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studiogaijin

It's eem_fibble's birthday! Everyone wish her a happy birthday! :)

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Current Mood: happy happy
Current Music: The Gentle Art of Making Enemies - Faith No More

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studiogaijin

BackstoryCollapse )

On the other end of the spectrum, I received what I consider my first real recognition as an author.

As with many of the people wandering the street, I offered tracts to a nice young couple who walked by, and they handed them right back to me. Then, after a minute of rummaging around in her purse, the girl asked me to give one back. I handed her one, strongly suspecting what was coming, and she immediately...singed it.

Luckily for her, kytsune was there to teach her how to burn things, and as I looked on in amusement at the irony, she chastised me for not blindly "loving the lord" like she did and she set fire to the very section of the paper where I warn people about the dangers of turning off their rational minds and ask them to "never stop thinking".

Once it had a good flame going, she dropped it and her self-righteous partner-in-stupidity stopped mumbling pious nonsense under his breath long enough to give it a good angry stomping. :)

Because I was very amused by the whole scene, I think I may start carrying lighters or matches for people who need them. Maybe I can get some special match book covers printed up to honor the willfully ignorant who I would be giving them to.

So that's it. The first time I can remember someone trying to burn my dangerous ideas out of existence. I consider it a great success and a milestone in my "career". :)

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Current Mood: amused amused
Current Music: Burnin' and Lootin' - Bob Marley

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studiogaijin

It's difficult these days not to have some kind of insurance, usually many kinds. Unfortunately, the insurance companies are just as bad as any other companies, and just about the worst in some ways.

There are many problems with many different types of insurance, but the worst two that I know much about are health insurance and car insurance.

Just like other public corporations, insurance companies are constantly driven to increase profits for their executives and investors. Again as in other industries, a lack of quality in the products can adversely impact customers. Unlike most other industries though, the insurance industry is capable of avoiding their obligations and allowing the financial ruin, bodily harm and even death of their customers, and they are increasingly willing to do it to save their companies money.

The health insurance companies are the ones who are responsible for the deaths of many people by taking a greater and greater role in determining what treatment their customers will or will not receive. If a patient has enough money to pay, they can get whatever they want. Most people don't have that luxury though, and must rely on insurance if they can even afford it at the high prices we have to pay now. Unfortunately the insurance companies often put investors' interests above patients' interests though, and if they can deny claims or services, many of them will do it even if it means that customers die.

Probably more common than the health insurance problems is the practice of Delay, Deny and Defend used by car insurance companies today. When a perfectly legitimate claim is made, particularly in minor injury cases, they will often delay payment, then attempt to deny the claim, often offering to settle for a small part of what they are legally obligated to pay. If the injured party refuses to accept their unreasonable terms, they will fight the claim in court as long and hard as they can, incidentally costing themselves more than they would have paid out in the claim in most cases I'm sure, but I suppose the intent is to make examples of these terrible people who want fair treatment from the companies.

Unfortunately the individuals they are fighting are usually at a great disadvantage due in no small part to the fact that they are often already in significant debt from the medical bills and other expenses the insurance company was supposed to pay for. This process can drag out for years, and even if a court finally forces the insurance company to pay the claim, it's unlikely that the plaintiff will be compensated for all of the time and expense of fighting for the money.

The government of the state of Washington finally decided that this practice was getting out of hand, and they passed a law saying that if an insurance company denies a legitimate claim and is eventually forced to pay it by a court, they will be required to pay three times the original amount plus legal costs. This is not an outrageous amount, and it should not even affect companies who fulfill their obligations.

Of course the insurance companies could not let such a horrible law stand. Since they were apparently unable to buy off the government officials, they decided to try to fool the public into taking their side. The day after it was signed, they started trying to get rid of it by getting a referendum into the next elections there as Referendum 67. Apparently their misinformation campaign got them enough signatures for the referendum, so we can only hope for the sake of the people of Washington state, and other states which might follow, that people see through the lies in time and it passes.

