Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Sunvarmint Rants: What to Do at The End of the World

This is a rant! 

There are millions of things a person who rants can attach his rantings to, race relations, welfare issues, governmental abuse of power, corruption, ugly cars, splinters, fried food, etc. You get the point. 

Like any other issue, ranting in and of itself is most likely relative in its effectiveness to communicate the subtleties of any given subject. Rants are intrinsically one sided. And rants rarely cross cultural boundaries well. 

Having said that all "rational like..." I'm sick and tired of some shit!

What the hell is wrong with people?! 

Monitoring the state of human dialogue is very depressing. For years I applauded the ability of "the masses" to readily communicate with one another through the burgeoning technology offered by the Internet, satellites, cable, etc.

I watched the snarky, often abusive comments in response to social media sharing of all types, with a guarded optimism, hoping that eventually people being exposed to one another would learn, would connect, would find improvement through their new found ability to interact.

Well, that shit ain't happening anywhere fast enough. It's headed in the wrong direction:

The recent incident involving the injuring of an elderly Indian man in Madison Alabama, the brutal burning and decapitating and just any old manner of murdering of anyone ISIS thinks is on the wrong side of Armageddon, the greed of the 1% that think they have some inherent right to accumulate such grotesque amounts of power and control over resources and policy, not to mention the fact that #BlackLivesMatter has been co-opted by every other group wanting to communicate their frustration. People yelling and bickering about every damn issue, either on street corners or on social media, not thinking through the details of their ideas, just filling the world with more bile. The corporate dismantling of journalism, the voice by which the people could at one time hear the truth. And yesterday my wife says to me "Lee, they've found poison in the honey."

Shit! We're killing the bees! We're killing the frogs! We're killing the trees! We're killing the air, the water, the butterflies! Goddamn it people! We're killing everything! We're destroying the Earth while at the same time eliminating the spirit of our goodness. 

I understand why some people cling to religion, to a notion of God, and angels and some far away place where we can go when we've filled this place up with shit! Too bad that this very false notion of some escape hatch from our own sins is one of the notions that perpetuates the sin. "It's OK! I'm forgiven and I get to go to a better place," (this rant is NOT directed at the "good shepherds." I know there are some).

And on the other side we have those telling us it's too late. We've screwed it up already too much to fix. Well, shit! That's just great. That is a load of crap. I don't want to go into the science of how we're destroying the planet. But I do want to go into the philosophy of it. We shouldn't give up, or convince people to give up, even if we're doomed. Damn!

So what am I doing? 

I'm looking for people. I'm looking all over the world to find people who aren't dumb-shits! I want to locate the non-ass-hats. I want to at least see them, even if it's the last thing I see before my head goes under the water. I want to hear them. And I want to understand them. I want to know that my children will have someone to talk to, to help, to share the recovery of the world. 

I want to speak. I want to be heard. I want to share a constructive interaction with good people.  


Things are flowing into balance.  

Where do we fit into that balance? What is the definition of "we" supposed to be? 

All around the world, people are singing, people are laughing, people are working, playing, killing, dying, fighting, loving, chopping off heads, healing sick children, building churches, schools and highways. 

People are doing. What are you? 


Friday, February 13, 2015

OPINION: Complete Transparency Needed in Case Against Madison AL Officer #EricParker Accused of Injuring #SureshbhaiPatel

First let me applaud the Madison Alabama Police Department and Chief Larry Muncey for their response in arresting officer Parker and in their attempts to remain above board and transparent in the aftermath of Parker's alleged abuse of Sureshbhai Patel, the Indian grandfather who was engaged in taking a walk when he was detained and apparently injured.

Let's read the Madison City Police Department mission statement as it appears on their website: 

"The Madison City Police Department is dedicated to protecting and serving our community to the highest standard attainable. Our goal is to enhance the quality of life of every citizen through professional police services."

Now let's take a few minutes to view the video which was provided by the Madison City Police Department, taken from the dash-cam of officer Parker's car. Watching the video in its entirety, although perhaps enough to make a person cringe, will at least provide the context needed to understand what happened. 

Bear in mind that police had been called in to investigate "a skinny black guy" that the caller had reported for "kind of wandering around in driveways."  No weapons, violence, theft, harassment, disturbance of the peace or any crime whatsoever had been reported.   

Please watch the entire video:

Eric Parker
When you take the time to view and listen to the video above, it's very difficult not to be disgusted. 

Although police and those who reflexively sympathize with them in any case of abuse almost always claim the public can't understand what it's like to face the world police face, approaching potential criminals who could turn on them at any time and living in constant fear for their life, watching this video certainly makes me question that notion. 

I'll go out on a limb here and suggest that, although Parker is innocent until proven guilty, this video offers fairly damning evidence. If, somehow, miraculously, this video shows exactly what happened, then Parker is, and should be in big trouble. 

