Susan's Musings

These musings—blog entries—are for the year 2008. Other years can be accessed from the blog's home page, use the link in the upper right.

Wimuns lib
What was it I rebelled against as a teenager and young woman? That who I was and the work allotted to me because of my sex had no value with men and even with some women. What I wanted was to be valuable and to do work that was held valuable by the majority—men. It's not, I see now, that mothering and housekeeping are demeaning, boring, and unpleasant—rather that they have no value in the minds of men.

That was certainly the case in the 1960s. Is it different now?

Do people today think that a woman at home with her children is doing valuable, right work? How many house husbands are there? How many are not ridiculed in some way? Do women really cook for themselves or their family today? The kitchens I've seen in modern condos are only suited for heating take out food, not making lasagne or a souffle or short ribs. I myself relish a paid housekeeper, and strongly recommend it to all couples contemplating cohabitation, married or otherwise. (12-30-2008)

Spoofed New York Times
On Wednesday, November 12, a collaboration of activists and pranksters distributed a remarkably high quality spoofed copy of the New York Times along with an equally artful website, The front page of the paper headlines with "Iraq War Ends." Other articles present Thomas Friedman's angst at the result of his writing and his decision to retire. I wish it weren't a spoof. This spoof, its conception by The Yes Men and its success, is described here. (11-15-2008)
What an election!
I was a young college student when President Johnson signed the desegregation law. And a few short years later a black man becomes President. Wow! (11-5-2008)
Profit at any price?
It's 10 PM PST on Election Day and it's clear that Barack Obama has won the Presidential election by more than 2:1. John McCain in his final days of campaigning characterized the differences between him and Obama as between Ronald Reagan and the "socialism" of FDR. The election results proved waving the socialism flag was not enough to deter the great majority of Americans who have personally suffered from the unregulated free-market capitalism that Reagan unleashed. Perhaps it's time for humanism, not profit at any price.

I have been especially encouraged to read and hear several people in the last few weeks say it's not enough to elect Obama, we must act daily in our own behalf—demand the government redress the wrongs and take the steps forward towards real health care, safe retirement, good jobs, solar energy, and economic independence. We must rely on ourselves, not just those we elected today. (11-4-2008)

Who's minding the store?
The current "economic" disaster happened while you and I were looking the other way. What the current situation evidences is that true freedom, honest and meaningful work, and protected assets come with a price tag: continual participation in government, active democracy. Read the full essay. (10-25-2008)
Rich con poor
The recent history of this country is one where the rich have persuaded the poor to set aside their own interests in favor of the interests of the rich. What an amazing con. (10-25-2008)
Tax undesirable behavior
Maybe we should tax behavior that endangers the commonwealth like waste production, water consumption, fossil fuel-sourced energy consumption, and pollution. (10-25-2008)
Plant medicines
The Pacific Institute of Aromatherapy started their Call for Papers for the 7th Aromatherapy Conference scheduled for February 2009 in San Francisco: "Most major health challenges in western societies no longer arise from threats posed by nature, but rather from the physiological confusion we visit on our own organisms by subjecting them to an accelerating stream of man made chemicals. Food additives, artificial flavors, pesticides, antibiotics, genetically modified crops and lifestyle drugs such as statins or serotonin reuptake inhibitors all send conflicting messages. The trust we put in these chemicals reflects our cultural conviction to dominate nature. There is only one problem. These substances are physiologically foreign to our organism and confuse our metabolic processes. The substances from the plant world are fundamentally different. They originate from the biosynthetic processes of life itself and our organisms have learnt to coexist with them through the long periods of biological evolution." (10-19-2008)
Aluminum poisoning
We are exposed to aluminum in medicines, personal care products, food, and air. It can accumulate in our bodies, especially the brain and bones, where it causes a long list of symptoms including loss of mental function. Are "CRS" (can't remember shit) and "senior moment" inevitable or the results of aluminum poisoning? This 4-page report itemizes the symptoms, sources, diagnosis, and treatments. (10-9-2008)
What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?
This question is attributed to Dr. Robert H. Schuller, an ordained minister of the Reformed Church in America whose congregation now meets in the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, CA. I find it mesmerizing. In researching this quotation, I found Dr. Schuller has a new book with an equally inspiring title: If It's Going to Be, It's Up to Me. (9-14-2008)
Afghanistan whither thou goest?
"Policy makers did not have the time, structures, or resources for a serious study of an alien culture. They justified their lack of knowledge and experience by focusing on poverty and implying that dramatic cultural differences did not exist. They acted as though villagers were interested in all the priorities of international organizations, even when those priorities were mutually contradictory." Rory Stewart wrote The Places in Between in 2004 about his walk across central Afghanistan, from Herat in the West to Kabul in the East, two years before. This quote is from the few pages where he discusses international policy making and its disconnect with the reality of the people he met. I am glad I read this book. He had previously walked across Iran, Pakistan, India, and Nepal for a combined journey of over 6000 miles. (9-14-2008)
Mass sedation
I recall reading that "religion is the opiate of the masses." Today that role seems to have been usurped by television. The dearth of critical thinking is rampant. People are ignorant of history and recent events. The so-called media continue to prove themselves irrelevant to anything but alternately sedating its audience and whipping it into mass hysteria. The combination of conditions seems to imitate life in its victims who cannot or will not tell the difference. We are deliberately manipulated by the patriotic flag and the fear card—the carrot and the stick. Our grasp on the vigilence so necessary to keep our freedom is lessening. (9-14-2008)
Animal husbandry under seige
Animal husbandry and companion animals have been with humans since the dawn of civilization. We must not let animal control laws interfere. Read the full essay. (9-14-2008)
Guiliani's speech at the 2008 Republican National Convention
When I heard his speech on the radio, I was stunned. What was he saying? It seemed like he was talking about an alternate universe, it had no connection to the world I inhabit. (9-4-2008)
License plate that tickled my fancy
2WALOME (9-1-2008)
What is civilization?
I wrote this essay on 10-2-2007 and am finally publishing it here now. (9-1-2008)
Measures of prosperity
America measures its prosperity in dollars as Gross Domestic Product, or GDP, a number based on sales figures. This unit of measure is devoid of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is stripped of the measures of individual prosperity: familial love, health, meaningful work, learning, and an environment where these measures can be maintained sustainably.