If you want to know more about it, check out approve67.org. If you're a Washington voter, please pay attention to this.

People always talk about insurance fraud as false claims made to insurance companies by customers, but I think it's about time to start talking about the rampant fraud perpetrated by the insurance companies against their customers.

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Current Mood: frustrated frustrated
Current Music: Murphy's Wake - McDermott's 2 Hours v Levellers

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studiogaijin

When people hear that I have a bunch of scorpions as pets, why the hell do they feel the need to consistently tell me and everyone around me about the horrible ways they have abused and killed scorpions and other animals, and then come back later and regale me with tales of their subsequent exploits in wanton destruction?

One guy who works with my neighbor just told me for at least the third time about how he and his friends had caught scorpions and made them fight each other, kill lizards, try to kill (and get killed by) mice, etc. Why the fuck would I enjoy hearing about that kind of sadistic bullshit? Or about how they had just killed more after talking to me and hearing me say that I would take any scorpions they found so they wouldn't feel the need to kill them? Or how about the other guy who told me (and anyone who would listen) several times in one night about how his piece of shit friend is one of the assholes who pillages the desert grabbing every scorpion he can find just to kill them and encase them in acrylic domes for people to buy on a whim and in most cases probably quickly get rid of?

So far I haven't really gone off on these idiots, mostly because I try not to get into most fights where the other side is unwilling to listen to reason, which is usually the case when it comes to "dangerous animals", "lower forms of life" and things like that, but I don't know if I can stop myself from really going off on these stupid fuckers anymore.

There are no such things as "lower forms of life". A scorpion or even an ant has as much right to live as you or me, and if there were such a thing as a "lower form of life", then I think it would be something that causes pain, suffering and death simply for its own amusement. On top of that, we are *by far* the most "dangerous animals", and everything else should be much more afraid of us than we are of them. We have to remember that we are part of this world, not its divine masters who should never be harmed. Danger is a simple fact of life on this planet. It always has been, and will be for the foreseeable future. Although it is reasonable to take some precautions against being injured or killed by the more dangerous things in nature, we will be doing the world and ourselves a terrible disservice if we ever do manage to wipe out everything we consider dangerous.

We have to learn to live with the rest of the plants and animals in the world, and I think that the best place to start is at home. If you find something that you think is dangerous, if it's not in a place that it will threaten people, please just leave it alone. If it is in a place that it shouldn't be, either try to move it yourself (if you can do so safely) or contact someone who can. There are many people who will, for example, come and move poisonous snakes and other animals to places where they won't run into people anymore.

Things like scorpions are much easier though, you can just drop a jar, cup or something similar over it (preferably clear so you can see it), slide a thick piece of paper (maybe the thicker junk mail for example) underneath, flip it back over and carry it to a more desirable location. They can't climb glass or smooth plastic, so you don't have to worry about them climbing out.

Alternatively, you can just leave them where they are. You may not want them running around inside, but most of them aren't too difficult to identify, and the vast majority of scorpions in the US are pretty harmless. Even the most dangerous type in the US (centruroides exilicauda AKA the Arizona Bark Scorpion) can't do serious harm to a healthy adult (unless they have a bad reaction which seems to be rare with scorpions and can happen with a bee or an ant at least as easily), and will probably only cause the area around the sting to tingle and feel like it has fallen asleep and it may leave the site of the sting a little numb for a few days. Most are much less bad though, being more along the lines of a bee sting or even less, and with a few exceptions most species of scorpions are reluctant to sting, in many cases even when provoked, and will run away and hide rather than trying to chase you down and attack you. If anyone has some in their area and needs help identifying them, let me know.

By the way, if any of you have some similarly stupid story about cruel things you've done, unless there is something else that makes it worth hearing, don't post it here, and please don't do those kinds of things in the future.

