Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Just a Quickie to Say - w00t* ! ! !


NASA says Hubble repair mission is a go
By MIKE SCHNEIDER, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 53 minutes ago

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -

NASA will send a space shuttle to repair the 16-year-old Hubble Space Telescope, agency Administrator Michael Griffin announced Tuesday, reversing his predecessor's decision to nix the mission.


* w00t: Modern kidspeak for Yawp! Cool! Awesome! Excellent! and What wonderful news. I'm quite pleased to hear 'tis so.

w00t! W00T!

{sighin'n'smilin'}

Dangers of Candy from Strangers


Hey now! If'n yer as in to "tricks" as you are to "treats", I'd say go ahead and stick yer hand on in!

{shakin'head'n'grinnin'}


Tip o' the skull to me hermano, Leebro.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Of Thee I Sing


I've mentioned before, recently even, in a comment over in Blueberry's oasis, how I really love The Starspangled Banner. I'm glad it is our National Anthem rather than having the rather, to my ear, more dated sounding and inescapably religious God Bless America. I'm also really sick of the fact that baseball companies across the USandA made a decision to replace the grand ol' game's Take Me Out to the Ballpark with the latter hymnal almost immediately following the devastating events of 9-11.

I understood it, and didn't flinch (much) for the brief remainder of that '01 season, but then they just kept slippin' it in there for every freakin' 7th Inning Stretch for the last 5 years.

I know that, for most folks, politics and the government which it supplies, is not exactly of pressing personal interest. I know that people have other things - family, friends, work,
entertainment - on which to focus their thoughts, money and other personal resources and that, when they think of such stuff as the singing of our national anthem, it frequently is only to note how difficult it is to sing along due to the range and change in octaves required.

I know most folks would rather - and with good and understandable cause - employ their energies in thoughts and activities which, for whatever our billions of individual reasons, have personal meaning to us.


And still I can hope and preach (?! Yah... but I
do try to keep it chill) that there is No More Important aspect of public life than politics in a democratic society.

We are able to be who we because of the manner in which our government creates, executes and adjudicates the laws of our lands. Our inherent abilities are channeled into the people we are by the structures of the societies in which we are raised, and as we have evolved over the millenia we have gained ever more freedom to be ever so much more than our prehistoric ancestors could ever have hoped to become. How we establish and maintain our civilizational infrastructure is perhaps the most fundamentally important determinant of
what each of us can possibly do with our own singular life. Allowing others - especially those who gain the most from Legally limiting our options to those which benefit them at our own integral expense - to determine what rights and opportunities we may enjoy, is simply, and by historical affirmation of empirical evidence, irresponsible to our selves and our posterity.

Must we fully agree with our elected officials? Ha! How can
that ever be when we so frequently have seriously opposed opinions on the good of our own families or the choices our friends make for themselves.

What we can do is pay attention to the actions of our leaders and to the direction in which our societies have been, and are currently, leading us into the future: the future which each and every one of us silly human beings will grow via our own Free and Undeniable Will of self, at least as far as the laws of our lands should make possible.


So yah, Franky Key's "Oh say can you see" has always got my head to swiveling around to look out
o'er the Land of the Free, and the home of the brave*. If only to reassure myself that, despite grueling struggles and seriously heinous setbacks, the United States is still and always moreso, just and truly both of those things.

It can only be such for as long we, the people, insist upon its being so on election day.

So, Happy Halloween Everyone! The political ghosts ghouls and goblins are out and about and haunting our TVs and Radios with their messages many and sundry and scary, oh my! Be sure to listen at least a little bit more closely than your standard sensibilities might allow. I know it's boring and repetitive (hell it's all-to-often, down-right disgusting,) but this is the most important time of the year for our society. I think we are All worth the tricks our politicos do play.

(Don't let that be you in the mouth of an unconfronted demon of democracy. Vote on Nov 7th!!!)

(Thanks for the pic links, Sumo! :-D
)




* This post started out with the intention of proppin' the essay linked here. I'd still like to highly recommend giving it a read. The author, Dennis Drewes, asks the question about what our flag actually means today, and whether we are still and truly both the land of the free, and the home of the brave. Thinking about what those two things encompass is what occasioned how this post evolved.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

An "Enlightened" Neocon Speaketh

Anyone wanna read why all us Lib'rul bloggers are terribly terribly wrong-headed in our support of Peace, socially conscious government and a cessation of hostilities in Iraq?

We're medievally messed in the head, folks! Medievally I tells ya!

Despite my usual desire for civility, I must to be sayin' that it felt kinda cool to let the snark flow in my reply. Not that I expect him to read it.



Red Auerbach: 1917 - 2006

"You handle animals. People, you deal with."
While it is oh so true that people are animals, if we start with this premise, which to me inplies that every human being is worthy of the same respect and consideration that each of us desires and appreciates being shown towards ourselves, then perhaps we can focus our instincts and the emotions of our animal natures towards a more beautiful, peaceful and still phenomenally productive future for all livings things.

As time marches on, may we all learn to "deal with" each other more humanely.

