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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Let's Just Take A Deep Breath....

 And Now The News At 11:00...

... relax.... deep breaths....

We were talking about Rob Ford, Mayor of Toronto earlier, but....

We have a country where Sarah Palin makes juvenile parallels with slavery, and Martin Bashir invokes various barbarisms as punishment involving urination and defecation!

Just relax and think about it for a second...

We have a government agency that was supposed to track terrorists now collecting phone calls and emails from every person on earth! And many people in Congress are cool with it!

Just think about it.

We have stampedes, fights, and shootings at retail centers on the day after Thanksgiving!
Do you think I'm making this up?
I mean, what the heck?
Some Nativity scene or Ten Commandments at the City Hall ain't gonna help these suckers!
War on Christmas, heck! More like War on Thanksgiving! Just wait until Boxing Day, December 26, if you want to see a War on Christmas!

My mother tells me on Thanksgiving that Mr. Obama is going to run again for president. They are going to change the law. They are going to apparently repeal the Constitutional Amendment limiting a person to two terms as president.
I asked her how that gets by the House of Representatives and the 3/4 of the States in time for 2015, but she says it's gonna happen. Maybe Michelle Obama's gonna run, and Barak will be the power behind the throne, and be the puppetmaster!
Now this is literally bat-shit crazy.
(Well, she only listens to FOX and Rush Limbaugh, and I don't think FOX is that's crazed yet.)

I accused her of too much fruit cake with bourbon, because this was bizarre even for my mother!
(Truly, a 92 year old little lady cannot suddenly take bourbon and soak a 2 year old fruit cake she has been saving next to the "Use By May 2005" jar of creole mustard in the refrigerator, then start nibbling at the soaked pieces without some bad effects. By Christmas dinner, I will be the only teetotaller in the crowd, and I am really looking forward to that freak show.)

I said it was just like the Seinfeld episode where Kramer was going to run for the Boca Del Vista presidency, and Marty Seinfeld was going to be the power behind the throne.........
She did not get it. She does not get Seinfeld.

Maybe that's part of our problem: we are not able to recognize outrageous satire and comedy.
If the Marx Brothers were in their prime now, they would be News Commentators!



 Mr. Murdoch And His Newspaper

Read Russell Brand's description of Rupert Murdoch and his maleficent company, Newscorp.
It is memorable.
...The pain, disruption and distress, that the Sun inflicted by falsely claiming that I cheated on my girlfriend, in the context of such awesome corruption, is a pale liver-spot on the back of Murdoch's glabrous claw...
Now "glabrous" means a surface devoid of hair, and in this case, referring to the human  body could mean devoid of hair or pubescent hair.
The picture of Mr. Murdoch's ancient hands stripped of their youthful hirsute covering, and now festooned with liver-spots is ghastly in its perfection of detail.

I will not cross either of these gentlemen.


Black Days In November Videos

I have been watching videos covering the shopping experience on Black Thursday (previously known as Thanksgiving Day) and Black Friday.

I am beginning to understand why the media uses the adjective "black". It does remind one of great riots and panics of history.

I am watching shoppers riot, fight, and sometimes shoot each other.
Nothing surprises me anymore about our country, so I just amuse myself by watching. The old days when I felt I had to shake my head in disbelief, and then write something judgmental are gone... just sit back and watch The USA go shopping for a while.... maybe watch Canadian TV coverage of the Mayor of Toronto...

It's all good.
I am glad that the guys at Walmart were not in charge of the Loaves and Fishes detail; might not have made it through to Passover, and Easter might have been 4 months early.

(The actual source of the term "Black Friday" had a negative connotation: )


Friday, November 29, 2013


 Gents' Room for Men Carrying Concealed Weapons

On film ratings at Mind Of A Suspicious Kind:
... Listen, I'm not for censorship of violent films. I just think it's funny that sex is still a scary thing in the States and that meanwhile out there in Europe there are nude women in bus ads. Talk about societal advancements, those Europeans got it going on. i just find it ironic that for a country that seems to be scared of sex -"oh the children", "GOD is looking down on you"- there really is less of a strict restriction from the MPAA on violent, big blockbuster movies...
Mr. Ruimy hails from Quebec, Canada. You can spot it, since he refers to "America" as "the States".
Canadians are ceaselessly harping on the fact that "America" covers most of what used to be called The New World, and specifically means North, Central, and South Americas.
Picky, picky.

Anyway, the fear of images of sex combined with the love of images of violence in the States is a phenom the rest of the world (i.e., the world outside "America") finds hard to comprehend.

They do not seem to understand the basic law-abiding character of your typical American; we have an entire Constitutional Amendment and all the trimmings  -  such as Supreme Court decisions and reams of legalese  -  that underlie our love of violence.

Does Mr. Ruimy really think we should have an Amendment for baring certain areas of the body as well?


Huzzah For Physics!

Wonderful news in Quantum Theory!

I have been waiting for this for years, literally, literally years!
Physics World.Com
Perhaps the simplest and starkest demonstration of wave–particle duality is the famous double-slit experiment. Particles such as photons or electrons that are emitted discretely behave as waves when they pass through two slits and build-up an interference pattern when detected individually on a screen.

In this latest version of the experiment, Lev Vaidman and colleagues at Tel-Aviv University used Mach–Zehnder interferometers as double slits and photons as particles.
The researchers believe that this validates an unconventional interpretation of quantum theory called the two-state vector formalism. It was first proposed in 1964 by Yakir Aharonov, Peter Bergmann and Joel Lebowitz.

Here, the probability of finding a particle in a particular place is the product of two vectors: one evolving forwards in time from the source and one evolving backwards in time from the detector.
Two vectors, one going forwards in time, and the other going backwards in time. Where is Rod Taylor when you really need him to drag out the old Time Machine?


Black Thursday Sales!

As we drove home from my mother's, when we reached the urban areas, the traffic was as heavy at 8:30 pm yesterday as it usually is at about 4:30 on a work day, a time just before the maximum rush hour, but a time when all the lanes are full and we move along stiffly from a drive to a brake, from a forward to a standstill; the movement is punctuated and monotonously regular, like a regiment of soldiers goose-stepping in Pyongyang in Kim Il Sung Square in honor of one or another descendants of Kim Il Sung himself.
Drive, stop; drive, stop; we lumbered down the roads brightly lit. We drove over the river, which was hidden in a large culvert and was out of sight, and through the long-cut-down woods.

The stores were packed.
The parking lots were more crowded than we had ever seen before, as the John Q Consumers registered each and every one of their individual votes on the issue of "Shopping on Thanksgiving Day: Good or Bad?" with gusto.

The streets around Lakeside Mall were Blade-Runner-ish brilliant - future Los Angeles neon streets.
The great and festive gobs of electric light plasmafied the sky and the streets. The black asphalt glowed deep silvery-jet with the lightning of pulsating commerce.

When we reached Utica (Michigan) on Hall Road, things began to settle down, but there were large groups of people standing about, staring at the glare and rumble that came from the Lakeside Mall area.
Hall Road bridged over the Van Dyke expressway, so the lights and clamor were bounced up over the hump formed by the bridge, and it looked like false dawn suddenly illuminating a dark, shadowy mountain.

