Saturday, March 21, 2009
Greetings from Butch & Nellie's
Gawd this sandwich tastes great. So is this second latte, and despite the overcast and much needed rain… to me the sun is shining (more metaphoric today than reality… but we need every little drop we can squeeze out of the clouds), and it feels just a little naughty. It always does on Naw-Rúz…
Today, is the first day of the new year, Naw-Rúz (new day in Persian-Farsi) is celebrated (despite the Iranian penchant at present to get rid of us) by Iranians and Bahá’ís worldwide. In the northern half of our poor beleaguered planet earth (OPBPE) it is the first day of spring, in the south it is fall. So there is magic a foot, and any computer generated view of night and day of OPBPE shows a delightful balance of light and dark, night and day… equity seen in nature. It’s a reasonable time marker for a new year, not that bummer of January 1 date, the early Christians have forced on us all… ugh, what is January 1 so good for? Yuck, rain, snow, darkness…
March in the south, pancadas de chuva and oppressive heat… in Brasil it is the águas de março (waters of march from a very famous song, the last blast of rain of the rainy season) here, unfortunately it is probably the same… a few more drops, but mostly over all the rainy season (for what it was worth here this year…) is petering out. The last two days were glorious, sunny, 78f, brilliant sun, and of course flowers EVERYwhere. There is absolutely nothing better than California in the spring, with the poppies coming… it’s a delight, and the right time for a new year.
Even though I am less than an active Bahá’í, the fast is something I wouldn’t trade for anything. It always gives me good energy and luck, it’s a good time to slow down and reflect, and think about those less fortunate (as in it is a real privilege to be able to get up at dawn, skip food/drink during the day and eat at night when millions of people have no choice in these matters).
And of course, I am not suggesting that everyone should do this, its generally a Muslim and a Bahá’í thing to abstain from lattes and snacks during the day, tho my brethrens and sisterrens in the Catholic church are abstaining from meat, or the internet for lent, that is cool. Except I miss them terribly, and facebook is a real bore with out Jer-Bear...
So thanks for joining me in this day of days, to me more fun than a barrel of Xmases (no lights or trees, and certainly no tension)
Happy New Year dear readers!
This from OpenLeft:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, ® ARIZONA: I don't think, frankly, someone who wants to increase the burden of government regulation and higher taxes has any real understanding of economics.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Take it from him. Heaven forbid, there would be rules to rein in what happens on Wall Street, right? I mean, what could possibly go wrong?
The conservative argument against regulation was always that deregulation would create a lot of wealth. Deregulating Wall Street would allow for all of this great wealth creation that we have experienced as a country. The problem, as we have found out, is that "A," it allows for all sort of immense criminality, say, Bernie Madoff, say; "B," it puts the country hugely at risk, say, AIG, Citigroup the whole country; and, "C," economically, it really only benefits the people at the top.
While all of those executives walk away with these giant bonuses year after year after year, take a look at what normal families walked away with during the Wall Street fueled deregulation so-called boom. This is median household income. In the 1970s, it rose 4.5 percent. In the 1980s, it rose 6.5 percent. In the 1990s, it rose 8.3 percent. In the 2000s-down 0.6 percent.
Deregulation benefits the people at the top. They get really, really, really rich doing stuff that might otherwise be illegal if there were regulations in place to stop them. We get all the national risk associated with what they were doing, and they get all the cash. No one else actually benefits from it except for them. It doesn't trickle down. No one pays ultimately except the rest of us.
FOCUS UN Panel Says World Should Ditch Dollar
Jeremy Gaunt, Reuters: "A UN panel will next week recommend that the world ditch the dollar as its reserve currency in favor of a shared basket of currencies, a member of the panel said on Wednesday, adding to pressure on the dollar.
"VIDEO Keith Olbermann's "Special Comment" on Bank Bailout
Keith Olbermann presents a special comment on the bank bailouts and the excesses of the CEOs of bailed-out mega multinational corporations.
