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Friday, May 31, 2013

A Possible Difference Between Women And Men

Women are the great communicators and facilitators of communication; they are much more so than men.

For example, if there is a new spot on the carpet, a man will secretly wander off the to pantry, grab a bottle of Spot-Shot or Rosenthal's or whatever spot remover, then hermetically treat the disfiguration, and return to whatever he was doing before.

A woman, on the other hand, will issue statements as to the existence of the spot, volubly wonder about its provenance, and loquaciously do a CSI (crime scene investogation), DA (district attorney) accusation, and render a Hon. She-who-must-be-obeyed, J (judge) guilty verdict.


Experiments With The Good

Ignatius Loyola

We live in a great time of Science.
We also live in a great poverty of moral goodness.

Take a page from science: conduct long experiments on being good. Then review the results. Get other people involved and purify the group morality of our age.

This does not involve reading; this involves living the moral goodness that is within us.
Fast, be humble, turn the other cheek.
Experiment with the ways of being good instead of setting things like "Turn the other cheek" up as some sort of paradigm, then ignoring it in practice.

See what happens. Discuss. Meditate.

Drop every notion that does not apply to godliness from your mind: all political views, all reasons for doing things, all excuses and alibis, all dislikes and hatreds. See what happens.

It  is time for Goodness. I am going to set at least one day of each year as a day of fast and moral experiment and meditation (remember that meditation is not "mulling over").
All this has been attempted in the past, however. I think of the Practices of St. Ignatius Loyola as more of a "experimental" regimen of the spirit, rather than the usual and customary description of "spiritual exercises".

So let's update the spiritual exercises and attain the progress that has been made in material regimes!



I predict that within 7 years an analysis of each individual's microbiome population will become a standard part of our basic medical procedures, perhaps part of the yearly doctor's visit.
The bacteria and fungal populations of the skin and the gut will begin to be tested and stored for future reference. Soon after birth, babies' microbiomes will be censused and the information stored. Every few years, the process should be repeated.

The effects of the microbiome range from controlling diarrhea to:

Neuroscience News:

Gut Bacteria Regulate Happiness

Posted on June 12, 2012 By Neuroscience News Featured, Psychology

APC scientists have shown that brain levels of serotonin, the ‘happy hormone’ are regulated by the amount of bacteria in the gut during early life. Their research is being published today in the leading international psychiatry journal, Molecular Psychiatry.
Perhaps we shall be able to help or cure certain types of depression by eating various probiotic yogurts.

I have been fascinated by this subject ever since my dentist told me that dental plaque was a "biofilm". I studied biofilms, and that study lead immediately to the microbiome, and it lead me to simple medications for homely problems, such as using Pyrithione Zinc as a treatments for summer rash and dry spots on the elbows...
It is an inexpensive medicine, because it is the active ingredient in "Head and Shoulders" shampoo. I find most folks are befuddled at the notion of using a shampoo for anything except shampoo, but dandruff - the condition for which Heads and Shoulders is designed - is a skin condition of the scalp. A simple Google on "pyrithione zinc" returns all the info needed. (Although, such situations may not be a problem with the microbiome at all. It served to focus attention on realistic alternatives to expensive medications. And dry skin or eczema is being studied now as a microbiome problem.)

Even more interesting, recent research on teenage acne has found that all individuals tested, who had no or little acne, all had the same bacteria present in their microbiome, and those with more severe acne did not possess the bacterium.


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Why I Write Poetry

I just finished my 6th year of writing a poem each week in my poetry blog ( ).
Sometimes I wonder why I do it, since not very many people read poetry. I am glad that there are many who like it, but sometimes we always want more people to share our high opinions of ourselves.


However, I do write poetry for myself. I write in this blog, also, for myself. I write to clarify my consciousness. There are a great many things we are aware of as intelligent beings, and many are very complex. I cannot deal with the complexity unless I try to set it out in writing: the bends and folds and complexes of love and hate, war and peace, hunger and satiety...

Give it word, give it image, icon, symbol, song!


Rooms Full Of Monkeys

If an infinite number of monkeys were in an infinite room and they were tapping away at an infinite number of computer keyboards, eventually they would write all the great works of literature, or so the story goes of Probability and limitless time available.

If this is even remotely true, it shows us why there is death in the world; if things did not die, there would be no end to evolution and change and we would probably not even exist as free peoples, rather we would be slaves to some super-intelligent strain of mammal that got on the fast track back around the Younger Dryas period.


The Trade Offs Of Certain Types Of Wealth Accumulation

We have bridges falling every few years as the infrastructure crumbles. To repair this requires a good deal of money.
We have more severe storms probably due to climate change, and to recover from these disasters takes a good deal of money.

EPA Survey Finds More Than Half of the Nation’s River and Stream Miles in Poor Condition
Release Date: 03/26/2013
WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released the results of the first comprehensive survey looking at the health of thousands of stream and river miles across the country, finding that more than half – 55 percent – are in poor condition for aquatic life.

“The health of our Nation’s rivers, lakes, bays and coastal waters depends on the vast network of streams where they begin, and this new science shows that America’s streams and rivers are under significant pressure,” said Office of Water Acting Assistant Administrator Nancy Stoner. “We must continue to invest in protecting and restoring our nation’s streams and rivers as they are vital sources of our drinking water, provide many recreational opportunities, and play a critical role in the economy.”
We have these bothersome environmental things to attend to.
(I won't even mention the possible need to scan the skies for comets and meteors, since the last good-sized impact  occurred 12,900 years ago, or 10,900 years before Christ, or 9,900 years before Homer and Chephren... and 9,900 years is an enormous amount of time......)

