Thursday, December 27, 2018

Obama baked the economic recovery cake, Trump adds frosting; wants more frosting

Mr. Trump fears that our country could be sliding into another recession and that's why he would like the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates low; like maintaining a sugar high of printed money. Problem is, that's not very sustainable in the long run, tho we've had rock bottom interest rates for may years, during several administrations, Obama and Bush included.

I think one problem is the combination of cheap money and Republican policies of low domestic spending. Cheap money can drive up house values, while tight spending policies means less money for programs such as HUD's affordable housing. This adds to homelessness.

We could print money and spend liberally on the social service side, but if we do that too much, we end up in a real mess; like happened in Venezuela. Somehow, we need to find sustainable and equitable balance.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

A history of my erotic fetish. Kind of a mild and unusual fetish, I guess

As a child growing up in the college town of Pullman, WA. I didn't really have the concept of gay sexuality. Partially because I was in my own world and also it just wasn't talked about in the Pullman of the 1960s.

Naive ignorance, I guess.

I found myself attracted to the shape of the body of slim guys with long hair. The hippie culture was in the news. It was a turn on to see people showering at the campus pools.

Toward the end of high school and heading off to college, gay issues started surfacing. At first it was seen as a human rights topic. I was lucky to have enlightened parents who went to a liberal church; United Church of Christ. Today, that denomination has big contingents in gay parades.

I didn't hear the term faggot till I got to my freshman dorm at what's now Western Washington University, here in Bellingham. People in that dorm seemed shallow and prejudice. I would debate theology with some of the conservative Christians. Others, in the dorm just seemed like drunkards.

Eventually I went to a gay rap group on campus (back then discussion groups were often called "rap groups" I guess for rapport). This was partially to spite the "Christian" who lived across the hall from me in my dorm. I told him that Jesus hung out with oppressed peoples. It helped, at the time, to be taking a class on Mahatma Gandhi.

Folks in that dorm were at least kind of light hearted. I was the dorm eccentric.

This led me to start participating in the gay political group on campus; a world mostly made up of lesbian women.

My first time in a gay bar was a class field trip to the Hut Tavern which had just opened in Bellingham. This was during a class on the gay rights movement, taught by Fairhaven College Professor David Mason.

While I was getting politically involved, I really had no desire for sexual intercourse. The thought of anal or oral intercourse didn't appeal to me. This lack of interest in intercourse was reinforced by the AIDS epidemic. The idea of getting a blow job had no appeal to me. I wanted to get to know the person better. At least see the face.

Being part of a couple, tho, was not that appealing also. I'm probably the type of person that people would swipe past if I were on dating apps. I'm popular, in my own way; in a friendship way. Maybe, if I lived in a big metropolitan area there would be a lot more choices. Sometimes I wonder how my life would be different if I lived in a big metro area. At the same time, I don't seem to miss dating.

I've always been a bit awkward and unusual. Now I'm in the past 50 years of my life which, most likely, get swiped past a lot on dating apps in Bellingham.

Growing up, I thought masturbation was an involuntary wet dream. It took my campus counselor to explain that masturbation could be done while one is awake. Eventually I started enjoying masturbation, but it took a while to get used to the idea.

One sexual minority is asexual or celibate. To be unique, I thought I would describe myself as asexual; a part of the sexual minority spectrum. Attracted to guys, but not sexually active. Most of the other gay activists, around me, were women, at that time anyway.

Seeing long haired men in the gym shower was still a turn on. I wasn't obvious, in public, but it fed my masturbation fantasies after I got home well away from other people. For some reason, I didn't connect this fetish to my political life in the gay student group. I still thought I was asexual.

After graduating from college, I began to think, maybe I do have a legitimate sexual life. I'm turned on by getting to know people, seeing attractive folks in the nude and mingling. If others find me attractive, it's flattering. Still no interest in intercourse or being in the drama of a relationship, however. As time goes on, my attraction for men has widened to beyond just folks with long hair.

The bar never interested me much during my youth. Maybe I wasted my youth not going out dancing. The cigarette smoke and superficial conversation of the bars turned me off.

One time I remember having a discussion with the liberal minister of the church, I grew up in. It was about gay life and going to the bar. That minister was cautiously liberal and said he was probably the first pastor to breach the subject of gay rights from the pulpit at that church. We'd have some heart to heart talks in his office and I remember saying it was hard to discuss interesting topics, like economics, in a noisy bar. As I left to head back to Bellingham, he said, with a twinkle in his eye, "keep up the good work trying to discuss economics in the bar." It was an Lol moment.

By the mid 1980s, I started to discover the fun of dancing. Now, many years later, I still like to dance. I missed some of the normal play of youth, but I also missed a lot of the health hazards. It's taken me a while to "get" why people like to party and dance. Now that a lot of my friends, who liked to party during my youth, are in recovery; if still alive, I'm ready to party. Healthy partying, however. Free form ecstatic dance anyone?

Also I enjoy getting to know people and having intelligent conversation; especially in places of nudity. Seems like places of nudity are among the friendliest spots for conversation. Saunas and hot springs, for instance. Sometimes people are quiet. I'm not real outgoing, but folks often do start up conversation. For some reason, intelligent discussions come easier at those kinds of places than in a lot of other settings.

