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News and Info

Vickie and I were having a chat last night - well, it wasn't a chat, exactly; Vickie was on her soapbox and I was sitting back and listening. The topic was immigration and assimilation, due to the current race tensions and resulting violence in Southern Sydney (EvilHayama's been close to some of it lately).

Vickie pointed out that most of what I was doing was listening and nodding - I wasn't really contributing to the conversation. In fact, I almost always sit back and listen whenever Vickie's on the soapbox. (She really needs a bigger audience, as I've said several times in relation to her using her own web log a bit more often.) I said that I really didn't have anything worth contributing; I tend to avoid keeping up with the news (when I do so, I usually feel like not keeping up with the news afterward) and I don't know enough about history, recent or not-so-recent, to place current events in any sort of context.

I think it's a combination of depression and futility (maybe one's really the other). While I accept that one person both is not and is a force for change (I'll explain that if you want), I still feel as though there's nothing that I personally can do about the gradual erosion of the individual's control over their own life occuring in this country - at least, not without chucking my current job in and either joining a political party, the police or maybe even the armed forces, and beyond the drawbacks of each individual career path I value Vickie and keeping her safe too much to go in for something that volatile and potentially damaging to my own health.

As an aside, Vickie once suggested I go in for volunteer firefighter training; the local station was on a recruitment drive. I told her that I wouldn't because, if for no other reason, I don't want her to have to go back to work in order to support herself until she dies because something happened to me due to the fact that I was running toward a fire instead of away from it. (Heck, half the time I worry about driving to or from work.)

But maybe there is something I can do, in some small way, by simply staying informed and educated. Even if nothing else, it would allow meaningful dialogue with other people, putting ideas about what's going on and what might be done out for peer-review.

Which in the end adds up to one thing: I need to start swatting up.

Now, I tend to use my own website as a Frequently Accessed Links repository, not only to show visitors my tastes and preferences, but also so that I have those links available on my startup page. therefore, I've added a couple mroe sections on the Links bar to the right of the main page, and changed the name of an existing one. "Places on the Web" is now "Fun" (works in well with "Friends" and "Fora", I think), and it's joined by "News", which contains a few news sites I intend to visit more often, and "Info", a section which I hope will be handy to start putting some research-based facts around what I'm reading in the press.

And, yes, I know Wikipedia's not the most reliable source for fact out there, but at the very least I think it makes a pretty good gague of what people really think about a subject, even if the info on the subject mightn't be one hundred percent reliable.

So, don't be too surprised if you see the odd current-affairs-based opinion piece popping up on here from time to time!

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