All this takes money.

These things are what centralized governments were set up to do: address large issues and situations that affect all the people. Wealth cannot be allowed to accumulate in such a fashion that the central government is incapable of providing for the well-being of the people.


An Adventure In Art (29)

Marsh Breeze

Laurel Daniel
Laurel Daniel Blog


Borispol Airport, Kiev, Ukraine

Borispol Airport, Terminal B, Opened 1965

Terminal B Today


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Lord Buddha's Regrets

I have the deepest respect for the Lord Buddha.

However, Buddhists have had a free ride in our society. Most people think that all Buddhists are nice, meditative, and good fellows. Many of our atheistic members have laid aside their antipathy to religion and God-fearing types, and allowed themselves the pleasures of Zen knowledge and meditation...

Well, the "happy" Buddhists of Myanmar are rioting..

Al Jazeera:
Religious violence erupts in Myanmar
Curfew declared in town in Shan state following destruction of Muslim orphanage and mosque in latest outbreak of unrest.
..."A mosque and a religious school and some houses were destroyed by the mob, but there were no deaths or injuries".
Al Jazeera's Wayne Hay, reporting from Yangon, said the situation in Lashio had already been brought under control by police.
He said he had received reports that some officials in Lashio, including the fire department, "did very little" to stop the Buddhist mob from attacking Muslim establishments.
Myanmar's recent sectarian violence has been partly blamed on the 969 movement, launched in February by an extremist monk in Mandalay named Wirathu, who encourages Buddhists to shun Muslim-owned shops.
There are less than 2,000 Myanmar Muslims living in Lashio, sources said, of the city's estimated population of about 130,000...
and so it goes, Kurt Vonnegut observes, so it goes.


The War of Eternal Dibs on The West Bank

Are we in a war?

What war? Does it have a name? Will Congress ever resume their role in declaring war?

Our entanglements in the Middle East are a slap in the face of George Washington.
Our support of Netanyahu and his "eternal dibs" on Palestinian territory is a contravention against the principles of the people who founded this country.

The Drang nach Osten of Netanyahu into lands east of Jerusalem will be our downfall.


Why I Write About Syria

... because I did not protest enough against the Iraq War.

We are destined to become all Ancient Mariners, driven by dreams, blood, and cynicism to live out the measure of our days by spilling our guilty guts!


Infighting in the Fighting

 Bomb Site in Reyhanli

From The Asia Times:

A warning shot for Turkey-Qatar axis
By Alper Birdal and Yigit Gunay

...Right from the start of the "Arab Spring", a great competition between Saudi Arabia and Qatar has raged, especially in Egypt. The domination of the Muslim Brotherhood in all the countries visited by the "Spring" troubled Saudi Arabia very deeply.

Of course, the problem was not about the "support of radical elements". In a sense, Saudi Arabia was supporting the Salafi groups that are more radical than Muslim Brotherhood. The real issue was to gain the upper hand in political influence.

Since the initial Syrian crisis turned into a full-scale war through the provocation of foreign forces, in the polarization of these forces Turkey has openly sided with Qatar.

The forming of this two "block of alliances", one by Qatar and Turkey and the other by Saudi Arabia, Jordan and United Arab Emirates, has sharpened to such an extent that triggered various bloody operations - such as the mysterious suicide attack on a Qatari convoy in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, on May 5.
A good read to get an idea of the intricacies of the intrigues of this Diplomacy of Death.

Remember: a good deal of this is being paid for by our tax money.

If the Tea Party were ever to develop a well-formed and credible policy and strategy, I might just join. I hate funding a foreign policy based on thoughtless and flippant wars and threats. And I hate paying for it. The time is coming when we, like Henry David Thoreau, will find ourselves in our own Walden jail cells, refusing to fund this cynical regime of violence, a regime which extends on both sides of the aisle, and has captured the hope of the future.


A Dutchman's Pants

Clearing Skies?

My grandfather used to say that the skies would clear when there was visible blue sky and there was enough of such blue sky "to patch a Dutchman's pants."

I like the expression, and wonder if there is enough blue sky yet.


Car Repairs and Syria

I stopped by to see Hafiz, the man to whom I entrust my cars. In between phone calls and customers, we did manage to string together a conversation covering events of the last few months: the deaths in my family, what the status of my retirement was, the health of his family, particularly Muhammed, his son, who is legally blind and has little skin pigmentation. He is well and enjoying high school, al hamdu li_llah.

His eldest son is in Turkey teaching, and I expressed the hope that he was not near the Syrian border. Hafiz said that he would be proud if he were involved, for men cannot live as slaves. Then he recounted the origins of the popular uprising, graffiti painted on walls and arrests and mistreatment of young men in prison.

He was, of course, correct. I was correct, also. He spoke of the corruption of the police and other institutions in an old dictatorship and I was speaking of foreign fighters and influences.
We agreed that thousands were dead and millions have lost their homes.

The Syria has changed from its nascent embryonic "Arab Spring" into a deadly Summer of pestilence.

