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Saturday, April 29, 2017

Returning To The Swamp

We got home from Maryland. We had been there over Easter and beyond. My granddaughter is now walking. This stage is referred to as "toddler", and it resembles my lurching in the morning, except I do not plop down on the floor when exhausted: I use a chair.

I ignored the news, thank heavens, until I got home.

Now I see that we are still baby-sitting the President. I am really getting tired of this. I do admire the President for his use of adverbs, such as when he describes an acquaintance as "really, really amazing", whereas most of the schlubs who voted for him and most of those who did not would say, "real, real amazing".

A new phase is beginning today, his 100th day.
It appears that the arts of the deal derived from his stint with the World Wrestling Federation are weakening.

Trump’s Only Playing the Madman With North Korea
Trump’s tweeted threats may sound unhinged. But the crazy talk is carefully planned, administration officials insist.
Kimberly Dozier

When President Donald Trump predicted Thursday that there could soon be a “major, major conflict” with North Korea, critics were quick to write it off as yet another needlessly provocative and un-presidential outburst from the man occupying the Oval Office.

But aides and close associates of Trump tell a very different story. They say there’s an intentional communications strategy at work, designed by the president himself: Trump knocks opponents off-balance with unexpected tweets or comments that upset the status quo, setting up the shot, then his cabinet secretaries come in as “sweepers,” laying out the new policy in more detail, calming the situation, and landing foreign policy goals.

That’s just what Secretary of State Rex Tillerson did Friday, in remarks at the UN intended to serve as a road map out of the confrontation for the Hermit Kingdom, suggesting Pyongyang’s leader Kim Jong Un take steps to show good faith, and holding out the tantalizing reward of millions in U.S. aid for steps toward denuclearization...

The problem this morning is that North Korea launched a missile yesterday. This probably means they are not afraid that the President will "cut their hair":

Maybe some strategy from the "octagon cage" will work.

My son-in-law had heard some talking-head-musings about the CIA trying to sabotage North Korea's missiles, and he did not believe it, thinking perhaps that North Korean tech was just not up to snuff.
I reminded him about Stuxnet.
I told him the story about Mussadegh.

The USA is a violent Yenta, always in everyone's business, lest we forget.

And nothing is wrong with the President. He is pretty much representative of at least half the population of this country. He is what we deserve.


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Right Now

... I am singing   "I'll Fly Away".

and  Listen to Joe Locke singing "Violetta"....

et j"entends ... tous!



How Old?

How old am I?

Well, I remember Frantic Freddie Cannon, and I do not think people now would think he was "frantic".

I also grew up on Little Richard, and I first saw him in 1956. And his Long Tall Sally puts everything else to shame. I might mention I was "into" Little Richard in 1956 or thereabouts.

We won't even mention Fats Domino............... who is endless....

I do not quite get how these guys came together.


I also remember seeing LaVerne Baker singing Jim Dandy !  And I can't remember the MC, but it was cool in Detroit, 1956, Fox Theater.

Mr. Cohen

Leonard Cohen passed some time ago, and I ignored it because it was too much to deal with.

The first lady with whom I made love in college loved Leonard Cohen. So I think I love him, too. (I seem to remember I recall her singing his songs while we made love... which is bittersweet, eh?  It was in Canada... whatever.. and love is as sweet there as it is anywhere!)


Why Arabic?

Someone just asked me why I would write posts with titles or partial titles in Arabic... since nobody would know what it meant!

I had my standard answer: I read volumes and volumes of the historian Arnold Toynbee years and years ago. They were my sustenance after I was weaned from Edward Gibbon. Mr Toynbee quoted sources in English, French, German, Latin, Greek, and Arabic. No translation.

You were supposed to  be up to speed.


I Support The European Union!

any picture will do !

By the way, I do indeed support the EU, because that is where my ancestors came from.

My granddaughter has half from the great EU and half from wonderful Africa!! So I support the EU and Africa! And everyone else.


My Sword Is My Pen : سيفي قلمي

سيفي قلمي

Within the last week, I heard that expression above.
From whom, we will not go into now.
It translates as "My sword (is) my pen."

The very previous post wherein I wrote that in intelligent beings it is the differences that join us together is a prime example. The differences are proof of Intelligence. Our disagreements are proof of our common humanity.

I attack (my sword!) the old ways of thinking with my writing (my pen!)

I wish I understood all this a bit more... to make me feel at ease.


I don't know... maybe I should mention that the phrase is in Arabic?

My Book Part 6

The range I set for myself I thought to be limited; it was vast! It is all humanity and its beliefs! And I did not have a set dogmatic structure, neither philosophical nor religious nor political:  I actually wanted to hear and accept what everyone had to say.

Well, I found out that it is the Complexity of Mankind that swaddles us against the darkness!

The very fact that we are all so different - that all intelligent entities built like human beings - are so incredibly complex, that it is our differences that join us!

I didn't mean to write that until I wrote it.

I am at a bit of a loss for words. How could differences join us? Intelligence is differing, perhaps.


The Expanse Part 2: Thomas Jane

I really did not like The Expanse when I first viewed it. I went back to it and loved it. Everyone deserves at least a second chance, if not more.

I especially like Thomas Jane. I have seen him in many films, and in my experience, he had never been given a chance to display his craft. He is really very good in this, and I am thankful that I have found a good actor after the drek of The Mist... even Dreamcatcher was not designed to show his ability... it only accented Damien Lewis and Jason Lee.  This SyFy series is so designed and he is great.

It is all up to the writers. They have done a great job in fleshing out these stumble-bums of space!

I loved it.


Sunday, April 09, 2017

The Relativity Of The iPhone Part 3

Electronic devices expand the amount of time available. Their very speed of comm (communication) speeds things up, expands "free" time, and "shrinks" the distance in time between places in the world.

If you happen to be an alienated person, not just a teenager trying to avoid adults and their discontents, the time of alienation has magnified, the places of boredom have increased.

What is clearly of paramount importance is what we fill the excess time with.

Let us think about that.

It brings to mind an old e-gadget, the telegraph. In many movies set in the Old West, the telegraph runs alongside the railroad lines that span the country; settlers move in, cattle are herder, cowboys go into town... and the native peoples are subjected to genocide.

I do not mean to connect genocide and the telegraph. The dislocation of native populations started back around Andrew Jackson's time, well before the telegraph, and the Indians were turned into refugees herded into refugee camps called reservations, and these reservations created a vast Gulag system across the face of the Old West.

Connections? Doubtful, although speedy comm may have helped move soldiers around to the right hot spots of native disaffection. Yet there is no connection between electronic tech and genocide... even though there was that history written about Tom Watson and IBM and how IBM sold business machines to the Nazis, who put the punch-card system to good use in organizing their Final Solution.

Mankind is good and evil. If there are e-gadgets, they will be used for good and evil.

Still something like a shadow of ever-biting conscience nags at me, for if the time available to do good and evil is increased, then just how bloody important is it to try to ensure that more good than evil be done in that newly created time?

How do we fill the Time?

Not very long ago, people wrote about the new leisure society, a society where work hours followed a trend to decrease, wealth would be maintained with decreased effort, and great princely suns of leisure time would confront us. Our biggest problem would be, "What do we do with all this free time?"

That was just before it became the norm for wife and husband to both work just to keep afloat, and one of them possibly had to take a night job in order to pay for pre-school for the children.
In this case, we filled in the increases of time with stagnant wages, loss of jobs, etc. and managed to deflect the bane of leisure.

Consider the electronic item Television.
It created fast entertainment, giving us more free time.
In the old days, to entertain ourselves we had to do things like get everyone together, pick up teams, play lengthy games that might go on endlessly through nine innings or four quarters. Endless. Television allowed us an entertainment break that only took an hour or so.
Great free time abounded.

Only we filled up the theoretical time freed from the time needed for Recreation with more TV.
We filled up the TV with what Newton Minow of the FCC called "a vast wasteland".
Television gave birth to cable - which was free back in the beginnings! - and cable was a protean birth that looked around at the immense playpen it found itself in - vast amounts of Time! Cable gave birth to the 24/7 News cycle plague which oppresses the viewer even more than lack of news ever did.

Those kids in the photo - they are good kids. And they are clear proof that good kids come from good e-gadgets, right? Yet there will be many years ahead of those kids and what stories and influences will affect them?
Will they hear stories of heroes and heroines, honor and fidelity, truth and fortitude, or will the stories be of conflict, of despair and end-of-time horror, of violence and hatred? What is the Mix of good and evil? I think the balance is tipped to evil in the present day.


Thursday, April 06, 2017

Continuous Transportation: Товарищ дирижабль!

Un État de Transport Continu
inspiré par le film Transperceneige

It translates to Comrade Dirigible, but I (facetiously and incorrectly) prefer Comrade Blimp!



I Read... and a Good Story

I read...

