Don’t cry, baby

Originally uploaded by JaciVico

(Crossposted from here>)
From The Guardian:


At this time many people were abducted by Somali, Kenyan and Ethiopian forces in a systematic operation involving regular interrogations by individuals believed to be members of the FBI and CIA. Ultimately more than 100 individuals were “disappeared” to prisons in locations including Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Guantánamo Bay.

and

“By its own admission, the US government is currently detaining at least 26,000 people without trial in secret prisons, and information suggests up to 80,000 have been ‘through the system’ since 2001. The US government must show a commitment to rights and basic humanity by immediately revealing who these people are, where they are, and what has been done to them.”

Honestly. Tell me. I am paying taxes so people can be abducted and held without trial in a prison ship? How many of these people were SOLD into detention?

The only thing that would make me proud of being an American is sending the architects of this travesty to the Hague.

My patriotism has already been dismissed by some on the Right because I not only vote Blue, I’ve voted Green. My pride in this country has taken a severe beating–Until people are held accountable for what they have done I do not think it is possible to be proud to be an American and do one’s patriotic duty and Question the Government.

I love my country–Right now I am not proud of it.

This Finger goes out to those who have done unspeakable things in the name of my country.

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Nominate

May 5, 2008

BlogHer nominations are open. I, being biased, nominated Shannon.

If it was simple bias, I’d leave it at that. It is not simple. Her blogging and her beliefs have inspired and challenged me. I don’t say it often enough, so I nominated her for BlogHer. While normally I would nominate others (like my consiglieri or AG) I am sticking to one nomination this year, as Shannon has inspired me more than any other blogger out there.

More than Chuck or Cobag, even.

PRK and me!

February 2, 2008

This is going to be a rather lengthy post with lots of detail but at the moment it’s cathartic so bare with me.

 Alright so about 24 years ago when a friends older brother had corrective vision surgery the seed was implanted in my brain.  I’ve revisited the topic many a times in my head keeping up with developments as time has gone on.  About six years ago I decided on a whim to go to one of the McDonalds of laser surgery to check if I could have Lasik done.  Genetically both my mom and dad have thin corneas so it seemed remote but worth a shot.  Shockingly even though I consider them to be like breast implant clinics, they turned me down.  They could do it but not to 20/20 vision and refunded a small deposit.

 So two years ago the FDA approved corneal implants (designed for people really who had cateracs with 10.5+ diopter myopia or so their site says).  I’d done some research and I knew whick doctor I’d have check my eyes once again.  I went through the customary lets check your eyes exam albeit technology has come a long way since my last one.  Sat down and talked numbers the girst of it 5.25 diopters of myopia on both eyes no astigmatism and a dim light pupil size of 7mm.  He said I could actually have Lasik, PRK and that the corneal implants at my age with my script would be a rather aggresive treatment.  Food for thought really but then some more numbers I have a corneal thickness of 480 microns.  The minimum amount you want remaining after Lasik is 250 microns.  With the flap and removable I would end up with a conservative 275.  And closer to 330 with PRK.

So some thought here and decided to finally take the leap and schedule PRK surgery (both eyes) on January 24th.  I am not advocating anything but any one who wants to have vision correction surgery, forget what the doc tells you, do research, long and hard research prior to comitting to anything.  Any ways PRK vs Lasik.  It’s really a short heal time with a flap incision of about 90-110 microns on your eye that will never fully heal.  Versus PRK which is a removal of the epithelial (about 30-40 microns) which does grow back but you run into longer healing and possible infection issues.  These are the short term risks there are many other long term risks I wont get into with both procedures.  With my corneal thickness it seemed like a no brainer as far as which to me.

A slight sleepless night prior, anxiety most likely either that or I just don’t really sleep well any way.  I’ll give you a brief run down of what that surgery is like:

  1. Lots of checking double checking of prescription levels.
  2. Pictures taken of eye during normal dilation
  3. Valium (small dosage) administered
  4. Dilation drops and more checking of prescription levels, permanent marker used to give reference points on the eye
  5. Manual checking of prescription (this might be out of sequence but it was in there).  This is the 1 or 2 test.
  6. All this takes about an hour
  7. Brought into surgery room (it has video cameras should any one wish to watch from the outside)
  8. Right eye sealed up with some pads
  9. Numbing drops applied
  10. Retractor clamp to keep eye open
  11. More drops of unknown nature applied
  12. Scrubbing with what felt to be a q-tip (this removes the epitheleal and smooths it for the laser)
  13. Stare at the red light, nasty hair burning smell, 1 minute laser time.
  14. More drops that are timed before removal (30 seconds would be my guess)
  15. Icy cold saline type wash over the eyes.
  16. Place a bandage contact in (this stayed in for 5 days)
  17. Repeat for other eye.
  18. All this took about 15 minutes