Capitalism has imposed a schizophrenia on us that has rendered us unable to even protest. When we are looking at national economic prosperity we are unable to frame our personal prosperity. Ideology trumps self-preservation. (9-1-2008)

Wendell Berry wrote: "An economically determined society is not by any stretch of the imagination a free one." That fits my experiences. (8-18-2008)
Thomas J. Longman (1935–2008)
A remarkable man. (8-17-2008)
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (2005)
A long, savory, engaging story, good to the last page. There are several historians in the novel—two searchers and one the object of the search—Dracula, Vlad the Impaler who resisted the Ottoman conquest in Wallachia (now southern Romania) in the 1400s. There are three story lines seamlessly interwoven. Vivid characters and intelligent discussions. Highly recommended. Amazon has a good summary and a satisfying interview with the author. (8-11-2008)
Real food is not an industrial product
I guess I'm not through with this thought; see the May 6th entry for more. Factory farming values quantity over quality. That value may be appropriate to some industrial products, but food is meant and needed to nourish human bodies and minds. Foods that truly nourish us, that do not introduce dangerous chemicals into our bodies, and that are raised with respect are real foods. Demand real food and read labels! If industrial meat (factory-farmed, awash in growth stimulants, antibiotics, herbicides, and pesticides, and slaughtered inhumanely) puts you off, as it should, don't abandon all meat, demand real meat. And consider that industrial vegetables are no less unhealthy than industrial meat, demand real vegetables. My essay from 12-2007 is a little different. (8-5-2008)
Religion is just an excuse to sin
Remembering sectarian violence. (7-31-2008)
The dirt about PETA and the Humane Society
If you think these organizations care about cats and dogs, it's time to do your own research. You can start with the No Kill Blog of Nathan J. Winograd. Be sure to read the essay on feral cats! Since Nathan changed his website, his earlier blogs have disappeared. There is an essay "Do Feral Cats Have a Right to Live?" elsewhere.) His essay "The Real Wayne Pacelle Legacy" about the head of the Humane Society, written 7-24-2008, can be found on the site of the San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center. (7-31-2008)
The Canadian holocaust
Did you know that the Canadian government and churches have engaged in systematic genocide (extermination) of the Canadian aboriginal peoples up to the 1990s, and it may be continuing even now? I first learned of this 12 days ago and am still agog. You can learn about it with books, several videos, and recorded radio interviews and lectures. See Hidden From History for details. (7-15-2008)
The high price of gasoline
Petroleum as a power source is obsolete—supplies are dwindling, foreign producers charge exorbitant rates, and processing is destructive to the environment. We need a source of power for buildings and vehicles that is affordable, endless, produced domestically, and non-polluting. This is a national priority and should be a national policy. Its production and distribution will become key elements in our national infrastructure. This power source should not be left to the oil companies to develop, with or without tax incentives. Instead it should be developed by a federally-funded R & D program. (7-11-2008)
Whence capitalism
I am determined to understand what capitalism is and isn't. And I have an MBA! I have miles to go before I sleep but want to quote Robert L. Heilbroner from The Nature and Logic of Capitalism: "The laws of motion of capitalism as a social formation are not solely determined by the law of the tendency of the falling rate of profit or the law of the rising organic composition of capital or the expansive but self-regulating thrust of a society of perfect liberty. Rather, they reflect the interaction of these self-generated logics with other logics, above all those of political or ideological processes, that alter the ballistical properties of the social formation itself." So capitalism is primarily a social, political, and ideological construct? More to come. (7-10-2008)
Government programs ignore bad diets