The theory is to let both sides bleed themselves sufficiently until such time as the outsiders may impose their will upon them.
In the meantime, the disease spreads. Iraq's violence is increasing; the west of Iraq, Anbar Province, may very well seek independence as a Sunni majority state. Then there are the Kurds who continue to strain against their inclusion into the states of the region.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Our Allies Who Lead Us To A Syrian Disaster

Zeev Elkin, Deputy Foreign Minister of Israel

Yahoo News this morning:
JERUSALEM (AP) — Zeev Elkin has faced a wave of criticism since he was made the de facto chief of Israel's Foreign Ministry two months ago: He isn't prepared for compromise with the Palestinians. He doesn't speak English well enough. He is a West Bank settler.
But Israel's deputy foreign minister, who is the top official until a new foreign minister is named, makes no apologies for his ideology or background, and in fact thinks they are an advantage. Claiming to reflect the "real positions" of most Israelis, Elkin says the world should get used to dealing with Jewish settlers and right-wing Israeli politicians.
"It is a mistake to think the Foreign Ministry needs a person whose views the world would rather hear but do not reflect the government or the majority in Israel," Elkin said in an interview. "You cannot fool the world."
Elkin, a rising star in Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party, was handed the No. 2 spot at the Foreign Ministry following parliamentary elections early this year...
People like Mr. Elkin know what the deal is in the Middle East. Only our leaders pretend something different. We shall carry the burden for years for this Syrian mess.


Our Security People

Yahoo News this morning:
WASHINGTON/CANBERRA (Reuters) - Chinese hackers have gained access to designs of more than two dozen major U.S. weapons systems, a U.S. report said on Monday, as Australian media said Chinese hackers had stolen the blueprints for Australia's new spy headquarters.
Citing a report prepared for the Defense Department by the Defense Science Board, the Washington Post said the compromised U.S. designs included those for combat aircraft and ships, as well as missile defenses vital for Europe, Asia and the Gulf.
Among the weapons listed in the report were the advanced Patriot missile system, the Navy's Aegis ballistic missile defense systems, the F/A-18 fighter jet, the V-22 Osprey, the Black Hawk helicopter and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
These are the people who have astronomical budgets in the big business of defense and security.

I do not think this needs any further comment.


More Headaches !

Eureka Alert:

Comprehensive analysis of impact spherules supports theory of cosmic impact 12,800 years ago

(Santa Barbara, California) ––
About 12,800 years ago when the Earth was warming and emerging from the last ice age, a dramatic and anomalous event occurred that abruptly reversed climatic conditions back to near-glacial state. According to James Kennett, UC Santa Barbara emeritus professor in earth sciences, this climate switch fundamentally –– and remarkably –– occurred in only one year, heralding the onset of the Younger Dryas cool episode.

The cause of this cooling has been much debated, especially because it closely coincided with the abrupt extinction of the majority of the large animals then inhabiting the Americas, as well as the disappearance of the prehistoric Clovis culture, known for its big game hunting.

"What then did cause the extinction of most of these big animals, including mammoths, mastodons, giant ground sloths, American camel and horse, and saber- toothed cats?" asked Kennett, pointing to Charles Darwin's 1845 assessment of the significance of climate change. "Did these extinctions result from human overkill, climatic change or some catastrophic event?" The long debate that has followed, Kennett noted, has recently been stimulated by a growing body of evidence in support of a theory that a major cosmic impact event was involved, a theory proposed by the scientific team that includes Kennett himself.

Now, in one of the most comprehensive related investigations ever, the group has documented a wide distribution of microspherules widely distributed in a layer over 50 million square kilometers on four continents, including North America, including Arlington Canyon on Santa Rosa Island in the Channel Islands. This layer –– the Younger Dryas Boundary (YDB) layer –– also contains peak abundances of other exotic materials, including nanodiamonds and other unusual forms of carbon such as fullerenes, as well as melt-glass and iridium. This new evidence in support of the cosmic impact theory appeared recently in a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences.
12,800 years ago was not all that long past. The Clovis culture mentioned was a human culture in the Americas... they experienced meteoric climate change...

Could happen again... maybe?
What's our response as a common species? SSDD, as Stephen King writes in Dreamcatcher. SSDD... observation, adage, maxim... and epitaph.


Fiddling As The World Wanes

I used to wonder what it was like to live in Imperial Rome; what was life like in a society that was on decline and falling - at least, declining as it seemed to my perspective, a point of view which was ready to see decline by years of reading Gibbon's The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
What was it like, I wondered, to maintain a steadfast resistance to the obvious truth of Christianity? And after Constantine, what was it like to devolve into chaos and strife?

I sort of guess that I know.

From Eureka Alert:

Even farm animal diversity is declining as accelerating species loss threatens humanity
...Some scientists have termed this the "sixth great extinction episode" in Earth's history, according to Dr. Zakri, noting that the loss of biodiversity is happening faster and everywhere, even among farm animals.

He underlined findings by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization that genetic diversity among livestock is declining.
"The good news is the rate of decline is dropping but the latest data classify 22% of domesticated breeds at risk of extinction," Dr. Zakri said.

Breeds become rare because their characteristics either don't suit contemporary demand or because differences in their qualities have not been recognised. When a breed population falls to about 1,000 animals, it is considered rare and endangered.
Causes of genetic erosion in domestic animals are the lack of appreciation of the value of indigenous breeds and their importance in niche adaptation, incentives to introduce exotic and more uniform breeds from industrialised countries, and product-focused selection.

