Several years ago, in my early twenties, I was literally within weeks of being homeless. My car was dead, I was unemployed and almost out of benefits, had been eating rice and ramen for almost 6 months, and I was being evicted from my apartment because they were raising the rent by over $100 a month (30% more). I was literally less than a month from losing everything I had. The "public assistance" stuff at that time was only available to women with kids, not able-bodied students.

I got lucky - I found a (temp) job I could get to by transit, and another apartment that I could (just barely) afford. I moved on the last weekend before the end of my notice. All during this time I had no medical insurance, of course, so even when I trashed my ankle a few months later, I just ace bandaged it, stayed home from work for two days (unpaid) and took lots of ibuprofen.

But I will never forget, staring into a dingy bathroom mirror on a soon to be overpriced slum apartment (complete with roaches), telling myself I would never let myself get that desperate again. I already had too many men catcalling me on the streets, following me home from the bus, etc - how the fuck would I survive without even a car to lock myself into? How would I cook, what could I eat or drink?

Ever since then, I've always had a few months of food "in case". I've always tried to keep a car that I could sleep in, if I had to. I always had "camping gear" available, ready to hand. I've always had a plan B, plan C, and plan D, and fret if I don't.

I always will.

I wasn't raised a few weeks away from homelessness. I was middle class, professional parents, etc.

But that was before Ronald Reagan was president, and the shredding of the safety net.

So every time someone shits on the homeless, I take it personally. That could have been me, but for a lucky call from a temp agency. The only difference, in a lot of cases, is that they never got that lucky call.

Two of my roommates were homeless before they moved in with me. Both veterans.

I don't go on marches and all of that. But my friends know that if they're a bit short on food, if I've got something they can use to eat, it's theirs for the asking. If someone needs a couple months crash, if I've got room, they can have a roof for a while, but not necessarily forever.

I will not vote for a Republican who is heir to anything resembling Reagan's "legacy".

No matter how much I make, no matter how high I rise, a part of me will always be a terrified twenty-something looking at living on the street with nothing.

Always.
ravan: by Ravan (Default)
( Jul. 23rd, 2011 11:29 pm)
So a Christian Fundamentalist committed a major act of terrorism in Norway, and people are acting all shocked, like they can't believe it. Guess what, folks? Right Wing Christian Fundamentalists, especially Dominionists, are just as terroristic in nature as Al Queda and their ilk. It's perfectly acceptable in their world view to "Kill a 'Commie' for Christ" or a gay, Muslim, woman, liberal, jew, black, etc. Who the hell do you think started the Crusades, anyway? It wasn't the Muslims, folks! Who did the Inquisition?

Right wing Christian fundamentalist extremism has been glossed over, passed off as the work of "lone wolves", or "fringe groups" that "aren't really Christian". Guess what? They go to "Christian" churches, wear crosses, read bibles, pray to Jesus, etc. They are just as "Christian" as the Muslim terrorists are Muslim. You don't get to say they "aren't really" members of the dominant religion in the Western world.

You say that if the Muslims don't stop the Muslim terrorists, then they are complicit. Well, guess what, folks, that sword cuts both ways: If average peaceful Christians don't stop Christian terrorists, they are just as complicit as average peaceful Muslims are in Muslim terror.

If you think it's not a problem, do a few google searches on words like "steeplejacking" and "dominionism". Check out SPLC and their right wing watch. White Militant Right Wing Christian groups are very, very popular. A lot of them are behind the Tea Party, and call them selves "Libertarian", too.

I feel sorry for the people in Norway, with their peace shattered by something within their own society. Let's hope they're smarter about how they deal with it than we were.
A racist conspiracy theorist answered the dog whistle again: Security Guard Is Killed in Shooting at Holocaust Museum in D.C. The lunatic fringe of the American Taliban is out in force this year.

See Another Right Wing Nut Terrorist Shooting
Dr George Tiller was gunned down in the lobby of his church by an anti-abortion terrorist today.

Yes, we have domestic terrorism. Operation Rescue, and their lunatic fringe followers, are exactly that. Same as the radical anti-gay bigots, the white supremacists, or the anti-government nutjobs. I really wish that the government would take them as seriously as they do Muslim Jihadists. The Christian Taliban deserves to be watched and arrested for their plots as much, if not more so, than the few Muslim extremists in this country.

