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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Education and Wealth

Notice that the gross imbalance of wealth inequity in this country has occurred at the same time that education has deteriorated to a level barely literate.
The mere fact that we speak of Trump shows how truly degraded we have become, and we do not seem the slightest bit aware of the slime around us.

Markets and Psychology

Human psychology is what creates and drives markets. Markets are only as rational as their human participants, which is to say, barely at all most of the time.
Changing ourselves is not only a religious duty, it is our duty to Humanity and the World, to our political life and our economic lives. Religion is the ONE area of man's spirit that may peaceably extend its influence over all other facets of mankind.
But it can not do so in its present form.

Giving in to the Radical Conspiracy Theorists

First, the president gave in to the idiot Birthers, and showed everyone the Birth Certificate; and in the meantime, Nature was giving in to the Climate Change Deniers ("Climaters") and showing them what she had in store for us. Man, oh, man.

Talking with Republicans: 3 Gazillions!

 Scrooge McDuck and a Gazillion Dollars

Apparently Republicans do not want to take away my Medicare; they only want to take away my daughter's.
Their plan calls for 3 Trillion Dollars more in tax cuts, with no indications of how the money is to be made up. Perhaps they think that the wizard of tax cuts for the wealthy will wave its magic wand again!

At this point, when I discuss budgetary topics with Republicans, I shall now use words like "Gazillion" and "Fantasticabillion" ... those Scrooge McDuck monetary concepts make more sense than does  "von" Ryan's Express to The Great Impoverishment.


Ade Ileke 15: Cicero / expérimentation historique

Young Cicero Reading the Works of Aratus

Le pouvoir absolu de la théocratie d'Auguste.
.... Deus nobis haec otia fecit...
Rome, remplis par les luttes
de l'aristocratie et la démocratie,
les guerres civiles, et les explosions
de toutes les ambitions -
toutes les convoitises,
les passions les plus inhumaines...
mais Cicéron dans la vieillesse
retourné aux études de sa jeunesse...
et s'engageant à mettre en œuvre
des grands actes lesquels...
les actes distraits... et oublieux
an experiment in history

The absolute power of the theocracy of Augustus;
God gave us these leisures (Virgil)
Rome, filled with fighting
of aristocracy against democracy,
the civil wars, the explosions
of all ambition, all the lusts,
of the passions most inhuman...
but Cicero, when he retired,
returned to the studies of his youth
and set about to put into action
the great acts, which...
acts distracted... and forgetting.

Friday, April 29, 2011

"White Chicks" Trump Demands More Certificates!

The Shawn-Marlon-Wayans-ization of Donald Trump, that is. This is how I explain the inexplicable fact that Donald Trump looks exactly like Madea would look if she were in the Keenan Ivory Wayans film "White Chicks".
Is that clear? Is it clear that Trump looks as if he were Tyler Perry in drag in white face? Sorry, Tyler. Sorry, White Chicks; some of my best friends are "the whites".

Anyway, I know we just saw the ceremony, but Trump should demand to see the really real Marriage Certificate. Please, Mr. Trump, do not give up your brave leadership on these difficult issues. Demand that that Old Lady in Buckingham Palace (i.e., the Queen) deliver up the Marriage Certificate posthaste! We shall not, I repeat, shall not  be put off with 2 kisses on the balcony!


Disclosure, Insurance, and Safety of Your Customers

Japanese Industry seems quite clearly to have a business ethos that does not wish to spend money on safety to ensure the well-being of its customers: Sony and Tokyo Power, nor does it tell the truth right away.

Good. Reminds me of the Chinese Economy, where tainted foods are so prevalent... still! China can attribute part of their high GDP to their unwillingness to spend to ensure the safety of the foods products they produce, eat, and export.
Of course, our Congress is always trying to cut back on the FDA.

If money were spent to ensure the safety of the consumers, profits would be reduced, but - miracle of economic miracles! - the world would be a better place!

The Entitled Class

Taking a break from the live coverage of the Thriller at Westminster ...  on computer and cable... Kate Middleton will be getting into her limo soon, so every camera has switched from the Queen walking up the aisle at Westminster to a surreptitious shot by a strategic camera placed in what very well appears to be a hotel's dust bin to try and get a glimpse of Kate.
Since she and her dress and veil are going to be stage center for the next few hours, I do not quite understand why the news organizations think this is necessary. I'd rather watch the Queen right now; she and I go way back. But it seems that news organizations are - in their very heart of hearts - all just sleazeball paparazzi, and do not feel that they're doing their jobs unless they are sneaking around pillars, listening at doors, and peeking in keyholes.
(By the way, did you notice the way Her Majesty just hopped right out of her limo when she arrived at the Abbey? Positively as if ejected. Much more agile than I.)

So I will unload some posts for a few minutes...

US Budget

There are no meaningful budgetary plans, because they all avoid how to control military spending. We have to not only control spending, but more seriously, we have to modify the structures of Self-Interest and Profit that have grown up around war and the military: the Military-Industrial-Complex. However, this problem exists in all the areas of the budget.

We have many Complexes of Greed and Self-Interest, many more than merely the Military-Industrial Complex. We have the Big Banks lobbying right now to preserve their right to charge Retailers every time we swipe a credit card, thereby driving up the costs of everything so Banks may increase their wealth even more. We, the Swiping-Class, have no lobbyists.

The ENTIRE leadership structure of the USA feels itself to be an Entitled Class which is only getting its due by cheap money, asset bubbles, and speculations which make life miserable for the rest of us.

That is why all the budgetary plans are centered around reducing our benefits, and are NOT focused on rectifying the Culture of Greed and Entitlement and Excessive Profits and Socialized Risk that permeates this country.
The real battle is changing the culture of Depredation that has become established in the hearts of this country.
Otherwise, the disaster will be on schedule... a schedule as tight as that of this marriage ceremony I am viewing; thank heavens for a competent Master of Ceremonies. We have gotten too much used to time schedules that are based on Rock Culture here.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Diary of a Mad Trump

I am going to begin watching "Celebrity Apprentice" in order that I can start boycotting the sponsors of the show and generally complain a lot. I notice "Nene" is going to be on; she - I believe - was a creation of Andy Cohen in some Real Housewives thing. I will really be quite difficult to actually boycott Nene as well as the sponsors. She is the female version of Trump, although Trump tends to be more like "Madea".

I notice  that Condi Rice is on "30 Rock" tonight, thereby totally blurring the dividing line between our idiotic government and our moronic entertainment system. The paradox for me is summed up in the fact that I can not stand the shows Andy Cohen puts on, but I like Andy Cohen... a lot. I think he is funny. His shows are a terrible drain on my patience.

I shall be up early to watch the telly. I would say something about it, but everything has been said... many times over. It was such an early morning many years ago when I was burning the midnight oil and suddenly there were reports of Prince William's mother's death in Paris that caught my attention when no one else was awake. I had never heard of Dodi ( God rest his soul ) before then.

I wonder what Jerry Springer will have on his show tomorrow?

What Next?

Now that the conspiracy of ignorance and dopery that is white America, white" faith-based" America, white Media America, white "conservative" America,  has forced a sitting President to issue another birth certificate to prove he is a citizen, what amazing tomfoolery will be next by the half-wits who are fueled by racism, while turning a blind eye to the suffering and inequities that spread from sea to shining sea?

When I say "white America" do I mean all of America that is white? Heck no. But it sure is strange that the "birther tolerant" part of White America is the part with the control of Media, Banks, and the GOP and Tea Party. How many is that? Just a handful?