What does it say about our government that it funds expensive research projects in search of a drug to cure medical conditions known to be caused by the wrong diet? Stem cell research, the FDA's food pyramid—all wrong-minded and having no proven effectiveness without "side effects." Do we really want to eat what we want, regardless of nutrition, at any price? And the price is very high: poor health, diminished ability, pain and suffering, cost of medical care including transportation, cost of "health" insurance, water pollution caused by drugs excreted in urine, on and on with no end in sight. Our government provides no leadership when they act to reinforce this scenario by supporting processed foods, insurance companies, and drug research. Real food is the best medicine! (7-6-2008)
A sunny future
The only way we can sustainably continue to live our modern gasoline-powered lifestyle is to switch to a solar energy-powered lifestyle. Imagine . . . (6-14-2008)
Parents teach their children caution, but it doesn't stick. More. (5-27-2008)
Pixel-perfect web designs—where the design of the page is rendered identically on every monitor by every browser—are virtually impossible to achieve and not worth the effort. Let's solve strategic, conceptual, and architectural problems and let the pixels fall where they may. Read the full essay. (5-17-2008)
Industrial chemicals make us fat?
A recent book counters the old theory about weight gain based on excessive calorie intake with one based on the body's reaction to industrial chemicals in the diet. Read the full essay. (5-10-2008)
Industrial food is a cuckoo
Industrial food is a pretender. It does not nourish our bodies, instead it brings poison. Industrial disease is the gift of industrial food. Read the full essay. (5-6-2008)
The Iraq war must stop now
This war begun in 2003 has severely damaged America and Americans. Can you spell E-N-O-U-G-H? (4-24-2008)
The violence of 9-11-2001
The 9-11-2001 destruction of the World Trade Center buildings in New York and the Pentagon in Virginia are the single largest acts of violence in American history. The report of the 9/11 Commission was unsatisfactory and unworthy of the American people. We are right in continuing to seek the truth. There is no statute of limitations on lies—they remain lies until the truth is revealed. What I believe today. (4-24-2008)
Carcinogens are not the only danger
I just got an announcement in the mail from my CA state Senator Carole Migden titled "Carcinogens in Cosmetics?". It reported that CA Senate Bill 484, signed into law in 2005, is, effective in 2008, requiring cosmetic and personal care product manufacturers to publish the names of products that contain carcinogens. "The scientific community is concerned the cumulative result of . . . exposure [to these carcinogens] is an increased likelihood of reproductive harm and cancer." Further it states that "new legistlation will soon be introduced to ban harmful chemicals which currently can be found in baby products . . ."

This seems mighty slow to me. It's past time for us to become more discerning about the dangers of industrial chemicals. Cancer and reproductive disability are not the only dangers. For example: (1) Phthalates are linked to reproductive, developmental, and respiratory problems. (2) Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are linked to reproductive and developmental problems and endocrine disruption. (3) Bisphenol A (BPA) causes problems similar to PBDEs. I expect that if we look carefully, we'll find more dangers from more chemicals. (3-15-2008)

No problem? How rude!
Whatever happened to "you're welcome"? The current mis-use of "no problem" is getting on my nerves. The older I get the more I say "thank you" for help or service. What I get back is "no problem." Do they mean they only provided the help or service because it was no problem to them, even when they were paid to do so? Do they imply that if it had been a problem, they wouln't have done it? Or perhaps they are bragging that it was easy for them. In either case—it is RUDE. (2-29-2008)
The end of pets
PETA and the ASPCA are the biggest threat to the future of purebred cats since World War II. That war killed cats and devastated breeding programs. Some breeds came within a whisker of dying out. Today a group of people who claim to be motivated by a desire to prevent cats from being killed in "shelters" seek to eradicate cats as pets. These people are inhumane. (2-18-2008)
Dodging the recession
Government non-regulation set the stage for the high risk mortgage crash-and-burn and a possible recession. Let's take the time to do it right: avoid recession while helping those at risk. Read all about it. (1-22-2008)
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Revision: 3-16-2015.