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Tying it all in

I don't think anyone reads this journal any more. It wouldn't make any sense given I haven't written in it for years. Now that I am retired, I can confirm that KContheroad and Caseytalk are the same person. I don't want to lose all the information here. I've gone back to read the entries for my time in Iraq. I had forgotten quite a bit, but the stories brought it all back quite vividly. Anyway, I don't want LJ to dump this as an inactive journal.

If you do happen to see this, would you post so I know?

What's Uzbekistan Like?

How's that for a question? It's the same as if someone asked 'What's the USA (or any other country) like?' The answer depends on who you are and what you're looking for. If you're looking for free and fair elections and a government that embraces the rule of law, don't look to Uzbekistan.

Karimov is an autocratic, kleptocratic leader whose security forces use primative, sometimes reprehensible, occasionally barbaric, methods to keep order. This is a given.

With that stipulation, governments have three choices:

1) Sever ties and have no further contact. This option may or may not include attempts to push sacntions through the UN or to impose them unilaterally.

2) Attempt regime change. In Uzbekistan, Karimov has consolidated power sufficiently well that this would require, IMHO, military action. Nothing short of that would bring him down.

3) Maintain ties and try to work on improving conditions for the population of Uzbekistan by working on the margins.

I can't think of any other options, but perhaps my readers can.

I am strongly against option 2. I don't think it works very well and we have current examples to support that belief. The USA is overstretched at the moment militarily anyway, so perhaps if it were to be done, some other military would have to take it on.

Option 1 would be very satisfying and people who hate the Karimov regime would find it a moral victory. I mean, how can you deal with someone with his track record? If you so much as talk with him, don't you have blood on your hands? This is the option of moral purity. The problem with this option is that it really would have no effect other than cause greater harm for the people of Uzbekistan. Karimov and his cronies are well ensconced and they'll do just fine regardless of sanctions or diplomatic relations. If there's any suffering to be done, it will be the people of Uzbekistan who'll have to bear the brunt. I refer you to North Korea and Cuba for examples to support this opinion. Some (mostly Reagan supporters) say that economic pressure from the US is what led to the collapse of the USSR, but I'm more inclined to believe the USSR needed no help to implode.

That leaves us Option 3. Hold your nose, and work within the system to try to make changes at the edges that may bear fruit some day. After all, Karimov is 80 and can't live forever. While there's no reason to think that the man who replaces him (no, I don't think it's going to be Gulnora and so it will almost certainly be a man) will be a Thomas Jefferson, it's possible to spread ideas and infrastructure that may make it easier for any successor to have more liberal (in the classic sense) political practices. We in the West have a tendency to want things to change NOW. In Asia, it's easier to think more in terms of centuries. It's horribly unsatisfying, but it probably has better long term prospects.

End of part one.

Wish you were here and all that

But I'm sitting on my parents' balcony overlooking the ocean, nice breezes countering the warm day. . . wine for the asking, sourdough baking in the oven and the whole family is DONE with our dentist appointments. Oh, and Matthew isn't going to need orthodontia. I rather like that bit.

Coming soon. . .

I've had several people ask me to talk about Uzbekistan now that they're not monitoring every key stroke as I type. I've been gathering my thoughts and will put it here soon.

I've deleted the last posts in this blog that asked you all to drop me. You can come back now, please!

For the Intelligent design discussion

raven_oreilly hasn't friended me back, so I can't post in her journal. This is what I tried to post there, in case anyone would like to share it with her on my behalf:


tinuvielberen mentioned the FSM argument in your last post. There was a student who was suspended from school because he was advocating his religion of FSM, inisiting that it be taught in school that the FSM created us all. He said that the 'theory' of the FSM is the exact equivalent of the 'theory' of G-d creating everything, and so should be given equal time in the schools. He said, to be fair, that each native American creation theory be taught as well in the science classes as long as the creation theory of the fundamentalist Christians was to be taught, too.

I believe in G-d and believe that He was the force behind the universe and the One who devised the design of the Universe and set it on the path to evolve. I also believe that such ideas belong in the church, synagogue, temple, philosophy class, whatever, and NOT in science classes.

Interview meme

Mr. Moooooooooooooooooooodie gave me some questions to answer. If you'd like me to ask you questions, I'd be happy to do it.

1. So what’s so great about this Harry Potter stuff then?
The Potter books create a world I enjoy imagining myself a part of. I love that there's humour mixed with darkness. Some of the plot 'twists' are perfectly predictable based on ancient storytelling techniques, but the reason some story elements are so common is that they're still compelling. There are enough mysteries and puzzles to keep adults chatting 'knowledgeably' for hours. What happened to Voldemort's wand while he was Vapourmort? Where were Hagrid and Harry the 24 hours after Harry's parents were killed? What motivates Snape and does he have true allegiances? What would you see in the mirror of Erised? I've had great fun role playing some of these characters and find that it's hard work to do it well. Adults who immerse themselves in these stories share several common characteristics: intelligence, humour, curiosity, and a passion for reading. I've met some wonderful people through this shared interest.

2. What was your favourite toy as a child?
My plush dolls. I didn't like plastic fashion dolls or baby dolls, but the animals and I spent untold lovely hours creating our own new worlds.

3. Is Bigfoot real, or is it just a guy in a monkey suit?
Bigfoot is as real as the abominable snowman. And the Loch Ness Monster. The secret to seeing any of these is to have a nice long chat with Johnny Walker first.

4. If you were an exotic dancer, what would your stage name be?
Mary Sheena Cherry

5. Would you rather be a werewolf or a vampire?
Vampire! Can't they fly? I'd love to be able to fly. If they can't fly, then I'd be a werewolf, because then I'd be human and could have a fairly normal life most of the month. I'm used to turning into a beast every month, nearly every woman is, and so it wouldn't be such a stretch.

Long Beach Fire. My parents are fine.

I realize that several of you know my parents or know of them. I've made some references to the fire, but I haven't posted it here so everyone can know they're OK. My parents live in the same tower as the unit where the fire was. Their place is directly below it on the 11th floor. They have a second one two floors below that that they currently rent out but where my brother and sister-in-law will be living soon.

Local news coverage the day after.

Local news coverage the night of.

My parents are fine. As luck would have it, they were scheduled to come here on Friday to spend spring break with my family, which they have done. They had to evacuate their home anyway, so it's nice that they have a good place to live while it's still chaos there. There is water damage to their home and other damage to some of the other units in the tower, including some damage to the unit where my brother will live.

The first video speaks of how sprinklers might have saved Mr. Crews's life. While it is true that sprinklers would have kept the damage down and might have saved his life, there is more to the story. Mr. Crews left his home to knock on the door of his neighbor on the same floor to advise her to leave. She asked him in and he said something to the effect, of "No. I'm alright." So, he was in the hallway while the fire was in progress and could have escaped. Instead, he apparently went back into his home (to get something?) and became trapped as the fire spread across the entryway. A reminder NEVER to go back into a burning building once you've escaped. I cannot imagine the horror of his last moments.

My parents tell me that they are very moved by the outpouring of offers of places to stay and other help. The night of the fire, the people who lived nearby let the evacuees come into their homes for shelter, toilets, telephone calls. . .Everyone has been enormously helpful and supportive. They have a place to stay right now and are making the arrangements for when they return on the 10th. Thank you to everyone who has been so kind with your concern and your very generous offers.

Happy Birthday, Old man!

May the coming year bring you joy and comfort, may the ills of the past be the foundation of great things to come.

Happy birthday, theoldcatlady . How you manage to keep going in the face of all your adversities, I'll never know. You're a strong one and that's a fact.

(Wow, two entries in one day. Next thing you know, I'll be documenting my every eye blink like SB! :P to miss_s_b )

For 'Lyssa

Dear Hot Head --

Receiving a poor review from those idjits reflects more on them than on you. Your head knows it, but your insides keep saying, "well, I could have done better. . ." That will always happen because, yes, we could all do better. No one is perfect. I've been reading what you've been saying about the backstabbers, and this sounds like it's more of the same. You know that you've been good to the customers, you've pulled your share of the tough work, and you've been a reliable employee. If that company expects you to make them your new religion, they don't pay enough.

Proof of what I'm saying is that what happened yesterday has spurred you to action rather than moping -- you're putting in applications and you're going to dump your current employer. You're not going to sit there and whinge that it's so horrible where you are; you're going to DO something about it. As we discussed last night, there are so many people chasing so few decent jobs that you know you're facing an uphill battle. You're going to have to apply everywhere. I do NOT envy you one bit. Job hunting is harder than any job ever was, which is why so many people will stay where they are instead of move on. I still remember, 21 years later, the horrors of pounding the pavement and being rejected again and again and again. It's demeaning and demoralising.

So, as you enter this wretched process, I just want you to know that you have a cheering section out here that knows what a fab person you are and that the company that finally does hire you is going to be the winner.

Carol

So THAT's the secret!

Instead of asking you all to vibrate for me before a blood test, I should post cute kid stuff instead. I'll remember that.

The INR is high enough I'm OFF the injections and only have to take the warfarin. YAY! I'm taking a massive dose of the warfarin (even doctors' eyes pop when I tell them) but it is working even with my diet that's normally high in vitamin K.

YAY! Happy happy happy!

(Did you know that warfarin started out as rat poison? I'm consuming massive amounts of rat poison every day and it's working.)