Lady Gaga

I was writing and the TV was on in the background. The show Ellen was on. I always liked Ellen: liked her comedy show and liked her. I liked the people that played her parents on that conedy show, too. I hope I am like that, at least in my daughter's eyes. I remember them as nice people; intelligent and caring.
Anyway Lady Gaga is on. Now I also like The G. She reminds me of  beautiful ivory that happens to sing various songs. She has tattoos. I almost had Maori tattoos... until someone reminded me that the process was painful. I was too old for a rite of passage by that time, so I skipped the tatts.

But the choreography going on behind G  during her song seemed stupid. I think I have had enough of music industry dancing. It looks very athletic, but in the worst sense: the athleticism is narcissistic and self-conscious and exceedingly simple and boring. It is a repetition of tics and twitches and not at all pleasant.

Unusual Weather?

Is it? I do not remember anything quite like this, in intensity and duration.
Climate Change Deniers have led us to a pretty mess.


Ade Ileke 14: Pedro, O Perigoso

Querido Mundo,

Tomás e eu temos parado
nossos trabalhos na fábrica;
nós iremos explorar o mundo.
Temos uma máquina de voar atômica,
com estabilizadores temporales,
a fim de avançar...
ou retroceder...
no tempo

Pedro, o perigoso

Dear World,
Tom and I have quit
our jobs in the factory;
we are going to explore the world.
We have an atomic flying machine
with temporal stabilizers
in order to go forward...
or backward...
in time.
Peter, the dangerous

thanks to Johnny Dangerfist

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Alex's Dad Again

I met up with Alex's Dad again, and we had a fine time. He is a substantial source of good feeling. I reprint the original post about him:

Alex's Dad is an absolute Master of the History of Black Music. I mean, his knowledge is intimidating. I was talking to Alex, chit-chat about hip-hop, and happened to mention that it was Little T that did Shaniqua Don't Live Here No Mo'.
His father asked if that was my favorite hip-hop song based on the name Shaniqua. I acknowledged that it was, and demurred, saying that I had thought it was the only song based on the name Shaniqua, or Shaniqwa - how many were there?
"To be precise, there are five." he said, and proceeded to list them with their artists, labels, producers, and sound studio.

Chernobyl Day April 26

Monday, April 25, 2011

Film Noir and Palette Grise

James Street, Hamilton, Ontario

C.A. Jeffrey (and I always call her "C.A. Jeffrey", just as Precious Ramotswe always calls her husband "J.L.B. Matekoni"; it is just the way we do things) sometimes  turns to a limited palette to capture the grey, misty days of the northwestern and northern shores of Lake Ontario. She - C.A. Jeffrey, that is - evokes a sense of Palette Grise, just as Raymond Chandler evoked the spirit of Film Noir when he wrote of Philip Marlowe in Los Angeles.
Her site is on the list at right, or use

The site is "Postcards from the Hammer" and Hammer is Hamilton, Ontario.


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Hope for the Future

Muslim and Christian protesters in Al Tharir square holding the Quran and the Cross to show their Unity.

Now "Not Too Much Hope"...


Anatolian Easter



Seniors, the budget will be balanced on the backs of the least powerful.

Send a Senior Representative to Congress next time; send a Senior Senator. Do not rely on the Lost Generation of New Politicians. They are nothing but actors... and bad ones, at that.


Saturday, April 23, 2011


أحب شوشانا
لكنها تحب الثورة
I love Shoshana, but she loves revolution.

Insurance in the Nuclear Power Industry

I was reading about insurance coverage in the nuclear power industry in The Japan Times. The story deals with the industry not just in Japan alone, but world-wide.
So what is the coverage like?
Well, there isn't any.
No insurance coverage. It would cost too much, so the governments involved made a decision to have no insurance in order to have cheap power: a subsidy to the nuclear power industry. (I wish I had invested in nuclear energy!)

So who pays when things go wrong? (And they go wrong now on the average of once every ten years.) The State does; or, in other words, the taxpayers.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Nuke insurance said too costly

Most plants have hardly any coverage

BERLIN — From the U.S. to Japan, it’s illegal to drive a car without sufficient insurance, yet governments have chosen to run the world’s 443 nuclear power plants with hardly any insurance coverage whatsoever.

The Fukushima No. 1 nuclear disaster, which will leave taxpayers with a massive bill, highlights one of the industry’s key weaknesses — that nuclear power is a viable source for cheap energy only if plants go uninsured. The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., had no disaster insurance.

Governments that use nuclear energy are torn between the benefit of low-cost electricity and the risk of a nuclear catastrophe, which could total trillions of dollars and even bankrupt a country...
So let us remember when it comes time to discuss Nuclear Power or drilling or strip mining or grubbing after the last hydrocarbon available, accidents are extremely costly and we shall pay for them. Major problems occur once a decade, based on Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, and Fukushima: three in thirty years. (And this does not even address nuclear waste.)

Texas Two-Step

Governor Rick Perry of Texas has not only turned to God for help to end the drought, he has asked for Federal disaster aid.

It reminds me of the time when the auto companies asked for help....

Maybe we should follow the dictates of our Rugged-Individual Capitalism and just let Texas burn itself out...


Gas At $8.00 A Gallon

I am in training to be a news analyst.
So, Gas at $8.00! Got your attention? That's not all I can do: Gold!!....... $1,600 per ounce!

I am very, very deep.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Чернобыльской АЭС из Припяти

Chernobyl from Pripyat

Nuclear Past, Nuclear Future...

Nuclear dreams and plans under the present leadership of the World.


The Blindness of the Elite

U.S. Cultural Bias and New Economic Thinking

By Stephan Richter | Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The world badly needs a dose of fresh economic thinking. But current efforts are hampered by a cartel-like dominance of U.S. economists. After attending the recent Bretton Woods conference, Stephan Richter reflects on how to foster new economic thinking...

At the forefront was a hagiography of the U.S. economics establishment, with a prominent dose of Harvard shining through.

Ken Rogoff and many of the others, including the Financial Times’ Martin Wolf, were convinced of one thing: While it wasn't any longer the case of "Rule, Britannia, Rule," U.S. economics dominates the global firmament much as the U.S. Navy still rules the seas.

There is an underlying tenor that it's not even just a matter of resources and assets. No, the contention is held out that it's a clear case of intellectual superiority...

No wonder at times I felt as if I were at a Vatican-style conclave dominated by men who, while not robed in purple, embraced plenty of canonical thinking with great rigor.

There was a clear consensus that little could be learned from economies such as Germany and China. Those places are reduced to being described as economies playing with the system in an irresponsible manner.

Next to no space was given to the notion that, because the U.S. economy isn't any longer delivering the goods, that may have something to do with the underlying economic doctrines, which include plenty of research results for hire by Harvard faculty.

In the wake of the financial crisis, some concession was made that increased attention to the study of economic history in the vein of the late Charles Kindleberger would have been helpful. But that was pretty much as far as it went. If you can't capture the insight in the form of formula-heavy economics, it's still not worth having...

Rather than admitting even an ounce of self-doubt, it's much easier to blame the structural problems of the United States on foreigners. Apparently, it's foreign nations' export surpluses that keep American decision makers from smartly investing in education and infrastructure, creating a more balanced income distribution and the like.

