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From the Mind of Sam Vimes

11/16/08 01:23 pm - Claw

Every now and again, I have a vivid dream that plays out like a story. I write down the better ones. The dream gives me the really interesting stuff, the outline and the major events, and I fill in the rest as I write.

Story copyright 2008 by meCollapse )

11/13/08 09:35 am - Should Bush be brought to justice?

This morning's To The Point on KCRW is about the Imperial Presidency. Follow that link to leave your own comment (or vote on mine) on whether Bush ought to be brought to justice for his crimes. Or follow this link to listen to the program, which is at 11 AM PST today.

10/23/08 01:10 am - Why you should vote for Obama

I had almost finished writing this post when Xjournal decided to crash, and lose everything I'd written over the past hour or so. Someone or something is testing my resolve. Well, here I go, writing it again. I'm resolved to post it.

Yesterday I listened to Antonia Juhasz on Weekday KUOW, talking about the vast influence that oil companies have on our country. Oil is a vanishing resource, and as it becomes more scarce, its cost goes up. The oil companies get rich while destroying our environment. (A lot of that damage occurs when they drill, long before they even find any oil.) They use some of their vast wealth to influence politicians, who get them sweet deals, such as a low tax rate, additional tax cuts and incentives... maybe even toss them a whole country, now and again. I still believe that a significant reason, if not the main reason, that we went into Iraq in the first place was to secure the oil. Bush and Cheney are good pals with those big energy companies.

This morning's Weekday program featured Les Roberts, talking about exactly how many Iraqis we're responsible for killing. Back in March of '06, I posted about the Lancet report; Roberts is one of its authors. The report was largely dismissed or ignored by mainstream media, who thought the numbers (650,000 deaths) were too high. Roberts stands by his work. A more recent report by a London polling agency called ORB came up with an even higher figure, in the neighborhood of a million deaths and probably much higher.

Over a year has passed since that report came out. I'd like us to stop killing Iraqis now, please.

Cut for lengthCollapse )

So, what can you do? You can vote for Obama. His soul is intact--a bit battered, as any politician's must be, but it's still his own. He says good things, compassionate things, and one can hope that he believes most of them. He's the younger candidate, so his views and approaches to solving problems are likely to be fresher and more creative than the crusty McCain's. Not insignificantly, he is a black man, and electing him (as opposed to just another old white guy) could be inspirational to a generation of African-American citizens, conditioned to believe they're stuck with the raw deal they were handed. Seeing a black man as President might give hope to many. He's not as rich a man as McCain, so he's more likely to fight for the 99% of us that aren't rich. He is, far and away, the lesser of two evils.

Would he have been my first choice? No way. Way back when, I was rooting for Kucinich. But I'll cast my vote for Obama next month. If you want to do your part, some small deed that could contribute to making a big difference for the country and the world, you, too, will get off your butt, get yourself to the voting booth (or your mailbox), and vote for Obama. Do me proud, America. Please.

10/10/08 02:39 am - The Story So Far

"The story so far: In the beginning, the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry, and been widely regarded as a bad move..." --The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

"Let me explain... No, there is too much. Let me sum up." --The Princess Bride

I was recently unearthed by a good friend of mine from my High School days--the first half of High School, in Pennsylvania, before the move to Ohio. So this post is largely for the benefit of magdalenavb. (Hello!) Much of it is shamelessly stolen from the life-update I originally composed for chaerm a month ago, when she dropped me a "hey I haven't heard from you, are you still alive" email. I've also added bits. Actually a lot of bits.

For anyone just tuning in, this is a reasonable summary of who-what-where-when-how-why-the-hell I am.

For those who've read my journal before, you know I don't generally refer to people by their real names. I use LJ names if they have them. Otherwise, up to now, I've used single letters. Well, I'm tired of juggling the alphabet, so I'm going to do what kyra_ojosverdes always does, and assign people nicknames of my own choosing.

Read on...Collapse )

9/15/08 08:15 pm - Introducing the GPK Foundation

Well, here it is, at long last: The GPK Foundation.

What is it? Glad you asked. It's a 501(c)3 family foundation, started by my parents with a portion of my father's retirement money. They told us about their plans roughly a year ago, and it's been gradually coming into focus since then.

There are nine of us on the board: my parents, my grandmother, senssuzy and myself, my brother Peter and his wife, my sister Kati (wyvernmoon) and her husband (rebelowl42). The name is formed from the initials of myself and my siblings, Greg/Peter/Kati. This hints at one of the exciting things about it: the Foundation is intended to be long-lived, and to be handed down to succeeding generations.

