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14 January 2010 @ 08:12 pm
five or so things make a post  

The sidewalks are clear again (except in our estate), and the world once more accessible. At least for today. It’s clear right now, so it may get cold enough to freeze the moisture on the roads and turn everything to black ice again tomorrow morning. Hope not, though.

I am thinking tiny shy thoughts about swimming a little more than a kilometer a day next week. Dunno. Possibly that would just make me sleep all day, which would be a bother.

Low writing day, only 1200 words. Finished up a chapter, though, which in *theory* puts me in a position to just write a chapter a day 5 days a week until the book is done. They’re short chapters, mostly around 2600 words, so this is not an insurmountable task. I really should pursue it. It’d make everything much easier.

I do not know how much money individual Americans have thus far donated to the Haitian earthquake relief funds, but this story says the median donation from American citizens for tsunami relief was $50. I don’t know if that’s of people who donated alone, or the amount spread out amongst every American (though I think that would be the average amount, not the median amount), and I’m sure some of those were phenomenally large donations by extremely wealthy individuals. But that’s not the point. The point is, don’t get me wrong, I am glad and grateful that every single person who has donated has done so, but I cannot understand the hypocrisy of a nation which willlingly opens its pockets for aid in the face of a crisis, but cannot be convinced to implement a national health care system in order to improve the quality of life of its own citizens, and who as a whole apparently regard such a beast as an impingement on their own happiness. Ted says it’s that Americans (and perhaps people in general) don’t see beyond their own front door very often, and that Americans in particular have been indoctrinated to believe that you are to fail or succeed on your own, with no support from the state or indeed the community; that you are, in a nutshell, Somebody Else’s Problem. I don’t know what it is. All I know is that I just flat out, fundamentally do not understand it.

And that damned climate change trilogy is niggling at me again. I need a two-year time out, please. Where’s the Doctor and his Tardis when you need them?

The Road Home: miles to Isengard: 41
ytd km swum: 9
ytd wordcount: 22,400

(x-posted from the essential kit)
16:9 1.78:1 OAR: Ryusixteenbynine on January 14th, 2010 07:17 pm (UTC)
I think the reason for us opening our pockets like this is because we have become accustomed to only doing the right thing in a State of Crisis. We assume the rest of the time, things will take care of themselves -- even when they don't, or are manifestly (if invisibly) broken.
martianmooncrabmartianmooncrab on January 14th, 2010 07:33 pm (UTC)
damned climate change trilogy is niggling at me again

I have been having a discussion with a friend about the possibility of a returning mini-ice age, and we both agree that we would like to see a return of the mega-fauna, definately the Mammoths.
Laura Anne Gilman: truth to powersuricattus on January 14th, 2010 07:52 pm (UTC)
Actually, most of the people in the USA< when asked directly, support national health care. We are just being outshouted and out-bought (and in some cases, scared silent) by the health insurance industry.

Confusing 'the people" with "the government machine" is a mistake, IMO.
Nimtouchstone on January 14th, 2010 08:14 pm (UTC)
She says 'the median donation from American citizens', so I'm guessing that is selecting from donations actually made, not including non-donating Americans as 0s. So, take all the donations that occurred, sort them by amount, then pull the middle one out of the list and you get $50.

I think Ted's...not precisely right. There ARE Americans who feel as he described, but I think the more generally prevailing attitude (and it's not universal, of course) is that in an emergency, you should always pitch in and help, and you can expect other people to do the same for you (though you'll probably be quietly ashamed to have needed it), but that OUTSIDE of an emergency, you should be able to take care of yourself.

And maybe I've just absorbed it, but there's a certain amount of that that seems reasonable to me. Resources for supporting people who need help are finite. It's irresponsible to consume those resources if you COULD be taking care of yourself without them; there are other people who need them more than you.

There are plenty of Americans who are ashamed to collect unemployment insurance, despite the fact that it's THEIR MONEY, paid into the system by THEIR TAXES while they were employed. It feels like a handout, and it's embarrassing.

Anyway, that doesn't bear directly upon healthcare. I think 'hypocrisy' is too harsh a word. Donating to victims of a crisis is easy: each person does it individually. There are a dozen organizations helping the victims, and everyone picks one to give money to. That's a vastly simpler proposition than getting everyone to agree to ONE healthcare system. Even the people who think that having a national system is a good idea (Hi!) aren't in agreement about how that system should WORK.