These academics would be well-advised to heed the basic disclaimer in statements by mutual fund companies in advertising their hot funds: Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

And for all the undisputed qualities and achievements of the United States in past decades, this "fund" hasn't been performing for the American people in years...
 The blindness herein described is the calm before the storm: it is the hallmark of the Coming Irony, the Great Reversal which impresses itself on everyone's consciousness. Like the Tower of Babel, we are setting up the scenery for a very monumental act of our play. Hang on!

The Threat of Islamic Finance

No matter how many Qurans are burnt by Florida preachers, there may yet remain an area where Islam will have a powerful influence among a wide range of people:  Islamic Finance.

...Although Egypt is considered the birthplace of Islamic finance, which adheres to Islamic principles banning interest and speculative trading, its growth has lagged due to past corruption scandals, while the previous government sought to enforce a more secular financial system...


Independent Farmers

... who, gawsh ahmighty, do not want the government meddling in their affairs!!

One such Virginia farmer whom I met had received a government loan at 2% to buy a new combine with a special configuration for his type of peanut farming. In 2003, the subsidy for his peanut farming was abolished, and since the combine was special to his type of farming, the machine could not be sold to the other farmers further south, who farmed the more common type of nut.

The government forgave his loan...

and he still has the equipment, sitting in his yard, rusting...

Ay, yep. Nothing like one's own bootstraps!

Samizdat (?)

Russian for "Self-Publishing", referring to the manner in which material critical of the old regime in the USSR was propagated.

To Alana, who was self-published,  I wish good luck!

To every Samizdatel, good luck!

And to everyone in the gulags, we hope you are picked up by the guard tower limelights... and you may dance with The Stars... and you may sing on "Idol".

May we all have our 15 minutes of fame! Fame!.... before they come for us, and straight-jacket us to the archives.

Do not accept the dusty tombs the Elite have prepared for us!
Do not go into the Mausoleum of the Middle Class!
Do not go into the darkness... which is the color of the boutoniere of  ignorance on the lapels of the thousand dollar Suits.

i went to punjab

Decades of promoting urea to increase soil fertility, it has achieved quite the opposite. The fact is soil fertility in parts of India is declining because of excessive and imbalanced use of fertilizers. But due to the subsidy Farmers continue to use Urea in greater excesses because they do not see any other way to battle this low fertility CREDIT: Akshay Mahajan for the Wall Street Journal

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Without Intuition, Daily Life is Hell

Our Modern Society has destroyed Intuition.
Intuition is the source of all knowledge and science and poetry and art.
We have replaced it with endless certified public accountancy, which is an attempt to build with bricks instead of with the wind.

Intuition is how we transcend space and time. It is truly so.

What are we doing today? Ritual or Real? Is it something rehearsed for centuries, or is it new today?
The Poetry of Today should be a Vision, not another meditation.

Without Intuition, Daily Life is Hell.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Stranded on a Desert Isle Game

This is a version of a well known game:

If you were marooned in the Library of Congress and had all the books in the world to choose from, which desert island would you like to read about?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My Yacht Club

My yacht and yacht club: very small membership, very elite and snobbish


Monday, April 18, 2011

What's Good for BP is Good for the USA

The oil spill is not over, and it probably won't be in my lifetime. We shall keep paying for it. Same thing with the Great Impoverishment... won't be over in my lifetime. The Government Class will tell you everything is getting back on track, but I tell you that Democrat, Republican, or Tea Party, they are all cut from the same cloth, just at different parts of it. The Government Class and the Corporate Class that almost destroyed this country over the past 20 years is trained in subtle destruction, not creation, not nurture, not husbandry.

BP oil spill: Fishermen woes persist, one year on

Nick Collins has the deeply tanned skin of a man who has spent most of his 39 years on a boat, fishing for oysters.

He has worked for his father's business, Collins Oyster Company, since he was 10 years old.

Not any more...

The Government Class will balance the budget in exactly the same manner they took care of the BP oil spill: they will go only as far as their misguided and deceitful guidelines of probity allow them. They cannot even conceive of anything beyond their stunted philosophies.
The problems we face will be balanced upon our backs.
And this gross inequity will be the source of the next step of the Great Impoverishment.

The statement about "Gov. Jindal's fresh water refers to the Lousiana Governor's decision to flood the marshes with Mississippi water to keep the oil-laden sea water out, thus killing the salt-water creatures there.


How about changing the idiotically intrusive and over-reaching law banning on-line poker, and then taxing it heavily?
(disclosure: I do not play poker online nor anywhere else.)

Epic Tornado Outbreak

248 tornadoes over the weekend, one in North Carolina 4.7 kilometers wide...
when the effects of the phenomena jointly referred to as "climate change" hit, they will hit fast, not slowly. We will have no money to deal with the effects, since we will be remain the generation that spent ourselves into a 13 trillion dollar debt, and we have no particular brain power to stop the process.

Our infrastructure will crumble under the onslaught while we pursue foreign wars.

Told ya....

AND an even more interesting bit of information which you probably are not aware of is that there is accumulating evidence that weather can influence the behavior of tectonic plates!

Scientists Find First Evidence That Weather Affects Movement of Tectonic Plates

Geologists have known for years that tectonic plates affect climate patterns. Now they say that the opposite is also true, finding that intensifying climate events can move tectonic plates...

These geologists are looking at time patterns on the order of millions of years, so you don’t have to worry about global warming causing stronger earthquakes (unless you plan on living that long)...

 Millions of years....
When Climate Change was first being investigated, we looked at things on a larger, geologic scale. In time the surprise came that things were happening quicker than anyone ever thought. Since this is the first bit of information on weather affecting the tectonic plates of earth itself, I would cautiously proceed and make every effort to learn more about it.


Blue Scarves for Peace Again

While the usual American ritual is to send more and more troops to kill more and more of troublemakers and civilians, there are other peace movements. From FOREVER UNDER CONSTRUCTION:

Excerpt from “Sending More Troops Will Not Solve the Problem”–Grassroots Afghan Activist Rangina Hamidi – Democracy Now Rangina Hamidi: “[...] In Kandahar, we got together about—well, we got together last year and decided that as the government agencies have been celebrating International Day for Women, which falls on March 8th every year, we did not want to be necessarily celebrating the day when so many women were in mourning because they were losing a lot of their male relatives or male members of their families almost on a daily basis. So, in 2008, on March 8th, the women in our network gathered together, more than 1,500 of them, to commemorate the day by praying for peace, because they’ve been in war for literally more than thirty years. And women are sick and tired of it, and they don’t know—you know, on a local level, they don’t know any political figure, locally or nationally and/or even internationally, that they can go to to have their voices and have their plea be heard. So, because this is a religious and a conservative society, the women said, “Who better to pray to about peace than God?” These are all believing women. And so, they gathered for the first time publicly to pray for peace.

reprint from 2009
It is still pertinent. Homeyra's last post was in 2010.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Truckers in India

pix:  W M Soo


The Alley between The School of Rock and The Hard Place Cafe.

Ade Ileke 13: Путешествие к звездам

In memory of Yuri Gargarin and the Russian Space Effort.
the picture is a "shopped" image of a telescope in a public park.

The Sock Drawer

The sock drawer is the highest drawer in the chest of drawers. There are two sock drawers, drawers one and two from the apex of the chest, and that devoted to black socks for formal wear, as well as socks of various colors for formal-casual, is the very topmost drawer. The one beneath - the downstairs drawer - is the drawer of the white socks, the work socks, the sports socks.
I have a great many pairs of whites. I can say that they do not make them like they used to. I have often toyed with the notion of darning my whites, usually being saved from the extravagant economy by a timely sock sale - but I have an item all lined up for the darning egg if the need arises.
I refuse to buy a new ceramic egg. I remember walking in darned socks as a child. It was a struggle. I think I may have further sabotaged them. I may have yanked them on by the cuff along the opening, hoping to rend them irretrievably. I hated darned socks.

