Thursday, October 27, 2011

a brighter future

-- The United Nations has issued a report urging means and efforts towards making the world a more hospitable and healthy place for future generations. Rather than simply wringing its hands at the fact that world population has topped seven billion people, the report underscores the hope and need to live well and the role young people can and should play in that effort. It's nice that someone should say this. It also feels, in economic hard times, a bit like pissing into the wind.

-- Hospitality took a turn for the worse in Oakland, Calif., where police broke up an Occupy Oakland gathering Wednesday with tear gas and flash-bangs. More than once, authorities had warned the crowd -- a spin-off of the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York -- to disperse ... for 'health' reasons among others. 'Health' concerns seems to be gaining traction with those who can't quite get a handle on how to control and defuse the Occupy movement. Although the movement has been surprisingly devoid of violence and incivility, still the presence of so many people being so steadfast carries a menacing message to those who are accustomed to mindless and obedient support. What is a belief system to do when those whose belief is required for the continuation of that belief system simply refuse to believe? A friend sent along this account of the events in Oakland. Read the first paragraph if nothing else.

-- In the 1960's, when protesting the Vietnam war and racism were at their height in the U.S., young men and women were known to burn the draft cards and their brassieres as a statement of their unwillingness to believe and conform. In Sana'a, Yemen, hundreds of women gathered (Tuesday or Wednesday -- the BBC does not specify) to burn their traditional veils as a protest against the violence used against anti-government demonstrators. Yemen apparently does not rely on 'health' issues in order to state its displeasure and desire to control ... violence is more likely the tool of choice.

-- As the U.S. military has increasingly relied on mercenaries (often called contractors) to fight its wars, so civil society has found it useful to hire out its police duties to for-profit organizations.
"One out of every five Americans lives in a community that pays a for-profit company to install and operate cameras that record traffic violations," the Associated Press reports. Strange how demonstrators might be accused of contributing to the breakdown of civil order when the underfunded institutions of that civil order are breaking down as well.

-- And, on a less-weighty note ... some will remember a time when books were popular and that included children's books. Mom and dad would sometimes read stories to their children before it was time to go to sleep and among those books was a 1947 classic, "Goodnight Moon" by Margaret Wise Brown. Now, with the advent of a lifestyle 'lived' along the Internet and with related gadgetry, comes a new parody contender ... "Goodnight iPad" by Ann Droid:


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