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Current Mood: angry angry
Current Music: Schism - Tool

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studiogaijin

Even if you didn't know about it, if you pay attention to the US government at all then you probably won't be surprised to find out that yesterday bush vetoed another bill which would have lifted restrictions on stem cell research funding. Now two of the three vetoes he's cast have been to stymie research that the majority of Americans support, with the third being cast to avoid having to end the occupation of Iraq.

I don't like federal funding of things that will only financially benefit corporations, but sadly it is common practice, and for now I think that stem cells hold so much promise that getting the research done is more important than curtailing corporate welfare in this case. Unfortunately for some unfathomable reason our president seems dead set on delaying research or withholding funds in this case. It would be nice if he'd help get rid of the billions of dollars in free money our government gives oil companies instead, but he doesn't seem at all interested in that. I guess they pay him more...

I can tell you one thing for sure though, despite stem cell research opponents' protestations proclaiming love for all life. If stem cells could grow into any weapon we wanted, the researchers would have more money than they knew what to do with.

...and did the bloated face of power spit down upon the people's will?
    - The Enemy Within

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Current Mood: angry angry
Current Music: The Enemy Within - McDermott's 2 Hours

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studiogaijin

Refugees (mp3)

Let us come to confess what we've done
We've been looking for a place where we belong
Beckoned by the glimmer of the sun
And following an old and bitter song
But we trust in images of peace
Maybe only the fool can understand
Hoping for some moment of release
And building palaces of sand
Building palaces of sand

But the dark hangs thick round our eyes
We're children cast into the cold
Where teachers peddle empty lies
And our hunger is a passion to be sold
We lose our voices in the night
And the brush lies heavy in our hands
Hiding from the soldiers out to fight
And trapped in our palaces of sand
Trapped in palaces of sand

Ah but friend when there's nothing left to lose
In the last black hour before the dawn
The the seed takes root in the womb
And a life lies waiting to be born
The sun comes with a flush of rose
Lightening the contours of the land
Brightening the eyes that never close
And falling on palaces of sand
Falling on palaces of sand

So let the dead bury the dead
Let the soldiers flood the battlefield
Let those teachers go burrow through their heads
For ours is a dream that will not yield
We'll turn here in a dance of peace
Leading our children by the hand

Holding the moment of release
And building palaces of sand
Building palaces of sand

Although we should care more about this every day, I hope that at least today you will all take a little time to think about the plight of refugees around the world. You may think it's not your problem and you shouldn't have to care, but I don't think we can turn a blind eye when our country's "preemptive war" is the cause of 2.2 *million* people having fled Iraq completely, as well as a further 2 million having been forced to leave their homes but still live in a war ravaged country where after more than 4 years of occupation we are still unable to prevent the daily slaughter of dozens to hundreds of civilians.

As far as I know there are no reliable casualty counts for Iraqi civilians, but iraqbodycount.org estimates that there have been between 65828 and 72112 *reported* civilian deaths so far, and the real body count is probably much higher, not even counting the people who have been severely wounded but not killed.

Even without the dead and wounded, there are more Iraqi refugees than there are people in Phoenix. I've lived here for my whole life, nearly 30 years, and I haven't come anywhere near seeing everyone who lives here. I can't imagine every one of us and more being uprooted and driven out of the city.

Probably the worst internal refugee problem we've had in the recent past was from Hurricane Katrina where the refugees were probably less than 1 million out of the 300 million people in the country. Even that has caused significant problems in the places where the largest numbers of people have gone, and this is in a rich country which is not under anywhere near the kind of strain that Iraq is.

Imagine if instead of the 1/3 of 1 percent of our population that Katrina displaced, we had more than *50* million people fleeing an ongoing war within our country. Even with all of our resources, we would have a very hard time handling that, but that is about the same percentage of our population as the 4.2 million Iraqi refugees is of Iraq's total population of 27.5 million. Every month another 50,000 Iraqis are being displaced, and those who can't get out are living, or dying, in a war zone. Can you even imagine that?

