More Things I Don't Understand
One of the first stories I heard on the radio this morning was about a new study from Europe that suggests that if women eat soy products it can significantly reduce fertility. Apparently a protein is produced that damages sperm looking to fertilize eggs. It seemed like an odd story to me.
But now I've figured out what disturbed me: None of the stories discuss the fact that millions upon millions of soy-saturated Oriental women seem to have no trouble having babies by the bucket-load. So, is this just a Caucasian problem? Or is the report wrong? Or am I missing something?
Commercial No Car Festival
Scenes from today's Commercial Drive No Car Festival. 18 square blocks of no cars! It was glorious and the weather cooperated.
What's With Social Security?
I don't understand all the flap about Social Security. The problem as I've seen it expressed is that this huge bulge of Baby Boomers will soon retire, leaving a smaller number of workers to support them.
So what? We've been through this all before. Once upon a time all these Baby Boomers were children, non-workers, supported by a smaller number of workers. And, boy, did they need supporting! There were schools to build and run, and clinics and hospitals to be expanded, and the billion and one things a big bunch of kids needs. It didn't seem to be a problem then, why should it be such a big deal now?
Am I missing something?
Bringing Equality and Value To the Justice System
First, let us admit that sending people to prison is an astonishingly expensive proposition -- more than $20,000 a year, and up to $70,000 a year if the inmate is over 55 years of age. Tens of billions of dollars each year to lock people up. It is a wasteful and inhumane manner of dealing with non-violent offenders. Incarceration for non-violent offences should be stopped immediately. But what should replace it?
Second, let us agree that fining people should actually mean something; that fines should be the cause of a painful financial experience, otherwise they will have no deterent effect. Moreover, fines for the same offence should have the same effect on each and every offender: That's called equality under the law. A $1,000 fine for a rich man means nothing, whereas a $1,000 fine for a poor man may mean the loss of his house. Nothing equal about that.
Now, let's join those two thoughts. Instead of locking people up for non-violent offences, we should fine them in a meaningful way. Literally make them pay for their crimes. How do we do that?
We do it by making fines a good percentage of an offender's net worth for serious offences, and a good percentage of their last 5-year average incomes for less serious offences. The level of percentage in each case will be determined by the nature of the offence. No judicial discretion.
This solves a great many problems. It ends the inhumanity of incarceration for non-violent offences. It stops the vicious and unnecessary separation of families. It saves society billions upon billions of dollars in prison and jail costs, thus helping to reduce taxes. It will bring in billions and billions of dollars in fines, thus helping to reduce taxes even further. Most importantly, it will help make equality before the law actually mean something.
This is a damn good idea.
Life In George's World
One of George Bush's favourite allies, General Parvez Musharraf of Pakistan, is gradually losing power to reactionary forces. At the same time he is brutally crushing the democratic opposition.
"His government is unraveling under the twin pressures of Islamic fundamentalists whom he refuses to resist and political opponents whom he harasses and jails."
In both these respects, Musharraf is following the historical pattern of most of America's imperialist puppets.
It is to just such an unstable and nuclear-armed leader that George Bush has given F-16 fighters. Life in George's world sure is strange.