Archive | January 2014

Kansas Senate Bill No. 304

I want to also go ahead and re-post my letter to my senator, Marci Francisco that was inspired by this news article in regards to this bill.

Dear Senator,
It has come to my attention that Senate Bill no. 304 will be put up to vote in the coming legislative session. After having read the contents of this bill, the “municipal communications network and private telecommunications investment safeguards act,” nothing in the language of this bill protects consumers or anyone living in the state of Kansas. The only groups this bill protects are large privately owned communications companies such as Time Warner, Comcast, or other media giants. Each community should be free to make decisions about how to enable the best possible internet and television service that they possibly can. This bill was clearly drafted by lobbyists attempting to target municipal networks like Google Fiber, which has cut into the profits of the large mega corporations that previously had a monopoly on this market, and prevent them from catching on. This bill is an offensive intrusion into a “free market” that many representatives claim is the fundamental process driving the economy and the government. Please do not allow lobbyists and representatives in the pockets of those lobbyists unfairly limit how Kansans connect to media, colleagues, and information available on the internet.

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If You See Something…

… you have a moral obligation to say something. I drove into the office this morning and I saw a girl holding a sign. It is finally turning to winter in Kansas, and it was starting to sleet at 9 in the morning, so I read her sign, it was clearly important to her.
It read “University of Kansas Horn Prof. Paul Stevens only cared about my boobs, and not my education or about sexual violence.”
It made an impact on me. It is awful to say it, but had the circumstances been different, if it had been 60 and sunny instead of a windy 28 degrees as sleet started to pelt her, it may not have hit me as hard as it did. I realized that was unacceptable. So here is the Doctor, standing up and saying something. Sexual violence against women seems to be a pervasive cultural trend, and that is sickening. It seems to be exceptionally bad in college settings; I saw on the news a girl at Missouri State, a good student, a scholarship swimmer, committed suicide after no one took her allegation of rape against a football player seriously. The university was silent. The civil authorities performed a minimal investigation.

Now someone is dead.

Think about that for a minute. Silence and ignorance didn’t make the violence go away. Instead, it killed someone.
There are sometimes stories about positive outcomes. Activist group Anonymous, labeled “terrorist” by many, in a nationally recognized campaign, forced a Missouri (I’m starting to notice a trend here, are you?) prosecutor to reopen the case of a high school girl raped by multiple high school football players. Originally swept under the rug by a local prosecutor protecting some good old boys, a state prosecutor, in the face of such an enormous uproar and deluge of bad press, decided to get involved and reopen the case. When fighting for human rights became “terrorism” is a post for a different time. I know I don’t currently reach a lot of readers, but if I post this and you take a look into helping end sexual and domestic violence, supporting victims, or just being aware that this is a problem in your life, your workplace, your community, then we will be making progress. If authorities and made aware that this is an unacceptable, bordering on hellish state of affairs, we can make change happen. I am not naive enough to think we will end violence forever, but we can take a stand and say that sexual violence is culturally unacceptable, is a vile violation of human rights, and will be investigated with due process and punished accordingly.

Here are some people looking to change things. They have a lot of resources for survivors and people that want to make a serious change in how we go about things.

If you see something, say something. We will make them listen.

1: Open Mouth. 2: Insert Foot.

I currently spend a lot of time at the gym. By virtue of the fact that the elliptical machine I like is positioned in the corner of the gym where they show several different network news outlets, I get to catch up on what is making headlines. There is about ten million things wrong with this, because the news tends to make me furious for a lot of reasons, not the least of which that none of the network news outlets is actually news anymore. In one of the rare gems of actual news amid all the vast sea of shitty, sensationalized celebrity news and the general fear mongering of Fox I saw this:

“Our party stands for the recognition of the equality of women and the capacity of women,” Huckabee said. “…Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government.”