RAmen

Bipartisan Bliss?

Possible, though not likely* with Bush at the Helm

D Bro points out some potential parallels to the Clinton Admin's successful struggle in balancing our nation's budget. He reminds us of the acrimony involved, and of the governmental stand-stills which ensued before that historic achievement occurred.

Quite pointedly does he point out how our current Chief Executive needs must get his head out of
his own agenda and start paying attention to his own party's elected personnel if he truly wants to get done for America what is good for America.

Check it out.
Can Bush Cross The Aisle?

By David S. Broder
Sunday, October 29, 2006; Page B07

With all the parsing that was needed to make sense of President Bush's convoluted explanations of his Iraq policies during last week's lengthy news conference, it's not surprising that another question -- on another topic -- received little notice.


It was, in the president's judgment, "a tricky little question" that Stephen Dinan of the Washington Times asked -- one that seemingly caught him by surprise.


"With a Republican Congress," Dinan said, "you failed to achieve three major goals of your second term: Social Security reform, a tax code overhaul and a comprehensive immigration bill. Why shouldn't Americans give Democrats a chance to work with you on those issues, especially when divided government seemed to work in the late 1990s on the budget?"

When the president recovered from his surprise at the question from the conservative newspaper's correspondent, he went into his familiar, assertive, told-you-so mode. "First," he said, "I haven't given up on any of those issues. I've got two years left to achieve them. And I firmly believe it is more likely to achieve those three objectives with a Republican-controlled Congress and a Republican-controlled Senate. And I believe I'll be working with a Republican-controlled Congress and a Republican-controlled Senate."

Bush went on for four paragraphs spelling out his belief that Republicans would defy the pollsters and pundits and win the Nov. 7 election, segued into a rap about the joys of electioneering and wound up by telling the questioner, "Anyway, thanks for asking about the campaign."

At no point did he venture within six feet of the original question -- and it's not hard to see why. He's not yet ready to think of Democrats except as opponents.

[To read the rest . . . ]

* I don't really think that this is Broder's conclusion. It is mine though. He is simply pointing out what is necessary regardless of whether or not the Democrats wrest control of one house of Congress. It's my opinion that George W Bush will continue to Stay The Course even if the Dems should do the unlikely and take back both houses.

But I certainly hope

A: that such happens and

B: he can find some semblance of the occasional bipatisanship which he showed as the governor of Texas. It may not have been much, but it was enough to gain him the bipartisan respect which was necessary to make his first run for the Presidency close enough to get him in there.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Trick or Treat: Cosmos Style

I Can to be Diggin' It



Now, if Blogger will just to be pub'in' it . . .

{deepbreath}

Thing's been buggy today, but it's FREE, so I s'pose that's OK.

You can't hide those flyin' eyes

Tip o' the Silly-Hat to Ms. Shakes. Gnarly, Lady!



Make your own eyes at http://www.flash-gear.com/eye/

If, for whatever reason, it doesn't load, check mine out here. Is my test site using Blogger Beta.

L8

Hubble Ho!


It looks as if the Hubble space telescope is going to get that overhaul afterall.
The NASA press release said the ceremony includes a "news conference with the astronauts who would carry out the mission" — if the agency decides to go ahead with a shuttle flight to rehab the telescope.

And Griffin has previously said, "If we can do it safely, we want to do it."

Griffin worked on Hubble earlier in his career and recently described it as "one of the great scientific instruments of all time."

Another good sign for fans of the space telescope is that U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (news, bio, voting record), D-Md., one of Capitol Hill's most prominent supporters of saving it, will join Griffin at Goddard, her office said.

"I think they've decided yes, but they haven't done it officially," said University of Wisconsin-Madison astronomer Jay Gallagher, who is a member of a science team responsible for one of Hubble's cameras. "Everything we've been hearing in our community is yes, so I'm hopeful that this is going to happen."

[Read the story here]

Say what you will about spacial priorities*, but I think the most important facets of our space program right now are
  • cosmological data collection
  • practice, practice, practice of orbital maintenance techniques and
  • completion of the International Space Station so we can get ever closer to the longer range goal of moving our species' industrial activities off-planet, thus preserving our on-planet atmospheric health whilst still expanding our potential for technological and practical creativity
Funding and implementing repairs to this astronomical achievement is perhaps the most efficacious use of both financial and human resources towards achieving those goals.

That
Pale Blue Dot is Home folks. 'Tis the only one we currently have. Despite Kyoto and the Governator's environmentalism, the intrinsic and inevitable advancement of human techological evolution cannot be maintained at the pace of the last 150 years without clogging or perhaps disastrously disrupting our planet's circulatory system. If we don't make a herculean effort to export some largish portion of our industrial manufacturing capacity outside of our living space, we quite simply won't be able to survive our creations.

Just as smoking in the upstairs with the window open doesn't keep the baby's bedroom unaffected and carcinogenically pristine - no matter how cheap and easy an alternative to quitting or going outside it is - exporting our industrial facilities to developing countries doesn't prevent their environmental effects from affecting everyone under teh
coriolis.

