I’m in a real ethical dillemma about how our laws should treat sex offenders who have served their time and are out in the real world. Right now they’re restricting where they can live. Forcing them to inform their neighbors of their past crimes. Listing them in directories. Permanently and publicly branding each one a Menace to Society.On one hand, people want a safe neighborhood for their children to grow up in. The thought of having your young child sexually molested is a horrible concept, and an event that would permanently scar both the child and your entire family. If someone did it once, he may do it again. Let’s keep him as far away from our families as possible. But on the other hand, not all sex offenders are pedophiles. Not all sex offenders are repeat offenders. And if we need to force these people into a life of severe restriction and public humiliation, why let them out of jail at all? What kind of a life is that? Why is a second chance at a respectable life totally out of the question? Curt Woodward of the AP described a good chunk of the debate in his article, “Sex offender ban debated by task force” (which addressed the bill in a WA county to keep sex offenders from living near schools or daycares):

“Restricting where sex offenders can live may not stop a lot of crime, but the practice is still valuable because it makes Washingtonians feel safer, some members of a state task force believe.”

Everything is about feeling safe these days. Do you really think you can stop a determined psycho by telling him not to buy a house near a school? Likewise, do you think you can really stop a determined terrorist from attacking by scanning us all at the airport? We kick the people we’re afraid of in hopes they’ll back down. But what if we’re really just pissing them off? Forcing people into a corner only enrages them. On a close-to-home note, there are 597 known sex offenders in the city of San Francisco. How do I know? PervWatch.org is a new website seeking to list and map all sex offenders in every state (so far they have California, New York, Texas and Florida up). They told me.And when I click the names of these offenders to view their mugshots and crimes, it sends chills down my spine. Makes me want to look over my shoulder at night. Makes me afraid. Makes me want to lock them back up. God, if I had a daughter, I’d tell her to stay away from these men. I wouldn’t let her out alone. Let’s just stay inside all the time and not meet anyone new ever. Come to think of it, the people we already know can’t be trusted either. It’s just too damned dangerous out there. “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” -Franklin Delano Roosevelt

You know, the kinds that connect the world and constantly process new ideas and provide you with useful tools? I found them, thanks to Seth Godin. They’re here: Emily Chang – eHubAll of them.(Holy constant updates, Batman!)

President Bush, in a rare display of leadership and responsibility, appealled to Americans to “pitch in” and cut down on their driving. Apparently the constant increase in energy use by the American people has finally met the reality of limited oil supply head-on (with the help of a few hurricanes). The New York Times Article continues…

‘ “People just need to recognize that the storms have caused disruption,” [Bush] added, and that if Americans are able to avoid going “on a trip that’s not essential, that would be helpful.” ‘

Amazing. He’s actually asking us to conserve our resources. Because…

‘Households are on pace to spend an average of $4,500 on energy this year, up about $500 from last year and $900 more than in 2003, according to Global Insight, a research firm.’

…and apparently it’s not a good thing that the average person keeps costing more to keep adequately energized. Why didn’t he say this earlier? Well, let’s see…

‘In 2001, Vice President Dick Cheney said, “Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue, but it cannot be the basis of a sound energy policy.” Also that year, Ari Fleischer, then Mr. Bush’s press secretary, responded to a question about reducing American energy consumption by saying “that’s a big no.””The president believes that it’s an American way of life,” Mr. Fleischer said. ‘

Oh.. of course. So in times of crisis asking us to conserve is a last resort. I’m sure as soon as this all blows over (no pun intended), he’ll tell us to start “driving as normal.” But how will he keep the oil flowing? Hmm…

‘Mr. Bush promised to dip further into the government’s petroleum reserve, if necessary, and to continue relaxing environmental and transportation rules in an effort to get more gasoline flowing.’

Of course! Use our oil at a faster rate and relax environmental policies! Why didn’t I think of that? Boy, I’m glad that when I’m 60, my grandchildren will have a beautiful toxic waste dump to waddle through beneath a grey smoky sky. Thanks Bush! You’ve cleared it all up for me!

Good blog entries deserve to be passed on… like a game of telephone. 52 Projects told 43 Folders, who told me that…

Today is the day you start your project. Wake up. Make your coffee. Sit down. Get to work. Now, it should be that simple. Wake up and get to work. But there are many distractions. Mental and otherwise. So this is NOT a to-do list. This is a not-to-do list. You don’t need to check anything off, because these are things YOU ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO DO.

The List is hillarious and oh-so-true. These are the ones I need to keep in mind:

  • Do not Google yourself.
  • Do not Google all your Exes.
  • Do not start thinking you are never going to finish.
  • Do not go to IMDB to see who that actor was in that movie you saw the other night.
  • Do not start reading your old journal entries.
  • Do not start wading through all the magazines you subscribe to but never read.

