Citizen Blogger

March 24, 2005

And then there's this reason to have a Living Will

So let's just say that you fall down and hit your head, God forbid, and become comatose or awake in a vegetative state. Boy, that's a hard sentence to start a story with, isn't it? The point here being, you are unable to speak for yourself. Now let's say that you do have a right to live and you would like to exercise said right with hopes that friends, family, citizens, judges, and doctors will fight for you to stay alive. So far, so good?

Okay, here's where the scenario gets wild. You didn't put your wishes in writing, and the one who is legally able to speak for you is also the one who has a vested interest in you never speaking again. Wow! Maybe it's because of something they know that you know, anything, that could hurt them. It doesn't have to be that they are the one who contributed to your falling down, but it could be, or it could be some other extravagant reason like a divorce would be too costly (see Scott Peterson) or a fortune could be inherited, or, --you get the point. Now, as the story continues, I know you're having a really bad day, and I hate to pile on, but let's say the doctors, politicians and judges believe this guardian person when he or she says: "I know what 'insert name here' really wants, even though there is no living will, and I can definitively tell you that 'insert name here' would rather be dead."

But some good news happens: Your parents arrive to your aid, and then your brothers and sisters, and your friends from High School, and--you get the point. But sorry, they don't matter because somehow, legally, some arrangement you made in life gave this incredible power to this other person--did I say that this person wouldn't mind you being dead? And soon, half of the known universe is chanting, "Let 'insert name here' die!, Let 'insert name here' die!" I know, I know, this sounds like a bad plot to some futuristic sci-fi flick, but, for some unfortunate others, that future may already be here.

So, in order to save your life, if for some bizarre reason you actually respect life over life style and are hopeful instead of hopeless, legally spell out a trustworthy guardian to speak for you perchance the horrific happens. And they should know your wishes in writing. Finally, if you're not sure who to trust, just put a big red check in the "YES, keep me alive" box in your living will, advance directive, power of attorney, or whatever applies--then sign your name, put it in triplicate, and hope your lawyer or safe-deposit box security guy isn't the one who will benefit from your passing. I say all this in rough jest of a serious subject, I mean no offense--but it is to a point; you do get the point? Oh yeah, if you would rather they stop assistance, put that in writing too! Welcome to the 21st Century: It's a wide open funkfest out there, be wise, whatever your wishes are.

For any interested, I suggest Jack London's "Martin Eden" for a good narrative on desire, and if you make it all the way to the end, there's a pertinent comment on Mans' desire to stay alive even though our words, thoughts, and deeds are to the contrary.

March 19, 2005

Lesson found at Congressional Hearing for MLB

Hidden behind the "bouncing policy" two-step shuffle and the "see, hear and speak no evil" song and dance of those in Major League Baseball, Dr. Nora Volkow offered a forthright waltz on the floor of Congress during steroid hearing:

Beyond her direct and knowledgeable testimony, Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, offered a good life lesson when asked about cognative skills and aggressive behavior being enhanced by steroids, and it seemed to me to be a comment that extends far beyond baseball, congress, and steroids. Here is a link to the recorded version of her testimony (go to 1:19:00 on counter).

In understanding that our cognitive ability pertains to the function of the brain's frontal cortex, Dr Volkow said:

"Aggression, is in fact related to the activation of an area we call the amygdala (uh mig' dull uh), and when the amygdala gets activated the frontal cortex gets deactivated and that's why I always say to my staff, please do not comment if you're angry because your cognitive abilities are not going to be as sharp, so yes in deed if you're very very angry your ability to do the right thing and make proper decisions is going to be markedly markedly impaired."

In a way, it reminds me of the general wisdom dispensed by Moms everywhere, but because it's forgotten by so many, this is a good opportunity to remind us all again. And the scientific context seems to make it all the more obvious--something to ponder in private and public.

Likewise, I hope the Congress will recognize that MLB and its Players are not what needs to be saved; the truckloads of money are still rolling in, and that is obviously their priority. The first and only social (Congressional) concern is that of the young lives destroyed. Rep. Jose Serrano, New York, a baseball fanatic, couldn't resist a nostalgic plea to save his memorable "days of summer." If these hearings are about saving MLB, Congress has taken their collective eye off the ball.

March 13, 2005

This Experiment in Democracy Idea

Can a Blogosphere Democracy arise and exist? A proposition must be put forth then amended as participation evolves; it may be a worthwhile effort.

