Monday, December 18, 2006

Surge of insanity

I found this comment on the Huffington Post:

“War is peace, privatization is democracy, wrong is right, down is up, backwards is forwards, and sending in troops is pulling them out.”

I’ve already contacted Reid and Pelosi. Now’s the time to take the keys away from GWB.

Will we have to take to the streets again to end this war?


Thursday, December 07, 2006

The First Amendment of the Internet

We’ve seen how much they value things we used to take for granted—oh, like free speech, the right to privacy, or habeas corpus. Why should we be surprised that they’re trying to steal the internet?

The Nation has an interesting story about Bush’s man who heads up the FCC. It sounds complicated and a lot like inside baseball, but if you read between the lines, you’ll see a fine example of the corporate lackeys doing the bidding of their masters. They want to let big telecommunications companies charge fees so particular websites can buy priority treatment.

The article says, “Network neutrality is the first amendment of the internet. It prevents telecommunications corporations from rigging the web so it is easier to visit sites that pay for preferential treatment. And it is under attack from internet service providers that want to set up a system of two-tier internet access -- with an information superhighway for sites that pay premiums to the providers and the digital equivalent of a dirt road for sites that cannot afford to pay the toll.”

We’ve got two more years with these scalawags in power and we need to continue watching our backs—and our pockets. The FCC did away with the Fairness Doctrine under Reagan, and the media consolidation they’ve encouraged since then has led to homogenized radio stations and right-wing TV news lies coast-to-coast. Bu$hco has given us bankruptcy laws written by the banks, sent our kids off to war for the oil companies, given public forests to lumber companies, and prevented negotiations between Medicare and the drug firms. God help us if we let them sell our internet (remember, the government—taxpayers—built it) to the highest bidders.

Any of you other bloggers who value being able to speak your mind might want to think about this and not allow yourrself to believe the Net Neutrality battle is one you can afford to ignore. It’s not.


Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Five Dollar Christmas

It must have been 1974 or 1975. I was in my full-blown back-to-the-land mode, living in Chicago and planning a late-Spring move to a decrepit farmhouse on 40 acres in Wisconsin. I was very focused on not wasting money—or anything, for that matter—and the prospect of the excess our family exhibited each Christmas was beginning to worry me. Not only did I hate to see my parents and siblings go into debt for a materialistic splurge that no one really needed, I knew I couldn’t meet the gift expectations myself.

Suddenly, it came to me: the five dollar Christmas. I’d convince the family to place an extreme limit on how much each person spent, in the name of rediscovering the real meaning of Christmas. Gifts would be handmade, or hand-me-downs, or thrift shop finds. To my amazement, the family bought the idea, lock stock and barrel. Oh there was some grumbling from my sisters, who were used to getting whole new wardrobes on Christmas morning, but everyone agreed to observe the limit.

I remember buying my dad the paperback edition of The New York Times Natural Foods Cookbook for $4.95. (In the first throes of the organic lifestyle, I was sure my parents were eating too much meat and over-cooking their vegetables, and dad did most of the cooking.) But it’s what he gave me that I’ll always treasure. He made a trip down to Southern Indiana, to the farm where he was raised and asked my uncle if he could scavenge around in the barn. There he found it—the two-man saw he had used in the summer of 1933 to cut wood and make enough money to travel to the Chicago World’s Fair that fall. It was a gift to say he supported my “move to the land,” and an affirmation of the love we both held for Chicago. I still have it today; it hangs on the wall above my desk reminding me of the payoff that comes from hard work. And it didn’t cost a dime that Christmas.