As I work on some more thoughtful, long, opinionated as hell pieces (like the posts I used to do and love) I’m trying to at least throw at you some smatterings of stuff I’ve been finding, reading, and thinking about.  But before I get into that, I’ll just note that the people who give out awards for most creative blog post titles can reach me  through the “contact” button at the top of the site, I’ll give you my address to send me out that award.

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For starters, the word out Tuesday is that Democratic VT Senate Prez Peter “I really wanna be governor and I give a great speech but boy am I a big shallow phoney” Shumlin will force a vote this week in the Senate Finance committee and then next week by the full Senate on whether or not the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant should be allowed to operate another 20 years after it’s scheduled decommissioning in 2012.  For readers not from here and not in the know:  VT Yankee is a very dangerous disaster waiting to happen, currently leaking radioactive Tritium into surrounding ground water (and into the CT River- you’re welcome Springfield, Hartford, and New Haven) from underground pipes that company execs testified to the VT Legislature didn’t even exist.  To say nothing of cooling towers collapsing and the like; it’s been a bad couple years for the owners of VY.  Oddly, VT has no authority whatsoever over the plant, the Federal NRC does- except the legislature can act on behalf of VT electric rate payers, i.e., if the savings to Vermonters in their electric bills don’t justify keeping VY in operation 20 years longer than the plant was designed to last (at increased power output from what it was originally designed to generate).  Of note, the plant’s corporate ownership says VY is losing money, or at least not making enough to justify all the headache, and they’re proposing a fairly dramatic rate increase for a new contract, a rate increase above market value.

If VY is closed down on time in 2012 it will be one of the biggest political victories I can think of having seen up-close in my life.  I’ve already contacted all my Senators to urge them to vote ‘no’- have you?

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Commondreams.org (a site with it’s own liberal B.S. on occasion, but a really good, progressive site overall) is all over the last “socialist” bank in the U.S., the Bank of North Dakota.  I will say, it’s a good little story, and in fact the idea of a State Bank, which uses moneys earned towards paying for social programs is a decent one.  I personally prefer the credit union model, when we’re talking about banking choices.  But it’s nice to see non-corporate banking getting some positive attention.

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On March 1st I’m quitting cigarettes.  I imagine the tobacco company’s have custom search-engines that detect that sentence where ever it appears on the internet and then sends cartons of free cigarettes to ensure you can’t quit.  But I’m gonna do it, my first real earnest attempt at quitting in the 16 years since I first smoked a butt.  Of course I’m motivated now because I have a family and a kid and of course I wanna take care of my own health, but you know one of my biggest motivators: all you assholes who insist on giving smokers a hard time, all you non-smokers who somehow feel it your duty or privilege to point out to us in one way or another that it’s bad for us.  You know what:  “no fucking shit it’s bad for me- you’re not proving you’re particularly bright by pointing out the obvious”.  Except maybe with our own children, people don’t generally go around giving un-solicited advise of this manner (“Mike, buddy, it’s cold, zip up your jacket or you’ll get sick”).   Ya know, each and every one of us has our own pathologies, our own traumas and challenges and “shit” to work through; smoking just happens to be a particularly noticeable symptom of certain unhealthy associations and reactions that have been un-necessarily (uselessly?) programmed in to us smokers.  Given how our entire culture is constructed in a manner that leaves us all in a game of “hide your pathology”, and given the number of taboos associated with addressing frankly our own and each other’s shit (“Hi Jimmy, good to see you…. yeah, I know, you don’t get out much ’cause you have mild agoraphobia due to the panic you’re consumed with when unable to feel a sense of control over your environment because of the trauma from seeing your best friend get hit by a car when you were five”) it seems at the very least a bit odd to me that with just this one issue people feel it their place to speech up.  So from where doth you non-smokers derive your divine insight to preach to me about my neurosis?  I’d agree that, obviously, if you’re a non-smoker and you’re stuck breathing someone’s second-hand smoke it’s negatively impacting your health and your ability to be happy, but incidental second-hand smoke like you standing next to me on a sidewalk is no public health problem.  If second-hand smoke really were such a danger, shouldn’t we be seeing dramatic decreases in certain kinds of cancer over the past few years as indoor smoking has more or less been outlawed over the past few years?  I’m just old enough to have been raised and to remember a world in which people smoked on airplanes, in gas stations (as of a few years ago when I was last out that way, they still do this in the South and Midwest); growing-up I remember many friend’s who, like me, one parent smoked and one didn’t, and yes, that smoking parent smoked in the house.  Yet none of these none-smoking spouses (my mother included) nor any of us kids have cancer or asthma.  I’m not advocating for indoor smoking- I’m just merely wondering about all your non-smoker righteousness in the face of a dearth of facts to justify your holiness.

So yeah, I’m quitting, but not because you non-smokers are ‘right’ about anything- because as a non-smoker I can’t wait to do to you what you’ve been doing to us smokers- “Good to see you Fran, and hey- don’t forget that even though you’re convinced your mom never loved you, you can still lead a happy and productive life!”.

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Geez, I’m this agro about this smoking thing and I haven’t even started trying to quit yet.  This could get ugly.

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Finally, the media.  The media sucks on Iran, the media sucks on Haiti, the media sucks at political analysis, the media sucks at journalism.  Just thought I’d clarify that.

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