capitalism is not a synonym for freedom, back stairs, recycable chair

Milton Friedman is proof that gods are not immortal, nor do they always know what they’re talking about. That Milton was a brighter than average is part of his and because of his influence, ultimately our tragedy. Friedman was no more than your average blind squirrel. Like Rand he did stumble on an acorn now and then. The Friedman Doctrine declared,” There is one and only one social responsibility of business – to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition without deception or fraud.” Anyone of college age or older knows that corporate America and the government has a difficult time defining exactly what deception and fraud are. And Friedman never entertained the idea of real costs. Say the environmental price of acquiring raw materials, the pollution to produce a product or service and its health care costs to the public. And of course the costs of dealing with the product after its usefulness was either over or it was simply time to get the newest and coolest. If Milt had majored in ethics in would have flunked out and may have done something productive with his life.  Friedman also contended that capitalism and freedom were joined at the hip. Bring capitalism to a country and freedom had to follow. Taking liberties

Kampfner begins in Singapore, the prototype and showcase of this new authoritarian democracy. The tiny city-state has an extraordinarily high per capita income, without the pockets of destitution that disfigure the US and UK and without those countries’ inequitable and underfunded education, pension and health care systems. Government agencies are efficient and honest; violent crime and business fraud are rare. Travel is unhindered; technical and managerial innovations are welcomed; shopping is world-class. Streets and public buildings are clean as a whistle and neat as a pin. Just a month ago, the popular website New Geography placed Singapore at the top of its list of “The World’s Smartest Cities”.

There is, naturally, a large “on the other hand.” Nothing is allowed that the government fears might threaten public order or social stability; and the government’s sensitivities on this score are very delicate indeed. Spitting, chewing gum, yelling, or failing to flush a toilet in a public place; overstaying your visa; depicting (never mind engaging in) certain sexual acts; rashly employing irony or sarcasm; and, most important, criticising the government in ways the government deems not constructive – all these are swiftly and severely punished.

It seems we’re still stuck in the days of the Red Menace. To question capitalism’s failures is to automatically be labeled an un-American commie. It’s like someone getting mad at you for pointing out their tail pipe is dragging the highway.

the back stairs

For Truly Green Funiture, Make All the Parts Recyclable–and Replaceable

The LYTA chair, manufactured by German firm Movisi, is composed of three parts: a removable cover, cushions, and a frame made of high-grade, recyclable foam.

The cover makes the chair in terms of appearance. One can see that the frame could be made with design era curves in mind – Danish modern, French country etc.

tinted train


some notes on violence, finely crafted winter wallpaper

This is from an editorial(pdf) from the UK medical journal The Lancet,

On Nov 25—the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women—the UK Government took steps to address this problem with the launch of a new strategy to end violence against women and girls. In England and Wales, around 4·8 million women have experienced at least one incident of domestic abuse since the age of 16 years. And about 10 000 women are sexually assaulted, and 2000 are raped, every week.

They also state that the statistics for the U.S. are similar. They also found 18% of teenage males had experienced some form of physical violence. According to  U.S. studies compiled by the Department of Health and Human Services teen males are more likely to be victims of violent street crime then girls – including assault and murder.

This recent study has a small sample size, but still some stats about violence against men worth thinking about especially for those  in the health care professions, Myth Debunked: Men Do Experience Domestic Violence

Myth 3: Abused men don’t stay, because they’re free to leave. In fact, men may stay for years with their abusive partners. “We know that many women may have trouble leaving abusive relationships, especially if they’re caring for young children and not working outside the home,” said Dr. Reid. “We were surprised to find that most men in abusive relationships also stay, through multiple episodes, for years.”

Myth 4: Domestic violence affects only poor people. The study actually showed it to be an equal-opportunity scourge. “As we found in our previous research with women experiencing domestic violence, this is a common problem affecting people in all walks of life,” said Dr. Reid. “Our patients at Group Health have health insurance and easy access to health care, and their employment rate and average income, education level, and age are higher than those of the rest of the U.S. population.”

Myth 5: Ignoring it will make it go away. Not so. “We doctors hardly ever ask our male patients about being abused, and they seldom tell us,” said Dr. Reid. “Many abused men feel ashamed because of societal expectations for men to be tough and in control.”

Of the men surveyed 29 percent had experienced domestic violence during their lifetimes.  According to a Department of Justice crime survey ( these surveys tend to be a more accurate measure of violence then FBI stats because the FBI only reports crimes that are reported to them) done in 2000,

Intimate partner violence is pervasive in U.S. society. Nearly 25 percent of surveyed women and 7.5 percent of surveyed men said they were raped and/or physically assaulted by a current or former spouse, cohabiting partner, or date at some time in their lifetime; 1.5 percent of surveyed women and 0.9 percent of surveyed men said they were raped and/or physically assaulted by a partner in the previous 12 months. According to these estimates, approximately 1.5 million women and 834,732 men are raped and/or physically assaulted by an intimate partner annually in the United States. Because many victims are victimized more than once, the number of intimate partner victimizations exceeds the number of intimate partner victims annually. Thus, approximately 4.9 million intimate partner rapes and physical assaults are perpetrated against U.S. women annually, and approximately 2.9 million intimate partner physical assaults are committed against U.S. men annually. These findings suggest that intimate partner violence is a serious criminal justice and public health concern.

[   ]…Women experience more intimate partner violence than do men. The NVAW survey found that women are significantly more likely than men to report being victims of intimate partner violence whether it is rape, physical assault, or stalking and whether the time frame is the person’s lifetime or the previous 12 months. These findings support data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ National Crime Victimization Survey, which consistently show women are at significantly greater risk of intimate partner violence than are men.

I read the Lancet editorial, then started digging. While I was aware of some ballpark figures I have usually used the conservative FBI statistics. If you’re in a room with an even gender mix of a  hundred people, nearly 35 have been victims of sexual violence. The physical abuse in relationships usually goes hand in hand with emotional abuse. In a culture that actually has mixed feelings about the morality of torture, emotional abuse as a cultural issue is an orphan. The orphan will be assigned to the back of the bus until we can get past thinking its OK to torture and rape. The effects of emotional abuse can include health issues ranging from depression to heart disease, but since you cannot see the bruises or blood, its difficult to convey the severity of the consequences which may take years to develop. Children that grow up with in an abusive atmosphere can exhibit symptoms much like veterans who have PTSD.

It’s difficult to avoid hyperbole when talking about issues. It appears to be part of human nature. The sign of one Republican protester at an anti health care reform event compared reform to the Nazi death camp at  Dachau. One of the words that is being diminished in meaning by way of its hyperbolic use, is stalker. It’s frequently used to describe someone who has called once or twice, or still goes to the same restaurant. Didn’t they know that you got the exclusive rights on the old hang-outs after the break up. It’s not as bad as being called a Nazi, but often times it has become an unfair smear on people’s reputations. Just judging from my anecdotal observations the people using the word have never been stalked. If they ever are, they’ll find it’s not very funny and its more than than someone making a last ditch attempt to mend a relationship.


finely crafted winter wallpaper

On a lighter note, Semi-nude Mary and Joseph spark outrage in New Zealand. The sign (at the link) was put up by an Anglican church and the Catholic church is outraged. They’re covered by sheets, hardly semi-nude. What might be legitimately offensive to some is Joseph and Mary are painted with skin tone and features as though they’re from northern Europe.