Archive for the ‘common sense’ Tag
Brad and I heard about Enersa on a Netflix special called Poverty, Inc, which I highly recommend everyone watch.
The movie contends that poverty will not be solved by the poverty industry (you know, World Vision, UNESCO, Oxfam), but by entrepreneurs like Enersa.
ENERSA is a Haitian upstart created in 2007 after two years of research and development. They are Haiti’s only manufacturer and designer of solar panels and appliances.
They train unemployed young men from shantytowns to be qualified solar power technicians. They started in one of the partner’s garage and now occupy a 10,000 sq. foot facility where they have become an industry leader in the field of renewable energy designed for people living in the rural areas of third world countries.
They intend to serve millions of people that cannot be reached by the traditional market because existing products were not designed for their needs.
Starting in Haiti, the company nearly went out of business in 2010 when NGOs flooded the country with free solar panels in response to a need. Having survived that not so-helpful attempt at aid, they are now branching out into Senegal (West Africa) in partnership with KAYER, a Senegalese company specialized in installation of solar system. The collaboration between two Third World enterprises in a high-tech field is marvelous to see.
It shows what is possible with minimal assistance and an entrepreneurial vibe. Not only are they providing light in parts of the world where electricity is hard to get, they are providing jobs for men who would otherwise not be working. The trickle-down effect here goes to these men’s families and communities. As they spend their income, the free exchange of goods lifts those around them out of poverty.
To me, that’s courage, especially when you consider that this is Haiti, whose people have been given every reason in the world to lie down and accept handouts. Keep stepping out in bravery, gentlemen.
A new Washington Post poll found that 90 percent of Native Americans aren’t offended by the Washington Redskins‘ nickname and an overwhelming majority consider it an unimportant issue.
The Post polled 504 people who identify primarily as Native American from across the country, including those who lived on reservations and those who were not part of a tribe.
The general population appears to care more about the name than Native Americans. A 2014 ESPN poll found that 23 percent of the population favored a name change.
So, here I am, a tribal member who does not live on the reservation. The three Lower 48 Indians that I’ve met who care about the name of a football team they don’t follow also want all whites removed from the Western hemisphere. I know some Alaska Natives who say they’re offended on behalf of their Lower 48 “brothers”, but really, this is a “white” and liberal issue.
The poll found that of Native Americans who identified as liberal, 80 percent considered the name inoffensive. Moderates were at 92 percent and conservatives at 96. Of college graduates, 85 percent were not offended, compared to 91 percent of those who attended some or no college.
This is yet another ginned-up issue over political correctness that is designed to divide us and keep us from talking to one another. Those who want the name removed generally also want “white” society to transfer the proceeds of their hard work to the indolent Indians on the reservations. Everything a white man or woman does is offensive to these cousins. You could twist yourself into knots trying to please them, but nothing you do will ever accomplish that.
Here in Alaska a jury just convicted Nathan Kangas of 1st degree murder for the ambush shooting of two police officers who were arresting his father for threatening someone with a gun. The Kangases were members of the Athabaskan Nation — an Indian supremacist group. Yes, I called it what it is. I didn’t PC-ot. It’s the KKK for Athabaskans — a widepread Indian people in Alaska that also shares linguistic roots with Navajos and some others. Not many Athabaskans actually subscribe to the idea that all whites should be deported to Europe (or outright killed) and they were quick to condemn the Kangases when the news broke. The movement has existed for decades. I first encountered it as a separate group in the 1980s in college. Similar movements exist in other tribes, largely as an outgrowth of Wounded Knee. While the vast majority of Athabaskans felt only relief that Nathan Kangas will likely be in jail for the rest of his life, there are a few who are quietly burning with anger and turning the Kangases into martyrs for their cause.
Personally, I couldn’t care less what a football team is called. I’m comfortable in my skin in white society. In fact, it is usually my reservation cousins who make me feel “less than” because I stubbornly refuse to be a Native-American (hyphen deliberate). They talk about whites as if you-all are just sitting around thinking of ways to wipe Indians off the map. They talk in front of me, forgetting that I’m comfortable with my European DNA.
