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Friday, April 25, 2014



 Water Farmer Harvests Rain...
(There's Some Ya Missed!)


Learned From a Year Without Showering
Rob Greenfield
Posted: 04/23/2014 4:23 pm EDT Updated: 04/24/2014 11:59 am EDT
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rob-greenfield/lessons-learned-from-a-ye_b_5200734.html

As of today it has been one year since my last shower. Yes, I know that sounds crazy and a year ago I would have agreed with you. I was a regular showering guy for the first 26 years of my life. Well, maybe not every single day, but just about.

So how does a regular showering guy end up going 365 days and counting without taking a shower? It started with a long bike ride across America to promote sustainability and eco-friendly living. I set a bunch of rules for myself to follow to lead by example. The rule for water was that I could only harvest it from natural sources such as lakes, rivers and rain or from wasted sources such as leaky faucets. And I kept track of exactly how much I used too, with an aim of showing just how little we need to get by...



Mr. Greenfield seemed to be always by a lake or reservoir or stream or creek or rill or a leaky faucet, where he could either immerse himself or "harvest" water.
I'm not sure I like this use of "harvest". I mean, "harvest" always meant gathering in the autumn the fruits of long arduous work in spring and summer, not some adventitious stumbling upon something.

I think this is one of the dumbest articles I have ever read recently, and that includes articles about gun anarchists and Sean Hannity.
It seems like an excuse to show off his buff body to earth mother type chicks. There is too much beefcake. If he had taken showers like normal people, he would not have to caper for nude selfies.

He does make some points that I concur with:
But I learned that by living naturally I didn't need cosmetic products anymore. I just used some soap, toothpaste and essential oils and found that to work real well. This compared to previously using colognes, deodorant, shampoo, lotions and all sorts of other products full of chemicals. And guess what? I had no lack of friends!
Personally, I think it is sufficient to say that those colognes, deodorants, etc., are filled with the most atrocious chemical scents. I am sure you have probably experienced the anguish of working out at the gym in proximity to someone who thinks themselves in need of large doses of scent that make you gag.
And this includes laundry detergents. I have had to throw away clothes my mother had washed, merely because I could not get rid of the "fresh sunshine" smell of her laundry soap.

He adds some agenda (things to do):
-Flush the toilet less often.
-Take shorter showers or turn off the water while you're soaping up and scrubbing down.
-Wash clothes less and in full loads
-Turn off the faucet
-Wash the dishes efficiently.
-Install water efficient showerheads and toilets.
-Get your leaks fixed.
-Grow food not lawns.
-Harvest rain.

Good luck on that first one and getting me to visit your place... your digs are probably a cosmetic and olfactory disaster.

And you collect rain, you don't harvest it. I suppose if you had a biplane and ran a crop dusting and rain cloud seeding  operation you could harvest rain.

And I did start taking Navy showers (the second item in the list) about 3 months ago, so I can't argue there.

--

The Future Is Now!



Amazon launches grocery service for Prime members
Associated Press
By MAE ANDERSON 10 hours ago
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/amazon-launches-grocery-prime-members-193912329--finance.html
NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon is taking aim at grocery stores and discounters like Wal-Mart with a grocery service that lets its Prime loyalty club members fill up to a 45-pound box with groceries and get it shipped for a flat rate of $5.99.

The mega online retailer says the service, called Prime Pantry, will offer Prime users an expanded selection of items that they usually pick up in grocery stores, in addition to larger in-bulk groceries more commonly ordered online, at competitive prices. Some items now available are single boxes of Cheerios, a six-pack of Bounty paper towels and Coca-Cola fridge packs.

Amazon calls the offerings "low-priced, everyday essentials in everyday sizes."

When Prime members shop through Prime Pantry, it shows how much space each item takes up in the grocery box, and how much room is left. Items are shipped within one to four business days...
***

This brings back my fancy about Waldbaum's, the store of the future:
https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=24659266#editor/target=post;postID=1156537606100354710;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=1;src=link



On Long Island, in New York, round about where Manhasset lies, was a gathering of grocery stores that filled in part of the mid-20th century saga of "Life in these US of A" : Bohack's, Grand Union, etc.

They were the grocery of the time and the place, not with overly wide aisles, and they had windows that only took up the upper portion of the front wall; the side wall abutted another building, and had no windows, but did have some joyous depictions of fruits and vegetables...maybe a pilgrim in November. Maybe a Manahatta Indian, too. Sometimes the floors were wood, but maybe that was the Woolworth's. I remember our Woolworth's had wood floors, and it had the vermilion and gold 5 and 10 sign, and there was a soda fountain beyond the ribbons.

The grocery stores were a conundrum to me: they were obviously part of the age of "Air-Flo" and "Aerodynamic Design", yet they were decidedly stodgy and firmly rooted in a past of foodstuffs and comestibles, not to mention "hardwares" and "softwares" in the For the Home section. It seemed no epistalsis of time had moved them forward.

And then there was Waldbaum's !

Waldbaum's was the promise of the City of The Future of the 1939 New York World's Fair come true - one of the few promises of that enormous amalgam of good wishes, good hopes, and Flash Gordon design that saw the light of day; just as going to Old Navy reminds you of the Andrews Sisters and going to Willow Run to catch a Ford Tri-Motor flight to Chicago, Waldbaum's puts you in mind of waiting around in the Gold Star Flyers Lounge in 2001.

The architecture stunned the eye, going beyond the novelty of "Modernistic" into the rarified reaches of the galaxy called "Futuristic": it was like a Moebius cross-section of a teardrop from the Horn of Plenty! It filled with glass those places other stores had brick, and leaped to vitrefy the surrounding space-time where other stores had never lifted up their heads to gaze upon, much less conquer with steel and glistening panes of glass.

And it was on a hill, so as we approached it, we were imbued with the sense of driving from the profane to the fane of groceries. To go there after Sunday services was a continuing of the cathedral-"gothic-rocket" church; to go there and buy challa and exchange a shabbas shalom on Friday afternoon was a foretaste-memory of the temple of the Diaspora in Andromeda.

It's all gone now.

We're lucky. We live elsewhere. We remember and dream of the old days, when a quarter was worth 25 bees...or 32 yellow jackets. And we have the last Waldbaum's around, far as I can tell.

However, it isn't a retail store. All the retail are gone. It is a grocery warehouse-type thing, and it was built around the time the developments around here were designed...and each unit in our development has groceries delivered from Waldbaum's.

If you remember the milk chutes, or milk boxes from the old days, that's what it is. Each unit has a glorified "milk box" built in - with security - which is refrigerated. We schedule our needs of dairy, meat, seafood, and other perishables, send in a list, get a verify, and we have the stuff delivered...for a price. But the price is pretty good, since there are so many people living in the area that use this service; far more than would probably merely drive to one grocery store. They probably would need 3 stores to cover this area, but they only have the one warehouse.

Things which aren't perishable are put into a smaller receptacle, and that's it. Some people use part of the refrigerated unit as extra storage. Doesn't matter. The food comes as regular as clock-work, as regular as the government pension check. We sit in the park and discuss philosophy, and -say! - when's the rest of the country gonna get with this Waldbaum thing?

--

Will They Call It ObamaGun?