VIDEO President Barack Obama: In Celebration of Nowruz
President Barack Obama speaks to both the people and leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran on the New Year holiday of Nowruz, offering a new beginning for US-Iranian relations based on honesty and mutual respect.
Friday, March 20, 2009
by Christine Bowman
President Obama struck a breezy tone Thursday night on Jay Leno, as one would expect in a conversation with a late night king of comedy. Even so, there was plenty of substance to take away from the President's remarks, encouraging to a public whose fears and anger have been enflamed by other politicians pushing their own save-my-skin, rather than a save-the-country, agenda.
Between the jokes and personal anecdotes, which the public clearly eats up and appreciates, the President spoke many a truth about what's happened in this country economically. He touched on some fixes that he expects to bring the country back, and he conveyed through his demeanor that America's president is not in "deer-in-the-headlights" mode or ready to be Raptured away from the messy here and now. He's on it. The problems can be solved.
In brief, what did President Obama actually say? He directly acknowledged the moral and ethical aspects of the A.I.G. bonuses and Wall Street excesses in general, showing he gets the emotional side of this. The President showed he gets the big picture, too, saying that people took excess risks with other people's money; the economic "growth" of recent years was only "paper money" and thus easily wiped out; there was no oversight; and now America needs to create real growth through new initiatives. He also fleshed out Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, who has been under attack, saying he's calm, steady, and taking the right steps.
In sum, the President's Leno visit should serve to diffuse some of the "pitchfork" rage and free-floating anxiety that has dominated the airwaves as well as the halls of Congress all week long. If the President's aim is to refocus on the budget bill, then get to work rebuilding, his foray to Burbank will have been all for the good.
Highlights from the transcript:
But there's a moral and an ethical aspect to this, as well. And I think that's what has gotten everybody so fired up. ... the most important thing that we can do is make sure that we put in a bunch of financial regulatory mechanisms to prevent companies like an AIG holding the rest of us hostage. Because that's –- that's the real problem.
The problem is not just what's happened over the last six months. The problem is what was happening for years, where people were able to take huge, excessive risks with other people's money, putting the entire financial system at risk –- and there were no checks, there were no balances, there was nobody overseeing the process.
... The change I'd like to see in terms of tax policy is that we have a system, going back to where we were back in the 1990s, where you and I who are doing pretty well pay a little bit more to pay for health care, to pay for energy, to make sure that kids can go to college who aren't as fortunate as our -- as my kids might be. Those are the kinds of measured steps that we can take. But the important thing over the next several months is making sure that we don't lurch from thing to thing, but we try to make steady progress, build a foundation for long-term economic growth. That's what I think the American people expect.
Here's the dirty little secret, though. Most of the stuff that got us into trouble was perfectly legal. And that is a sign of how much we've got to change our laws -- right? We were talking earlier about credit cards, and it's legal to charge somebody 30 percent on their credit card, and charge fees and so forth that people don't always know what they're getting into. So the answer is to deal with those laws in a way that gives the average consumer a break.
When you buy a toaster, if it explodes in your face there's a law that says your toasters need to be safe. But when you get a credit card, or you get a mortgage, there's no law on the books that says if that explodes in your face financially, somehow you're going to be protected.
So this is -- the need for getting back to some common sense regulations ...
... part of what happened over the last 15, 20 years is that so much money was made in finance that about 40 percent, I think, of our overall growth, our overall economic growth was in the financial sector. Well, now what we're finding out is a lot of that growth wasn't real. It was paper money, paper profits on the books, but it could be easily wiped out.
[Re Geithner] He is a smart guy and he's a calm and steady guy. I don't think people fully appreciate the plate that was handed him. This guy has not just a banking crisis; he's got the worst recession since the Great Depression, he's got an auto industry on -- that has been on the verge of collapse. We've got to figure out how to coordinate with other countries internationally. He's got to deal with me; he's got to deal with Congress. And he's doing it with grace and good humor. And he understands that he's on the hot seat, but I actually think that he is taking the right steps, and we're going to have our economy back on the move.