The next drawer down is underwear. Not much to say here. The other day, I was caught out of doors in a pair of tighty-whities that had lost their tightness. This is another situation I do not much like.(And I hasten to add that I was wearing a pair of thick corduroys over the whities. I was "caught" in an allegorical sense.)There is no immediate remedy, and no surreptitious fix - like checking the zipper on the sly - is available. That pair of tighty whities were so acutely loose, so indolent of their proper functions, and the results were so louche and satyric and Rabelaisian, that I thought everyone in my vicinity would notice. They did not.

Back to the top drawer of socks, ebony and colored silk and cotton, and some wool. I have a small pile of handkerchiefs, usually segregated to the right rear, but sometimes freely strewn over the socks. I usually bundle the socks into those topological knots, resembling a Klein bottle, where you lay them out, one on top of the either, toes and tops together, then twist them into a Mobius strip - thereby establishing the one-dimensional nature of the socks, which is why we can pack so bloody many into a drawer - then pull the toes up to the tops - the "mouth" of the Klein bottle topology - insert and try to pull your fingers back before the time-space gate snaps down. Toss into drawer like so many muffled marbles. (Someone once gave me some Japanese tabi socks, but they didn't seem to be a true "sock", and I did not like the notion - so prevalent in the late 20th and early 21st century - of snobbery applied to socks; a "sockishness", like wine snobbery, or cigar snobbery. There was only so much one could be snobbish about. My brother was into cheese snobbery. It seemed all too exhausting to me. If I am to have my senses reeling from the shock of the new and exotic, it will no longer be caused by domestic articles like socks. I gave the tabi away, possibly to the Goodwill.)
The drawer is dark and unruly like the Hellespont in storm. If the white handkerchiefs are scattered, they look like white caps of waves, or bones in the teeth of impetuous boats braving the storm's furies against wiser councils. I impose no order. This is the realm of chaos envisaged by so many writers of middling sci-fi scripts. It is the domain of black quantum foam, where vaguely rounded figures of darkness bubble up into view - so early in their quantum lives that they exhibit a net deficit of color, excepting that thin gold thread sewn along the toe. If I am late in getting dressed, I stand there like some baffled ursine upon a rock within a roaring stream, bewildered by the innumerable shadowy and tenebrous socks swimming in pairs upstream to spawn. I launch a mighty roar, and swipe my exacting claws to grab a pair; their cotton weave gasps and they wriggle, trying to escape. I thrust them upon my clawed feet. Whew.

The drawer, being the highest and the easiest for me to reach, has also become the filing cabinet of my lint, spare change, and gas receipts and all things of minor accountabilities. Business cards to old theater tickets, souvenirs of impositions or happy times, stored against that future time when I shall get around to writing things up in my Journal...which has become an Annual...and now transforms into a Dekas, or group of ten years. Everything goes right there, against everything the fire marshall has told us, until the drawer no longer closes, and I am forced to go through them and put them into a manila envelope.

In my memory, there are festoons and rosettes carved upon the wood surfaces of this chest of drawers, as well as fluted pillars at the edges in bas relief, and ending in a scroll foot. It has the veneer of antiquity about it. When I approach it, I feel as if I were a chamberlain about to ceremonially open the legislative chambers of some august Senate. I think Ishmael was correct in having "Chips" make him a coffin early on during the voyage of the Pequod, for all infinite horizons have a shoreline; all large, vibrant life comes from the hollows of those tight-pack receptacles in those dark ships of the past, whose commerce was the basis of our modernity and wealth. Without the wooden capitols and columns of my furniture, without the items therein derived from the fibers of living plants, I am barely a man.

I'm on vacation. A reprint. I'm in D.C. lobbying for medical benefits for the elderly............ Ha!

Saturday, April 16, 2011


pix: lecercle


Joys of Yiddish

 Kibitzers Around the Table at a Chess Match

So my wife says to my daughter, 'Why do you have a copy of the Joys of Yiddish?"
The book was authored by Leo Rosten, and my daughter had a nice, hard cover copy on her shelf.
 "And why wouldn't I?" my daughter answered. "I found that copy in a used book store, I opened it, and it had a five dollar bill in it."
My wife continued, "Take the five dollars, leave the old book that other people have... done things with."
My daughter sighs, pointing down towards the downstairs apartment, "You are just like that downstairsika...

{ 'downstairs' + German or Yiddish ending -ike (feminine) or -iker (masculine) = downstairsike or downstairsika = woman who lives downstairs.}

... always with the kibitzing."
We laughed.
I said, "You know, when she was younger, she wanted to join a kibitz."


Poona, Mumbai, Nashik in India

These three municipalities create a triangle on the western coast of India. Poona is now spelled "Pune", but the old way gives us a better idea of the pronunciation. My friends had a baby on Christmas Eve 2010. It was a boy and they named him Siddhanta. Her parents visited for a long spell, and I hung somewhat with the old man ( who was younger than I!). He lives in Pune. Most of his life and business is situated with this triangle, as he told me. Now there is this this further vertex of his life in Michigan.

So it is time to pay more attention to India.
But India is so immense! China is immense, too, but there is something about China and its coverage in the media that gives one the distinct impression that even though China is huge, there is a uniformity about it that encourages the most facile generalizations.
One cannot make such a mistake about India; India is a coat of many, many colors. When we think of India, we create imaginations of all our senses.

Just to pay attention to India... well, it is like drowning in an ocean of rubies and emeralds!


Create the Future !!

Help create the Future!
Help create bonds of understanding with the future which will arise from the Democracy Movement in the Arab World.

You can start by keeping up to date. Read Egypt Today ( Al Masry Al Yaum ), a fine English-language news website for information of what is happening in the area.

Sanaa--A coalition of tribal sheikhs has succeeded in preventing the Yemen-based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) from taking over its districts.
The coalition accused the government of encouraging Al-Qaeda to spread its operations in some cities to create fear that regime change would allow the organization to engender more chaos.
Sheikh Hussein bin Saleh bin Othman, head of the Sheikh coalition to stop AQAP from spreading, particularly in Azan, Maifa’a, told Al-Masry Al-Youm that 800 sheikhs from various tribes gathered on a bridge in Azan earlier this week to give AQAP members a stern warning.
“We told them that they have to leave our land and that we will not be watching them taking over. We are the majority and there is no comparison,” said bin Othman.
He also said the state is urging AQAP to attack locals.
"The state wants to affect the country negatively and make the world think that Al-Qaeda is a real threat in Yemen so they will financially help (President Ali Abdullah) Saleh fight Al-Qaeda,” he said...
Well worth a read before someone sends troops into that country on this global skirmish against Al Qaida

Fanta Commuters

Friday, April 15, 2011

Notebook: Morality as a Natural Phenomenon

Referring to an earlier post, I received a comment that referred back to a yet earlier post of Virtue and the good Lady Philosopher,whose name I forget for the moment, who had emphasized the study of Virtue.

Ben's comment made me realize that a great deal of Morality talk may be subsumed under Virtue. There is not much opposition to Virtue as a Natural Phenomenon. We have not gotten into a rut about thinking about Absolute Truth and Virtue; indeed, it may seem that Virtue is man's while Morality belongs to God; a good deal of our problems in Morality is mixing the two.

