Monday, November 24, 2008

Caution, Disdain and Hope

As the first democratically elected President of the United States this century prepares to assume his Challenge, those who must assist and implement his strategies are coming to their places.

One of the reasons I preferred Barack Obama to Hillary Clinton is that the former's Economic understanding was supported by one Robert Reich, where as the latter's had the backing of a man who, in my eclectically formed opinion, was a part of the problem; Robert Rubin. As times have changed and Mr. Rubin's fetish for deregulation has proven, at the very least, too laissez faire for reality's health, evolution is being embraced over revolution, and comprehension is dawning in the minds of those who would establish a Financial System based still on the idea of Growth, yet not without fetters on those whose grasp of it might give them Dominion to the detriment of all.

Yah. I do so love to fancy m'self poetic.

The point is, as the NYTimes* puts it;
(T)imes have changed since (the Clinton era). On Wall Street, Mr. Rubin is facing questions about his role as director of Citigroup given the bank’s current woes. And in Washington, he and his acolytes are calling for a new formulation to address the global economic crisis that Mr. Obama will inherit — and rejecting or setting aside, for now, some of their old orthodoxies.

Instead of deregulation, Mr. Obama has sworn to usher in a period of re-regulation, to avoid the freewheeling risks that Citigroup and the rest of the financial industry undertook after Mr. Rubin, with Mr. Summers, helped tear down the regulatory walls between banks, brokerages and insurance companies, and freed them to trade in unregulated and little-understood derivatives worth trillions of dollars. Mr. Geithner spent his first years as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York seeking ways to at least monitor those markets better.

Instead of balancing budgets, the Obama team will be going deeper into debt for at least two years by spending hundreds of billions of dollars more to stimulate the economy, without concern for deficits, for aid to the jobless, states and cities; tax cuts for workers; and job-creating construction of roads, schools and other public works. Nor, given the downturn, is Mr. Obama expected to try to quickly bring in more revenue by repealing the Bush tax cuts for those making more than $250,000.

[We gotsta works with what we got]

A rational Tax Code means one that honors current expectations and expedients. Repealing those cuts immediately would not only dampen an already recessing economy, they'd damage much of the trust the upper middle class has put into President-elect Obama's upcoming administration, and rattle the wounded Republican party's Congressional membership more so than their mere reduction in numbers on the Hill has already. Politics is still gaining advantage over one's opponents, but, as a man who ran on a platform of Uniting the citizenry of his nation, Obama has to be both Liberal and pragmatic.

As long as that pragmatism doesn't prevent him from enacting Change we really, honestly, empirically and unquestionably do need.

Of course, we can't forget that the Health Care Industrial complex and how to support Israel without obliterating Palestine are two more biggies on any Administration's To Do List. That's just another reason for Mr. Obama to recall his Uniter theme as his Challenge commences.


* Funny, but for some reason I thought I was reading WaPo online, instead of the Times.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Free At LAST!!!


I post that title with no shame and only the slightest sense of irony. After nearly 30 Years of environmental obfuscation by a Democratic congressman, the auto industry in the United States will finally have to be an environmentally responsible member of the most polluting civilization in the history of our species.
Democrats Oust Longtime Leader of House Panel
---
WASHINGTON — Representative Henry A. Waxman wrested the chairmanship of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee from Representative John D. Dingell on Thursday in a coup that is expected to accelerate passage of energy, climate and health legislation backed by President-elect Barack Obama.

--snip--

...Mr. Dingell has been the top Democrat on the committee since 1981 and has been in Congress since 1955, winning the seat in a special election after his father died in office. In February, Mr. Dingell will become the longest-serving member in the history of the House. He is married to Deborah Insley Dingell, a longtime senior executive at the General Motors Corporation.

[Welcome to The Real Deal!]

Now the government just has to be realistic about calling on the membership of the U.A.W. to face their own, equal tonnage of responsibility for the sorry state of the Big 3 US auto makers and the Nation Intelligence Council's recent (and likely accurate) assertions that the power and influence of the U.S. is on the wane, and we may actually be seeing the world stage set for a renaissance of (heheh) Biblical proportions for my country.

As I'm always saying, though, we'll be to see.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

To Each Their Own

'Twas checkin' my SiteMeter and found some fun word smithing.
... some people who have lived exemplary lives are torn with severe guilt to the point they no longer wish to live, while others who have committed horrendous crimes suffer not a twinge of conscience.

And I thought that it was only me!


I never thought it was only me. I've known way too many peops w/ bigger problems than my own. Some of 'em hardly seem affected at all, while others are literal cripples. Is what makes statistics sehr important, but hardly the be all-end all.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Things That Make You Say . .

. . Hhmmm... Mudder Puckin' DUH

7.6% attrition rate for folks whose shrinks call them versus 50% for folks who' gotta get up and go spill guts while cuttin' a co-pay check.

Go figure...

A Woolen Time


Sum times
Darkness and lights
adding up sometimes
Sparkling in the tapestry of mistakes

Whole visions sprouting
futile as the grass towards winter
Summer's due
Mistaken for grievance

Bound by more than
Lesson's Learned
Denial doesn't soften any blows
nor lessen winds determined

Aching

In solace born in lies
Truth tells tales
which dead man thought to hold
and wrap as tight as autumn wool

In steel and splendour
trapped are freedom and loss
Winsome whorls of pale glamour
which divide us from our place

Oroboros spits out his tail
so that life might not go on
Hunger pulls and draws
the circle closed

Aching

To be grown again
from the worms' workings wrought in ice
and the warmth
of what has never been

Aching is this dream so real...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

October 31- Trick-or-Treat, Halloween, Reformation Day...

Heh... Religion, by any other name, is still little more than cheap tricks and "self-deception". So, 500 years after Martin Luther posted a proto-blog on the doors of a Catholic Church, what's new?

Hint; it's got to do with tourism. {rollin'eyes'n'grinning} ;)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I Equivocally Agree

Impermanence


A Ghost Trapped in his mind
Laying firmly on towards some chance of escape
Wanting nothingness
Before and After waking

A Ghost Lost in his mind
Glaring fiercely at any who would help
Declaration of sanctity
of Choices made for free

Poison set in when the launch was set
Shadows entered dreams
Incomplete
But certainty wins by its Nature

The Frost Concealing the Wind
Open sources encouraging Fear
Mutinous internals can't help him now
Profligacy of contempt

The Frost Encircling Hope
Cold fractals of fears and joy
Intermingling opposites
Everything making sense concurrently

Nothing is Everything
Said the man with the Life pouring from his face
Children abandoned by those who Love them
Nothing is Everything
Is Anything He decides to make of It

Maybe later the Spring

(Please don't ask.))

