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Ever since I learned to speak binary on a DIGIAC 3080 training computer, I've been involved with tech in one way or another, but there was always another part of me off exploring ideas and writing about them. Halfway to a BS in Space Technology at Florida Institute of Technology during the Apollo years, I ditched out and walked into a data center job with Franklin National Bank a few years before it made history. Software contract houses, like the one I signed up with after the layoff, not only offered paid benefits, but kept paying you between contracts while they searched for your next gig. Of course, by then, I'd already been infected with the ideas of Edward de Bono, so my approach to problem solving, and therefore every part of my life, including writing, was tacking towards uncharted territory.
Since then, I've worked on a remote weather station for NOAA and on NASA/JPL's Deep Space Network, diddled with a huge database for a DOD competition at what used to be McDonnell-Douglas, subverted the design of the database driving one of the Air Force's aircraft test sets, wrote tech docs in the 'Dead Languages Group' at Microsoft, and even created the entire IT infrastructure for a manufacturing business I co-owned.
And all along the way, I wrote. So far, there's three novels, as well as lots of short stories and essays. Some of which you can read on my blog. Oh yeah, I almost forgot. KlurgSheld? That's a game featured in one of my stories. But you'll have to find which one on your own. Don't forget to pack a lunch.
Short Story: "Maira Bundis"
In the conclusion to this series, independent journalist Cinquetta Mills must face the dangerous results of having exposed Alphon Quince to the press, and in the process inviting a military hit squad ordered to silence the accused terrorist. If you are new to the series, take a break from today's issues, and read through a vision of what might happen if we don't stop the powers that be from suppressing the truth. Series: Social Event Cascade
Sunday, May 18, 2014(1 comments)
Short Story: "Lightning Strikes"
It's 2095, and the ongoing climate disaster has destroyed lives and property, but made fortunes for a shadowy few. When Victor Schandrul was unable to get illicit medicine for his father after his shift at the Port of Chicago, he thought that would be the end of it. But the nightmare he had before dawn the next morning was just the start, and it would only get worse. Series: Social Event Cascade
Monday, March 3, 2014(3 comments)
Short Story: "Standing to Resist"
It's 2095, and Hacker Collective member Eshana Thandri is watching a feed of accused terrorist Alphon Quince being grilled by the press after escaping a transit disaster. (That happened in Part 4.) No sooner does she remote-hijack a military drone that was sent after him, when the police break into her house with intent to arrest. Series: Social Event Cascade
Saturday, January 25, 2014(1 comments)
Short Story: "In the Company of Vipers"
It's 2095. In part 3, infrastructure troubleshooter Alphon Quince was branded a terrorist by the people who ignored his advice, destroyed an exclusive resort and killed dozens of world leaders at a conference there. Now, while leaving New Orleans incognito, he's caught up in just the sort of disaster he'd been trying to warn about, and his disguise is all they'll need to accuse Phoebe of being a collaborator. Series: Social Event Cascade
Monday, December 16, 2013(2 comments)
Short Story: "Under an Icy Sky"
Alphon was still haunted by the memory of Maira being blown up right in front of him, and now he was being asked to rescue the organization that had killed her. In part 3 of this series, he comes face to face with the depths to which his adversary will go to maintain their death grip on the world. Series: Social Event Cascade
Friday, November 15, 2013(1 comments)
Short Story: "Hollow Threat" (2nd in a series)
It's 2095, and the Golden State Barrage that protects central California from the risen sea has been "destroyed by terrorists', devastating the lowlands beyond Oakland. Seeking the truth, an infrastructure troubleshooter followed a lead to the bayou in part 1, where the woman with the answers was killed by a drone. Now her protege has arrived, and confronts a blood-spattered intruder. Series: Social Event Cascade
Friday, October 25, 2013(11 comments)
Government: neither problem nor solution
Have you ever wondered why dysfunctional national governance is called a "political circus'? Just as in the waning days of the Roman Empire, when the people were kept amused by "bread and circuses', we moderns are kept amused by a political Punch and Judy Show. The purpose is the same, though: to divert our attention and keep us from rebelling. The thing is, what is our attention being diverted from, and why?
Friday, October 18, 2013(20 comments)
First Followers; and Tiptoe-Caused-Avalanches of Change
There's something I wanted to tell you, but for the life of me, I can't figure out what it was. You know the feeling? It's right on the tip of your tongue, but you can't spit it out. The thing is, that moment is critically important, and all we want is for it to go away. Well, don't. Not yet, anyway, because that's the key to how anything gets done, how movements are born, and how the world is changed.
Tuesday, September 24, 2013(3 comments)
Short Story: "Bait"
When the Golden State Barrage collapsed, Alphon knew the official story was crap: it could not have been explosive demolition, so the sea wall was not destroyed by an enemy. Why the lie? The record suggested lax maintenance or a design flaw, but the record had been scrubbed - environmental issues had been deleted. Well, almost. There was a dead link to a server near the remains of New Orleans... Series: Social Event Cascade
Tuesday, July 23, 2013(1 comments)
Short Story: "Engaging Constituency" (7th/Last of a series)
In the conclusion of the series, Buster Flange's change to city council charter has passed, and the city's first functional constituency was chosen in a special election. The next step is for the electorate of the newly created virtual district to agree on who will represent them in city council. If we're going to remake the art of governance from the bottom up, we first have to imagine what that might be like. Series: Confidence
Friday, June 28, 2013(22 comments)
The Dance of Consent
There's a struggle for control of the world going on right now, a struggle to keep it out of the hands of people everywhere. Global empires exist in two forms, political and corporate, and the titans are locked in mortal combat to retain supremacy. But all around them, people are waking up to the fact that the power claimed over them by governments and corporations only exists as long as the people cede it to them.
Tuesday, June 18, 2013(1 comments)
Short Story: "Authenticity" (6th of a series)
Buzz had been hiding from the world for so long, he'd nearly forgotten his name. But then the highway he lived under collapsed, and he witnessed 6 deaths that the media wanted to bury. This series of stories began with the People's Mike, and any other concerted action, being declared illegal. The ripples from their reaction triggered a drive to change representational government from the bottom up, and that cannot be allowed. Series: Confidence
Friday, May 31, 2013(1 comments)
Short Story: "Kendrik House" (5th in a series)
The city's OWS has been transformed through adversity: Councilman Flange is stumping to create a virtual district to represent the 99%, the owner of their encampment site has built a community center for them so they can share it with other distributed communities. But Flange is notorious for going off on people in character, and he's just done it in public. But that's not the worst of it... Series: Confidence
Thursday, May 23, 2013(3 comments)
Short Story: "Representation" (4th in a series)
Wendell Jones has moved to rezone the building site that had been given to Occupy for as long as they needed it. A week earlier, he'd had it cleared by the police under the guise of new restrictions, but making the People's Mike illegal has drawn fire, and it has also galvanized OWS into taking on city council. Sue Winston had all but lost control of the meeting, when news arrived from the site that even left Jones speechless. Series: Confidence
Wednesday, January 23, 2013(11 comments)
Lord Acton's assertion that power tends to corrupt was why he thought that kings and popes shouldn't be judged differently from other men. But characterizing the effects of power as corrupting is a value judgement, rather than a statement of how having power affects people, and that prevents us from understanding or responding to it properly. After all, corruption means different things to different people.
Saturday, January 12, 2013(21 comments)
You Know The Drill, And That's The Problem
It doesn't matter what the issue is - gun violence, government finances, social programs - the situation is the same: each side watches in disbelief as the other prepares to destroy the world, while they selflessly prepare to save it. Neither can afford to let the other win. Stalemate. And it all comes down to a matter of belief. Not faith, mind you, belief, because you can't solve a problem unless you first believe it exists.
Sunday, January 6, 2013(28 comments)
The Narrative of No Escape
The 'Global War on Terror' is more unconventional than most people give it credit for. It is not a war, but a state of permanent warfare being fought in our name, underwritten with our tax money, and which will claim untold lives on all sides. What it is, is a story that has engulfed our world, a narrative that we're expected to become a willing part of. It is the narrative of no escape. And yet we must.
