Sunday via Ustream. Nope ..... no drugged out hippies. Just scary political dangers like a chess board station, a life-sized Jenga game, and some hunger strikers huddled up in sleeping bags. Did I mention these kids have jobs ? Sophie was conducting the tour. She is such a doll.

 Washington Occupy's protest of the DC Chamber Christmas party was so funny. They sang rewritten carols and read parables from the bible about Jesus turning over the tables of the money changers in the temple. There was a lot of talk about serious things, like how much debt can the American people are yoked under, how corrupt our politicians are, and how important freedom is for everyone.  Really subversive talk huh ? The US government needs to pull it's head out of it's ass and leave these kids alone.

  Which leads me to the way our police are treating these kids. Not all police, but there are some that are just gone bongo. There was a kindly officer at the Boston protest who was  reasonable. You could tell he wanted no part of hurting anyone for practicing their constitutional rights. But too many times, we are seeing this is not the case. Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Rachel Maddow and others are screaming, apparently at the air, about what is happening. If anyone should be in jail, it should be an abusive officer hurting our kids. There seems to be some sort of disconnect in our values that it is ok to beat, intimidate, and hurt peacful protestors, but it is not ok to stand up for your rights.

  Still the media seems to be intent on dis-informing us. They give no credit to the Occupy kids for pushing us towards change. Or they ignore them all together. Google news is really terrible about this. You will never find anything about the protestors if you rely on them for your daily news. I cannot imagine why.  Time magazine, who I never really liked much, is one of the few establishment media sources that is recognizing what this really is. They voted the protestor  Man of the Year, and gave the Occupy movement it's justified credit.  MSNBC has also been more sympathetic than most. Kudos I say, to those that swim against the waves of silliness.  As I write this, an article popped up that the SEC is charging Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac CEO's with FRAUD. That is a direct result of our brave young people speaking their excellent minds. Still, news organizations go on with this incredible spew that these kids are socialist, drugged out, stinky hippies.

 If you really wish to know about what is happening out there, it seems you must do your own research. Ahh !!! But there lies the problem for those of us who are not so savvy. It is hard to find sources that are credible, and harder still to disseminate all the crazy from all the real.  My advice is to take everything with a grain of salt. Don't bury your head in your butt just because things are not readily understood. It is difficult, yes, but it is not impossible to become better informed. I recommend getting a twitter account. I find a lot of "real time" accurate  information is spread this way.

 Bless you Occupiers, and all that are supporting you . You are changing our world right before my very eyes. Thank you !

Monday, December 5, 2011

For the Middle Aged and Confused.

So isn't this charming.  I was waking up from a years long tv coma and deciding to speak out in protest against the garbage truck that is the right wing political machine.  Only to find out, our kids were already doing it right under my nose.

I had seen a couple news reports about the Occupy movement. They all seemed to be more about how a bunch of kids moved into the parks and needed a shower.  They did not seem to have any clear leadership or mission. I am not sure what is wrong with the media, that they cannot recognize a revolution when they see one.

The movement seems to be a large, decentralized, hive mind of amazing college educated young people. They have very specific values. They  believe in love, peace, non violence, social justice, and democracy. They are smarter than me, they are braver than me, and I hope they are going to change everything.

I was playing with twitter yesterday when I saw a tweet about Occupy DC posted. Being curious, I clicked the link to a ustream by @AJWatchDC . That's when I  "woke up" and realized that something genuine is happening here. 

Here are a bunch of kids telling the whole world that things need to change.  They are camping out in freezing weather to simply explain how far off the rails we have gone as a nation. They speak intelligently about why the federal reserve needs to be taken out of the hands of the private sector. They are quite angry with a government that refuses to care for it's poor.  They are bitterly opposed to prejudice. They are disgusted with the way our democracy has been " purchased " by corporations. They recite current statistics about the unequal distribution of wealth and the abject failure of trickle down economics.

It all came to a head for the DC group last night as the police took down a small structure they had built. I watched in awe as these kids stayed resolute and non violent. A kid named David was  clinging to the structure as police roped him up like  a trussed turkey and hauled him away. Not one single time did any one of these guys lose their cool.  Instead, they used the opportunity to educate anyone within hearing about why and how things need to be changed.

I was amazed.  I wanted to learn more. Could this be real ? Were these guys actually as amazing as what I had just saw on UStream ? Last night was a long night spent on you tube. I cannot recommend this strongly enough. Anyone who does not "get" what these kids are up to  should do so as well. You won't ever understand them if you rely on the usual news media, they apparently don't "get" it.  The raw feeds with camera phones are a much more accurate representation of them.

I saw the fear in their faces as  the Los Angeles police department evicted them on Nov. 30. Still, they stood there and recited, in unison, the bill of rights. I found the real reason for all of this summed up quite eloquently by @bullet2000 on a comment on one of the you tube videos.

@abullet2000 1. get corporate money out of politics (no more buying elections) 2. re-instate the glass-steagall act 3. end corporate person-hood 4. prosecute individuals responsible for the 2008 economic collapse
That simple statement brought tears to my eyes.  The Occupiers now have one more person rooting them on. It is really sad that the media has treated these young hero's so disdainfully. They accuse them of being drugged out, unsanitary, and lunatics. Does this sound at all familiar to anyone who ever read about the sixties?

Here though, there is more to consider. These kids MOVED IN with the homeless in these parks. I wonder how much of what has been attributed to them, was already there when they got there. One more reason to respect the Occupiers. They pointed out with stark clarity the plight of these people that the  government has failed so miserably. They fed the homeless. They treated them with dignity. Then, they protested for their rights. Poke - right wing evangelicals- you guys know anyone else that might have done these things ?