If disaster relief required getting half of the country behind a SINGLE charity group, the money for the tsunami relief still wouldn't have gotten there yet.
silkiemom on January 14th, 2010 08:50 pm (UTC)
I think this is a part of it, that people are more willing to react in cases of emergency. But I don't think it's just the difference between "helping in crisis" and "people should be self-sufficient". Right after 9/11 people ran out in droves to donate blood. Because it was a crisis. I think it's pretty clear that we're not expecting people needing blood to be self-sufficient. Blood banks need blood all the time for people who are suffering the misfortunes of accidents or illness. But we don't run out and donate in droves, because there isn't a big, flashy crisis going on, only the usual crisis of blood shortage.
Nimtouchstone on January 14th, 2010 08:58 pm (UTC)
Agreed. There are always enough needs at any given time that it's hard to feel driven about all of them at once. Some portion of what gets action always comes down to visibility.

Sometimes it feels like the best way to help a relative who's come down with a rare, unresearched disease would be to infect a celebrity with it....
Geek of Weird Shit: weldinggows on January 14th, 2010 09:06 pm (UTC)
And that damned climate change trilogy is niggling at me again. I need a two-year time out, please.

Is this when I point out your empty schedule in the latter half of this year? Then sit back and grin to myself when "empty" suddenly changes to "not-so-empty"?
kitmizkit on January 14th, 2010 09:07 pm (UTC)
Nope. Six months isn't enough time, even if I didn't need the break. :)
Geek of Weird Shitgows on January 14th, 2010 09:13 pm (UTC)
No, but it's enough time to draft a prospectus, isn't it? ;)
kitmizkit on January 15th, 2010 02:24 pm (UTC)
NO, because prospectii are for selling books, and if I wrote one I might end up with 3 books a year under contract again, which is anathema to the details of the Second Five Year Plan. :)
Geek of Weird Shitgows on January 15th, 2010 02:55 pm (UTC)
. . . which is to write a reasonable number of books in a reasonable amount of time?
kitmizkit on January 15th, 2010 03:05 pm (UTC)
Pretty much, yes. The goal is two contracted books a year unless they throw stupid amounts of money at me, in which case 2012 might see 3 contracted books that year. But mostly, yeah. It's very possible, likely, even, given my tendency toward overachievement, that I'll write a third book a year, but I don't want it under contract. I can write on spec and sell later, because two deadlines are enough. I've laid this out to my agent, even, who believes I have chosen a wise newsletter to subscribe to. :)

The problem with the climate change trilogy is that it'd require at least a year of time dedicated to it alone for research purposes, nevermind the actual writing process. So I'd need to be in a completely different position in order to really even consider it. And I no longer have the spoons to try forcing a window where I could do it in, so it will remain an unscratched itch until some later date.
Harold Zablehzatz on January 14th, 2010 11:57 pm (UTC)
Do you really think you'd have time to write a book if you were traveling with the Doctor?
kit: drwho_nine_milleniumeyemizkit on January 15th, 2010 02:26 pm (UTC)
I think I was sort of hoping he'd drop me off in, I don't know, 1987 (so I could still have a computer to work on) for a couple of years so I could write for a while... :)
Harold Zablehzatz on January 15th, 2010 04:06 pm (UTC)
1987... So you're going to write your next novel in WordStar? Or MacWrite?

I guess that would work. Be careful, though; the Doctor hasn't been that great as a transport service. He tends to miss by a couple hundred years and a few thousand light years.
Al Pettersoneyelessgame on January 15th, 2010 10:15 pm (UTC)
I don't think it's really just the idea that we only give during a State of Crisis, or that we don't look past our front doors - at any rate I don't think it's that Americans are any worse about those things intrinsically than anyone else.

I think there is a combination of a few specific ideologies, some old and some new, some better and some worse, that make us brain-damaged about the idea of national health care (or national anything).

I'm afraid it might get your lj a tad hijacked by my own essaying if I were to say all I thought here, but briefly I think it's a combination of these factors: Protestant work ethic; federalism; the romance of Western individualism; capitalism; classical liberalism; forgetting the lessons of the robber barons and liberalism's shift to Progressivism in response; (the perception of) bearing much of the load of defeating two totalitarian nations within the last century; that the scars have healed from the 1930s; racially and culturally diverse citizenry; deliberate manipulation and distortion of media by aristocracy; deliberate co-option and perversion of Christianity by Mammon; that the scars have not healed from the 1960s; postmodernism; Ronald Reagan's magical and Rush Limbaugh's poisonous tongues.

Those are IMHO the main contributors (again, both positive and negative) to why we aren't able to have sane national policy about much of anything. Any liberal, progressive action is seen by a huge portion of the country as being by definition totalitarian, confiscatory, and anti-christian.

Also, to appropriate Pat Robertson, the deal with the devil we made over two centuries ago. (Specifically, Jefferson's Original Sin: humans owning humans. Man, have we been screwed by that one.)