Each year, the Foundation will be selecting one or more charities to receive a grant. Board members can nominate charities they'd like to support. As the end of the year approaches, we'll get together to decide how much money goes to each organization. For this first year, we'll be disbursing $5,000.00. Next year, and in succeeding years, we expect that figure to be ten times what it is today.

All of us are taking this project very seriously. We've formed half a dozen committees to focus on various areas important to keeping the Foundation running. For example, I'm a member of the Finance Committee, responsible for investing the nest egg to keep the organization funded. I'm also the chairman of the Public Relations Committee, which makes it very appropriate that I'm posting this message. (I'm as surprised as anyone at being able to say that I'm the head of Public Relations of anything.)

As head of Public Relations, and also as a member of the Logistics Committee, it has fallen to me to set up our website. Through the miracle of Freecycle, we acquired a machine which we've dedicated to that purpose. We've already been using it to coordinate among ourselves. Now, the public portion of the website is live as well.

Looking at the site, you'll note that it's pretty sparsely populated. There isn't much information to convey at the moment, since our model is not to solicit grant requests from anyone who comes across us. As time goes on, we'll be documenting our funding decisions, and our direction will become clearer to everyone. In general, all of us are interested in addressing education, research, health care, poverty, and other humanitarian causes. Our value systems are well-aligned; when we disagree, it's usually on the specifics.

You'll also notice the site is, so far, unadorned. We'll be having someone from outside the organization apply a coat of style to it, as none of us are website designers.

As you can probably tell, I'm very excited that we're launching this project. We're not about to make dramatic and sweeping changes to the world, but it's immensely satisfying to know that we'll be doing our part to make a difference. As an added benefit, it has provided us with a common goal, and a reason to stay in touch as a family. I'm extremely grateful to my parents for their generosity and vision in establishing this project. We will all strive to nurture and maintain it, so that in years to come, we can look back with pride at what we've accomplished.

3/13/08 04:17 pm - So him

Alzheimer's sufferer Terry Pratchett pledges $1 million for research

3/4/08 03:46 am - Can't heave a brick without hitting a recruiter

For zenspider, links to previous journal entries in which I've posted job leads and recruiter contact info: one, two, three.

And below, for vaxjedi and anyone else who might be job-hunting: more of the same, copied and pasted from my inbox (which I fear to open these days as it is always overflowing, mainly with crap). The only company I can really vouch for is SolutionsIQ, which has been very good to me in the past. I would heartily recommend contacting them. As for the others, I've arranged them roughly in most- to least-promising order... but if you're on the job hunt, it pays to contact everybody who might give you a lead.

Cut for job-spamCollapse )

1/29/08 05:41 pm - V-Day special - 100 for $20

NSFWCollapse )

1/27/08 05:38 pm - Multi-party videoconference with Skype on a Mac?

Anyone successfully achieved what's described in the subject line?

I found a Skype plug-in called Yugma that's supposed to be able to do it. No luck downloading it, though - their website appears to be broken. Which is not a good sign anyway.

1/24/08 07:12 pm - Identify the fake Colbert quote

So I recently cracked I Am America (And So Can You!) See if you can identify which of these quotes is not his:

"If there's a bigger contributor to left-wing elitist brainwashing than colleges and universities, I'd like to see it. There's an old saying, 'A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.' Which means a lot of knowledge must be a really dangerous thing. And it is. Look no further than the example of Ted Kaczynski..."

"Now I'll be the first to admit (yes, even before Rush Limbaugh) that Mz. Coulter is pretty smart for a woman. And let's not forget hot. Can you imagine her bending over a hot stove? Rrrowl. But gosh darn it, she's just too soft on those 'leftist liberal types'. I mean, really."

"One of Pop's most important jobs is protecting his little family. That's why he needs to sleep with that 9mm under his pillow. And pack it with hollow point bullets. At the least sign of movement in his castle past 8 PM, he should wake up firing. Let God, Allah, or Hanuman the monkey god sort them out, am I right? (I am.)"

"Upton Sinclair wrote a pro-labor book about the Chicago stockyards called The Jungle that pointed out minor flaws in the meat industry, such as the frequency of severed limbs. Big deal. I knew an accountant who got his arm chopped off in a filing cabinet. But you'll never hear about that in a book."

"Baby carrots are trying to turn me gay."
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