Learn more about the Invisible Children, the Global Night Commute, and a little-known war in Northern Uganda that is causing massive child abduction, forcing kids to become child soldiers & sex slaves.
Shooting War is a [very] graphic novel about a "vlogger" named Jimmy Burns set in the year 2011 -- we're still in Iraq, McCain is president, and suicide bombers are blowing themselves up at your neighborhood Starbucks.
Sam Perry is doing some really cool stuff with an idea called Reliefopedia.org, a sort of wikipedia for disaster planning, preparedness & recovery.
Reliefopedia is connected to the Recovery 2.0 concepts being pioneered by Jeff Jarvis... Jeff headed up the first Recovery 2.0 meeting at the Web 2.0 conference tonight (attended by power personalities like Michael Powell & Craig Newmark, along with little shit yours truly).
People here in the US are likely more focused on Katrina, 9/11 echoes, and the opening of football season. However, the political events unfolding across the Pacific ocean are certainly noteworthy in their own right. The recent landslide election win for Koizumi could mark the beginning of a new age of progressive Japanese politics, with a host of younger (& more female) representatives.
My 4-month old son just received both his US and Japanese passports, and next week will be flying with my wife Saya for his first visit to Tokyo, to visit his grandparents and the other half of his birthright. I'm planning to follow a week later with my half-sister to spend time with the family as well.
Should be a great opportunity for Dante, Dani, and me to learn more about Japan in the 21st century...
so what's your political persuasion?
here's mine (for the most part):
You Are a "Don't Tread On Me" Libertarian
You distrust the government, are fiercely independent, and don't belong in either party.
Religion and politics should never mix, in your opinion... and you feel opressed by both.
You don't want the government to cramp your self made style. Or anyone else's for that matter.
You're proud to say that you're pro-choice on absolutely everything!
The problem is that much of America is still rooted in religious intolerance and ignorance, and it will take time (20-50 years? 2-3 more generations?) for this to change. And yet, I'm not here to blame America. But maybe i can explain America a little bit... and at the same time, explain what it means to be a Mountaineer, and also what it means to be a Citizen of the World.
So which of these two nations are we?
I grew up in West Virginia, and while I love my family and respect my home state's unique culture -- yes, I'm still a Mountaineer football fan, and I still sing Almost Heaven nostalgically -- a lot of folks there (and in the south) still fear and hate those that are different. Honestly, I don't believe they're all that different from most other people around the world... they just don't get much exposure to people who are [non-white / gay / non-religious / foreigners / etc]. And like many other people around the world, we tend to fear and hate that which we do not know.
Note that i'm not blaming all religions and all people who are religious. I'm sometimes guilty of making sweeping statements about religion being based in the past and being intolerant and bigoted, but at heart I depend a lot on the ideals of faith and spirituality. Curious as it may sound, I'm such a strong believer in Science that I can't be so arrogant as to claim God doesn't exist (though i may suggest you can't prove he does, either). But I do have a lot of faith in humanity, and I appreciate religions and groups that are open to everyone, such as the Bahai faith and Glide Church.
It will change, but it will take time. I used to think that day was right around the corner (and it may today for those of us here in Northern California and other urban / coastal areas), but now i realize it may take another generation or two to reach into middle-america. Perhaps even longer, since many immigrants also bring other religious short-sightedness with them as well.
But as more immigrants from other countries come to US universities in the heartland, and gradually interact with local people (and even inter-marry occasionally) there will come understanding. As more gays come out to their friends and neighbors, and adopt/have kids who go to school with other kids, they will gradually come to be accepted by their families and co-workers. Just don't expect it to happen by 2008, and maybe not even by 2018. However, I'm guessing by sometime inbetween 2024 and 2054, it will change.
In the meantime, I encourage all of you to spend time getting to know christian voters and learn more about The South, and take time to explain your view of the world to them, and spend as much time (or more) listening to theirs. Leaving the country in frustration or isolating yourself in big cities won't solve the problem.
My wife Saya is Japanese, and she and I are about to have our first baby next spring. We're also thinking about adopting down the road a bit, specifically a baby (or two) of non-caucasion background so we have more diversity in our own family. I'm also sponsoring my half-sister who lives in West Virginia to do a high-school exchange program abroad next year. And maybe I need to spend more time understanding what my relatives in the south think about gay rights, and then explain how a few of my friends and family are hurt by gay marriage bans.
Anyway, we all have a lot of listening and understanding to do. We can't just all blame it on Bush and conspiratorial republicans. We as a nation (and a world) have much to learn about ourselves, and a lot more room to grow spiritually and globally.
But we should not despair. Remember how long it's taken for the American Civil Rights Movement to come in the past 40-50 years? It didn't happen overnight. 60 years ago my grandfather and my wife's grandfather were trying to kill each other in World War II. Now we're having a child together. Time heals all wounds.
So please... be patient, don't be complacent, and be optimistic. In time, we will overcome.
Well, contrary to my earlier hope/prediction, doesn't look like the youth vote and huge turnout were enough to offset the similar turnout of religious and gay-intolerant voters. Unless Kerry pulls out a late upset in Ohio, it's gonna be another 4 years of W. Very depressing.
While i do not agree with democratic positions on all fronts, i think it's more important to promote the priniciples and ideals of equality, diversity, and inclusion over that of privilege and status quo. I may agree with republicans on issues of free trade and smaller government, however i disagree on issues such as the environment, restricting abortion, and expansionist foreign policy.
Furthermore i am a strong believer in the separation of church and state, and i see that being muddied by the republican party. In fact I find it curious that many of my friends who call themselves libertarian tend to align with republicans, when currently so many traditional libertarian goals and values have been discarded by this administration and the republican party. George Bush is certainly no libertarian.
I am hopeful that in the future our political process will provide more centrist options in both majority parties that can provide an acceptable candidate to a larger portion of the population. Candidates like Schwarzenegger -- something of a fluke becoming the republican governor in a democratically-controlled majority state -- are closest to the model I'd like to see. Perhaps if the constitution is modified, he could be a presidential candidate in 2008 or 2012. At the moment however, due to the current primary process most presidential candidates tend to come from the extremes of their parties.
In summary, I'm disappointed that a majority of our country still feels that George Bush and his positions represent leadership. To me his presidency represents incompetence, deception, and mismanagement. However, it does appear that at this point in our history I am in the minority.
I guess Jon Stewart will have another very busy four years...