Edit: Last night I forgot but I also wanted to mention that as of today the US has taken in a total of 701 Iraqi refugees since the war started. That's seven hundred and one, not 701,000, not even 1,000 out of 4,200,000 people that this war - *our* war - has displaced so far. Between a third and half of that number has been let in this year, probably because some people noticed what was going on and started complaining, but the numbers that they've said they would let in this year have gone from 20,000, probably when people started asking questions, down to now 7,000 with only a few hundred having come in so far. I'm guessing that by the end of the year the numbers still won't come close to what they've promised, and Iraq and its neighbors will continue to shoulder this burden pretty much on their own. Even if they fulfill their latest promise though, that is still less people coming here during the entire war than the number who are forced out of their homes every single week.

...and this is just one example of the many conflicts driving out even more millions of refugees in the world today.

I already posted this song a while ago, along with a few others, but maybe more of you will be willing to listen to it today. You should, it's worth it.

Tags: , , , ,
Current Mood: melancholy melancholy
Current Music: Refugees (Live) - McDermott's 2 Hours

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studiogaijin

If you read my last post, you know what I think of things like "National Poetry Month", but I'm hoping that the event will still be enough to get some of you to pay attention to this. After all, you've gotta' get your quota of poetry in before the end of the month or...else...

Trust me though, this is worth it. I just want to introduce you to my favorite poet and song writer, Nick Burbridge and his band McDermott's 2 Hours.

In case you don't want to check them all out, here are suggestions for different people or moods:

  • If you want beautiful but sad songs, try the 1st, 3rd and 4th songs, Stowaway, Snapshot and Refugees.
  • The 5th song, Black Sun (In Genoa), shows the more punkish and angry side.
  • In the vein of many traditional Irish songs, the 2nd song Harry Brewer takes sad subject matter and puts it with upbeat music to good effect.

I'm including copies of these songs (except for the one that's not released yet) along with the lyrics, but if you enjoy them or even just think that the band is worth supporting, then *please* buy one or more of the albums. Nick doesn't do this for the money, but I know that your support would be appreciated and would help to ensure that their string of fantastic albums continues.

Just in case some of you know the Levellers, if you didn't already know, "their" popular song Dirty Davey is actually a cover of a McDermott's 2 Hours song, and M2H has been a big influence on them. One or more of the Levellers' members actually play on three of the albums (Claws and Wings, World Turned Upside Down and Disorder), and those albums are released under the name McDermott's 2 Hours v Levellers.

There are 5 songs behind this cut, one from each album.Collapse )

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Current Mood: contemplative contemplative
Current Music: Song of a Leveller - McDermott's 2 Hours v Levellers

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studiogaijin

I may have missed something, but from what I saw, no one on my friends list seems to have mentioned Earth Day, so I guess I'd better come out of torpor and write a post after 5 months or so.

Things like "Earth Day", "Black History Month" and "National Poetry Month" (the subject of my next post) bother me because despite drawing some fleeting attention to their subjects, these kinds of events really allow us to continue to ignore the issues most of the time while feeling good about ourselves for having devoted a small amount of time to them in the past.

If the subjects of these events are important enough to bother with, then they should be an integral part of our lives and learning, not something we bring up once a year in schools and some media with little or no effect on most of the population. The history of black people in America *is* the history of America. We have cut too much of it out of the tattered rags of history as we know it, along with the contributions and issues of other ethnic groups that make up the United States, the truth about most of our wars, our leaders, and so much more. Much of what we pass on to our children is sanitized half truth at best, and even as adults the truth can be difficult to unearth or even recognize, so most people remain ignorant or badly misinformed. Can we really wonder why history continues to repeat itself?