While our industrial advancement into space will also have (in many analyses of the endeavour) the effect of moving manufacturing back to the sphere of the more developed countries, I think the environmental opportunities created for the developing nations - and those which have been particularly slow or reticent or stymied from joining in that crowd - will merely continue as they have to date. Taking polluting projects off-planet won't to be helping solve or resolve our species' social (moral) dillemnas. It will merely, and quite simply, allow us more breathing room in which to work 'em out: with clearer skies above us and sweeter waters all around.

No matter what Homo does, it is always Homo doing it. That, at the very least, is as simple as it gets.

Hubble Ho! ! !



* The debate itself is lots of fun and worth a helluvalot more consideration than any sporting or entertainment endeavours.

And Godz (or not!) have little to no say in the matter. :-p Whatever our reasons or excuses, humanity be the defacto Decider!

Friday, October 27, 2006

On Minimizing Voting Voodoo

This story about the National Institute of Standards and Technology being brought in to verify the legitimacy of electronic voting machines was just 'bout anything but chuckle-worthy.

At least until this bit . . .

However, Ian Piper, representing the Election Technology Council of the Information Technology Association of America, expressed concern that such posting might reveal trade secrets.

He also said that the commission needs to work to reduce the required frequency of the tests, and requirements for duplicate tests.

He called for uniform test standards throughout the United States. Piper is also director of compliance for Diebold Election Systems.

[..for the rest of the story..]

Who'd a'thunk he'd have a problem with objective standards being required for these groundbreaking new machines?

{shakin'head}

Happy Voting Season everyone! I've yet to discoverer whether my precinct will be using paper or silicon. Either way, I'm just gonna assume the best unless I discover otherwise.

QotD

I rarely do a "Quote of the Day", but this one - even more frighteningly relevant than it is satirical - had me LOL and shakin' m' head.
Not that this (The midnight knock on the door, incarceration at the whim of men in shiny boots, confessions obtained with a section of hose, secret trial by Star Chamber.) is a bad thing. Who am I to say? Maybe we've been too lenient with enemies of the state. A period of stark repression might be a rich and rewarding experience for all of us.

Garrison Keillor via Common Dreams

(emphasis mine)

Femme Finale - For Now Anyhow

There was a recent warm blast of what I'll - not unflinchingly - call Femiblogging which swept through some of my favorite portions of the blogosphere. For me, it started with Shakespeare's Sister's post, Angry Men, Searching Men -- And What They Can Learn From Girls and Queers. As I learned from Coturnix, it actually was prompted by Sara Robinson's There's Something About The Men.

Over the course of the Femi-Fest, I found a whole lot of perspectives to which to both compare my own and discover what others have grownup thinking and believing about the roles and responsibilities of both men and women in the biocultural evolution of our species on the only planet on which we currently exist.

There are so many bloggers I read who don't necessarily write about feminism as such. They simply live and love their lives in ways which make me, upon finding and reading and interacting with them electronically, very happy to be alive at this time in human history. I really am lucky and, if you take a few clicks on my sidebar, you'll see why that is oh-so true.

Except for bumping the following grateful response to those who've linked to my post, I'll just be encouraging any who happen upon this to follow the links. As long as Homo Sapiens is extant, and regardless of how much thought and personal effort we individually put into this topic, it will always be the most important dynamic in our continuing struggle to find happiness and Forever in our limited time in this universe.

Well, alrighty then. I'm off to live my silly human life offline.

Namas te and Happy Friday everyone!
Suzanne, Glenda, Earl: (And Shakes 'n' Coturnix too) Thank you all very much!

Your kind words and linkage (to) here, and in each of your posts, have really touched me. I'm of that ilk who has a wee bit o' trouble with such appreciation because inside my brain ignite connections of synapses causing thoughts of all the things I've done in my life which belie any truth to my deserving appreciation. I know that's not "fair" to you, and its certainly not fair to your perceptions of me or me my silly ol' self.


But I made the decision to come out of my head and my circle of friends and share these parts of who I am and how I think in a nonanonymous manner and to deal with the consequences of such, quite honestly, in the hopes of overcoming my own selfhatred and whatever it is that made me think my destructive/demeaning choices were ever options at all. Your words and linkage, though typically resulting in the aforementioned bursts of unwanted memories and associations, truly do push me towards finding the means to be damping down those self-reproachments
as well as any new reactive behaviors/urges/anaesthesiological attempts to ignore or flee the same.

I've an ego which seems the size of a football field at times, whilst at others it barely reaches beyond my three pounds of brain and that average length of bio-tubing evolutionarily developed to keep me going when I'm gone. {-; Being recognized as having said something worth hearing by such wonderful people as all y'all is proving to be an effective antidote to my Fear of Me.


You've all so many wonderful and well-considered posts on ideas and realities which our species has bio-culturally evolved and encountered. It is simply
and amazingly a fantastic and salvatory boon for me to have found and been found by you.

Thanks again and I hope others can benefit even a little from this wonderful attempt to discover what Feminism, Masculinity and Humanism can truly be not only for each of as individuals, but by extension and the synergy of numbers, for the entirety of our species and our world.