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

McSame as the Old Boss

We've all heard about McCain the War Hero. Well, we've heard it from the hero's perspective, anyhow, and it's an awesome story of one man's struggle to overcome the Enemy for the sake of his country. To resist the Other in defense of our Own.

Want to read what those who knew him then and throughout his years since returning from Vietnam have to say about John McCain, American Hero?

From Rolling Stone online
Make-Believe Maverick
A closer look at the life and career of John McCain reveals a disturbing record of recklessness and dishonesty

By TIM DICKINSON Posted Oct 16, 2008 7:00 PM

---
This is the story of the real John McCain, the one who has been hiding in plain sight. It is the story of a man who has consistently put his own advancement above all else, a man willing to say and do anything to achieve his ultimate ambition: to become commander in chief, ascending to the one position that would finally enable him to outrank his four-star father and grandfather.

In its broad strokes, McCain's life story is oddly similar to that of the current occupant of the White House. John Sidney McCain III and George Walker Bush both represent the third generation of American dynasties. Both were born into positions of privilege against which they rebelled into mediocrity. Both developed an uncanny social intelligence that allowed them to skate by with a minimum of mental exertion. Both struggled with booze and loutish behavior. At each step, with the aid of their fathers' powerful friends, both failed upward. And both shed their skins as Episcopalian members of the Washington elite to build political careers as self-styled, ranch-inhabiting Westerners who pray to Jesus in their wives' evangelical churches.

[Grab a Cuppa for the Next 9 Pages :)]


Thanks for the link to this story, Tonya. While some of it reads politically motivated in opposition to what McCain's camp would have us believe, for the most part it rings true for the kind of person who would reach his status in my country's Society. The facts and the record back up this version of this candidate more so than any mythologizing.

{sigh} Sad but true.

Friday, October 03, 2008

McCain's Tax Plan: "Now, that's crazy."

I started this post when I first found that Darwin's Dagger had posted a link to Obama Tax Cut. Sehr kuhl! Alas, I've been back in one o' those funkin' funks where my brain tries repeatedly to kill me, even though I know it's not Life that sucks, just my lack of control of said brain.

Yah, I know. T.M.I....

'Tany rate, this morning I found a NYTimes online article on Da (Money) Man, Warren Buffett. How do the two tie together?

...As far back as 2003, Mr. Buffett had warned that the complex securities at the center of today’s troubles — once so profitable, but now toxic — were “financial weapons of mass destruction.” These securities were engineered by the math quants on Wall Street, and in the interview Mr. Buffett expressed his disdain: “Beware of geeks bearing formulas.”

To help pay for the rescue, the government should raise taxes on the wealthy, Mr. Buffett suggested. “I’m paying the lowest tax rate that I’ve ever paid in my life,” he said. “Now, that’s crazy.”

[Buffett may not say it, but I've no problem repeating, OBAMA '08!!!]
Emphasis is mine.

Getting back to Darwin's pointy post; commenter Mickey links to the CATO Institute site and a decent, though, of course, near sighted article explaining some of the pitfalls of the Income Tax.

NOTHING is one-sided. Government has GOT TO BE based on objective and statistically accurate information, though. Individuals will prove how exceptional they really are by thriving in an environment which is managed in order to to benefit the Whole of any nation, or the whole at large.

More power to 'em! Just don't make the rest of us suffer for someone else's success. 'S'all I'm sayin'.

Obama '08!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

American Exceptionalism

Exceptional Myopia.

Exceptional Hubris.

Exceptional Cowardice.

Exceptionalism in the first category leads to the second and does so via the third's close kinship to an exceptionally irrational devotion to religion which so infuses even American aetheists, in no small part, with a belief that, if you give the "other" any small degree of acknowledgment of value, then you have lost, and "they" have beaten you.

The idea that there is some sort of American Exceptionalism allows educated folk such as Sarah Palin and Ben Stein to believe that humans and dinosaurs once walked the Earth together; at least until the great ad nauseum grand parents of Every Person Now Alive became the first of the Boat People in order to survive some sadistic deity's wrath.

It encourages millions of middle class peops to vote against their better economic interests, year after inflationary year, in favor of the "trickle-downer" candidates with whom they think they'd rather have a drink. They'll even buy it for him!

We seem to believe (well, amongst other ridiculous things) that our mere proximity to the Rich and Famous and Powerful - even though only through the magic of television - somehow endows us with those same capacities. As if the greater become the fortunes of our wealthiest citizens we will somehow increase our own, even though the actual facts show, clearly and without illusion, that the divide between the wealthiest 5% and the overwhelming majority of income earners in this country grows untenously while so called "Conservatives" control the government. The fact that one millionaire can try and lump another millionaire into the same category as yet another, though lesser, millionaire in order make all us non-millionaire's believe the lesser of the three has in some mysterious way less in common with us non-millionaires, and that we buy it hook line and sinker is merely one more indication of the Exceptional Credulity with which Americans are imbued when it comes to our Exceptional Self-delusionment.

Ahhh forget it. This must just be a tired ol' Librul's Sour Grapes. I guess we should really just trust the President when he says, "Everything will be fine."*

After all, his retirement isn't in any jeopardy... That's something. Right?

* That link goes to der Spiegel and an article entitled "The End of Arrogance: America Loses its Dominant Ecomonic Role"

Is it only President George W. Bush, the lame duck president, whom the rest of the world is no longer taking seriously, or are the remaining 191 UN member states already setting their sights on the United States, the giant brought to its knees? UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon referred to a "new reality" and "new centers of power and leadership in Asia, Latin America and across the newly developed world." Are they surprised, in these new centers, at the fall of America, of the system of the Western-style market economy?

Even America's closest allies are distancing themselves -- first and foremost the German chancellor. When push came to shove in the past, Angela Merkel had always come down on the side of the United States. As a candidate for the Chancellery for the conservative Christian Democrats, she helped Bush in the Iraq war, and as chancellor she supported tougher sanctions on Iran and campaigned in Europe for an embargo against Cuba. "The partnership with the United States," the chancellor insisted again and again, "has a very special meaning for us Germans."

There was no mention of loyalty and friendship last Monday. Merkel stood in the glass-roofed entrance hall of one of the German parliament's office buildings in Berlin and prepared her audience of roughly 1,000 businesspeople from all across Germany for the foreseeable consequences of the financial crisis. It was a speech filled with concealed accusations and dark warnings.

Merkel talked about a "distribution of risk at everyone's expense" and the consequences for the "economic situation in the coming months and possibly even years." Most of all, she made it clear who she considers the true culprit behind the current plight. "The German government pointed out the problems early on," said the chancellor, whose proposals to impose tighter international market controls failed repeatedly because of US opposition. "Some things can be done at the national level," she said, "but most things have to be handled internationally."

