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not all bad

just a quick post to wish you all a very happy new year and to say thank you for each and every time you've read, liked, shared or commented on a post here. 2016 marked the ten year anniversary of more like space in all its hydra-headed glory and my one wish is that i'm still able to have a space like this to inflict myself on the world in another ten years.

i don't have to tell you all the things that went wrong in 2016, but i do think it's worth considering that not everything was an exploding septic tank in the world. here are a few examples:

1. giant pandas, sea turtles and humpback whales all came off the endangered list.

2. viola desmond, a civil rights activist and basically the rosa parks of canada, was announced as the new face of our $10 bill.

3. the hole in the ozone layer has shrunk to the point where it could conceivably repair itself by 2050.

4. tiny kittens had their busiest and most kitty-savingest year ever, dispelling some longstanding myths about feral cats, especially about their ability to adapt to domestic life.

5. a vaccine for ebola was developed.

7. there is a ceasefire in aleppo, however tenuous it may be.

6. jobama memes. no, it doesn't make up for the election results, and it really just underlines what the world is losing, but damn they felt good.

stay strong and stay safe and see you next year!

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as long as you're here, why not read more?

losers?

just a short time ago, i waxed prosaic about trump supporters who felt betrayed by their candidate pursuing in office the exact things that he said he would. short version: i have no sympathy.

today is a bit different. in the wake of america's bombing of a syrian air strip, in response to a chemical weapons attack by the syrian government, my facebook and twitter feeds were peppered with plaintive shades of "we believed you". these are the people who heard trump say that he wanted the united states to step back and focus on defending its own. indeed, trump did say such things, over and over; america cannot be the policeman of the world. even arch-liberal cynics like me had to admit that this was a refreshing argument to hear from someone outside the paul family, and, could easily have been turned into trump's greatest argument against hillary clinton. [he chose to go another way, which also worked.]

trump also said, repeatedly, that america needed to invest heavily …

long division

after the united states election last year, there were the usual calls for the country to unite behind the new president. that never happens anymore, because, since george w. bush scored a victory in 2004, having launched the country into a war in iraq for no reason, the people on the losing side of a presidential election have been pretty bloody angry about it. democrats hated bush 43. republicans really hated obama. democrats really hate trump.

it didn't help that trump didn't make the typical conciliatory gestures like including a couple of members of the opposite party in his cabinet, or encouraging his party to proceed slowly with contentious legislation. barack obama arguably wasted at least two and as many as six years of his tenure as president trying to play peacemaker before he felt sufficiently safe to just say "screw you guys" and start governing around the ridiculous congress he was forced to deal with. not-giving-a-shit obama was the best president in …

don't speak

you might think that it sounds dramatic, but linguistic genocide is something that happens. people in power will go to great lengths to eradicate certain languages, not just for the sheer joy of making the world a lesser place, but as a way of beating down the culture that's associated with it. language has a unique reciprocal bond with culture, and every group that has attempted to break down another has recognised that forbidding a cultural group from communicating in their own language is an extremely effective way to tear apart their culture.

there are lots [and lots and lots and lots] of examples of this sort of thing, some successful, some not, but far too many to cover in one blog post. however, i thought it was worth looking at some languages that have been the subjects of active repression, and what the political consequences of that have been.

devastation :: the native north american languages :: it should come as no surprise that the largest genocide in history [by a ma…