Friday, January 4, 2013(12 comments)
Through a Narrative, Brightly
Step back from your life for a moment and think of yourself as a character in a story. Is your life worth reading? What about the stories that you've internalized? Are they worth keeping, or have they gone stale and unsatisfying? A little self-examination can be a valuable thing, so let's start at square one: how do you know what you think you know? That's the perspective to use when imagining the world without billionaires.
Monday, December 24, 2012(1 comments)
Short Story: "Scaling K2" (part 3 of a series)
OWS adapted when bullhorns were prohibited in Zucotti Park, and the people's mike was born. But what happens when unified speech or action is prohibited as well? Accept it or not, you still need to deal with the consequences, as the OWS where that rule was first (fictionally) imposed is finding out. Fortunately, they have a ten-year-old to guide them. Series: Confidence
Friday, October 5, 2012(1 comments)
Short Story: "Making it Count" (Part 2 of a series)
Bending to unreasonable demands emboldens your oppressor and saps your confidence. Sometimes you can work within the constraint, as OWS did when bullhorns were banned. But there must be a point beyond which you will not go. Finding that point is how you discover what really matters to you. In part 1, the mayor prohibited groups of 10 or more from acting as one. When even the People's Mike is made illegal, what then? Series: Confidence
Wednesday, September 26, 2012(3 comments)
Short Story: "Crossing the Line"
Each time you refrain from standing up to a bully, your confidence wanes and the bully's strengthened. Councilwoman Sue Winston just learned that the mayor is trying to squash the city's Occupy, and her brother is one of the enforcers. Now she's caught between concern for her brother's safety, and the rights of her constituents. She's never even visited the encampment before. Now she has no choice. What will she do? Series: Confidence
Monday, May 28, 2012(1 comments)
Short Story: "Stage Fright"
Marching in the street is not the only way to speak truth to power. Songs and stories can be even more dangerous, because they stay with you long after the protest or action is over. Evers Welch was quite aware of this, and even he wasn't sure he should perform his latest song cycle, even though the concert was about to start, and it was being theater-cast across the country.
Thursday, May 3, 2012(1 comments)
Short Story: "One Final Indignity" (2nd in a series)
A good narrative beats a list of facts and figures. That's why I write subversive short stories, rather than reel off what I want to say in an essay. This one is no different. It's inspired by the experience and vision of a female blogger in India who was refused a bed at a YWCA-India single women's shelter because she was too old. She didn't fit their narrative, so she didn't exist. Whose narratives are you hostage to?
Sunday, January 29, 2012(4 comments)
Short Story: "Unspoken"
Anyone can be discriminated against. You may be accepted in your own culture, but someone in the same situation in another culture could be at risk of losing their home and their livelihood just for existing. This story was inspired by the experience of a woman in India. Take a moment to imagine how you might be treated if you were elsewhere.
Sunday, January 8, 2012(2 comments)
Short Story: "Steam Cycle" (7th in a series)
Go ahead, think the unthinkable: what would your life be like if the government, and the corporations that run it, lost control and the 1% left the rest of us to fend for ourselves? That's what this series is about. In this installment, Peter Epas's mission to make a dual-currency system work in his city is sidetracked by a thief. But then, you might want to see where all this started. Forewarned is forearmed, after all. Series: After the Meltdown
Sunday, November 20, 2011(2 comments)
Short Story: "The Phoenix Narrative" (6th in a series)
One of the things we take for granted is that money is money. But a big enough collapse wouldn't even leave the dollar standing, much less the companies and governments that depend on it. Beth lives in that world, and she's about to learn how desperate some people can be to reject change. Series: After the Meltdown
Sunday, June 5, 2011(1 comments)
Short Story: "Terrifying Vindication"
Unscrupulous politicians use an arsenal of emotionally manipulative techniques to transform what should have been an informed citizenry into a directable mob. But they may have gotten more than they bargained for. Corwin Farragut was innocent of the terrorist act he'd been convicted of, but proving it would put far more people in danger.