I looked into my rear view mirror, and I saw the dark rise of the bridge and the Sun of artifice dawning over it, making this time of black winter night at least as bright as dusk just after sunset.....

Oh, Brave New World, my soul sang!


What's To Be Done?

After Thanksgiving dinner, people talk about the state of the world and what's to be done.

As long as we keep talking, it is good. Let us give thanks that we have not reached a point where words fail us, and only terrible and swift actions remain.

Let us pray.


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Oh, Death of Thanksgivings Past

Ralph Stanley Singing
O, Death
O, Death
Won't you spare me over til another year

(reprint from past Thanksgivings)

The title pretty well sums it up.
I do not wish to lose my father. He has an abdominal aneurysm and the medics are debating whether to operate based on the strength of his heart. Based on the size of the aneurysm, there should be an operation.

It has been a long two years. Last year he was so sick from pneumonia he could not walk to my car to be driven to the hospital. Well, he recovered well and we were soon laughing about jet-age diuretics and how fast they work. My mother had an angioplasty and a stent procedure.
Afterwards I told her that she had too much food around with trans fats. She laughed and said, "It's his lungs, not his heart, that's the problem." "It's not dad I'm talking about." I said.

 So Thanksgiving approaches. There's a jar of gravy with partially hydrogenated molecules waiting for me. I'm picking up the turkey on Wednesday, taking it to their place 60 miles north and going to the doctor's with my father. Will return Thursday early to pop turkey into oven. And I will worry.
I will have to rely on my mother until I return on Thursday.
Last year when cleaning the recessed lighting in the kitchen I discovered what looked like minute pieces of beef jerky on the ceiling. Well, they were indeed beef. My mother's pressure cooker exploded some months before. She no longer uses it.
I do not wish to lose them. We have faced death before. They have been ill. I have been ill. My daughter had been ill many times in the past, God willing, not so in the present and future.

When we first brushed up against Death, he cut us to the quick with a scowl and we huddled in bed, grasping each other like we'd never let go again and crying ourselves to exhaustion. I guess one never gets used to it, but you become bolder and less fearful. I do not wish to lose them. We've only gotten to like each other the last few weeks. We are more like old friends. (Old crotchety friends, true.)

Death has no dominion in the kingdom of Faith.


T-Day: Faith and Reason

Thanksgiving Faith
reminds me to get up at 5:00 a.m. and start doing the things I need to do, even though today is a holiday.  

Thanksgiving Reason
tells me I can accomplish the same things by getting up a little later and leaving out that second cup of morning tea. I get up.

Reason has led me through the planning of the previous 2 weeks; who is in and who is out? how many pounds per person? we need a 16 pound turkey. do you people know what you are doing? that is not my turkey. if we have 2 kinds of stuffing, then there will be no room in the oven…
Faith leads me through the execution of it all with a devotion to the cause and a sense of service and humility ( why should I have to do all the work?!).

Reason leads us to the feast of thanks and love. Faith puts it all together and is the culmination.  

Footnote I could go on about this, but I think this is just enough. I have mentioned how unsatisfactory is the experience of reading about religion these days. I intend to write more here on the topic. My thrust is Reason and Faith are different. Bad men may abuse either and we see terrible things done by Science or Religion. Furthermore, they need not be reconciled, for they are never apart, appearances to the contrary. They could only be called "apart" if they were supposed to have been "conjoined" in the first place. They are in us like Taste and Smell, different yet dependent on each other.


Getting In Shape For T-Day

Even though this cartoon is for Christmas ( o Natal ) rather than Thanksgiving, the thoughts remain the same.

Loose translation:

Lady on Treadmill:  You really have to lose weight for Christmas.

Turkey on Treadmill:    Even if it kills me...

Everything I know about Portuguese, I learned on the Net. I think it is a totally wizard and shaman way to learn a new lingo. Next I shall attempt English.

reprint from past Thanksgivings

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Hurry Sundown

 חג אורים שמח

Hannukah starts soon. Hurry sunset!
I have gelt for all the children.

Which reminds me of the year that I was at a freundliche and gluckliche get-together at a friend's house, and at the time his children were young, so I had put some gold-wrapped chocolate coins, the gelt, in my pockets earlier, so I would have it ready to give to them.
When I saw the bright faces of the children, I could not find the chocolate coins in my pants pockets.
I could not figure out what happened to them.

I found them the next summer melted in the pocket of my coat, oozing from the golden foil.

As it is said, Life is brief (Vita brevis), Art is long, (Ars longa), and Vey ist noch länger... woe is even longer (than Art!)



Getting ready for Thanksgiving Day. We shall go to my mother's tonight, and spend the night trying to be comfortable in the 73 degree heat she has the thermostat set for. If we dodge the heat, we might run into the high decibel audio from the TV set playing in the den across from the guest bedroom.

We shall give thanks for our health, family, friends;

I shall give thanks for having President Obama instead of some other choice as President: either a rich Thurston Howell III who represents 1% or a "My Name Is Earl" type like a Randy Hickey, only unlikeable.

I shall give thanks for the President on his own merits, too, not merely because the opposition is boundlessly inferior.

Give thanks for the country and its well-being; give thanks that we did not bomb more countries and managed to make headway with healing over old wounds with old enemies, perhaps paving the way for peace.

And a special Thanksgiving Award goes to Edward Snowden this year, a man who revealed just how much of our freedom we had given away, and not one person in the Government, Congress, nor Executive was going to step forward and bear witness to the outrageous grab for power by the NSA.

Thank you, Edward Snowden!
We owe you a great debt !

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

And The Award For The Best Beheading Video Goes To...

 Graves In Juarez

Surprisingly enough, it may not go to the Syrian "Freedom Fighters" after all. It may go to some anonymous Mexican drug cartels.

A film of a woman being beheaded in Mexico caused an international outcry in October when Facebook refused to remove it from its site. There have been hundreds of reports about the video - but why has no-one identified the victim in it?
In the grainy footage, the woman is on her knees in jeans and a pink top, before a masked man holding a knife behind her says in a gruff voice: "Well, gentleman, this is what happens to all those in the Gulf Cartel. On behalf of Los Zetas."
The rest of the video is a gruesome 40 seconds of cold-blooded murder, which caused international controversy recently when it was posted on Facebook.
"Irresponsible" was the word used by the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, about the social network's policy permitting the video to be uploaded. After a day or so of impassioned debate on both sides, Facebook reversed its decision and took the video down...

It's a tough world out there, especially if you get run over by the ineffective Drug War, which by all accounts has increased demand for drugs, just as Afghanistan's opium never really took off until NATO took over in 2001.

The dynamics is very obscure.


Why Am I Pessimistic For The Near Term?

Because little substantial is being done to address our major problems.

The government can barely run from debt ceiling to debt ceiling, and the large steps to come to grips with numerous problems are not being taken : everything is attenuated, watered-down, or filibustered.
Case in point, the Glass-Steagall Act will not be re-instated to ensure the health of the financial system. It won't be reinstated until after the next financial catastrophe.