Among crops, meanwhile, about 75 per cent of genetic diversity was lost in the last century as farmers worldwide switched to genetically uniform, high-yielding varieties and abandoned multiple local varieties. There are 30,000 edible plant species but only 30 crops account for 95% of human food energy, the bulk of which (60%) comes down to rice, wheat, maize, millet and sorghum.

"The decline in the diversity of crops and animals is occurring in tandem with the need to sharply increase world food production and as a changing environment makes it more important than ever to have a large genetic pool to enable organisms to withstand and adapt to new conditions," he said...
 A changing world, a changing climate... and the problems mount.
Scientists see the problems, and they try to evaluate them, and they warn us, but we find it hard to respond, and we wish to maintain our tender dance of weaving in and out between "tipping points" of no-return.

A senior US Senator visits Syrian rebels over the weekend.
What could be the purpose of that? Is there any conceivable purpose other than to maintain an area of conflict for years to come? The influence of radicals in the rebel groups has been demonstrated; our inability to control these groups has been shown over and over again; so why are Republicans and Democrats so insistent upon facilitating civil wars and disturbances of the peace?

The terrible "IFs" are accumulating.

Senator John McCain and his ilk are playing the fiddle while the world burns...

...for the contradictions will kill all of us. For instance, to ensure that nations do not produce their own arsenal of nuclear weapons, the USA must play a role of impartial arbiter between nations; this is a role that goes back to the end of World War II.
If the USA cannot perform this function, if it tilts aggressively to one side, then it cannot dissuade nuclear proliferation by moral persuasion. Instead, it must resort to Rome's favorite remedy of sending in the legions.

In an age that needs leaders, we have partisans.


Monday, May 27, 2013

John McCain Visits Syrian Rebels

Maybe he visited Abu Sakkar and had a "heart-to-heart"....

Sunday, May 26, 2013

O, Syria

Mother Agnes Mariam de la Croix, of Convent of St. James the Mutilated, Qara, Syria (Monastère St Jacques le Mutilé, Qâra), in a live LPAC TV interview discusses what she calls the “schizophrenic” lies in the media in their reports of the war in Syria. She documents, from eyewitness experience, how, the armed wing of the Syrian opposition is carrying out a form of ethnic cleaning. She says the so called rebels, coordinated by outside forces, are slaughtering and blackmailing the disapproving civilian population: Alawite, Christian, Shi’ite minorities, and moderate Muslims who do not support them.

Radically Embodied Libertarianism and the Fate of Immigration Reform

Foreign Born and Native Born

Yahoo News this morning:
"I don't think we should be worried about the political impact but instead what is in the best interest of America," said Republican Representative Mo Brooks of Alabama.

Besides, he said, "People who are going to break our laws, I don't want them in this country."

This kind of opposition from House Republicans may pose the biggest threat to White House-backed legislation set to come next month before the full Senate, which Obama's Democrats hold, 55-45...

The bill that passed the Senate Judiciary Committee, 13-5, last Tuesday - with support from three Republicans - includes putting illegal residents on a 13-year pathway to citizenship, provided they pay back taxes and a fine, learn English, hold a job and pass criminal background checks...

Brooks said the political benefit to Republicans should not matter.

"We can't afford to give amnesty to every person who wants to illegally cross our borders," he said. "We don't have enough money in our piggy bank. Amnesty begets more amnesty.

"I cannot in good conscience ratify illegal conduct with my vote. Any Republican who advocates ratifying illegal conduct with their vote is subverting the very principles that made the United States a great nation."
I thought one of the principles that made this nation great was an openness to immigration:  anyone could come and  no one was excluded.

That idea is long dead, like so many other "principles". Ellis Island is testimony to the fact that we had to inspect the huddled masses before we gave them entry. Long usage established the open nature of the North American continent, and it was a cruel and unusual abrogation that over time shut the borders.

My great-great-grandfather was a Cricket player of considerable repute. Apparently Cricket was considered a valuable skill at the time... come to think of it, he went to Canada...

Well, a great-grandfather was a furniture mover from German Poland. I do not think furniture moving and lorry driving were critical skills.

I am essentially a libertarian. I am a radical libertarian, of the left wing - if you will - of radical freedom:
Open borders! Open societies! Let freedom reign!


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Suffering and the Cross

The worst suffering is that which we undergo because we have caused others to suffer.

A small thing, like not voting one's mind on climate or pollution because one's political party denies or minimizes problems of climate or air quality, will lead to breathing problems and suffering. The guilt resulting from doing such things will burden the soul enormously, whether one is aware of it or not.

Many of us bear invisible burdens we cannot bring ourselves to castoff.

Which, I think, is the point of taking up one's Cross: before I can do that, I must cast off the spiritual burdens which are in the way.

(As a disclaimer, I suffer greatly because of the pain I have caused others. I hope it may soon pass.)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The President's Praetorian Guard

The US President, now and future, has their own Praetorian Guard: a military force which may immediately respond to his commands. The Praetorians are the Drones.

Just as Tiberius and Caligula and Nero were able to conceive and execute an event of violence and compulsion using their own military force, so may the US President, or whoever in the future is given the power to control drones.

Before the Praetorian drones, elements of the Army and the Navy had to be assembled, plans had to be drawn up and orders given, and these steps required many middle men to put into action.

Drones need fewer intermediaries, and they can be dispatched quickly.

The drones will be irresistible temptation to use for oppression.


New Digs

I am living through a very large change. I think it is rather good; it does discomfit me, but it does not cause pain, rather it seems to alleviate my pains - real and imagined.

