Showing posts from April, 2009

Geographic Discrimination

What if... there was a large nation with many different regions. What if one region in particular was removed from the national conscience. What if, each region supposedly being equal, this one was still ignored. What if it was left off maps. What if, even when it was on maps, it was misplaced and made many times smaller than reality. What if most people knew not a thing about it, except perhaps a few degrading or condescending stereotypes, or perhaps a few recent negative newscasts about the region's backwards leaders or foolish enterprises. What if businesses in the nation cared not to transport goods to the region, sometimes considering it foreign, or charging exorbitant shipping rates all the same. What if the one national company bearing the region's name wasn't even based in it. What if I had ended all these questions with question marks. What if.

Maps are important. Little geo-whiz that I am, I appreciate cartography to no end, and I know its power. Long have I been …

Yale and Back Again

This morning I woke up early - earlier than the morning before, that is. It's was around nine o'clock when we left our hotel, I believe, and the first place we went in New Haven was a visitors' center.
Let me stop you right there, for a moment. Did you notice that I wrote visitors'center - emphasis on the apostrophe? In all liklihood, the apostrophe was absent from any signs for the place; I certainly don't remember one. To some extent I question myself as to my usage, but a googling of "visitors center" brings up a crop of variations, from visitors' to visitor's to visitors. Now the question is, which is correct? This is indeed a free country, and I acknowledge that even the Ketchikan International Airport should have no legal obligation to change its disgrace of a sign pointing out the "ferrys." But fellow Americans, I ask you: How can you tolerate such inconsistency? Anyways, that's probably enough on that.

Picking up a map and a…

Journey to the East

As of today, I have been to half of the fifty states. Today was the first time in my life I have ever been to New York and Connecticut, and yesterday was the first time I ever was in New Jersey and Delaware. Four new states in two days... want to know the other twenty-one where I've been? (They're listed regionally west-east, for lack of the creativity or ability to organize them differently.)

Alaska, Hawai'i, Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Minnesota, Wisconisin, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania (and, of course, the District of Columbia)

Speaking of the DC, that's where my father and I flew in on Monday. First we had to go to Seattle, of course, where my grandparents were returning home from having been there for a week, and we had lunch at SeaTac as our travel intersected. Then we time-shifted from one coast to the other, from early afternoon in the west to late evening i…

A Comparison of Compassion and Conservatism

Today it was reported in India that 1500 farmers have committed mass suicide in that nation's state of Chattisgarh because of vicious money-lending practices and recent crop failures. But you know what? I believe those deaths could have been prevented. I believe those still living in poverty can be saved from such wretched fates - and you know what might be a good venue? - government action. Even the world's largest democratic community (the Indian government) could take action to improve these conditions: regulation, government assistance... and the use of funds derived from taxes.

Also today, there were many public protests throughout the United States labelled as "tea parties" because of the acronym "Taxed Enough Already." Apparently there was even one here in Ketchikan, although I did not have the pleasure of seeing it. These gatherings seem to largely have been stoked by the magnanimous FOX media network, and they played host to a host of hatred and ig…

A Case of Community-Killing Capitalist Crap

This evening my parents discussed with me the plans for some upcoming events for Kayhi's senior class. At lunch today our class had had a meeting in the library about these things, and earlier in the evening my dad attended a parent meeting. Apparently the parents were told to ask their graduating children where they would want to hold their after-graduation party. Of the options my dad told me there were, I pretty quickly narrowed the original five down to two: the Bourough Recreation Center and the high school. Then my dad explained that we would be having the after-prom party at the Rec Center, so I said that in that case it'd make sense to have the after-graduation party at the high school. At this, my dad informed me that for the past two years, senior classes have had their after-graduation parties not at the high school, but rather at the Plaza mall, one of the places I originally ruled out (because it's pretty lame).

The problem with having the party at the high sc…

Amateur Dental Advice on Wisdom Tooth Extraction

Over the last two years, particularly this year, I've watched a variety of people I know deal with the anguish of having their third set of molars (or "wisdom teeth") grow in and then be surgically extracted. This has struck me as somewhat strange, because I have had my wisdom teeth in for quite some time, and they've caused me no anguish whatsoever.

It may have been as long as two years ago, at fifteen, when I first had signs that some of my late-blooming teeth were coming in, which is much earlier than the norm. Now they've been entirely present for a long while - long enough that I've gone through two dental check-ups in which my dentist has suggested that these teeth be removed. The last time this happened, I stated that I would be availible no earlier than February for such an operation. Obviously, that time has passed. Even when I was first exposed to the idea that I should have these teeth removed, some part of me kept a bit of reservation on the matter…

Freedom from Want vs. Freedom to Have

In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.

The first is freedom of speech and expression--everywhere in the world.

The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way--everywhere in the world.

The third is freedom from want--which, translated into universal terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants--everywhere in the world.

The fourth is freedom from fear--which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor--anywhere in the world.

That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called new order of tyranny which the d…

The Birds Are Back In Town

It was this morning that they were back. Well, that's how it seemed to me. It could have happened yesterday, maybe within the last few days, but regardless, the songbirds have returned to Ketchikan. When it comes down to it, I had an astoundingly fortunate and enjoyable morning - and, I would say, a wonderfully pleasant and rewarding day. Through the wee hours I typed up a paper on foreign policy and interventionism for American government class. Then I listened to the radio for a while - NPR - first Fresh Air, then the news, and I was just hearing about the earthquake in Italy by the time I feel asleep. I was awakened around 7:30 with little trouble (from my point of view), and at that point I felt very unfortunate indeed.  You see, I had planned on listening to the radio only as something to tide me over before getting up again and continuing to work on homework through the very early morning (i.e. the hours leading up to 7:30). I knew I would be taking a homework quiz at the begi…

Not Fit to Serve Again

During the course of World War II, my grandfather was a young boy. Amazing man though he is, I do feel my grandfather to be somewhat limited by his years: a bit physically, perhaps a little mentally, even culturally. Despite these limits, I still think my grandfather could be a very apt leader in government, were he to decide to pursue that now (which seems unlikely). In most positions such as this, however, (especially high-level ones), my grandfather's limits would mean that although he might be well-qualified to serve, he almost certainly would not be the best able to serve. My grandfather was a young boy during World War II. Ted Stevens was a soldier in World War II. I almost titled this most "A Defense of Agism," but truth be told, I'm not being agist when I say Ted Stevens is unqualified to reenter politics, and indeed, I would say even as he made his incredible decision to run for reelection in 2008, Stevens was unqualified to continue to serve Alaska - convicte…

How Could You Ever Have Left Us?

Dear Ted,
I know I speak for all of Alaska when I say that we want you back. We need you to lead us, Ted. We need you to be there for us.

All of Alaska has sighed in relief now that those bad people in Washington admitted that you are innocent - just as you told us you were - just as we knew all along. Everyone knows that your conviction was a conspiracy against you.  I suppose it was the Bush administration's Justice Department, and I suppose the feds would never have pursued you unless they had a totally solid base of evidence, and I guess then it's no surprise that you were indicted by a federal grand jury and then convicted by another jury... but still, it was obviously just an attack on you because of how wonderful you are! Those evil reputation-destroying prosecutors didn't follow the right process in your trial. That's the full proof we need to know you're totally innocent.

I cannot express how happy we all are about dear leader Reudrich's courageous st…