At least we have been able to make a large overhaul of health-care (we'll see how it comes out, but it is better than the do-nothing approach), not bomb Syria, and come to a diplomatic agreement with Iran.
Those are enormous steps given our history.
They were and are not easy to do.

We run from the difficult, and filibuster a smoke-screen to give the illusion that we are doing something.
Nobody is deceived anymore.



Albert the Great, Writer on Moral Agency

Sometimes I actually learn something, or at least it seems as if I have.

Over the last week, I have mused upon the moral logic of moral choices, wondering in what manner moral logic differs from everyday logic: why there is no simple rule of deduction from moral premises to moral conclusions to guide our actions.

A great number of people would stop right here and say that my description of moral choice is nonsense.
I cannot help that.
I plunge on.
The outcome of moral logic, the moral choice, does not flow from facts and premises and hypotheses. There is something else; the emotional life intervenes and prioritizes values and colors all the logic in very subjective ways.

It is the nature of emotions to be subjective and individual. That part of our being is very much ourselves. We life in a vast universe and large solar systems, and are part of intricate societies with habits, laws, and rules which are not of our making, and which may well be inimical to us.
But the realm of emotion is our own, and it is the moonrise kingdom of each and every human being alone.

How do we find something common, then, in the emotional contents of moral logics?

We learn from William Ralph Inge the hints that lead us to Virtue.
Virtue is the unifying force.
When we choose the more noble path to follow, and leave behind those paths which are the routes of people who are not noble nor virtuous, we choose Virtue, and by choosing Virtue, we choose the way which will ennoble us.

Does it matter is we be ennobled?
We go this way only once, so we decide whether to be noble or ignoble; we choose whether to be virtuous or to be unvirtuous.
Nowadays, we usually take a pose, and we pretend that virtue is meaningless, the world is finite, and this is all there is.... a dead end.... so why prettify a dead end with virtue?

Virtue transforms the world, because it is the magic within the emotional nature of mankind.
If you ignore Virtue, the world remains dead rocks.
If you choose Virtue, the world gains the soul of human emotion, and becomes as new as you are capable of sustaining novelty and blessings.


The Democrats Invoke The Nuclear Option

Which means that now a simple majority is needed to approve a presidential nominee.

Republicans responded with the fact that Pandora's Box had been opened, and all manner of ills and evils will come flying out. In particular, they said that Democrats might not always be in the majority in the Senate, so then they will regret their rash decision.

I cannot believe that they actually threatened the Democrats with the awful spectre of themselves.

I am reading that during the tenure of he first 43 Presidents, 86 presidential nominees were filibustered; during Mr. Obama's tenure thus far, 82 have been filibustered.

Something is afoot.

Perhaps Mr. Limbaugh, whom my mother listens to, could clarify the numbers for us. he has taken Oprah to task for implying racism may be behind a good deal of political opposition at the present time. He should, then, be able to tell us why 82 nominees have been filibustered.
Perhaps it is not racism, but is merely the growing anarchist-Republican movement, which hates all forms of government. Perhaps it is a yearning for States' Rights and Secession.

All you who preach to us ad nauseam, make it clear, please.


Monday, November 25, 2013

Those Crazy Chemical Weapons

After Albania blushed and declined the invitation to host the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons in its country, there has been some talk of destroying them in a lab in the middle of the ocean somewhere. The great isolation of the lab would be for safety's sake.

It made me wonder what would have happened if Senators McCain and Graham had had their way, and the US Air Force had bombed the chemical weapons on site in Syria. I mean, it was not like being out in the middle of the ocean somewhere, and just how much delicate control does a chemical weapons lab technician have when the instrument of choice is a bomb dropped from an airplane?

How many Syrian lives were to be forfeit for the Syrian rebels and their supporters?


Clockwork Orange Fools

The reforms to the financial system are not sufficient to preserve it from its own folly again.

What kind of fools actively put their futures at such a risk?

Senator Ted Kaufman in Forbes:
If you have read any of my previous posts, you know I believe Dodd-Frank has failed to achieve its announced objective: to make the systemic changes necessary to prevent another financial meltdown.
Doing nothing to reduce the size of our too-big-to-fail banks has been its greatest failure. We know our four largest banks are bigger and more complex now than they were when we bailed them out in 2008, with combined assets that amount to 97 percent of 2012 U.S. GDP. We must also acknowledge that for the foreseeable future we have nothing in place that would protect American taxpayers from another necessary bailout if one or all of those banks were in danger of failing.

Since 2009, when I co-sponsored a bill with Senators McCain and Cantwell to reinstate Glass-Steagall in an updated form, I have believed that was by far the best solution to the TBTF  (Too Big To Fail)  problem. The bill went nowhere then, and a similar bill introduced a month ago by Senators McCain, Cantwell and Warren will no doubt suffer the same fate. The Volcker Rule started out as Glass-Steagall-lite three years ago. It has been so watered down that, whatever it looks like when the regulators release it in some final form, it will do nothing about TBTF.

We are left with the “Orderly Liquidation Authority” included in Dodd-Frank—weak tea indeed for a number of reasons. Most importantly, that OLA requires agreements across national borders. Yet the G20’s Financial Stability Board has said that international regulators still lack the power to impose losses on creditors and resolve banks without taxpayer bailouts and that “few jurisdictions have equipped administrative authorities with the full set of powers to resolves banks.” Unless and until we make major changes in the size and complexity of megabanks, Dodd-Frank’s OLA is a paper tiger.

As I write this, the TV news has something about "Knockout Games" where teens go around knocking down older folks. I may as well ask why Life imitates Art so much, and why this society chooses the ignoble choices, such as Clockwork Orange to model itself after.


McMansions Are Back In The Neighborhood

Business Week:

About half the added square footage on homes built by Pulte in the past 10 years has gone to storage space...
Yes, and what is being stored?

What are the implications of having become a nation of wealthy pack-rats?

Or, better yet, what are the implications of these monstrosities built from crap? One of my favorite sights is a huge home with incredibly cheap plastic mullioned windows, or sidings of raw wood covered in paint.


..., Because Freedom!

I believe we should gather not only every telephone call, text message, and email in the US of A, but also every one made overseas by the leaders of Germany, France, and the UK...

...,  because freedom!

I also think people should have the right to bear arms everywhere, schools, churches, everywhere! Notwithstanding the fact that back in the old days, Miss Kitty forbade firearms in the Long Branch Saloon...

...,  because Constitution!


Health Care Alternatives


See full size at  Hullabaloo


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Baby Steps To Anarchy

Explain to me the exact difference in effect between Anarchy and Shutting Down The Government.

Shutting down the government is anarchy by baby steps, such as the ideas of Dr. Leo Marvin.


Albert Camus

She-who-must-be-obeyed has been called for jury duty.
I have already served my time in durance vile, as one calls the enormous waiting room wherein the jurors-to-be toll the weary hours. Actually, the room is not enormous. It is, in fact, a bit smallish for the sharpers, grifters, lounge lizards, and dainty housewives gathered together, rehearsing their lines for 12 Angry Guys And Dolls.

She read the instructions, which extend to the clothing to be worn.

"No Camō...," she said, long "o".