I recommend that people who want to "do something" donate to either Planned Parenthood (protecting doctors and clinics is expensive) or the ACLU in memory of Dr. Tiller.
When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

The Congress of the United States passed the "Military Commissions Act of 2006"
1) authorizing detention without judicial review of persons
2) designated "enemy combatants" by the executive branch, again without judicial review or requirements for clear criteria,
3) applies a very much narrowed definition of torture, and essentially repudiates the Geneva convention,
4) eliminates accountability for past violations of laws on torture and illegal detention, and
5) the bill itself forbits judicial review of itself.

The Democrats, fearing A rethuglican smear campaign for being "soft of terror", rolled over and played dead. The republicans put aside any pretense of objection for the same reason. Now our own government is in a greater position to "legally" cause terror (extrajudicial detention, torture, extraordinary rendition, "disappearances", etc.) within this country to our own citizens than all of Al Queda combined!

When they waterboarded the detainees,
The senate said nothing,
For they were just "enemy combatants".

When they come for you and me,
The senate will still be silent,
For fear of Karl Rove's political hit squads.

This is the equivalent, in the modern era, of the first of the Nuremberg Laws. It essentially denies the humanity, and thus the rights, of anyone designated by the fickle executive to be an "enemy combatant" ('enemy of the state' is the 1930's term).

BTW, this rapes the shit out of the IVth, Vth, VIth, and VIII Amendments. Then again, the rethuglicans have shat all over the First, Fourth, and Fifth for years now. Also, they only pay lip service to the Second - the Katrina debacle showed us that.

VOTE EVERY LAST BASTARD THAT VOTED FOR THIS CRAP OUT!!!!!
ravan: by icons r us (flamethrower - from icons r us)
( Aug. 10th, 2006 03:05 pm)
OK, I've read some of the articles and such about liquid explosives from the BBC. They all allude to some vague, nebulous ingredients that might be able to be combined to make a liquid explosive, or combining a liquid and a solid.

They read like bullshit, as in, as credible as "red mercury" being a nuclear material.

Yes, there are liquids that can be combined to make explosives. In order to get explosives out of these, they have to be highly concentrated. Some are considered "volatile". This means they stink.

Take acetone, a well known ingredient in nail polish remover. The concentration is low, the smell is high. If someone decided to "do their nails" on an airplane flight, they'd get lynched - that shit is vicious in an enclosed environment.

Or various acidic drain cleaners: hard to handle and package without burning yourself, or sufficiently low strength to not do anything more than fizzle. These stink too.

Hydrogen peroxide: the stuff you can buy in the drugstore is low concentration. It would have to be concentrated (not a simple process), then repacked in the original bottle. It smells when you open it, too. Hair bleach developer has a slightly higher concentration, but again has the smell problem.

Gasoline/Fuel oil: first, it smells; second, its already prohibited in aircraft cabins.

So, basically, it would take a lot of effort, coordination, and ingenuity by the terrorists, plus gross apathy on the part of their fellow passengers. Ain't gonna happen. Not when passengers that look like they *might* be doing something funky get tackled promptly by fellow travellers.
ravan: by icons r us (flamethrower - from icons r us)
( Aug. 10th, 2006 11:30 am)
Well, now they've gone too far - the "official" word is:
NO LIQUIDS OR GELS OF ANY KIND WILL BE PERMITTED IN CARRY-ON BAGGAGE. ITEMS MUST BE IN CHECKED BAGGAGE. This includes all beverages, shampoo, suntan lotion, creams, tooth paste, hair gel, and other items of similar consistency.
Well, until they stop this silliness, I won't be flying unless absolutely, vitally neccessary.

No liquids, not even stuff you bought after being screened? That's just fucking ridiculous, and senseless! No soap, no hand sanitizer, no contact lense solution, no OTC cough medicine? Great, just perfect for helping to spread a pandemic!! Shit, it's already detrimental to the health of frequent business travellers who take precautions. Contact lense wearers will have to switch to their backup glasses, because airplane air is dry.