Tikun Olam  תיקון עולם

That's what I read...

and there's a   ידיעה.... that I read this morning:

Tikun Olam
Palestinian-American Heroine Faces Down JDL Thugs; JDL Canada Infiltrates U.S. Diplomatic Mission
April 5, 2017 By Richard Silverstein
Danya Nayfeh, the daughter of the most seriously injured protester in the DC riot, Kamal Nayfeh, spoke extensively to me about events that day. Her parents had traveled to DC for a family day with their daughter, who is studying at Georgetown law school. As they walked downtown Nayfeh, who is studying international human rights law, wanted to find out more about the anti-Aipac protest at the Convention Center. So they walked over to the If Not Now demonstrators.

. ..they heard a violent commotion and her mom said: “I think that’s your dad.” Danya immediately began running toward the gaggle of JSL  (sic: read JDL)  attackers who surrounded Kamal. She began screaming repeatedly: “That’s my dad.”...
After she reached her dad, whose eye and back was badly injured, the police tried to shoo the family off to one side. Dana couldn’t make sense of this. She looked over at the attackers who were still milling brazenly near the site of the attack. The police were doing nothing to question them. When she was convinced the police were taking no action, she decided to confront the perpetrators herself. The police warned her not to as it might be dangerous. But she was not to be deterred.

She walked over to the JDL and began demanding to know who had attacked her father. No one replied. So she confronted Steynovitz directly and asked: “Did you attack my dad?” She repeated the question several times and he finally admitted: “We did it. That should teach him a lesson.” She looked at the policemen standing nearby to see if they would act. When they didn’t, she challenged them saying: “You heard what he just said. He admitted he did it. What are you going to do?” Their refusal to act made her frustrated and she began screaming at them demanding that they arrest the culprits...

You may have already read this story in the media, it may have been extensively covered by FOX and MSNBC. One News Organization that did cover it was RT, the Russian so-called propaganda news organization covered this with a large article on March 30, 2017.


Wednesday, April 05, 2017

The Relativity Of The iPhone Part 2

I got into this whole iPhone and electronic gizmo business when She-who-must-be-obeyed turned a gimlet eye to me while driving to Toronto and said that my nephew was acting like a pain again, and was not much fun anymore, was sarcastic, and was withdrawn into the world of playing iPhone games, looking at Facebook on the iPhone, and general iPhonery.

And when the phone was down, the iPad was up.

She said my sister-in-law said the boy used to be so lovely, and now there was a rough patch that had gone on a while and the road signs indicated more patches ahead; all he does is stare at those e-gadgets

So, I thought, why blame the iPhone?
Why blame electronic gizmos for adolescents?

That makes no sense. So maybe people are blaming iPhones for somehow making teenagers avoid the society of their parents and adults even more than hitherto. Teens have always been "withdrawn" to some degree.
I started to think about it. Definitely we cannot blame the new e-gadgets for pre-existing conditions. So what is going on?

One fact seems to stand out: the e-gadgets are fast. E-gadgets always have been. Think broadly now: e-gadgets include the telegraph, the telephone, radio, old-timey TV, etc. They were all fast; they all "shrunk" the world...  relative to the speed of light of electro-magnetism, the length and breadth of the world underwent a radical Fitzgerald-Lorentz contraction, using a metaphor from Physics.

Whatever a person wants to do in a hour, they can do in 1/2 an hour using an e-gadget.
The e-gadget "saves time".
Looking at this from the viewpoint of the total fund of time the person has available to do things in, that fund of time has just "expanded" by 1/2 an hour.

If a teenager is oppressed by the amount of time that his parents spend badgering them to this, that, and the other thing, the overhang of threatening time has just gotten much, much bigger!
And the only way the teen can deal with it are the electronic gadgets all around. However, by using more e-gadgets, the young people increase the amount of time within which they feel adrift, oppressed, discontented...


Comparing Hitler To Trump

Some people have compared Hitler to Trump.

Some have seen the rise of Neo-Fascism in the present day.

Well, Fascism absolutely required scads of ex-soldiers turned out of the armies after World War I. Without these men, there would have been geezers in the Black Shirts and grannies in the Sturmabteilung instead of young, strong ruffians.

Ditto for the Spanish Flu and Economic upheavals.

Big difference between Hitler and Trump; their times and world very different.

(We still have time for a pandemic - we gave a good try with that Ebola thing - and another economic disaster is not beyond our capabilities... look at the stock market responding to an administration that cannot formulate an intelligible policy on anything! I mean, Jared Kushner can only do so much, and even he may need an economic czar or two to help straighten things out!)