I roused myself from selfless somnolence. "Camou?" I asked.

" Camō," she said. People today call it "camo..., long 'o' ". Even children are dressed in camo.

I thought back to World War I. " Camo, camou, camə...,"

the last being that universal "uh" we use so much: "cam-uh" as in "cam-uh-flage".

I decided to use "camou" for "camouflage" as well as "Camus" as in "Albert Camus", l'Algérien.
So I decided this winter a coat with enormous lapels would be my fashion statement, my Camou.
If on the very remote chance someone were to sidle up to me and ask me to envy them their new camo togs, I would look at them interrogatively, asking where the big lapels were!

"Montag, everyone say 'camo'. How can you expect to relate with the readers of your blog if you insist on being so bizarre?"

I smiled.
"Anyone who reads the blog, reads it because it is different. Everyone has a thousand several writers writing about the mundane things they already have too much of....,"

I trailed off, thinking.

"I want everything to be different and fabulous."

She googled, rustled papers, then harrumphed.


What Is Faith?

 William Ralph Inge

There are Faith and Unfaith, Good and Evil, the True and the False.

What are we of the 21st century to believe?

I echo William Ralph Inge, who said that Faith is the choice of the Nobler hypothesis.
And I wish to extend it to choice of the nobler alternative offered to any moral agent.
Thus, we extend Faith far beyond the concept "Dogma".
(We may say that the extra ingredient of moral logic, mentioned in is this nobility of choice; the extra something of moral logic is Virtue.)

If two or more possibilities of action or attitude are possible, then it is good, it is faithful, and it is true to choose that which is noble and which ennobles; it is good faith to choose the way of blameless honor and virtue. It is good to choose that which does not degrade.

These things we know. We know honor, even as society chooses to ignore it. We know nobility of behavior and bearing. We know virtue even though it if hidden from the glare of publicity.

We become noble as we choose nobility; we become honorable as we choose loyalty and honor. It is not easy now, and never has been.
We have a lot to do to instill Faith into the world.


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Interesting Entity

Entity of Interest

This fellow has a blog titled Pray In Jesus Name.
He has a photo on the site which is a bit more flattering than this photo, too. This photo is unfortunately a little too War Of The Worlds and Independence Day for me. I cannot look at it without thinking of Area 51.
There is a lot of stuff about "demonizing" and impeachments and chapels, all of which is way over my head.

Good for him.
He is Pro-Israel. He makes a big thing of it. 
I suppose he joins Senator Mark Kirk (R-Illinois) in fiercely opposing any attempt to negotiate nuclear items with Iran. I support Israel, too, but I do not receive money for it, as Senator Kirk does from lobbyists  and the fellow above does from asking on his website.

I am always bemused by people who cannot conceive of change, cannot envisage new things happening, who demonize one-time enemies forever, thus embracing a system where society is a prison of the past, and there is nothing new under the sun.

Sort of like old wine in the old wineskins.


Irrational Health Exuberance

I hope the picture is large enough. You may go see it at Huffington Post,

The USA is marked by the red arrow, and the x-axis is health spending per capita, the y-axis is life expectancy in years.
Simply put, the USA spends vastly more than anyone else, and the efficiency, or life expectancy based on a level of spending, is not the highest, but is substantially lower than a number of countries. More buck and less bang, in other words.

... "What bothers me most is not that we’re all the way on the right, or even that we are lower than we should be," Aaron Carroll, professor at the Indiana University School of Medicine wrote on his blog of the chart. "It’s that we are all alone. We are spending so, so, so much more than everyone else."

This confirms what we pretty much already knew about the terribleness of U.S. health care. The U.S. ranks 46th among 48 developed economies in health-care efficiency, according to a Bloomberg ranking, below China, Iran, Colombia and, you know, pretty much everybody else.

Why is our system so terrible? Largely because it is built for profit. Unlike many other countries, the government has no role in either providing care or setting prices, and so prices skyrocket. It's also too complex, which is one reason the Affordable Care Act, President Obama's signature reform law, has gotten off to such a bad start...
What bothers me is the resemblance to a bubble, where prices keep climbing higher and higher with little or no correlation to anything else of importance, in this case Life Expectancy.

 The complexity of the system will work to guarantee that it will not quickly nor easily be fixed when it breaks down under the weight of the exponentially rising costs.
When will that occur? I have no idea, but we have a number of extremely important systems that allow our society to run, and many of them are being undermined by an inability to come to grips with the problems we face.


Friday, November 22, 2013

Archaeology News Flash!

In Testimony Of The Spade:

Today I was out inspecting a find of a  so called  fossil road (hålväg in Swedish term). This road has probably not been used for quite some time, probably several hundred years.

How old it is, I can not say offhand, but through long usage it has cut through the soil. This part of the road is about 150 meters and is part of a system of parts of different roads, it is about 40-70 cm wide at the bottom and 2-3 meters at the top and has a depth of about 0.8-1 meter. It has been used more than a few times.

hålväg2 fossil road (450x600)

I wish I had been there.
I would have gone quite bonkers over it.

Hw Abt Urs?

Ham radio enthusiasts anticipated texting spelling shortcuts by 80 years and more:

Another QSL card

from "Sparks" Byron.


Media Memorials

We honor John Kennedy today.

The Media ends a process that has been going on for a month now. I find it odd that we build up to this memorial, but that seems to be the Media Grammar of Memorials. It fills in time slots, and it sells advertisements, while it also inspires us along the way to the day of note.

I personally think we do a lot better at Memorials of Government and History than we do making History and the day to day governing.


Education Is...

... just about everything.

Education the word comes from Latin educere, educare,  meaning to lead (ducere, ducare) out of (e,ex)

Perfect. It leads draws things out of us, things we did not know we had, did not know we were capable of: music, philosophy, religion, painting, sports, reading, writing...

And not just the usual things. We can be parents, and we can learn to be the best. We can tend the sick, and we can find unusual abilities to do our best that had been marvelously hidden in some of us. We can work with people and neighborhoods, and some of us have the knack and it has to be developed.

When our education system does not work, we are not merely not creating enough engineers and technical people; we are not merely falling behind in science, although that seems to be the focus of the media when it talks about education.
We are falling behind in everything!

Bad education is tantamount to genocide of the mind it suffocates the people. Parenting is not developed, nursing the sick is ignored, science falls by the wayside, people are ignorant of reading and cannot express themselves in writing.

Bad education short changes every pursuit and activity in a society.
That is why countries with good educational system will eventually come to the forefront, not because they have merely more engineers, but because they have people who have discovered themselves, people who have been "drawn out" into the light of day.


John Kennedy

Today we honor all good Navy men and women.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Break

 John Locke

I am going to take a break from posting.

I am going to read me some Hegel.

Heck of a break...

My research into Ender's Game has led me to Hegel. Fancy that. Who would have guessed? I mean, why couldn't have been some popular continental philosopher-type? Why not Foucault? Why Hegel?