John Calhoun, Defender Of States' Rights



NRA seeks universal gun law at national meeting
Associated Press
By CHARLES D. WILSON 12 hours ago
http://news.yahoo.com/nra-seeks-universal-gun-law-national-meeting-164012076.html

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — 
With concealed weapons now legal in all 50 states, the National Rifle Association's focus at this week's annual meeting is less about enacting additional state protections than on making sure the permits already issued still apply when the gun owners travel across the country.


The nation's largest gun-rights group, which officially opens its meeting of about 70,000 people Friday in Indianapolis, wants Congress to require that concealed weapons permits issued in one state be recognized everywhere, even when the local requirements differ. Advocates say the effort would eliminate a patchwork of state-specific regulations that lead to carriers unwittingly violating the law when traveling.

"Right now it takes some legal research to find out where you are or are not legal depending on where you are," said Guy Relford, an attorney who has sued communities for violating an Indiana law that bars local gun regulation. "I don't think that's right."

Opponents fear the measure would allow more lenient gun regulations to trump stricter ones when permit holders travel across state lines.
"It's a race to the bottom," said Brian Malte, senior national policy director for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. "It's taking the lowest standards."

The push for reciprocity comes as the gun rights lobby is arguably stronger than ever before, with more than 5 million dues-paying members.

The NRA has successfully defeated numerous gun-control efforts in recent years, even after the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. With midterm elections looming, the organization's legislative wish list likely will be somewhat more modest than usual this year.
The "reciprocity" effort on state concealed carry laws has strong support from Senate Republicans but narrowly missed being amended into last year's proposed expansion of gun sale background checks. Still, it faces long odds in Washington because Democrats control the Senate and White House...
Incredibly, I see the NRA seeking to intrude into areas where the individual States have jurisdiction. This is a States' Rights issue, and we see the NRA wishing to create a Federal regulation that overrides the laws of individual States.
The NRA assumes that each State does not know what is best for its own "well regulated militia".

The NRA realizes that it can burden more people with its views if it enlists the Federal government to oppress us.

***

Georgia Governor Signs 'Unprecedented' Gun Rights Bill
The Huffington Post | by Paige Lavender

Posted: 04/23/2014 1:14 pm EDT Updated: 04/23/2014 8:59 pm EDT
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/23/georgia-gun-bill_n_5199630.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (R) signed a sweeping gun rights bill on Wednesday.

House Bill 60, also known as the Safe Carry Protection Act, will allow licensed gun owners to carry their firearms into public places, including bars, nightclubs, schools, churches and government buildings.

“People who follow the rules can protect themselves and their families from people who don’t follow the rules,” Deal said, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “The Second Amendment should never be an afterthought. It should reside at the forefronts of our minds.”

The National Rifle Association has praised the bill as "the most comprehensive pro-gun reform legislation introduced in recent state history" and called it a “historic victory for the Second Amendment.” Americans for Responsible Solutions, a gun control organization started by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), fought to defeat the bill, calling it "the most extreme gun bill in America."
One hopes that people who carry guns into church "follow the rules" better than most people "follow the rules" when it come to traffic rules - where they often cheat a little on strictness... not coming to a full stop at a Stop sign, or speeding up to get through a yellow traffic light turning red.

This extreme law is a good sign, for it has allowed the anarchists to take over and they will quickly and thoroughly make a mess of things. The ensuing mess will include a number of fatalities, so the people of Georgia should start thinking about holding their political leaders accountable for murder, or at least manslaughter.
Just sit back and watch them.

It is as predictable as discovering that a Nevada rancher and his gun toting allies are racists.

***

"The laws are already there," said Allen Rumble, a Carmel, Ind., financial consultant with lifetime NRA membership. "Criminals don't follow rules."
The trouble is that most law-abiding citizens do not follow rules, either.  When it comes to guns, there will be a lot of bending of the rules. I mean, its been years that everyone has known how dangerous it is to mix guns in the house with ease of access and kids under 10 years old, yet kids shoot kids every week.

If you rely upon the following of enlightened and sublime ethical standards of behavior to regulate the use of weapons, you are an arrant fool.

Weaponized Society has as it most basic premise Compulsion.

--

страна для стариков.... A Country For Old Men

You would think that war and terror would make things No Country For Old Men, but things do not always turn out the way we expect. And that is a cautionary word for Mr. Putin and all other players in the Ukraine.


The following is a recent picture from eastern Ukraine; a pro-Russian man is standing guard at a government office:


He is masked and he is subverting the present Ukrainian government.

This role of subverting the present government, perhaps a desire to break away from the Ukraine, is reminiscent of Chechnya and its war:
http://www.kavkazcenter.com/eng/content/2013/11/26/18592.shtml
On November 26, 1994 pro-Moscow "Chechen opposition", with the active support of the Kremlin, attempted to overthrow President of Chechen Republic of Ichkeria Dzhokhar Dudayev.
 
The failure of the armed seizure of power by the so-called "opposition forces" provided the impetus for an open military aggression and the beginning of a wider war, which continues up to this day.
 
At dawn on November 26, 1994 armed detachments of the pro-Moscow Chechen opposition, under the guise of Russian tanks of Kantemirovskaya and Taman divisions, and supported by Russia's aviation, entered the city of Grozny (Solzh-Ghala now Dzhokhar/Jokhar) from 3 sides.

This post if from the Kavkaz (Caucasus) Center, which is a militant Sunni Islam site focused on the Caucasus area. There are still fighters in the mountains, and there are still awful explosions now and then in Russia.

The name "Dzhokhar" pops up unexpectedly. The Boston Marathon is over after a long run up to it on National Public radio, and I think that name was linked to it. I didn't know it was one of Dudayev's names.

There's a lot going on, and it is all war and terror. All involved had better take a deep breath and stop to think of where this is leading.

**

  страна для стариков
Country For Old Men


when wars demolish the limits of societies.

--


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Affirmative Action In Michigan




The Guardian:

US supreme court upholds Michigan law that bans affirmative action
Justices say Michigan voters have the right to change their state constitution to stop colleges using race as a factor in admissions

[...]

Six justices ruled on Tuesday in favour of a ballot initiative narrowly passed by Michigan voters in 2006 that banned the state's public universities from using race as a factor when deciding which students to admit, arguing that doing so discriminated against white students.

The ban had been ruled unconstitutional by a lower appeals court, but the supreme court overturned the earlier decision and upheld the Michigan law on the grounds that it was up to voters in each state to decide whether to allow affirmative action.

The majority argued the case was not about the merits of the policy itself, but whether states should be left free to decide on this vexed political issue rather than the courts.

The court’s conservatives – and swing vote Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the decision – were joined in the ruling by liberal justice Stephen Breyer, who emphasised in a concurring opinion that he believes “the constitution permits, though it does not require, the use of the kind of race-conscious programs that are now barred by the Michigan constitution,” but added, “the constitution foresees the ballot box, not the courts, as the normal instrument for resolving differences and debates about the merits of these programs.” ...

It is hard to see how a majority can willingly give up a preferential benefit.

My friend and I were talking about the grow in inequity in the USA, and the rise of a wealthy oligarchy. But it is not in our make up to practice a form of Distributism; we see life as a zero-sum, and what I have, you do not. Winner take all, or at least the lion's share.

We shall cycle through inequity, radicalism, uprisings, and recessions.
Our system is an oscillating system of ups and downs, which we think we are rationally in control of, but are not. What we are in control of is mostly irrational, such as our inability to have a more equitable society.