... In the meantime, we're taking a lot of steps to, for example, opening up -- open up separate credit lines outside of banks for small businesses so that they can get credit -- because there are a lot of small businesses out here who are just barely hanging on. Their credit lines are starting to be cut. We're trying to set up a securitized market for student loans and auto loans outside of the banking system. So there are other ways of getting credit flowing again.
Video link here (25 minutes long).
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Naw-Ruz (`New Day') is the Baha'i and Iranian new year, which occurs on the date of the vernal equinox, about 21 March. It is one of the nine Baha'i holy days on which work is suspended.
The Iranian Naw-Ruz
Naw-Ruz is the first day of Farvardin, the first month of the Iranian solar year. Since ancient times it has been the great national holiday of Iran, the only holiday celebrated by more than one religious group.
The origins of Naw-Ruz are unknown but it obviously began as a pastoral fertility festival. Legend attributes its foundation to the mythical antediluvian king Jamshid. Naw-Ruz and Mihrajan, the corresponding festival of the autumnal equinox in September, are the two great annual festivals of Zoroastrianism. Originally a sombre festival dedicated to the spirits of the dead was held for five days ten days before Naw-Ruz, followed by a further five days corresponding to the Baha'i Ayyam-i-Ha. Later Naw-Ruz gradually became a secular holiday and as such it continued to be observed even after the triumph of Islam in Iran. Muslim kings in Iran, like their Zoroastrian predecessors, celebrated Naw-Ruz with great magnificence. As late as the nineteenth century Naw-Ruz was the only day the Shah would dine with other people.
Shi`i traditions attributed to the Imams endorsed the observance of Naw-Ruz, which was, it was said, the day of many events of great religious significance, among them God's first covenant with mankind, the first rising of the sun, the grounding of Noah's ark on Ararat, Gabriel's first appearance to Muh3ammad, the destruction of the idols in the Ka`bih by `Ali, Muh3ammad's appointment of `Ali as His successor, the appearance of the Qa'im, and the final triumph of the Qa'im over the Antichrist. Such traditions echoed similar accounts of Naw-Ruz found in Zoroastrian literature.
Naw-Ruz is celebrated rather like the Christian Easter, with many symbols indicating spring and renewal. A week or so before the holiday lentils are placed in a dish to sprout into a mass of green blades. On the day of Naw-Ruz the family gathers in new or freshly cleaned clothes. The table is decorated with fruit, cakes, coloured eggs and other treats, as well as symbolic objects such as a holy book and a mirror. Among the best known customs of Naw-Ruz is the haft-sin -- the `seven S's'. These are seven objects beginning -- in Persian -- with the letter `S', such as hyacinths, apples, lilies, silver coins, garlic, vinegar and rue, decoratively arranged on a table. A great deal of time is spent exchanging visits with friends and relations. The celebrations end on the thirteenth day of Naw-Ruz with a picnic in the country. The sprouted lentils are thrown into running water, carrying away the bad luck of the previous year.
Naw-Ruz is observed wherever Iranian culture has penetrated, notably among the Zoroastrians of India and in the migr Iranian communities around the world. `Naw-Ruz' is occasionally used as a personal name in Iran.
The Babi and Baha'i Naw-Ruz
In the Badi` calendar of the Bab, Naw-Ruz is the day of Baha of the month of Baha, a day called by the Bab `the Day of God' (yawmu'llah). It was also the `Day of the Point' (yawm-i-nuqt3ih) -- i.e. the day of the Bab. Finally, it was a day associated with Him Whom God shall make manifest, the Promised One of the Bab. The remaining eighteen days of the month were associated with the eighteen Letters of the Living, an indication that the Bab envisioned the Naw-Ruz festivities encompassing the nineteen days of the month of Baha, just as the traditional Iranian Naw-Ruz festivities last thirteen days. During Naw-Ruz the Bab permitted the use of musical instruments and other luxuries prohibited at other times. During the night of Naw-Ruz each believer was to recite 361 times the verse `God beareth witness that there is no God but Him, the Ineffable, the Self-Subsistent'; and during the day, `God beareth witness that there is no God but Him, the Precious, the Beloved'. Fasting was prohibited during the whole month of Baha. During the six years of His mission, the Bab and His followers observed Naw-Ruz, although it is difficult to say how much this represents a distinctively Babi holy day. Baha'u'llah adopted the Babi holy day of Naw-Ruz as the feast day following the fast and stressed that it is associated with the Most Great Name, bearing as it does Baha'u'llah's own name. `Abdu'l-Baha explained the significance of Naw-Ruz in terms of the symbolism of the new life of spring. Baha'u'llah defines Naw-Ruz as the Baha'i day on which the vernal equinox occurs. Thus, even if the equinox should occur just before sunset, that day -- which in the Baha'i calendar began at the moment of sunset on the previous day -- is Naw-Ruz. At present, however, Naw-Ruz is fixed as 21 March for Baha'is in all countries outside the Middle East, regardless of exactly when the equinox occurs.
Naw-Ruz is one of the nine Baha'i holy days on which work is to be suspended. It is generally observed with a meeting for prayer and celebration -- often combined with a dinner since the sunset on which Naw-Ruz begins ends the last day of the Baha'i fast. As with all Baha'i holy days, there are few fixed rules for observing Naw-Ruz, although Iranian Baha'is often follow Iranian traditions. Many Baha'is use Naw-Ruz as a day of gift-giving. Baha'is do not usually observe Naw-Ruz for longer than one day. Since Naw-Ruz is the first day of a Baha'i month, it is also the day of a nineteen day feast. It is not permitted to combine this feast with the observance of the holy day.
The Mormon Church appears to have created the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) in the summer of 2007 to qualify California’s Proposition 8 for the November 2008 ballot. They set it up as a Mormon front group, exactly as they did with a very similar organization called Hawaii’s Future Today (HFT) in that state in 1995. HFT was established to pass a constitutional amendment in Hawaii to ban same-sex marriage. Sound familiar? They have now expanded NOM into seven more states, specifically to fight same-sex marriage in those states. We are posting official Mormon Church documents on this web site, dealing with significant Mormon Church actives in Hawaii. These documents show just how the Church operates and they illuminate the replication of the strategy in California in creating NOM to qualify and pass Proposition 8.
I have noticed that numerous blogs I read have an "About this Blog" or a "Q &A" section. So, in the interests of lending this sad little excuse for a blog, some semblance of legitimacy, I have combined elements of both here.
Answer: “On Being Notorious...” is the official blog of Daniel Orey, and is used for an assortment of cathartic and therapeutic purposes, mostly his own.
Q: When did "On Being Notorious ..." begin?
A: It was launched on a truly fine spring day, in Sacramento, The Camellia City, the understated capital city of the great state of California, late in the 21st century, on April 20, 2007. A date, that no doubt will someday be celebrated in hundreds of cities worldwide with fireworks and the waving of gladioli, as my revolver map data certainly suggests.
A: Because, I can.
Q: What’s up with the funky title?
A: The title of this humble blog, "On Being Notorious..." is inspired by a Poem by Rumi, an ancient Persian mystic and poet. His poem, Contemplate:BEWILDERMENT has long been an inspiration to Daniel. In it Rumi says, “Forget safety. Live where you fear, to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious. I have tried prudent planning, long enough. From now on, I'll be mad.” Daniel tends to rag on about a variety of progressive, leftist things such as liberal politics, GLBT issues and Brasil. He mixes all this with a perverse need to share the trivial aspects of his fabulous life.