I remember that I always got Frege and Hegel sort of mixed... not "mixed up", but "mixed together".
"Frege" came out of memory as "Fregel", and "Hegel" was something like "Hege", or - more often - "Hegele", by forcing out the "l" then adding the "e" from "Frege"....,  and Hegele would mean "little Hegel".
That would lead to "Fregele", and before you knew it, Heine, the poet, had morphed into "Heinele".

Referring to some of the greatest minds of Germany as "little so-and-so" with such an extensive use of endearing diminutives led to an unhealthy familiarity with the philosophy of Imannuel (whom I called "Manny") Kant.

I had done the same thing with the English philosophers, and had the unpleasant experience of being abruptly dropped by Locke. He positively gave me the air, and at the next regatta, the seat next to him was taken by Hume.
Once we had been buddies, but no more.
I think Berkeley was the fly in that ointment. He was the jealous type.


Nothing New Here

I was listening to NPR yester morn and there was a Senator (I think) from Maine (I reckon) who was speaking of the Affordable Care Act, saying that he hatred the execution, but was still firmly on board with the intention and aim of the law.

He said that he recalled that when Medicare was extended by adding the Plans D, the prescription drug plans, there was a good deal of chaos, people did not understand, and seniors were kvetching about it.

My mother was totally stymied by it, to the extent that she and my father probably spent at least 25% more money that they needed to. They bought in Canada, but even those prices were sometimes higher than prescriptions covered by a Plan D.


Preparing For The Holidays 1

We all need a survival manual for the Holidays. It is the absolute ticket that one needs to survive running the gauntlet of the lunar month of Madness from November 28 through December 31. (When I say "lunar month", I am referring to the Martian moon Phobos!)

So I am working on it, and hope to have it up here soon... couple of days.... after I get back fromToronto... we're going to the Copacabana in Toronto tonight (It's only a four hour drive!) in order to pig out on what is described to me as vast hocks of beef roasted on brobdingnagian skewers, and brought to the table by a combination of Nibelungs and Nubians.

I had best take two of my vast linen bibs to ensure my Nero-Wolfian shirt fronts remain unsullied by grease. I anticipate being Petronius Arbiter and Nero and Trimalchio, eating at a vast groaning board made of terebinth wood, drinking from crystal goblets,  and I shall address my merry companions:
"Drink up, lads and lassies! This wine is of superior vintage!
I did not serve such wine yesterday, and my table mates were
much better men and women than ye!"
This should be followed by laughter, and more meat.

Getting back to basics, the first chapter of the Holiday survival manual should deal with  
How To Survive Holiday Discussions Of ObamaCare.
I think it will come in handy.


My Tommyknocker Laptop Is Going....

 Steampunk Tommyknocker Computer

I am in the process of buying a new computer.

I have an ancient Lenovo which has lasted a long time, veritable eons in computer-years. I think one computer-year is equal to 15 human years, or thereabouts. Five years of human life would equal 75 in computer-years. My Lenovo is pushing 105 or 120.

It now resembles a steampunk laptop whose design was heavily influenced by Rube Goldberg; it resembles Charles Babbage's night terrors!

I have c-clamps holding the hinges for the top steady. The DVD drive no longer works - but no Lenovo DVD drives ever lasted; the saying was to "never trust a Lenovo DVD drive over 30!", and that was 30 computer-years, so they did not endure very long.
The display has cracked, and it won't be long.

I have another antique Lenovo somewhere, and I may be able to re-boot the main power source, and then re-establish some form of old-timey serial comm with the Earth.....

I may blink out briefly.


The Force Of Moral Arguments

Arguments on moral issues do not rely solely upon logic for their validity. There is something else present.

In normal logic, the methods of deduction of conclusions from premises are logical structures which form the "carriers" of truth.
In the usual example:

premise 1
All men are mortal.

premise 2
Socrates is a man.

(Therefore,) Socrates is mortal.

The sentence "Socrates is mortal" upon it own merits is not known to be true or false. The truth of "Socrates is mortal" emerges from the entire deduction above; lack one crucial element, and the mortality of Socrates becomes problematic.

However, this is not enough in moral arguments. We bring "values" to the logical table, and we usually insist that the logical deduction itself is not sufficient, nut that it must also "mesh" with our values.
If the conclusion outrages our values, we will condemn the logical conclusion, and search elsewhere.


Monday, November 18, 2013

The Undiscovered

Consider the shooting of Ms. McBride by Mr. Wafer: a man sees a young black woman at his front door at an early hour and shots her in the face through the still closed screen door.

What was the motivation?

If we are to agree that racism was not the cause, what was?

The defense has cited findings that there was alcohol in the young lady's blood. Having alcohol in one's blood does not indicate threatening behavior usually.
There is so much consumption of booze and drugs in our society that merely acting somewhat intoxicated had best not be an adequate reason to be shot at, or we shall all be in danger. Especially since we all have guns, too.

What is going on in our heads?

We cannot come together to have a discussion on race, and perhaps a reconciliation, so what are we going to do? How are we going to handle the Undiscovered motives for our behaviors that lead us to kill each other?


Rural Broadband

The Daily Yonder
Mitchell made the list of Smart21 Communities last year, as well. Robert Bell, a co-founder of the Intelligent Community Forum, said the city’s place on the Smart21 list was secured in part by its emphasis on “precision farming.” The farming method uses GPS, Internet connectivity and other digital tools to control the cost of farming while increasing yields.
The approach demonstrates how a community can take advantage of skills in older economic and cultural traditions by supplementing them with new tools, Bell said in information provided to the Daily Yonder by the Intelligent Community Forum. 
Photo by Eric Fredericks
The community of Mitchell, South Dakota, is an example of using technology to supplement already established industries, in this instance farming.

Mitchell has built a fiber-to-the-premises network that can serve every home and business in town, according to Prairie Business Magazine. Each seventh through 12th grader in Mitchell’s public schools receives a smart pad or laptop. The region has a two-year vocational school that teaches business, communications and precision farming. It also has a four-year college, Dakota Wesleyan University. The Prairie Business Magazine reports that a third of Dakota Wesleyan’s graduates stay in the area....

What Explains Such Behavior?

At Indian Country we read:

A U.S. senator has asked Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell to direct his staff to “thoroughly and swiftly” complete a review of evidence that could exonerate four Native men imprisoned for the 1997 beating death of a teenager.
The request from Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) dated November 8, came after the state’s prosecutor asked the Fairbanks Superior Court for additional time to complete the review – six months, rather than the state-required 45 days.

Hoping for their convictions to be overturned are Alaska Natives George Frese, 36; Marvin Roberts, 35; and Eugene Vent, 33; and Kevin Pease, 35, who is Crow. Ages 20, 19 and 17 at the time of the crime, they are serving sentences ranging from 33 to 64 years.

They were convicted despite testimony that backs up their alibis; incriminating testimony that is questionable and, at one point, was recanted; and no fingerprints or DNA evidence that connect them to the crime.

The Alaska Innocence Project asked that their convictions be overturned after it obtained a sworn confession from a former Fairbanks man now serving a life sentence for murder in California. The man, William Z. Holmes, wrote that he and four other individuals, all high school friends, had been cruising around town that night harassing “drunk Natives” when they saw “a white boy walking alone.” During the ensuing confrontation, one of the friends stomped on the boy’s head; the boy died of his injuries in the hospital. Holmes’ statement identifies a friend who allegedly inflicted the fatal injuries. Bill Oberly, a defense attorney who directs the Alaska Innocence Project, said Holmes’ confession is backed by corroborating evidence.

But the state assigned the review to a prosecutor who had a vacation scheduled and was assigned to another trial...
Certainly the State moved speedily to charge and convict, but is sluggish when is seems that justice really was not served.

To a person who believes in the importance of justice, such behavior is grossly illogical.

So what explains it?

People are quick to point to racism, and other people are quick to deny such allegations.

Whatever the reason, whether it be racism or not, it is clear that the attitudes or motives that define the situation are, in a sense, "hidden" from the people involved: they cannot experience the feelings and thoughts and perceptions of some "higher" motivator or "greater power" that teaches their hands to the ways of injustice.

Well, who could? I mean, who could be content to act unjustly, unless they had a greater goal or motivator or belief that assuaged any possible sense of guilt?

I call such "higher powers" the "undiscovered" layers of the mind; they are undiscovered countries of the mind, hidden beneath a veil that is thin and light, yet opaque like lead.
They must be distinguished from Freudian Id, which is rooted in the genesis of the individual. The undiscovered layers are the feather light iron curtains which are the play of the unexamined lives of mankind.

As a note, another form of an undiscovered layer seems to me to be the ongoing marginalization of people who have served in our wars.

Even though we spend great effort praising the military, I recall my father telling me how disgusting some VA facilties were following World War II. During the Vietnam War the returning soldiers and sailors were ignored if not actively spurned, and Walter Reed Hospital continuously pops up every so often in stories of dirt and neglect.
Most recently, the government shutdown threatened benefits.

And is this the same type of cycle of  "love and hate"  that our natural world -  things like the Chesapeake Bay -  are subject to:  pollution, then clean-up; pollution, then clean-up, and so on and so on?

Is it an inability to focus, or is it a hidden and undiscovered disdain? Or some other reason or motive?
Do we dislike a military centralized system that is so different from the "free" markets in which the rest of us live and work? Do we actually disdain natural beauty, and need to deceive ourselves with great doses of feeling and emotion before the works of nature move us to protect and enjoy?

Something should explain our behavior.
An unexamined mind is a wasted mind.
That is what Plato was referring to: the unexamined mind remains burdened by the undiscovered layers of the neural chemistry left by our experiences, as if our experiences leave a patina of Un-Reason upon the synapses of the brain.

Un-Reason loses its irrational character when it is dis-covered, un-covered into the light of day.
It may still be odd, bizarre, and idiosyncratic, but one can see how the twigs were bent, and one can find understanding.


Massive Spying For What Purpose?

What good did the eavesdropping on the cellphone of Angela Merkel of Germany do? Was it part of the War on Terror? Spying on the German leader was part of the War on Terror? Was there a fear that our NATO allies were thinking of becoming Islamists?

What was it, other than a disgusting and arrogant demonstration of unprincipled power?

That is what we have become as the fabric of our society falls apart.

When Rome was declining, the really big disasters were few and far between. Mostly it was just a slow and quiet unraveling about the seams of society, infrastructure ceasing to be quickly and efficiently repaired, and a reliance upon brute force rather than diplomacy and smarts.
That's what the massive surveillance state has become: brutish and mindless sucking up of information....

We'll create a rationale and motive when we need to!


Old Wineskins 2

300 Americans have as much wealth as 85 million of their countrymen, evidence of a large failure in a society.
There is no political nor economic creativity which can address this in a meaningful way as yet.


Christmas Is Coming


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Founder of The Muslim Brotherhood

 Hassan Al Bannâ

Hassan al-Bannâ - fondateur du mouvement - disait ainsi :
 « Ô frères ! Soyez comme les arbres à qui  les hommes lancent des pierres, et qui donnent des fruits. »


Hassan Al-Bannâ, the movement founder, also said:

"O, brothers! Be like the trees who, when men throw stones at them, give fruits in return!"

assassinated by agents of King Farouk in 1949, aged 42 years.

Old Wineskins

Wine On The Sand

If the Affordable Care Act's implementation is a creative failure of web site design, we must also consider other spectacular failures.

The Guantanamo prison is a failure of the Legal and Political systems.
The USA cannot deal with the men held there, and there is no creativity coming up with new methods or approaches.

The Palestine situation is a continuing failure of more than 65 years.

We have lots of old wineskins, but we lack the new.
We have ceaselessly experimented with pouring the new wine into old wineskins, and watching them burst over the years. Now we tend to just sit around and bemoan the wine soaking into the sands.


Ender's Game and Captain Phillips

The Neverland Ocean

Having seen the film, I am re-reading Ender's Game. I find that I am fascinated by it.

The early part of the story was written in 1977, and the novel in its entirety was published in book form by 1991. Some of the detail seems dated and anachronistic, some seems timeless.

We saw the movie Captain Phillips yesterday.
Having had the wonderful opportunity to have experienced children soldiers as well as real pirates in the real world, no longer confined to Sir James M. Barrie's imaginary Neverland of Peter Pan and his band of Lost Boys, we find that we appreciate the fine line between fantasy and fact.

We find it disappearing more and more; the longer we stare at it, the invisibler it gets.
Check out just how many acts of piracy have been committed in 2013. Just because you have not read about them does not mean they did not occur. 

I mentioned that in movie Fight Club the final scenes show a number of buildings in the Wall Street financial district crumbling down into dust, as the explosives that Project Mayhem has placed about their foundations - in the manner of Omar Abdul Rahman's 1993 attempt against the World Trade Center.
I did not see the film Fight Club until well after the 2001 World Trade Center bombing.
Having seen real buildings fall into dust made Fight Club - which before 2001 I would have thought tedious - into a compelling and deep bit of business and dramatic foreshadowing.

Works of fictions foretell the future, then the future comes into being and echoes the fiction. The feedback loop is approaching a terrible screeching of amplifiers in the hands of maniac roadies.


Omens and Signs

I am watching Bob Schieffer's s for the show on President Kennedy's assassination in Dallas.
Of course, it brings a tear to me eye.
However, we no longer have the time to spend so much time on history. We have things to do. Omens may abound.

I find the problems with President Obama's Affordable Care Act to be ominous.

I remember that in July or August of 2008, my mother was trying to cash in a CD or annuity she had with a bank in order to invest it in a luxury condo project in New York. She had a series of problems which extended over three months or more, all of which slowed things down.
My parents never asked my advice on anything, but I did look into this. The housing market was sky rocketing, and maybe I should get a piece of it.

But her problems made me focus on it. I thought of Caesar stumbling at the door on the Ides of March. I told her that perhaps there was a omen here, and that she should rethink the whole things.
Of course, she did not even hear me, probably. To get my mother to hear you, pay attention, and understand what you are saying takes an enormous investment of time. My brother's boy had an retinal operation the other day, and my brother said that in talking to our mother, he found she would slip immediately into some other story of some other person's eye ailments... or even ailments that had nothing to do with vision.

There are signs of trouble all around. A failure of such a nature is truly bizarre. So what's going on? A failure like that in the country that founded the Internet!
So now both political parties are working - not necessarily together - to fix it, but probably don't have any idea what's will happen.
To make matters worse, I can find no rational explanation for the "irrational exuberance" of the cost increases in American health care. It absolutely makes no sense, other than as a "irrational" phenomenon. The last irrational phenomenon was the Housing Bubble, and that brought us all grief.
Health Care costs are similar. The 1% of the rich cannot use enough health care and clinic time to support the wide range of health services at an elevated cost.

Then it will crash.
Again, maybe what we are seeing is the early tremors of that catastrophe.


(I have found it takes an unusual investment of time to communicate with my mother.
She had an X-Ray bill for $40 for a new pacemaker, and Medicare did not cover it; it did not cover it for the first time since she and my dad became covered by Medicare 25 years ago. So I said for her to get me the billings and documents, and she immediately started on a tirade about how Obama Care is making the elderly pay for their X-Rays.

This time I firmly told her to be quiet and to not say anything further about Obama Care. If she wanted to talk and complain about it, fine, but she would no longer waste my time chattering about it when what we were doing was looking into the $40 billing!

She got the message, then the papers.
We called the X-Ray people and they mentioned the possibility of the wrong Diagnosis Code. So we went to her doctor's office, and then to the hospital billing department.
We got it done.
But it was not easy to get her on board at first.)

Toronto's Mayor

Saturday Night Live did an opening skit of Rob Ford, the Mayor of Toronto last night. I told my Toronto sister-in-law earlier that day that the skit would probably be not all that funny...

Seriously, how can you do a send up of somebody who has done all the outrageous stuff already? What are you left with?

The skit was OK, but not that funny.


Humans As Chattels

The New York Times
... Facebook pressed forward on Friday with official changes to its privacy policies, first proposed in August, that make the terms of using Facebook more clear than ever: By having an account on the service, its 1.2 billion global users are allowing the company to use their postings and other personal data for advertising...
It is a wonder that a society can create such an entity, such as the Internet, which in its beginnings was hailed as a new liberator of the mind, and turn it into surveillance, repression, and exploitation.

There must be a different business model for a social website, and there must be a form of government which does not automatically infringe the rights of its people in as gross a manner as has the NSA and the CIA of the US government.

That is what the future is: new tools that resist being forced into the old dies of oppression and exploitation.

As long as human beings are fungible beings, mutually interchangeable beings within an economic system, there will exist this economic oppression and political oppression.

The great religions of the world are nothing if not the constant affirmation that each human being is individual and free, where the great politics and economics of the world are constant reminders that human beings are but chattel goods.

We will soon be called upon to leave it all behind. Some will depart, some will stay behind. They will look at the clouds and check which way the wind is blowing, just like the friends of Noah did.


LeVar Burton Calls Out Tarantino

LeVar Burton



The award-winning producer-actor [LeVar Burton] also responded to “Django Unchained” director, Quentin Tarantino, who deemed the 1977 miniseries [Roots] as “inauthentic” in its storytelling.

“Django Unchained is a fantasy, let’s be clear,” Burton declared. “And when Quentin Tarantino says that Django is more real than Roots, I call bullshit. I got nothing against him, but don’t go there, okay? Don’t go there, Quentin.”

“Too many people who look like me bled and died for you to have the opportunity to satirize the slave narrative. There’s a place for satire in culture. Taken at face value, as a piece of satire, I went and enjoyed it. It was fun. Let’s just not get it twisted. Django was not real.” ...

I do not care whom I offend here:  Django Unchained - aside from the work of Cristoph Waltz and the rider sequence with Jonah Hill - was one of the worst films I have ever seen.Calling it "fantasy" is high praise compared to what I would call it.
Even now I cringe when I see Jamie Foxx. There is some series of commercials on Sundance with him and Ron Howard, and I get a sinking feeling when I see him.

By the end, I was amazed and speechless at the lurching grotesque pretense that the film had become, and that such a film was the recipient of critical praise... nonsense and trash considered as one of the fine arts.

During the entire last part of the film I was singing to myself, and the song that came out on top of that competition with the film was DMX:
Stop, drop, shut 'em down open up shop,
Oh, no,
that's how Ruff Ryders roll;
and I ended up humming the verses and saying "What!" like the back-up crew does,

one-two-three-four-five   "What!"
one-two-three-four-five   "What!"
and then I felt like that old white guy that was re-born Chris Rock in Down To Earth, and then it was sort of fun whether I or the film made less sense.

Run From Responsibility

Wayne County Prosecutor Kim Worthy Lays Out The Charges 
Against Mr. Wafer In The Shooting Of Ms. McBride.


The way Renisha Marie McBride's young life ended Nov. 2 is not in dispute: A homeowner in suburban Detroit fatally shot the 19-year-old in the face as she stood on his porch before the sun came up.


Under a 2006 Michigan self-defense law, a homeowner has the right to use force during a break-in. Otherwise, a person must show that his or her life was in danger.

Defense lawyers are expected to argue that Wafer feared for his life when a drunken McBride — toxicology reports put her blood-alcohol content at well above the legal limit for driving — came to his door in the middle of the night hours after crashing her car blocks away in Detroit. Those factors contribute to Wafer's "very strong defense," said his lawyer, Mack Carpenter.

Prosecutors and McBride's family, meanwhile, see no justification for the slaying of the recent high school graduate. She was unarmed, they note. Plus, the screen door Wafer fired through was locked.
"Where's his reasonable belief that his life was in jeopardy or that he was in jeopardy of great bodily harm?" said lawyer Gerald Thurswell, who represents McBride's family.

The ones who are responsible are the Persons who are the Public Voices, who have equivocated publicly about such matters, and the legislators all over the nation who have passed laws that are murky and ambiguous.
(I do not think the Michigan law to be murky, however. The man in this case was undermined by mental carpetbaggers on the radio and TV.)
It is also due to a Gun Culture that is reckless of its rights.

I for one would not have opened the door. Simple as that. Just because I held a gun, I would not welcome confrontation. Mr. Wafer did welcome such a confrontation on the mistaken belief that a gun gave him strength, but it fatally weakened him.
It led him to a confrontation he was no way strong enough to control. The gun misled him into thinking that he was a strong man and could control a meeting with a 19 year old African American girl on his front porch. He could not. Only the gun could speak.


Prosecutor Worthy is the lady who brought down the corrupt administration of ex-Mayor of Detroit Kwame Kilpatrick.
I recall when my daughter had passed the bar, she said that working for Kim Worthy was considered to be a coup for a new lawyer.
Prosecutor Worthy is well-respected and deserving of that respect.


The "My Name Is Earl" Party

(Ms. Palin Is On The Right... As Is Proper)

I am toying with the idea of forming a new political party for Sarah Palin, and calling it the "My Name Is Earl" Party after the TV show of the same name.


Fatuous Nonsense From Palin

Jake Tapper
Sarah Palin said she is trying to follow Pope Francis, but is wary of what she called the media's interpretation of his message.

"He's had some statements that to me sound kind of liberal, has taken me aback, has kind of surprised me," Palin said in an interview with CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper." But "unless I really dig deep into what his messaging is, and do my own homework, I’m not going to just trust what I hear in the media."


Palin is a person of faith and describes herself as “born again." She attends a non-denominational church in Alaska.
"When I was a young girl, I remember looking around the beauty of Alaska ... and knowing even as a kid, wow, there is something greater than self," said Palin.

"I put my life in God's hands at that moment," said Palin, who added she was 12 at the time. "I remember calling out to God and saying, 'I believe you.'"
I am not clear whether Ms. Palin means by "trying to follow Pope Francis".
Since she is obviously not a Roman Catholic, I think she is using slang for "I am trying to understand what Pope Francis is saying".

She then says she cannot understand what Pope Francis says unless she "really dig[s] deep into what his messaging is, and do my own homework."

Well, isn't that saying that you do not understand that which you have not made the effort to understand?

I guess that's what I find so odd about Ms. Palin, the fact that she seems to talk in tautologies.
What is even odder is that those statements which are pretty much lacking in informational content are then accepted by some as meaningful.
It is a puzzler.

She is, however, fortunate in being able to view intense natural beauty and come up inspired with a homily from the AA Big Book about higher power.

I guess some of us are just natural born saints.


The 10 Most Popular People The Syrian Rebels Have Beheaded

The Syrian Rebels, whom Senators McCain and Graham so ardently supported and for whom they intensely lobbied for the USA to bomb Syria, have beheaded a number of people recently.

(1) one of their own commanders due to a mix up, and

(2) a sixteen year old boy wearing a Shi'ite headband.

(photo at

For the rest of the top 10, from a 12 year old kid selling coffee (who said that even the Prophet would not get coffee for free, and seemingly emulating the cries of adults in the bazaars) to regime soldiers and to Catholic priests, just Google on "beheadings in Syria"

Just remember, these atrocities are brought to us by our ally, the Saudi Arabian ruling class, Qatar, some Likud and right wingers in Israel, Turkey, and our own Senators and Congress people.

Watch your backs.


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Play Versus Work 2

In the Work system, death is introduced either economically (one may starve to death), or epistemologically (one becomes aware of death).

(In this period of growth of the individual, Knowledge and Economics are the same in the individual's view.  Knowledge-of is the equivalent of owning an asset.)


Play Versus Work

Play is Learning in which the probability of long lasting systemic adverse consequences is extremely small.

Work is Learning in which the probability of long lasting systemic adverse consequences is of substantial size.

As we progress from childhood play to adulthood, the system we inhabit changes to one defined by the dismal science of economics, and lives themselves become valued by their utilities. In other words, death is built into the system.

The memory of a golden age, the story of Eden.

In the military, we have a combination of Play forced into the Work system, where a vanishing utility leads to death, but the actions of war are basically those of Play:  from paintball to snipers.


Lest We Forget

We should not forget the good we can do, nor should we forget the evil:

For a full year or more before the March 2003 invasion, the neo-cons and their major media outlets - notably, the Weekly Standard, the National Review Online, the Wall Street Journal editorial page, the New York Post and Fox News - kept up a virtually daily drumbeat of op-ed articles, television appearances, selective leaks to the mainstream media by their confreres within the administration with only one aim in mind - to persuade the public that Saddam Hussein represented such a threat that he could only be dealt with by military means.  

As the invasion drew near, the AEI, the movement's de facto headquarters, drew scores of reporters to its weekly "black coffee briefings", where such neo-con worthies as Weekly Standard editor William Kristol, then-Defense Policy Board chairman Richard Perle, former CIA director James Woolsey and Iraq National Congress leader Ahmad Chalabi, held forth on the evils of the Ba'athist regime and the regional implications of the forthcoming "liberation" of the Iraq people.  

The carefully orchestrated and coordinated drumbeat for war four years ago has been nowhere in evidence with respect to Iran over the past month when, judging by their writings and television experiences, they have appeared far more concerned with the growing public and Congressional pressure to begin withdrawing US troops from Iraq and prevent Bush from adding more forces there.

The Iraq War was the Triumph des Willens, the triumph of the Neoconservative American WILL, whereby the Neocon USA shall dream itself into its schizoid persona of Starship Trooper , and destroy the terror spawn of Saddam. We also were able to get the Vietnam monkey off our back. (I'm afraid we shall find the Vietnam monkey was rather light compared to the Iraq gorilla which will haunt us hence.)

Will the Neoconservatives ever be brought to justice?


Friday, November 15, 2013

The Phrase "Tree Huggers"

Bertolt Brecht

Dedicated to all who believe Global Warming to be a hoax perpetrated by naughty scientists, and who refer to people concerned about the environment as "tree huggers".

Truly, I live in dark times!
The guileless word is folly. A smooth forehead
Suggests insensitivity. The man who laughs
Has simply not yet had
The terrible news.
What kind of times are they, when
A talk about trees is almost a crime
Because it suggests silence about so many horrors?

Bertolt Brecht, To Those Born Later


The Asphalt Archipelago 1

Sears at Summit Place Mall.

I shop at Sears here. It can be an eerie experience.
It is merely one of the thousands and thousands of asphalt islands that form the archipelago, stretching from sea to sea across the country.


The Sock Outlet Store On La Calle Desconocida

Live With Style

Dark socks do not all look alike.

I mean, they do if you look at them from a distance, but when you get right up close, such as when you are holding them before you preparatory to sliding them on your taloned feet, you notice that there are minute differences suddenly in the two socks that had hitherto constituted a pair.

They do not match. The one you are holding has a slight bargello-like design hidden in the black-on-black weave, while the other has some sort of darkish-blueish coal dust colored chevron pattern.

So this contamination spreads immediately by Sock Quantum Entanglement, for it was established in early 20th century physics that when two socks were brought close to each other and bundled military style, if the two socks were mismatched, then instantaneously exactly two other similarly mismatching socks were created in the far reaches of the universe... or the sock drawer.
And they are hard to find once you knot them military style. Military style is when you roll them up and take the outer sock and push the inner sock through the opening of the outer sock....  It is like you are actually creating a topological Klein-bottle of hosiery.
Once you open up that Moebius strip-like torus of the outer sock and push the other sock through the "wormhole" and created that bundle of sock, well, there is now no way to find "entangled" mismatching pairs short of undoing all the knots of socks.

And one requires good lighting, because the differences between socks can be vanishingly small. I mean, I had one mismatched pair of blacks where one had a minute blue guy on a horse, who for all the world looked like he was ready to play a chukker of some sort of game on horseback, and the other had a scene from a slaughter house. (She-who-must--be-obeyed said it was the Brooks Brothers logo, but to my tired, squinting eyes - I did not have my sock inspector's loupe that day - it looked like a pig on a meat hook. Brrrr!)

So I had to re-do all the socks. I had had two singletons laying about, waiting for such an occasion when all socks are made manifest, and I did match them up. However, I still ended up with an unmatched single.
It was sad.
A sock without a name.
Calcetín sin nombre... reminding me of Jorge Luís Borges and his Sock Drawer Of The Forking Paths, just turn left on the Calle Desconocida.