Bars can be too loud or too drunk, everyone is on their computers at coffee shops. Discussion groups can be good, but they are rare, most folks are in too big a hurry at the supermarket, but I do know lots of folks in town so serendipitous conversation can happen. Concerts, films or lectures; it's still better to go where people are interacting, rather than just watching the stage.

I'm pretty involved in a lot of community things and have friends from many orientations. It's hard to imagine not living alone. It's also hard to imagine not having lots of friends.

Since I'm not into being part of a couple, or intercourse, my sexuality must be kind of unusual. Maybe it's a fetish, but a very mild fetish, indeed.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Can geoengineering address climate change the way fracking reduced the energy crisis?

When I was in college, I thought, for sure, we were running out of oil. Pretty much everyone thought that with the gas lines and price hikes of the 1970s. I was looking forward to a future of bicycling and public transit. Liquid petroleum was running out and oil shale was expensive. Back then, they thought the shale would have to be dug up from mines, crushed and cooked. Gasoline prices would be through the roof and we'd have to go solar.

Little did I know that they found an answer. Fracking. Oil is now cheap, compared to the rest of the economy, but today's worry is global warming. There's still plenty of fossil fuel in the ground, but carbon emissions are changing the climate.

As with the oil running out, it seems like an unsolvable problem, but maybe they will find another workaround? Geoengineering? Will we do something like put artificial sunshades above the earth? Solar energy is getting less expensive as well. Who knows.

Back in college, I was hoping the automobile would die along with it's highway traffic death toll of 30-40 thousand Americans per year. Little did I know that the self driving car would come to the rescue, or at least I hope it comes to the rescue. I'm almost always for accepting change.

Monday, December 17, 2018

In Canada, they don't have the Obamacare Mandate. It's just universal care and the mandate is taxes

People grumbled about the Obamacare mandate that everyone had to have insurance. Mandating a purchase was thought to be unconstitutional.

In Canada, they don't have the mandate, they just call it a tax. In Canada, the taxes are a bit higher, but everyone gets health coverage. It's a system of universal coverage. Single payer, for the most part. Down here it looked like people were being forced to buy a product they didn't want because it was called a premium that's paid to private companies. In Canada, it's a tax.

In both countries, the system works best if it's pretty much universal. That's because when people are given a choice, they wait till they are sick or high risk to buy insurance. This drives up the premiums.

Without the mandate, Obamacare becomes more unstable and the recent court decision, in Texas, is attempting to scrap the whole program. That means pulling the plug on millions of people. Even hardened Republicans, including Trump himself, must realize that pulling the plug is really "staring right into the abyss."

That is why even Trump says Obamacare will keep going until this can get sorted out. He wants a "replacement for Obamacare." Problem is there's probably no way around the need for higher income people to pay more so lower income people can still afford healthcare. This is especially true with the income gap being so high in USA.

The only other alternatives, that I see, would be figuring out how to drastically reduce the cost of healthcare. If people, on average, were healthier and used the system less often, and/or if the system wasn't so expensive, it might work. I don't see the politicians talking that much about strategies for accomplishing that.

How about my bicycling lifestyle, but I realize that doesn't work for everyone. My health is, most likely, a combination of choice and luck. To be honest, luck is part of the equation. A friend of mine attributes his health, in part, to choosing good grandparents. "Choosing?" The genetic lottery.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

I've heard the phrase, "a watched pot never boils."

I hear that dating is pretty much totally on-line these days. I've never really dated tho. I guess one bad thing about dating and especially on-line dating is that the focus is totally on trying to find a mate. Ironically, its often more likely to find a quality mate when one is not expecting it. When people meet for other reasons, they can sometimes grow on each other; so to speak. They find out how much they like one another given time. In some cases, the mate might not even be someone you would expect on first impression. You might not give that person a chance from just the impression when looking for a mate, but as people mingle, over time, they can learn more about each other. They can grow and change together. The situation can evolve. Maybe they do decide to be mates, but that isn't necessarily the original intent. The pragmatic goal of procuring a mate isn't the main focus, but ironically that might be the best strategy. I use the word "procure" as it does seem like a lot of people's focus when they are mate shopping is too pragmatic, rather than broad minded.

Friday, December 07, 2018

A refute for the "nature causes climate change anyway" argument

People who think global warming doesn't matter because nature changes climate every so often anyway are kind of blowing off civilization as if civilization doesn't matter. Yes, maybe nature wipes the slate clean every once in a while with things like ice ages, asteroid strikes and times when there are palm trees at the Arctic Circle. Would we want big changes, like that, in the next few decades? Those changes happened thousands and millions of years ago; before civilization as we know it.

Going forward, nature may have not scheduled changes, like that, for a few thousand more years. Our modern civilization has only been around, maybe 200 years. Given nature, we could go another thousand, or so, years. That is if we don't blow it ourselves. Think of all the things we've accomplished in the past 200 years. What could we accomplish in just another 200 years? Do we really want to wipe the slate now?

Yes, nature could wipe the slate with something like an asteroid strike in the next few decades, but that isn't very likely. Nature works on a different time scale than our "flash in the pan" civilization. Still, I like our civilization. It would be nice to keep it around for another few hundred years at least.