I'm babbling. But I think this is a very fruitful line of investigation.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Morality as a Natural Phenomenon and Nomic Universals

I shall start by firmly resisting the impulse to define or illustrate what "natural phenomenon" may mean. Tough for you, easy for me. I apparently have been thinking about it all night in my sleep, and when the 3:00 AM bell sounded for Matins, there was a Pickwickian and philosophical crowd within my soul, each fighting the other to pull their socks up and get to their several duties: some to this keyboard, some to taxes, some to coffee-making, some to humming and thinking of pictures. A strange group this posse. The dog pound of my head this morning was domini canes - Dominicans - filled with thoughts of religion, morality, and philosophy.

Having studied Phil 101, I recalled talk about nomic universals, nomic derives from nomos, Greek for "law". Scientific Laws and statements strove to attain this status. It was very hard to see where science claimed the right to nomic universals, since there were always exceptions if one but looked hard enough or long enough.
If you read a scienctific journal even once a month, one thing is probably very obvious: Nomic Universals are scarce as hens' teeth.
In my life and that of my parents, the universe went from the Milky Way being a wallflower at the dance to being introduced to young Hubbell and undergoing a complete transformation to the point where she spends all of her time clubbing and driving home nearly at the speed of light!
Then there's the matter of the crowd she hangs with: Dark Matter and Dark Energy: where did they come from? And why have the Milky Way's parents not met them yet... much less even seen them?
If there is one thing about natural phenomena that impresses me, it is the lack of nomic universals.

So it strikes me that if Morality is a natural phenomenon, that sounds the death-knell for Absolute Truth.
It does not, however, even slightly affect Morality.
If it takes a whole village to raise a child, and it takes that village about 16 years to do so, Morality is that process of nurture, guidance, mentoring, and meticulous awareness of a master gardener that the child grow in a natural and healthy manner.
Morality is not short or peremptory, it is not loud nor abusive, it does not grow frustrated and lose its temper. Morality is the Wisdom of growing things: precepts, adages, maxims, reminiscences, narratives, and shaggy dog stories... extreme patience that does not seek clear cut edges to reality...
Morality does not seek to define.
Morality does not seek to divide nor separate.
It is Charity in action: Practical Charity versus Theoretical Charity, if you will. As such, even though it may be a natural phenomenon, it is obvious that some people will avoid Morality as they avoid Charity. Free will trumps everything except death and taxes.

As such, it throws you back upon your own resources to grow in stature and understanding, which is why I would not define "natural phenomenon" for you. Do it yourself.

Good discussion:


Homeland Security

pix: focus shift

Experiments To Do At Home

pix: dominic bui

Deep State

An interesting and useful concept I picked up from Today's Zaman, an English-language Turkish newspaper.
One usage is explained briefly at the following:

It seems related to "deep grammar".


Willing Suspension of Disbelief Among Conservatives
Joseph Sobran, Writer Whom Buckley Mentored, Dies at 64
Published: October 1, 2010

Joseph Sobran, a hard-hitting conservative writer and moralist whose outspoken antipathy to Israel and what he saw as the undue influence of a Jewish lobby on American foreign policy led to his removal as a senior editor of National Review in 1993, died on Thursday in Fairfax, Va. He was 64 and lived in Burke, Va.
 Why Mr. Sobran today? I remember him from a long time ago. I did not care for his ideas.

From my archives in 2007 or 2008:
Reading The Drudge Report, I noticed a link to Joe Sobran. It was one link among many. I remembered reading Joe Sobran many years ago. I found him to be intellectually non-existent. I imagined him to be a schnorrer of concepts and conceits, a pastiche maker, a compiler of collages of political snippings which he glued together with a unlovable persona. He hasn't changed much. On the Home page of his site, there is prominently displayed an add for another site called The Legion of Joan of Arc and we find there: "The formula for winning the war is:listen to the subliminal audio, connect with God, sleep, awaken, and go to work;listen to the subliminal audio, connect with God, sleep, awaken, and go to work.Give it thirty days. This is the action of cultural transformation referred to by all of our theoreticians as that that will lead to the cultural instauration of our people, our American Renaissance and the Benevolent White Imperium." (emphasis mine) There's a mouthful. I wonder what Joan's so-called friend, the Dauphin of France, would say?
 The site exists but is moribund:
Our nation will have the doctrine: Our Race is our Nation. Entrepreneur needed: Create subliminal CDs/tapes/etc. of well known musical selections of all genres with embedded subliminal messages promoting White racial consciousness.
My question is how could a man who was prominent and educated enough to have such praise at his passing have a link on his web page to such a racist site?  An oversight? If so, he was not as smart as his eulogizers believed.
No, I fear that racism yet is the dynamo that runs much of Conservative Ideology in America, and debases good Conservative thought by its baleful evil. It is obvious that there are racists in every group in America. I was born and bred here: we breathed racism with our first breaths.
We have fought against it, yet we know how it continues and its traces cannot be totally expunged, but remain as scars in our souls. Some people do not see it that way. Something as potent as racism... well, where there's a whole lot of smoke, there must be a heck of a lot of fire. They grasp onto racism as a magical amulet of power.
And make no mistake, it indeed invigorates its devotees.

If there is any Exceptionalism for the USA, it is the divine injunction to change ourselves and to establish a Peaceable Kingdom of Mankind; to eradicate Racism and establish Equity for all Mankind.
If the Conservative Idea of Exceptionalism is anything but this, it is the idolatry of Ahab and Jezebel, and shall lead us to similar fates as theirs.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Ade Ileke 12: شوشانا ترحب الثورة

شوشانا ترحب الثورة
هي ترقص بالنار
وتغني مع الدخان
 وهي غنية
ثرية وراء التدبير

Shoshanna welcomes the revolution...
she dances by the fire
and she sings by the smoke...
she is rich,
wealthy beyond measure!

Notes on Russell's Paradox

 Bolyai and Lobachevsky

I am using the blog as my own, private Notebook again, so skip on if you do not wish to dither along with me.

Last paragraph in the post about Russell's Paradox:

I have often wondered "I wonder what it was like for the first men or women who uttered speech? Was there anyone else around to understand them?" Scenarios like this, dealing with the first occurence, are very, very foggy. Was there a "first" person to speak? We often talk as if there were...

It is important that the First Speaker needed a First Listener. The entire Scenario of "The First Occurrence of X "  where X is some process for which we posit a "beginning" ... I have not thought about it enough. It is interesting.
Notice we are talking about complex systems composed of complex subsystems. I believe the example of Eyesight has been used in arguing for Intelligent Design.... sort of logic of the Frankenstein monster: brute matter baaaad.... and dumb; can't create the Eye all by itself, since the Eye is a complex system containing many complex subsystems, and only God can juggle all the variables...
(Which in itself is a logical howler and depends upon a certain frame-of-mind approach to complexity... God is He who is Necessarily the Un-Baffleable!!  In its simplest expression, Intelligent Design asks the question: Can the Divine Dictionary figure out the Unsolveable  Crossword Puzzle? )

In Particle Physics we are searching for the Beginning or the Ground: the set of basic building blocks particles and forces.
My question is whether there may be such. The basic particles hitherto discovered are complex enough to baffle me, and each complex entity seems to need some complex set of subsystems... are we correct is postulating that there need be a "beginning" or a basic foundation for the world? Or for anything, for that matter?