I am comfortable with being human. I live in a city surrounded by white people. I don’t experience racism … or, if I do, I don’t recognize it as such. People are rude. Sometimes it’s like you’re invisible to the waitress when your coffee cup is empty or to the store clerk with 20 customers all demanding attention. Do they pass me over because I’m Indian? I doubt it. I’ve experienced racism on the reservation. I’ve experienced racism from an old black man because he thought I was white. Friends thought I was experiencing racism in a tourist shop in New Mexico once, but I thought the woman was just upset because I was looking and not buying. Yes, we were just outside the Navajo Reservation and maybe my tan and dark braids seemed suspect to her in 1980, but I wasn’t looking for racism, so I saw a rude store owner, not a bigot.
If we could stop ginning up issues like the names of football teams, maybe we would have time and energy enough to address the real problems of Native Americans living on the reservation … namely, the lack of an economy to support real jobs and the lack of private property that would make it worthwhile for Indians to invest in their own economy, the drugs and alcoholism that is rampant on reservations, the domestic violence that exists in far too many homes, the isolation from mainstream life that encourages the racism I see there every time I visit, but above all the dependence on government handouts that takes away any incentive to build something better and gives the individual an excuse for blaming white society for their deprivation, boredom and anger.
Ultimately, what is wrong with Indian society is not the fault of white society and it will not be fixed by whites. It must come from Indians because it is Indians who choose to be angry and resent the opportunities that lay beyond the boundaries of the reservation rather than taking advantage of them by accepting that whites long ago moved away from overt racism and that once they get to know you, they really don’t care that you’re an Indian. In fact, most of the time, unless you bring it up, they don’t even notice.
… to choose not to be ogled by the opposite gender in a public restroom or locker room?
What are your sentiments on the subject?
Would you be perfectly comfortable undressing in front of men you are not in a sexual relationship with?
Do you think such a scenario is likely to cause sexual harassment?
Ever known anyone sexually harassed in a similar situation?
Do you think those people who are uncomfortable being on display for people sexually attracted to their gender have a right to demand separate or even individualized facilities?
Or do you think that they should be required to share group bathrooms to get over their inhibitions?
And, if sexual harassment or assaults happen from this new paradigm, what should society’s response be?
I ran across these questions and thought, hey, that’s some food for thought.
Do Americans live in a free society when they need to get a permit to have a garage sale?
(This one – I can honestly say that Alaska has no such rule)
Do Americans live in a free society when the government listens to their phone calls?
Do Americans live in a free society when police issue tickets to motorists for not wearing seatbelts?
(I wear a seatbelt, but I resent that I am forced to wear a seatbelt. Wearing a seatbelt should be a personal choice, not a government requirement.)
Do Americans live in a free society when they need a salt-water fishing license?
(Everyone needs a fishing license in Alaska, regardless of what water the fish are swimming in.)
Do Americans live in a free society when the United States is the only developed country in the world with a drinking age of 21?
Do Americans live in a free society when they can go to jail for purchasing too much Sudafed to relieve their stuffy nose?
(I had to show ID to buy barbecue lighter fluid the other day. I take it this means that my 17-year-old — who regularly carries the shotgun while we hike in forests we KNOW there are bears in) is not allowed to host a barbecue without parental oversight).
Do Americans live in a free society when they have to be scanned, groped, and forced to throw out tubes of toothpaste over 3.4 ounces before they can board an airplane?
(I believe I’m engaged to a TSA agent here in Fairbanks, she has felt me up so often in the last few years.)
Do Americans live in a free society when police can break down your door in the middle of the night and drag you out of bed if you are suspected of having illegal drugs in your home?
Do Americans live in a free society when beer brewed at home cannot be sold and the amount of beer one can brew is restricted?
Do Americans live in a free society when the government regulates the size of the holes in Swiss cheese?
Do Americans live in a free society when it is illegal to resell a concert ticket?
Do Americans live in a free society when the government reads their e-mails?
Do Americans live in a free society when they are limited to six withdrawals from their savings accounts per month?
(This isn’t true … or my bank ignores this rule. Since the Target mess, I’ve been keeping my money in my savings account and transferring what I need whenever I go shopping, so that if my POS card is hacked, there won’t be much there to get. My bank has never sent me a letter of warning and I regularly go over four withdrawals in a month.)
