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bhikkhu's Journal - Archives
Posted by bhikkhu in General Discussion
Sat Apr 23rd 2011, 02:28 PM
One of these scenarios – the ‘New Policies Scenario’ – takes account of the broad policy commitments that have already been announced by governments. It assumes cautious implementation of national pledges made at the UN Climate Change conference in Copenhagen to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 2020, and also assumes that new measures are introduced after 2020 to maintain the pace of decline in carbon intensity.

In this scenario, by 2035, three-quarters of the world’s oil production from existing fields will need to be replaced, Mr Tanaka said.

That works out to just over 50 million barrels per day, which is equivalent to about four times the production capacity of Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil producer.


I know there is some sentiment that the whole issue is a conspiracy between corporations and profiteer-governments, and if we just got the politicians to handle things we'd be back to normal...but if you've followed the problem for much time, its worth considering that there is no normal, now or in the future. It doesn't matter where you place the blame, things will be different.

It would be most pragmatic to prepare for a future of less abundant and more expensive energy, and realize the whole world's in the same boat on this one.
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Posted by bhikkhu in General Discussion
Sun Apr 03rd 2011, 10:25 PM
...more important than some theoretical free speech.

I don't believe there is any real credible evidence for a deity, but why on earth would I want to burn a koran, or a bible? The books mean nothing to me, but I've never burned a book in my life, much less one that was important to someone else.

Why is the notion of refraining from doing something out of respect for others so hard to get?

In a thousand ways every day we manage our own appearance and behavior to be accepted, to be a part of, and to show respect for the people and societies we live in. Its a part of human civilization and personal maturity.
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Posted by bhikkhu in General Discussion
Thu Feb 17th 2011, 08:18 PM
From about a year ago:
"The Cost-and-Benefit Arguments Around Enforcement

The war on drugs has always been expensive and its effectiveness debatable, but in the current budget-crunch environment, it's more of a target than ever.

In the 2010 edition of “The Budgetary Implications of Drug Prohibition,” Jeffrey Miron, director of undergraduate studies at Harvard University, estimates that legalizing marijuana would save $13.7 billion per year in government expenditure on enforcement of prohibition."

and: "Miron estimates that eight states each spend more than $1 billion annually enforcing marijuana laws: New York, $3 billion; Texas, $2 billion; California, Florida, $1.9 billion; Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, $1 billion."

In the midst of talk about cutting all sorts of vital aid to those most in need, and states cutting services to the bone, why don't we hear anything about this? Its been talked about off and on, but seems to have disappeared from the recent debates. $13.7 Billion!
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Posted by bhikkhu in Poverty
Sat Dec 19th 2009, 01:38 PM
Not knowing a great more than what I have experienced, first and second hand, I was hoping I could post some things here and benefit from input.

As far as poverty vs wealth, my family followed what is likely a common trajectory. On the most coherent side (my mother's), ancestors farmed in Ohio as original settlers. I haven't any ready anecdotes, but its likely that it was back-breaking hard work with good years and bad years, quite romanticized after the fact. About 80 years ago the farm was sold to the city to make room for a new school, and the larger family scattered a bit. My grandmother married the son of a Belgian immigrant who had grown up working the fields, and wound up as a golf course greenskeeper and mechanic. It was a stable job, as many hours a day as it took, and a big rickety house on the course (where my mom and aunts and uncles grew up) was provided.
He got a deferment during WWII, having a large household, though his brothers served. All of my aunts and uncles and my mom went into the military, some staying to retirement, some (like my mom) getting married and then soon getting the boot out, as was the policy.

For reasons I don't recall hearing, everyone picked up and moved to California in the 60's, where my grandfather had a service station for awhile, then another job as a municipal greenskeeper until a decent retirement. My mother had 4 kids and divorced when I was very young, and my grandparents lived with us and helped raise us while she worked at a state office job.
I suppose we were poor, but only in the way that everyone I know was back then. For instance, my siblings and I would always have one pair of shoes each, and those were our shoes until they wore out. We were expected to care for them and keep them in good shape. We wore mostly hand-me-downs, as we had some older cousins, and both my mom and grandma knew how to sew and make clothes. We all learned how to use the sewing machine, and I remember sewing new t-shirts for myself. The most fun was making our own stuffed animals.
Growing up we always had enough to eat, supplemented by an ever-present vegetable garden. We took no big vacations except to visit relatives, and no new cars or things like that. In retrospect our house was small and crowded and kind of run-down, but it never occurred to me at the time. If something broke or was needed that we didn't have, like a washing machine or something, the first thing was to call others in the family. Somebody would always have an extra or know how to fix an old one, or know where one could be had....

Without going too far at the moment, I understand that many of the current problems of poverty are not like the above because of the support of my extended family. Having that network or relatives, I don't know that it occurred to any of us that we were poor or that “something needed to be done about it”. Since the late 70's, all of that has changed - every one of my extended family has attained relative prosperity - stable jobs or retirements and so forth, property. Everyone is also scattered around the country and I haven't spoken with any of my cousins in years...
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Posted by bhikkhu in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Mon Jun 16th 2008, 12:23 AM
OP by drfemoe:

Under Homeland Security orders, journalists from England, Sweden, Holland and other friendly countries are being detained at U.S. airports, strip-searched and deported.
June 15, 2004 | The Department of Homeland Security has started enforcing an obscure provision in immigration law requiring foreign journalists to seek special visas before entering the United States, even though their nonreporting countrymen can enter without any visa at all. ...

The most recent incident occurred in early May when Elena Lappin, a British freelance journalist traveling to Los Angeles to work on a story for the Guardian of London, was detained, questioned, strip-searched, handcuffed and taken to a downtown holding facility for the night. Twenty-six hours after arriving, she was put back on a plane to England. Instead of writing the article she planned, she gave the Guardian 2,400 words on her Kafkaesque encounter.

Lappin's case is not isolated. In 2003, 12 journalists were detained at and deported from LAX. Last March, a Danish photographer had DNA samples taken before he was deported. That same month, a Swedish reporter was turned away at a Washington airport, where he was photographed and fingerprinted, and not allowed to call his embassy. Last May, six French reporters in two groups were detained at LAX; they were on assignment to cover a video-game trade fair. All were deported, the first three "after being repeatedly questioned and body-searched six times," according to Reporters Without Borders. Similar fates awaited a Swedish freelancer in May, a pair of Dutch reporters that same month trying to cover an awards ceremony for world film stunt champions, a British reporter in October and an Austrian in December. In many of the cases, the reporters were treated like criminals: handcuffed and taken to prison holding facilities where some were not allowed to sleep.
.... ...


I was doing a bit of browsing, and recall reading this at that distant things have changed. I hope my kids will look at things like this as if they happened on another planet.

And thanks, DU, for being there and keeping the archive.
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