Nuclear

Let’s start by reiterating the advisability of every environmentally-minded person watching Pandora’s Promise.

When I was younger, I used to argue with my dad about nuclear power.  My main concern was the horrors of nuclear waste.   We shouldn’t risk it when the true scope of the risk is unknown.

Here is the problem with that argument.  The true scope of the risk associated with oil-based electricity is known.  You say no to nuclear, you say yes to coal, an industry with risks we know very well. Okay, so then you break out the promise of solar  or wind.  Sure.  Except both require batteries.  The environmental destruction and risk that happens in the name of solar is only displaced: you are outsourcing the end of the world to factories in the developing world.  Just because you can’t see it from your back door doesn’t mean it isn’t there.  The sheer volume of solar panels that you would need to power the world is absurd.  No matter what advancements they make, a solar panel is like a cell phone: give it a few years and it won’t work quite as well as it did when you got it.  Now you have to dispose of it and it is full of yuckies.  Not that we shouldn’t be pushing forward with the technology, just that it isn’t an answer to the energy crisis.

Wind too. You have to have battery back up for when it isn’t windy.  Which happens.

Did you know that a lot of the anti-nuclear funding came from the oil industry?  It is like the tobacco industry funding research that says pot is going to turn you into a crazed criminal.  Is pot ideal?  Depends.  If you need help with pain and muscle spasms (and possibly epilepsy) then pot is actually a godsend.  If you had to choose between cigarettes and pot, you’d be better with pot.

Same here.

Yes, there are risks.  But the background radiation at Chernobyl isn’t statistically significant when compared to other places  on the planet.  And there are plant designs that are much safer, but were never more than pilot tested due to public pressure, paid for by the oil industry. 

Besides, the BP oil spill didn’t make us all decide to quit driving.  The known risks that we all share from emissions haven’t stopped us building coal-fired plants.  As unpopular as France might be, they have been on predominantly nuclear power since the 70’s.  Their emissions are enviable. 

Personally, I am terrified of what the world is going to look like if we keep ignoring pretty damn awesome because we want perfect.  Solar and wind aren’t perfect, and they can’t do what we need done fast enough.  The longer we go along with public policy paid for by Shell and BP, the more certain our demise via climate change.  Nuclear is necessary to a reality-based plan to slow up climate change, and those bastards at the top of oil companies screwed us all by funding bogus science to scare the crap out of us. 

Never trust anyone trying to sell you fear.

With the nut test in mind (anyone who is 100% sure they can’t be wrong is a nut), go watch Pandora’s Promise.  Call it a thought experiment on what would happen if we had the technology to significantly curtail carbon emissions on a large scale right now.

the politician I’d vote for…

We’re getting into full-blown campaign mode, with Donald Trump making an ass of himself every time he opens his pie hole, and Hillary kind of making me sad for her.  Donald doesn’t require much explanation, but Hillary.  I read a quote that went something like “I think people should trust me.  I think they do trust me.”  It just rubbed me the wrong way.  I think she’d be a competent president.  I think she’s a strong lady.  I think she’s smart, she’s got an impressive resume, and I think she’s probably realpolitik enough to count.  And maybe that is all that should matter.  This Benghazi thing is a pile of hooey.  It certainly isn’t what brings her trustworthiness into question.

I wish she’d come out and say it.  I don’t need to be warm and fuzzy.  Diplomacy is a dirty game and I know how it is played.  Governing is a dirty business, and I know how to do that.  She’s not a warm and fuzzy grandma figure, nor do we want her to be.  And the compromises she’s making between being the tough-minded politician that she is and the things society expects her to be as a female make for the sense that she isn’t trustworthy.  Fair?  Perhaps not.  She, unlike the men in the race, is expected to be both a lady and a leader, and the two seem to require different things.  There is no conflict for the men between being a man and being a leader.  One might argue that being a gentleman (to use comparable terms) and a politician isn’t such an easy fit, but it isn’t the same glaring gap between the two that Hillary has to navigate.

And then she’s not even whispering about getting corporate money out of politics, and she’s suspect for that.  She doesn’t get a pass from me just because we have the same basic set of lady parts.

So this is the politician I’d like to vote for:

  1. Serious about campaign finance.  Puts their principles into action.
  2. Outlines an approach to foreign policy, but doesn’t commit to a course of action.  There’s just too much that is unknowable from the perspective of an outsider.
  3. Commits to simplifying the tax code and eliminating loopholes.
  4. Ruthlessly pragmatic.
  5. No history of stupid comments that *sound* like being an ass about class but are really about being an ass about race.
  6. Committed to ending the war on drugs with science- and experience-based policy.  We can look to Europe for what has worked there and come up with something better than what we’ve got.
  7. Consistent.  If a principle applies here, then it applies over there too.  No picking and choosing.
  8. Agnostic.  Serious about clear separation of church and state.
  9. Pro-nuclear power.  Anti-nuclear weapons.  Don’t freak out about my having misplaced my liberal credentials somewhere, go watch Pandora’s Promise.
  10. Understands the beast that is the federal government and will do something reasonable about harnessing the wasted potential inherent in the federal workforce.