So if you read all the propaganda about healing times, you should be functionally seeing in about 4-5 days with PRK and 1-2 days with Lasik.  Now if functionally seeing means no pain, you can read a computer screen, sun light doesn’t scorch your eyes and the world seems to be bathed in fog where everything is a blurr.  Then yes the standard lasik, PRK propaganda does not lie.  Now every one has different pain levels, healing rates and so on.  I figured I was probably one of those extreme cases.  A few people thought ZOMG can’t see 20/20 after two days this has gone totally wrong!  I knew this would take awhile to heal and this would be more painful but I’ll give a bit of a reality check to the propaganda nazi’s out there.

it seems most people I have spoken to, read and so on experienced similar / some times worst / some times a bit better recovery periods.  I’d say I am dead median at the moment (although this is only my 9th day post op).  The pain for the first 3 days was intense.  It’s described as having sand in your eye.  I think we all know what this feels like, but it’s a rough reference point, since it’s a constant piece of sand in your eye that you cannot wipe or sooth away combined with intense light sensitivity.  Enough so your eyes just want to clamp shut.  This was greatly alleviated for me when the contac badage was removed and while I could see pretty clearly by the 5th day with the contac in (it smooths your cornea as well as protects it) once it was removed I lost the foggyness but my vision went to shit.

Most people I’ve talked to and I can count my self here felt that it was 2 weeks before they could function (and this is to the point where they could read a computer screen, drive…you know function).  It’s a very slow process for this and while at the moment I’m taking shortcuts so I can work (like getting cheapy reading glasses and bumping my fonts to as high as they can go).  It feels like an eternity.  Wish me luck as this can take up to a year to get back to normal (assuming no complications), I’ll take the usual 3 months though, please?

So this finger is to any one who has ever uttered the words, “no big deal!, was fine the next day, it doesn’t hurt a bit” and to any one who write marketing shit for the Laser dudes of the world.  One I know it’s a lie! (ok maybe it wasn’t for you but any ways ) and two if any one reading this desides to have eye surgery alot more than a week for recovery.  You might not need it but it sucks if you do.  Personally I’d say 2 weeks vacay minimum just to be safe.

The politics of pile on.

November 2, 2007

Granted I have seen some idiotic things in my time but this might be one poly sci experiment gone awry. 

On the specific issue, I think documenting illegal aliens in NY (hell any state) is a good thing.  For a variety of reasons primarily that it lets you know “theoretical” costs associated with it.  If your census population is say 30 million but your actual population is 40, well you might want to set up more hospitals, fire houses, police.  You know the public service stuff that makes cities and municipalities work without devolving into chaos when the shit hits the fan.

Any ways, this finger is not to that.  I think it’s actually a common sense issue if you remove the whole “ZOMG aliens!” political spin from it.  Hell if people who pass through JFK who are not US citizens are mandatorily finger printed, documenting and in exchange issuing a drivers liscense for aquiesing is not such a bad idea.  You could probably even sell most hard core republicans on it, it’s a state mandate and it helps you keep track of the boogie man.  Conversely the democrats should jump at it as well.  Theoretical redistricting, more federal monies and so on and could try to grow the program into a federal beaurocracy over time.  Win Win!

So with that said Hillary, what are you thinking?

http://www.hillaryclinton.com/news/release/view/?id=3981

http://youtube.com/watch?v=zk16oxb4Ck4

While I think most of her ideas are bat shit crazy and since she does have a habit of not actually saying anything (not just her).  I’m not sure what she would hope to accomplish to bringing out the Boys vs Girls debate.  In my mind it puts into play the whole concept of wait she does have boobs and perhaps all those mythical stereotypes might be true!  She didn’t cave this time!  As a long standing only male in a household full of women I’m offended for my daughter and wife. 

Semi random thought of the day~

FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!!!