Who can know the mindset of someone who overreaches their power? Does this type of behavior indicate lack of training, lack of proper screening, poor oversight or just a rogue officer slipping through the cracks?

The Madison City Police website opens on a page with a horizontal scroll reading "How are we doing? Any ideas? Use the Police Suggestion Box in the FAQs list." 

A slide show of a racially diverse police force engaging in multiple acts of service to the community shows officers handing out stickers to kids, running in marathons, being tough, but being friendly. Obviously a major PR campaign to reach the community they serve. 

In 2014 they even won the International Association of Chiefs of Police and Cisco Systems Community Policing Award.

"This award identifies and rewards best practices in community policing by recognizing police organizations that use the power of collaboration and partnerships to make local, national, and global communities safer from crime and terrorism."

One has to assume they take pride in their community relations.

One would also assume they would do everything in their power to live up to, or at least present this image. 

Now my mother raised me right. 

She taught me to try and understand what makes people tick. She taught me to understand the reasons behind the decisions people make so they can be helped. She taught me compassion and how to be constructive. I cherish these traits very highly. So when I see this kind of thing, I just see multiple failures. With the exception, that is, of an old gentleman just taking a walk.  

I feel the most sorry for Sureshbhai Patel and his family. As a citizen of Alabama I offer them my most sincere apology for the treatment they received while inside the borders of our state. I would like to assure them that the treatment they received, although indicative of the ignorance of some people, does not, and should not represent Alabama as a whole. When presented properly, Southern hospitality is the hallmark of our ideals. Throughout history, we as a state, have battled with those elements of ignorance in Alabama and have made much progress over the years. Any self respecting Southerner, regardless of his political leanings and regardless, even of his concept of racial or ethnic notions, should feel shame at the beating of any innocent person, especially an old man. Given the history of racial strife and intolerance our state has been known for, we should be exceptionally cautious and concerned.     

But I also feel sorry for the officers involved. Watching the video raises so many questions about how we allow our officers to deal with the community. The timing of the body slam Officer Parker inflicted on Mr. Patel was suspiciously close to the arrival of the second police car. Was there showmanship involved? Did Officer Parker want to show-off for the camera, for the other officers? Was he just trying to find an excuse to use his training? How could he not realize the potential for serious injury when he, a large, fit, trained police officer took it upon himself to body slam a comparatively frail, aging Indian man?

Is there something in the camaraderie of fellow officers that bolsters a certain type of action which could lead to abuse? And if so, wouldn't this type of incident then reflect on the entire force? I believe that is the face Chief Larry Muncey presented when announcing the firing and arrest of Parker. 

Muncey announced that the FBI will be launching a parallel investigation. Let us hope that both of these investigations reach conclusions similar to those one must reach after watching the above video. Hopefully Eric Parker will be appropriately punished. 

But what then? 

Situations like this only lead to muddy the waters of humanity. This officer, whether harboring some deep down hatred, or some frustration, or just childish rage or need to boost his ego, has messed his life up. He damaged the trust of people toward police. He has physically damaged an old man...for taking a walk. He has psychologically damaged a family, and strained relations with many of those from an entire nation. 

For what? One impulsive, bad move. 

At this point, jail or no jail, job or no job, future or no future, this poor kid's one move would be to beg and plead for forgiveness at the foot of Sureshbhai Patel's hospital bed. 

And Madison Alabama... Well they need to pay Mr. Patel an obscene amount of money and create a program or fund to address police sensitivity, using his name, and in his honor. 

Sureshbhai Patel... he just needs to get back to feeling safe to walk down the sidewalk. But first he just needs to be able to walk. 

What a shameful moment.           


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Reversing Course, UK Opens National Parks to Fracking

Environmental groups say lawmakers' backpedaling could pave way for fracking near drinking water sources
A view of the South Downs National Park from Devil's Dyke in southern England. (Photo: Escowles/Wikimedia/cc)

Fracking will now be permitted in national parks, "areas of outstanding natural beauty," and potentially near drinking water sources, members of the UK Parliament said Wednesday,  marking a reversal of course from the commitment it made just three weeks ago to pass a prohibition, and infuriating opponents of toxic drilling.

On January 26, the House of Commons agreed to an amendment banning toxic drilling in the aforementioned special areas. The prohibition—if implemented—would have halted drilling in 40 percent of England's shale areas, according to a study by the Guardian.  But the new change allows for drilling in these areas as long as the drilling rigs themselves sit just outside of the areas.  

The ban had already been criticized as falling short of an all-out halt to fracking from grassroots organizations, as well as parliament's own Environmental Audit Committee, which released a report in late January that warned the toxic drilling is not compatible with the country's "efforts to keep global temperature rise below two degrees."