All this because because some boobs got caught plotting something in the UK?? Something as cockamamie as a liquid explosives and components to be assembled in the air?
"The terrorists planned to carry the components of the bombs, including liquid explosive ingredients and detonating devices, disguised as beverages, electronic devices or other common objects," (Chertoff) said.
and
Peter Neumann, director of the Centre for Defence Studies at London's King's College university, said the plan seemed similar to a 1995 plan to blow up 11 planes using nitroglycerine mixed in contact lens solution and a battery powered detonator.
Oh, brother, what a crock! Please, someone get a real chemist involved in this! Your odds of being able to successfully assemble and detonate a 'mix as you blow' explosive is really, really small. Most explosives have at least one really noxious smelling ingredient, and it would be noticed.

They now want us to drink only airline beverages, eat only airline (joke) food? I don't wanna be sick! That crap is made from cheapest, most unhealthy ingredients they can find, or is contaminated. Plus, they insist on pouring your drink, instead of giving you an unopened can. Their diet sodas are often left out in the sun to cook and go bad. Dehydration is already a risk and a contributor to airplane illness, in addition to low oxygen in recycled air, low humidity that puts a strain on the respiratory tract, and pesticide residues from systematic sprayings.

Scripts only enough for the flight, but in original prescription bottles? Where the fuck am I supposed to store the rest, when I buy them in a 3 month supply?

Britain wants people to check laptops, cell phones, backpacks, books and keys as well? Are they nuts? That's the essentials of life in the air, especially on transatlantic flights!

Sorry, guys, but just fuck off! Really. It's bad enough that you're treated like a probable criminal already for just wanting to board an airplane, but this is nuts.

As I have said before, if you truly want to 'secure' all of the passengers, you have them strip, submit to a body cavity search, don diapers and paper jumpsuits, put their airline boarding pass in a pouch around their necks, and strap them into their seats. You then take all of their stuff and put it on a different, cargo only, plane. But no one would accept that.

This crap won't fly either. Really:
1) No one in their right mind is going to check a $2,000 laptop when baggage is only covered to a total of $1,000.
2) If they lose my luggage, and I check my cell phone, I can't even call someone to let them know I've arrived!
3) If they lose my luggage, I'm then without any medication, and for some people that can be life threatening!
4) I always take a change of clothes and a few days' essentials in my carry-on. No backup now? No way!

The only way I could consider flying is if it's:
a) a short flight, or one with several layovers so I can eat and drink,
b) I can ship my valuables and medications ahead of me to a reliable location,
c) I can take sufficient sedatives, vitamins, and nutrtion in advance so that I can survive the flight without getting sick or homicidal,
d) absolutely essential that I get there faster than driving or train.

I'm glad I don't own any airline stock right now. Homeland (in)Security has made it worthless. Thanks George, for saddling us with their stupidity. Clinton and 'Jackboot Janet' Reno were bad enough, but this is just crap.

For business travel this would be a nightmare. The only people that would be happy are the airline concessionaires (phones, food, drink, and sundries), overnight shippers, and baggage thieves.

EDIT: BTW, you are more likely to die from an auto accident than from a terrorist attack - even if you live in Israel. This shit is getting stupider by the minute.
This sentiment was supposedly uttered by some mucky muck in Al Queda. Yet, the neo-cons of the Bush administration seem to consider the world to be their battlefield to establish American hegemony and/or empire. You almost expect their army of neo-con lawyers to take Al Queda to court for stealing their slogan!

It's a foolish sentiment from either group. Even though the speed of communication is high, the world is still a big place. Many of the 6 billion people on it want nothing to do with either Al Queda, or Bush's Weltpolitik. When all those people finally get fed up at being some idiot's "battlefield", they just might shoot all of the idiots. We don't need the DHS (and its already extravagant abuses) to fight terror, just a well armed and trained population that has been weaned from reality TV and video games.

The Bushies are so bust sending "messages" to Al Queda, Hezbollah, and other small or imagined enemies that they ignore the message the rest of us get: "Roll over and die, nothing else matters, we've got ourselves a war here!"

So a minority of yammerheads are driving more and more conflict, commiting more and more troops and squandering more and more of the majority's cash, usually in sweetheart or ouright criminal deals. IMO, Al Queda and PNAC are two sides of the same slug masquerading as a coin of the realm. They all need to find caves, hunker down, and blow up the exits behind them.
ravan: by icons r us (flamethrower - from icons r us)
»

War

( Feb. 6th, 2006 12:46 pm)
Are we at war? Does this justify increasing reduction of civil liberties? The answer to both is "no". Here's why: cut to appease the bandwidth ghods )
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