Perhaps we've reached a rather exceptional point in History. I'm not convinced of this, yet, and I hope with every Vote I cast that the United States has not.

But be it Great Britain, Napoleon's France, Rome, Pharonic Egypt, the Ming Dynasty. Empires fall.

With grace and intelligence, my country may yet fall to something greater still; an Earth of humans who survive by pulling together.

Yeah. We'll be to see...

Monday, September 29, 2008

X-cellence in Orbit!


SpaceX gets rocket and mock payload into orbit without a glitch.

(From teh WaPo)
...

"Fourth time's a charm," said Elon Musk, the multimillionaire who started up Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, to make space launches more affordable.

The Falcon 1 rocket carried a 364-pound dummy payload designed and built by SpaceX for the launch. Musk pledged to continue getting rockets into orbit, saying the company has resolved design issues that plagued previous attempts.

"This really means a lot," Musk told a crowd of whooping employees. "There's only a handful of countries on Earth that have done this. It's usually a country thing, not a company thing. We did it."
[One small step for Private Enterprise. One Giant Leap for mankind.]

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Politics as Unusual?

Not much time here, but I just finished an article in the WaPo which gives me a little hope for our socio-cultural future.

Enjoy. As such...
Where Have All the Protests Gone?
By David Segal
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 24, 2008; Page C01

... (T)here are those who say that most political agitation today isn't on the Web or on campuses. The action now, according to Daniel May, who once worked for the Service Employees International Union, is all door to door. They're raising money, they're getting out the vote.

"The organizers of my generation were shaped by 1968," said May, who is working toward a master's degree from Harvard. "But one lesson is that 1968 marked the first year of 40 years of conservative rule. Why would we want to replicate that? There's a real limit to protest politics. It's politics as catharsis and that eventually leads to cynicism."

It would be a mistake, in May's estimation, to confuse the lack of effigies with a lack of passion. The kids who once marched are now trying a different approach, he said, using techniques that were dismissed by their parents as too establishment. May's mother, Elaine Tyler May, a historian at the University of Minnesota, says she used to think that the youth of today just couldn't be bothered. But she has changed her mind.

"My son tells me it's politics that's more interested in power than in protest, and on a good day, that's how I see it," she said. "I still have this impulse to go yelling in the street, but what I see my kids doing is far more effective. I think we're just old and we don't realize -- there's a groundswell of political engagement that we just don't see."

[Different rhymes for different times, eh...]

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

But Thinking is Hard!

People don't enjoy thinking about parts of their lives over which they have little direct control. This is just an instinctual part of our intellectual capacity. If something doesn't make "common sense" to us - ie, it's not what we are used to thinking - then we struggle to accept that it could be the right thing to do.

Case in point: Oil As former CIA Director James Woolsey* points out, energy independence vis-a-vie other nations (Middle East Oil anyone?) does Not mean the total elimination of any of that resource from our national energy diet. Rather, it is a matter of rational decision making as to how much dependence on oil we absolutely must maintain in conjunction with alternative means we can develop and utilize to spread our options.

From last September's National Review Online

The energy-independence question is really about oil — the rest of U.S. energy use presents important issues, but not the danger of our being subject to the control of nations that “do not particularly like us,” as the president put it. Some of the engine racers have an economic interest in keeping our transportation system 97-percent oil-dependent. Less understandable are the authors of a recent Council on Foreign Relations report accusing those working for such independence of “doing the nation a disservice.”

The authors of that report and their followers define “independence,” contrary to both Webster’s and common sense, as essentially “autarky” — i.e. complete self-sufficiency, or not importing oil even though we remain dependent on it. Such a Pickwickian definition captures none of the thinking of serious advocates of reducing our oil dependence: The point of independence is not to be an economic hermit, but rather to be a free actor.

It is true that some who promote oil independence spice their remarks by implying that we might substitute oil from domestic sources or from our near neighbors for cheap Middle Eastern imports, and somehow manage to insulate ourselves from the world oil market.

But speechwriters’ tropes shouldn’t be taken as serious policy proposals. Geology will not cooperate in any such fantasy. There is no reasonable way that we can leave oil in place as the near-exclusive fuel for the world’s transportation systems and simultaneously wall ourselves off from the world oil market. If we want to end dependence on the whims of OPEC’s despots, the substantial instabilities of the Middle East, and the indignity of paying for both sides in the War on Terror, we must define oil “independence” sensibly — as doing whatever is necessary to avoid oil’s being the instrument of despotic leverage and foreign chaos.

Those who won our independence as a nation didn’t just fling imported tea into Boston harbor — they did whatever was necessary to wrest themselves from British control. We need not call out the Minutemen, but to avoid the consequences of dependence we must become independent — not just of imported oil, but of oil itself.

Does this mean that we cannot use oil or import any? Of course not.

[Now lets put our thinkin' caps on, kiddos!]

This misdefining of the concept of independence is exactly what has kept the McCain campaign in the race. Americans want their big concepts small. We want to have everything in its little niche so that we don't have to stop and think about the results of our behaviour. We just want to act on what we know (our Common Sense) and have life flow as it will, preferably in our favor.

Ever hear of "Murphy's Law"?

The world we've created for ourselves' is far too complex for most folk to accept comfortably. Overcoming this cultural obstacle (and it is cultural, as opposed to biologically immutable such as our need for oxygen) is the number one thing we need to accomplish if we're to avoid creating a world which is uninhabitable by our own families.

As usual, more to come...

* Turning Oil into Salt
We must become independent — not just of imported oil, but of oil itself.
By R. James Woolsey & Anne Korin
September 25, 2007 5:00 AM

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Things to THINK About

From an email from mi amigo, the Aging Hipster. Not sure as either one of us can ascertain the ultimate source, but the questions asked are all supported by historic record. Some just lack relevance, except as to what they say about the those who would answer in the affirmative.

Help me. I want to make sure I got this right.

I'm a little confused. Let me see if I have this straight.....(hope I'm not offending anyone, and if I am, get over it)

* If you grow up in Hawaii , raised by your grandparents, you're 'exotic, different.'

* If you grow up in Alaska eating moose burgers, you're a quintessential American story.

* If your name is Barack, you're a radical, unpatriotic Muslim.

* If you name your kids Willow , Trig and Track, you're a maverick.

* If you graduate from Harvard law School, you are unstable.

* If you attend 5 different small colleges before graduating, you're well grounded.

* If you spend 3 years as a brilliant community organizer, become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional Law professor, spend 8 years as a State Senator representing a district with over 750,000 people, become chairman of the state Senate's Health and Human Services committee, spend 4 years in the United States Senate representing a state of 13 million people while sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran's Affairs committees, you don't have any real leadership experience.

* If your total resume is: local weather girl, 4 years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people, 20 months as the governor of a state with only 650,000 people, then you're qualified to become the country's second highest ranking executive.