The "new digs" are my spiritual rooms, so to speak. I feel like Charles Ryder, and had gotten rooms on the ground floor facing the quad, and my cousin Jasper told me a number of times that I would fall in with the wrong crowd. And so I did, for years and years. Even Sebastian could not save me.

I feel both mellowed and short-tempered, but the temperament is reserved for the truly knavish and stupid and craven, of which we have a good deal to spice up our lives.

It is a little hard to grab on to one concept I want to deal with, so I have not written.

I did introduce my step-grandson to poetry, however, and he introduced me to DJ art with turntables. We get along well, one reason being that I never lost a childish sense of amazement and interest in everything going on about me. In fact, he is much more "set in his ways" than I am.

We touched on death of a parent: he lost his mother last year, I lost my father this year. It was a brief portion of a talk, mostly on my part, saying how utterly unique the experience is.
I did not say things like "If you ever want to talk about death, I'm here." That's for TV and parents.

When you speak of eternity, it echoes endlessly and does not need further comment, for when someone has been with you when you spoke of eternity, they will remember even at the ends of the universe. It is a quantum entanglement type thing


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Suppression Of Science By Fundamentalist Zealots

A 2-Year Old Watches His Father At A Gun Rally

The picture is filled with portent: the angle at which the gun is carried makes us wonder whether it will protect or harm the young child.

Daily Yonder today:
...Perhaps the only federal measure to come out of the recent bout of attention to gun violence will be lifting of the congressional prohibition on documentation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of patterns of gun deaths including the high rate of shootings within families.

How can a modern society discuss acceptable levels of mortality by weapons when the statistics are suppressed by the fundamentalist priesthood that runs their government?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Our Oklahoma Strategy

The Republican Senator of Oklahoma wants as much disaster relief as he can get his hands on, only he wants to cut someone else's budget.

If that's his attitude, let him go wanting. The people of Oklahoma elected him, now they will get a taste of what happens when politics goes bad.


Our Syrian Strategy

Invest in foreign wars, obey Netanyahu, bow to Saudi Arabia, support oppression of the Shia people, write-off Christians and other minorities, and.......

...let our society at home go right down the tubes.


Why I Admire Walmart

From Addicting Info:

...After all, why should Walmart stop ticking people off when it has a once-in-a-lifetime chance to build over a sacred Mayan site, which might also be a burial ground

I am truly in awe of a store that cannot stock #2 coffee filters in my neighborhood store, yet their internet site states that the #2s are definitely in stock at MY store... for 2 weeks now.


Monday, May 20, 2013

A Tight Squeeze On The Great Lakes

This picture was taken last year, 2012; I think it was towards the end of July. I think the Great Lakes freighter nearest me is an Algoma Central freighter, and the far one may be a Canadian Steamship Lines (CSL) freighter. Both are heading upstream, north up the St. Clair River. Beyond them is Squirrel Island, Canada, which is part of Bkejwanong or Walpole Island Reserve, which is unceded territory occupied by the Walpole Island First Nation.

I noticed the Algoma vessel coming up river and heading directly at me - a very unusual angle. By its direction and speed, it soon became clear it was going to pass the CSL freighter, which it proceded to do.

I have not seen this manoeuver in the St Clair River - which is not all that large a strait between Lake Huron and Lake St Clair - since the 1960s, when freighter were by and large a bit smaller than the present day.

My sister-in-law had her cell phone, and she got a few shots.
It may be the last time I shall ever see that particular juxtaposition of freighters, given reducing lake levels... which is something we do not read about much nationally, but the Great Lakes are at low levels, and have been for an unusually long time. Lake Superior is supposed to increase by 1 inch this year - which is an enormous amount of water given the surface area of Lake Superior - but that is not enough to appreciably change lake levels in Lakes Huron and Michigan and points south.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Automobile Makers 1899

According to Seeger and Guernsey's Cyclopaedia 
of the Manufactures and Products of the United States

Google Books

PAGE 968

J. C. Blevney, Newark, N. J.
Bramwell-Robinson Co., Hyde Park, Mass.
Canda Mfg. Co., Carteret, N. J.          
Cleveland Machine Screw Co., Cleveland, O.
Crouch Automobile Mfg. Co., Baltimore, Md.
Daimler Mfg. Co., 169 Broadway, New York.
Dovetail Co., Crawfordsville, Ind.
Duryea Wagon Co., Springfield, Mass.
Eaton Motor Carriage Co., Portland, Me.
Elgin Automobile Co., Elgin, 111.
J. Frank Duryea, Springfield, Mass.
Electric Carriage & Battery Co., Cleveland, O.
Electric Vehicle Co., 100 Broadway, New York.
Frantz Body Mfg. Co., Akron, O.
General Electric Co., Lynn, Mass.
Geneva Wagon Co., Geneva, N. Y.
Graef Motor Co., Brooklyn, N. Y.
Holyoke Motor Carriage Co., Holyoke, Mass.
Holyoke Motor Works, Holyoke, Mass.
Lewis Motor Vehicle Co., Philadelphia, Pa.
Liquid Air Power & Automobile Co., Boston, Mass.
Marsh Motor Carriage Co., Brockton, Mass.
W. ,T. McCullough, 122 Massachusetts Av., Boston, Mass.
Mississippi Valley Automobile Trans. Co., E. St. Louis, Mo.
Mobile Co. of America, Irvington-on-Hudson, N. Y.
National Motor Co., Stamford, Conn.
Niagara Automobile Co., Niagara Falls, N. Y.
Olds Gasoline Engine Works, Lansing, Mich.
Olds Motor Carriage Co., Detroit, Mich.
Olds Motor Vehicle Co., Lansing, Mich.
Overman Wheel Co., Chicopee Falls, Mass.
Patton Motor Co., Chicago, 111.
Phila. Motor Wagon Co., Camden, N. J.
Pittsburg Motor Vehicle Co., Pittsburg, Pa.
Poste Bros. Buggy Co., Columbus, O.
Rhode Island Automobile Co., Providence, R. I.
Rochester Electric Vehicle Co., Rochester, N. Y.
C. H. Sieg Mfg. Co., Kenosha, Wis.
St. Louis Gasoline Motor Co., 115 S. nth St., St. Louis, Mo.
C. M. Spencer, Windsor, Conn.
Standard Novelty Co., Port Huron, Mich.
Still Motor Co., Toronto, Can.
Strathmore Automobile Co., Albion Bldg., Boston, Mass.
U. S. Automobile Co., Pawtucket, R. I.
U. S. Motor Carriage Co., Andover, Mass.
U. S. Motor Co. of Pittsburg & Allegheny, Pittsburg, Pa.
Whitney Steam Carriage Works, East Boston, Mass.