(Quote taken from this news article)

I was absolutely floored. I found it difficult to believe that a seasoned politician, who is trained constantly by advisers and speech writers and assistants, could possibly have said something so asinine and back handedly offensive. Barring any sort of discussion of healthcare, lets think this for just a second. Women shouldn’t need birth control if they can control their libido; why exactly do they fucking need to? Why can’t a woman decide what to do with her own body and be responsible about sexual activity? If there was a reasonably safe (while admittedly female oral contraceptives are not “safe”) oral contraceptive for men, would they be required to “control their libido” too? Oh wait, no, because Viagra and other male enhancements are widely available and covered by most health care plans. So men don’t need to be responsible for any of their activities, and can easily get drugs that insure they never have to think twice about successful sexual interactions, but a woman either needs to reign in her libido or pump out children as a consequence of her nymphomania. Seriously?

Seriously?

What the hell is wrong with these people? Why are there so many very misguided and close minded opinions on women’s sexual freedom and health? How can so many people be so completely and totally out of touch?

Why have those same people become our leaders?

I’m livid. The problem in politics is so horrendously entrenched that I’m not sure how to fix it, other than to make noise in places like this, let people know we are watching. So what on earth do we do? How do we fix this madness of polarized politics and plutocrats? How do we take them on in the system they built?

Card Game

We had a first play test of the card game we are building. The basic concept is that you are contractors getting defense contracts form the government, and then bidding out the parts to make something absurd and egregiously expensive. More compelling art and social commentary to be implemented later. The initial thought process for the rules didn’t quite work as intended, bidding risks were to low, the bid cards that got attached to the contracts tended to stagnate and never make it back into circulation, but it only took a couple of tweaks to get things running again very quickly. The contract completion was a little too restrictive, and there simply were not enough parts available. The way bidding for things needed altered and to fit the theme a little better, contracts go to the lowest bid instead of the highest, parts go to highest bidder, and every time everyone is out of bids, all the bids that are out on the board will shuffle. When this is in its finished form it will make  a lot more sense! I’m hoping to have a much clearer rule book by the weekend and with a couple more play tests we will probably start courting artists.

Landscapes from my Office

I honestly lucked out. I have my own office for a part time job, hunting people to do science on. It has the added benefit of being one of the nicest views out of the Lifespan Institute building. Positioned on the south side of Mount Oread, you can see pretty much all the way out […]

Macro Studio Build

So I put together something pretty awesome I think. I managed to build a macro studio with a hand from my dad (mostly so I didn’t lose any fingers, I’m kind of scared of the table saw to be honest) to try and take some better macro pictures. Just took some scrap wood and some […]

A Few More Germans, Mine this Time

I played my first game of Bolt Action with mostly all of my own models. It was kind of fantastic. Russians came in guns blazing, with a huge number advantage, but even outnumbered the Germans were not outgunned and the gross benefit of taking only veteran troops made up significantly for taking on an enemy […]

Warmachine

Here is a couple photos of some Warmachine models that I painted several years ago. They are actually rather impressive, I’d really actually like to sell these. The Stryker and Kreoss box are their standard battle boxes. Old, white metal models. This is a good example of what would be a tabletop quality + paint […]

Puppies

I went to visit my sister today. She and her husband are great foster parents for some very lovely doggies that need homes in Kansas City. Here is some pictures of the sweetest dogs I have met, Koopa Troopa and Goomba! These guys are only about 4 months old and they are already 35 pounds! […]

One Who Strikes at the Root

The Courts have defeated Net Neutrality. Help us fix this problem.

The FCC in America protects people like me, websites like this, from abusive data throttling and preferential service to specific websites, and the brutal censorship of others. This is an unacceptable attack on free speech and intellectual freedom; the internet is a place for sharing ideas, companies that provide access have no place dictating what can be shared between us as people. Let’s work together and call for the people who we have voted to protect and serve us in the government to do their jobs, and protect the exchange of information on the internet.

“There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil, to one who strikes at the root.” – Henry David Thoreau