Thursday, February 28, 2013

Witch Kittens -- Again


This will be a short one, folks.  I have a new litter of kittens -- three colorpoints with blue eyes, two ebonies with gold-green eyes -- of my Witch Cat bloodline, that I've been breeding for intelligence for all these years.  They're just a month old, but I'm already fishing (!) for homes for them because they're a lively bunch, already toddling around exploring, and already experimenting with solid food.  They're still young enough that it's hard to tell their sexes -- especially given the way they wriggle around in protest when I try to pick them up and look -- but I'm pretty sure that at least one of the colorpoints and one of the ebonies are females.  Yes, they've got the enlarged craniums, and obviously the enlarged brains and intelligence, of my Witch Cat bloodline.  As near as I can tell, they also all have thumbs.

Anyone within one or two days' drive of Phoenix, who's interested in these brilliant little fuzzies, email me -- lesliefish@cox.net -- and we'll set something up.  I still don't know how to transfer pictures onto my computer, or I'd post pictures of the adorable little creatures.  Meow!

--Leslie <;)))><   )O( 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

IMMIGRATION: A HARD LOOK AT REAL REFORM



Let's get real, folks, and look at the facts.

America has the third largest population of any country in the world.  The biggest, of course, is China – with 1.5 billion people.  Second is India – with 1.2 billion.  Both those countries are trying desperately to reduce their populations, and having little luck at it.  Third is the US – with 311 million that we know about, and possibly another 10-20 million illegal immigrants that we don't know about. 

Our physical, social and economic resources are already straining at the seams, as any ecologist or social worker can tell you.  We have only so much farmable land, only so much drinkable water, our wildlife preserves are endangered, and we're beginning to strain at feeding the population we have.  We can't keep taking in half a million immigrants every year.

We can't take in 40% of the population of Mexico, which is the number that wants to come here.  We can't take in all the poor people in the world.  We simply can't do it.  We have to stop taking in everybody, and reduce the population we already have.

There is now and always has been a "quick track to citizenship", and nowadays it's open to women too – that is to join our military.  Join the military, serve for two years, come out a citizen and with military benefits.  How many illegal immigrants have done it?  We have to ask if citizenship is really what they want. 

The "immigration reform" we need is a moratorium on all immigration for the next five years.  We also have to fortify our borders and prevent any more illegal immigrants from coming in.  We can close most of our overseas military bases, bring back the troops therein, and put them to patrolling the borders. 

We also have to go ahead and round up all the illegal immigrants currently hiding out in America, and send them home – or at least to the nearest country that will take them.  Yes, by all means, let them take with them all the goodies they got and all the money they made here in goody-land;  they'll need a grubstake when they get home.  In fact, let's also give every last one of them – man, woman and child – a parting gift: a box containing a sturdy revolver, ten boxes of fitting ammunition, a fitting cleaning-kit, and an instruction book – profusely illustrated – written in the immigrants' native language.  They'll need that to hold on to their grubstakes when they get home.

Where should we send them?  If they're from Latin America, send them to Mexico.  If they're from Africa, send them to Haiti – and start building some industries there;  heaven knows, there's plenty of cheap labor in Haiti!  If they're from Arab countries, send them straight to Mecca – where all good Muslims want to go, anyway.  Besides, with the money they bring with them, they can be rich in Mexico, or Haiti, or Arabia, instead of poor here.

No, it's not impossible to round them all up.  The illegal immigrants haven't exactly been secretive about where they're staying;  if we send out the police to surround and then search door-to-door in those neighborhoods, we can find the vast majority of them.  It won't take terribly long to move out from there and find the rest.  To put it the worst way, if the Nazis, 70 years ago, could round up 99% of the Jews in Europe and send them off to the killing-camps, we can certainly round up at least 99% of the illegal immigrants in America today and send them off to countries where they, and their money, will be welcome.

Anyone not a citizen, or not already formally enrolled in the process of getting citizenship – including in the military – must go, and nobody else can come in for another five years.  