* If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while raising 2 beautiful daughters, all within Protestant churches, you're not a real Christian.

* If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left your disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you're a Christian. [McCain]

* If you teach responsible, age appropriate sex education, including the proper use of birth control, you are eroding the fiber of society.

* If, while governor, you staunchly advocate abstinence only, with no other option in sex education in your state's school system, while your unwed teen daughter ends up pregnant, you're very responsible.

* If your wife is a Harvard graduate lawyer who gave up a position in a prestigious law firm to work for the betterment of her inner city community, then gave that up to raise a family, your family's values don't represent America 's.

* If you're husband is nicknamed 'First Dude', with at least one DWI conviction and no college education, who didn't register to vote until age 25 and once was a member of a group that advocated the secession of Alaska from the USA, your family is extremely admirable. OK! *much* clearer now.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Cat Blogging by Proxy


For all you cat bloggers who need to take a break. Happy Friday.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Not Just a River in Egypt

It's not the best thing one can do. Denying the truth about one's self. It's not even the worst. It's just something Homo does with a seriously studious attention to detail. What makes that easy, per se, is how much it hurts to acknowledge that we're not really "all that". Even when what we are is one hell of a lot of pretty damn good.

Why that's just not good enough is just about as to hard to pin down as the question for which the answer is 42*. The math is just too fuzzy for folks to follow all that easily...
On Wall St., a Problem of Denial
By JOE NOCERA
Published: September 15, 2008
---

(It) is not all that different from what is going on in neighborhoods all over the country. Just as homeowners took out big loans and stretched themselves on the assumption that their chief asset — their home — could only go up, so did Wall Street firms borrow tens of billions of dollars to make subprime mortgage bets on the assumption that they were a sure thing.

But housing prices did drop eventually. And when people tried to sell their homes in this newly depressed market, many of them had a hard time admitting that their home wasn’t worth what they had thought it was. Their judgment has been naturally clouded by their love for their house, how much money they put into it and how much more it was worth a year ago. And even when they did drop their selling price, it never quite matched the reality of the marketplace. They’ve been in denial.

That is exactly what is happening on Wall Street. Ever since the crisis took hold last summer, most of the big firms have been a day late and dollar short in admitting that their once triple-A rated mortgage-backed securities just weren’t worth very much. And, one by one, it is killing them.
[Petty Is as Pretty Does... Why we always gotta go an' get ugly about it?]

I've really wanted to tie this into my personal life, but, eff that. Easy as 'twould be, I think the point of the Times piece is more important right now, near the end of an election cycle. We're in a hole, the United States of America, because our leadership keeps giving carte blanche to Corporations run by puds who just can't get over how lucky they are.

Well, have been.

Well, heh, will continue to be unless we as a Voting Public require some serious Change in Business as Usual.

L8


* Ie, ain't no thing. Homo just don't like admitting that this is all there is. Even when we do, we have to make more of it. It's what makes us so damned charming... {rollin'eyes}

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Republic of Petty Politics


As one might expect from what little we've learned of the "Lady",
Throughout her career, Ms. Palin has pursued vendettas, fired officials who crossed her and blurred the line between government and personal grievance.

[Kill 'em all so Gawd don't hafta sort 'em out... Err, I s'pose.]

Gee. Ya think?

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Read. Think. Vote.

So, middle class, average folk still recall "the Reagan Years" fondly.
Suicidal sillies...
Is History Siding With Obama’s Economic Plan?
By ALAN S. BLINDER
Published: August 30, 2008

...

It is well known that income inequality in the United States has been on the rise for about 30 years now — an unsettling development that has finally touched the public consciousness. But Professor Bartels unearths a stunning statistical regularity: Over the entire 60-year period, income inequality trended substantially upward under Republican presidents but slightly downward under Democrats, thus accounting for the widening income gaps over all. And the bad news for America’s poor is that Republicans have won five of the seven elections going back to 1980.

The Great Partisan Inequality Divide is not limited to the poor. To get a more granular look, Professor Bartels studied the postwar history of income gains at five different places in the income distribution.

The 20th percentile is the income level at which 20 percent of all families have less income and 80 percent have more. It is thus a plausible dividing line between the poor and the nonpoor. Similarly, the 40th percentile is the income level at which 40 percent of the families are poorer and 60 percent are richer. And similarly for the 60th, 80th, and 95th percentiles. The 95th percentile is the best dividing line between the rich and the nonrich that the data permitted Professor Bartels to study. (That dividing line, by the way, is well below the $5 million threshold John McCain has jokingly used for defining the rich. It’s closer to $180,000.)

[Read. Think.(Think already!) Then Vote.]


There really is no good reason to participate in Class Warfare, except in self-defense. It's the same reason I've argued against the general vice of religious beliefs. It's NOT because I'm completely against religious faith nor that I Hate rich peops. It's because the folks who are leaders of those two groups want, more than anything else, to maintain their dominance and leadership! They do so, only and without equivocation, by means of draining energy and life from those who follow them.

Period.

Put a little more thought into it. How can allowing your employer's Board of Directors keep a larger percentage of their already phenomenally larger slice of the profit-pie which you've ALL made possible, in any way benefit you or the company or Country of which you're a part?

How does letting the Rich get richer make you more secure, or better able to control your own life experiences; take care of your family; raise your kids to enjoy life at least as much you have?

How does your getting less so that those who have more can make still more, somehow give you more?

Knowledge cancels out fear. As with those who deny Evolution's reality in order to maintain their own control over peops' socialization choices, those in the 5% who already control 90% of this world's wealth want everyone's resources to be under their control.

The proof that it is NOT the larger percentage of folk forging the Class War is that the Rich don't lose under Democratic Administrations. They just don't take as much away from the rest of us as they do when Republicans are in power.

Think. Then vote for your own - and just about everyone else's - best interest.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Integral Integrations

Despite, or perhaps because, I have such low personal optimism about myself, I tend to have a vastly greater supply of that mindset for the world at large, even with the Economy slumping dangerously into Recession territory, to the point where we find the NYTimes quoting The International Monetary Fund as calling the situation “the largest financial shock since the Great Depression.” It's still apparent that we can right this listing ship.

That's why I preferred Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton and John Edwards early on in this campaign. It's why I'm a Democrat rather than a Republican. I believe in both the need and our ability to Change and grow by learning from past failures and successes.

Why choose Barack Obama for Economic reasons? Let's start with our own Country's best interest in a way which necessarily and ever so effectively includes the rest of the world's as well.

How Obama Reconciles Dueling Views on Economy
---
Obama’s agenda starts not with raising taxes to reduce the deficit, as Clinton’s ended up doing, but with changing the tax code so that families making more than $250,000 a year pay more taxes and nearly everyone else pays less. That would begin to address inequality. Then there would be Reich-like investments in alternative energy, physical infrastructure and such, meant both to create middle-class jobs and to address long-term problems like global warming.