Do Americans live in a free society when police drive around in unmarked older vehicles to ensnare unsuspecting motorists?
Do Americans live in a free society when in many states, no alcoholic beverages of any kind can be sold before a certain time on Sunday?
Do Americans live in a free society when the government regulates the amount of water that toilets are allowed to flush?
(How many of us these days need to flush twice to get the toilet paper to go down or three times to get some more earthy to go down?)
Do Americans live in a free society when the United States has one of the highest per-capita prison populations in the world?
(25% of the population has a criminal record now).
Do Americans live in a free society when the Supreme Court has said that police can “strip-search individuals who have been arrested for any crime before admitting the individuals to jail, even if there is no reason to suspect that the individual is carrying contraband.”
Do Americans live in a free society when in many states it is illegal for car dealers to be open on Sunday?
Do Americans live in a free society when police can perform forcible DNA, urine, and blood extractions?
Do Americans live in a free society when there are a myriad of federal and state laws that restrict, regulate, or prohibit gambling?
Do Americans live in a free society when they need a license to cut someone’s hair?
Do Americans live in a free society when the government seizes more assets from Americans than the amount of money taken in burglaries?
Do Americans live in a free society when they collectively spend more in taxes than they do on food, clothing, and housing combined?
Do Americans live in a free society when they can be locked in a cage for possessing too much of a plant the government doesn’t approve of?
This is a repost of a gun safety article I wrote three years ago. Here in Alaska, a photographer was shot yesterday at a gun range because he was down-range taking photos. It is unclear whether the shooters knew he was there or if he was being stupid. He definitely knew he was at a gun range because there were photos of the shooters on his camera. So, I thought it was a good idea to repost this article … with the addition that … gun ranges are not inherently unsafe places. Accidental shootings are rare at the ones I’m familiar with. But, folks, if you break the rules there, you put yourself and others at risk. The only safe place to be is behind the firing line and you should only venture down-range with the full knowledge of every shooter on the line.
My children grew up around guns and so did I. Most of what I learned about guns, I learned from my parents. There are a handful of rules that come with gun ownership and maybe a handful of suggestions that might be entertained by gun owners. Most of these are taught in NRA gun safety programs, but they can also be taught by an Alaskan waitress at her kitchen table with her 12-year-old daughter.
My first time handling a rifle was when I was about six years old and it was my brother’s 22 bolt-action. My mother always carried the 357 when we’d berry-pick, but I’d always been under the impression that lightning would strike if I touched it. No, I don’t know how my parents inculcated that belief into me, though I’ll share how I inculcated it into my children in a bit. I just knew that touching a gun — any gun — without an adult present would result in immediate death by heavenly electrocution. I’m pretty sure it involved something like FEAR OF MY PARENTAL UNITS. They didn’t spank often, but the one spanking I remember (the very last one when I was seven) was firm enough that I never forgot it.
When I was 12, the incident I previously posted on prompted me to ask my mother to teach me how to use her gun.
Lesson #1 involved cleaning it. Yuk! Gun solvent stinks. But it taught me a lot about the parts of a gun and how they fit together and it got me over my fear of touching a gun.
Lesson #2 was all the safety rules — and there seemed like a LOT of safety rules. More on that in a second.
Lesson #3 was how to load and unload the gun.
Lesson #4 (and yes, we were about four days into Mom’s Fire Arms Academy) was on loading, cocking, uncocking and unloading the gun. This was important because if you do this wrong with a wheel-gun, the gun will go off when you don’t intend.
Lesson #5 we went to the local gravel pit and killed cans. Lots and lots of cans.
Lesson #6 was cleaning the gun.
Overall lesson? Gun ownership is 5 parts boring, one-part exciting and then you go back to boring.
So, what did I learn from my mother of value in her Fire Arms Academy and what have I passed onto my children.
One, I instilled a respect of guns into them. I didn’t know how my parents did it with me, so when my strong-willed daughter reached for my unloaded gun when she was five (this was a set up to determine if she would break the rules) I took her to the shooting range and fired six rounds into a target down range. She burst into tears because her ears hurt and I never had to convince her not to touch the gun after that. My son was less impressed when he was 5 (I think his hearing was less acute, making him normal), but he was also more likely to follow rules than his sister. He hadn’t actually reached for the gun, so the noise experiment was unnecessary. “Don’t ever touch any gun without my permission” resonated with him because he believed adults knew what they were doing. The loud bang just reinforced why you obeyed adults. In fact, when he was going to learn to shoot a 22 at camp, the camp had to let him call me to get permission because he didn’t believe them that it was okay.