Show me that politician and I’ll line up to vote.  Everyone else?  Meh.  Not that I won’t vote, I just won’t be excited about it.

things I messed up

My brain has been 100% devoid of any/all worthy thinking in the past month.  Something about the boxes and having the books on all the wrong shelves and not knowing *what* I’ve got in my kitchen, so I end up buying cinnamon three times (true story) and I don’t even like cinnamon.

In all of this, my failure to blog has been looming over me as one of those things I know I should be doing, there on the same list as meeting with the drainage specialists to figure out how to solve the water piling up around the drain outside the basement door.  I looked up a website that promised to give me 150 really good ideas for blog posts.  It gave me ten.  Maybe.  On a good day.  If I stretch it.

One of those ten was to write about regret – specifically one example where I just went horribly, horribly awry.  Not too hard to figure out what that one is going to be…  I was newly married, 25ish, and working as a glorified secretary at the Department of State.  I was bored out of my skull, looking desperately for a way to get myself some more work, when a contractor offered to double my salary in a weekend.  I said yes.

You’d think going from making $30k to making $60k would be an obvious choice.  And it was.  Except that the guy who was running the division made my skin crawl.  Like a Garbage song from the 90’s.  Within a week of me turning in my resignation, a new division called me up to tell me that they’d selected me for an opportunity which would have been hugely interesting, and I’d now have 10+ years as a federal employee behind my back.  And there is a long list of things that wouldn’t have happened to me and a whole different list of things would have happened to me instead.

And it isn’t necessarily the job change that I regret, though it was a dumb, impatient move.  It was that my gut said no, and I said yes to the job offer.  Every time I’ve ever gone contrary to my gut–for whatever reason–I’ve looked back and been mad at myself because I knew better.  And I’ve usually ignored my gut because I was trying to be logical, or nice, or whatever it is that young women are supposed to be.

excuses, excuses

While you might argue that there is no discernible schedule that I live by, there used to be rhythms.  A time and a place for everything and space between things into which I could fit a blog post.  I upended everything for stability and stability is what I got.  I just didn’t make much allowance in my planning for what all it was going to cost me.

So I’m finding new rhythms.  No, finding is a bit of an overstatement.  I am trying out new rhythms.  New ways of writing, new ways of fitting it all in.  I’m not there yet.  The fantasy I had of this writing room that now belongs to me, the chair exactly where it is right now…  in this fantasy, I wasn’t so determined to make my own food and not rely on the cafeteria and Annie’s southwestern bean burritos.  This stuff takes *time* and I can no longer make up for that time by blogging in the down time.

Incidentally, watching my washing machine is better than watching TV.  LG front-loader with LED lights to expose the inner workings of agitation.  There’s got to be a poem in there somewhere, but I’m struggling to get to the prose.  Gotta leave the poetry alone.

Finding new rhythms.  Carving them out of concrete when required.  I’ll get back on track.  I have the best of intentions…

Getting settled

But no internet yet…  So far the news is as follows:

No AC.
Dog has claimed a fan all of her own and sleeps with her belly facing the breeze.
Neighborhood is a pleasing mix of everybody.  I might be the only yuppie in the hood.
I’m tired of painting and the real painting hasn’t yet begun.  Maybe it will be better after the AC arrives.

But most importantly, as I was walking the dog last night, I rounded our corner, looked in a window, and thought mine.

Late to the GOT Argument…

… about rape.  So GRRM was asked about the Sansa story arc and how it differs from the books.  He said, more or less, that the decision was made to give Sophie Turner a story-line that would be challenging for her as an actress.  Fair enough.

While acknowledging that rape is a fundamental factor in the lives of women over millenia, up to and including today where ISIS rapes women, the women of Sierra Leone survived civil war with visible and invisible scars as the result of rape…  basically google any conflict you can think of and add rape to your search term and you’ll find the stories.  GOT is a fantasy based in the political happenings of the Middle Ages, and again, rape is historically prevalent and represented equally in the books and in the show (though perhaps not quite as explicitly in the books as on the show because it’s HBO and …  boobs).

So while all of that is true…  Sansa gets raped because the way to give an actress a meaty role is to have her survive systematic spousal rape?  Is there no emotionally challenging story line for women that doesn’t involve her reproductive function?

And on GOT, there is.  Arya is getting to grow without being raped (so far.)  The Sand Snakes seem more or less in charge of themselves and throw around swords, so there is that.  And overall, it’s fiction, it’s HBO, and the show isn’t dismal when it comes to letting women function as fully realized human beings.  I just read that quote and thought really?  That’s the best the showrunner could do to provide Sophie Turner with a challenge?