And concerning Hitler's abilities, I remember some British historian or other talking about Hitler's Tischegeschprache  - which is the way I remember "table talk" and sort off off-the-cuff chatter and my German may be way off!  - and saying that Hitler had a mediocre mind and jejune ideas.
Be that as it may, even though Herr Hitler was the devil's henchman, I don't recall anyone saying Hitler was a blithering idiot.

Here again, there is a vast difference between the two gentlemen.

That historian may be Trevor-Roper.

I Support The European Union

Founding Fathers of the EU

Joseph Bech

As Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Bech was actively involved in the establishment of the Benelux Customs Union and later the European Coal and Steel Community. Played an important role in preparing the 1955 Messina Conference which paved the way for the establishment of the European Economic Community in 1958.


Tuesday, April 04, 2017

No Country For Old Men

"It's a mess, ain't it, Sheriff?"

"If it ain't, it'll do 'til the real mess gets here."


The Washington Post
The entire coal industry employs fewer people than Arby’s

Flanked by cabinet members and coal miners, President Trump introduced and signed an executive order on March 28, that revokes Obama-era climate regulations and puts "an end to the war on coal,” he said. (The White House)

“My action today is the latest in a series of steps to create American jobs and to grow American wealth,” President Trump said earlier this week before a group of coal miners.

Trump was announcing the rollback of several Obama-era environmental regulations that would have affected industries such as coal mining. Trump has repeatedly claimed that over-regulation has led to a decline in coal-industry jobs.

“I made them this promise,” Trump said at the signing. “We will put our miners back to work.”

Experts in the industry have already pointed out, repeatedly, that the coal jobs are extremely unlikely to come back. The plight of the coal industry is more a function of changing energy markets and increased demand for natural gas than anything else.

Another largely overlooked point about coal jobs is that there just aren't that many of them relative to other industries. There are various estimates of coal-sector employment, but according to the Census Bureau's County Business Patterns program, which allows for detailed comparisons with many other industries, the coal industry employed 76,572 people in 2014, the latest year for which data is available.

That number includes not just miners but also office workers, sales staff and all of the other individuals who work at coal-mining companies...

...Looking at the level of individual businesses, the coal industry in 2014 (76,572) employed about as many as Whole Foods (72,650), and fewer workers than Arby's (close to 80,000), Dollar General (105,000) or J.C. Penney (114,000). The country's largest private employer, Walmart (2.2 million employees) provides roughly 28 times as many jobs as coal...

Pretty cool fine-tuning for a guy who can't take the time to develop a policy.


I Read...

That's what I read


I Support The European Union

Founding Fathers of the EU

Alcide de Gasperi

Italian Prime Minister and a skilled mediator, involved in the creation of the Council of Europe and in creating rapprochement between other European states.


The Relativity Of The iPhone Part 1

Not just the iPhone, but all electronic communication devices expand time.

If you were to be an observer sitting in a metro express car going past a station and you people standing on the train platform engaged in iPhonery,  you would be in normal time while they would be in expanded time.

The expansion is due to the light speed of electronic communications.

Not just the iPhone; TV and Radio were and are involved. It is the same phenomenon we used to refer to as the shrinking of the world due to improved communications, where what happened in far away places became known to us more and more rapidly as the 19th and 20th centuries wore on:  the gaps on world maps denoted unknown lands were filled in and the events taking place in distant mountainous redoubts in Afghanistan became the evening news; while the Battle of New Orleans took place after the peace treaty had been signed in Europe and the news had not yet arrived at North America, the bombings in Yemen provide the relish of our evening meals.

The World has shrunk, but Time has expanded.


Sunday, April 02, 2017

I Read...

That's what I read...


I Support The European Union!

Robert Schuman

As French Foreign Minister between 1948 and 1952, Schuman was responsible for the 1950 Schuman Declaration (together with Jean Monnet) which agreed to place France and Germany's production of coal and steel under a single international authority, a key milestone towards the European Coal and Steel Community.


Saturday, April 01, 2017

I Support The European Union!

Paul-Henri Spaak

A Belgian Prime Minister involved in the negotiation of the Benelux Customs Union in 1944 and later appointed to leading roles in the United Nations, NATO, Council of Europe and European Coal and Steel Community in the 1950s and 1960s. He played an important role in creating the 1957 Treaty of Rome which led to the foundation of the European Economic Community.