Reich is one of my Heroes. Rubin is a guy whose tactics I think indispensable to keeping our economy humming along so that moneys can be collected to pay for the infrastructure upkeep - both physical plant, per se, and educational/medical investments - which is Government's main concern. The combination worked Extremely Well for the United States during the Clinton admin.

Can you say Budget Surplus?

John McCain has, unfortunately but predictably, capitulated to the worst elements of the Republican party. If he wins the election, we can only hope his duplicity is sincere.

Personally, I'm goin' to stick to hoping Obama's sincerity is.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Answer is, As Always, 42

Believe it or not, this is encouraging!

How long could you survive in the vacuum of space?

I'd've figured I'd be a goner inside of 15 seconds.

Found on Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Wow! It's True

Everybody loves squirrels. Right? But, I mean, c'Mon! For anyone who's seen that picture and thought, "BS!" here's a little story for ya.

It's not Photoshopped. Some of those wee fellers are, well, not so entirely wee.

(Sorry. It's 3:30am and I can't sleep 'cause some folks are having a loud, apparently drunken, though congenial, conversation in the next building over.)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

For America

I really wish I could put this on a billboard in every Public Square in the country.

Very cool!



(Thanks to Channon for passing it on to me. MmmmmmWAH! m'Lady.)

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Bye Bye Bernie Mac :-(


Bernie Mac was one of those comedians I didn't want to like. Whenever I first would notice him, it'd be for how harsh he'd come across. Then, when I'd see him for any length of time (because I's interested in whatever he was taking part in) I'd find myself laughing out loud at his shtick, and often agreeing with him!

Now dude's gone an died. Not funny, man. Not funny at all.

You'll be missed.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Our Decision

*
My Lady wrote this!

What has happened to America? Growing up, my father worked a blue collar job. My mother stayed home and took care of my younger brother and me. We lived in a nice little community, a nice home, and even went to private schools. Those were the days, but those days are long gone. Today, a lot of families are single parent homes. Children have to raise themselves so their parent can work. Often times, the parent will have to hold two jobs just to make ends meet. What is America telling our youth? We need to change.


To make matters worse, prices continue to steadily raise, however, income increases cannot keep up at the same rate. It is not just the poor and the uneducated who are suffering, it is all of us - it is America. We need to change.


We are supposed to be a great nation, but that greatness is slowly and steadily disintegrating. We are involved in fighting for other countries, trying to help them gain freedoms they have never known, and while that may be a good thing, at the same time, we are losing our freedoms. America has succumbed to the never ending demands that we have somehow placed on ourselves. What can we do? We need to change.


We may study hard in school to make good grades, go on to college and earn our Bachelors, then continue with our education and even obtain our Masters - for what? We find our niche in the world and become a member of the working force. We put in our 40-50 hours each week, and work hard at what we do. Why? There use to be an American dream behind all of this. The dreams to be able to own a home, a nice car, provide for your family, and to be able to take a vacation together. Now it appears that this has become the minimum requirement just to make ends meet in a poor to mediocre home, and sometimes those ends fall short. Why? We need to change.


I remember my dad would open the bills that arrived in the mail and would immediately write out the checks to pay those bills. Now, I open the bills in the mail and I pray to God that somehow I will have enough to pay them. The energy bills have got to be the worst. Just six months ago, it cost me $20-$25 a week in gas to get back and forth to work; now it is $35-$40. I am sure that all of us are feeling those pains - and I am sure that the majority of us still have the same income that we had six months ago. We need to change.


Let's forget about all of that. Let's forget that every extra $10-$20 we use for fuel is another $10-$20 we don't have to pay our insurance. Let's forget that every extra $10-$20 we use for fuel is another $10-$20 we don't have to pay our light or heating bill. Let's forget that every extra $10-$20 we use for fuel is another $10-$20 we don't have to feed and clothe our children. Let's forget that because of the extra $10-$20 at the pump, maybe our neighbor's children went to bed with nothing to eat except a baked potato and a few crackers with peanut butter for dinner. Ah - but we don't need to forget - you see - we already have. We need to change.


What America needs is a leader who can stand up for what is right. What America needs is a leader who has the courage to tell us, "Hey - we are messing up here, now let's fix it". What America needs is a leader who has the bravery to possibly even stand up to us and point us in the right direction. What America needs is a drastic change, and just maybe, what America may need is a leader such as Obama.


The elections are just around the corner. Let's think about what has been working for this country and what has not. Though change may be frightening, sometimes it is necessary, and to simply put it - America - we need to change.


And I most heartily agree.


* I don't know from whence came the pic. It just feels like it fits. For now...

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Shiny Happy People Holding Shit


Awesome pick from the Culture Ghost which I found on Michael Greenwell's post about faked rare-animal photos in China.

Kinda sums up what happens, naturally, to everyday normal peops when they let their lives and life-styles be determined by Salesmen.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Balance Whack



Personally, I think teh N'Yorker could've gotten it by and made the point if only they'd just run it as a 'toon inside the magazine, instead of on the cover.

Whatevs...

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Scouts (dis)Honor


Yeah. I did teh Cub Scouts right up 'til was time to become a Webloe. Wasn't gonna happen, eh.

In my case, and another kid's at the same time and for the same essential reason, 'twas 'cause our Den Ma's kid and her nephew didn't like the fact the other kid was always so quiet, so they kept messing with him to make him say stuff. I never did know what the exact cause was, but when I saw her too snot-nosed pups start whalin' on dude, I just had to join in. I didn't know the kid that well either, but he'd never been in any trouble of which I knew, and DM's punks were Always startin' shit and gettin' other kids yelled at for their crap. Besides, it was two on one, and Fairness required some balance at that point. Me and dude were fine. The other two? Well, we were asked not to come back is all I'll say.

Then I grow up and find out just how messed up the Scouts really have become. NOT without redeeming qualities By Any Means. Just - For the Most Part - a load of jingoistic, chauvinistic crap. And I'm still sure that quite a few guys are better of for them in their lives. It's a good read if you know next to nothing about why folks would Evah bad talk a group that's always been seen as "good guys".

L8

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Picking Up The Pace?


Took us until 1920 to make that the fact in Legalese. Only 143 years, eh.

Here's hoping the backlash to teh $hrub's 8 year reign o' delusions and constitutional back-sliding goes a little more quickly.

(an early) Happy 4th to All my American amigas y 'migos!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

(No) Sane Claim


Well, not a hekkuvalot more than average at any rate. Less in some ways. More in others. Messily or with aplomb, it all evens out o'er the long run.

L8

Friday, June 20, 2008

Alternative Reality Sources???