Still, the entirety of human civilization is only a minor footnote in Earth's history book. We would be hard pressed to write the planet's epilogue, but we have the means and possibly the willful ignorance or insanity needed to not only end our own footnote, but to end this entire chapter. It is a terrible mistake to relegate the world a rank below even partially observed holidays like "Columbus Day" where we celebrate a brutal slave trading crusader, or (in this case rightly) ignore the whole thing. Just as our own health is the most vitally important issue for each of us, even if we choose to ignore it, until we have self-sustaining settlements elsewhere in the solar system and beyond, there is nothing more important than the health of the planet we live on. Nothing.

Almost everyone in the country knows about global warming by now, although a disturbingly large part of the population still doesn't want to do anything to prevent it, or doesn't think we need to. Even assuming that it is all lies and propaganda (which I don't believe), there are still many good reasons to try to reduce carbon emissions by beginning a serious push to quickly develop and move to alternative energy sources, not the least of which are our own health and wellbeing and our destructive and dangerous relationships with many other countries.

I am not talking about things like ethanol, which is renewable but still relatively dirty, I'm talking about things like hydrogen, solar, wind and the more advanced technologies which are still in development and probably in need of more funding. Perhaps we could have used the couple of *trillion* dollars that we've put into the war in Iraq to break our dependence on the region, probably having more than enough left over for programs that would really make us safer?

Something you may not know about though, which I was unaware of until Bill Maher talked about it on his show Friday, is that bees are dying in huge numbers.

This may not seem important to you, especially if you see all insects as nothing more than pests, but bees are a very important part of the world. They are the primary or sole pollinators of a very large percentage of plants, including much of what we eat. It has yet to be put to the test, but Einstein thought that if the bees were gone, we would be gone in just 4 years. We may have the technology now to allow us to develop new genetically modified plants and animals in time to ensure the survival of our species in such an event, but ironically that kind of genetic modification of plants may in fact be the cause of these massive die-offs, possibly through the destruction of the bees' immune systems, but that is just speculation at this point.

Even on the level of speculation though, it is disturbing enough that many of us would probably like to see this and other possible causes investigated immediately by independent researchers who are not bought and paid for by the multi-billion dollar companies behind the genetically modified crops. Many more of us would be wary of eating that same recently modified and still unproven genetically modified food.

Next time you go to the grocery store, look at the food you're buying, and if you're worried about GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms), just don't buy things with a GMO label on them!

...what's that you say? There are no such labels? Wow... There are however a small minority of products with "No GMO" labels on them, and that may be the easier way to go considering that such a large percentage of our food, 45% of corn grown in the US in 2004 for example, is genetically modified.

GMOs *may* be completely safe for human consumption, or on the other extreme they may be slowly killing us. It is still not clear, and it may never be completely clear due to the difficulty in isolating genetically modified foods as the source of health problems or benefits. They are at least a proven danger to other plants, and possibly animals, including bees which are much more important to our food supply and the world's plant life in general than most people know.

There are some clear benefits to GMOs, although they are nearly all monetary benefits to the producers and not monetary or health benefits to the consumers, most of whom have no idea that they are eating genetically modified foods, and many of whom would not even know what that means. Few if any of us signed up to be experimented on with this, but it's likely that everyone reading this ate some type of GMO today, along with the author.

The point of this whole post has not been to scare you with GMOs which could be a legitimate threat or just a paper tiger, but to encourage you to think about the problems facing the world, particularly environmental problems, not just on one Earth Day but every day. While it's difficult for us to individually make a large impact on many of these issues, if we show interest in them and in environmental issues in general, they will receive more attention and resources and hopefully we as a nation and a world will reverse our course while there's still time.

I am sad to say that as much as I care, and as much as I would support major changes in the country and the world even if they made things harder for me, I have a hard time really trying to make a difference as an individual. I do recycle as much as I can, I try to keep the amount of waste I produce to a minimum, I do my best to avoid spreading poisons around (for myself and my pets as much as anything), and I support people and companies who try to preserve the environment where I can, but I know I use more electricity than I should, I don't take a very active role in encouraging government and other businesses to clean up their acts, and there are probably a lot of other things I could and should do that I don't do.