We have to do it, or go the way of India and China;  it's that simple.

--Leslie <;)))><        

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Earthquakes, Traffic, Deserts and Democracy


Despite the pious claims of various would-be oligarchs, Democracy -- and Anarchism -- do work, because the average person is not a stupid sheep who needs a proper Ruling Class to make him do what he needs to survive.  I've seen proof of this myself, three times over.

                                                         *          *          *

The first time was right after the Loma Prieta Earthquake, which reached nearly 7 points on the Richter Scale, and had the dubious distinction of breaking up the 1989 World Series.  'Twas the first time in history that the record books noted: "Game called on account of earthquake".  The quake also shook down the elevated Nimitz Freeway, which ran through the center of the poorest section of Oakland, a slum commonly nickamed Dogtown, trapping lots of cars and their occupants in the rubble.  When those 17 frantic seconds of shaking stopped, the local residents of Dogtown picked themselves up, looked at the collapsed freeway -- and became instant heroes.

 One of the few employed residents used his keys to open a warehouse, take out a large forklift and pallet, drove them out to the collapsed freeway and used them as an elevator to lift rescue-workers to the top of the rubble-pile.  An unemployed resident followed him into the warehouse, grabbed all the pickaxes and shovels he could carry, and handed them out to the volunteer rescuers.  The corner drugstore donated bandages and wound-dressings.  The liquor store down the block donated vodka and Everclear for more wound-dressings.  A local pimp used his cell-phone to call the official services -- police department, fire department, hospital ambulance fleet -- for help, only to find that they were overwhelmed by damages and emergencies elsewhere.  A local heroin-pusher donated his supply to treat the injured.  The two local residents who had working cars volunteered to take the injured to the nearest hospital and then come back for more.  An ancient long-retired former Army medic (World War Two vintage) took charge of the medical department, and the local whores volunteered as nurses.  A nearby coffee-shop donated food and coffee to become the rescue-workers' free canteen.  Local residents donated food and coffee, as well as labor.  Everyone else became volunteer rescue-workers, digging survivors out of the rubble.  Folks from elsewhere in the surrounding towns -- including me -- volunteered labor when and as they could.  Over the next week, those volunteers saved nearly 100 survivors from the wreckage of the collapsed freeway.  It was all spontaneous.

Not only was the government no help, its service organizations being frantically busy elsewhere, but it became an active hindrance.  President Bush planned to visit the site of the disaster, so the Secret Service came in ahead of him to "clear the area".  One of them marched into the coffee-shop/canteen and ordered it to shut down.  Why?  Why, to make sure that there was no nearby area out of view of the SS crew.  The cooks promptly told him where he could go.  He made a grab for one of the cooks, who hit him with a frying-pan.  The rescue-workers in the canteen then picked him up and forcibly ejected him from the premises.  Likewise, a local cop climbed up on the rubble-pile and ordered the rescue-workers to cease and desist, and come down from the pile.  Why?  Because some would-be assassin might have hidden a rifle in the wreckage, in hopes of taking a shot at the POTUS.  While the other rescue-workers looked at each other, trying to find a polite way to say no to an Oakland cop who was likely to wave his gun around, one very large rescue-worker pulled a chunk of concrete out of the rubble and said, "Okay.  Hold this," and handed it to the cop -- who took it.  The 200+-pound chunk promptly flattened him, whereupon the rescue-workers went back to work.  Bush decided not to visit the Nimitz Freeway site, but went elsewhere for his photo-op.  The rescue-workers eventually pulled the chunk of concrete off the cop.

                                                             *          *          *

The second incident happened nearly ten years ago, here in Phoenix.  Long before Global Warming became a handy political football, the Phoenix valley was subject to sudden ferocious storms during the rainy seasons, and on this particular day a classic firehose-in-the-sky storm dumped enough water, hard enough, to short out the traffic signals all up and down the length of Camelback Road -- one of the main drags of the sprawling city -- in the middle of a working day.  There weren't nearly enough cops in all the city to direct traffic at every intersection on Camelback Road.  So what did all those drivers do?