Monday, May 23, 2011(1 comments)
Short Story: "Focus Group"
Crowd-sourced OpEdNews, like Bush-era umbrella anti-war protests, has many voices. Its community ethic makes it strong at the cost of not being suitable to spearhead public action. To do that requires a different ethic, the one that made the American Revolution possible: 'E Pluribus Unum' -- Out of many, One. Here's why.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011(2 comments)
Short Story: "Eulogy"
You don't have to fall down a rabbit hole to find that your words don't mean what you mean them to mean. The vocabulary of political discourse is littered with code words. There can be no meeting of minds when people do not realize that their words do not carry their intended meaning. We've seen the political fallout of this, but the possibilities are far more dire. If we do nothing, this story could be our epitaph.
Saturday, May 14, 2011(1 comments)
Short Story: "Round" (5th/last in a series)
If you're self-aware and have a conscience, there's a simple way to judge the wisdom of your actions: ask yourself if you can you live with yourself afterwards. Norwyn Rosset was more interested in getting ahead than in asking stupid questions. Series: After the Meltdown
Sunday, May 8, 2011(1 comments)
Short Story: "Face Value" (4th in a series)
A thing or event, in itself, is neither good nor evil. As Samuel Clemens noted, the rain may save your crops but wash away your neighbor's. But what about people? We've been conditioned to think of certain types of people as undesirable, even criminal. But in different circumstances, that criminal may be the secret to the new economy. Ryan Svorlin lives in these circumstances, and one of those people is about to arrive. Series: After the Meltdown
Monday, May 2, 2011(1 comments)
Short Story: "LA Scrip" (3rd in a series)
After the corporate-sponsored destruction of the world economy and the fall of the US government, L.A. usurped one power granted to Congress by the Constitution: the right to issue money. It may be a local solution, and only people working for the city are getting it so far, but it's beginning to pay off. Cristall Bellows's job is to spread the word, but not everyone accepts the new money yet, and she needs a place to live. Series: After the Meltdown
Short Story: "As Is" (1st in a series)
The worst case scenario might not be as bad as it seems. After the economy crashed and Los Angeles was left to fend for itself, someone decided to offer the multitude of vacant mansions to the dispossessed. That's how Ryan Svorlin got his new home. It was also how he got a small problem to clean up. Series: After the Meltdown
Monday, April 25, 2011
Short Story: "Contractor Uprising"
There are many kinds of leader. Just because you're not the one at the mike doesn't mean you don't influence those around you. Seeding an idea right here at OpEdNews might be all it takes. Charlie found out just how powerful his words could be. How about yours?
Thursday, December 31, 2009
Short Story: "Incident on Concourse B"
Once again, we have been frightened by an attempted terrorist attack in an airliner, and the TSA has been shown to be inadequate to the task of making the airways safe. New procedures are being instituted, and we're told that they are intentionally vague, to permit the TSA to tailor their activities to the situation. But that also gives them the freedom to take actions that could cause trouble.
Friday, December 25, 2009(1 comments)
Short Story: "Chain of Supposition"
If we live in a free society, why is it so easy for what we say to be overtly censored, or covertly censored by making it harder for people to find unpopular thoughts? We are told that critical thinking is essential to being competitive in the world economy, yet when we use it to examine the most important event in recent memory, we are marginalized. Take Leo Kinstler. He was in a jury when the inescapable found him.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Short Story: "Insinuation"
With the Republican Party tearing itself apart over whether people are conservative enough or religious enough, it's only a matter of time before some GOP PR genius decides to tie piety and patriotism into a neat little knot, and then try to hang the rest of us with it. What would you do if you knew who was tasked to craft the message for this travesty? Corie Tarlner does, and she isn't taking any chances.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Short Story: "Judicial Restraint"
With the precedent set in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, a legal Catch-22 enables judges to deny justice by requiring defendants to provide evidence, prior to the start of a case, that is only available during Discovery. With all checks and balances now broken, a president could even charge the Supreme Court with treason, triggering a complete meltdown of the government. Then what?
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Short Story: "Health Care Reform"
Come on. It couldn't be all that bad, could it? After all, the insurance companies have spent a fortune to make sure it doesn't threaten their business model. What could possibly go wrong?
