An unhappy experience at a nudist resort

Nicole McClelland writes of a work-exchange trip to a nudist resort in Australia that wasn’t so pleasant.

It would be naive to suggest that this experience is unique, and while McClelland fails to probe the issues that underlie this experience, it should be noted that a vast majority of nudists are couples or single men. Single women are rare, and even those in committed relationships can be the subject of unwanted attention. Biting insects can indeed be a problem; at Lupin, I had to stop using the public showers for a year (settling for one that runs on an electric 2.5 gallon hot water heater in my trailer) because I had welts that took months to heal and the insects simply swarmed the public facilities. I burn too quickly–and also don’t like putting chemicals on my skin–to spend much time out, but it is relatively common for a naturist to sport a bandage where he’s had surgery for skin cancer. And a great many nudists are morbidly obese.

As in McClelland’s experience, the owners here also often seem to take the view that you should pay a premium for the privilege of being naked, and if you aren’t a paid-up member, then they have the right and privilege to abuse you. One of the owners here describes himself as a libertarian with an MBA from Stanford. Judging from his intellectual development, I would think any other alumni of that institution should cringe. And, of course, in the United States, when anyone says libertarian, they mean capitalist libertarian, meaning they’ll challenge political authority but fail to recognize economic authority as an even more pervasive intrusion on individual freedom.

I’m sorry McClelland had this experience. The freedom she sought is real, and I treasure being able to spend days at a time in a mountainous and woodsy setting without putting on clothing. But I’ll never work here again, and while I’m too busy to socialize anyway, I don’t really miss many of the members during the winter.

Presidential endorsement: Gloria La Riva

So I received my mail-in ballot today and was confronted with a few propositions and a choice of Peace and Freedom Party candidates for president. Dismayed by the pitting of interests against each other in several budgetary issues, and by a rather blatant effort to transfer more money from Indian gaming enterprises into the state’s general fund, I voted no on all the propositions.

No, I do not think that money for roads should come at the expense of public transportation (Proposition 91). Rather, it should, at minimum, be the other way around, and preferably at the expense of certain other wasteful government programs, like our endlessly expanding wars.

No, I do not think that money for elementary and secondary education should come at the expense of community colleges (Proposition 92). As a teacher of public speaking at a university, I view it as my job to undo damage done at the primary and secondary levels, and while I generally support funding for education, I certainly cannot endorse further subsidization of this damage at the expense of institutions that seek to reverse that damage.

And, no, I do not see that term limits have improved the governance of California (Proposition 93). The problem lies not in term limits which force the replacement of experienced elites with inexperienced elites, but in the exclusion of non-elites–through the high price of admission for media access–from the political process.

Finally, I was immediately comfortable with Gloria La Riva’s involvement in several causes, including Act Now to Stop War and End Racism, efforts against terrorists under protection of the U.S. government, and relations with Cuba.

A primer on economic danger

New York Magazine has a primer on the hazards faced by the economy–not just in the United States, but by the entire world–as we head into 2008. The thing I´m finding significant about all this is that while my left-wing fringe sources might be expected to scream about how the sky is falling, mainstream sources are allowing as to how it just might be.

But the dollar’s fall was supposed to increase exports

While the mainstream seems to have viewed the fall in the dollar’s value as a bad thing, a few economists have argued that this would make US-manufactured products more competitive in foreign markets, thus at least softening the blow of what more and more people seem to agree is an impending recession. Others have pointed out that even domestic manufacturers rely on imported parts, mitigating the effects of a lower dollar.

But manufacturing has apparently decreased in December. Oil prices briefly reached $100 per barrel, and stocks slid; the Dow Jones closed down 220.86. Release of Federal Reserve minutes showing concern about the economy only enhanced the pessimism.

You already knew this was a police state

You already knew the United States has become a police state, but Privacy International has released international rankings for privacy protection. The U.S. is classed as an “endemic surveillance society.” Only a few countries are worse: Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore, Russia, China, and Malaysia. Greece is the least awful, classified as having “adequate safeguards against abuse.” Happy new year.