Tuesday, May 20, 2014

SierraDawne hits middle age

I found this little nugget buried on my Facebook page.  I had forgotten that I wrote it.  Now that I can't even see 40 in my rear view mirror, I still find the sentiment still applies:

My 40th birthday came and went quietly. This was due in no small part to my own stealthiness and expert avoidance tactics. It's not that I mind turning 40. In fact, I think it's pretty amazing, considering the life I have lived, that I made it to 40 and still remain un-incarcerated.

But I did NOT want to face the "Lordy, Lordy, the old bitch is forty" balloons, and the "Over the hill" cake with the tombstone. It's hard to stand strong against all that light-hearted negativity.

But really, on my 40th birthday, I was only one day older than the day before, and whose counting days? And if you did, what great insight who you gain? Would you change anything? It's not like you can go on diet and take off a few years. And as rough as some years have been, there aren't any I would want to lose.

Although, if it's our experiences that make us who we are, would I be a better or a worse person if I could take a magic eraser to some of the worst of them? As tempting as that is, erasing the bad would also mean erasing the good.

So instead of looking to the past, looking to the future is another option. But believe me, one thing I have learned in all these years is that no one can look to the future. Despite all due diligence and planning, the future takes it's own spontaneous twists and turns, leading you down paths that you never could have prepared for. Besides, the future is just borrowed time.

So that leaves only today. This moment. Nothing else deserves our attention. It's the only thing that we can change. Maybe not our location, or health, or appearance. But what we can do is decide how we want to perceive it. I was once told that "Perception is reality". Of course, the context in which that pearl of wisdom was delivered was in a very negative situation. And my knee jerk response was "only if you're stupid or lazy." But there is some truth to that cliche.

Actually, there is a great deal of power in it. It means that you can look out a stormy day, and instead of seeing an ugly, angry sky, you can experience beauty in the swirling shades of gray, and feel it's power tickling your skin. And suddenly you wouldn't trade this day for the sunniest of days.

Wow, does that sound Pollyanna-ish, or what? Oh, well. If you tend to look at the downside of things, it's worth a try every once in a while. As long as you don't abuse that power, it's a good thing. I mean, if that guy you're crushing on has a restraining order against you, perhaps you need to fine tune your perception of the situation.

So now that I am officially "middle age" I gotta say that I don't feel any different than I did at 28 (my official age BTW). So to all of you who think they'll slit their wrists on their 40th, 50th, 60th... birthday, I'd advise you let those candles burn, baby! That's your light, your flame growing stronger. Take that moment and celebrate your life!

Monday, May 19, 2014

In my dreams I can fly
just lift myself and glide
a feather in the breeze
free from this pedestrian life

But here in my waking life
I feel so clumsy, heavy and old
struggling with the weight of my mistakes
the beautiful sky to so far from my reach

maybe I'm just here to learn
and maybe I'm here to teach
maybe I'm just here to yearn
to fly like in my dreams

just lift myself and glide
tumbling and turning
twirling and dancing
oh, why can't I just fly?

Cathy Bundy
May 26th, 2014.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

What is private?

What a difference a few days makes!  First, we find out that a "leaker" outed the NSA classified surveillance programs to a foreign news reporter, and guess what? The NSA was supposedly surveilling us!  Then, the "leaker" pops up in China where he seems to have generously shared more of our nations secrets with the Chinese government. (I mean this is China, do you think that they let him in out of the goodness of their hearts?)

And, of course, chaos ensues!  Citizens are furious! Politicians are back peddling and pretending they never knew of such intelligence programs.  FOX news is gleefully dumping on President Obama and Democrats.  CNN is conducting psuedo-polling, "Is Snowden a hero or a traitor?"  The ACLU is suing the government for presumably obtaining ACLU phone records.

Watching all of this, I was very puzzled as to why everyone was suddenly so upset now, when no one seemed to be upset when it was first made known to the public in 2006.  What was different now?  Is it because the internet generation has come of age in this last 7 years?  Or is this yet another example of "it's OK when it's a white republican president"? 

There appears to be blood in the water, and the feeding frenzy is epic.

After a week this, there are some misconceptions that was being sorted out. For instance:

* These is the same programs that Congress approved in 2006.