But since committing to the prohibition, the government has backpedaled on this and other protections, prompting the accusation by Green Party MP Caroline Lucas that ministers are "doing the dirty work of fracking companies for them."

As the Campaign to Protect Rural England notes, "It was hoped that the Government, at the insistence of MPs from across the House, would reinstate strong protections."

However, statements made by energy and climate change minister Amber Rudd on Wednesday show that the Conservative government is not taking such a stand.

"In the case of areas of outstanding natural beauty and national parks, given their size and dispersion, it might not be practical to guarantee that fracking will not take place under them in all cases without unduly constraining the industry," Rudd told Parliament.
Moreover, Rudd indicated that the definition of "protected areas" will be reexamined down the line, raising the possibility that water sources will not be shielded from fracking.

According to Richard Casson of Greenpeace UK, "What this means is that national parks and water sources won’t be fully protected from fracking. So while Scotland and Wales have raised clear concerns about the health and environmental impact of fracking, in England it’s full steam ahead with the dash to drill for shale gas and oil."

However, Casson says there is still hope. "We know that David Cameron wants to go all out for shale gas, but the Labour Party is far from decided," he writes, urging opponents of fracking to escalate pressure on lawmakers.

Friends of the Earth agrees. "All eyes will now be on the Labour Party," the organization declared in a statement released Thursday. "It committed to oppose fracking altogether if the Government didn’t meet its conditions—including protecting all national parks and ground water source protection zones from fracking. 'All or nothing' were the words which Labour shadow minister Tom Greatrex used."

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Yo #Brummies: There is no UK in Alabama.

click here for soundtrack to the reading of things

It seems like every time I turn around, even when I post frequent reminders, warnings, corrections etc, there are a number of posts directing users in our groups to go see a show in places like, Barnet, Hackney, Harrow or Enfield. 
Now, I try to be polite because the founders of our area were, well, not all that creative about names. It doesn't help that we have a Leeds right outside of Birmingham. 
How can I get frustrated at the Brummies for failing to notice the USA or AL dropped at the end of all of our stolen names? 
But try as I might, I just can't help getting a bit miffed each time I come back and see the same people posting the same things in the same groups for shows in the same places across the damn ocean. I know we in Alabama have a reputation for not being big on reading. But please....Brummies, check yourself and check the locations.
The distance is a little over 4000 miles from Birmingham Alabama to Birmingham England. So you'll excuse the frequent RSVPs. I really thank you for the use of your names. And, since they were yours first, I guess that's just what we get. 
Here are some random music shares from Birmingham or the surrounding areas, of....Alabama, USA.   

Friday, February 6, 2015

Sunvarmint Says "Quit Hurting Those Girls." End Female Genital Mutilation - #togetherforzero

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is any procedure or act that involves altering or injuring the female genitalia for non-medical reasons.

All across the planet, insecure, violent and idiotic men who don't have the balls to live a good, harmonious life, abuse my sisters in many different ways.  Women are forced to hide themselves in shame, walk behind their ridiculous, primitive husbands, be subservient or face beating or death. Some are burned alive for just being a woman. Some are raped and then blamed for it. I mean, Damn... any man who could justify this kind of shit is a weak piece of crap.

I try to be sensitive with the expression of my arrogant Western ideals, my desire to spread Liberalism and human rights to all corners of the planet, my love of Democracy, freedom and equality, my belief that a woman, even if I can see part of her body (oh my!) does not deserve to be raped, or mistreated. 

I try to understand that some people, cultures, subcultures etc, have different views on the roles and rights of women, personally and in society. But I fail at this understanding. I say, screw you. If you feel the need to cut into a woman's vagina, cut her up and remove the God given clitoris which was put there by forces far greater than your pea sized brain can imagine, then you are a mentally deranged shit-head! 

I don't care if everyone in your village, or country, or cult believes the same shit you do, or if you've brainwashed and abused the elder women to go along with your shit. YOU, are freaking messed up. 

Luckily, the spread of, well, how can I say this..."knowledge" has greatly reduced the number of women being mutilated in some places. But overall the number is on the rise. 

This occurs mostly in Africa, in the Middle East, and sporadically elsewhere. So, this extreme hatred on women isn't a Western problem. It's a problem for all of humanity. Help spread a general understanding of respect for all people, and sensitivity for the struggles faced by each other person. We all need to band together to fight ignorance, in all it's terrible, abusive, forms.

Try and prevent further stunting of the human condition when you see it around you. Try and spread modernization and progressive ideas. The ripple effect can only help.   

As long as one ass-hat feels the need to justify his lack of manhood by chopping up beautiful young girls and screwing up their self image and physical being, it is too many. 

Today is International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation.That's why I just thought it needed to be said. 

So, to all you women out there I say, sorry some of my gender are ridiculous and deranged. There is absolutely no excuse. 

Find out what to do.
Educate yourselves: