Search This Blog

Saturday, February 27, 2016


Yesterday my son-in-law and I went to see the film Deadpool.

I said that we would not see the 3D version, if there were one, because we had been spending too freely since the birth of Mary Olivia Adenike, and it was time to be conservative. The tickets were $11 plus change apiece at the 4:15 PM show, and I was so astounded that first I handed the young man selling tickets $23 dollars cash-money (as they say), then said, no, I would give him a piece of plastic (!!?) to pay with... and here I forgot the word "credit card", so I just said something-something-something-carte-de-plastique-something, meanwhile waving my hands about in an agitated manner.

I decided that movie theater owners decided to solve the question that we movie-goers have about whether to spend vast sums on 3D versions by just goosing all prices up into the 3D range.

And then, like Captain Queeg, I was bedeviled by further conspiracies, such as the Icee Problem.
The Icee drinks were too cold. The problem with Icees that are too cold is that the ice will form a block of crystals and stay filling half the cup throughout the entire movie, and you could not get that free refill in if you wanted.
Actually, when I went to the Cinemark in Warren, Michigan, recently, the Icee experience was perfect, so it seems there is a perfect temperature at which to drink and get your free re-fill.

At the end, Deadpool kills the very bad villain.
I turned to my son-in-law and said, "There! That's what made The Revenant suck! They threw away the entire film with some sort of miraculous, unexplained bit of Christian charity!"

And the end of The Revenant was unexplained, unless you consider all those "spiritual" scenes of tree tops spinning and his long-gone wife and their conjugal bliss to explain it. I don't know how. His absent wife does not ask him to be merciful to malefactors...

...especially since his wife was Native American and after the still-alive villain is let go to float in the river, there conveniently happens to be a group of Native Americans standing at the water's edge, properly blood-thirsty enough to finish the bum off...

It was as if the film makers could not let evil survive, yet somehow wanted to let the American Dream endure of crazed do-gooders running amok, yet somehow imbued with the spirit of Charity and refraining from killing...

As if those Indians downstream were not going to be victims of genocide themselves.

The Revenant in all its Frozen Blue Darkness

There is no way I would ever sit through Revenant again, no matter how much frozen beard-snot they managed to put into it.


Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Kurdish News

Get your news about Kurds and their lives directly from a Kurdish media news company. Don't rely on the middle men who will misinterpret or slant the news from the Middle East.

Rudaw Media Network
Rudaw is a Kurdish media network funded and supported by Rudaw Company. The network aims to impart news and information about Kurdistan and the Middle East in a professional manner. Those interested in Kurdistan and the Kurdish cause can follow the latest developments in the region in both Kurdish and English through Rudaw’s multiple platforms.


Erdogan's Turkey

Former Turkish football star Hakan Sukur facing 4yrs in jail for insulting President Erdogan
Published time: 24 Feb, 2016 16:04
Former Turkish international football player Hakan Sukur is facing up to four years in jail, if he is found guilty of insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Twitter. An indictment has been approved with a first hearing expected within weeks.

The Bakirkoy 28th Criminal Court of First Instance accepted the indictment against Sukur on Wednesday. The case against the former footballer says he insulted Erdogan and his son in posts he wrote on Twitter.

Sukur says that he did not intend to target the president. However, prosecutors say that the tweets were “clearly related” to the Turkish president, the Dogan news agency reports, as cited by AFP...

Our NATO ally..


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Kick Erdogan Out!


I have always been a fan of Turkey.
My first year college German teacher was Turkish, Prof. Almazan, and we studied Turkish language and culture on the side. We started with the beginnings and worked up to Kemal Ataturk. I continued from there on my own. If I remember correctly, dear Professor Almazan died untimely at a young age and I never saw him after that year.

It is time to kick Erdogan's Turkey out of NATO!
It is time to embrace the Kurds, who will form a strong ally and a stabilizing influence in the region.

Read Huffington Post
It's Time to Kick Erdogan's Turkey Out of NATO
Stanley Weiss Founding Chairman, Business Executives for National Security
02/23/2016 04:50 pm ET | Updated 3 hours ago
...Turkey, which for half a century was a stalwart ally in the Middle East while proving that a Muslim-majority nation could be both secular and democratic, has moved so far away from its NATO allies that it is widely acknowledged to be defiantly supporting the Islamic State in Syria in its war against the West. Since Islamist strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan came to power in 2003, Turkey has taken a harshly authoritarian turn, embracing Islamic terrorists of every stripe while picking fights it can't finish across the region - including an escalating war with 25 million ISIS-battling Kurds and a cold war turning hot with Russia, whose plane it rashly shot down in November. With those fights coming home to roost - as bombs explode in its cities and with enemies at its borders - Turkish leaders are now demanding unconditional NATO support, with Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu declaring on Saturday that he expects "our U.S. ally to support Turkey with no ifs or buts." ...


Outtakes From The Carson Campaign

 Ben Carson

Yahoo News
Ben Carson: President Obama was ‘raised white’
Michael Walsh February 23, 2016
Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson says that President Obama cannot truly understand the African-American experience because he was “raised white.”

“He’s an ‘African’ American. He was, you know, raised white. Many of his formative years were spent in Indonesia,” Carson said to journalist Glenn Thrush. “So, for him to, you know, claim that, you know, he identifies with the experience of black Americans, I think, is a bit of a stretch.”

During an interview for Politico’s “Off Message,” which aired Tuesday, the retired neurosurgeon suggested that his upbringing reflects the black experience in the U.S. more than Obama’s.

Carson was born in Detroit to African-American parents. His rise from childhood poverty to resounding success as a neurosurgeon served as an inspirational story that propelled him into the national spotlight and, ultimately, the race for the White House.

Obama was born in Honolulu to a white mother and a black Kenyan father. He spent several years of his childhood in Indonesia before returning to Hawaii.

Carson told Thrush that he did not derive much joy or pride from watching Obama’s inauguration as the nation’s first black president because of his life story.

“You know, I did not. I mean, like most Americans, I was proud that we broke the color barrier when he was elected, but I also recognize that his experience and my experience are night-and-day different. He didn’t grow up like I grew up by any stretch of the imagination,” he said...

This is from the guy who has a painting of a White Jesus with His arm around him in his front room.

Apparently, Mr. Carson thinks every black person needs to have stabbed someone to have established their credentials as truly black.

I was born and bred in Detroit, too, and I much prefer the style of President Obama to the racial-sanctimoniousness of Mr. Carson. Maybe Mr. Carson thinks he is "blacker" than President Obama. After all, Mr. Obama spent several years in Indonesia - a country well-known for its "white" majority and thoroughly white-bread culture.



The Members of the US Congress want assurances that the CDC is doing all they can to prevent the spread of the Zika Virus. Congressman Rufus Hasp, Republican, said that the Zika response is going to be a dress rehearsal for the Z ("zombie") Virus, so the CDC better be on top of things.

However, Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican,

had a meeting with the Republican Senators and decided that no real effort should be made to eradicate the Zika Virus under a lame-duck President.

Some Republicans have suggested a wall along the southern border to keep Zika-carrying pismires out of the country. Their more intelligent brethren have pointed out that a wall won't stop mosquitoes, so a No-Fly Zone should be established.


The Senate Gollums

Chief Senate Gollum McConnell

Yahoo News
Trump clobbers Rubio and Cruz in Nevada, cementing his frontrunner status
Andrew Romano February 24, 2016

The running dogs of the Senste Republicans are not doing well.

So you can wait for President Clinton to nominate someone to the Supreme Court, and by that time there may be a reversal in the Senate, or maybe there will be a general revulsion against your insistence upon the free lunch of assuming Power and then being too feeble to exercise that Power.


By the way, Bernie Sanders is correct in observing that this example of the Senate mimicry of Louis XV - the King of France who lost his head due to the Aristocracy's habit of holding Power but not able to exercise it meaningfully - is actually yet another attempt to delegitimatize President Obama.

And the roots of this is Racism.

With overt Racism  (capital R) on all sides of the Republican Party, it should be an interesting election.

Black History Month

I would like to reprint one of my favorite stories:

John Conyers and Rosa Parks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Grinning Hypocrisy

The Insipid Face of Hypocrisy and Abdication of Responsibility

Yahoo News
GOP Senators: No hearing, no vote for Obama Court pick
3 hours ago
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's nominee to the Supreme Court won't get a hearing or a vote from the Republican-led Senate, GOP members of the Judiciary Committee said Tuesday as they insisted only the next president must fill the vacancy.
Related Stories

"No hearing, no vote," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., as he emerged from a closed-door meeting with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Even the most divisive nominees for the high court have received a hearing before the Judiciary Committee, and the election-year decision to deny such a session is a sharp break with the Senate's traditional "advise and consent" role. A committee review and a hearing is the first step in the process...

...As a rationale for their decision, Republicans pointed to a 1992 speech by Vice President Joe Biden, then the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, in which Biden said that in a presidential election year the Senate should "not consider holding hearings until after the election."...
 The collection of scamps and rascals that make up the US Senate Republican caucus not only have abdicated their responsibility to advise and consent on the President's Constitutionally-mandated responsibility to name a successor to the Supreme Court, they have done so with the grinning facade of Mitch McConnell's death-mask face!

These Do-Nothings pervert the Constitution and destroy the welfare of the country.


Jewel Of Winter

It is that time of winter of continuous grey, one day of snow, the next of rain. It is the kind of winter day that, were the groundhog to stick his head outside his burrow, he would feel the aimless depression of the sun denied, and pity the animals in the white-grey subniveal world who do not hibernate and must occupy their minds through this endless twilight....

In short, it is time for a binge-viewing of The Jewel In The Crown again, as it is every year when the festivals run down from the heights of Christmas through a madness of New Year's, then a subtler Epiphany, then a bracing MLK Day, then Winter Break, and dragging down to the mundane paganism of the Super Bowl with its phony embarrassments and cheats and ceaseless tea-pot tempests...

Presidents' Day, St. Valentine's, the feast of St. Jovita; the solstice is a golden city that remains over the horizon...

So we watch the 1984 BBC creation based on Paul Scott's The Raj Quartet.

Flags of the British Empire

Queen Victoria as Empress of India

Art Malik and Susan Wooldridge

A Lake in Kashmir

Rosemary Leach and Judy Parfitt

Eric Porter and Saeed Jaffrey

Tim Piggott-Smythe

Peggy Ashcroft

Fabia Drake

Zohra Sehgal

Charles Dance and Geraldine James


Apocalyptic Visions

The Moon Bosporus Rises Over the Golden Planet Ar-Rum

About a month ago I was working on a post about the ISIS Islamic version of Apocalypse based on certain ahadith. I was busy getting ready for my granddaughter, and the post was rather large, and I never did it, figuring that nobody but me would want to read such a thing anyway.
I was working on my post before Pope Francis spoke about wall-building, and I had merely been looking around in apocalyptic traditions.

However, there is a great post in The Atlantic which covers the exact same thing and comes to the exact same conclusion I did. I quote it below at some length.

The Atlantic
Donald Trump and the Apocalypse:Is Rome really ISIS’s “ultimate trophy”?
Graeme Wood Feb 22, 2016
[When Pope Francis implicitly criticized Donald Trump by saying that]... anyone who preferred building walls rather than bridges “not Christian.”...Trump retorted within minutes, in a speech on Kiawah Island in South Carolina. The Vatican, he said, is “ISIS’s ultimate trophy,” and the pope should beg God for Trump’s protection. “The Vatican [will be] attacked by ISIS,” he prophesied, in a statement whose grammar suggested it was translated by computers into Cantonese and back before publication. “I can promise you that the Pope would have only wished and prayed that Donald Trump would have been President because this would not have happened.”

The apocalyptic narratives of Islam differ from those of Christianity, and even many Muslims aren’t familiar with the end-times prophecies of their faith. So Trump’s apparent misunderstanding or partial ignorance of a key element of ISIS ideology is understandable. Indeed, for a man like Trump, any awareness of the prominence of “Rome” in Islamic scripture is a bit surprising—like discovering that Taylor Swift knows how to tie a perfect trucker’s hitch, or that one’s cat can operate the dishwasher. But his claim that Rome is “ISIS’s ultimate trophy” deserves correction, just in case he thinks it’s true rather than merely a fun way to troll the pontiff.

The Arabic word Rum is cognate with the English word “Rome” and is usually translated as such, although on modern maps the city of Rome will generally be written as Ruma. The word appears in the Koran and in the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, typically rendered in English as “Rome.” These instances include prophecies of battles against “Roman” armies in Asia Minor and (most famously) Dabiq, the Syrian agricultural hamlet that inspired the name of ISIS’s magazine:

The Last Hour would not come until the Romans would land at Al-A’maq [a valley northwest of the Syrian city of Aleppo] or in Dabiq. An army consisting of the best soldiers of all the Earth at that time will come from Medina to counteract them. [Sahih Muslim 2897]

The Islamic State constantly harps on this series of battles. Only once they have occurred will the Antichrist appear, and only after his appearance can the world be rocked by tribulation and saved by the descended Jesus of Nazareth. For the true believers of ISIS, these stories provide an imaginative backdrop to hyperdramatize what is otherwise just another awful Middle Eastern war.

One of the most-quoted statements by Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, the spokesman of the Islamic State, cited another hadith:

We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women, by the permission of Allah, the Exalted. This is His promise to us; He is glorified and He does not fail in His promise. If we do not reach that time, then our children and grandchildren will reach it, and they will sell your sons as slaves at the slave market.

On the authority of ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Amr Ibn al-‘As, who said, “We were with [Muhammad] writing down what he was saying, when he was asked, ‘Which of the two cities will be conquered first? Constantinople or Rome?’ So Muhammad said, ‘The city of Heraclius will be the first to be conquered.’” Meaning the city of Constantinople. It was reported by al-Hakim in “Al-Mustadrak” according to the conditions of the two sheikhs (Bukhari and Muslim) and declared authentic by Imam adh-Dhahabi.

Islamic State propaganda at times encourages a straightforward, Trumpian reading of the word “Rome.” Last year, the Islamic State’s Tripoli province explicitly menaced the city of Rome. In a video depicting the simultaneous beheading of 21 Coptic Christians, the camera lingers over the image of Christian blood mixing with the tides of the Mediterranean. Soon after, ISIS supporters on social media began using the hashtag #We_Are_Coming_O_Rome (until Italians hijacked the tag and clogged it with travel advice and assorted ridicule). A film made by ISIS’s Nineveh propaganda bureau in December depicted an Islamic State-flagged tank crossing a desert to capture the Colosseum. In the distance is the Vittoriano.

There is a Scalia-like originalism in some forms of scriptural interpretation: Find out what “Rome” meant at the time of God’s revelation of the Koran to Muhammad, and you’ll know its One True Meaning. (The analogy to U.S. legal traditions is imperfect, but it’ll do.) Islam has its Breyers and Ginsburgs as well, and they ask the obvious questions: Do these prophecies mentioning “Rome” really refer to the “Rome” known to an illiterate seventh-century Arab merchant? Or are the prophecies “living” documents that require constant reinterpretation?
Related Story

What ISIS Really Wants

If we hew closely to what Muhammad meant by “Rome,” we couldn’t easily construe the word to mean the modern, geopolitically trivial Italian capital. Indeed, Rum probably referred not to the city of Rome at all, but to the Eastern Roman (or Byzantine) Empire, centered in Constantinople. According to this interpretation, the Rome of La Dolce Vita and spaghetti carbonara has nothing to do with Rum, and the bluster from Trump and ISIS propagandists rests on a simple misreading.

But that leaves believers with a quandary of a whole other sort, since the Byzantine Empire fell in 1453 and is therefore no longer around to fight. It’s as if Muhammad predicted that the Brooklyn Dodgers would play the New York Yankees in the 2020 World Series. At some point, Muslims concerned with these prophecies have to figure out how a defunct franchise (the Brooklyn Dodgers ceased to exist when they moved to Los Angeles in 1958) will field a team.

And here’s where things get metaphysical. If Muhammad was not wrong, how might he be right? One method of reckoning with this obstacle—the non-existence of “Rome” in the seventh-century sense—is to ask which latter-day entity most resembles Rome. Apocalyptic theorists today have suggested that Rome might be NATO, “the West,” America, Russia, or something else.

One of the Islamic State-linked ideologues I interviewed for my March 2015 story about the group has taken unusual interest in this question. Last year, Musa Cerantonio, a young Australian convert, published a pamphlet in which he purported to answer the question “Who is Rum?” definitively. He considers whether Rome can be identified simply by finding the entities that inhabit the same geography as the Byzantines, or that use their language, or come from their tribe, or use their same form of government. But he rejects all these possibilities, on the grounds that even during the early decades of Islam, the territory, language, and forms of government of the Byzantines varied a great deal, and the name Rum never changed. The essence of Rum must be deeper.

Cerantonio notes that the Ottomans, who defeated the Byzantines, accepted the mantle of “Rome” explicitly: The sultan called himself the “Caesar of Rome” and believed he was establishing a third Roman Empire. And when the Ottoman line ended in 1924—leaving the world without a caliph—their successors were the secular republicans of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Those successors still reign in Istanbul and Ankara, and the Islamic State considers them apostates, even though the most recent of them, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is generally counted as an Islamist by those who aren’t members of ISIS.
ISIS’s discussion of prophecy is not about if but when, where, and who.

For Cerantonio, that settles it: The Rum of the end-times hadith is not the Rome of Pope Francis but the Rome of the Republic of Turkey. Almost two weeks ago, when press reports suggested that the Turkish military had crossed the border near the Syrian city of Aleppo, into the town of Azaz, a social-media account supportive of Cerantonio’s Rum thesis tweeted the news out excitedly: Azaz is smack in the middle of Dabiq/A’maq territory, exactly where the armies of Rome and Islam are meant to meet—right on schedule...

Here is the relevant map of the area:

Azaz is the urban area in the left upper quadrant and Dabiq is the area outlined in the lower right quadrant.

Rum is Constantinople, now Istanbul, and refers to that city on the Bosporus.
It is Turkey that is being talked about, and I am amazed that the present President of Turkey is unaware of his role as Dajjal or the Anti-Christ.

Monday, February 22, 2016


 Bomb Aftermath in Homs

Over the weekend, there were bombings in Damascus and Homs in Syria:

Syria conflict: Homs and Damascus bomb blasts kill 140
21 February 2016
Bomb blasts in the Syrian cities of Homs and Damascus have left at least 140 people dead, monitors and state media say.

At least four blasts struck the southern Damascus suburb of Sayyida Zeinab, killing at least 83 people, state media said.

Earlier in Homs, 57 people, mainly civilians, were killed in a double car bombing, a monitoring group reported.

So-called Islamic State (IS) said it carried out the attacks in both cities.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State John Kerry has said a "provisional agreement" has been reached with Russia on a partial truce in the conflict...

The Damascus bombing was in the Sayyida Zainab district, home of the shrine to Sayyida (Lady) Zainab, daughter of 'Ali       زينب بنت علي
and it is this 'Ali, the cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet, whom the Shi'a consider to be the correct successor to the caliphate and not Mu'awiyah and then Mu'awiyah's son, Yazid, whose troops killed Hussein - the son of 'Ali - at Karbala.

Birthday of Sayyida Zainab (sa) is observed as Nurse's Day in Iran...

A nurse's occupation is not an ordinary one. Nursing is a sacred and valuable profession. A nurse does not work for money or material benefits, for the wages she receives do not compensate of her untainted labors. When a nurse sees that her patient's life is in danger, she forgets everything and becomes selfless. Birthday of Sayyida Zainab (sa) is observed as Nurse's Day in Iran.

At the height of the Islamic month of Muharram, in the year 61, after Hijrah, on the night of Ashura, when the devilish enemy set the Ahlul Bayt's (as) tent on fire and drove the children to the desert in the night, Sayyida Zainab (sa) tended women and children in a half-burnt tent, shared in their sorrow with patience and endurance, and nursed the feverish patient of Karbala, Imam Sajjad (as)...

She is a model of resistance and sacrifice..
...with special characteristics gathered within her, it is as if she were the protector of moral values, law abidance, the protector and executor of our higher duties, sympathetic, kind, conscientious, independent, shouldering responsibility, hard-working and untiring.

Sayyida Zainab (sa) was not only a nurse for women and children. She nursed those who had suffered in body and soul, those whose clothing and skin had burned in the frightening tent fire at dusk on Ashura, those who had suffered mentally, those who had heard rejoicing in their miseries. This nursing began at dusk on the day of Ashura and continued to Kufah, Karbala and Medina...}

At the end of January, 2016, Damascus witnessed a similar bombing:

The Guardian
Dozens killed after suicide bombing at Shia shrine in Damascus
Reuters in Beirut
Sunday 31 January 2016 07.26 EST
Islamic State bombers have killed more than 60 people near Syria’s holiest Shia shrine in Damascus as the country’s main opposition group met the UN mediator, Staffan de Mistura, for the first time.

Representatives of the Saudi-backed Higher Negotiation Committee (HNC) – which includes political and militant opponents of President Bashar al-Assad – warned they may yet walk away from the Geneva talks unless the suffering of civilians in the five-year conflict was eased.

The head of the Syrian government delegation said that the blasts in Damascus, which the interior ministry blamed on a car bomb and two suicide bombers, merely confirmed the opposition’s terrorist links – even though Isis has been excluded from the talks...

The birth date of Lady Zainab, a day when Shi'a may come to the shrine in Damascus to pay their respects, fell on February 14, 2016, a date almost directly between the two attacks. It was as if ISIS - or some ISIS surrogate - sought to maximize the damage and had some deadly glitches, jumping the gun in January and being a week late in February, thus bookending the birth date of Lady Zainab with a bloody rain of mortal remains... invoking a memory of Karbala.

Shrine of Sayyida (Lady) Zainab in Southern Damascus


Radicalism Rises From The Vast Sea Of Indifference

I was talking to Alex, my step-grandson, yesterday. He asked me my opinion of Donald Trump.

I answered that whatever one might say about Mr. Trump, he was not among the leadership who created the present atmosphere which is giving rise to radical views and expressions of anger.
That creation of despair and hate was created by the Bushes (Iraq, Katrina, Afghanistan), Cheneys (Iraq, war profiteering), Clintons (NAFTA), etc. who had not expressly conspired to undermine the well-being of so many citizens, but effectively have done so by their Indifference.

How many people did I hear and how many times did I hear it back 20 years ago that the USA was being transformed into a Service Economy, and the people displaced from jobs in industry would be retrained and get jobs in - oh, I don't know! Say, jobs in programming or what-not.
Back then they would not dare say that they would get jobs flipping burgers, for it would undermine their breezy assurance that all is well.

In reality, how these Times of Change play out is that there is Sound, Fury, and Suffering.
And in time, those who suffered are dead, and can no longer be a drag on the fun.
The rest of mankind puts their gear back on and plays the game.

A particularly interesting example of governmental Indifference is in New Zealand:

Christchurch earthquake: The battle to rebuild, five years on
By Michael Ertl BBC News 21 February 2016
It has been five years since a major earthquake hit the New Zealand city of Christchurch, but thousands of residents are still waiting for their homes to be repaired or rebuilt.
Several residents have told BBC News that they are "in limbo" and face increasing financial problems after years of delays and disputes about insurance claims.

The insurance industry says a series of aftershocks, and difficulty in working with the government's earthquake agency, has slowed it down.

A magnitude 6.3 quake struck directly under Christchurch at 12:51 on 22 February 2011, killing 185 people and destroying or damaging around 170,000 buildings.

Tom Davies and his wife had to move out of their house in Christchurch's Mt Pleasant suburb when it was declared unsafe two years ago.

"We have cracks you can crawl through, roof leaks, a spring running through the basement, walls leaning downhill, asbestos and electrics that pose a risk of fire or electrocution," he says.

Mr Davies says that five years after the earthquake little progress has been made in settling the insurance claim.

New Zealand has a two-tier insurance system that deals with natural disasters.
The Earthquake Commission (EQC), a government agency, covers damages to residential homes of up to NZ$100,000 (£46,000; $66,000).
More expensive repairs and rebuilds are handled by people's private insurance companies.

The Davies family's claim was handed to its insurance company in February 2014 [sic: probably "2011" is meant]

"Five years on, we are no further forward," Mr Davies says.

Good example of indifference, eh?
The Indifference seems to be Globalized, too. Interesting.


Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Empty Class And Mr. Trump

Kansas City Pension Meeting

Donald Trump does not insult the other people running for president nearly enough.

I mean that over the past few years, the Republican Party has deemed it sufficient for its politicians to have signed Grover Norquist's pledge not to raise taxes.

That's all the people need: a pledge not to raise taxes.
The signatures on those pledges require not sense of honor nor dishonor, no understanding nor misunderstanding, no intelligence nor stupidity, no religion nor atheism; just a signature.

In short, a show of ideology and an intemperate attitude has been substituted for governance. There are no ideas, no programs, no plans, and even no indication by the white mainstream politicians that anything is amiss.

Let's consider some things:

The promises of pensions will be ripped up and destroyed, not only Social Security, but private plans also.

a)Zero Hedge
"I Guess It's Food Stamps": 400,000 Americans In Jeopardy As Giant Pension Fund Plans 50% Benefit Cuts
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 02/18/2016 23:56 -0500
Dale Dorsey isn’t happy.

After working 33 years, he’s facing a 55% cut to his pension benefits, a blow which he says will “cripple” his family and imperil the livelihood of his two children, one of whom is in the fourth grade and one of whom is just entering high school.

Dorsey attended a town hall meeting in Kansas City on Tuesday where retirees turned out for a discussion on “massive” pension cuts proposed by the Central States Pension Fund, which covers 400,000 participants, and which will almost certainly go broke within the next decade.

“A controversial 2014 law allowed the pension to propose [deep] cuts, many of them by half or more, as a way to perhaps save the fund,” The Kansas City Star wrote earlier this week adding that “two much smaller pensions also have sought similar relief under the law, and still more pensions are significantly underfunded.”

“What’s happening to us is a microcosm of what’s going to happen to the rest of the pensions in the United States,” said Jay Perry, a longtime Teamsters member...


b)The Kansas City Star
Solution needed to cuts proposed for retirees depending on Central States Pension Fund
Lewis Diuguid Feb. 18, 2016
People who work all of their lives and then retire, plan diligently and bank on receiving a fixed income that will enable them to live a comfortable life. There isn’t a lot of wiggle room for unexpected expenses or extravagances.

That’s why hundreds of people turned out Tuesday at Bartle Hall to protest a controversial 2014 law, allowing pension cuts by half or more covering Teamsters and other unions such as the International Association of Machinists. Recipients of the Central States Pension Fund have a right to be outraged over seeing a large chunk of their promised retirement income possibly vanish as soon as July 1.


Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, a Kansas City Democrat...

...explained that the law was passed in 2014 as an add-on to a budget bill with no committee debates or hearings. He is seeking alternatives because the proposed cuts put $3 billion in Missouri pensions at risk. He also said he wants an investigation into how the Central States Pension Fund has been handled...

This will kill off the retired. It is like putting the elderly on an ice floe of white papers and giving them a push into the Arctic night.

Now the middle classes -or what is left of them - are to be destroyed by automation and the extensive use of robotics. Ask the people at Boeing.
We have already destroyed manufacturing by globalizing the factories oversea, and Ford recently announced it is building a new plant in Mexico, partly because the United Auto Workers had been successful in negotiating a new contract for its members.

These are major problems. Yet what do we do? We sign pledges promising not to raise taxes, we call out "Liar!" at a State of the Union address, we obsess over birth certificates, and we get apoplectic when a Supreme Court justice dies and the President has the temerity to follow the Constitution and appoint a successor.

Our political leadership class is empty.
It is empty men and empty women.
Their politics is trivial ideology, their religion is compulsion and rote, their ability to identify and address social problems is non-existent, when they do pass laws, they pass laws that cripple the lives of retirees and workers.

When you are completely out of touch with reality, the society suffers.
How much are our politicians out of touch?
Remember John Edwards? He thought he could parley a devoted wife dying of cancer and an on-going love affair with a campaign worker into a really effective presidential campaign! Now that is seriously out of touch with reality.
And he was supposed to be a friend of the little guy.

When you have created a vast group of disaffected people from whom you have stripped benefits and destroyed their means of living a good life, you will become prey to the demagogues.

 Marie Antoinette and Children

When we cried that we and our children had no bread, Washington Republicans and Democrats have told us to use Food Stamps to buy cake to eat.

So far, Mr. Trump has not told us to eat cake.


The Name Game

The name was on the papers and the parents were about to leave the hospital with their new baby, but at the last second the mother changed her mind, new government forms were obtained and filled out. Now, if anyone wants a name change, it will take more than bean-bag-nomenclature-toss.

Hello, Mary Olivia Adeniké  !
(a-de-NEE-kay, and I don't have permission to print the last name)

It is time for the mentally odd - like myself - to sit and look at the moon and ask weighty questions about the meaning of life, as if life's meaning were something separate from life.


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Welcome To The World, Maria Adeniké !

She whom I call Maria Adeniké   (a-de-NEE-kay) came into the snows of winter at 8:53 on February 15, 2016. She will soon experience the openings of spring, the warmth of summer, and the farewells of autumn, but right now we are aglow in a land of faërie and timeless seasons.

The name is only temporary. The parents have not decided on a lasting name. And I have no permission to release photos, so that will await some future time.

I had all my weather prognostications ready for February 13 through the 15th, ready for the drive to the hospital.
Plenty of research, charts, reports, data...
Every time a TV weather report came on, I would either smile in accord or shake my sage head disapprovingly, and then go on to point out where the sad, slightly inane Weather Bimbo or Weather Gigolo had made their errors.

Later I discovered that I was multiplying the indicated amounts of precipitation by 100 instead of 10 to convert rainfall into snowfall, and was saying that we would slip into the hospital by the slimmest of margins before the coming Mini-Snowmageddon.  (Whatever that means! I mean, may one have a Mini-Armageddon? Or a Mini-Apocalypse?)
So now there were only 1 or 2 inches in the early morning hours...
Or were there?

Upon going over the data in my dreams, Firefly (Firefly is my dream editor of weather data... my dream life is a lot like A Midsummer's Nights' Dream.) questioned whether I had translated Zulu Time (or, Greenwich Mean Time) into EST correctly!
And it turns out I had not; I had added 4 hours instead of subtracting four hours.
So relying upon forecasts for 300 Zulu, I had read 3+4 = 7:00 AM EST February 15 for the earliest possible snow, and the correct time was 300 Zulu minus 4 hours, or 11:00 PM February 14!
A mere flip of 8 hours of winter's best!

So when I looked out at 2:35 AM, it was snowing quite nicely.
And the forecasts of the Weather Bimbos and Gigolos were spot on, and there would 1 to 3 inches of the jolly white powder, followed by freezing rain in the evening, followed by rain on top of the frozen ground, followed by a warmer Tuesday.

I started shoveling early. I worked with my son-in-law. I would have started earlier, but he has various electronic locking gizmos on the doors, and I was afraid if I opened the front door an alarm that wailed like one of those trump-of-doom sirens on an ancient CONELRAD  TV informational cartoon designed to scare the bejabbers out of anyone younger than 50 would go off and my status, which had already plummeted to new lows based upon my Weather-Gate scandal, would suffer even more, and I would sort of become a Jake-Spoon-like outcast for my old comrades of Lonesome Dove, and there might be a necktie party of hempen rope!

I used a broom to clear the snow from the from steps. The snow was powdery, and a good broom not only clears snow, but will dig up snow that has been compressed by walking over it.
There are a lot of brick steps. There are more when you are carrying groceries, but there are fewer when you feel in fine fettle; mostly the steps run at an average number.
However, when you do come back from the grocery store, they do rather resemble those interminable Georgetown steps in the movie The Exorcist. I swear that I looked down them Sunday afternoon as I juggled milk and orange juice and front door, and I could hear a raspy voice croak,. "Could ya help an old newsboy, Father?!"

