To Deny Is Science: Climate Change

I love science. Even though I studied literature in college, I’ve always love to read about and watch shows about science. Some of my favorite writers wrote in the 19th century, a time when people found a greater freedom to explore science with a lesser chance of getting burnt at the stake or beheaded. A lot of the literature of this time period discussed and criticized the scientific sphere.

I believe in the theory of evolution. I believe in the big bang theory. And I am open to modifications or invalidations of scientific theories. That’s the way science works, so I thought. Science is always up to be challenged.

Issac Newton presented theories that were proven wrong at a later date. So did Einstein. Scientific theories get torn apart to see if they can stand.

So I am disheartened to hear President Obama and his administration assert that “climate change is real” and all discussion is closed. That ceases to be science and starts to become a weird sort of dogma.

Why won’t the believers in man-made climate change debate people that do not buy into this theory wholeheartedly? Scientist vs. scientist. Let there be a free-flowing discussion and experimentation.

The man-made climate change believers are veering onto a pathway to anti-science. Something smells rotten in government. Build upon knowledge, do not create a 21st century Western version of the Islamic Four Great Doctors from the 13th century. I’ve developed a taste for freedom. Let’s be free to think.

Worth a Hill of Beans

For about four or five minutes now the teacher spoke of lofty ideals and grand humanitarian goals.

World peace. End to war and hunger. Equality and fairness. Trust one another. Diversity appreciation. Stop prejudice. A fair legal system.

Then he suddenly stopped and looked at the whole class. He said, “Let’s not fool ourselves, in the end all we really care about is our next can of beans.”

It was an abrupt turnabout. Pragmatism wins over platitudes.

My cousin graduated from high school and expected to get a good-paying job at an auto factory, the same way that his father and grandfather did. By the time he was looking for work, those jobs were gone. He meandered around doing odd jobs that never panned out to full-time careers. He ended up getting killed by being in the wrong place at the wrong time during a drug deal in Detroit.

The economy is global, no longer can autoworkers in Detroit say buy only American-made cars. If your neighbor works for a Nissan plant, why shouldn’t he buy a car from the company that pays him a living wage? A low-skill, high paying manufacturing job is nearly extinct, so grab what you can.

America was on top for too long. Now it is time for her to suffer. Most of the world root for our suffering and demise. Americans must get used to a lower standard of living. The politicians should stop spouting lies. More jobs may never come. The global economy levels off the playing field and those on top will slide ever farther down.

So much for the average worker. Don’t forget to fleece the rich bastards. The Wall Street bankers, CEOs, sports figures, and those in the entertainment industry for starters.

Though I do admire the skills of Alan Mulally and how he managed Ford and other businesses so well that jobs were preserved and the companies prospered. Kim Kardashian makes money off her big butt. I’m sick of people admiring her more than effective leaders in the business world that are only demonized.

But I forget, capitalism is evil.

Now how to take away the money from the very rich around the world? Any ideas? Put a cap on all income? Raid bank accounts? Open up mansions to house the people? Oprah tell us what to do. You can start with throwing your cans of beans into the pile.

 

 

 

 

Racism and the White Woman, 2

I’m from Detroit. A writer of a recent Detroit newspaper article would argue with me on this point since I never actually lived on any street within the city. I am a phony because I only lived near the city of Detroit.

When I lived in Warren, Michigan, I could look across 8 Mile and see Detroit from my kitchen window. (No, I do not hang out with Sarah Palin.)

Before that, I lived in Hamtramck a couple of blocks from the Detroit city limit. Hamtramck is a small city that is completely surrounded by Detroit.

The street I lived on in Hamtramck created and at the same time broke down some racial barriers. I lived on one side of the street where all the houses were occupied by white people. Across the street, all the houses were occupied by black people. Divided right down the middle. At the age of four, all the white and black people sitting on their front porches sort of looked the same to me.

One of my first observations of racism took place in the women’s clothing section of a department store. I was with my mother and grandmother. Two teenage girls debated over the monumental decision of which blouse they should buy.

My grandmother spoke in Polish to my mother, “Just look at that, black people are shopping here!” Her words implied that these black teenagers should be banned from certain places and activities. This is the first time I remember being fed a racist thought.

This was the late 1950′s and within a few years all the houses on my divided street were torn down. The dismantling continued into the 1960′s.

Racism and the White Woman

A Kenyan-born professor taught an African Studies class I took at an American college. One time he mentioned that the American Slave trade forever skewed the relationship between Europeans and Africans. The relationship was healthy between them before the horrible trade began and should have remained so. But the growing market for slaves in the Americas altered the dynamics.

This was an offhand comment and the professor didn’t dwell on it, nor make it a political point. It was a basic observation and lament. Many years later, this one comment remains vivid in my mind.

Africans traded worldwide as equal economic partners with other countries and continents. Advanced civilizations flourished on the African soil. The Library of Alexandria in Egypt was once the largest and grandest in the Mediterranean world. Slave did not define an African.

And yet here we are. Racism is central to the American fabric according to some groups. Even if racism is diminishing, it is not gone.

Africa has a rich history. Racism was the result and not the cause of slavery. Slave traders dehumanized Africans so that they could treat this one race as if they were property. Slavery obscures the historical Africa.

The real story of Africa is not victimhood. A sense of healing in the future might begin if we can revisit the past.

The Cliven Bundy Book Club

A suggestion to Cliven Bundy: Read “Beloved” by Toni Morrison.

Then talk about it within a book discussion group. Mix it up, don’t include only family and friends, include a broad range of people.

First discussion point: Is it better to be born a slave or killed as a baby?

Literature is the best study of ethics there is. That’s what my English professor said when the Business Department was thinking about adding an ethics for business major class into their curriculum.

Why add more make-work classes? Just read a wide range of the good stuff, ethics is already in there. Just read, enjoy, criticize, rant, rave, love, and learn. You might surprise yourself.

 

Obama: A True Story

Five years ago, my husband’s cousin in Florida and his wife were huge supporters of Obama. My husband feared that Obama was all style and no substance. He was magnetic and electable, and maybe that is all that matters.

Just last month when we visited the cousin, his tune changed dramatically. His son must purchase his own health insurance since his employer does not offer it. He needs insurance for himself and his family and the Affordable Care Act is way too costly for him to purchase. So his wife is keeping her job at a drugstore in order to purchase the store’s insurance for the family. After daycare and insurance costs, she makes very little per week, but it is a far cheaper route than the ACA. The cousin had hoped that a President Obama would make life better for his children. Instead he said he is unhappy with this bleak future he sees for them.

The ACA may be wildly successful as the administration claims, but this is one real instance that it has disappointed.

The cousin has not changed his politics. Now he is interested in Elizabeth (just look at her, you can tell she’s Native American) Warren. His ethnic observation, not mine. Now he is hoping for guaranteed pensions for all employees provided by every business. New disappointments on the horizon?

 

 

 

Sweet Dreams Are Made by Computer

I’ll never forget the most vivid dream I ever had.

About a year ago, my computer screen was turning on at certain times during the day and night on its own. A few times, I woke up to an eerie machine light streaming down the hallway. I became convinced that someone was trying to look in or listen in on us. I don’t know why, since we are the most boring kind of people, but paranoia is not reasonable.

So back to my dream: In the middle of the night the computer screen flicked on. I woke up (in my dream) and started swearing at this disturbance. The light became more intense and the machine started to make noises as if to match my own yelling.

Then I heard fast and heavy footsteps come down the hallway to our bedroom. Because the computer screen lit the house quite well, I saw the owner of those loud footsteps enter the bedroom.

It was a short man, no taller than five foot five. He wore a robe and hood reminiscent of the times of Jesus. He came to the foot of our bed and aggressively waved a scythe over us. In the dream, I woke up but could neither scream nor utter one word even though I tried.

I guess this could have been death what with the robe and scythe and all. If it was, I didn’t feel the fear death should have inspired.

The scythe was ambiguous. The weapon appeared to be highly threatening and benevolent all at once. I came to feel that the scythe waving reminded me of a form of blessing. Instead of a priest waving his hand over me with a blessing, I got blessed with a sharp and potentially deadly instrument. 

Go figure. I guess the computer holds just as much ambiguity.