Actually, it would be totally remiss of me to not include the initial emotional impetus to my actually jumping into the fray on this omnissue: Thank you so much Beep!Beep! for taggin' me on your 5 Things Which Feminism Has Done For Me.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

"Willie Horton" Was Child's Play Compared to This

Crooks and Liars YouTubed one of the most profound commentaries on the failures and fallacies of the Bush Administration, and the last 5 years of Republican Party rule in general, which I've yet to see.



Many thanks to Shaker Litbrit for posting it this afternoon. Not being one who gets my news from the TV, I've yet to see the spot itself. I really can't say as I'm missing it.

Nuancing

“It's unacceptable to think," (said the President).

It is never unacceptable to think.

And when a President says thinking is unacceptable, even on one topic, even in the heat of the moment, even in the turning of a phrase extracted from its context, he takes us toward a new and fearful path -- one heretofore the realm of science fiction authors and apocalyptic visionaries.

That flash of lightning freezes at the distant horizon, and we can just make out a world in which authority can actually suggest it has become unacceptable to think.

Thus the lightning flash reveals not merely a President we have already seen, the one who believes he has a monopoly on current truth.

It now shows us a President who has decided that of all our commanders-in-chief, ever, he alone has had the knowledge necessary to alter and re-shape our inalienable rights.

This is a frightening, and a dangerous, delusion, Mr. President.

If Mr. Powell's letter -- cautionary, concerned, predominantly supportive -- can induce from you such wrath and such intolerance, what would you say were this statement to be shouted to you by a reporter, or written to you by a colleague?

"Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government.”

Those incendiary thoughts came, of course, from a prior holder of your job, Mr. Bush.

[...for the whole of the post... (and the answer if yer not quite sure)]

I know this is "old news". Since I'm still such a silly rebel-against-what's-popular, I missed reading it when new.

And now I get to stand out.


LOL!


Yah, well. . .
KO irked me with the way he used the quote, then explained his reasons for doing it suchly - snipped and a wee bit out of context - so he stays in my mind as one of the few talkin' heads who actually "gets it".

'Tis Tuesday, folks! For whatever that's worth.


{-;


. . . Found by following Shakespeare's Sister's link to Think Progress' post on W's use of teh Google.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Educating the Elite

As y'all may imagine, I'm all for it.
Reason and Faith at Harvard
By John I. Jenkins and Thomas Burish
Monday, October 23, 2006; Page A21

What should a properly educated college graduate of the early 21st century know?

A Harvard curriculum committee proposed an answer to that question this month, stating that, among other things, such a graduate should know "the role of religion in contemporary, historical, or future events -- personal, cultural, national, or international."

To that end, the committee recommended that every Harvard student be required, as part of his or her general education, to take one course in an area that the committee styled "Reason and Faith."

Whether that becomes policy remains to be seen, but the significance of the recommendation should not be understated. Harvard is the drum major of American higher education: Where it leads, others follow. And if Harvard says taking a course in religion is necessary to be an educated person, it's a good bet that many other colleges and universities will soon make the same discovery. We hope they will.

[The rest of the story...]
Whilst there are certainly folks who'll have a bigger appreciation for the good religious belief can and has done, I've found that the more one learns of religion, the more one can see where its entire premise is a mere replacement for surety in the Reasoning Process.

When folks allow for possibilities which are literally and demonstrably impossible, they allow for actions which make no sense in the context of the complexities of modern life. It's not "Faith" that freaks me out. It's faith in things which are empirically disproven or, at best, incredibly unlikely and historically shown to be unproductive for our civilizational evolution.


Agnosticism towards the unknown origins of existence makes for a much more efficacious and realistic approach to the problems our species faces at this time in our history on the planet.


Personally though, I just can't let go o' my belief that one of C-Town's Pro Sports franchises is gonna get its act together enough to bring home a Championship. I'm fairly certain that that delusion is only hurting those of us who maintain it. {-;

I hope this concept takes root and flourishes.

Friday, October 20, 2006

"Equal" Ain't "Same"

As I recently reported 'bout m'self, I've trouble feeling comfortable posting on the concept of Feminism. It really is simply that I have a perspective, as a white dude, which has been both trampled and buffeted, as well as carried along and even sublimated throughout my personal history amidst the social upheavals of the latter half of the 20th century in America.

I've been given the benefit of the doubt for my white dudeness, as well as spurned unfairly by folks whom I've admired for the very same - beyond my control - fact of nature which is my bein' a boy. And an essentially sexually straight one at that! Intellectual confusion arises from, among other incidentals, my being raised in a modern Liberal Roman Catholic household, and being exposed by family, friends and educators to both unconscious racism and sexism
and a still heartfelt and honest desire for egalite.

Emotionally ... well, lemme just say that such is where I start to get all ver klempt and start looking to others who might be able to describe what Feminism means to me, without getting all caught up in my own silly, and oh so personal, humanity.

Thus I present to you: A modern feminist's take on
Our Gender Differences.
[Snippet]

Problematically, while we never seem to suffer from a lack of people willing to critique, from every conceivable angle and spanning the spectrum from fair to absurd, how women’s sex-specific qualities manifest themselves, what they mean for policy, and how they affect women and men, there is much less exploration of men’s sex-specific qualities and how they function in a changing culture. Critiques of the patriarchy (which is a crap paradigm for most men, too—especially not-rich ones) or sexism are not the same as redefining manhood, the women’s equivalent of which is rooted in the feminist movement, of which there is no male-centered counterpart. Certainly feminism is about achieving equality for women, but it is also about womanhood, which is both biological and cultural.

The lack of such an equivalent framework for men is part of what (makes) discerning biological difference versus cultural difference within themselves a dubious proposition for many men. As we see with women who reject feminism, they are keen to believe that what are easily identified cultural imperatives are really biological ones. For straight men, who exist in a culture largely structured to accommodate male primacy, pulling apart the intrinsic nature of men from the socialization borne of a society that reinforces the privilege of maleness, is exponentially more difficult.

[Oh! So much more and all so very very worth the read!]
The good Sistah's exemplary essay does truly do much towards helping me intellectually clarify the path of humanism upon which I myself am traveling. The search goes on, thank goodness! For, were it over, 'twould unquestionably mean I's be dead.

Laughing Out Loud


Oy! I just had to share this linkage cuz it had me ROTFLOL at 5am. I generally tend to keep the volume levels low that early in the morning, but when a chicken pops out of a suitcase on a subway train... well, it's kinda hard to keep it down.

And that was just the start.

Found the ad for it on Teddy K's Huffin'ton Post "
Iraq For Sale..." essay.

Hhhmmm... maybe I'll go read what Ted had to say now. {pause}


{pause}


{pause}

{Wait. It's coming}

{pause}


{pause}


NOT!

Ahhh, what the hell.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Talk About "Intelligently Designed"!



Dawkins handles The Master with incredible aplomb.

Enjoy! (but please keep the feces throwin' to a minimum, unless you're plannin' to clean it up yerself. {-; )

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A Balm of Blog

This Peacechick Mary post instigated this piece of poetry, and helped me get up for a short week at work.

Life is good. {-;

A tear

streaming down my cheek

Love from the fading night
of Summer
The sky yawns mightily
Autumn prepares our souls for Winter
So that Spring
May come again
World never ending
Changes
yet again

Monday, October 16, 2006

Wild Child? Errr... Well, Sometimes . . .












The Feral

You are 59% experimental, 54% feral, 45% spiritual, and 10% square!

Roar proudly! You're a Feral! You love to be in nature, and rebel against society. You may dabble in spirituality, but it doesn't rule your life. Neither does hygeine - people are meant to smell this way! Anyone who doesn't is benefiting from the deaths of hundreds of cosmetic testing animals.


The hippie world needs you because you are their link to the wild, and because you can beat our a mean rhythm on the djembe.


If you believe that opposites attract, you probably find yourself around Faerie-children. If you are more inclined to enjoy the company of those with similar attitudes, then other Ferals, as well as the Raver, Treehugger, and Full-blown Hippie are for you.


The other categories are Alternate, Mystic, Neopagan and of course, the Non-hippie


















My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 64% on experimental
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 64% on feral
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 21% on spiritual
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 14% on non-hippie




Link: The what kind of hippie are you Test written by pragmaticdreams on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Fear For All



Yeppers. It's that time o' year, and G Trudeau covers it better than anyone.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Do Yous Know Yunus?

Beep! Beep! has tagged me on a Feminism string. The actual meme is "5 Things Feminism Done For Me" and I've been hesitant to approach it since my bottom line understanding of Feminism is that it simply means that women have the right to be treated as Economic Equals to men. At some point, I think I'll be able expound on the details of the Feminist advance. For now, I really think Beep! has done a beautiful job with her own post, and my emotional take on the topic will remain - not exactly closeted - but left to the reader to extrapolate from my posting in general.

We are incredibly different, one sex from the other. It's kinda helped ensure our species' continuity throughout millenia of evolution in all sorts of environments, so I'm always hesitant to condemn either men or women who exult in those differences and are strongly adverse to movements that minimize some of them.


What can't be tolerated in free and dynamic socioties is economic dominance of one sex over the other. No man may have any rights - any
economic opportunities - which are not functionally shared by women.

Muhammad Yunus has taken on the culture of his most important clients AND THEIR FAMILIES and brought an incredible semblance of Gender Equality to one of the poorest, most sexually segregated countries on the planet.


Despite reactionary tendencies and a general aversion to massive social change, Homo Sapiens are extant because of our intelligence. I believe that Historians of the future will look back on the Nobel Prize committee's selection of this Bangladeshi Banker and Teacher as a turning point in our species' ability to set the past aside, and approach the future - and our opportunities for prosperity - with more open minded acceptance of the empirical Equality of the Sexes.

[Link] (T)his man, who won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, had taught (these rural women typically take a backseat to men) to stand up to their husbands by giving them small loans that now put them in the driver's seat.