I wonder what makes us forget these miracles.

The children! The children!

 A cry that should be joyful is so often twisted into a Kurtz-like incantation as we lend our indifference to the thousands of child martyrs of our age, swimming in the Mediterranean Heart of Darkness of our age.


Monday, February 15, 2016

Why I Don't Watch Big Time Sports

The Best and the Brightest


Tiger Woods...

Peyton Manning...

Peyton Manning’s squeaky-clean image was built on lies, as detailed in explosive court documents showing ugly smear campaign against his alleged sex assault victim
Updated: Saturday, February 13, 2016, 1:46 PM

The Tennessean
UT sex assault lawsuit cites Peyton Manning
Anita Wadhwani and Nate Rau, 4:20 p.m. CST February 14, 2016

NBC Sports
Release of 13-year-old court document dusts off Peyton Manning incident at Tennessee
Posted by Mike Florio on February 13, 2016, 11:20 AM EST


Sunday, February 14, 2016

Narcotic of Narcissism

I was reading about feminists:

Huffington Post
Young Feminists Do Get It. So Why Does Hillary Think We Don't?
02/08/2016 05:06 pm ET | Updated 5 days ago
... Gloria Steinem has already apologized for her gaffe on Bill Maher's show Friday for saying women get "more activist as they grow older. And when you're younger, you think: 'Where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie." It was a foolish thing to say, and Steinem -- so often a figure women look to for leadership -- did herself an injustice. It's precisely because of contributions Steinem (among others) made to the women's rights movement that women like me today can exercise choice independent from men. Yet her words, despite her apology, have caused younger feminist thinkers to seriously question her understanding of their struggle today...
I found it interesting for two reasons, which is a good deal of interest, for I wish my posts could be found to have at least one reason of interest, not to mention two of the best of that species.

First, it well delineates the ongoing process that started back more than 50 years ago of politicizing everything. The entire business of "raising consciousness" might very well be characterized as "politicizing consciousness".
I am not engaging in any sort of critique; I am observing.

Second, it struck me mightily how the wonders of consciousness are supremely self-centered and narcissistic.
The ultimate human self-centeredness involves the winds and climates of consciousness, whether we be standing on a hilltop, feeling the ideal wind blow at us, or whether we are running from the rainstorms of depression, or whether we are stretching out to dry ourselves in the sun, or whether we cast aside our history of conscience past and turn our faces Ishmael-like to the sea, and forget the landlubber encumbrances and set all sails to wind and adevnture...

We delight in the jousts of neurons. It amuses us. It hypnotizes us.
We see it intimately when we watch a good movie or read a great story; we are enchanted and the story becomes a gem of our consciousness and our consciousness becomes the story and we forget we are isolate and individual, but are one with a vibrating quanta universe....

We love our own history. We think our own problems are the most insoluble and our solutions to those problems the most ingenious.
The roots of Narcissism and Obsession lie within us.
Narcissism is the spring of Curiosity of Novelties and Obsession is a ritualized Boredom of Repetitions

We have to take a deep breath and relax. We have to realize there are other conscious entities who themselves are experiencing as validly as we are and as we did...

Even Ballet is chaos.
The dance performed for 200 years changes if we focus intently enough to see the changes of the dancers, the changes of the choreography, the chances of the live performance.

We do not need Wagner redivivus to tell us how to run Bayreuth.
One of the recurring elements in certain dystopian stories of the future has been the heavy hand of ritual and tradition weighing upon a serf-like population...
an ultimate narcissism of the dead past, gazing unendingly at its sagging reflection.

 Consciousness of Ritualistic Boredom

Our very intimate construction: our very minds and consciousness point out the way to divine Play, and abhor the vacuum of boredom and lack of originality.
And it is our own natal originalities that we fall and nourish first.
But we need make room for the children of others.

Ms. Steinem, take a breath, relax, and look at your grandchildren and great-grandchildren.


Saturday, February 13, 2016


 Here Comes The Sun

Waiting for Mary Grace, or Maria Zoe, or Mary Claire ... or Katie Scarlett.... ooops! For a moment I thought I was character actor Thomas Mitchell in Gone With The Wind. (I just watched him as Dr. Boone in Stagecoach two days ago, and coincidentally he delivered a baby girl in that movie, too.)

The baby girl - in real life, not Stagecoach - is my granddaughter who grows weary of the lack of stimulus in that in utero antechamber. I cannot remember that far back myself, but I suppose waiting to be born after almost full term was a lot like sitting in a doctor's office, reading the same old magazines over and over, and you want to get some new reading material with your own brand-new library card, with which in your 14th year you will discover Olaf Stapledon's writings and they will transform your world-view...
or maybe you just want to go get a pizza.
.... and being in the dark maybe too film noir, like playing solitaire 'til dawn ("with a deck of 51"), and you know in your heart that you are actually more akin to Rosalind Russell in Mame than you are to Mary Astor in The Maltese Falcon. And you want to go visit Shell Beach in the sun!

The drive to my daughter's was OK. We had very light snow between West Mifflin and Mann's Choice, Pennsylvania, but it did not even stick to the road surface. The Ohio turnpike looked as if it had had at least 2 to 4 inches of snow in the past 48 hours; its was well cleared, but the trees were blanketed with dainty tea-sandwich layers of white-bread snow, and the road signs well often splashed over from plow-throw and the road looked white and dusty, as if a good deal of road salt or some other chemical has been used.

 Tea-Sandwich Layers of Snow

My weather research said that the Ohio area we would be in could expect 1 to 3 inches of snow on Thursday, the 11th, and that looked correct. On the 12th, everything would be smooth sailing until late in the day.
I had used a GFS numerical model starting back on February 3 and an NAM model starting on February 9 for (1) areas of precipitation, (2) accumulated precipitation, (3) surface temperature 2 meters above ground level, and (4) wind direction and speed at the 250 millibar level (jet streams). Then on February 10, I went to the Weather Channel and got 5 day forecasts for Toledo, Sandusky, Cleveland, Youngstown, Pittsburgh, New Baltimore, Breezewood, Hagerstown, etc. and a southern route which followed Toledo, Findlay, Marion, Columbus, Zanesville, Wheeling, etc.
I also got a few southern spots, like Leesburg, since the moisture that caused the 31 inches of snow a couple of weeks ago came up from the Gulf of Mexico, so I wanted to be on the qui vive, and not allow General Snow to turn our right flank!