For You Sci Fi Buffs

Even think of the similarity between British Petroleum's Gulf-destroying oil rig Deep Horizon and the film Event Horizon?


Life After BP

In Stuart Smith's blog on May 16, 2013:

Look anywhere in the Gulf and you’ll find problems — like toxic tar balls

Dean Blanchard is as direct as they come so if you need bedside manner, don’t come here. Whether you agree with what he says or not, Dean speaks the truth as he knows it and in my book, he knows some.

When I asked him about the oil on his porch, Dean looked at me as if to say, that ain’t nothin.’ Just the day before, Dean reported, contractors for BP had collected 5,000 pounds of oil at Grand Terre Island.

Over the last year, Dean said that some 200 to 300 residents had left Grand Isle. “They’re too sick to stay,” he told me. “With all kind of respiratory problems…people couldn’t breathe!”

If memory serves,breathing problems increase with proximity to the oil well head, or the proximity to crude hydrocarbons.

The BP disaster has just begun. Just because Big Media ignores it does not mean it has been remedied and gone away. We are just getting past our opening moves and settling into the long, long middle game.


Thumbs Up?

Gun dudes and gun dudettes! A juxtaposition of events from bizarro world? Or an everyday occurence? You be the judge.

New Orleans (CNN) -- New Orleans police arrested a second suspect in the Mother's Day shooting that wounded 19 people this week, including three still in critical condition, authorities said Thursday.
The two suspects are believed to be involved in gangs, police said. No further details were immediately available, authorities said.
Now the question is: in a properly constituted weaponized society, is this an acceptable statistic... one that is very much regrettable, but in the larger view is all part of the being-in-the-hot-kitchen and breaking-eggs-to-make-omelets?

I think this is a big thumbs up!


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Tiger Moms Again

Data Challenges ‘Tiger Mom’ Parenting Methods
When Amy Chua sounded her battle cry in 2011, first with the Wall Street Journal article “Why Chinese Mothers are Superior,” followed closely by her tongue-in-cheek parenting memoir Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, the advocate of heavy-handed child-rearing met criticism for both encouraging draconian parenting and for reinforcing stereotypes. Slate reports on a recently published study by University of Texas professor Su Yeong Kim, whose research suggests that the methods used by “tiger moms” and “wolf dads” may not promote success in their children:

In March, she published her results; they will no doubt surprise Chua and her admirers. Children of parents whom Kim classified as “tiger” had lower academic achievement and attainment—and greater psychological maladjustment—and family alienation, than the kids of parents characterized as “supportive” or “easygoing.”

And a reprint, since we are talking of education:

What Americans Keep Ignoring About Finland's School Success
By Anu Partanen
Dec 29 2011, 3:00 PM ET  
The Scandinavian country is an education superpower because it values equality more than excellence...



Friday, May 17, 2013

When Did The Modern Era Begin? 2

My first post on When Did The Modern yadda-yadda-yadda opened up an enormous area of endeavor, and I hardly know where to continue. I feel a bit overwhelmed.

Empires Never Have To Say They're Sorry

A few hours after my post on the Mind of Empire this morning, I came across this in Democracy Now! :

In a Senate hearing today, Pentagon officials claimed President Obama and future presidents have the power to send troops anywhere in the world to fight groups linked to al-Qaeda, based in part on the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), passed by Congress days after the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
At first I thought of a bizarro world or alternate DC universe galaxy where another form of FDR spoke of bizarro world Four Freedoms:
 ...and freedom of Force... anywhere in the world. 
I am using my FDR imitation for this, and it is very effectively bizarro.

Gosh, I guess we should never have backed Al Qaeda - sending arms and money and what not....... just like some people like John McCain and his crowd want to do right now with the so-called "rebels" in Syria - when they were good old freedom fighters against the USSR in Afghanistan.

Being and Empire means never having to say you're sorry.


The Teflon Mind of Empire

The Mind of Empire is devoted to self-preservation, usually at any cost. If self-preservation is normally considered to be a matter of fighting and violence, then those segments of society involved with violence and weapons of violence will be most closely identified with empire; other segments of society may be sloughed off or mistreated or amputated with impunity.

