Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Seattle Homeless Problem

I grew up loving my home city, Seattle Washington. It was always a treat going downtown to the Pike Place Market, Ye Ole Curiosity Shop or take the bus up to the University District. But things changed since high school - drastically changed
homeless street fight

Now, anytime I go downtown some "nice" person starts up a conversation with me. "Hey, how are you doing. Weather is great today."

I respond, "yes, unusually nice weather today." 

What comes next....."Do you have a couple dollars to spare?" Ug! How I  hate this. Seattle's homeless act all friendly, start a conversation then start begging for money. Yeh, this is annoying, but not nearly as annoying as the homeless cat calls. Heaven forbid - I complain about homeless cat calling me...and I am being the bitch.

On one occasion, a mentally deranged homeless man tried to actually punch me. He had a crazy look in his eyes, lunged at me, I ducked, then he wandered off into the fog. I've also seen crazy homeless people screaming at random people waiting for the bus. 

 December 2007, the Seattle City Council unanimously passed a measure prohibiting malicious harassment of a homeless person as a hate crime. I am wondering - is it a hate crime when they cat call me on the street? Is it harassment when they constantly beg for money? Doesn't the Seattle City Council think that people just want to live a quite peaceful life in what was once the most beautiful city on the West Coast?

When my husband bikes to work everyday, he has to cycle past mountains upon mountains of make-shift street boxes, tents and hundreds of people in sleeping bags. Homelessness is a huge problem in our city. What pisses me off about this situation is that if we have the "audacity" to complain about it, we are just being heartless assholes. 

dismantled bikes found in homeless camps
The homeless go around the city, steal bikes (some of them worth thousands of dollars) dismantle them, sell the parts or sell them on craigslist. Now remember - if you lose a 2000 bike and complain about the homeless who stole it - you are being a selfish dick. How dare you complain about losing THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS. 

The problem is that many of these homeless people are on drugs or severely mentally ill. How did we get in this mess? Well, lets roll back the clock to November 1980. One month prior to the election, President Carter had signed the Mental Health Systems Act, which had proposed to continue the federal community mental health centers program, although with some additional state involvement. Consistent with the report of the Carter Commission, the act also included a provision for federal grants “for projects for the prevention of mental illness and the promotion of positive mental health,” an indication of how little learning had taken place among the Carter Commission members and professionals at NIMH. With President Reagan and the Republicans taking over, the Mental Health Systems Act was discarded before the ink had dried and the CMHC funds were simply block granted to the states. The CMHC program had not only died but been buried as well. An autopsy could have listed the cause of death as naiveté complicated by grandiosity.
President Reagan never understood mental illness, he started shutting down mental hospitals from the gulf stream waters to the red wood forests. California was the first state to witness not only an increase in homelessness associated with deinstitutionalization but also an increase in incarceration and episodes of violence. Mentally ill people end up in jail or on the streets - all because of Regan. Since then, nobody has cared enough to reopen mental institutions. All we seem to think about is "feed the homeless, be nice to the homeless and 'you're a bitch if you complain about the homeless'".
But who, specifically, played some of the more important roles in the formation of this ill-fated policy? What motivated these influential people and what lessons are to be learned?
A detailed picture has emerged from a series of interviews and a review of public records, research reports and institutional recommendations. The picture is one of cost-conscious policy makers, who were quick to buy optimistic projections that were, in some instances, buttressed by misinformation and by a willingness to suspend skepticism.
Every year more and more homeless people are migrating to Seattle. Why? Tell me why our city has to smell like urine? Why do our people have to deal with this every day they go to work? Why aren't the homeless in mental institutions and rehab centers? Our city has turned into a big pile of shit. But remember - you are a dick if you complain about the urine, begging, thief, screaming crazy people, fights and vomit. 
It is easy to complain about things, and not so easy to propose solutions to the problem. Here are the solutions. 
First: shut down all the downtown missions. 
Second: reopen mental institutions. I mean permanent housing for people with schizophrenia, severe PTSD, schizoid personality disorders, and severe mental retardation. These people cannot help themselves and need to be permanently institutionalized. Mental institutions need to be clean, safe places. 
Third: homeless shelters should only be for the working homeless, homeless families, and homeless elderly. Drug using, alcoholic homeless should not be in the same shelter as working homeless and families. They need to be in their own facilities, and access to treatment services. 
Forth: All homeless shelters should be a significant distance from downtown Seattle. Seattle is losing tourism, and businesses are suffering. When Seattle is known for having 3000 homeless people, just in the downtown area alone, what tourist in their right mind would want to come here? King County has nearly 10,000 homeless!
Fifth: All homeless shelters should have a community garden program. Those who do not work should have to work in the gardens to produce their own food, and food for the mental institutions. 
Sixth: Unemployed, non-mentally ill homeless should be required to do volunteer work within the shelters. Laundering, cleaning, cooking. A lot of money saved when unemployed homeless pitch in to help these shelters function.