When they were a bit older, they learned the real rules of gun safety. Don’t ever touch a gun is a great rule for little kids, but not so much for young adults. Here in Alaska, you may be called upon to protect a family member from a bear or rampaging moose, so opting out is not an option.
First, TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR FIRE ARMS USE. If you violate a safety rule, admit it promptly and don’t do it again. If someone gets hurt, it IS a DIRECT RESULT of YOU violating a safety rule. This is my rule, but it’s also an unspoken rule of every gun safety course I’ve ever encountered.
ALWAYS KEEP YOUR GUN POINTED IN A SAFE DIRECTION. Thank you, Joe Nava, local NRA training counselor and concealed carry instructor, for stating this simple rule that my mother made so danged convoluted. If your gun is always pointed in a safe direction, nobody gets hurt if it does happen to go off. It won’t go off accidentally, but that’s a later topic. Point it at the ground or point it straight up in the air. Don’t point it at someone and don’t point it at your own body. The stupidity of someone “accidentally” shooting themselves in the foot is just that — stupidity. If you follow the first rule of gun safety it can’t happen. Whether the gun is loaded or not is immaterial. All guns, regardless of status, need to be pointed in a safe direction at all times.
A.D.D. moment here — guns cannot accidentally go off by themselves. They are inanimate objects that require human agency to do ANYTHING. Besides that, they have built in safeties to prevent accidental (meaning non-human-caused) discharge. Have you ever wondered how bad buys pistol-whip a victim without shooting themselves? Yeah, that’s because guns can only go off if you pull the trigger. Although not recommended for other reasons, you can drop them and they won’t go off. The father who “accidentally” shot his kid in the car a few months ago depressed the trigger. That wasn’t an accident! That’s negligence! Sorry your kid died, but now you get to spend time in jail for your negligence. That may sound cold, but the police and prosecutors actually cause a lot of gun negligence by putting out this idea that guns just go off by themselves. No, they do not!
KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER UNTIL YOU’RE READY TO SHOOT. I cringe at the range when I see someone point their gun down range and stand there with their finger on the trigger while folks are coming back from setting their targets. There have been times when I’ve confronted soldiers from the base who are the most likely to commit this offense. Don’t point your gun at people and don’t be ready to shoot until people are behind the firing line. Yes, United States Army soldiers are the most likely to break this rule. Why? Maybe poor training. Maybe training toward killing people. Just a thought. But the gun control freaks think it would be better to have these guys guarding our schools than a concealed carry holder who has had actual training in how NOT to kill people. Amazing!
ALWAYS KEEP YOUR GUN UNLOADED UNTIL YOU’RE READY TO USE IT. I disagree with Joe on this one because at three in the morning when I’ve been awakened out of a sound sleep by the sound of someone breaking into my house is not a good time for me to be loading a six-shot wheel gun. I could get around this by using a semi-auto so I can just slap home the magazine, but I’m a small woman and my hands really can’t handle the grip, so I prefer the six-gun. I compromise by having a trigger lock on my loaded gun.
Those are the three basic rules of gun safety, but there’s a few others that are useful, especially with little kids, but I also went over these with my son and a 13-year-old friend last weekend.
IF YOUR GUN HAS A SAFETY, USE IT UNTIL YOU’RE READY TO SHOOT. Most semi-autos and rifles have a safety that should be engaged until you’re ready to shoot. It’s similar to keep your finger off the trigger — it’s another safety step that will prevent an unintended tragedy from occurring. This is an instance where an NRA training counselor may say I’m promoting an unnecessary step, but it’s one of my rules and it works!
DON’T TOUCH A GUN UNLESS A SOBER ADULT IS PRESENT TO GIVE PERMISSION. My son and his friend, both raised in gun-owning households, knew this rule.