General Snow and General Pickett Memorial, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

I am filled.
Filled with all possible things which may fill a soul.
One of the subsidiary cycles of our lives is Filling/Emptying - Plerosis/Kenosis; most of our feasts are Filling feasts: visiting, eating, drinking - taking in emotion, food, and drink - followed by a draining off back in the extra-festal world.
Some feasts are Emptying feasts: fasting, penance - staying away from emotions, not eating nor drinking - like Lent and Ramadan. However, these usually culminate in a Filling feast, thank heavens!

I am getting back in touch with life's miracle.
I was born and forgot heaven.
My daughter was born, and I was filled with wondrous things, but the drudgery with which we build our usual lives drained away the stars and silver of my acme of happiness..
Now I have another chance to taste the wonders.
This time I shall not let the power of being in the presence of God's work leak away.

All my life I have had the feeling that this society was heading for disaster. Society seems to be keeping its part of the bargain, but God keeps sending us miracles of Mary!


Friday, February 12, 2016


Our economic problem is wrapped up in the fact that so much retirement money depends upon stock markets to generate returns. This goes back to the inception of 401(K) plans, and the enormous amount of money was welcomed by Wall Street.
However, this enormous amount of money also changed the face of financial markets in ways that are known and unknown.

The years of good returns are over for most people. Some older people have yet once again experienced a substantial decrease in their savings due to the random-downward-walk of Wall Street.

Yet, everything is more and more expensive, beyond the inflationary increases.
Businesses have come to expect endless growth and increase, but it cannot be sustained.


Thursday, February 11, 2016

Boney Shwa Wildlife Refuge

I mean, who in their right minds chooses to have an armed stand-off with the entire Federal government at a place called

Bad Luck Wildlife Refuge


Misfortune Wildlife Refuge

or maybe 

Adversity Park

or, worse,

Protestors'  Misery?

I mean (again),  Malheur means "adversity" or "bad luck" in French, so the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon is the lastest place I would have gone to on January 2, 2016 to protest.
Just saying.
I would have picked a place like Boney Shwa Wildlife Refuge, properly known as Bonne Choix Wildlife Refuge, since Bonne Choix in Quebec is used for something like "good choice!!"
(We used to go to the Bonne Choix grocery mart in St. Hippolyte, Quebec,  all the time; we'd say we're goin' to the boney shwa, and est-ce que tu désire quelq'chose? or usually you, toi, quelq'chose?)

There was a Mr. Finicum was among the protestors, and he was eventually shot dead by an officer of the law... apparently having forgotten that when guns are outlawed, only outlaws  and  the police will have guns.

I read about the stand-off since Day 1, and it seemed to me Mr. Finicum was a martyr who had found his cause and was in search of his martyrdom,  but forgive me if that is too harsh. It seemed that way to me well before he died. He was a good man and father, but he was intemperate when it came to the Bureau of the Interior's land use policies.

Now we see in the Toledo Blade
...  The last four armed occupiers of a national wildlife refuge in eastern Oregon said they would turn themselves in Thursday morning after the FBI surrounded them and they yelled at law enforcement officers in armored vehicles to back off and prayed with supporters over an open phone line.

The tense standoff between law enforcement officers and the four occupiers played out on the Internet beginning Wednesday night via a phone line being livestreamed by an acquaintance of occupier David Fry.
Fry, 27, of Blanchester, Ohio, sounded increasingly unraveled as he continually yelled, at times hysterically, at what he said was an FBI negotiator. “You’re going to hell. Kill me. Get it over with,” he said. “We’re innocent people camping at a public facility, and you’re going to murder us.”
“The only way we’re leaving here is dead or without charges,” Fry said, who told the FBI to “get the hell out of Oregon.” ...

"Unraveled" seems to be the right word.

I like the idea of praying over an open phone line.
What is the litany of this technology?
All the Saints of Heaven.... join us in a conference call!
All the holy martyrs...  join us in a conference call!
All the holy angels... join us in a conference call!
and so on.

You need to have been a Catholic back in the mid-20th century to know the right way to intone such a litany: Omnes Sancti, orate pro nobis! 

I hope you do not think me to be harsh. Life is harsh... and it's getting harsher.


Flint: Governor Snyder Covers Up

From the Toledo Blade:
More sunshine in Michigan
Published: Sunday, 2/7/2016
... A recent report by the Center for Public Integrity ranks Michigan dead last in government transparency. One big reason: The governor’s office and Legislature are both legally exempt from the state Freedom of Information Act. In Ohio and nearly all other states, the executive and legislative branches are subject to “sunshine” laws.

After his office was engulfed by the Flint water scandal, Governor Snyder made a show last month of releasing his emails on the crisis from 2014 and 2015 — a move reminiscent of tactics employed by a desperate President Richard Nixon to prevent disclosure of the Watergate tapes. Some of the Snyder emails were heavily redacted.

The governor did not release communications involving his executive-office point person on Flint. Nor were any emails disclosed from 2013, when crucial early decisions may have been made.

Michigan passed its open records law in 1976, in the wake of the Watergate scandal. With the tainted-water scandal a national embarrassment, the state needs a new law that makes the executive and legislative branches as transparent as possible, with exemptions only for matters of personal privacy.

Mr. Snyder took office vowing to support transparency in government — a pledge he has done nothing to fulfill. Extending the Freedom of Information Act to those who do the people’s business in Lansing would be an ideal way to start.

Mr. Snyder was a successful businessman. This is yet another of the millions of examples that success in one field does not necessarily nor often easily transfer into another field. People who support candidates, saying that they think business-like please take note.


Parasitical Pharmaceuticals 2

Martin Shkreli, CPP - Chief Predatory Parasite

I omitted part of the Logic Of The Parasite in my first post on parasite pharmaceuticals:

We already mentioned that a type-2 drug company is a parasite interested only in maintaining control of a drug and a group of hosts to sell the drug to, then the drugs of interest and under the control of the type-2 drug company will not cure a disease - at least, not quickly.

If the drugs wrought miraculous cures, the group of hosts would disappear and the type-2 drug company along with them.

Further, since the type-2 parasite drug company buys from a type-1 drug company (which type-1 company is a classical research, test, and market drug company)a drug  Rx1  intended for certain range of manifestations or aspects of a certain disease   Dx1,
it follows that since the type-2 drug company is not a research nor testing company, the probability that further drug research will occur in the near future for treating problems of the disease  Dx1  is very, very low; the original type-1 drug company is probably not going to do more research in that disease for a while, since it was getting rid of the drugs it developed already for that disease.