Let us engorge ourselves while the sun is out, and let the masses starve when it rains.

We are an all or nothing society. That is why important changes only occur in the deeps of distress. Only when there is so much inequity and suffering and fear is it possible to institute meaningful change - and make it stick.

All or nothing is related to our religious outlook. We believe in all or nothing. We have read it. On the day of judgement, there will be great division, according to the story of the zero-sum winnings of the just and the damnation of the evil.

Yet it is also said that God's rain falls upon the just and unjust alike.

Another tale for another day. I think when we can understand that infinite mercy is actually infinite, we might have learned an important lesson: give no thought to the damnation of anyone, for the evil of the day - or the man - is sufficient unto itself.
Live in God's sun or His rain, which are distributed to all.

--

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

And The Winner Is...




Based on the film Apocalypto, Mel Gibson is a genius.

He is not merely cunning and strange, but a profound talent and mind.


--

http://fatherdaughtertalk.blogspot.com/2011/10/mel-gibsons-apocalypto-again.html

http://fatherdaughtertalk.blogspot.com/2011/09/mel-gibsons-use-of-violence.html

http://fatherdaughtertalk.blogspot.com/2007/02/mel-gibsons-apocalypto-and-will-durant.html

http://fatherdaughtertalk.blogspot.com/2006/12/apocalypto-and-violence.html


Flukey Genius


Vanity Fair
Much Ado About Nothing
http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2012/03/diner-201203
...Tarantino’s genius, first demonstrated in 1990’s Reservoir Dogs, sprang from the decision to make his reprehensible characters sympathetic—to make the audience laugh in recognition while wincing at the blood—through dialogue that any truck driver would recognize. Guy talk. Diner talk...
Tarantino has cunning, but not genius. He hit on a good scheme, but that ain't genius.

--

The Handi-Path

Diner



Everything was quiet at Hanaan's Diner. Suddenly a curse rang out, followed by a knife thrown across the kitchen, scuttling into a far corner.
I looked up from my paper.
"Damn wiring!" we heard her say, using "wiring" as a pejorative vulgarism. She said it with witchcraft and death by a thousand cuts.

I stood up to go help her, first checking to see whether any other kitchen implements were being thrown, then saying "Hanaan...? I'm gonna give ya a hand...Hanaan?"
Hank Jacobowski put a side of beef he refers to as a hand upon my shoulder, and gently - with the force of about 10 G's - guided me back down into my chair.
"I'll get it." he said.
"I can do it." I said.

There were furtive smiles appearing around the table of TYBALTs - "The Young Bucks At Lunch Together"......our group...formed in opposition to the ROMEOs - "Retired Old Men Eating Out". I distinctly heard snickering.

Hank smiled. "I'll get it." and headed for the kitchen.
"But..." I said.
He turned. "Montie, yer not a handy man..." He was quiet in thought. "You're the guy they send for to...whisper to the problem...you're the guy that the fix-it police..."
I clearly sensed he was warming to his subject.
"...police send for to sort a channel the Do-It-Yerself spirits ..."
I looked around for support, but everyone was too busy guffawing.

"Montie, yer the...Handi-Path...!" he said, and laughed.

Then Levine says "Handi-o-pathic ... you're the herbal fix-it guy, Montag!"

I was a bit relieved. I had thought they were using "sociopath" or "psychopath" as their inspiration: a sociopath-handy-man.......one who fixes, and whose repair contains within it the seeds of its own destruction. Then they laughed fit to kill. It was not that funny.

--
reprint

In Which God Tiptoes About Our Sensibilities



Hanaan's Diner


Nothing is better than a good religious argument. Not an argument about religions, but an argument in which we have recourse to various "outtakes" from holy scriptures, and use them to fortify our hypotheses and prejudices.

I love them because usually the guy or gal that has memorized the most scripture passages is "the last man (or woman) standing".
And this I like because I take inordinate pleasure in kicking that old notion "truth" in the knickers. Who needs truth or probabilities when you have an absolute heap of scriptural quotes? I surely do not.

So we old TYBALTs  (The Young Bucks At Lunch Together) were down at Hanaan's Diner, arguing with a loose pack of ROMEOs (Retired Old Men Eating Out) about same sex marriage. We were not Tybalts against Romeos, but a mish-mosh of guys on one side and a mosh-mish of guys on the contra side.

Hank Jakubowski said that same sex anything - and a fortiori same sex marriage, although he did not say a fortiori - were forbidden in the Bible. Someone said Torah Kohanim, to be precise; Leviticus. Back and forth, the arguments, heated words, and invectives flew like tzitzit in a gale.

So I waited for my chance. Then I said maybe God did approve of same sex marriage, even though it appears to go against the argument from anatomy, the tired logic of the sword in its scabard argument. I said maybe God was keeping it a secret.
People positively goggled at me.
I said maybe God realized that in the old timey days we were rather crude and intemperate... He was a supreme potter, as it were, and was keenly aware of the rather poor nature of the clay He had to work with. So maybe He decided to say one thing back then, and would let the cat out of the bag (so to speak) in the fullness of its time.

Well, they positively hooted.
Hank Jakubowski said he'd never heard anything so stupid since Jeb Bush said illegal immigration was an act of love, and he said it "L-u-u-u-v!", making it long and sarcastic, and sort of waving his hands as if to depict a flow of rosy petals in the wind.

They said that the thing about scripture is that it was inspired; it was the word of God, and there was no higher editor. There is was, like it or lump it.

When things quieted, I said, "In the Bible, Moses allows Jewish men to divorce their wives. In Matthew 19, I read, 'Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way.' "

Then I said, "So according to the New Testament, God kept the real nature of divorce in marriage a secret for a time."

I added some observations on the so-called Satanic verses in the Quran for Hannan's sake, and for Joe Said's, whom we call Abu Lihya, or "father of the beard";  Lihya, for short. Sometimes Abu Joe. I doesn't matter.

--




Eichmann's Inglorious Idiots

Even Adolf Eichmann had bad days, and often the genocidal machinery under his maintenance ground to a halt. Sometimes the trains did not run on time. The Final Solution had its good days and bad days; it came with the territory.




The Guardian:
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/18/james-mitchell-cia-torture-interview

James Mitchell: 'I'm just a guy who got asked to do something for his country'
Psychologist who designed CIA's post-9/11 torture program insists he has nothing to apologise for – and attacks 'people with a Jack Bauer mentality who don't understand how intel works'

Dr James Elmer Mitchell has been called a war criminal and a torturer. He has been the subject of an ethics complaint, and his methods have been criticized in reports by two congressional committees and by the CIA's internal watchdog.

But the retired air force psychologist insists he is not the monster many have portrayed him to be.

"The narrative that's out there is, I walked up to the gate of the CIA, knocked on the door and said: 'Let me in, I want to torture people, and I can show you how to do it.' Or someone put out an ad on Craigslist that said, 'Wanted: psychologist who is willing to design torture program.' It's a lot more complicated than that," Mitchell told the Guardian in his first public comments since he was linked to the CIA's enhanced interrogation program seven years ago.

"I'm just a guy who got asked to do something for his country by people at the highest level of government, and I did the best that I could."