IF A FRIEND WANTS TO SHOW YOU A GUN, LEAVE THE AREA IMMEDIATELY AND TELL A SOBER ADULT. Timothy was the one who kept bringing up sobriety. He’s an Alaskan Native, so this may be an issue in his extended family, though his parents are teetotalers. The point is that guns and kids don’t mix unless under close supervision by a sane adult. You can’t always count on the neighbors teaching their kids this lesson, but you can teach your kids this and that will up the safety factor.
ALWAYS ASSUME ALL GUNS ARE LOADED UNTIL YOU HAVE UNLOADED THEM YOURSELF. With permission from Tim’s dad, the boys and I handled my gun and I was very pleased to see that both of them checked the breach and dumped the bullets before they inspected the gun without my telling them to do so. My son remembered from previous sessions and Timothy had been taught by his dad.
KEEP YOUR GUNS IN A SECURE LOCATION THAT IS ONLY ACCESSIBLE TO THOSE WHO SHOULD BE USING THEM. A gun safe is best, a locking cabinet will suffice. Of course, your home protection gun should be close at hand, preferably near where you sleep, but it doesn’t need to be sitting on your night-stand (though maybe in the locking drawer of your nightstand).
TEACH YOUR KIDS THAT THINGS THAT DON’T BELONG TO THEM ARE OFF LIMITS. I know many parents who claim they couldn’t possible teach their kids this, but I taught my daughter — a very strong-willed child — this lesson. It can be done and it should be done. It’s not specifically a gun safety rule, but all parents should be teaching this to their children. There’d be fewer burglars shot by armed homeowners if all parents taught their children this rule.
So that’s it. Gun safety in synopsis.
By the way, I think EVERYBODY in America over the age of 12 should have to take a fire arms safety class or be trained by a competent adult. A lot of this gun control nonsense would be put to rest if people were familiar with weapons and knew that they don’t just go off by accident. Unfounded fear and unchallenged myth are the biggest drivers of this argument. Guns are a tool, like a car or a chainsaw. I can kill someone with any of those three tools, but to be perfectly honest, the car is the only one that can be accidentally involved in killing someone. The other two have safety rules that, when followed, will assure that nobody will get hurt — ever. Unless, of course, that person needs to be hurt because they are a bad guy intent upon robbing or otherwise harming someone.
I read this highly supportive article on AI and “deep learning” that enthuses about how machines are going to replace human beings in pretty much every job, so we ought to restructure our societies so that people have an income without needing to work … and that’s a good thing.
I beg to differ.
So what else is new, right?
I’m not saying this future won’t come to pass, but I don’t foresee a utopia growing from it. I foresee a dystopia and wish Ray Bradbury were still around to write about it.
Human beings without work are hopeless and troublemakers.
This is more than my opinion. In Genesis, we read God’s creation of human beings and what He tasked His creation with.
The Lord God took the man and placed him in the orchard in. Eden to care for it and to maintain it. Genesis 2:15
We human beings were made in the image of God and God works. He creates, He tends, He has tasks and concerns and plans for our future. God Himself exists outside of time and the material world, so He doesn’t need an income. He does apparently enjoy work, else He wouldn’t do it.
It’s not surprising then that He tasked the creation made in His image with a job. Adam and Eve lived in idyllic garden where food was easy to get, but they still had to tend the garden and gather the food. When they disobeyed, God disciplined them by making their work harder. Why? Because He knew they were made in His image, that work was part of their DNA and that making it harder would be a true cost for their disobedience.
So now we’re told that we won’t need to work. We can sit around and contemplate our navels and not have to worry about feeding ourselves. Won’t that be lovely?
No, it won’t be. Maybe it will be workable for people like me who would still create (which is work), but the vast majority of humankind are not able to do that and no matter how much time they have on their hands, they won’t become creatives.Ever been bored?
Ever been bored? Ever had time on your hands and no way to distract yourself? Has that ever lasted for months?
In 2 Samuel 11, we read that King David (a man after God’s own heart) was bored. He didn’t go out with the army to fight the Philistines. He stayed in the city and rested. And while he was enjoying the benefits of not having to work, he saw Bathsheba, lusted for her, had sex with her and got her pregnant with his child, which required a coverup that resulted in the murder of her husband. God disciplined him – first, Nathan confronted him and forced him to name his own punishment, then his child with Bathsheba died. In all, David would lose four children because of his disobedience. But my point actually can be found in 2 Samuel 13 when we see that David went back out into the field. He had apparently learned his lesson about the danger of boredom.