With no possible verbal -- and very little visual -- contact with each other, the drivers worked out a safe system for driving through the signal-blind intersections.  On coming up to an intersection the drivers would stop and look at traffic on the crossing street.  If no cars were right up to the crossing line, then the drivers would proceed across -- about five of them.  After five cars the drivers would pause again, by which time some traffic had usually gathered at the crossing street.  The drivers would wait until about five cars had gone through the intersection on the crossing street, at which point the crossing traffic would usually pause and let about five cars go through on Camelback.  This tacit agreement worked, with no accidents, for the rest of the day.  Fortunately, the city engineers got the traffic signals working again (long after the rain had stopped) before dusk.

                                                            *          *          *

The third time was a few years ago, when the late Frank Gasperik and I took a driving tour out to the desert interior of southeastern California.  Out beyond the mining-town of Trona, which also sported an enormous array of solar electric panels, an eastbound road continued beyond where the pavement ended: a dirt road running out into the empty desert.  According to the map (topographical, satellite-survey), at the far end of that stretch of desert, in the foothills of the distant mountains, lay a ghost-town called Ballarat.  This had been a small mining-town, built a century ago, abandoned when the mines played out around 1910.  Never having seen a real ghost-town, I persuaded Frank to turn the car that way, and we set off across the desert.

 When we arrived, covered with dust, we found perhaps half-a-dozen ancient buildings -- dry and skeletal as withered leaves -- plus a pump attached to an old well, a homemade hydroponics tank, and one small house-trailer parked nearby.  The ghost-town was inhabited by a little more than ghosts.  The sturdiest of the old buildings, the original town jail, was inhabited by the local historian -- a middle-aged fellow, happy to meet some strangers, who had shelves full of books and documents about Ballarat and its history.  We chatted awhile, learning how the present-day town worked.  The folks who owned the trailer also had a working car, and once a week they'd go into Trona to pick up supplies, and mail, for all the half-dozen non-ghost residents.  Other than that, the mortal residents were happy to live out at the end of the desert -- and be left alone.  We thanked the historian, and asked if he'd like a beer from our car's supplies.  He flinched, and said in a very neutral voice: "I... don't drink beer."  Right there, in a flash of insight, I realized why he'd isolated himself out here in a desert ghost-town, without transport of his own.  "How about some root-beer, then?" I quickly offered, and he gratefully accepted.

As we strolled out to the car to get the root-beer, we heard a roar of motors and saw no less than a dozen heavy-duty motorcycles come rolling up.  The riders wore hard-traveling gear, and pistols openly displayed on gun-belts -- this in southern California, mind.  Frank, an old biker himself, recognized the gear if not the riders themselves, and tossed them a complex in-group salute that made them smile.  They paused by the pump just long enough to fill their canteens, and then rolled on -- up the extension of the dirt road, which wound further up into the mountains.  A quick glance at the topo-map showed another old (and supposedly abandoned) mining town up in the hills.  A question to the historian, about how many people lived up in that other ghost-town, harvested only a shrug.  "We all get along well," was all he said.

So Frank and I picked up some mineral samples -- chunks of remarkably pure galena -- got in our car and headed back toward "civilization", speculating on how those forgotten towns survived.  We concluded that all they needed were reliable wells with working pumps, and they made all the rest -- including their social system -- by themselves.  Their system worked, and it was all entirely off the grid.  We also speculated on how many other such invisible communities exist in the US today.

                                                            *          *          *

I know there are plenty of other examples, but those are three that I saw myself.  I don't think anyone can convince me, after that, that the people can't create and maintain working societies for themselves.

--Leslie <;)))><   )O(     
 

           

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Eyewitness From History



My husband Rasty, who was born and raised in rural Arizona, has some memories from his childhood back in the days before gun-control was even dreamed of, anywhere outside of New York City.