As much as I dislike the homeless, I know that my proposals are in the best interest of the homeless and the City of Seattle. These are real solutions to a problem Seattle refuses to fix.

That being said - will the city of Seattle think about my proposals? Will they do the right thing? Will they stop being a bunch of pansies? Probably not. The images you see below will get worse, and worse and worse. 
I would like to welcome you to Seattle Washington. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Why do Muslims think Zakir Naik is a genious?

After listening to dozens of Zakir Naik's speeches, endured hours of argumentum ad nauseam, I had to wonder, "why aren't Muslims seeing the obvious fallacies?" His arguments are full to the brim with one logical fallacy after another, one appeal to emotion after another. The video below was posted by a Christian, as you all know I am an atheist, but the Christian guy in this video pretty much hit the nail on the head. This blog goes on to explain exactly how people buy into all Zakir's bullcrap.  Finally, the best answer I found came from The Foreign Policy Journal. The issues were different, but the conclusions fit like a glove. I realized instantly, this is why Muslim's cannot pick up on  Naik's bullshit. It was amazing. A true epiphany.

It happens, for example, when true believers listen to a speaker who reinforces their core beliefs. A Professor of Functionally Integrative Neuroscience, a Professor of Magnetic Resonance Research, a Professor of Anthropology, and a Professor of Religion put religious and non-religious subjects in an MRI to look for differences in brain activity while they listened a voice recording of a highly rated preacher. If you guessed that Professor Schjoedt and his colleagues found that nothing special happened in the brains of non-believers, but something striking happened in the brains of believers, you guessed right.

The opposite of executive function is inside-the-box thinking. The most inside box is our relationship with our self—our self-image. Successful management of self is key to managing our other inside box—our social network. Both inside boxes require careful maintenance of core values. From children’s dependence on their parents to business peoples’ dependence on their connections, we survive by maintaining values that form our identity and are shared across our social networks. So we have evolved a capacity to circumvent clear thinking when maintaining beliefs that strengthen social bonds is more important for survival than thinking outside the box. 

Prefrontal cortical shut-down is the mechanism for Simon and Garfunkel’s observation that “A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.” Put more roughly, we get stupid for a reason. We dumb down to manage our self-image so that we can present an effective self to others. We fend off challenges, including rational challenges, so we can agree about contentious issues with people we depend upon. Indeed, the medial and dorsolateral prefrontal cortices of believers shut down. Hemoglobin molecules coursing through those brain areas retained oxygen because surrounding neurons were not burning fuel, so they resonated at a different frequency. And there was a dose-response curve—the more devout the religious subjects rated themselves to be, the more complete the turn-off of brain regions that perform what psychologists call executive function—the ability to objectively evaluate information, make decisions based on that information, and act on those decisions. Put differently, the preacher’s words short circuited believers’ ability to think independently, to think outside the box.
Although the professors’ experiment compared religious to non-religious people, turning off executive function to protect beliefs that strengthen social bonds is not limited to religious beliefs per se. Because we evolved by natural selection, and because social networks are critical to human survival, protecting any convictions that keep us at peace with ourselves and in with our incrowd, including deeply shared political convictions, could generate the same mind-numbing effect. Put differently, because religious convictions are such powerful facilitators of group cohesion, they are low hanging fruit for detecting the underlying phenomenon with an MRI.
So we have evolved a capacity to circumvent clear thinking when maintaining beliefs that strengthen social bonds is more important for survival than thinking outside the box.
And we all need to give our executive function periodic time outs—to fly on autopilot while we sort out who we are. Most of us mix some level of reassurance about deeply held convictions with additional forms of solace. In days of yore, mugs of beer held high while proffering the religious and political exclamation “God save the Queen!” followed by reassuring shouts of “Hear! Hear!” served to calm the nerves of many medial and dorsolateral prefrontal cortices. Beer still plays a big role, but today we also combine reassurance of core convictions with yoga, pilates, music, wine, rum punch, dank marijuana, and for more than a few, synthetic opiates. So Karl Marx was right about religion being “the opiate of the masses,” but Marx’s masses were not more weak-minded than the elite. Opium was prohibitively expensive, but religious and political reassurance were free.
Actually, religion and politics, the two things we’re not supposed to talk about in polite company, were and remain more than free. Most of us get them, whether we want them or not, through indoctrination from birth. So on a regular basis we use whatever it takes to put ourselves into a state of relative reverie. Those needed chill-outs are antithetical to evaluating information, making decisions, and acting off the grid—so we tend to get defensive about the particulars of our religious and political convictions (thus the polite company ban) because we are, in a real MRI-detectable sense, addicted to them.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Davis Aurini Shit storm

Several years ago, I wrote a couple blogs about this Canadian lunatic Nazi, Davis Aurini. It took a few years, but finally......finally the world see's the same thing I see. First, my blogs about Aurini

Ah, it feels so good

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Theists do not understand evolution