On a more serious note, while this is all well and good and entertaining, it’s pretty self-defeating. When you use a negative form, your brain hears the action, and not much else. When you say don’t Google yourself, your brain hears Google yourself, and it has no choice but to focus on it. As George Lakoff in his fabulous progressive handbook, says, “Don’t think of an elephant! Whatever you do, do NOT think of an elephant!” Okay, so did you? Don’t lie. While actual To-Do lists can be just another way to kill time, they do help train your brain to focus on what you can do. If you can articulate steps and write them down in order, you can focus on real actions, and you can limit your thoughts to what’s next. The first thing I do when I’m getting overwhelmed is make a To-Do list for everything that’s in my head.The second thing I do is go to the bookstore to wander. But more on that another time.

This has been a rough week. I’ve been sick, I’m getting behind on things, and in general my brain’s been stressed out. But to browse through flickr and come across a picture that compells me to stop, stare, look away, and then look back again and chuckle… Well, let’s just say I’m deliberately ending my week on an absurd note. Enjoy.IMG_4057IMG_4057. Originally uploaded by junku.At least it wasn’t that bad.

IMG_4057
IMG_4057.
Originally uploaded by junku.

This has been a rough week. I’ve been sick, I’m getting behind on things, and in general my brain’s been stressed out.

But to browse through flickr and come across a picture that compells me to stop, stare, look away, and then look back again and chuckle…

Well, let’s just say my week is ending on an absurd note, and that’s just fine with me.

As my friend Jeremiah recently pointed out, Abercrombie & Fitch has hit a new low in setting trends among high school students. Take a look at their new line of Men’s Sexual Appeal Tees. These $30 tight “muscle cut” tees sport such slogans as:SPITTERS ARE QUITTERSBAGHDAD ASS UPWILL SPOON FOR POONYOU BLOW, I’LL POPEATIN AIN’T CHEATINTHIRD BASE COACHJeremiah writes:

THINK about what these slogans, even taken as ironic or sarcastic, slowly instill into our acceptable social identity.

He makes a good point. We’re being systematically desensitized to offensive and stereotyping concepts and this is just another kick in that direction. But is it Abercrombie’s fault?I think this is a perfect example of the “who went here first — the teens or the corporations?” debate. The PBS documentary, Merchants of Cool presents it perfectly (you should check it out). Critics blame corporations for corrupting our youth. Corporations claim they’re just offering up what the youth want. The youth, in turn, claim the corporations “don’t get them,” and use their products as a jumping off point to make their “coolness” even more extreme. Corporations counter by jumping forward and marketing the next taboo subculture (to the point of killing its “coolness,” at which point the youth need to jump further ahead again).You can blame whomever you want, but we’re in a vicious cycle of each one trying to outdo the other. There is no end in sight.

Well, I’ve effectively pulled myself over the hump of this cold in two days. All without taking Nyquil (or Dayquil, or any other cold and sinus drug). Just ibuprofen, echinacea, GanMaoLing, soup, tea, and fruit juice. Not bad. Of course my forced rest put me behind on other things, which now adds anxiety and sets me into work mode, which decreases my immune system, which makes the last few remnants of this cold likely to stick around for another week… but hey, I think I made progress. I’d write more, but oh, I have so much work to do!

It happens at least once a year. I’m striving along with lots of work on my plate, a happy rhythm, a slight tendency to forget to sleep and eat, and WHAM! The common cold virus comes out of nowhere and wallops me upside the head with a force heretofore unexperienced by humankind. But instead a concussion, I end with a sore throat, blocked ears, and the most intense pressure somewhere around the inside of my forehead.In the past, I’ve battled colds head-on. With a sword in hand, I ran forward into it, charging toward my life-as-usual and refusing to accept my enemy as a valid presence. The cold, of course, won. It celebrated its success by lasting weeks — even months — on end. Time and time again I lamented my pain, blaming the cold for its fury. It usually takes several months before I realize this is my body’s way of saying, “Slow down. You do too much, girl. Give it a break.” But by then I’m too battle-wounded to stand. It happened today. I immediately paged my secretary in a hazy stupor and mumbled, “Cancel my next week of appointments, Janet. I have a date with Nyquil.” I lie, of course. Today, I prefer the guerilla warfare of holistic remedies to being taken prisoner by Nyquil… and also, well, Janet quit last week. She left me for a creative professional who remembers the importance of eating and sleeping. Can you believe that?I did cancel my appointments for the next day, but only to spend that time relaxing, undrugged by Western pharmaceuticals. I took echinacea and vitamin C for my immune system, as well as a Chinese herbal remedy for luck. I’ve had about 15 cups of tea today, mostly with honey and lemon. I relaxed, set my work aside, and curled up on the couch with a good movie. I must emphasize the significance of this move. I never drop my responsibilities at the first sign of a cold. Let’s consider this a test. I’ll be back with the results. If I’m missing for a few days, check my bed.* If this entry was a little incoherent or rambly (new word), I blame it on the hazy pressure writhing beneath my forehead. It wasn’t me.

A Picture Share!
A Picture Share!.
Originally uploaded by christopherl.
Jakob's new toy…

just testing…