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Short Story: "Call to Action"
Tea-baggers and elected representatives aren't the only folks being used by expert manipulators. When you risk saying or doing something controversial, is it really your own idea, or are you a pawn in someone's game? We can protect ourselves from getting tangled in the strings of manipulation pulled by ads and talking heads, but what about the ones we don't notice? What about the more insidious threats to our autonomy?
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Short Story: "Bankers from Outer Space"
Any system can be gamed, and any system can fail, as we've sadly learned about the financial house-of-cards that undergirds the various corporate cartels that vie for control of the world's governments. If we don't rein them in, they could actually become 'masters of the universe', and heaven help any unsuspecting alien race that falls for their get-rich-quick schemes. Business, as they say, is business.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Short Story: "Intended Consequence"
To prosecute the mastermind, we prove that a chain of events led to the crime, so why do we ignore the ultimate effects of seemingly innocuous laws and corporate acts? When Colleen Tendray was poisoned while she was out leafleting to preserve the public domain, she drew some nasty conclusions about who was behind it.
Thursday, December 10, 2009(2 comments)
Short Story: "Cascade"
Who should we punish, the person who commits violence, or the one who wanted it done? We are told to focus on the immediate cause of disasters, when its really the ultimate cause that we need to address. And yet those who point them out are marginalized and ignored. Irwin's warnings may have fallen on deaf ears, but that did not lessen the danger he saw. He could have given up, but he chose to act, and now he's in court.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Short Story: "Disarmed"
Now that the reality-based community is safely in control of the political and economic nightmares we're struggling to escape from, perhaps it's time to give some thought to how the Bush Administration's alternative really worked. Most of the evidence has been carefully buried, but a few individuals have not given up searching for the truth. Jerry just didn't expect it to turn up in his back yard.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Short Story: "Sacred Honor"
Our founding document states that we are all endowed with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The constitution refined that endowment. At the Nuremberg war trials, we stated that we do not relinquish those rights and responsibilities completely merely by being in the military, yet we deny those rights in large part to our own armed forces. What would happen if they claimed those rights, and took action?
Friday, November 27, 2009(1 comments)
Short Story: "Frachetti's Challenge" (15th and last of a series)
If we could convict corporations for their crimes, what else could we do to undo all the damage that's been done in the name of corporate personhood? Employees of the FW Diner turned the CEO's scheme to capitalize on the company's conviction into an opportunity, and found new ways to engage customers into the activist community. Like Leo, the server. He's also a musician, and that offers it's own opportunities. Series: Business Cycle
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Short Story: "A Hard Box to Think Outside Of" (13th in a series)
If corporations were convicted for their crimes, how much of the economy would survive? If those crimes included bribing public officials with campaign money, how much of the government would survive? Sure, we might eventually end up with something better, but what do we do in the meantime? If the scam of fractional-reserve banking was shut down, how would you buy your groceries? Would there even be groceries? I'm just asking. Series: Business Cycle
Wednesday, November 25, 2009(1 comments)
Short Story: "Signing Statement" (14th in a series)
Even in a world where corporations are convicted for their crimes, they'd still control our lives through the monetary system. Just ask Leetha Berismont. Being unemployed pushes you into making risky choices, and corporations still hold all the cards. In her case, it's plastic, and it's been denied. Fortunately for her, she's having lunch with a bunch of radical activists, and one of them has her ear. Who really has the power? Series: Business Cycle
Monday, November 23, 2009
Short Story: "Striking the Set Piece" (12th in a series)
If corporations could be convicted of their crimes, which ones would you want to bring to justice? Some, such as Blackwater, are obvious choices, because they boldly flaunt the law, or sidestep it by operating in the grey zones between government and private industry. Others are more subtle. They bankroll campaigns and pad pockets, and in return, get legislation either passed or blocked. Don't be hoodwinked by the puppeteers. Series: Business Cycle
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Short Story: "Foreclosed Future" (part 11 of a series)