The Sword of Damocles is hanging over all of us, but most of us haven't looked up at it yet. It's time to open our eyes.

So, where *do* we go from here?



"It's only the taking that makes you what you are."
    Ian Anderson - Wond'ring Again

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Current Mood: nervous nervous
Current Music: Wond'ring Again - Jethro Tull

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studiogaijin

Information for all US voters and people interested in our government:

Two years ago when I had questions about whether or not the elections were conducted fairly, I was pointed to some seemingly convincing articles saying that there were no problems. Considering everything that I've heard since then though, particularly on the issue of the ease of falsifying election results with these pathetic voting machines, I still have serious doubts about whether or not everything was accurate.

I haven't watched it yet, but once I finish this post I'm going to watch HBO's Hacking Democracy special which is now available for free on Google Video. You may want to watch it, and then watch your local election processes.

Although it (coincidentally?) won't be played here until November 8th (the day after the elections), the documentary Iraq For Sale is something else you might want to see. I haven't seen it yet, but from what I've heard about it, it reveals even more about the war profiteering that has gone on than I already knew about.

The shameless no-bid contracts granted to certain companies for huge amounts of money and their extreme inflation of prices charged back to our government is criminal, and if we replace enough Republicans with Democrats in the House and Senate then I hope that they will finally do the right thing and at least reign these people in. They really should investigate and punish the people involved on both the government and corporate sides.

I hope that those investigations would also extend to the companies who have been paid to do things which would be illegal for our military to do, such as torture for example, or have been paid five times the amount our military personnel are paid just to do the same jobs.

The next part is specifically for Arizona voters:

In case you don't have time to research all of the Propositions or you're confused by the ads, here is a list of what I hope we can pass and what I want to fail. It is divided into the ones I feel strongly about, and the ones that I'm not quite sure about either or have mixed feelings on.

Strongly support or oppose:

  • 107 - No
      This would amend the state constitution to define marriage as being between one man and one woman, and it would prevent us from ever having any legal status similar to marriage (such as "civil unions" and "domestic partnerships"). This would also affect unmarried heterosexual couples who currently get benefits such as health care through their partners.
  • 201 - Yes
      If you want to stop smoking in public places, this is probably the one you want. It should make the whole state like certain cities such as Tempe and Mesa are right now, which in my experience is much nicer for non-smokers. Unfortunately smokers can still ruin the outdoor dining experience, but I guess at least they have somewhere to go if they can't put down their cigarettes for an hour at a time. This is the one that's supported by health organizations and other people who actually care about us.
  • 206 - No
      RJ Reynolds wants you to think this is the "smoking ban" to vote for, but this one actually *reduces restrictions* in cities that have already passed bans on smoking in public places by specifically preempting their laws. 206 sounds reasonable to some extent, but there is no enforcement mechanism built into it, and it would most likely end up badly enforced or not enforced at all. If you don't want smoking in bars, then you don't want this one either because it still allows smoking in bars and other places.
  • 202 - Yes
      Since the federal government refuses to raise the minimum wage, it's our responsibility to help pull full time minimum wage workers up out of poverty. Businesses whine about this and claim that it will hurt us all, but 23 states have already individually raised the minimum wage, and they are all doing *better* economically, not worse. There is also an exemption for small businesses that really may not be able to afford it, so there really is no down side.
  • 204 - Yes
      They say it's "Hogwash!" on their posters, but they just don't want to wash their hogs, or even let them move. The posters didn't say anything else because they didn't want to give us any idea what they were really talking about though, because if they did I don't think many reasonable people would vote against the proposition. Although this does address problems with industries not currently operating in Arizona, it also addresses problems with the factory farm already here. At this point only one large hog farm in northern Arizona would be affected, and even if I believed their feeble protestations that they couldn't afford to be half way humane to their animals, I wouldn't mind seeing them go down in flames. This law does not require anything extraordinary, it simply requires the most basic beginnings of reasonable treatment for animals, and it's not only better for them, it's better for the people who are currently eating the overly-anti-biotic-filled meat caused by the constant drugs needed to keep animals alive under these conditions.
  • 102 - No
      This bill would deny punitive damages to undocumented immigrants. If someone here (legally or not) is injured in a way that would allow them to receive these kinds of awards in court, I believe that it's wrong to deny the court the ability to grant them. I also think that this is just a first step toward removing the ability of any person to receive punitive damage awards in the future, and I would like to see it stopped now.
  • 207 - No
      The surface of this, what the proponents want you to vote on, is fixing problems with Eminent Domain. I would support that, but I believe that this bill is hiding other less desirable things. If we reject this proposition, the state legislature will be considering another (probably better) bill next year, and I think we should wait for that.
  • 205 - Yes
      If we pass 205, all registered voters will be automatically sent ballots in the mail. There will still be some (but a lot less) places open if you want to go and vote in person or if you have problems. It would be a lot easier and would get me to vote in more of the smaller elections that I often miss, and if you're worried about fraud or anything, I think this is still much safer than the electronic voting machines available right now.