I think it is a shame that in so many sciences there is such progress, creativity, and discovery as there is now, and that there is also the realization that the major funding and progress that will be made in most of these fields will be in those which are most clearly able to be "weaponized".

It is the Teflon frame of mind, you see, that is responsible for it.
Teflon early on found important use and substantial funding in the Manhattan Project.
Ever since World War II, we have partially justified enormous military expenditures based on the fact that discoveries used in weaponry "leak" out into the general public in time, and then make our lives better.
(Apparently it never dawned on us that non-military funding on a comparable scale to military funding would accomplish the same discoveries and break-throughs without weapons and war.)

The only common ground present day groups of mankind seem to be able to find is a battle ground.


Don't Throw A Dipole!

 Throwing A Dipole

It has never been clear to me how the waters and the winds interact. The wind blows upon the water and creates waves, but how does the ocean affect the air? I believe climate models have implied that this relationship exists, but what actions of the waters significantly impact the air?
Ocean waves breaking far from shore impart a greater portion of their energy to the air than they do to the surrounding water. That is the claim of scientists in Italy and Australia who are the first to model the dynamics of the air directly over breaking waves. Although it has not been verified experimentally, the result challenges the previously held belief that most of a breaking wave's energy remains in the water. If verified, the finding could have important implications for our understanding of cloud formation, climate modelling, oceanic circulation, and wave and weather forecasting...
The simulations showed that right before a wave breaks, it accelerates and its crest becomes sharp. As it breaks, the airflow on top of the wave suddenly separates from the crest and forms a vortex behind it – much like the vortices that form behind a spoon pulled through a cup of coffee. When the vortex makes contact with the water surface, it kicks up a second vortex of opposite sign, and the two tangle together in a capsule of counter-rotating air known as a dipole, and get thrown upwards into the atmosphere..
When the scientists investigated just how much of a breaker's energy is lost to this newly recognized dissipation route, they were staggered to find that up to three times more energy is transmitted to the air as is returned to the water. ... this figure relates only to particularly steep waves, but the fact of the energies being comparable in order of magnitude is noteworthy...
An interesting article both for the subject and the insight into how much our knowledge is a good "guesstimate" until a good experimental scientist happens along.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

When Did The Modern Era Begin? 1

The Modern Era became evident in the 1980's when the AIDS epidemic first surfaced.
The illness was greeted officially in the USA by the greater part of the political and politico-religious elites seeing it as a sign from their God (who and whatever that deity and idol might have been!)

It has changed now, but the underlying hatred merely morphs and changes it objectives.

Morality is a logical body and grammar of usage and belief which networks a community.
The response to AIDs was an eruption of amputation of parts of the body of society, and casting those parts beyond the pale officially. I believe the President himself sanctioned this view.

Although these parts of society have now been largely allowed re-entry into official society, our underlying fury at communality drives our murderous rampage through Nature and the World.

The Coming Change

I believe the world of Capitalism as we know it is dying. I do not mean Capitalism is dying, for Capitalism is a concept which can put on a coat of many colors; all ideas changes and evolve. I mean Capitalism as we know it, the Exploitation Capitalism which is divorced from Community and Morality is dying.

What does that mean? Briefly, any form of Capitalism which creates a disaster comparable to the fiscal crisis starting in 2008 in the USA, followed soon thereafter by Europe, is a Capitalism that recognizes no network of bonds and commitments to a community, a community being an extended group that possesses a common moral logic.

Look at Reuter's this morning:

There Is No Sovereign Debt Crisis In Europe
Evidence that Europe’s austerity policies are not working was in ample supply this morning. The euro zone as a whole is now in its longest recession since the start of monetary union. France has succumbed to the region’s retrenchment. Italy’s GDP slump is now the lengthiest on record. And Greece, still in depression, shrank another 5.3 percent in the first quarter.
To understand why this is happening, Brown University professor Mark Blyth says it is necessary to forget everything you think you know about the euro zone crisis. The monetary union’s troubles are not, as often depicted, the result of runaway spending by bloated, profligate states that are finally being forced to pay the piper. Instead, argues Blyth, it is merely a sequel to the U.S. financial meltdown that started, like its American counterpart, with dangerously-indebted risk-taking on the part of a super-sized banking sector...
In other words, revisit the sources of the hit-and-run and see again that it was the recklessness of Exploitative Capitalism that caused the accident. Yet, to amend this, many are saying that not only should the common people pay once for the banks, but they should pay twice, thrice, and four times and more for the folly of the financial and political elites!

In a new book entitled “Austerity: The history of a dangerous idea,” Blythe writes that sovereign budgets have come under strain primarily because taxpayers of various nations have been forced to shoulder the burden of failed banking systems.
The way austerity is being represented by both politicians and the media – as the payback for something called the ‘sovereign debt crisis,’ supposedly brought on by states that apparently ‘spent too much’ – is a quite fundamental misrepresentation of the facts. These problems, including the crisis in the bond markets, started with the banks and will end with the banks. The current mess is not a sovereign debt crisis generated by excessive spending for anyone except the Greeks. For everyone else, the problem is the banks that sovereigns have to take responsibility for, especially in the euro zone. That we call it a ‘sovereign debt crisis’ suggests a very interesting politics of ’bait and switch’ at play.
So why all the misunderstanding? Why has the crisis become conflated with a government debt problem in the public imagination? According to Blythe, this is a convenient way for Wall Street to again saddle the state with massive banking sector losses.
The cost of bailing, recapitalizing, and otherwise saving the global banking system has been, depending on how you count it, between 3 and 13 trillion dollars. Most of that ended up on the balance sheets of governments as they absorb the costs of the bust, which is why we mistakenly call this a sovereign debt crisis when in fact it is a transmuted and well-camouflaged banking crisis.