Please, if you are reading this. Look past the colored hair and the shanty town images on the news. Listen to what these people are saying. They are the future, and the future just got a whole lot brighter.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

 My Feelings on Hatred  Towards the Gay Community

 In order to follow up on my promise to myself to stand up for my own values, I am making another post. What ? Another one  so soon ? What about the one or two blog posts a year  I usually  do ?

I saw someone spewing unmentionable hate towards the gay community the other day. I wont quote the source as I don't think this person deserves any more attention. However, I did want to bring attention my response. Even if I am the only person that ever actually reads my blog, I want to recall how I felt when I wrote this response. This awful woman was saying that anyone who was gay or sympathized with the gay community was satanic.

To be satanic one must also be willing to believe in the christian religion. If you dont believe in the christian god, you don't believe in satan either. The two go hand in hand.   I for one  think both are silly boogey man stories perpetrated to keep an increasingly ignorant populace under control.

 Christians seem really obsessed with satan. People that are obsessed with something,  generally are secretly wishing  to be a part of it. Case in point as it pertains to Homophobia, George Rekers, Ted Haggard etc.. etc..There is a direct corelation between how much hate these people spew and how much they really want to just dive in and get some gay nightime goodies for themselves.


"In 1996, three researchers from the University of Georgia published a study in the Journal of Abnormal Psychologyabout the links between homophobia and homosexual arousal. The authors,
Henry E. Adams, Lester W. Wright, Jr., and Bethany A. Lohr, started with 35 straight men identified as homophobic and 29 straight men that were not. Both groups were shown heterosexual, lesbian, and gay male porn while their erectile responses were measured. 'Only the homophobic men showed an increase in penile erection to male homosexual stimuli,' reported the researchers.


        Now I am willing to benignly smile and nod  to people that actually believe the christian myths as long as they don't do any actual harm to others. I personally am a straight white female adult. I think everyone has the right to their opinion even christians as long as they don't try to shove it down the throats of those that disagree with them.  Once they start interfering with the rights of others in this country and harass, demean and otherwise torture them, than I am gonna step up and say it. You are wrong, you are more evil than anything you accuse them of, and you should be stopped.

Reading back over this,  the only thing I would change is the part about being stopped. Yes I think the Christian right should be stopped. I was not very clear  tho. They should be stopped non -violently. I am a non violent person. I  believe in using your wits rather than your fists. So this is me, using my non- violent wit to skewer the ignorance of the  christian right . Stay tuned . These guys have provided me with so much material, I could be writing non -violently for years.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


I am having a bad day. It is my son's 21 birthday and he is away at college in California. I sorta hate it. On the one hand he is the light of my life and I am so very proud, on the other hand I still feel the same way I did about him when he was five. Fiercely protective, unreasonably blinded to his faults, and eternally on his side.

So it makes me realize I really am getting old. And Cranky. Really Cranky. Anyone that knows me, probably knows I am a "left wing, let my liberal anything goes peace flag fly" type of person. I deplore almost everything there is about the nutty people that live over on the right side of this culture. They confuse me with their contradictory values and willingness to ignore anything that is not a part of their own personal truths.

Now I did not just wake up this week and realize I was a liberal and some people are not. But today. on my sons 21st birthday I am realizing that their intolerance is making me, at last, intolerant.

I don't want to turn the other cheek anymore. I don't wish to be polite about prejudice. I now refuse to let anyone think I agree that ignorance is acceptable. I don't expect that we can all get along anymore. I don't want to try and get along with people that are so narrow minded they cannot see the truth even if when it is poking them in the nuts.

I look at the silly candidates the Republicans are presenting for office and laugh. I secretly jumped for joy that the New Jersey Governor Chris Christie decided not to run. This gives me hope that the Republicans cannot possibly win this election.

It did not have to be this way, but the right has pushed me to the point where I wanna push back. I wanna tell them off. I wanna tell them how damaging they are to what used to be a pretty good culture to live in. A culture that appreciated every ones right to their own opinion and allowed everyone the right to think for themselves.

Now it seems if you are not "with them" you are: evil, an enemy of humanity, on a destructive path... it goes on and on.

I have been having some fantasies lately. No ! Not those kind of fantasies... geesh get your mind outta the gutter .  I am talking about fantasies where I don't live in the same country as the crazy, self righteous, right.

One of those fantasies involves the recent discovery of billions of new planets by astronomers. Possibly, one of those planets could be made habitable for humans. Gliese 581-d perhaps. Wouldn't it be lovely if we could just ship all of the right wingers there ? Or conversely, if those of us that still exist on the side of sanity could go there and not let them follow us ?

What would it be like to live in a world without Rush and Pat Robertson and Fox news ? It would be Utopia ! Wouldn't it be grand if every person that lived here was judged only by the content of their character ? How true you are? How loyal you are ? How intelligent you are ? How talented you are ?

My fear is that this won't happen, eventually the cultural divide will  become so great we will have a civil war on our hands. Yeah I know what you are thinking... Lisa has gone to far. That would never happen. I am saying that the vituperative nature of the rhetoric today has nowhere to go. It will  eventually lead to this  if it is not stopped. Look at every revolution in history. It starts with two sides that cannot agree, then they duke it out and one side loses. We are not immune to this.

I am done sitting on the sidelines. I am consciously choosing to become a part of the problem. I will be as ignorant and intolerant as any redneck, NRA, born again,homophobic moron out there. Because this is my country too. I am done watching it disintegrate into a place where only the truly insane have a voice. If I can't have a divorce from these nut jobs, then fine.  Bring it On !