What if corporations were convicted for their crimes? John Frachetti, whose inflammatory blog posts got him accused of being a terrorist, has been laying low in the FW Diner, a chain that was turned into a haven for activists after the union reframed the CEO's scheme to profit from the company's conviction for theft. But after some unplanned publicity, he's gone back underground. Here's a dispatch from the road. Series: Business Cycle
Saturday, November 21, 2009(1 comments)
Short Story: "Bank Shot" (10th in a series)
What if corporations could be convicted for their crimes? Fremont-Wayfarer was the 2nd one, but the union reframed the CEO's scheme to profit from it and created a hotbed of activism. Having unintentionally gotten press for a photo with the company's parole officer, suspected terrorist John Frachetti's earned an audience with the union, and he plans to make the most of it. Series: Business Cycle
Thursday, November 19, 2009(1 comments)
Short Story: "The Tallysheet Bankers" (9th in a series)
What if corporations could be convicted for their crimes? Blogger John Frachetti had ignited the activist community gathered by the newly unionized workforce, and now the government threatened to shutter the chain of FW Diners to avert possible attacks against other misbehaving corporations. With the CEO recently murdered, John's been asked to speak to the Board, and a lot is resting on what he does, and who joins which side. Series: Business Cycle
Tuesday, November 17, 2009(1 comments)
Short Story: "Unvarnished Siding" (8th in a series)
What if corporations could be convicted for the crimes they commit? Having issued the orders that enabled the newly unionized workforce of the FW Diners to transform the chain into a hotbed of activists, parole officer Claire Fuller had been photographed speaking with blogger and suspected terrorist John Frachetti. It's bad publicity for the case. The judge is asking questions. If you were in her position, what would you do? Series: Business Cycle
Sunday, November 15, 2009(1 comments)
Short Story: "Unplanned Outing" (7th in a series)
What if corporations could be convicted for the crimes they commit? When Claire Fuller, Fremont-Wafarer's parole officer dropped in to one of the company's redecorated prison-themed diners to speak with the union's rep on the Board, she was hoping to keep a low profile. But then she ran into blogger John Frachetti, exactly the sort of activist customer the staff were trying to attract. Low profile wasn't exactly what happened. Series: Business Cycle
Thursday, November 12, 2009(1 comments)
Short Story: "Going Down" (part 6 of a series)
What if corporations were convicted of their crimes? The company that owns the FW Diners capitalized on the its conviction with a prison makeover, but the workers used the opportunity to speak out about corporate crime, and it's starting to bear fruit. Unfortunately, the blogger chatting up the cashier was just followed in by some threatening government suits. What do you suppose a roomful of activist customers would do? Series: Business Cycle
Saturday, November 7, 2009(1 comments)
Short Story: "Serving Time" (5th in a series)
What if corporations could be convicted of their crimes? After Fremont-Wayfarer was incarcerated for theft, the newly unionized workforce agreed to the CEO's ploy to capitalize on their infamy, but they turned his plans against him. His idea sounded good on paper, but now the workers have to sell the surreal sight of a prison-themed restaurant to their customers. And not all of them think it was a good idea at all. Series: Business Cycle
Sunday, November 1, 2009(1 comments)
Short Story: "Turnabout" (part 4 of a Series)
If corporate citizens were convicted of their crimes, what would jail time be like? Fremont-Wayfarer's parole officer wants the newly-unionized workforce to vote on CEO Reese's scheme to capitalize on being the first corporation incarcerated under the new rules. But then, he thought he was still in control of the situation. The union had other ideas. Series: Business Cycle
Friday, October 30, 2009(1 comments)
Short Story: "Prison Break" (3rd in a series)
Imagine if corporations were granted the full rights of citizenship. They can finally be convicted of the crimes they commit. That's what happened to Fremont-Wayfarer, and now CEO Edward Reese must yield to Claire Fuller, the court-appointed parole officer chairing the Board of Directors. She's made sweeping changes to the board. Reese is incensed at the scrutiny he's now under, but he doesn't plan to give up without a fight. Series: Business Cycle
Sunday, October 25, 2009(1 comments)
Short Story: "Logical Conclusion/Full Circle" (parts 1&2 of a series)
When wealthy capitalists misused the 14th Amendment to grant corporations the rights afforded people, they avoided the risks that went with those rights. That imbalance gave corporations an unfair advantage, which enabled them to subvert the constitution and manipulate the government, causing the current crisis. Imagine would happen if corporations were given full citizenship, and were treated like the criminals they are... Series: Business Cycle