"The first hostile person to our program is the husband. We are challenging his authority," Yunus said as we walked around Kashipur, where water buffalo lumbered down dirt paths alongside women barking Bengali into the cell phones they had bought with small loans from his bank.

"In the family, he's a macho tyrant," Yunus said. "He starts to see that she's not as stupid as he thought. He says, `Now she cannot nag me about money, because she understands now how hard it is to make.' The tension eases and they become a team."

[The rest of the Story]

[More on How Yunus Earned the Nobel Peace Prize]

Brilliant

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Must Be Mick Jagger's





Take this quiz at QuizGalaxy.com



I bet if teh groundskeeper mixes in a little Xanax with the Round-up that won't be a problem.

Not that this corpus is going in the ground when it stops working. There're far too many med students needin' corpsies for cuttin' practice for me to be feedin' worms.

Thanks to Jami via Tonya.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Nurture of Nature


Earth wobbles linked to mammal extinctions: study
Wed Oct 11, 1:47 PM ET

LONDON (Reuters) - Wobbles or variations in the Earth's orbit and tilt are associated with extinctions of rodent and mammalian species, Dutch scientists said on Wednesday.

They studied rodent fossil records in central Spain dating back 22 million years and found that the rise and fall of mammal species was linked to changes in the Earth's behavior which caused cooling periods.
Spaceship freakin' Earth, indeed.

We really are all flying wicked fast around a gravity well on a billions years ride of chemical possibilities. Anything physically possible depends on both the ride and the riders, whether either is conscious or not. It's not yet Biblical in its meaning to folks who still swear by religious traditions with Populistic emotional bases, so we may still be quite likely to add some more mammalian life to those extinction records.

Too bad
we won't be around to measure 'em.
"The environment is responsible to what happens to species," said Van Dam. "Biological factors are secondary, according to our results."
I'm thinkin' that's supposed to be is responsible for, but didn't wanna assume a typo. The fundamental point is mnemonically simple: If there's no nature, there's nothing to nurture, eh.

Cheese Head Calls It

This is perfect. A football analogy for the way the Dems are practically sitting on their lead in the polls.
Published on Tuesday, October 10, 2006 by the Madison Capital Times (Wisconsin)
by Ed Garvey

I always get nervous when my team is ahead and the coach decides to sit on the lead.

You know the feeling. For three quarters our passing game has been unstoppable, the running game pathetic, but with a big lead, the coach decides to the run the ball - every play. All he needs to do is eat up time. Suddenly the opponent scores, our fullback fumbles, our quarterback goes down with an injury, another score and suddenly our guys look confused and momentum shifts, but the coach keeps running the ball.

That's how I feel as we approach the two-minute warning for the Nov. 7* election. The Democrats are ahead, but they are afraid to say so or act like it. Republican policy is crumbling all around them. They face the most incompetent group of Republicans in my lifetime - from Katrina to Baghdad, from Afghanistan to the national debt - but they have opted to sit on their lead. Run the ball! No bold initiatives; no calls for troops home now; no filibuster to stop the absurd McCain torture bill.

Nope. Just sit on the lead until Nov. 7. If you say nothing while fuzzing over your positions, so the reasoning goes, you can't make a mistake and people will vote against the bad guys in power who have made plenty of big ones. So go along with the crazies to eliminate habeas corpus; detain people without charges; permit eavesdropping on Americans without judicial restraint; have the CIA run secret prisons - and maybe, just maybe, no one will "Swift-boat us." There apparently is no outrage the Democrats will not put up with while sitting on their lead. They can taste the champagne!

My advice: Look out! You don't have a quarterback and your running plays are too obvious to be successful. Go figure - a new poll found that 61 percent of Iraqis now approve of attacks on Americans. The New York Times reports that 78 percent of Iraqis now believe that the U.S. military presence is "provoking more conflict than it is preventing." And 71 percent of Iraqis want the U.S. out within a year. Hell, we can't get 71 percent of Democrats in Congress to call for a pullout within two years, let alone a year! Ah, but what do those Iraqis know, anyway.

[the Rest of the Story]


Speakin' of sittin' on it, Blue Girl's post on political blogtivism got me thinking and helped me realize I can't post too much OR too little on my political thoughts and feelings. What I, or she, or anybody else posts is what we should be posting if that's who are we are. If you got On Top by running the ball, then, by all means, keep shovin' it up their gut.

But if you're an aerial ace, please, Please, PLEASE let her fly!

You're a conduit BG! Whether you post on Pears or Preznits or Persimmons (you haven't posted on persimmons though, have you? Did I just imagine that one???), you've got
some of the greatest linkage and that inimitable Blue Girl Style with which no one, whe'er they be yo friend o' foe, can find fault before they start to chucklin' and smilin' and regardless of whether or not they agree that Liberty and Freedom for Everyone actually means for everyone, irrespective of how much capital is at risk. It's people, NOT profits that should always be formost in politics.

So, all I've got to say to the Democratic Party, whose fumble on the Torture Topic and more have left this November's elections still in doubt, right up to this, the fourth quarter,
throw the freakin' ball already! ! !