Is the search for a Basic Foundation essentially a stepping backwards down an Illusory Great Chain of Being? What if the concepts "Basic Foundation", "Beginning", or "Singularity" are not suited for such knowledge structures?
Now it will be said that Physics has met this very objection from people like,  oh, say Fred Hoyle and his theory of Continuous Creation, and has refuted them.
However, it seems to me that Hoyle was refuted in the context of a system which allowed for Singularities, which - like magnetic monopoles - are the very stuff of Paradox. Consider Hoyle to be saying that he wished to establish Non-Singularity Physics, just as Bolyai and Lobachevsky created Non-Euclidean Geometry...

Certain processes cannot exist without enormous complexity:  speaking requires listening, else language dies with the passing of First Speaker.
Is there an end to complexity: a simple and basic foundation upon which everything is built?
So far, I only see an infinite regression of complexity in Physics.
Singularities are where science fizzles out, not necessarily where mystery reigns.
Besides, if the universe is constantly expanding, so is the potential for knowledge.


Spirit versus Matter

An old philosophical point of discussion to mull over while I am on vacation next week.
What is Spirit, and how may we understand it?

I am reprinting a post "The Sock Drawer" for Sunday while I am off with the Army of Northern Virginia: we are seeking to bedevil General McClellan and the Army of the Potomac around Sharpsburg, Maryland. A creek runs through it.... Antietam Creek. You may have heard of it. So I am off and I shall have that post about socks.

When I wrote that post, I asked myself one morning whether I could dash off a post about anything at all, anything under the sun, something which had not been gnawing at my attention. Could I just do it cold?
So I looked around the bedroom and saw the drawer full of my socks, irregularly stashed and positively seething with the urgency of King Cotton.  (Sorry, still in persona as Johnny Reb. If I have to state my Confederate beliefs, I shall avouch that I fight for States' Rights!!... ... especially the Right of States to own Slaves!! There is a lot of revising history going on about the Civil War, as you know.
Truth be known, if I had been around, I would not have sufficient wealth to own slaves. There was a difference in philosophy - as there always is! - between the history view-festive of the rich and powerful,  and the view-onerous of the poor cannon fodder upon whose broad backs the feast of history is spread.)

So I wrote a story about a drawer of socks. It took no longer than 60 minutes, including the time for finding a photo and proof reading. And it was pretty good.

That's Spirit.

Now I am trying to be published and am sending things out and accumulating rejections from the enormous momentum of what-is-already-there. The tastes of mankind are like elephant footprints: there is an astounding amount of force involved in putting that ungainly pod down into the mud along the water hole, and once it comes down under the force elephantine, it creates a big impression which endures.
It endures until another pachyderm comes along.

That's Matter.


Immoveable Objects

A:Could God move an immoveable object?

B:Why would He want to?

In which we see the segue from Metaphysics and Necessity to Morals and Appetites.
Everything, even the highest philosophies, may transmorph into each other. Intelligence is the supreme shape-shifter.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Non-Asimovean Laws of Robotics and Nature 1

"Any civilization sufficiently advanced to have engendered a Phil Gramm-class entity must appear to be insane to other civilizations."

The Village of M. Night Shyamalan

Of course, in M. Night Shyamalan's film The Village, the village itself is a character. I have heard critics say such things before, but somehow Shyamalan pulled it off in a singularly effective way in the film. (Bear with me, I'm going by memory... haven't seen it in years.)

Not only the village, but the individual structures take on personae, as do the woods, the weather, the fired torches, and most obviously, the wind itself. The human characters tend to melt into insignificance next to the things of Nature and the works of Man from the pre-technical age.
There is considerable Magic; in the picture above, the table seems to be an extension of the wooden structure in the rear; it seems to be feeding the people at the table. It seems to be almost a living arm... or tongue!... stuck out. This Magic reinforces the story of the film, which is a narrative about Narrative, not just any narrative, but reality-rendering and creation stories. Mr. Shyamalan actually succeeds so incredibly well that my limited intelligence could not grasp what he was doing: he was trying to give life to a sense of how reality is created... a sense that is unfamiliar and evanescent and slippery to our minds, so he was using the imagery of Winds and Fires... and Disguises and things not being at all what they seem to be!
Was he succesful? Please be aware that as I say this, the first time I saw the film, I did not particularly like it. Time changes all... gives us time to finish processing the complex information...
However, at the time I saw the film, I remember being terrifically moved by the Wind: the scenes where the Wind is the main character, where the Wind speaks and drowns out every human voice...

I am going to watch it again, maybe twice: first with audio, second without, and stare at the images of  Magic, Rain, Earth, Wind, and Fire.


Russel's Paradox Again: Singularity Paradox

 There is a very nice Blog titled Thinking on Thinking at It has a posting on the Russel Paradox. (By the by, we are talking Bertrand Russell here, not Jack Russell.) Tuesday, February 20, 2007  
Russell's Paradox "Nothing contains everything", applied: A man of Seville is shaved by the Barber of Seville if and only if the man does not shave himself. Does the barber shave himself ? * If the barber does not shave himself, he must abide by the rule and shave himself. * If he does shave himself, according to the rule he will not shave himself.
And, another one:"One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, the Cretians (sic) are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. This testimony is true."Titus 1:12-14 (King James Version)

We may describe the Cretan Liar as follows:
Epimenides says "All Cretans are liars." Epimenides is a Cretan. If Epimenides' statement is true, then this implies that Epimenides always tells falsehoods. Hence, Epimenides' statement is false. Or, the truth of Epimenides statement implies the falsity of Epimenides' statement. Both paradoxes have been seen as problems in statements that are self-referential.

I do not consider these two paradoxes to be about the same logical thing. The Cretan Liar says that Cretans are liars, evil beasts, and slow bellies; only one of these is a problem: liars. We would not even blink an eye if all Cretans were slow bellies. We would not be talking about their bowels at all.
"All Cretans are Liars" is a statement that is an appraisal and, as such, should not be assigned a truth value. If I were to say "The Cure ruled!" someone else would say, "Only the early, real Cure ruled!"
Difference of opinion.

Now, the Barber.  
Observe that the Barber paradox disappears if we allow that there are 2 barbers. Then barber 2 may shave barber 1, and barber 1 may shave barber 2. It disappears if there are 3 barbers. Barber 1 shaves barber 2, barber 2 shaves barber 3, barber 3 shaves barber 1. { Of course, we have to transform the original statement of the paradox to: A man of Seville is shaved by a Barber of Seville. ( not "the" barber, not just one and no more.) }
If all men in Seville are barbers, they all shave each other in some sort of ghastly daisy-chain rig-a-marole. In fact, they form sort of a circular group of order N, where N equals the number of men in Seville.

From this I conclude that the Barber Paradox is a Singularity Paradox.
It is not dependent upon Set Theory and whether there is a Set that contains all items of a population. It is dependent on the fact that Singularities are inherently paradoxical. If there is only one and exactly one Barber of Seville... and no one else can fill in for him on a sick-day... then we have a paradox.

For example, look at the work done by Linde on Inflation Theory cosmology. This was inspired, in part, by the cosmological problems created by the singularity of the original Big Bang theory. In essence, where did the singularity come from? Similarly, we see the problem in arguments for the existence of God from a chain of causes, wherein God becomes the First Cause. As observed by Schopenhauer, the Principle of Causality is not a hansom cab that we take only so far, and then send away when we judged that we have arrived at our destination. Thus, the Principle of Causality cannot be used to establish a Terminus at the beginning of a chain of caused events.

