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neeksgeek's Journal
neeksgeek's Journal
March 3, 2017

How are you spending this Friday?

I'm watching clips from All the President's Men.

When Watergate happened I was way to young to understand or care about it.

Our current situation sure feels like this clip to me.
February 2, 2017

Beyond the extreme: Scientists marvel at increasingly non-natural Arctic warmth

Didn't see this posted elsewhere. Of course, this story has received lots of coverage here, but it just keeps getting worse.


The Arctic is so warm and has been this warm for so long that scientists are struggling to explain it and are in disbelief. The climate of the Arctic is known to oscillate wildly, but scientists say this warmth is so extreme that humans surely have their hands in it and may well be changing how it operates.

Temperatures are far warmer than ever observed in modern records, and sea ice extent keeps setting record lows.

More at link...
November 28, 2016

West Antarctic ice shelf breaking up from the inside out


"It's generally accepted that it's no longer a question of whether the West Antarctic Ice Sheet will melt, it's a question of when," said study leader Ian Howat, associate professor of earth sciences at Ohio State. "This kind of rifting behavior provides another mechanism for rapid retreat of these glaciers, adding to the probability that we may see significant collapse of West Antarctica in our lifetimes."

More at link. I'm sure this isn't a hoax! But maybe Donald believes the Chinese are digging this rift.

November 18, 2016

Identity Documents and Deportation

I don't really know where to put this, so I'm dropping it into General Discussion. (I'm not often the author of original posts here). If it needs to be somewhere else, moderators, please move it.

This is my first post since the hack. I just joined as a Star Member, because another day without Democratic Underground would be unthinkable. I'm extremely irritated at the hacker(s), but that's for another discussion. Right now, I'm really glad to be able to post about something that's been on my mind lately.

When I write, I tend to be long-winded. I have a lot of things to say about the election results and the current political climate. I'll try to keep this short and to the point. (Also, there's that word, "concern." Yes, I am writing this out of concern, but I believe my fears are very real. I'm not trolling.)

A couple days ago, I was meeting a friend at a restaurant, and it was a nice day, so I sat on a bench outside while I waited for him. It's in an "upscale" shopping center, and as I sat there for ten minutes or so, many people walked by me, and pretty much ignored me. It really hit me that I, a balding, slightly overweight, grey-haired white "professional" in a button-down and jeans, don't normally draw the attention of cops or security, or even the average shopper (unless I'm carrying a camera, they all seem to notice that). It's my "white privilege" at work. It's very real.

At any rate, I've mentioned in a few posts that my wife is Hispanic. Now that Trump is the apparent* President-elect, we have decided to get an up-to-date** copy of her official certified Birth Certificate, which she will keep with her at all times when she is away from our home. Once we get that document, we'll also get her passport renewed. Out of protest and solidarity, I will also keep my identity documents on my person, even though someone who looks like me is probably not going to get even a glance from any sort of immigration raid.

Which brings me to my point: if you are a US citizen and are even a little bit concerned about Republican efforts to deport "undesirables," I strongly suggest doing what you can to get your documents in order. Here is a PDF document explaining what's required.

I believe that undocumented people in our country should be given a path to citizenship. It doesn't look like that's on Trump's agenda. But ultimately, I simply do not trust them to deport "only illegals" or "just criminals" - this can be used against anybody they want, if they do it right. It's potentially a tool for suppression of not just racial minorities, but political opponents. For instance, I am on record with any number of Republican and Democratic members of government, expressing my feelings for or against various government actions.

I have been told that I'm over-reacting. I've been told that citizens have nothing to fear. But the rhetoric coming from the far right at this moment does not reassure me. Now, I'm the last person who wants to walk around in fear of some wannabe Schutzstaffel demanding to see my papers! But it really feels like that's where we are headed. If one of these NAZIs confronts my wife about her citizenship status, simply because they think she looks "Mexican," I want her to have an iron-clad defense.

This article on Slate should alarm anybody who reads it. During "Operation Wetback," the US really did deport American citizens who could not produce proof of citizenship.

I don't want them to be able to do any of this. I hope this information is useful for somebody.

*I say apparent because the Electoral College hasn't actually voted yet; I guess we'll see.

**The law changed in 2011, and all Birth Certificates now have to include the names of both parents. I was born in 1970, and my 1999 copy of my own Pennsylvania Birth Certificate, while perfectly valid proof of citizenship when I got a US passport in 2008, is no longer valid proof of my identity, because it doesn't include that information. I'm going to get a new one, too.
October 20, 2016

I voted early!

Just had to tell somebody.

Edited to add: even though I didn't have to vote in my precinct since it's early voting, I went to the one closest to my home, in the Southpark area. A lot of Republicans. I didn't talk to people much, because I don't do well in crowds, but I listened. Based on all the people carrying the blue ballot guide the Democrats were there handing out, I'd say there was a surprising amount of support for Democratic candidates for such an upscale area. I did hear some unpleasant comments about poor people and I had to keep my mouth firmly shut.

October 17, 2016

Some people are rational...

Others can rationalize anything.

My father - a career electronics tech and a very rational guy (usually) - voted for Reagan and Bush I. Then in 1996 he voted for Clinton on the grounds that he had worked out well the first term. He's voted Democratic since then, because he found Bush II distasteful, McCain dishonest, and Palin alarming. He would not vote Trump for dog catcher. But he had to be brought around to voting FOR someone instead of against someone. And it's been a slow battle to get him to renounce his racist points of view (the worst part of that was dealing with snarky taco comments when I was dating the Mexican-American woman who became my wife). I'm proud of him because he will listen, admit when he is wrong, and thinks. We don't always agree, but I'm proud of him. He's nothing like Donald Trump. My father instilled in me a strong sense of civic duty and patriotism.

My mom - a technical editor and typesetter - is a Trump voter through and through. She was always the calm, collected one who taught me patience. I have no idea who she voted for in past elections, but she has walled herself off from thinking in this election. She's afraid of the gays in bathrooms, Hispanics everywhere (in spite of being very warm to my wife), and wants the Muslims out. Nothing I say gets through to her. It's disappointing, since my mother instilled in me a sense of diplomacy and conversation. I can't be proud of her current positions.

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