* Phone conversations are not being listened to.  Can you imagine how many people it would take to listen to millions of people phone conversations?

* The collection of internet data is still per request, and constitutes only a tiny fraction of user accounts.  We don't know if those were accounts of private citizens or not.  And of the requests reported, only an unquantified portion were requests from the NSA, the rest from Federal, State and Local law inforcement agencies.

* The phone companies and internet companies willingly cooperated.  Back in 2006, only QWEST refused government requests for information.

* Yes, the surveillance program did stop some terrorist activity.  More will be known as details become unclassified.

There are a lot of questions left to be answered. 
How well does the NSA investigate people for security clearances?  Since this is wartime, is Snowden guilty treason, or just guilty of releasing classified documents to unautorized foreign nationals? What information did he or will he release to China and other governments?

What can the information that the NSA has collected be used for?  Can it be shared with other agencies?  Would we want that? (i.e.  If they uncovered a pedophile ring, would we want them to bust the ring?)

But, arguably, the largest issue is: In this information age what constitutes privacy?  Has the 4th ammendment been breached here?  To determine that, we need to answer the legal questions:

Who owns the data?  When you proudly post your latest selfy on Facebook, does that data, the bits and bytes that make up that image, belong to you?  Or does it belong to Facebook?  Is it only copyrighted material would be protected?  When you post information to the internet is there an assumption of privacy?  What about data transmitted over an unsecured link as opposed to encrypted links?

Can the emails that you keep on Google be construed as your "property" or "papers" has stipulated in the 4th Ammendment?  Can it be reasonably expected that your emails are your private communications and therefore, protected?

Are phone records the property of the phone company?

What we need is not finger pointing and bluster.  Instead we need national understanding about the laws as they stand, a conversation about what we the people find acceptable and reform as needed.

Now is the time to address these issues.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Dreams of North Korea

Folks who know me, know that I have normally have bizarre dreams.  But never before have I composed a parody song in my dreams.  And I even remembered it fully upon waking!  If this is divine inspiration, then the divine must have a sense of humor as warped as mine!

This is to the tune of "How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria" from the Sound of Music.

How do you solve a problem like North Korea?
How do you catch a nuke and turn it 'round?
What do you call a problem like Kim Jong Un?
A lunatic, a psychopath, a clown?
Many a thing Obama tries to tell him.
Many a thing Kim ought to understand.
But how do you make him pay?
Or stop and change his ways?
How do you stop a tsunami upon the sands?
Oh, how do you solve a problem like North Korea?
How do you kick Kim Jong Un in his pants?

So in my dreams I pictured creating a JibJab video with replete with the North Korean army dancing to the tune, Super Obama guiding a nuke back to North Korea, and, of course, ending with a Uncle Sam's boot to the butt of Kim Jong Un.

It was one of my more entertaining dreams!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

When corruption is the law of the land...

The only reason the republican politicians are bald face lying corporate shills is due to the supreme court legalizing corrupt companies buying politicians.   Does our system of checks and balances really overlook a corrupt supreme court judges? Sure they seemingly threw us a bone on ObamaCare. They didn't really. Without single payer, they delivered us straight into the jaws of the insurance companies.  Sheldon Addelson, who is under investigation for bribing chinese officials to IPOD his casinos in China, is one of Romney's biggest stakeholders. He has pledged unlimited funds to Romney's campaign. This is whomRomney is beholden to. Think about it, if you are being given 500 million a single donor, well it is fairly guaranteed that you are nothing more than a puppet with his hand all the way up your butt.   The people need a government to look after our interests.  A government that finds a way to be fiscally responsible while provide what the citizen service thatnee are paying for. Old Sheldon, like most other CEOs would just as soon send all their jobs overseas, while enjoying the ridiculously low corporate taxes on both the federal and local levels here in the US, and the corporate welfare they receive from the government, AND keeping their money in off shore accounts to avoid paying any taxes. In the meantime we have local governments declaring bankruptcy. We have state and local governments closing schools and selling off the properties. Police forces are being reduced and their priority is more to generate income through misdemeanor fines than to protect the citizens. Firefighters are being cut while 70 percent of America is under drought conditions. We need to take back America, and put the citizens first. We need to start a targeted movement to force the supreme court to overturn their decision and to put a stop to the selling of our country.