* It's kinda weird, but when I first read "Nov 17", it read in my mind as Nineteen 17. With North Korea testing Nukes, and neocons throwing out "appeasement" canards to pump up their base to World War readiness, I'm really not liking what the Dems "running the ball" might mean to our planet's peoples' near-term future. . .

Monday, October 09, 2006

Piece of Mind

One step forward. Two steps back.

Oh... and vice-a-versa 'long the way, don'tchyaknow.
. . .

Thirty years now sleeping, so sound
War raises its head, and looks slowly around
The sinner is near, sensing the fear
And the beast will start movin around

Cant you see their souls calling out in their brain
Cant you hear their blood is boiling setting them alight

Sinner!
Sinner!
Sinner!
Sinner!
Sinner!

Sacrifice to vice or die by the hand of the
Curse and damn you all you fall by the hand of the
Sinner!
I'm still reading The Three-Pound Enigma and there's a li'l asteriskical on what one cognitive neuroscientist calls "the seven sins of memory" which seems to have activated the wide variety of neurons in my noggin that bring the above Judas Priest ditty* to mind.**

From The Three-Pound Enigma, page 246, Chapter 7 - Open Mind

(Daniel) Schacter's seven sins of memory include transience (the slow loss of access to a memory over time), absent mindedness (not thinking to grab your keys as you rush out the door until it swings shut behind you), blocking (which Schacter defines as "tip-of-the-tongue states and the like"), misattribution (thinking you read something in the New York Times when you really saw it on Oprah), suggestibility (implanted memories of the sort some people believe [those of people diagnosed with MPD really are], bias (where what you know now affects what you remember happening the past: "I never loved that jerk"), and persistence (the inability to forget things you'd like: "Why can't I just forget [It]?")***
"Why", indeed. . .

Two steps forward, and one step back.



* Regardless of the lyrics, this jam has got the nastiest assed guitar work that I've ever heard. Priest became "pop rock" about three albums later, maybe two. 'Tis a shame.

** The combination of J. Priest and brain research naturally activated the wide variety of neurons which mean I'm thinking of Iron Maiden. Thus the title of this post.

Go figure.

{-;

*** I took a few liberties with the quotation here, simply to avoid some references which wouldn't make any sense unless you're reading the book. They're clearly marked within [ . . . ] to avoid any semblance of BS on my part.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

until I fuck it up . . . again

I separate Me from My mind.

Hey now! I'm not liking this, and it doesn't happen all the time. It is a standard approach of my consciousness though. It's always how I think about me when I'm thinking about me at all.

When I'm not thinking about me, I'm being me, and that's far more preferable until I fuck it up and get married again, or ignore the importance of a lease agreement or somethin'. Then I've no idea how I could've made such a conscious decision. I knew as I was considering it in my future that bankruptcy was possibly inevitable if I lost conscious awareness of the importance of my financial decision making. It's like I am/was going to fail because it ever was/is a possibility, thus probable.

So, it's funny. It almost does seem like I'm proud of being crazy for real whereas everyone says we're all crazy, yet I'm not that crazy even so.


Why is - quite uncomfortably - the first reaction my thoughts experience as emotionally trigured. How may indeed be the knowledge which would've helped me avoid consciously doing whate'er got me into trouble this time, but I'm tragically overwhelmed by the idea that I am broken and that merely by thinking about the possible, it became the de facto likelyhood of how completely freakin' Silly* I can consciously be.

Even though I always experience things as me, I fairly well still seem to have that childhood habit of thought which is me thinking here it goes, I'm fucking it up now. I can't stop it though. It's what I have to do" and the whole time I'm wonderin' why and how it could happen that I'm doing something that I simply don't want to do but to which I can see no other alternative at that moment.

Good. I'm posting this.

Now if I can just find a Psychiatrist who cares about psychology and wants to see his patient grow out of whatever patterns of habitualized emotion controlled conscious decision making actionsssssssssssssssssssssssssss God is fuckin' dead already. Yet the tenets I absorbed on love and family and friends and my abilities during my experiences (and later evaluations of same) are those which survive in the person it created. I still haven't shook the self that was created over years thinking and feeling how I did through to adulthood.

I feel like l'm gonna be 14 come my 41rst birthday. Either that or 10,000, and I don't know which is worse.

Which is worse because I'm not even able to consider which is better.

This Shrinker of Heads must be able to help me get my mind under my conscious control alone (for the most part I'll assume. {-; ) Shit's gonna happen to me. I need to minimize that which happens by my conscious intent.

And that in part means not ending this by saying "Duhhhh . . . "

How smart do you have to be to not kick a person who is kickin' themself? How moral?



* Stupid STupID STUPid.

Friday, October 06, 2006

On Heads of Pins

Krauthammer sniffs his own arse. Likes what he smells and plunges in head first, then has the WaPo where-with-all to spit it out online and share it with us.