Hence, the group of hosts - the sufferers, if you will - are being condemned by our Economic System to (1) being subjects of predatory drug companies, and (2) being beyond the hope of near-term research into their disease.

This is not Economics.

This is Particular Genocide of the suffering.

As such, it should be outlawed.

perhaps mr. shkreli called the lawmakers "imbeciles" since they could not discern this obvious fact.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

L' Hebdomadaire or Hebdomedarius

 Which Monk Is The Hebdomedarius?

While I was in Toronto at the beginning of the year, my friend Gil and I spoke of various and sundry things. Somehow "Charlie Hebdo" came up and one thing led to another and it ended up with me saying, "Do you actually think that most people do not know that 'Hebdo" is an abbreviation for French "hebdomedaire",  which is from Latin 'hebdomedarius',  and means a weekly magazine... literally (every) seven days?!"

He bloody laughed at me.

Well, the only reason I knew it was the fact that I was familiar with the Latin "hebdomedarius":
The Hebdomedarius (otherwise termed Aquillarius Canonicus) was, as the name implies, the officiant of the week; each monk in holy orders being obliged to perform divine service in rotation.
(i.e., every 7 days)

VICAR of Catton in the diocese of Norwich
and "hebdo" itself was Greek, since the Latin for "seven" was septem and one would expect something like "septenary". (The "s" in septem in Greek became an aspirate "h", the "p" became a voiced "b" and the "t" became a voiced "d", so the sequence in Latin s-p-t is Greek h-b-d.)

So....... Charlie Hebdo means Weekly Charlie, and I learned a valuable lesson of some sort. So did he. I think he got the better lesson.


Arizona Papers

 Moment of Silence

I told the story a couple of times about the Army sergeant who was having some new recruits fill out their paperwork and asked them if anyone had Arizona papers... anyone?... anyone?
It turned out he was from the South and was actually looking for "errors" on the papers. It is a true and cute story.

However, Arizona is often not so cute.

Think Progress
Arizona State House Says All Invocations Must Mention A ‘Higher Power’
by Jack Jenkins Feb 9, 2016 1:56 pm
... “Prayer, as commonly understood and in the long-honored tradition of the Arizona House of Representatives, is a solemn request for guidance and help from God,” Arizona House Majority Leader Steve Montenegro wrote in a memo about the new unofficial rule, according to the Arizona Capitol Times. The lawmaker also said that anything that doesn’t invoke a higher power would not qualify — including moments of silence...
"Higher power"?

God is higher than I, and He is a power. That is quite the doxology.
I think the Arizona House likes crap like this because it reminds them of Alcoholics Anonymous, which famously invokes a "higher power".

That which addicts do to find help out of their addiction is not necessarily the way one should pray. For pity sake! As if invoking a "higher power" ever made a politician heed the Sermon on the Mount.

... Towns in Alaska and Alabama already grant people who do not believe in God the right to open town hall sessions with secular orisons, but those changes only came after significant pressure from nonbeliever organizations. In fact, activist groups have forced lawmakers in at least one town to eliminate the practice altogether: Phoenix, Arizona officially ended prayer before governmental gatherings on February 4 after members of the Satanic Temple, an atheist advocacy group, signed up to deliver a “Satanic” prayer before a city council meeting. The city replaced it with a moment of silence.

Now that is a step in the right direction. Cherish all those moments when politicians are silent and motionless, for else they would be compelling us to their schemes and defrauding us to pay for it!

Electrical Performers

Électrice, a stage performer with a show about electricity.
Very little available on this topic.
pic: Capt. Geoffrey Spaulding

From Fritz Lang's 1927 film,Metropolis, the Robot Maria is brought to life.


Parasitical Pharmaceuticals

Martin Shkreli

I think the magazine The New Yorker pretty much reflects the general decline of IQs in the past 57 years.  (Lt. Ripley, Did IQs just drop sharply while I was away?  And Ripley was in deep space for 59 years. The answer is Yes, they did drop.)

Their article about the Drug Industry and Martin Shrkeli
Everyone Hates Martin Shkreli. Everyone Is Missing the Point
By Kelefa Sanneh February 5, 2016
... Most of our Presidential candidates claim to disdain Washington politicians, but, on Thursday, Shkreli put that disdain into practice—and helped illustrate, to anyone paying attention, why it is so richly deserved. He is candid even when candor doesn’t pay. (Can there be any doubt that Hillary Clinton, after her own recent appearance before Gowdy and some of his colleagues, would have loved to send a tweet like Shkreli’s?)
Last fall, Trump said that Shkreli “looks like a spoiled brat”; in fact, he is the son of a doorman, born to parents who emigrated from Albania. Look at him now! True, he has those indictments to worry about. But he is also a self-made celebrity, thanks to a business plan that makes it harder for us to ignore the incoherence and inefficiency of our medical industry. He rolls his eyes at members of Congress, he carries on thoughtful conversations with random Internet commenters, and, unlike most of our public figures, he may never learn the arts of pandering and grovelling.
He is the American Dream, a rude reminder of the spirit that makes this country great, or at any rate exceptional. Shkreli for President! If voters in New Hampshire are truly intent on sending a message to the Washington establishment they claim to hate, they could—and probably will—do a lot worse.
This is pretty awful nonsense.

There are two points:

(1) the Health Care system is indeed beyond control at present, and

(2) there are Type-1 Drug companies that actually research, produce, test, and market drugs, and there are Type-2 Drug companies whose plan is to buy niche drugs and raise the prices phenomenally, wasting no time and money on actual research.

This second type of drug company has a Parasitical Business Plan.
These Shrkeli-type Type-2 drug companies find a group of hosts (those suffering from a disease) and find a drug that some other Type-1 drug company developed to treat that disease. They buy the drug and raise the price, and procede to live off the group of hosts.

Notice that the drug involved ideally should not "cure" the disease.
If the disease is such that the drug cures it, then the administration of the drug will "destroy" the host community of sufferers, and that is the last thing a Type-2 drug company wants; no parasite should destroy its own hosts. If it did, it would destroy itself.

This last point is the immorality involved here with that wonderful son of Albanian immigrants: Mr. Shrkeli does not wish to cure illness;
Mr. Shrkeli wishes to prey upon the ill.
That is all the difference in the world between legitimate business and illegitimate business.

Parasitical Pharmaceutical Capitalism!
The New Yorker could not even see that. The writer was too busy spinning fantasies about immigrants making good and doing Horatio Alger riffs.