Similarly, we find paradox in religious notions of singularity. More power to 'em, I say. Paradox is the heavenly mother of earthly Irony. Many Biblical Parables are paradoxical like Zen Ko'an to get people out of mental ruts.

I have often wondered "I wonder what it was like for the first men or women who uttered speech? Was there anyone else around to understand them?" Scenarios like this, dealing with the first occurence, are very, very foggy. Was there a "first" person to speak? We often talk as if there were. So, prove it. Singularities are funny creatures. Ask Professor Hawking if you do not believe me. Two paradoxes down.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Steampunk Carpet Cleaners

Efficient but a bit bulky.

At the Feet of Cultural Icons

Bob Dylan is coming under some fire for kowtowing to the Chinese Government; they wanted him not to sing two of his songs and he has nothing to say about their persecution of  Ai Weiwei, an artist who has political views. Some writers say that Dylan had no particular political views himself... ever, and they go on to document this.

I do not really care much. I never worshipped "Dylan". I would have rather listened to Leonard Cohen myself.
And now that the Grand National has come - and disastrously gone... two horses dead - and National Velvet being shown on the cable o'er and o'er, I notice that I do not really like Elizabeth Taylor as an actress. After her passing, God rest her soul, Cleopatra was played over and over. I had never seen the movie before, just bits and pieces.
Well, I watched it. It was terrible. And Elizabeth Taylor, I am sad to say, seemed to be acting more as if she were in the Bronx rather than Alexandria. All she needed was some gum to chew. However, there were some good films. I do not care for them, and that is a matter of taste.

I found myself thinking the other day, you know, the only thing I like her in is Gone With The Wind. It took me a few seconds to correct the mental archives, but I was mixing her up with Scarlett Leigh, not Butterfly McDaniels....
You know what I mean, at least, I hope you do.

There are a number of Icons I have no use for. There are many entities prancing on "Dancing With the Stars" that are featureless mimes as far as I'm concerned. Except that fellow who went down like a skyscraper in a 9.0 Richter-quake under the demands of Kirstie Alley; that fellow was a real gentleman and he kept insisting that he had had a muscle spasm in interviews too many to count with leering and smirking TV types ( and this is the first time I ever saw George Stephanopoulos smirk )...
I saw the video. Even young knees have their limits.

It did not take much to fed the maw of Entertainment 100 years ago. Now it is another matter. Warhol's 15 minutes of fame is based on the murderous demands of Entertainment and its need for Celebrities which populate its innumerable Myths.
We do create our own reality.
We need characters to put on all those empty pages.
We are essentially witless and need the Entertainment Industry to do it.

I was at the Detroit Symphony yesterday. They had recently come off a six month strike and we, the classical music desperados, were...  well, we were desperate. It was a free concert and we fought in the streets for tickets.
This was the concert I decided to scalp tickets to. Since the tickets were free, I had to essentially make them "more free". More desirable. I was offering my services as a butler for a week, like in Seinfeld, but there were no takers.
At the intermission, just before Dvorak's New World Symphony, fifty percent of the heads in the auditorium were bowed in the dull blue light of iPhones or iPads as people strove to be just like Fahrenheit 451 and amend their electronic families and worlds by little ePrayers and eDevotions. On the other hand, if they did not have those devices, you might be forced to speak to them. Each course has some real downsides.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Mister John Conyers

John Conyers and Rosa Parks

I heard Mister John Conyers speaking on NPR yesterday. When Congressman Conyers talks, I usually listen. We had the honor of being represented by Mister John Conyers in Michigan's 14th Congressional District for some years towards the end of our residence on the eastern side of Detroit. I voted for him every "biennial".

As time went on, our daughter, who was studying Political Science at the University of Michigan, secured the opportunity to intern for Congressman Conyers for the summer. We drove her down to her rooms at George Washington University with a car full of her belongings. Staying at the Holiday Inn across from the Watergate, my car was broken into; the first and only time that has ever happened.
Of course, if you read Science Fiction, you know it is an old concept that the country boy goes to the Country's - or even the Planet's! - Capital and arrives with wide-eyed wonder... and bad things begin to happen. Sort of a metaphor for the emptiness of most pomp and circumstance surrounding power... there is a sort of sigh that even Power and Magnificence have no traction when it comes to poverty and the crime it engenders.

This story is not about me nor the state of society. It isn't even, strictly speaking, about Mister John Conyers. Oh, the Congressman is in it, all right, but he is not the main point of attention. That point is... well, it's hard to say; I guess it is how different things are to people with a lot of history compared to young people: young folks have a lot of life and they do not archive it, rather they squander sparks of vitality with free hands. History is dead and gone.
Older folks get wiser, save their money and store their understanding of the world: they take the sparks and the conflagrations of the past and create unforgettable mansions of accomplishment. History is a reunion for older folks; it is a party.

Well, rightly so, too, rightly so. It goes to show us that everything we do has consequences, and is important. No act is lost. Even the smallest ripple will travel the ocean and break upon some far beach. There is no such thing as a action without a reaction, and the camp meetings in the future will be filled with our acts of Honor or our acts of Neglect.

One day in Congressman Conyer's office, a call came in from an elderly lady. My daughter got the call as she walked in from the corridor. She had just left the Congressman out in the corridor to come in and get a note pad to take down with her to a meeting of the Congressional Black Caucus. No one else seemed to be there, so she picked up.

She put the caller on hold, found her note pad, then returned to the hallway. She asked whether Mr. Conyers wanted to take a call from an old lady right then before going down to the Caucus.
He looked at her with inquiry.
"It's a Mrs. Parks..." she said.
"Ah...!" Mr. Conyers said.
"... Rosa Parks, I think she said." my daughter added.

Mr. John Conyers did go back right then, running heels to head, to get that call. And my daughter learned that not all History was in the sweet bye-and-bye; a whole lot of history is right now. And that's why everything we do is important: it is history in the making.

Now the reason I say this is that, at this time, Mr. Newt Gingrich's office was just down the way, and about this time he had orchestrated a shutdown of the government. I do not forget. Just as Mrs. Rosa Parks discovered her time for Bravery and Honor, so must we. We must be honorable in the midst of dishonor, and we must be controlled in the midst of a madding crowd.
Then we shall overcome.


Friday, April 08, 2011

Inglorious Bastards!

How about some straight economic news, forgetting the budget crisis.

I was at  Jesse's Café Américain

08 April 2011 
Net Asset Values of Certain Precious Metal Trusts and Funds 

Good start, eh? Let's forget about the government mess, and get right into asset values.

The premiums to net asset value are interesting.
Notice that the Canadian dollar continues to strengthen against the US dollar, and the gold/silver ratio has dropped to the 36 range.
Only, things change.....
 I watched Inside Job last night and I strongly recommend that you see it, and show it to others. It is a very well done, concise, and understandable depiction of the US financial crisis, and how the failure to reform continues to cripple the real economy and the currency, to the detriment of the great majority of the people for the benefit of a relative few who have bent the government, the financial sector, and even the universities to their will.
As an aside, I finally watched No End In Sight, which is another documentary by Charles Ferguson and his team on the Iraq War, concentrating on the blundered occupation and the roots of the insurgency. It is also well worth watching.  
I have seen whole companies lose the sense of meritocracy, and become like an oligarchy run by a few strong personalities, and their inner clique, stooges and girlfriends, and effectively destroy themselves while those running it line their pockets.  There is an elite that is wreaking havoc on the US national level, and it is affecting the global economy.

