Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Recreation in Transition

Rob Hopkins writes on "Does Transition mean buns of steel?"

One of the things that YouTube does is to offer you other videos you might enjoy once you’ve finished the one you’re watching. . . Plenty of head-scratching here therefore when . . one of my talks is accompanied by a featured video called ‘FlexMini Firmer Buttocks’

Apparently the Buns video only showed up in the UK.

One of the commenters, Jennifer, responds that some folk over 60 still cycle long distances. This is my response to Jennifer, with all respect:



I think there is another side to physical activity.

Many of us on the cusp of 60 or past grew up under the influence of cultures at home, that were handed down from times of harsh necessity. Gardening, carpentry, masonry and other construction without power tools set standards of "work" that emphasized strength, endurance, and manual skill. The emergence of power tools is still transforming that expectation.

But the insidious changes come from mass media. From cartoons to watching talking heads relate news, it is demonstrated that "work" today is measured in cash received for intangibles. Where the odd clerk task used to be acceptable but not highly revered, today governments and big money make desk work and computer work the epitome of desirable work.

Here in America, the "war on poverty", the "social safety net" and unemployment payments tacitly approve not working at all.

Cycling for pleasure, like watching TV or playing video games, or the proliferation (and cash flows!) of professional sports is a form of recreation. My grandparents relied on drink and cards, and family gatherings, for recreation in odd, cherished hours. Modern life presumes a degree of indolent lifestyle, even in the absence of affluence, without the physical activity of earlier times or the lifestyle discipline of those actually affluent.

In one sense, then, I suppose Transition recognizes the need for lifestyle change. One of the impacts of that change is to choose to reject the application of cheap energy to eliminate boring, repetitive, and/or arduous daily tasks. but I suspect the (desired?) impact will be bodies that are tougher, and people less engaged in frivolous obsession with body shapes and coverings. That is, the buns might tighten, along with the rest, but fewer will be paying attention.

Gardens will be tended, food and shelter secured, families will thrive. Those are reasons health is needed. Active skills are useful in helping neighbors, or in rebuilding after ravages of weather, flood, fire, and other mayhem.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Hilary Rosen, Ann Romney, Work and apologies --Apples and oranges

According to USA Today, "Hilary Rosen says Ann Romney never worked 'day in her life'"

Wednesday night on CNN, Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen said Romney, who raised five now-grown sons, had "never worked a day in her life." Mitt Romney had said earlier that his wife had relayed to him the economic concerns of women around the country.

Oh, come now.

Yes, Mittens probably did make the comment that his wife told him of the economic concerns of women around the country. She might have experience that counts, maybe, after growing up and living affluently a life of privilege. She might have heard valid issues and insights from others; I am not about to claim she is stupid, unstudied, or that her inputs are misleading.

Ann Romney, like other governor's wives, was likely active in various causes and issues, was involved in much relevant discussion, and has come to be learned and respected on various topics. Just the fact that this far into the campaign season, this is the first headline that I have seen her make tells me she is competent and not a political dummy. (Yes, I do think it takes savvy and poise to stand around quietly next to the spotlight and not make waves. Not everyone can do it competently.)

Rosen made the simple observation that Ann Romney isn't a working professional, managerial, executive, trade, or other level of employee with an employee, supervisor or executive's knowledge and experience of working in the workplace.

This is different than assessing whether what one does is "work" as in "energy expended to accomplish a task".

Comparing Ann Romney's views, as a non-participant, of workplace and national economy issues, would be like soliciting George Clooney's guidance on toilet bowl cleaners. It might be relevant, but I wouldn't bet my company -- or my nation -- on the inputs.

Mittens surely intended his remarks to endear him to women engaged in the informal (not measured in cash) economy by implying he gets the scoop on their concerns from his wife, that he listens to his wife and that she influences his policies. Mittens also likely wanted to imply that including his wife's inputs bolster's his understanding of the economy and concerns of everyone. Rosen's snipe at "not having worked" is a direct attack on the second, implied (and specious) part of the message.

What I don't see in the exchange is any attack on women not engaged in the formal, cash-measured, workplace-based, labor union influenced, speculation driven economy. Rosen pointedly struck at a fatuous political claim that his wife has broad and relevant economic experience that bolster's Mitten's candidacy, despite evidence that Mittens instead is a tool of special interests and less a responsible driver of sound economic policy than a privileged twit from the land that kept re-electing that Senator that drove his secretary off a bridge and left her with the car.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Constitution protects votes, but not other rights?

Billll's Idle Mind picked up on arguments by Colorado Senator Bob Bacon, D-Fort Collins that voters cannot be required to prove their identity, because that might prevent some voters from being allowed to vote.

Someone should ask him if all that ID and background checking required to exercise ones right to bear arms also fails to pass constitutional muster.

The IRS requires citizens to certify their identity when paying taxes; when seeking employment; and when opening a bank account or other credit card arrangement, so they can actively seek those that haven't paid taxes, and have the records in their possession (banking records, as of the Obama administration) to 'verify' that the tax report is 'correct'.

So much for "presumed innocent until proven guilty". So much for the "Land of the free".

Thanks, Billll.