Q: That’s rather a lot of purposes. Or as a reader Yodelling Llama suggested, "Don’t you think you should think about following Lore Sjöberg’s specialized site advice?"
A: He’s thought about it, and like the folks over at Yodelling Llama, he isn't that interested in maximizing his traffic either. This blog is only a hobby, tho it has taken on aspects of therapy. Themes of maximize traffic, are no doubt related to Daniel's personal issues and a deep-seated need to be heard. But after logging hours of couch time with Bruce his faithful (but stern) therapist he has come to realize that he has nothing really to be “heard” about.
Q: I've noticed that more than a few postings are links to other postings and blogs.
A: That is an excellent observation. I am a firm believer in the words of the famous mathematician, Tom Lehrer, who sang the song “Plagiarize! Plagiarize! Let no one else's evade your eyes!".
Q: Has “On Being Notorious…” ever won any awards?
A: No, people would have to read a blog, before it gets an award.
Q: Can I republish the content I find on “On Being Notorious…”?
A: Maybe. Some of the content, that hasn’t been stolen, plagiarized, or thoughtfully cited that appears on “On Being Notorious…” belongs to Daniel. So ask for permission first. Send all requests to orey [at] csus dot edu
Q: Do you take submissions? Advertisements? Gifts?
A: Yes. Daniel cannot guarantee that anything you send will be used or read by Daniel. As regards, advertisements, just look at the blog, there are no ads. Daniel feels that the far reaching arm of predatory capitalism shall not reach his beloved opus "On Being Notorious..", nay! Never! The world is covered by enough ads, and if this blog might be of service to anyone at all, a dearth of ads is probably the only selling point of this truly sad, if not benign excuse of a blog. Now, gifts... hmm... interesting, why yes! They are very much appreciated, since its difficult to send armloads of gladioli, he appreciates, indeed encourages donations to his collection of unmarked US dollar bills, especially if they have faces of presidents. For the record, he is now collecting bills with Presidents McKinley, Cleveland and Madison.
Q: Don’t you have any hobbies?
A: No, that is why I blog
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Daniel wishes to thank the good people at Yodelling Llama, who's "About" section served as a particular inspiration in this particular exercise in plagiarism.
This advice from my Dad:
& Law of Mechanical Repair After your hands become coated with grease, your nose will begin to itch and you'll have to pee.
& Law of Gravity Any tool, when dropped, will roll to the least accessible corner.
& Law of Probability The probability of being watched is directly proportional to the stupidity of your act.
& Law of Random Numbers If you dial a wrong number, you never get a busy signal and someone always answers.
& Law of the Alibi If you tell the boss you were late for work because you had a flat tire, the very next morning you will have a flat tire.
& Variation Law If you change lines (or traffic lanes), the one you were in will always move faster than the one you are in now (works every time).
& Law of the Bath When the body is fully immersed in water, the telephone rings.
& Law of Close Encounters The probability of meeting someone you know increases dramatically when you are with someone you don't want to be seen with.
& Law of the Result When you try to prove to someone that a machine won't work, it will.
& Law of Biomechanics The severity of the itch is inversely proportional to the reach.
& Law of the Theater At any event, the people whose seats are furthest from the aisle arrive last.
& The Starbucks Law As soon as you sit down to a cup of hot coffee, your boss will ask you to do something which will last until the coffee is cold.
& Murphy's Law of Lockers If there are only two people in a locker room, they will have adjacent lockers.
& The chances of an open-faced jelly sandwich landing face down on a floor covering are directly correlated to the newness and cost of the carpet/rug.
& Law of Logical Argument Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
& Brown's Law of Physical Appearance If the shoe fits, it's ugly.
& Oliver's Law of Public Speaking A closed mouth gathers no feet.
& Wilson's Law of Commercial Marketing Strategy As soon as you find a product that you really like, they will stop making it.
& Doctors' Law If you don't feel well, make an appointment to go to the doctor, by the time you get there you'll feel better. Don't make an appointment and you'll stay sick.
Lest we forget
Americans killed: 4,259. Americans wounded: officially, 31,089; estimated, over 100,000.
Iraqis killed: estimates range from 91,121 to 655,000 to 1.3 million.
Iraqis displaced within Iraq: over 2.3 million.
Iraqi refugees in Syria and Jordan: 2.1 to 2.3 million.
U.S. cost: over $800 billion. Cost per second: $5,000.
Cost to deploy one soldier for one year: $390,000.
Missing: $9 billion in U.S. money, $549.7 million in spare parts, $1 billion in arms and vehicles.
Iraqis strongly opposed to 'coalition' troops: 82%.
Iraqis without access to adequate water: 70%.Estimated Insurgent Strength, Nov. 2003: 15,000.
Est. Insurgent Strength, June 2007: 70,000.
China Rises to Dominate This Century, As Right-Wing Conservatives Lead America Into a Crumbling Economic Sinkhole
Last night, we were watching "The Daily Show," and Jon Stewart had Nandan Nilekani, author of a book on modern India, on. Jon Stewart's first question to him was something like, "So, who is going to be America's overlord, India or China?"
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
U.S. To Endorse U.N. Gay Rights Statement Declaration, Rejected By Bush Administration, Aims To Decriminalize Homosexuality
The Obama administration will endorse a U.N. declaration calling for the worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality that then-President George W. Bush had refused to sign, The Associated Press has learned.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
AIG has some nerve. After the company made reckless decisions that contributed to our economic crisis, and after receiving over $170 billion in bailout funds, AIG still tried to hand out hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses to its executives.
Seriously? Are they kidding?
Thankfully, President Obama announced that this plan is absolutely unacceptable. On Monday morning, President Obama ordered Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner to take every action in his power — including legal action — to stop AIG from handing out bonuses. This is great news — and we should thank President Obama. But there is still more to do.
We need President Obama to tell all banks receiving taxpayer money that they cannot spend one dime on executive bonuses. If their executives have been doing such a great job, they shouldn't need taxpayer money to keep their companies afloat.
Click here to thank President Obama for doing everything in his power to stop the AIG executive bonuses — and to ask him to stop all executive bonuses for banks that take taxpayer bailouts.
Monday, March 16, 2009
WaPo Says Yes To UAFA
Calling it the righting of a "gross unfairness", today the Washington Post editorialized in favor of the Uniting American Families Act, which would allow the foreign partners of same-sex binational couples the same rights as married heterosexuals.
The strain of the status quo on gay and lesbian binational couples should not be discounted. Because their relationships are not legally recognized by the United States, some couples have resorted to illegal marriages where the foreign nationals marry Americans to get green cards that allow them to stay in the country permanently. In other cases, Americans have exiled themselves to be with their partners. Sixteen countries, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Israel, South Africa and the United Kingdom, allow residents to sponsor same-sex permanent partners for legal immigration. American gays and lesbians should not have to choose between their country and their partners.
The bill was introduced in both chambers of Congress last month. The penalty for same-sex partner immigration fraud will be the same as for heterosexuals - up to five years in prison.
Labels: Immigration Equality, LGBT rights, UAFA, WaPo
Sunday, March 15, 2009
As I drove south from Dunsmuir, something told me to stop, and take a break. Yesterday's posting has most of the pictures. I got off at Simms Road, and using my GPS, drove down to the river, which by then is big and clear and cold… just looking at it made me promise that this year I would learn to fly fish. I walked around a bit, and did a small trail, much of it was covered with large amounts of sand and sticks from the flooding a few weeks ago. I was looking at the ruins of an old saw mill, next to the creek that flows into the river, when I looked down and saw this remnant of some one's Xmas, that some how made it to this this place.
I took ti back with me, and plan to put it on our Xmas tree.