No widow should be put on the list unless she is at least sixty years old, was the wife of one husband, and has a reputation for good works: as one who has raised children, practiced hospitality, washed the feet of the saints, helped those in distress – as one who has exhibited all kinds of good works. But do not accept younger widows on the list, because their passions may lead them away from Christ and they will desire to marry, and so incur judgment for breaking their former pledge. And besides that, going around from house to house they learn to be lazy, and they are not only lazy, but also gossips and busybodies, talking about things they should not. So I want younger women to marry, raise children, and manage a household, in order to give the adversary no opportunity to vilify us. 1 Timothy 5:9-14
Paul had been a scholar, but in his day, scholars worked for a living. He offered advice to several churches about the dangers of idleness.
For you know yourselves how you must imitate us because we did not behave without discipline among you, and we did not eat anyone’s food without paying. Instead, in toil and drudgery we worked night and day in order not to burden any of you. 3:9 It was not because we do not have that right, but to give ourselves as an example for you to imitate. For even when we were with you, we used to give you this command: “If anyone is not willing to work,neither should he eat.” For we hear that some among you are living an undisciplined life, not doing their own work but meddling in the work of others. Now, such people, we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ, to work quietly and so provide their own food to eat. But you,brothers and sisters, do not grow weary in doing what is right. But if anyone does not obey our message through this letter, take note of him and do not associate closely with him, so that he may be ashamed.Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. 2 Thessalonians 3:8-15
Here in Alaska, winters are a time of idleness for many. Especially in the villages, there is no work. Between welfare and Native corporation dividends, many villagers do not have to work other than to haul water and fire wood and with diesel fired heaters, not even much of that anymore. Alcoholism, drug abuse, sexual assault, and child abuse are all endemic, as is suicide. Kids in the villages say they feel hopeless. There’s nowhere to go, there’s nothing to do. We try to blame it on poverty. If we just gave them more money, community power sources, running water, the Internet …. They already have those things and they are still killing themselves and the ones who survive say they have no hope for the future because ….
Work gives us purpose and structure to our lives, but also it is a creative process that even non-artists can participate in. Brad, my electrician husband, loves to drive by a building he helped wired. He gets the same feeling I do when I see my books in print. When he’s not working (and he really likes time off), he’s working around our house or out on our cabin site. We choose for him to do that for financial reasons, but when I told him the day was coming when AIs could do the work for him and he could just watch, he rejected the notion outright. “Do you think an AI could write a book as good as you do?” he asked.
I think an AI could be better at grammar than I am, but I seriously doubt the story would have the same depth and human content. I believe an AI could paint a painting that technically would be as good as anything a hman artist could paint, but the AI would miss something indefinably human, creating a banal painting rather than a work of art.
“I feel the same way about my work. Even as I grind my teeth about my mistakes, it is the imperfections that provde character to the cabin. You miss that in mass production and that is really what AI produces. Besides, I start drinking when I get bored, remember?”
If I were writing a fictional book about this utopian vision of a world without work, I would write a dystopian where gangs of people would use their idleness to destroy and subjugate the creatives and where a shadow economy would grow up where people who were tired of idleness began to engage in business and attracted the ire of the government.
Yeah, that might need to be a development project.
Although the recent primary focus on the blog has been on Daermad Cycle with the publication Mirklin Wood, you shouldn’t forget that I have another series – Transformation Project. You can find book 1 – Life As We Knew It on Amazon.
An apocalyptic series requires a fair bit of research and this is one article that caught my attention.
Collectively speaking, there are many of us who have been preparing for emergencies and have read our fair share of prepper fiction and watched enough apocalyptic thrillers to know that the higher the population density, the more dangerous it can be in a disaster. As well, when resources like food and fuel have to be transported from outside the city limits, then your survivability rate lessens. So what about those who have to live in the city? Should they just stop prepping all together? Would they stand a fighting chance at surviving?
Source: Urban Survival: When the Cities Fall Apart, These Strategies Will Keep You Alive