His grandfather was the town marshal of Yuma, a town out in the boondocks which serviced the local mines and ranches.  This meant that once a week bunches of rough-and-ready miners and cowboys would come into town with their pay, looking for fun rather than supplies -- and that meant the town saloon.  Now miners and cowboys and alcohol and guns often made for trouble.  The townsfolk didn't mind if drunken miners and cowboys shot up each other, but those drunken shots often went wild and shot up the saloon as well -- not to mention innocent passersby.  For that reason alone, the townsfolk decided on a common custom, enforced by the local marshal;  within half an hour after coming into town, visitors had to hand over their guns to the marshal -- or the bartender -- and leave them there until half an hour before leaving town again.  Most people saw the plain sense of this, and complied.

Ah, but there's always a fool in the bunch, and one day a miner who fancied himself a gunslinger came into the saloon and refused to hand over his six-shooter.  The bartender quietly sent out for the marshal.  Grandpa-the-marshal showed up, strolled over to the miner and politely informed him about the town ruling.  The fool miner mouthed off that nobody was taking his gun -- and made the fatal mistake of reaching for it.  The marshal shot him dead. 

Nobody complained about this action, except for maybe some grumbling on the part of two other miners who were picked to drag the carcass down to the undertaker's and the bartender who had to mop the blood off the floor.  Nobody even thought to bring charges against the marshal -- or any of the miners, for that matter.  There wasn't even a coroner's inquest, since everyone knew how the fool had died.  And everyone went on about their regular -- and untroubled -- lives.

A few years later there occurred another shooting in Yuma.  Two ranchers, who had been arguing for months over some suspiciously altered brands on some cattle, happened to come into town on the same day.  The first rancher was walking down the one street in town when he saw the second rancher come riding up, dismount and hitch his horse to the rail in front of the general store, about a block away.  The first rancher, overcome with outrage over those cattle (and perhaps a bit the worse for a visit to the saloon), pulled out his Colt pistol and aimed a shot at the second rancher.  It was a close miss, but he missed. 

The second rancher ducked behind his horse, pulled his Winchester rifle out of its saddle-scabbard, rested the rifle across his saddle, aimed at the first rancher -- and didn't miss.  In this case a coroner's inquest was called for.  A jury was chosen and sworn in, witnesses (everyone who'd been out on the street that day) gave their testimony, and the jury eventually gave it's verdict;  the decision was that the first rancher had died of "suicide".  Why suicide?  Why, because any fool who shot -- from a block away -- with a pistol at a man with a rifle, was clearly committing suicide.  QED.  And everyone went on about their regular, and untroubled, lives. 

Shooting deaths were really that rare back in the real Old Wild West.

Bear in mind that back then, in Yuma, Arizona, everybody kept pistols and rifles in their houses and places of business, and rode around with them when they left home, and could buy guns and ammunition -- and dynamite -- in the general store, or the hardware store, for nothing more than laying down sufficient money.  And of course anybody could make a private sale to anybody else.  There were no background checks, no sanity-checks, no waiting-periods.  Anybody who acted stupid or insane with a gun simply didn't outlive the action by very long.

So what made the big change between then and now?

First, everybody had guns, and everybody knew it.  Guns were common tools, which everyone was obliged to learn to handle sensibly-- yes, even the "repeaters" with their multi-shot magazines.  Parents usually taught their children basic gun-handling and target-shooting, not to mention hunting, but there were also shooting clubs attached to the schools, and the town civic centers, and even the churches, and there were firearms merit-badges awarded by the Boy Scouts.  Guns weren't romanticized, demonized, forbidden, extensively lied about or used as political footballs.  Much the same was true of dynamite.

This is probably why (it takes some work to look this up, but you can find it), in the entire 50-year history and half-a-country extent of the Old Wild West, there were fewer shootings than there were last year alone in Chicago -- which has some of the fiercest gun-control laws in the country.

Despite all the frantic exhortations of the mainstream media, don't emote -- think.

--Leslie <;)))><   )O(