Mitchell is featured prominently in a new report prepared by the Senate select committee on intelligence, which spent five years and more than $40m studying the CIA's detention and interrogation program.

The findings, according to a summary leaked to McClatchy, are damning: that the agency misled the White House, Congress and the American people; that unauthorised interrogation methods were used; that the legal opinions stating the techniques did not break US torture laws were flawed; and perhaps most significant, that the torture yielded no useful intelligence.

But Mitchell said the program's successes had been deliberately ignored.

"I'm sure there are people out there who believe that if the United States acknowledged that coercion worked, there is an increased probability that people would use coercion against our people," Mitchell said. "Never mind that they do anyway. In the fairyland they live in, all you have to do is give somebody some tea and a cookie, and everything will be OK."

[...]

"I would be happy to tell my entire story," Mitchell said. "But I have been told numerous times that if I violate the non-disclosure agreement there would be criminal and civil penalties. I am interested in having an active and honest debate, but only if the Justice Department and federal government release me from my agreement."

Mitchell, however, did talk about the torture program in general terms. He sees it as a huge success and is upset it has gotten such a bad rap.

"I don't get annoyed about the program," Mitchell said. "I get annoyed the way the good parts, and the bad parts, have been glossed over and some good parts have been vilified. That frustrates me. But I'm not going to talk about the program."

Interesting.

I admit now that the next quote is taken out of place, not, however, out of context - the context here is Eichmann's nouveaux idiots and Mitchell is their poster boy. It does give a preciousness to his total sense of madness:
He  [Mitchell]  also criticized Obama's healthcare policy – a "shit sandwich" – and his administration's approach to global warming. Mitchell believes it's a myth.

He identified himself politically as an independent. "I'm not a Republican or a Mormon or a gun nut or power hungry."

I am glad to hear Dr. "Mengele" Mitchell's political views. It fills some vague need.


 Eichmann On Trial
--

Asymmetrical Villainy 2

Continuing the discussion in the post Asymmetrical Villainy
http://fatherdaughtertalk.blogspot.com/2014/02/asymmetrical-villainy.html



"Edward Snowden, hero or villain?"


I observe the recent article in The Daily Beast (April 4, 2014):
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/04/04/state-department-secret-letter-warned-don-t-release-cia-torture-report.html

In April of last year, Vice President Joe Biden called for a Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA interrogation and detention programs to be declassified. More than two months later, The Daily Beast has learned, the State Department told Congress in a classified letter that declassifying the report could endanger American lives abroad and harm relations with foreign countries.

On Thursday, the Senate Intelligence Committee voted 11-3 to recommend declassifying the summary and conclusion of the report on Bush-era CIA detention and interrogation programs, prepared by their Democratic staff. Their investigation set off a public battle between the CIA and the Committee’s Chairwoman, Dianne Feinstein, who has accused the CIA of spying on the Committee’s investigation. The CIA will now be involved in reviewing and redacting any portions of the report that will be made public.

Two Republican senators who voted against declassification, Marco Rubio and James Risch, issued a statement after the vote revealing they had been warned by the State Department that declassification was not only an intelligence risk but also a threat to U.S. conduct of foreign policy.

“The Senate Intelligence Committee today voted to send a one-sided, partisan report to the CIA and White House for declassification despite warnings from the State Department and our allies indicating that declassification of this report could endanger the lives of American diplomats and citizens overseas and jeopardize U.S. relations with other countries. Therefore, we could not support declassification of this product at this time,” they said...

Back in February, when we argued over Snowden's mythic status, hero or villain, the one who posed the question and who was the sole person who stated "villain" had various arguments:
These came down to a basic proposition that Mr. Snowden's dumped vast amounts of data to the media, and this data had the potential to hurt people...

So that is where we are. We hurt people; admitting we hurt people, hurts people. Thus we cannot admit it, we cannot perform the language act, for we have logic and persuasion to cajole us from doing that ghastly apologia...

But try and stop us from the physical act of torture!
Torture we can do, and with a will!

Everything we do can hurt someone. We do not let the lethal nature of action prohibit us from venturing into wars and insurrections. We only let the killing-like nature of actions prevent us from stopping, from explaining, from dissuading us from similar future folly.

Hurting people does not stop us from hurting people by war, torture, etc.
However, hurting people is a sufficient condition to degrade our society, endanger our freedoms, and undermine our Constitution.

--

Bread And Circuses... Multi-Tasking

Panem et circenses...

Give them bread and circuses - date eis panem et circenses - bread to fill their insatiable bellies and circuses to fill their insatiable...

give them to satisfy the insatiable...

the multi-tasking of that which cannot be satisfied, the thousand egos of our amusements and entertainments when each newsworthy event becomes a new attraction and another ego split off from the bedrock of our souls.

we are ancient Romans of Bizarro World, where Alugilac  ("Caligula" spelled backwards!) wishes that we have a thousand several necks instead of the axe-worthy one neck...

--


Dead Man's Curve




NBC Washington
Police say two men were shot outside the gates of Smithsonian's National Zoo Monday afternoon.
News4 has learned police are reviewing security camera footage from nearby businesses, in hopes of finding any sign of a possible shooter or shooters. 

The shooting was reported around 5:17 p.m. on a busy stretch of Connecticut Avenue in northwest D.C. According to D.C. police, a large group of between 30 to 50 people was traveling southbound on Connecticut Avenue when shots rang out...

Jim Battagliese with WTOP-103.5 FM said he heard two shots and saw parents diving to the ground to protect their children.
One victim was shot in the hand, and the other was shot in the arm. Both injuries are non-life threatening, and no suspect information has been released. Additional police presence spread to neighboring Metro stations immediately after the shooting.


The zoo hosted Easter Monday: A Washington Family Tradition event throughout the day, with family-friendly activities and live entertainment.
"We were scared because we do have our kids out here," a mother who was at the zoo at the time told News4...

Previously, I compared our newly re-affirmed Weapon Society (as re-established in law by the Supreme Court) to our Automobile Society. We must regulate ourselves based on an Acceptable Level of Mortality. In 2012, it was 10.8 automobile deaths per 100,000 people, and this figure does not include any deaths linked to air pollution caused by automotive emissions.

The engineering that goes into road systems reflects this figure: we do not over-over-design roads to achieve some impossible goal of almost -zero- fatalities; we accept a death floor and a death ceiling and work within that range.
Sometimes we make mistakes, and fatal accidents tend to accumulate at certain locations due to locale influences not taken into consideration by the safety engineers. That is how we come up with names like Dead Man's Curve.
A lot of people die on a certain stretch of road due to road, landscape, climate, or even social conditions (drag racing) and - bingo! - you have a Jan and Dean hit song.

So also with Weapons.

Surely it must have occurred to all of us that Fort Hood's second mass shooting claimed for that Army base the unique status of the Dead Man's Curve of the Weapon Society.







National Zoo...

shooting with the baby pandas...






Saturday, April 19, 2014

Miracles And Mulligans




I have been at my mother's place for my own private Easter Week and Stations of the Cross. I escaped at the beginning of Tre Ore services and made it back home. When I got home, I switched both computers on and basked in their glow, one rich and red like Gamma Crucis, the other mercurial silver like NGC 253, and the words pour forth.

After one hour, my mother called to inform me that my brother, who had just recently lost his wallet in an indiscretion and whose medical, insurance, and ID cards had been lost, had misplaced the new wallet I had bought him... filled with all the newly replaced medical, insurance, and ID cards I had newly procured for him.

I had been at my mother's since Wednesday, and we had been pouring over her papers and documents for two days straight, only stopping to go grocery shopping and to go to the post office to get letters in the mail before the 5:00 PM pick up.

They task me, this family of mine.

And I am quick to anger.

This is not a trial, this is not an affliction. It is a Mulligan. A Do-Over.

My first life was not perfect. In many respects it was OK, but in many important ones, it was and is severely flawed.
So I must engage with life and its problems, not flee from them as I so often did first time around.

Only by engaging intimately with Life in its important aspects can anyone be afforded the chance to experience things of the greatest value.
Many of us have done well in our lives, and we withdraw behind gated communities, and we shut ourselves away from the full array of life. In doing so, we ensure that certain bad things are excluded, but also we ensure that certain beneficial possibilities are also excluded. Whether the bad outweigh the good won't be known until a final reckoning.

This is what Kazantzakis wrote about in Zorba The Greek.
A life of dynamic engagement, not one of distance and flight and remoteness.

So I figure my second life is a Mulligan.
Or at least I get to bring my golf ball out of the rough and place it on the edge of the fairway, and no penalty strokes.

--

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

My Favorite Films

My favorites are:

(1) La Grande Bellezza,

(2) 8 1/2   (Eight and a Half)

(3) Dark City

I dance....,  and shine....,   

--

Mulligan

Coriander




At my advanced age.... Benny Goodman had passed on to his great Swing Band reward sixteen years ago or more before my present AGE...

God is giving me a mulligan.

I am doing  life over !

Personally, I think that is better far than walking over a bed of hot coals... or any other nonsense we tend to think important..

Lord, did I not see my friends on the week-end, and did they not overwhelm me with their attar of humanity!!!

I love you all, and it is the scent of mankind that drive me mad !!

**

note

Coriander makes me happy.

--

Sure As Shine

Spheres, Layers, Levels, and What-Not of Dante



The ascent through Paradise will be about learning to see the brightness of God shining through all reality.


From The American Conservative:

How Dante Saved My Life
A midlife crisis is cured by The Divine Comedy
http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/how-dante-saved-my-life/


Please notice how the word "shining" is used.
I use the word "shining" instead of "prayer", "meditation", and "visionary experience" usually.

Ever cool.

--

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Republican Ping Seekers



"Where is that blasted ObamaCare black box?"

--


Political Cartoons

Bashar Al Assad


by Alishahi

Mr. Alishahi does not catch the interesting characteristic of the Legolas ears:






--


Friday, April 11, 2014

As Passover Approaches

 Minnie's Four Sons



Just a Thought: On the Four Sons
By Aharon E. Wexler
04/10/2014 12:17
http://www.jpost.com/Jewish-World/Judaism/Just-a-Thought-On-the-Four-Sons-348137
After Elijah, the most famous guests to grace the Passover Seder are the Four Sons. We are told that one is Wise, one is Wicked, one is Simple, and one Doesn’t Even Know to Ask.
 [...]


I am not talking about a wishy-washy “kumbaya” moment. No one needs to yield their deeply held beliefs. An Orthodox Jew and a Reform Jew are still going to disagree fundamentally about the nature of God and mitzvot (and this is a good thing). I am a believer in competition. Competition not only improves the selling of the product, but enhances the consumer experience...

I really never liked using economic metaphors - such as "competition" - for religious phenomena. The word "competition" here is used more like a word in a commercial advertisement.
Furthermore, I would think it would be obvious that Competition in Religion, particularly between different strains of the same Religion, have notoriously been nurseries for Discords and Conflicts of a mortal nature. We had our own era of religious wars, and these blood-lettings still continue.

May the Lord deliver us from similar states of mental exhaustion, as is evinced in this article!

**
note:

I wonder if this writer is related to old Sam Wexler?

--

Карти з України


Letters From The Ukraine



Putin warns Europe about Ukraine gas debt
Associated Press
By NATALIYA VASILYEVA and VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/putin-warns-europe-ukraine-gas-debt-131524410--finance.html
MOSCOW (AP) — Dragging much of Europe into his fight with Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin urged European leaders Thursday to quickly help Ukraine settle its gas debt to Russia to prevent an imminent shutdown of Russian natural gas supplies to the continent.

Putin's letter to 18 leaders, released Thursday by the Kremlin, is part of Russia's efforts to retain control over its struggling neighbor, which is teetering on the verge of financial ruin and is facing a pro-Russian separatist mutiny in the east.

A large Russian military buildup alongside the Ukrainian border has also raised fears that the Kremlin could use the tensions in eastern Ukraine as a pretext to invade, following Moscow's annexation of Crimea last month...

I have said many nice things about Mr. Putin, even though I have never met him.

That may have to stop.

I do not see Mr. Putin's threat as credible, and if it is not credible to me, it is hardly credible to anyone that matters in this affair.
Exactly how a nation that is essentially a petro-giant can make a living by shutting off the flow of hydrocarbons is beyond my understanding. I am young enough to remember the fuel embargoes of the past, and they led directly to conservation measure which drove down the price of fuel in the 1980s. (Of course, we soon forgot history and started driving SUVs that got 14 miles to the gallon, but my point is still valid.)

This bit of business tells me things I wish were not true about Mr. Putin, but there they are.
Darn.

--

Affordable Health Care ! / ?


The Original Building Of The 9th Street Ministeries Clinic



From The Angry Bear
http://angrybearblog.com/2014/04/polk-county-arkansa-9th-street-ministries-medical-mission-clinic-is-closing.html#more-22899

Polk County Arkansas 9th Street Ministries Medical Mission Clinic is Closing

April 10, 2014 10:36 pm
Polk County, Arkansas 9th Street Ministries will be closing its medical clinic mission April 24, 2014. It has been in place since 1998 offering free medical services to those who did not have Medicare, Medicaid or commercial insurance. The reason for its closure has nothing to do with finances or lack of support although I imagine it was difficult during the Great Recession to raise funding.

“‘Because people are qualifying for insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, our free medical clinic will not be needed anymore,’ Stacey Bowser RN, 9th Street Ministries Clinic Director, stated.

‘We’ve gone from seeing around 300 people a month on a regular basis, but as people were enrolling in Obamacare, the numbers we were seeing have dropped. We were down to 80 people that came through the medical clinic in February, all the way down to three people at the medical clinic in March. Our services won’t be needed anymore, and this will conclude our mission.’”
300 hundred people is a lot of people to see in one day of the month. It is so many that I doubted the veracity of the article at first.

However, the clinic required a large pool of health care professionals to supply their needs to take care of 300 people in one day. Not all the professionals are available each month. And the health care people themselves may be ill, or may be on vacation, or may be on jury duty, etc.

So this clinic was a big deal, I think. It probably needed a pool of 20 available doctors, 40 nurses, and 80 assistants to draw from to be able to be at the clinic on "crush" day.

It was an enterprise we should be grateful that the folks in Polk County ran. It was a lot of work, and they are glad that it is no longer needed. I would think the people who visited the clinic are also happy about this outcome.

--



Thursday, April 10, 2014

An Equal Opportunity Weapon Society

School Daze



http://www.post-gazette.com/local/westmoreland/2014/04/09/Multiple-stabbings-reported-at-Franklin-Regional-High-School/stories/201404090148#ixzz2yWEg8cGA
They prepared for guns but faced knives instead.

In the era of Newtown and Virginia Tech and Columbine, danger and bloodshed came Wednesday to Franklin Regional High School not at the end of a barrel but rather at the points of two flashing blades.

Just after dawn, police said, sophomore Alex Hribal went on a rampage through a wing of the Murrysville school in a scene straight from a horror movie, slashing and stabbing 21 students and a security guard with two 8-inch knives. The swift and apparently random attack ended only when an administrator tackled the boy. Within five minutes, a high school hallway was transformed into a bloody crime scene; sleepy students waiting for first period suddenly became victims of violence; and a slender, dark-haired 16-year-old from Murrysville described as quiet and studious, and looking younger than his years, emerged as the latest face of the national epidemic of school violence...

They prepared for guns, but they got knives instead. Next time it may be Molotov cocktails as the evolution of our Weapon Society continues. 

This is what I finally caught onto after the Newtown massacre:  this is a weaponized society, and we must build our lives around the core tenet of possessing weapons.

Notice an administrator tackled the boy.
If everyone had been packing heat, the administrator would have shot him. However, the administrator did not have a knife and the requisite knife fighting skills, and he may not have had a gun, either. So he tackled him. He would not have tackled a guy with an M-16, I think. or a Glock.

This surprises us, because much of our understanding of our society is dreams of the Old West: scenarios spun out at length we have seen over the years.

No one uses knives except old "Snake Eyes" Ike Dalton, and other villains... like Blue Duck.

Are these statistics acceptable to us as a society, even though they are knife fatalities instead of gun ones? If they had been gun deaths, we would have shrugged, said some prayers, and gone our merry ways.





A Thumbs Up For Equal Rights and Opportunity Weapon Society!

Knives Are OK !








--

Get Acquainted With Distributism


Advertisement For Nankin Mills, A Ford Village Industry



There is more to the world than Capitalism and Socialism.
What vicious lack of ingenuity leads most of us dull and laggard thinkers to conceive of the vasty universe as subject to a mere 2 economic realms?

The American Conservative:
... Hilaire Belloc [and]... G.K. Chesterton, couldn’t have agreed more, and they both directed much of their energies into disparaging what they deemed to be the “Servile State,” an economic system whereby an unfree majority of nonowners work for the pleasure of a free minority of owners.

Belloc and Chesterton were supporters of distributism. Distributism is not a form of socialism or communism. Rather, it envisions an economy with the widest use of private productive property. Distributism is best viewed as a humane microcapitalism. While the American version of it is found in Jefferson’s agrarian society, the Russian version of it is found in Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s “democracy of small places.” Belloc and Chesterton were not opposed to capitalism per se, but they saw unrestrained capitalism to tend toward state-sustained monopolies. When Chesterton quipped, “Too much capitalism does not mean too many capitalists, but too few capitalists,” he had in mind a robust economy of small businesses and family farms.

The pastoral ideal of village and farm runs through the writings of many prominent Catholic literary figures. What does one think J.R.R. Tolkien was up to when he gave us those ecoguardians of the forest, the Ents, in his Lord of the Rings trilogy? The smokestack, assembly line, and A-Bomb nauseated Tolkien. What was the Ring itself but greed and power and audacity all rolled up into one formidable symbol? The only industrial power in Middle Earth is Mordor, that vast wasteland, where “nothing lived, not even the leprous growths that feed on rottenness." ... 
... Middle Earth fans may not recognize it, but Tolkien was providing a critique of modernity...

The article is by 
Arthur W. Hunt III is associate professor of communications at The University of Tennessee at Martin. His new book is Surviving Technopolis: Essays on Finding Balance in Our New Man-made Environments.

I believe this was also a part of the impetus behind Henry Ford's attempts at dispersed and small Village Industries that relied upon water power, and of which only a few examples still exist around Michigan.

St Pete Films: бок о бок




A poster for the sixth annual St. Petersburg LGBT film festival from last September.
бок о бок  means  "side by side".

--









Money As Speech

Money is not Speech, and free money is not free speech.

If there is free speech, and the Supreme Court sees speech as equivalent to money, there should be free money, too, somewhere. But there is no such thing. One might say that there is a right to make as much money as possible, but that is not the same thing as the exercise of "free money".... whatever that might be.

The idea behind the free exercise of speech was that all people have equal rights to speak in all public forums. But when one person has millions and another has not, then the voice of the one with less money is drowned out.

The forum of speech used to be the forum, the town square, the assembly, wherein all people could give voice to their ideas.
However, the forum now is the intrusive cable TV, which by its very nature is commercial and profit driven and requires money. This commercial nature of the public forum is vastly different from the open and free town square.

--

Hitler's Justice




As luck would have it, as the hand of fate or fortune aligns events, I have finished reading Hitler's Justice by Ingo Muller. The book describes how the German judiciary system paved the way for the rise to power of the Nazi party, and then abetted them in their terrible program.

Then, by the chance alluded to above, I have read a post in The Bell from February 26, 2014:
http://thebell.us/2014/02/fernandez-v-california-search-seizure-restrictions-narrowed-yet-again/
Back [in 1972]..., the Supreme Court under Warren Burger started scaling back the burden on police to obtain search warrants in the war on drugs to show it was tough on crime.

Here’s the troublesome, if pretty straight forward, Fourth Amendment:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
The Court began by allowing cops to search cars in traffic stops. No expectation of privacy in your car, you see, not like your house or body. The holdings didn’t make any more sense then.

The Conservative Ascendency’s assault on the Fourth Amendment has continued unabated. Adam Liptak reported today in the New York Times:
The case about searches followed a confrontation at the Los Angeles home of Walter Fernandez, who was suspected of a role in a robbery. “You don’t have any right to come in here,” he told police officers. “I know my rights.”

Under a 2006 decision, Georgia v. Randolph, that objection was enough to bar a search of his home without a warrant even if another occupant consented, at least so long as Mr. Fernandez remained present.

The police arrested Mr. Fernandez on seeing that he had apparently beaten his domestic partner, Roxanne Rojas, who was also there. An hour later, with Mr. Fernandez at a police station, the police returned, and Ms. Rojas let them in. They found weapons and evidence linking Mr. Fernandez to the robbery.

He was convicted on robbery, gun and domestic abuse charges after the trial judge refused to suppress the evidence collected at his home, and he was sentenced to 14 years in prison.

The question for the justices was whether the police should have obtained a warrant in light of Mr. Fernandez’s objection. Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., writing for the majority, said no.

The general rule, he said, is that any occupant’s consent is sufficient. The 2006 decision, he added, was limited to objections from people who were physically present. Expanding that exception after the objecting occupants were gone, even at the hands of the police themselves, he wrote, “would raise a plethora of problems.”

Among them, Justice Alito wrote, was how long the objection had to be respected. “A week?” he asked. “A month? A year? Ten years?”
Now Justice Alito is widely regarded as so much smarter than you and I that it must be disrespectful to respond, ‘Long enough to get to the squad car and call an assistant district attorney who then can get a warrant authorized by a duty judge. So, maybe a couple of hours.’

I have a genuinely disrespectful response that more befits Justice Alito’s question:

‘There’s no “plethora of problems” here. In fact, there’s none. Your question assumes, in a situation where neither hot pursuit nor the imminent destruction of evidence exists, a limit on how long an officer denied entry need wait under the Fourth Amendment before searching the house without a warrant. Even for one who’s not an Originalist, it’s hard to read it that way.’

The Times continues:

In dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, joined by Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, wrote that “the police could readily have obtained a warrant to search the shared residence.”

“Instead of adhering to the warrant requirement, today’s decision tells the police they may dodge it, never mind ample time to secure the approval of a neutral magistrate,” Justice Ginsburg wrote.

Bush v. Gore and Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission momentarily illuminated for all the restructuring of American civil society begun by Richard Nixon and his appointees to the Court. In the hundreds of obscure cases, like Fernandez v. California, we see the details of our new relationship with power.

As I’ve said before, read Ingo Müller’s Hitler’s Justice (Harvard Univ. Press, 1991) on how the German judiciary paved the way for Hitler and then abetted his worst.




**
note:
I do not mean to imply any anti-Semitic or any other racial antipathies on the part of anyone. We speak only of undermining the rights of free peoples. I am sorry if the parallel to pre-Nazi Germany offends, but sometimes only a Hitler can suffice.

The Judicial Activism of the three above surpasses anything in the past. Mr. Thomas in a recent opinion on campaign finance went so far as to solicit future cases, indicating how he would vote!

--

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Noah Who?


 The Space Gun In William Cameron Menzies' Things To Come



I intend to see the film Noah.
She-who-must-be-obeyed will not; she objects to Russell Crowe.

I cannot let that keep me away. I must see the Bible film that the so-called conservatives dislike.  I mean, I heard one clip of someone complaining that Noah gets drunk in one sequence. The speaker apparently never read Genesis in its entirety. I suppose the same guy complains about Adam's and Eve's evening wear back in their innocent days.

Most people that one sees on Cable TV are borderline illiterate. They are opinionated without being informed.
They also say things like "going forward".

"Going forward." What the heck is that?
It sounds like a crude attempt to speak in the future tense with more emphasis than is given by difficult and obscure verbs like "will" and "shall", or convoluted expressions like "are going to"... or even "are fixing to".

I mean, if I wanted a new and expressive way to talk in the future tense, I'd call up Steve Harvey on his morning show, or I'd send a telegram to Cedric the Entertainer, or buzz Tyler Perry. They would give me something with a little meat to it.
"Going forward"?
That expression, "going forward", sort of sums up everything that is dull, insipid, and uninspired about the way business people speak about things. I cringe when I hear it, because it is some dullard imitating another dullard, who themself is imitating some other previous dullard, and so on in an infinite regression of dark and dull mirrors.

Going forward, I put my mind to it and try to come up with an alternative......
I'll try "the shape of things to come."
Such as, "It is the shape of things to come that I will spend more time fixing my typing errors."

Not too awful.

In fact, watching the trailers for Noah, some of the crowd scenes featuring the flood witnesses of the unlucky persuasion (they will drown soon, according to the story), the near riots of those unlucky ones whom Noah leaves behind remind me of the film Things To Come.
It featured a spaceship - instead of an Ark - which would transport some lucky humans to safety, and the unlucky were getting their collective noses out of joint.


--

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Congress As A Commodity Exchange

Buy! I Need 4 Senators against Voting Rights!



Mr. Clarence Thomas noted that he wished to remove all limits on political contributions in his opinion on McCutcheon vs FEC.

The 1976 decision in Buckey vs Valeo was the first to equate speech with money.
I consider it a gross fallacy.
Money is not speech, and it never will be.

The men who form the conservative wing of the Supreme Court are the Originators of a new era in political corruption, which will adversely affect us all, as our elected representatives will become Commodities and the Senate and House mere Exchanges where men and women are bought and sold.

--

Saturday, April 05, 2014

The Late Great Fort Hood



What will we do if next year there is yet a third shooting at Fort Hood? What if there is a fourth?

At what point do we break down and start to madly laugh at the tragi-comedy that constantly recurs and turns our lives into a Groundhog Day of anarchy?

We can put up with a shooting in a different school in a different city in a different state once a month. We can accept as a reasonable statistic shootings in different offices and different streets with different names and different venues.

But what will we do if it begins to happen over and over again in the same place?

We have to do something, because it will expose our madness.

There is a shoot-out sequence at the end of Wes Anderson's film The Grand Budapest Hotel.
It was comic, because shots were flying everywhere and no one was hurt, a lot like our imaginary weapon world.
I thought immediately of the intentionally or unintentionally comic shoot-out in Django Unchained.
Then I unforgivably thought of Fort Hood, with shots filling the air............

and nobody really dying.
If somebody really, really died, we would grieve, not laugh, and we would change our lives.

--

Learning



The New Oxonian
http://rjosephhoffmann.wordpress.com/2014/03/27/the-epistle-to-the-epicureans/#comments

In June, 1214, the University of Oxford received its Charter from Pope Innocent III. But even though that’s a purely symbolic date and event, it marks the beginning in the West of a formal intellectual process that goes back to antiquity and, over time, produced the modes of analysis and styles of argumentation that led to a rejection of the epistemological status of faith as a mode of knowing, superior to reason, and of metaphysics as a way of description superior to natural philosophy.

I am quite proud of the Catholic Church's history in education and knowledge. I am proud of the Protestant history which ensued. I am proud of the tradition of Jewish learning and the contributions to our knowledge.
I am inordinately proud of the great Arab tradition that formed the bridge between antiquity and the present day.
It was this pride of accomplishment that led me to learn Arabic, Latin, Greek, and Hebrew.
Later I learned the German of Luther, Jakob Ammon, and Menno Simmons.

How are we all doing today?

--

Wes Anderson's Film "Fort Hood"

This is a warning that a post on the above title will soon appear.

If you think you will be offended, do not read it.

--

The Web Of Beliefs... And The Ensuing Arachnophobia


Mozilla Firefox



We have spoken much of Belief Systems.

Sometimes they sleep Rip van Winkle for fifty years or more, and we do not recognize them when they reclaim the light of day, and sometimes they are the ruling dynamos of life, and snap to attention when our eyes blink open in the morning.

New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2014/04/04/the-weight-of-executives-personal-beliefs/mozilla-ceos-forced-exit-was-intolerance-in-the-name-of-tolerance
On Thursday, Brendan Eich was forced to resign after two weeks as chief executive of the technology company Mozilla because he donated $1,000 to support a 2008 California ballot measure to ban same-sex marriage. Many supporters of gay rights, inside and outside the company, said his presence was a slap in the face, and threatened a boycott.
Should executives be held to account for unpopular or even offensive views, or does such a stand repress free speech?
There is a lot here.
We see a man being judged 6 years after he did something to support his belief system. We see "many supporters of gay rights" stating that this 5 year old expression of belief is a slap in the face that apparently stings with the nerves recently assaulted.

I no longer go deeply into such things.
I have learned "nothing in excess".
I have learned that when someone slaps your face, let your first response be the peaceful one. ("turn the other cheek"...  The Sermon on the Mount does not necessarily state that we constantly "turn the other cheek"... just that the first time we should have a peaceful response. In dealing with normal humans, that should be enough.)
Morality and Ethics are lived, not talked about. If you talk about them, you are avoiding them.