Support or oppose:

  • 300 - No
      Proposition 300 would deny certain public services to undocumented immigrants, including their children who are born in the United States and are citizens. I am torn on this one because I believe that if someone here is employing these people they should be paying them enough so that they don't need public assistance, or the country of origin should be helping its own citizens, but I think this proposition steps over the line when it denies assistance to US citizens because of who their parents are.
  • 103 - No
      I don't think we really need to make English Arizona's official language any more than it already is, and I would expect it to cause more problems than it would solve. Is there anything it would really solve?
  • 100 - No
      Change the constitution to deny bail to all illegal immigrants arrested on felony charges. Judges already have discretion to deny bail to anyone they feel they need to deny bail to. I don't usually like to remove the ability of judges to make what they believe is the appropriate decision for each case, and the fact that it requires a constitutional amendment means that there are probably other issues I'm not seeing right now which would go against what we believe in.
  • 200 - No
      Proposition 200 would award a random voter $1m from unpaid lottery winnings. It sounds nice if you're thinking about maybe winning the $1m, but it basically amounts to paying people to vote, and not only is that against state and federal laws, it would also encourage people who are uninformed or who just don't care to come out and make bad decisions for our state.
  • 203 - Yes
      An early childhood development program paid for by tobacco tax sounds unfair to smokers, and I suppose it's not really fair, but I detest cigarettes (and cigars) both for their effects on non-smokers and for their addictive and destructive qualities. I think that we need to do as much as we can to deter young people from starting smoking, so although it will affect some people who I may not specifically want to penalize, I'll live with it. If this affects you negatively, maybe it's time to start rolling your own?
  • 301 - No
      I don't believe in mandatory jail sentences for personal drug use convictions, and this would require them for first time meth users. I really hope that anyone who starts using this stuff will get help, and they can already be required to get help to stay out of jail, but requiring jail sentences for first time non-violent users will only increase the needless overcrowding of jails and will not give added benefits to either the meth user or the public.
  • 302 - Yes
      Raise state lawmakers' salaries from $24,000 per year to $36,000 per year. I guess it's good that they can't raise their own salaries like the US Senate and House of Representatives can (their salaries are $165,000 a year and up), but if they can't do it then we have to at least give them a reasonable wage for their jobs, and $36,000 is definitely not too much.
  • 101 - Yes
      Proposition 101 would reset a property tax cap that's been in place since 1980, going up 2% per year, to the levels the actual taxes were at in 2005, and again increase the cap by 2% per year. It does seem to be penalizing the cities that have kept taxes low, but there also appears to be little opposition to it and resetting the cap will prevent extreme spikes in property taxes, so there's probably more of a good than bad side here.
  • 104 - Yes
      This moves public services such as police and fire stations into a higher debt limit bracket. I don't completely understand it, but although it initially sounded like something bad, it supposedly would not create more debt but would allow us to choose to fund important public services sooner than we might currently be able to at the cost of delaying less critical programs.