Isn't that
special.
The question posed -- does the Iraq war increase or decrease the world supply of jihadists? -- is itself an exercise in counting angels on the head of a pin. Any answer would require a complex calculation involving dozens of unmeasurable factors, as well as construction of a complete alternate history of the world had the U.S. invasion of 2003 not happened.
Of course, he goes on to describe a growing terrorist movement pre-Iraq and how - and in one important sense, he's right - Iraq's magnetism to terrorism has kept the killers out of our country.

No attacks in the U.S. in the last 5 years, right?

Who cares who else is getting beheaded, bombed or waterboarded in that same time.

It is an issue of time frame. The bombing of the Japanese home islands may have increased short-term recruiting for the kamikazes. But success in the Pacific war put a definitive end to the whole affair.
Oh oh . . .

I'm really hoping this guy has lost any influence he's ever had in D.C., but even if he's just parroting the present patriarchy's current long range plans, that's sounding like we may not be waiting for anybody's dirty bombs before someone (the good? the righteous? the Chimperor?) goes for the nuclear fireworks...


History unfolding


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Sorry. It Can't Be Done




It's not like forgiveness is even being asked by anyone so far.

Forgiveness comes later, regardless. Fixing the problem comes first.

How to get the blood off our Ideals?

Worms for Hire

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

No Matter What Your Freckles Were


-----Email Message-----
Sent: Saturday, September 30, 2006 10:32 AM
Subject: Freckles

I've had freckles almost all my life, and I loathed them when I was little - I thought they made me look incredibly ugly. I love them now, and I'm so afraid of them going away. My mom used to call them sun-kisses when I was little. In hindsight, I know I was a cute kid after all - too bad I couldn't see it then.
Dig..

Interesting site found via
some idiot with a spellchecker.

Groovy.

Go Ahead ... You Won't Harm Anyone's Profit Margin.



While the first thing I thought of is the book I'm currently reading, this also brought to mind Blueberry's notification of the new Anti-Oprahism law against peaceful activism if such activity costs the company being protested some of its profits. It's a rediculous piece of legislation which fits quite nicely in line with last week's other gutting of the Constitution.

As for The Three-Pound Enigma by Shannon Moffett, I can only add to the Bookslut review that this work is reading very much like an extended series of blog posts. It's that much fun to read. Moffett takes a Med student's wonder at one aspect of her career choice - the human brain and the mind which it houses, and does a fine job explaining in brief the stages of brain development from conception to death.

Her interviews are with several expert doctors in fields of research on the brain and its activities. Her writing is casual and personal and manages to give me a good sense of both the research and practice being done on the human brain as well as a little understanding of the personalities and motivations of the people doing this groundbreaking and practical work.
The CSF keeps the brain floating inside your head. As the brain is about 80% water, it is both fragile and heavy; the CSF decreases its effective weight from over three pounds - which is what is would be just sitting on a table, where, like soft Jell-O, its own weight might tear it - to just under two ounces, allowing it to stay plump and preventing its collapse onto the floor of your skull.*
Not that such isn't occasionally just what I wish would happen, but, of course, that's just a termporary and habitualized way of thinking. Reading stuff like this is interesting to me because I'm totally sick of such habits. {cough}{cough} A pack and a half a day is the most I've smoked, and I'm back at that disgusting (and expensive!) milestone again. I don't know. I just switched back to non-menthol after reading some other research on how much more difficult it is for people who smoke menthol cigarettes to quit them than it is for non-menthol smokers.

Fingers crossed . . . {sighhh} Not that
that's gonna gimme any leg up on quitting. Since it's all in my head - all three pounds of it - I'll use anything I can to try an' change my internal thinking on the whole damned subject of my addictions and depressively self-annihilating habits.

On a more buoyant note, I am soooo glad to have access to the Lakewood Public Library again. It's kinda hard to explain, but this has been my favorite place to find new reading material since back 'round 1991, which was soon after I first moved to "the city" from sub-rural Lorain county.

It doesn't matter what I go into this library building looking for, or if I've anything particular in mind at all. I've always come out of this particular library with something good to keep my wee brain occupied and the mind which it composes expanding.

Now if I can just keep it from collapsing, blowing up or gettin' me thrown in the klink for protesting the concentration of power into a single branch of government, regardless of which political party or ideological gang controls it.



* From The Three-Pound Enigma: The Human Brain and the Quest to Unlock its Mysteries; Chapter One, Page 20.

Monday, October 02, 2006

No King to Crown a US Coup

Thailand's new leader starts work
General Surayud Chulanont bowing to an image of the King

Retired General Surayud Chulanont has begun work as Thailand's new military-appointed prime minister, after being sworn in on Sunday.

Gen Surayud was blessed by the nation's top Buddhist monk, before moving into his office in Government House.

His first major task will be to appoint a Cabinet, which he is expected to have done by the end of this week.

The tanks which have been on the streets of Bangkok since the 19 September coup have now been withdrawn.

Pridiyathorn Devakula, the head of Thailand's central bank, told reporters he had agreed to join the Cabinet, but that his exact job had not been confirmed.

As well as announcing the new prime minister on Sunday, the military generals that led the coup also unveiled an interim constitution.

This details the process of drafting a new long-term constitution, and promises democratic elections in October 2007.