I'm surprised he doesn't just Talk With Jesus™ about it.

Oh, that's right! He has to be serious with his Big Oil buds. Unlike with his frothing fundy political supporters amongst the electorate, it wouldn't do for him to go counting on teh bible with that bunch.

{rollin'eyes}

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Quote of the Year; So Far . .

Coming to a Planet Under You

"Cities routinely build in the flood plain, That's not an act of God; that's an act of City Council."
Kamyar Enshayan, Cedar Falls, Iowa college professor and City Council member
Actually, in the pic above, that already is a planet under us. Click on the pic to get the description.

And watch out for those pesky "parking lots". According to some apparent Bush appointee* at the National Weather Service (3rd paragraph, page 2) one o' those may be all it takes to cause Costner's Bomb** to flood our backyards.

:-)


* ;->

** Don't know why that flick bombed so bad. It sure as shite weren't no Classic, but it was entertaining enough and a gnarly story to boot. Whatevs...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

When "McSame" is an Accurate Appelation

No state power is more fearsome than the power to imprison. Hence the habeas right has been at the heart of the centuries-long struggle to constrain governments, a struggle in which the greatest event was the writing of America's Constitution...

George Will
column of June 18, 2008

One of the few Conservative pundits with whom I frequently find myself in agreement has again laid reality out on the page. Sociologically and politically, George Will may not share my belief in the necessity of the State taking responsibility for those of its citizens who can't quite seem to make it in society, but, unlike certain Presidents and their political dopplegangers, he sure as Death and Taxes doesn't believe the government has some Top Secret right to ignore its own raison d'etre.

McCain and the writ of habeas corpus

By GEORGE F. WILL
SYNDICATED COLUMNIST

WASHINGTON -- The day after the Supreme Court ruled that detainees imprisoned at Guantanamo are entitled to seek habeas corpus hearings, John McCain called it "one of the worst decisions in the history of this country." Well.

Does it rank with Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857), which concocted a constitutional right, unmentioned in the document, to own slaves and held that black people have no rights that white people are bound to respect?

With Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), which affirmed the constitutionality of legally enforced racial segregation? With Korematsu v. United States (1944), which affirmed the wartime right to sweep U.S. citizens of Japanese ancestry into concentration camps?

Did McCain's extravagant condemnation of the court's habeas ruling result from his reading the 126 pages of opinions and dissents? More likely, some clever ignoramus convinced him that this decision could make the Supreme Court -- meaning, which candidate would select the best judicial nominees -- a campaign issue.

[Wouldn't you like to be a prisoner too? For your Country, but of course!]


As an appropriate follow-up, Happy 60th Anniversary of the signing of the UN's International Declaration of Human Rights!

A wee li'l relevant addendum.

Friday, June 13, 2008

{Whew!}

By the skin o' their necks, eh.

US Supreme Court Backs Guantánamo Prisoners’ Right to Appeal

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that foreign terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay have rights under the Constitution to challenge their detention in U.S. civilian courts.

--snip--

The court said not only that the detainees have rights under the Constitution, but that the system the administration has put in place to classify them as enemy combatants and review those decisions is inadequate.

The administration had argued first that the detainees have no rights. But it also contended that the classification and review process was a sufficient substitute for the civilian court hearings that the detainees seek.

In dissent, Chief Justice John Roberts criticized his colleagues for striking down what he called “the most generous set of procedural protections ever afforded aliens detained by this country as enemy combatants.”

[Our Enemies ARE People Too]


All authorities are more effective in the long run when they realize this.

If the Authority isn't getting its job done, it's generally most likely time for the Authority to be replaced. In this Administration's case, it's Long Overdue.

Kudos to the 5 Justices not afraid to be rational in times of trouble.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Philosolophically Speaking...






What philosophy do you follow? (v1.03)
created with QuizFarm.com
You scored as Existentialism

Your life is guided by the concept of Existentialism: You choose the meaning and purpose of your life.



“Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.”

“It is up to you to give [life] a meaning.”

--Jean-Paul Sartre



“It is man's natural sickness to believe that he possesses the Truth.”

--Blaise Pascal



More info at Arocoun's Wikipedia User Page...


Existentialism


95%

Hedonism


80%

Utilitarianism


80%

Strong Egoism


55%

Kantianism


45%

Nihilism


45%

Justice (Fairness)


40%

Apathy


30%

Divine Command


0%




Yeah, yet again I've gone an' pilfered another blogger's schtick for a post. So sue me.

Or just take the quiz yourself! :-)

Friday, June 06, 2008

Warm Swarm of Advertising

We need stuff. Right? I mean, really!, where's the harm in buyinig a mass produced Tickle Me Elmo for teh wee ones.

It all depends, now. Doesn't it.



Over the last few decades I've quietly wanted to be a less voracious consumer. Even though I'm nowhere near what I'd say is close to meeting that want, I've made some headway. Not much. But I'm getting better at it. My problem is that I've been impoverished; not knowing when my next meal would be. Mostly I've just been middle-class lazy, though. When I've had money, I've spent it.

Live and - hopefully - learn, eh.

This one's going on my sidebar soon.

Thanks go to Michael for his Believe Nothing Day post. LOTS of food for thought in that one.

L8

Monday, June 02, 2008

In This Together?

Shankar, as usual, takes a look at one of the more ironic self-defeating idiosyncrasies of our silly, social species.
When Disadvantages Collide
Monday, June 2, 2008; Page A02

One hundred forty-three years ago, women's suffrage advocate Elizabeth Cady Stanton faced a conundrum: With the Civil War over, Stanton had to decide whether to support the 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution, which enabled black men to vote -- at a time when white women such as herself still did not have that right.

Stanton decided to oppose the amendments: "As the celestial gate to civil rights is slowly moving on its hinges, it becomes a serious question whether we had better stand aside and see Sambo walk into the kingdom first."

The question of what to do when the interests of two groups that had long suffered discrimination clashed with each other split the feminist movement. In order to gain passage of the 19th Amendment, which in 1920 gave women the right to vote, leading feminists jettisoned issues important to African Americans to win support from women and politicians who would have nothing to do with people of color. Without the support of the racists, the amendment might have failed, said Kimberle Crenshaw, professor of constitutional and civil rights law at Columbia University and UCLA.

There were two ironies in this: Stanton, like many other suffragists, was a passionate abolitionist. And in the years before she made her derogatory remark about "Sambo," abolitionists had treated women in exactly the same manner -- excluding them from equal participation in the movement merely because they were female.

The political alliance that the suffragists built helped pass the 19th Amendment, but it drove a wedge into the women's movement. Over the long term, just as relegating women to second-class citizens weakened the campaign for civil rights, abandoning solidarity with people of color weakened the women's movement.