My interaction with Blogs and Bloggers at DeepBlog.com (a site put together to help newcomers to the blogosphere find a good first impression of it) has left me with profound respect for this medium and the expertise and personalities in a multitude of subjects found within it. To me, Blogs are much more than a technology driven trend, political device, or social journal; in toto they represent Mans' desire and right to express at will. As well, I guess I am naive enough to believe in all this lofty speech buzzing around the "Sphere" on the wonderful attributes of both self-publishing and democracy.

No doubt, I have become an advocate for this medium and the historical milestone of free speech it represents. But in observing the reaction to blogs by MSM and the egocentricity within the Blogs, I began to think that "The Blogosphere" could benefit from democratic support and protection. And with electronic connections, digital data, and big bloggers and engines disseminating and collecting information, etc., the idea of a collective democratic voice for bloggers may be possible. At best, this idea should be debated and on its merit, and if furthered, adopted by others as their own; the idea will either ring true or not on its own. My intent is that the five sites of the "Blogosphere Democracy" be in the hands of the Foundation Board to where I will have no effect or influence on how a union of bloggers amend this idea and develop their Democracy. By nature, the Blogosphere exists under the notion that logic and truth (logos) will be found in the words expressed by any blogger. Some gain greater character (ethos) and others speak with high-passion, appealing to the emotional (pathos), but in the end, the Blogosphere should always remain wide open to any idea by any voice.

As an idea put forth, my reasoning is simple and clear: two branches of Bloggers (foundation and congress) to balance position and decision, one group blog (Guild) to express the beauty of blogging to the public outside the blogosphere, one group blog (Union) to interact with Bloggers for help and concerns, and one group blog (Bureau) to utilize the talents of bloggers who are born researchers and investigators. In organization, form follows purpose, each area of this proposition simply fits a useful purpose by utilizing existing talent, interest and energy. For instance, one of the issues Bloggers will face is Journalistic Privilege; Do they deserve it? Have others achieved it without being part of professional media like self-financed documentarians and writers of nonfiction? Is there precedence? These are questions Blogger researchers can find answers to and organize for the betterment of the Blogosphere. And there are other issues for concerned Bloggers: election laws as applied to free speech; access to news and information; uncovering perfidy and vetting facts in order to establish a bona fide Blogosphere; advertising on blogs, and new ones will arise.

So I'll put forth this experiment in Democracy for the medium of Blogging. An attempt to see how Bloggers will react both pro and con, and both positions are telling in an experiment. As well, I am curious to see who at the top of the existing blog-chain is forthright in all their lofty posts of self-publishing as Free Speech, Democracy, and what is good for all bloggers versus who is just blowing smoke up our collective ---! At this blog, I'll try to point out who posts what regarding this idea, both pro and con, as well as those who know of it and remain silent. A Democracy doesn't belong to me, and this experiment is not personal for me, but it is telling of others by their reaction or lack of it. Everything benefits from sunshine.

A Blogosphere Democracy will fail or succeed on the involvement of top bloggers and all bloggers who become engaged. To that, and to remain positive, I removed a paragraph from my original posting (statement) at The Blogosphere Democracy site regarding "Apathy and Internal Oppression" (a look at how all emerging Democracies suffer from internal oppression). Part of the observation included how apathy, slander and mocking (beyond the obvious elements of deliberate collusion, repressed aid, and resistance) of democratic propositions by the more influential in a group can be internal oppression. One needs not agree with this idea of how to achieve a united and democratic voice for bloggers around the globe: those who have a vested interest in the well being of the medium now and in the future--but to mock or remain silent of the attempt furthers nothing. A few suggestions: try to add to the debate-"is a Blogosphere Democracy a good or possible idea?", help correct the flaws of the proposition, don't be a social nihilist to support your own ego, and let other bloggers know of the proposition so they can choose whether it's worthy to move forward. To that end, I'll ask all to reflect upon hypocrisy and disingenuousness whenever you prattle on about Democracy, Free Thought, Free Speech, and the virtues of blogging.

Gauntlet down,
Michael

March 10, 2005

To Blog

In attempting to Blog (developing the muscles to write regularly and purposefully) my first criteria will be to express myself respectfully. I hope you'll do the same if you choose to comment.

Michael

March 08, 2005

The Blogosphere

Why, with eight million bloggers, does the MSM remain the one to define Blogs, Blogging, and Bloggers to the world? Can we not organize a presentation outside the hallowed halls of the sphere? I would like to suggest that with so many companies capitalizing here, a genuine paid for ad/promo campaign which extols the grandeur of the Blogosphere and Free Speech is within reason. Perhaps a Blogosphere Democracy can harness the energy for such needs.