Thursday, February 23, 2006

About US Port Deal With Corporation Based In United Arab Emirates

It may not be that earth shaking of an issue.

I guess it's one of the things that comes with privatization of public facilities and multinational corporations.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Are Corporate Profits Bad?

A better question might be, "what is done with the money from corporate profits?" Does this money just go to private incomes for fat cats or does it go into things like research and development? Is it invested in improving the corporation's infrastructure, or does it just go to a bunch of wealthy people to buy bigger "show boat" homes?

How the profit money is used becomes a more important question, in my mind, than whether there is a big profit, or not.

The tax system can address this question.

Assuming it is better to invest in things like "plant and equipment," "research and development," "job creation," "the community," rather than investing in fat cat people, the tax system can address this need.

Raise personal income taxes on the wealthy, but maintain generous deductions for business expenses, investments and charitable donations.

The important question is not "is there an excessive profit?" The question is, "where does the profit money go?"

Monday, February 13, 2006

US Vice President Dick Cheney Accidentally Shoots Hunting Partner


Political pundits and cartoonists are loving it. Grist for many cartoons.

In some Islamic circles, cartoons would be considered more lethal than shotguns.

Cars can also be considered lethal weapons.

These things all float around human society. Guns, cars and cartoons.

Many people live around guns. It can be a way of life. Picture shows gun on display at a mom & pop cafe in central Oregon where I stopped to eat on my 2001 "round the northwest" bicycle tour. Gun was being raffled off to raise money for the local Lion's Club. That's something one is more apt to see in rural areas. Country values.

Accidents happen, but sometimes I think people are too confident in their abilities to control things. Adults are just kids playing with bigger toys. This certainly applies to cars, much of the time.

Many years ago, I remember a photo in newspapers. It showed Senators passing this gun around the committee room, holding it up, checking the sights for examination. A caption read something like, "the boys with the toys."

Even bicycles can be lethal, but much less likely. There is the phrase, "bikes not bombs."

As for cartoons, there is the phrase, "sticks and stones can hurt my bones, but names will never hurt me." I heard that in grade school.

I can't resist this. There is also a town called Cheney, Washington. Home of Eastern Washington University and another place I have passed through on bicycle.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Changes at 710 KIRO in Seattle

Oh, the automobile causes lots of problems. Even played it's role in talk show host Mike Webb's removal from the airwaves at KIRO. Aftermath of an accident and a case with an insurance company. (Details on that case in various medias around the region).

Wouldn't it be better if people weren't so dependent on cars, with all the associated problems?

Especially if one's politically liberal, makes more sense to walk, bike and use public transit. Cars are often the "weak link" in most people's lifestyles.

Here are some of my thoughts on radio and automobiles on "Superbowl Sunday."

I don't even know when the "Stupor Bowl" was to be played.

I ask, "Seahawk's, are they baseball?"

Anyway, on Superbowl Sunday I was curious when the big game would be on. Not that I really care, but so much of Western Washington is gaga over this.

Tuned to 710 KIRO just as the "first quarter coin toss" landed.

"Well, I guess it's right now."

I turned off the radio and decided to go on a bike ride instead.

It looked like Bellingham streets were all but vacated.

"Everyone glued to a silly game?"

I passed one yard where someone was yelling and kicking a lawn chair to smithereens.

Something must have gone wrong in the game.

The rest of the ride was peaceful as I am often in my thoughts.

Time to wonder what happened to KIRO's evening talk show host Mike Webb. He's liberal with a loud "L," but now missing from KIRO's evening. Missing for a while now.

Was the show pushed off by Seahawk fanfare and sports talk? A lot of big changes happening at KIRO recently, such as the loss of Erin Hart.

I was not a huge fan of Mike Webb, but do think his voice, and perspective is worth hearing. He was a bit more confrontational than I like, often bullying callers he didn't see eye to eye with. I would have preferred a friendlier dialog, but did enjoy much of the show.

Mike is a big critic of what is often called "Bush's war" in Iraq. It's called a "war for oil companies," but I seldom hear talk show hosts advocate bicycling, public transit, and / or voluntary simplicity.

People tend to forget who buys that oil.

Among liberal, as well as conservative perspectives, people often lose sight of the fact that, in part, "we have met the enemy and he is us."

Commercial radio is a glamorous media, fast moving with lots of car ads. Kind of the antithesis of life in a slower lane.

Interesting to note that the downside of automobile culture played a part in removing Mike Webb from KIRO's airwaves. A Google search brought me to a Seattle Times article dated December 28 05. It explained details of this car accident, not caused by Mike, but followed by a horrendous insurance hassle, or misunderstanding, that, for some reason, lead to the station removing Mike from its airwaves.

Seems to confirm my impression that cars, while they have their good uses, can also be Pandora's boxes to great peril.

The Mike Webb show continues through his web site
www.mikewebb.org.

Maybe in web casting, things can take on a gentler character.

Also, for liberal talk radio, Air America keeps growing. Would be nice if Air America had some local content, rather than just from the network, but maybe someday. Things keep evolving.

While not stridently liberal, or conservative, my favorite Seattle station is still KUOW. Carries networks like NPR and PRI, but also has a lot of very informative local talk.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Religion Has Been A Bad Boy And Had To Be Expelled From Public School

Yes I say Boy because religion was kind of being macho and aggressive. He kept trying to dominate with one point of view or another and not letting other points of view be heard in the class. He kept fighting others because he said, "there's only one way." Didn't listen to others.

So the teacher finally had to expel him.

It's not that religion can't go to school. If he behaved, he'd be okay. Many of our country's founding fathers (and mothers) were deeply religious, but many of them were too pushy about their diverging points of view. They basically had to kick religion out of school. There were so many different kinds of founding folks that they had to agree on a truce. They had to not let any one religious view try and take over the school.

Sometimes it was an uncomfortable truce, but they had little choice. They didn't want the school torn up with fighting kids.

Today the teacher says religion might be able to come back, but he has to learn to be multi-cultural. He might be allowed to come back if he is willing to take a class on "comparative religions." He has to learn that his many differing points of view are basically all okay. Even lack of a religious point of view is okay.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

1956 Film Promotes Solar Energy

I am still thinking about that film I saw in grade school called Our Mr. Sun. Just wrote a review of it in terms of solar energy for a film reviewing site.

We can still learn ...

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Old Street Light


Seen in a small town on last summer's bicycle trip. I am afraid to say which town for fear someone might try and swipe it for their antique collection.

It's a nice memory.

Reminds me of the light on my childhood street. It was just a regular light bulb with a filament, like old fashioned light bulbs. 300 watt.

On my childhood street, the bulb has since been replaced with a mercury vapor light (the blue) and then sodium vapor (the yellow).

That grainy glass lens, on my childhood street, is long gone, but the one in the picture remains.

Once I saw one of those lenses in an antique store with a big price tag.

Yes there is a lot going on in the news, but it can be restful to look back on a childhood memory. Something one often gets to do when traveling by bicycle and going slow enough to notice things like the street lights.

Life in the slow lane.

When I was growing up, I used to entertain myself by watching mercury vapor street lights turn on in a parking lot.

It was a small town.

At sundown the mercury lights would flicker and then give off a deep blue for about one minute. Soon the blue would gradually turn into a metallic, almost whitish blue of mercury vapor lights.

Some folks feel mercury vapor creates an abrasive light.

The incandescent light bulb on my street didn't have to warm up at all. Unlike mercury vapor it just came on, instantly; like an old living room lamp.

I dreamed of the day that I would see sodium vapor street lights with their warm yellow glow. We didn't have any in town.

Now just about all street lights are sodium vapor and they are taken for granted.