"At the end of the day, what is winning and what is losing?" asked Crenshaw. "Yes, the 19th Amendment happened, but feminism lost its soul in the process."

--snip--

The real question, with the suffragettes or with those in the current political race, comes down to whether groups that face discrimination focus their disappointment and resentment at discrimination -- or at each other.

[We can either Fight Each Other or Fight the Power but we can't fight both and win anything worth fighting for.]

Much as with the political race being run today between Senators Clinton and Obama I don't see anyone losing any souls here. Just one person slamming another hard enough to make that other look less deserving, in hope of proppin' their own diminishing opportunities.

The Big Stink lately has been Clinton's repeated refs to the assassination of Bobby Kennedy as being only one of the reasons she's maintaining the Fight for the Democratic nomination. Unlike her Bosnian Dream this is hardly a bold-faced lie. In plain fact, it's simple truth; as far as it goes. By making that particular allusion though, Clinton seems to once again cross over the line of Civil discourse and into the realm of pandering to the fears of ignorance.

We don't know what might have happened in the 1970's had Bobby Kennedy not been shot, and while the two men's earliest backgrounds are extremely different, their lives of dedication to helping those far less fortunate than average folk raise themselves up to within sight of the American Dream, make me really hopeful that, in this decade, in our time, we may actually get to see what Might Have Been.

As a white man, you know, one of the Rulers of the World, I don't care if a person is "one of my own" or a diametric opposite of me physiologically. I care that what they do and what they say is in accord with what I hope for my country and my species as a whole.

Hillary Clinton, extraordinary woman and incredibly worthy politico though she be, gives me no such hope.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Shiny Happy Spaceships

Just a pick and a quick link. I'll prolly be posting more freq'ly again, once my brain stops trying to kill me.



Mars lander to inspect itself with robotic arm

---Phoenix touched down in Mars's north polar region on Sunday and quickly started beaming back images of its surroundings.

Now, the lander's robotic arm has finished freeing itself from its restraints, a crucial step along the way to sampling the Martian soil and ice.

Two pins held the arm in place and prevented it from being damaged by vibrations during Phoenix's launch and landing. NASA commanded the arm to start the process of freeing itself on Wednesday morning PDT (Wednesday afternoon GMT).

The arm has now completely freed itself from the pins and a sterile wrapping called the biobarrier, which prevented the arm from being contaminated with Earth microbes prior to launch, the Phoenix team reported at a press briefing on Thursday.

"Our arm was cooped up in our restraints for 14 months," Phoenix team member Matthew Robinson of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, US, said during the briefing. "It was raring to go, it's busted loose now, and we're ready to go – we're excited."

Monday, May 26, 2008

You Stick Your Right Foot Out . .

. . and make sure it's firmly planted. There's work to be down now.



I wouldn't say I've been holding my breath, but it still did come as quite a relief to learn that the Phoenix has landed successfully on Mars. There were no bouncing bags on this mission as like those which made the two Mars Rovers landings so successful. This one came down standing, as it were.

Now, to the mission.

First Phoenix images reveal 'quilted' Martian terrain

...
Phoenix is designed to dig down to the ice and search for traces of organic residue that might indicate whether this part of Mars could have been habitable in the past.

--snip--

Prior to this evening, NASA's recent successes – including Mars Pathfiner in 1997 and the two Mars Exploration Rovers in 2004 – have all bounced to the surface of the Red Planet encased in inflatable air bags.

Phoenix and future missions, including the more ambitious Mars Science Laboratory, were designed to land with thrusters, considered a must for heavier payloads – and for any future attempt to send astronauts on Mars.

"The way we're going to land humans on Mars is with propulsive systems and landing legs," said Ed Weiler, associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate.

[Talk about "look before you leap"!]


On a timely note; I think that this landing on Mars is an incredibly significant Memorial to the men and women who've given their lives so that people could continue to freely discover all that our universe has to offer. There are so many reasons to hate War, and so many more to be grateful to the Warriors who have fought and sacrificed for their countries. I hope that, going into the depths of our Solar system, we have ever less need for such sacrifices, and ever more opportunities for Heroes to be made sans killing.

Fighting Ignorance, not each other, is what missions such as this one are all about.

L8

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Literated

It's always comforting to find other folks who've not read all the "classics", but have a similar number of 'em under their belts as I do. That's one reason it was cool to come across this post on Wren's site. Another is just that I dig teh memes.

;-)

With a little help from cut/paste, here're the directions, the list and my own emphasisations. Have at it for yourselves.

Copy the list of books, then bold the books you have read, underline the ones you read for school, and italicize the ones you started but didn’t finish. As Wren did, I'll add a wee bit o' commentary next to some of the titles. Enjoy!
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Anna Karenina (Always wanted to, but maybe that's just cuz I love her name.)
Crime and Punishment {shudder}
Catch-22 (I think everyone but me has read this book.)
One Hundred Years of Solitude (Hmmm... Sounds familiar, but I don't think so.)
Wuthering Heights (I'll probably approach this one some time.)
The Silmarillion (Tolkien)
Life of Pi : a novel
The Name of the Rose (No, I guess watching the movie [w/ Sean Connery] doesn't count)
Don Quixote
Moby Dick
Ulysses ("Lucy says Joyce is effing incomprehensible. I totally agree." And I heartily concurr!)
Madame Bovary
The Odyssey (For school and I'm glad as I loved it!)
Pride and Prejudice ("Another Great Book my English teachers didn’t assign and so I’ve never read". What she said.)
Jane Eyre (There's a series by a guy named Jasper Fford about a woman who "goes into" books, and this is one of 'em. I don't think I'll read it though. Of Fford's novels, though, I can't get enough. )
The Tale of Two Cities (Depressing or I'd own it. Maybe I will yet.)
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveler’s Wife
The Iliad (Same as for the Odyssey.)
Emma
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations
American Gods
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (On the list to read)
Atlas Shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran : a Memoir in Books
Memoirs of a Geisha
Middlesex
Quicksilver
Wicked : The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
The Canterbury Tales (Saw a movie version then loved the book!)
The Historian : a novel
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (The only Joyce I did get through, though how I'm not sure.)
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World
The Fountainhead
Foucault’s Pendulum
Middlemarch
Frankenstein
The Count of Monte Cristo
Dracula (Not read, but... you know)
A Clockwork Orange
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King (Worst of the Arthur stories. Go with Marion Zimmer Bradley's for historical realism.)
The Grapes of Wrath (Took me forever to get to it, since it wasn't assigned in school. WELL worth the read.)
The Poisonwood Bible
1984
Angels and Demons
Inferno (Attempted, but bored me quickely.)
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Oliver Twist (Ummm... I really think I've read this...)
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Dune
The Prince
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes : A Memoir
The God of Small Things
A People’s History of the United States : 1492-Present
Cryptonomicon
Neverwhere ("I love this title. I’d better read the book." I'm with Wren! lol)
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
Dubliners
The Unbearable Lightness of Being (Really enjoyable writing.)
Beloved
Slaughterhouse-five
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots and Leaves
The Mists of Avalon (Well, there ya go!)
Oryx and Crake
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
Lolita
Northanger Abbey
The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (Note to self; Add it to the list)
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values
The Aeneid
Watership Down
Gravity’s Rainbow
The Hobbit
In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and its Consequences
White Teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield

Just as Wren did on her post, I gots to list "some of my own old favorites, read over and over:" or which were simply some of my all time faves.