I was, however, fascinated by the response of the CEO of the online company responsible for the campaign against Mr. Eich.




When Ideas Hurt Others, Act
Christian Rudder
http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2014/04/04/the-weight-of-executives-personal-beliefs/when-ideas-hurt-others-act
Christian Rudder is a founder, and now the president, of OkCupid, the online dating service whose campaign to shun Mozilla if they kept Brendan Eich as chief executive helped lead to his departure. His book "Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One's Looking)" will be published in September.

It is unfortunate that an individual should suffer for his private beliefs, but in the case of Brendan Eich those beliefs amount to little more than bald cruelty. Opposing gay marriage is selfish and wrong. It denies other people happiness to satisfy your opinion of how the world should be. Unlike, say, opposition to gun control, or to publicly funded health care, opposition to gay marriage isn’t politics, it’s just prejudice.

It is only by moving the popular understanding of right and wrong, however incrementally, that any meaningful moral change comes about. Because this issue was at the nexus of love and technology we believed it was completely within OkCupid's purview. We acknowledge the gray area here: How do you set one man's right to free speech against equal rights for millions of people? Our choice was to get involved in something, and get a little messy, or stay silent. We chose the former.

My co-founders and I were conflicted about making an example of any one person. But we wanted to show the many would-be Eichs out there that when you make life harder or worse for other people, when you give your money and your time to make others miserable, you will be called to account by your business partners.
This is as true for a chief executive as it should be for any person. It’s just that when you lead a popular company, the stakes and the stage are much larger.

I like the idea that opposing same sex marriage is selfish and wrong. It may indeed be wrong-headed or vastly unsympathetic, but I fail immediately to see how it is "wrong", and I fail always to see how it is "selfish"... unless Mr. Rudder means expression of beliefs is "selfish".... if they disagree with his views, they are also "wrong".
I particularly like the notion that a political contribution  five years ago to a political cause whose support has been very fluid and changing is made equivalent to "bald cruelty".
I think opposition to same sex marriage is not the equivalent of hatred.
The peaceful step was ignored, and any further dialogue between the parties will be poisoned by acrimony.

This embrace of irreconcilable opposition was an obvious step for Mr. Rudder to accomplish the transformation of Mr. Eich to Mr. Eichmann !


Addendum, personally I think same sex marriage is a fine idea.

I find Mr. Rudder's ideas as herein expressed to be rudimentary blather. The forthcoming book, Dataclysm, ought to be interesting.

--

The Transitive Relation Of Paul Ryan's Budget to Edward Hickman

Edward Hickman, Ayn Rand's Überkumpan (Supersidekick)



In mathematics, transitivity is expressed as follows:

A relation R is transitive if   for all a,b,c    "if (aRb and bRc,  then aRc)".

Equality " = " is transitive according to this:

If a=b and b=c, then a=c.

However, I am not so sure if extends to things like "admires" and "is a philosophical adherent of".

Paul Ryan is philosophically in the camp of Ayn Rand.
Ayn Rand was obsessed by the life and acts of Edward Hickman, felon and a cold-blooded killer.

The ever charming Ms. Rand thought the killer was a perfect prototype of the Nietzchean Überkumpan, or Super Sidekick.
Nothing like Übermensch, or "overman" or "superman" with its notions of future euthanasia for the riff-raff; just good old boys with a dash of hyper-Capitalism and a whiff of apple pie.

Edward Hickman was the Loeb to Ayn Rand's fawning Leopold.
http://michaelprescott.freeservers.com/romancing-the-stone-cold.html
In the original version of her first novel We the Living: "What are your masses [of humanity] but mud to be ground underfoot, fuel to be burned for those who deserve it?" (This declaration is made by the heroine Kira, Rand's stand-in; it is quoted in The Ideas of Ayn Rand by Ronald Merrill, pp. 38 - 39; the passage was altered when the book was reissued years after its original publication.
If we substitute "to be slaughtered" for "to be ground underfoot", you have a philosophy.

I said that the So-Called Conservative budget is one that ostensibly saves the country by sacrificing those who are not up to a certain standard of wealth. (Ostensibly, since if the so-called conservatives gain a majority and put these things into practice, it will be the beginning of the end... for a generation or so.)

Surely Mr. Ryan's admiration of Rand is not transitive; i.e., we cannot infer that since she doted upon the murderous, so also does Mr. Ryan, and - by further implication - does the so-called conservative movement of Tea Baggers.

Surely not.
You bet your life.

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Another devotee of Ayn Rand. This man who oversaw the building of a financial debacle once wrote,
"Parasites who persistently avoid either purpose or reason perish as they should. "
(signed) Alan Greenspan.

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Note:

It will be stated that this article takes things out of context, and that I argue that Republicans admire serial killers, and the absurdity of that argument is a reductio ad absurdum, so this is all nonsense.

That is not what I mean.

I mean you should be very careful of who your friends are and of what you allow yourself to be influenced by.

I mean very specifically that when you pick beliefs that will found the basis of your values, when you pick those beliefs that you think are so fundamental that you yourself will never question them, but will allow them to uncritically direct your life.... be very careful.
The Mind is a trickster. It can lead us to victory or defeat, fame or infamy.
Our fortunes and history can be beacons for the future, or they can be cautionary tales of tragi-comedy.

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Thursday, April 03, 2014

Your Future Is A Big Brown...





For years I have said that the Republican Party and their supporters and contributors wish to "balance the budget" upon the backs of most of us who are not in the top wealthy percentile of the population.

The new budget in the House demonstrates this clearly. It is the middle class and the poor who will have their backs broken by the straws of austerity.

These people are entirely predictable.

Case in point:

UPS fires 250 employees for staging a 90-minute protest to defend co-worker
Business Insider
By Hayley Peterson | Business Insider – 3 hours ago
UPS is firing 250 Queens, N.Y., drivers for walking off the job during a 90-minute protest in February. 
The company dismissed 20 of the workers after their shifts Monday and issued notices of termination to another 230 employees, notifying them that they will be fired once the company has trained their replacements, UPS spokesman Steve Gaut told Business Insider.
The workers were protesting the dismissal of longtime employee and union activist Jairo Reyes, who was fired over an hours dispute, according to Gaut. The New York Daily News first reported on the firings.
Local politicians are threatening to cancel city contracts that give UPS millions of dollars in breaks on parking fines.
"They took a grievance with one employee and turned it into notices of termination with 250 workers," New York City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer told The Queens Courier. "That’s outrageous. These are good, hardworking employees who have a contract for UPS. To try and break this contract, break this union, is something that is unacceptable and we can’t tolerate."
UPS fired back that it might need to terminate additional employees if the city alters its contract.
"UPS appreciates its business with the New York public offices," Gaut said. "Ultimately if that business is reduced or eliminated, the result will be reduced need for UPS employees to serve the pick-up and delivery requirements of City offices, potentially impacting the livelihoods of the many local UPS employees that did not join in the illegal work stoppage."
 Both sides are at fault here.
I am not a supporter of unions at the expense of business.

However, the important part is the open threat in the last paragraph. UPS is threatening to fire even more people if anyone dares try to bring them to account.

That, fellow citizens, is what the Future Time Bomb is all about: arrogance, misuse of power, and the chickens coming home to roost.

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