Fast Acting AIDS

October 24, 2007

Today, I give AIDS the finger. I have yet to see independant verification of this yet, but if it’s true . . . . .fucking in the streets my friends. In the streets.

Raise your fingers high and Howl.

W.T.F.

October 3, 2007

This is absolutely no part of this story that is ok. I mean, seriously. How do things like this happen? This is like some Grand Conjunction of Stupid. A guy stores his dried severed leg in a BBQ, and then the guy that finds it wants to charge freak show dollars to show it. And they fight over custody! HOW DOES THIS ACTUALLY HAPPEN???

Living up to your Architecture

September 19, 2007

I went to D.C. for the first time the weekend before last. As I walked down Pennsylvania, I passed the corner of the Justice Department. I took this photo of the quote at the top. It reads, “Justice in the life and conduct of the state is possible only as first it resides in the hearts and souls of its citizens.” Inspiring, no? Stating that the nation cannot be just unless its citizens are just?

I suppose so. But the more I walked around the Mall, the more I questioned my surroundings. The buildings are large and monolithic, larger than life, and mostly neo-classical in style. This has to do, I’m guessing, with the fashion at the time and also with deliberately copying Greek architecture, as the Greeks are credited with inventing democracy.

It became a little overwhelming. It became a little claustrophobic. You start looking for your fellow citizens, but all you see is this gentleman wearing a toga. He’s surrounded some very violent symbols, including Greek helmets, eagles, swords, and of course–the laurel wreath of victory, later to be associated with Roman emperors. What does he have to tell me, as I wander through this falsely antiquated landscape? “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” Not exactly comforting. Perhaps it’s not meant to be. I mean, this sculpture sits on the steps outside the National Archive. Let me repeat that–the National Archive. Or to put it another way, the National Memory–records of our past deeds as a nation are kept here. I suppose the statue is the cause and the archive is the effect.

I suggest that the heart of Washington, D.C.’s design is found in the Bex Eagle, installed at the beginning of the Reagan era. It is quite small, but it defines the abstract concept of liberty and freedom, which come up so often on our government buildings. To quote from the plaque next to the Eagle, “Freedom’s Symbol: Free men must rededicate themselves to the cause of freedom. They must understand with a cause of certainty of conviction that the cause of freedom is the cause of the human individual. Human individuality is the basis of every value–spirtual, moral, intellectual, creative–in human life. Freedom is the right to one’s soul; the right of each person to approach God in his own way and by his own means. It is a man’s right to possess his mind and conscience for himself. To those who put their trust in freedom, the state can have no sovereignty over mind or soul–must be the servant of man’s reason, not the master.” Again, this is a very high sounding, noble idea. But the rest of D.C. tells me that the state is here to be vigilant, and I must be just and defend freedom. The Bex Eagle kindly gives me a definition that involves my own individuality but that the state is the servant, not the master. The state becomes my tool to defend my individuality and my freedom which are now linked with my soul. What was once an impersonal concept has now become closely linked to the core of my own humanity.

Our politicans and policy makers are constantly surrounded by this message. Is it any wonder we bomb the hell out of everywhere? They’re getting thousands of subliminal messages a day that freedom needs their help and violent support. We’ve filled the heart of our nation with slogans and imperial symbols–eagles, laurel wreaths, and stern looking men in togas are a dime a dozen. No wonder we appear as the living embodiment of the Bex Eagle to the rest of the world.

The Bex Eagle

This finger goes out to the architects of D.C. for creating an unfriendly, stark environment that takes the ideas of this country and turns them from the rights they are to a series of martial slogans. Up yours! I want a capital that inspires me and makes me feel welcome, too. From now on, I think my visits will mostly be to the Smithsonian and flower gardens, rather than to the Mall itself.

Two Fingers, Standing Tall

September 11, 2007

Today both of my fingers go out to anyone who believes that murder is an acceptable rhetorical strategy.  My fingers go out to those who would rather fight than talk.  My fingers go out to the people who have squandered the good will and system shock the world faced that would have allowed for real change.  My fingers go out to those who teach their children to kill before teaching them to play.  My fingers go out to everyone in the world that allows themselves to be controlled by fear, apathy, anger, and selfishness.  My fingers go out to everyone that is unwilling to grow and change.  And my fingers go out to this guy for making me cry everytime I see this picture:

The Falling Man

I hope your flight never ended. Rest in peace.