The Lord of the Rings (read at least 7 or 8 times.)
Ringworld
(Series by Larry Niven)
Thieve's World: Sanctuary Anthology (Edited initially by Robert Lynn Aspirin, then by several others.)
The Mote in God's Eye More Larry Niven. Dude is my All Time Favorite author!
Anything by Ben Bova, Greg Bear, Arthur C. Clark, Jerry Pournelle or Kage Baker.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

What Was Lost Shall Be Found

Study one's own spine
Sooner or later revealed
Questions unanswered

Errr.... Or somethin' like that. VERY cool, regardless.

Missing matter found in deep space

...
Now about half of the missing baryonic matter has turned up, seen by the orbiting Hubble space telescope and NASA's Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer, or FUSE.

"We think we are seeing the strands of a web-like structure that forms the backbone of the universe," said Mike Shull of the University of Colorado, who helped lead the study published in The Astrophysical Journal.

The matter is spread as superheated oxygen and hydrogen in what looked like vast empty spaces between galaxies.

However, observations of a quasar -- a bright object far off in space -- show its light is diffused much as a lighthouse can reflect on a thin fog that was invisible in the dark.

"It is kind of like a spider web. The gravity of the spider web is what produced what we see," Shull said in a telephone interview. "It's very thin. Some of it is very hot gas, almost a million degrees."

This is where the dark matter comes in. The dark matter is heating up the gas, Shull said.

"Dark matter has gravity. It pulls the gas in," Shull said. "This causes what I call sonic booms -- shock waves. This shock heats it to a million degrees. That makes it even harder to see."

The atoms of oxygen are in a stripped-down, ionized form. Five of the eight electrons are gone. It emits an ultraviolet spectrum of light that instruments aboard FUSE and Hubble can spot, Shull said.

These web-like filaments of matter are the structure upon which the galaxies form, he said.

[Where shall we go from here?]

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Wishes as fishes
Lost in the aquarium
Old habits die hard

Thursday, May 08, 2008

No Pill's Gonna Cure This Ill

From Public Agenda

Foreign Policy Anxiety Indicator

It's been more than 15 years since Bill Clinton's campaign advisors confidently declared "it's the economy, stupid," to sum up the public's mood of the moment. For the past few years, foreign policy and the war in Iraq in particular have been at the forefront of public concern. But the economy is reasserting itself as a priority�and economic concerns are shaping how the public views foreign policy.

The most dramatic example of this is the public's worry about the cost of energy. Fully 7 in 10 say they worry "a lot" about the rise in the cost of energy, a 16-point jump from six months ago. But for the public, economics and security are tied together on this issue. Becoming less dependent on other countries for our supply of energy is now the public's first choice as a national security strategy, with 6 in 10 saying it would do "a great deal" to make the country more secure.

[Getting it Right without guns. What a concept!]


Normally, what the Pollsters show the Public is thinking doesn't mean a whole lot in regards to what Policies are needed. Sure I love seeing $hrub's approval numbers being the worst of any President's since polling began, but that's because it gives me hope that the Public will force their Representatives to do something about it.

{sighhh} Well, anyway...

Whether for good or ill, well, we'll be to see.

Note: Hmmm... I'd referenced the Consumer Confidence index, but realized that I had it confused with another system, so pulled it. Fun stuff... Need vacation...

L8

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Two Haiku

My foot, tasting burned
Still I munch it. Ecstasy!
No rare occurrence

For a friend.

Sanity subsumed
True/False light envelopes me
Hopeless? Not as such

For me.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

No Matter What Is Said . .

*
". . (i)ts about context people and we are not so important that we need to inject our cause into every sentence that comes out of everyone’s mouth."
[From a commenter on Qweerty*, as quoted in NYT political blog, The Caucus]
There are much better ways to deal with bigoted speach than by lettin' our anger manage our reactions; even when the speech is from politicians. I like the quote because it gets to the Unequivocal Real Problem with human beings: distorted self-importance.

You can defend yourself without deluding yourself into thinking that a person expressing themselves poorly by showing off their down-home flavor of ignoramia is an unrequited and socially worthless bigot. They - WE - are dangerous; no doubt about it. Such is life, and it takes a little more effort than a reactionary lashing out to alleviate the damage such ignorance does cause.

Personally, I think the NC Gov'nor should've gone with pushover instead of pansy. He didn't because society demeans homosexual peops fairly casually, even though that's seriously not a very rational state of affairs. But look at society's priorities; at the death and carnage we allow our government to inflict upon other peops in order to merely protect our horrifically wasteful and destructive, and incredibly consumptive and unsustainable way of life, and go figure.

Then think of a more productive way of pointing out how the Gov's use of "pansy" as a pejorative might actually be tactless and impolitic.

Then again, ranting and raving is a rocking way to get shiite out of one's system. And nobody gets hurt if we just remember to lash out in safe venues, and especially to always try to fight subtle battles with subtlety, and the big ones with more intensity.

If we realize that, then we can care what others think about us when it's negative, without succumbing to our own self-doubts.


* I kind of doubt it, but have been unable to get confirmation as, well, ... meh! You figure it out. {-;


* I can't even check the site from work: Weighted Phrase Limit Exceeded says my work's Interwebs software. {sigh}

'-)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Everyone Has Hopes to Dash

No.. I don't think it does.


"The sentence 'Women want men who have power and money' works just as well if you erase the words 'men who have.'"


Which, as a Great Equivocator, I must be quick to add does not mean that it doesn't work for all women. I just think that, irrespective of their being every bit as unavoidably human as men, most women are at least smarter enough ;) to prefer that their man be the one to hold the Wealth and Power, whilst they access it via the holding of their man.

A biologically originated situation which is culturally well cemented for a majority of majorities.

Is this a sexist analysis on my part? Well, considering that the two sexes, though each definitionally of the same species, and each inescapably possessed of both our greatest virtues and weakest faults, are spectacularly and irresolvably different from each other, I don't believe it can be helped. IMO, such knowledge just needs to be utilized in a manner which benefits each half of our single, though constantly evolving, species.