Still not sure about the last two, but these are my best guesses:

  • 105 - No
      Cash at sale, relatively short term financial benefit.
      Conserves 43,000 acres of land in urban areas, with continued development until January 2009. Allows "protected" land to still be open to mining activities, roads, power lines, fences, etc.
      Continues much of the current grazing access and "right of way" without reviewing whether these are the best options. The power to set aside future lands is in the hands of the legislature and a sole land commissioner, and the decisions reside at the state level instead of local communities near/around the land.
  • 106 - Yes
      Long term, designed to fund the schools & other institutions through the sale of leasing options and limited sales.
      Protects 690,000 acres for conservation, of which 1/3 is a permanent reserve. Half is provisional and can be sold to individuals who agree to conservation. The rest can be used by educational institutions for conservation purposes (research & management).
      Those opposition says it "gives away" too much land, they would rather sell it off at auction than have it be preserved and thus paid for by the state while it's being unused - since public access may be restricted due to conservation efforts.

Thanks to eemfibble for writing up 105 and 106 for me since I was running out of time and this stuff takes a while to do!

"Cheat sheet" summary in numerical order if you agree with all of these:

  • 100 - No
  • 101 - Yes
  • 102 - No
  • 103 - No
  • 104 - Yes
  • 105 - No
  • 106 - Yes
  • 107 - No
  • 200 - No
  • 201 - Yes
  • 202 - Yes
  • 203 - Yes
  • 204 - Yes
  • 205 - Yes
  • 206 - No
  • 207 - No
  • 300 - No
  • 301 - No
  • 302 - Yes

Good luck out there, and please try to vote out rubber stamps like jon kyl and jd hayworth if you can.

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Current Mood: determined
Current Music: Let's Have A War - A Perfect Circle (cover)

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studiogaijin

Yes, I know it's a bad idea to be playing $10/$20 NL on as short a bankroll as I have right now, but I had to take the open seat next to altsh01c (who I busted at least 3 times earlier at $3/$6 NL and $5/$10 NL), so here is the very first $10/$20 NL hand I ever played.

$10/$20 No Limit Hold'Em

Seat 6: poker_Mullet - $1,897.00 - Dealer
Seat 7: altsh01c - $957.00 - Small blind $10.00
Seat 8: Kazz_ - $1,000.00 - Big blind $20.00
Seat 9: kvs23 - $11,505.34
Seat 1: solow - $3,525.00
Seat 2: The Raiser - $1,677.00
Seat 3: Ship It Sir - $2,217.00
Seat 4: Robustible - $5,886.48

kvs23 folds, solow folds, The Raiser calls $20, Ship It Sir folds, Robustible calls $20, poker_Mullet folds, altsh01c calls $10.00, Kazz_ checks

Pot: $80.00
Flop: 6d 6h Qd

altsh01c checks, Kazz_ bets $80.00, The Raiser raises to $160.00, Robustible calls $160.00, altsh01c folds, Kazz_ raises to $480.00, The Raiser raises all-in for $1,497.00, Robustible folds, Kazz_ calls all-in for $500.00

Pot: $2,200.00
Turn: 4s

No action

Pot: $2,200.00
River: 4c

Rake: $3.00
Pot: $2,197.00

The Raiser's cards: 5d 6c
Kazz_'s cards: Kh 6s

Kazz_ shows a Full House 6s 6h 6d 4c 4s and wins $1,098.50
The Raiser shows a Full House 6c 6d 6h 4c 4s and wins $1,098.50

At least it wasn't a 5, but damn it, winning that pot would have been a nice boost right now... :(

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Current Mood: tired tired
Current Music: The Undefeated - Super Furry Animals

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