We are witnessing the birth pains of the Capitalism of the future, but the old first-born Capitalism will fight the arrival of a new heir on the scene.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

L'Age de Foucault !

I just used the word "panopticon" in the previous post.

Suddenly it dawns on me that we saw a very good example of it in the use of the Boston street surveillance cameras during the search for the Boston Marathon bombers: a system where all society is under surveillance.

M. Foucault wrote about the panopticon. I think his time has arrived. Unfortunately, his time is a horseman seated on one of four steeds... sometimes... in my dreams.


Whom To Vote For

 Panopticon Design Prison

I have previously said that were there the possibility of a third term for presidents, I would not vote for Mr. Obama again.

I think that all presidents, however, become enslaved to the prevailing currents in Washington D.C. The atmosphere and the narratives there are like treacherous rip tides in which politicians swim.

The odds of anyone escaping unscathed are very small.....

I always thought we should move the Capital every 10 years or so. Now in the electronic age, there is no reason why we should allow elected men and women to  be imprisoned in the gilded prisons of Panopticon Washington D.C.

Free the elected!
Move the Capital to Morris, Illinois in 2020 !


Panopticon.... Google it.

It is a concept folded like a 10-dimensional quilt... and has many. many shades of meaning to me. I use it to give an impression of a uniformity of thought and an inescapability; i.e., politicians cannot escape from the influence of lobbyists... they are under 24 hour surveillance, just as are prisoners in maximum security.... just as the Intel state has the rest of us under surveillance.
...Foucault saw the Panopticon as indicative of a shift toward unverifiable observation – where the incarcerated were moved out of dungeons and into the possibility of view. Its unverifiable nature was of most importance. By removing the surveyor (in Bentham’s case the Warden) from sight, the subjects were left to guess if they were being watched or not. The effect was one of mass control through minimal input, with subjects learning to curtail their behavior as an outcome of the environment. If you couldn’t verify the existence of surveillance but knew it was possible at any moment, then the presumption was you were under constant observation. In recognizing the impact of surveillance on the body, Foucault (1977) writes:
The classic age discovered the body as an object and target of power. It is easy enough to find signs of the attention then paid to the body – to the body that is manipulated, shaped, trained, which obeys, responds, becomes skillful and increases its forces.

It is an old concept little used; therefore, it is brand new to us, and it may mean what we wish it to mean. Let us give it good and powerful meaning.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


If there were third terms and I would not vote for Mr. Obama a third time nowise implies that I would vote for a Republican. As I have mentioned, I took an oath never to vote for a Republican again at the time they could not say no to ever increasing spending when Dennis Hasteart was House Speaker, sometime in 2007.

Even Tom DeLay's criminality could not get me to take an oath... oaths being expressly forbidden as written in Matthew's Gospel.


I voted For Mr. Obama Twice

I do not regret my vote, for the alternate were appalling.
However, Mr. Obama is beginning to be less and less appealing to me.

If there still were third terms open for Presidents, I would not vote for him.


An Adventure In Art (28)

Cracked Egg With Spoon

Sarah Sedwick
Sedwick Studio



Hank Jakubowski asked me why I was so strident about Syria.
I told him, briefly, I was tired of the lies.

He smirked and said that he thought us "religious" types (he calls me "religious" since I do mention religion as something more than a socio-political concept) were supposed to forgive our enemies... not constantly complain about them.

I told him he had it wrong. We are supposed to forgive our enemies, but these people were our "friends".

Our Syrian Allies Take Heart

A video which appears to show a Syrian rebel taking a bite from the heart of a dead soldier has been widely condemned.
US-based Human Rights Watch identified the rebel as Abu Sakkar, a well-known insurgent from the city of Homs, and said his actions were a war crime.
The main Syrian opposition coalition said he would be put on trial.
The video, which cannot be independently authenticated, seems to show him cutting out the heart.
"I swear to God we will eat your hearts and your livers, you soldiers of Bashar the dog," the man says referring to President Bashar al-Assad as he stands over the soldier's corpse...

Tattoed Muslims?

This entire charade has never been anything more than a conspiracy between the US government, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Israel to get rid of Syria's Shia influence:  to establish Sunni hegemony in the near Middle East and add to the repression of Shia minorities... as well as Christians, Druzes, Alawi, and every other minority.

Why would our government do this? Why would Mr. Obama, whom we supported for years, do this thoughtless deed? It essentially comes down to Benjamin Netanyahu telling the US government what to do and when to do it. 
By spending the last two years threatening to bomb Iran, Israel frightened the US and I suppose the US government breathed a sigh of relief when everything became an attack on Syria.

And in this time of fiscal cut-backs and reduction of benefits, we are paying full price for it. We have paid for the umbrella of support which covers the violence and atrocities.

I am simply tired of being lied to. I have been lied to about Iraq over a ten year period. I have been lied to about the financial sector in my country and around the world. I have been lied to about the economic justifications of cut-backs that effect me directly.

I frankly am sick and tired, and I am not going to take it anymore!