And to cap the evening, I finally watched Bush Family Fortunes by Greg Palast, which was not nearly so well done as Ferguson's two documentaries, but certainly capped off a discouraging evening's viewing...
I totally forgot about asset values, so interested was I in this story...
What struck me the most is the sheer banality and lack of honorable character, much less virtue, in these financial men and politicians. The financial sorts such as Blankfein and Fuld are like caricatures of human beings. And the politicians are obviously phony and beneath contempt, without honor, lacking even the common virtues underneath a cultivated facade, 'whited sepulchres, which appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness.'
“False greatness is unsociable and remote: conscious of its own frailty, it hides, or at least averts its face, and reveals itself only enough to create an illusion and not be recognized as the meanness that it really is. True greatness is free, kind, familiar and popular; it lets itself be touched and handled, it loses nothing by being seen at close quarters; the better one knows it, the more one admires it.”
Jean de la Bruyere
When justice finally comes, hell is coming with it.

Interesting take on things.


1,000 Things That the Tea Party Does Which Make Me Ill

(1) On TV, when there are multiple spokespeople, I am tired of listening to the other points of view - different from the Tea Party - while the Tea Party spokeswoman - or man - laughs, giggles, smirks, makes faces, shakes her empty head, and generally mugs like a a bonobo wanting attention.

Liberals and Tories

ScienceDaily (Apr. 7, 2011) — We all know that people at opposite ends of the political spectrum often really can't see eye to eye. Now, a new report published online on April 7th in Current Biology, reveals that those differences in political orientation are tied to differences in the very structures of our brains.

Individuals who call themselves liberal tend to have larger anterior cingulate cortexes, while those who call themselves conservative have larger amygdalas. Based on what is known about the functions of those two brain regions, the structural differences are consistent with reports showing a greater ability of liberals to cope with conflicting information and a greater ability of conservatives to recognize a threat, the researchers say.

"Previously, some psychological traits were known to be predictive of an individual's political orientation," said Ryota Kanai of the University College London. "Our study now links such personality traits with specific brain structure."

I suppose this indicates that we actually need both types, and it explains why compromise between the two might be a good idea for a Republic and its continued well-being.

Ade Ileke 11: désir enchaîné

Les flash de paparazzi sont des rayonnements-gamma
et des explosions d'étoiles; Ils roulent si près de nos cœurs
qu'ils remuent notre espace-temps séminal,
et ils créent des ondes gravitationnelles: les débuts du désir!

Ade Ileke 10:: Santa Marta

              Santa Marta

símbolos encontrados
em muitos artefatos antigos
permanecem um mistério ...
Eu posso dormir não mais!
symbols found in ancient arts
remain a mystery...
I can no longer sleep!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Crown of Thorns Manifesto

I'll be in D.C. for Easter. If the maniac Tea Party-Republicans get their way, the Government might not be operating.

I intend to stand with a sign of protest in front of the Capitol for a period of time. I will be protesting having mad men in government, just as I always have.

This country belongs to the people. The people has a Government. We shall not bend to the will of a small group of fanatics, who seek only destruction of the country I and my ancestors labored to build.

I will carry a picture of William Jennings Bryan and say Hurrah! for the people, the farmers, the grangers, the workers, the small businessmen! Hurrah for us, the forgotten people of America!

There is a crown of thorns comprised of a tangle of murderous branches they seek to impress upon our brows: destruction of Social Security, destruction of Medicare, destruction of any campaign reform, destruction of education, unilateral revocation of right fought for and won by workers, and the list goes on.

You shall not scourge us, nor mock us with this Crown of Thorns!


Ade Ileke 9: La Reina de las Aguas

la luz de las ondas de diamante ...
la reina de las aguas me abraza.
the light of your waves of diamonds,
the queen of waters embraces me.

Free Men and Women

In 2008, I sensed that the all our forbears conspire mightily to aid and succor their children and their childrens' children from the man-made suffering of the world. The suffering that comes from the forces of Nature are moved by the compulsion of other and different  powers, not heedless and blindly vindictive; but they are powers that are alien from the spiritual force of Family and Love and Friendship, emotions so passionate that the soul is permanently touched by their flame. This passionate heavenly bond is the force which warps and shears the evil that  men do to men...causing the iron bonds of sin to fail at last!
Our bonds create timeless connection that transcends distance, and creates a great Communion of Life and Creation.

I sense now a great urgency in the world, not just the Present, but the Past and the Future call out to us, and now these dimensions indicate that we must assist them if they are to endure in their good mercies: the Past to aid us in our need, and the Future to bless us for our wisdom.

The madness must end with us, this generation. We are here in this place and in these troubled times for a honorable cause. The Present and the Past depend on us. We are the future, and the Future begins with us. We shall no longer go into the sleeplessly dark nights, for we are free! Free! Free... if we choose to be!


Wednesday, April 06, 2011

The Drug Cartel

How many people and institutions are in the Drug Cartel?
Here I mean Drug Cartel as in NATO and US officials and politicians calling the shots in Afghanistan, yet seemingly blind to where the opium goes. I also mean big companies and Big Banks that participate knowingly
in the business.
So we have to go to Britain to read about it:

How a big US bank laundered billions from Mexico's murderous drug gangs

...Wachovia's blatant disregard for our banking laws gave international cocaine cartels a virtual carte blanche to finance their operations," said Jeffrey Sloman, the federal prosecutor. Yet the total fine was less than 2% of the bank's $12.3bn profit for 2009. On 24 March 2010, Wells Fargo stock traded at $30.86 – up 1% on the week of the court settlement.

The conclusion to the case was only the tip of an iceberg, demonstrating the role of the "legal" banking sector in swilling hundreds of billions of dollars – the blood money from the murderous drug trade in Mexico and other places in the world – around their global operations, now bailed out by the taxpayer.

At the height of the 2008 banking crisis, Antonio Maria Costa, then head of the United Nations office on drugs and crime, said he had evidence to suggest the proceeds from drugs and crime were "the only liquid investment capital" available to banks on the brink of collapse. "Inter-bank loans were funded by money that originated from the drugs trade," he said. "There were signs that some banks were rescued that way."...
Are there any sane people left who actually believe our politicians can govern a country like this? Pretty soon, the so-called Supreme Court will remove all restrictions on campaign contributions, and we will see the most prestigious and hallowed institutions go on sale to the highest bidder.

Ade Ileke 8: WJB

Champion of simple honesty,
he lies where savage indignation
may now no longer slash and burn
the Great Plains of his heart.
rework of an earlier small fiction;
William Jennings Bryan;
debt to Jonathan Swift.

The Philosophy of Roomie

I have always been a devotee of the philosophy of Roomie: wisdom blossoming everywhere. My own knowledge is more like the floral display in my father's garden: random, spindly, and when it is not positively alien-looking, it is desperate and feral.

First profundity of Roomie:

Enter no door when a sprig of the dogwood tree is fastened to the doorknob.

This was our signal, of course, that one of us - myself or my Roomie, my roomate at University - was entertaining a guest. So we exercised discretion and found other things to do for a while, allowing the sweet bird of youth to slake its thirst at the fountain of Eros! (- so to speak.)

I will not say that this happened all that frequently, but one year at the end of Michaelmas term - the Christmas vacation -  when I arrived home and saw the forest of pine swags enveloping the front door of the clan, for a brief moment I thought I was back at University and hesitated lest I interrupt my parents in a tender moment.

I'll have some more wisdom from my old roommate as time goes on.