Saturday, June 4, 2011

Via JMG: How Geeks Meditate


reposted from Joe

Via SacBee: Researcher says climate change may be cooling California

The Golden State's weather has gone haywire. And it's not over yet: Sacramento can expect as much as another 1.4 inches of rain this weekend and temperatures 20 degrees below normal, with more mountain snow. What's going on? - Read More

Via JMG: Palin rewrites history of Revolutionary War. She thinks Paul Revere warned the British.

When I was in eighth grade at Jack Junior High School in Portland, Maine, my English teacher, Rita Moore, made us memorize Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem, "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere." All of it. I still remember the first part, which begins:

Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.
He said to his friend, "If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,--
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm."
Longfellow was from Portland and anyone who has visited Boston can still see the North Church.

Just about any student of American history knows about Revere's midnight ride to warn about the impending British attack. Not Sarah Palin. Apparently, she was absent that day. The GOP presidential contender (or not) thought Revere was warning the British about something:

Wow. Here's the transcript of how Palin described Paul Revere's famous ride, while visiting the Old North Church in Boston.  It appears she was asked something to the effect of, "do you know who Paul Revere was?":

He who warned the, the British that they weren't gonna be takin' away our arms [she pronounces it "are arms"], by ringin' those bells and makin' sure he's ridin' his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were gonna be secure and we were gonna be free.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Via Truthout: William Rivers Pitt | The Triumph of Political Derangement

Friday 03 June 2011
William Rivers Pitt | The Triumph of Political Derangement
William Rivers Pitt, Truthout: "There are many familiar symbols that represent the United States of America. There is the flag, of course. There is the strange eye above the unfinished pyramid on the back of the dollar bill. There are the myriad iconic buildings in Washington as familiar to us as the back of our hands. Well, the moment has arrived to add a new symbol to the list, one that represents the sad state of our national politics, the ridiculous media coverage of same, and the deranged condition the American people find themselves in today. I suggest Janus, the ancient two-headed Roman god whose faces look both forward and backward simultaneously. In representing the American people, Janus would be a perfect depiction of a person who wants two things at once, and hasn't yet figured out how to do it."
Read the Article

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Via jMG: Gov. Chris Christie, Fiscal Conservative

This is how New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the fiscal hero to conservatives, attends his son's baseball games.
Right before the lineup cards were being exchanged on the field, a noise from above distracted the spectators as the 55-foot long helicopter buzzed over trees in left field, circled the outfield and landed in an adjacent football field. Christie disembarked from the helicopter and got into a black car with tinted windows that drove him about a 100 yards to the baseball field.During the 5th inning, Christie and First Lady Mary Pat Christie got into the car, rode back to the helicopter and left the game. During a pitching change, play was stopped for a couple of minutes while the helicopter took off.
Despite a media outcry, today Christie's spokesman defended the helicopter trip as "appropriate" and said the governor would not be reimbursing the state for its cost.

reposted from Joe

Five from truthout:

Thursday 2 June 2011

Bill Moyers Interviews Andrew Bacevich
Bill Moyers, The New Press: "Our finest warriors are often our most reluctant warmongers. They have seen firsthand the toll war exacts. They know better than anyone that force can be like a lobster trap that closes with each stage of descent, making escape impossible. So it was when the liberal consensus lured America into Vietnam during the '60s, and again after 9/11, when neoconservatives clamored for the invasion of Iraq.... One old warrior looked on sadly, his understanding of combat’s reality tempered by twenty-three years in uniform, including service in Vietnam.... Bacevich supported Barack Obama’s candidacy but believes that Obama’s commitment of more troops to Afghanistan was a deadly mistake."
"Bill Moyers Journal: The Conversation Continues" is the Truthout Progressive Pick of the Week.
Read the Article

Zombie Politics: Dangerous Authoritarianism or Shrinking Democracy - Part II
Henry A. Giroux, Peter Lang Publishing Group: "While precise accounts of the meaning of authoritarianism, especially fascism, abound, I have no desire, given its shifting nature, to impose a rigid or universal definition. What is to be noted is that many scholars, such as Kevin Passmore and Robert O. Paxton, agree that authoritarianism is a mass movement that emerges out of a failed democracy, and its ideology is extremely anti-liberal, anti-democratic, and anti-socialistic. As a social order, it is generally characterized by a system of terror directed against perceived enemies of the state; a monopolistic control of the mass media; an expanding prison system; a state monopoly of weapons; political rule by privileged groups and classes; control of the economy by a limited number of people; unbridled corporatism; 'the appeal to emotion and myth rather than reason; the glorification of violence on behalf of a national cause; the mobilization and militarization of civil society; [and] an expansionist foreign policy intended to promote national greatness.'"
Read the Article

Bill McKibben | Obama Strikes Out on Global Warming
Bill McKibben, TomDispatch: "In our globalized world, old-fashioned geography is not supposed to count for much: mountain ranges, deep-water ports, railroad grades - those seem so nineteenth century. The earth is flat, or so I remember somebody saying. But those nostalgic for an earlier day, take heart. The Obama administration is making its biggest decisions yet on our energy future and those decisions are intimately tied to this continent's geography. Remember those old maps from your high-school textbooks that showed each state and province's prime economic activities? A sheaf of wheat for farm country? A little steel mill for manufacturing? These days in North America what you want to look for are the pickaxes that mean mining, and the derricks that stand for oil."
Read the Article

From Civil Disobedience to Civil Defiance
Ed Kinane, Truthout: "Thanks in large part to court and prison witness, one grassroots organization I've long worked with has grown by leaps and bounds. Determined to expose and close the Pentagon's School of the Americas (SOA) - aka the 'School of Assassins' - more than 200 SOA Watch activists over the years have willingly endured trial and incarceration. Inspired by them, each November, thousands from all over the country converge on Fort Benning, Georgia to protest the SOA there for fostering large-scale bloodshed and human rights abuse in Latin America. (In response to our persistent pressure, the SOA has undergone a PR makeover: it has changed its name to the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, WHINSEC.)"
Read the Article

News in Brief: War on Drugs Has Failed, and More ...
The Global Commission on Drug Policy declared in a statement that global war on drugs has failed; a British mining company voluntarily suspended a hydraulic fracturing, aka "fracking," operation after scientists said the drilling operation might have triggered two earthquakes; Adrian Lamo, the ex-hacker who turned in alleged WikiLeaks leaker Bradley Manning, recently said that he does not regret snitching on Manning and aiding in the criminal prosecution of the former military intelligence officer; dozens of Yemeni protesters were killed in street battles with the country's security forces yesterday.
Read the Article

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Via AmericaBlog:

Why are global policy-makers unwilling to deal with high unemployment?

Paul Krugman re-tackles this important question, and tries out a different answer from his usual. Let's see if we agree.

He begins with the glaringly obvious:
Unemployment is a terrible scourge across much of the Western world. Almost 14 million Americans are jobless, and millions more are stuck with part-time work or jobs that fail to use their skills. Some European countries have it even worse: 21 percent of Spanish workers are unemployed. ... Yet a strange thing has happened to policy discussion: on both sides of the Atlantic, a consensus has emerged among movers and shakers that nothing can or should be done about jobs.
Krugman then offers the latest evidence that the people in power are determined to do nothing, the European OECD report, which he also discusses here.

But there really are things that can be done. As many have said (myself included), the problem is personal debt — mortgages, credit card payments, student loans. There's little demand for goods in a world of un- and underemployment, job insecurity, large household debt burdens, and a post-bubble housing market. Who's going to spend in that environment? Only the wealthy and the falsely secure.

Krugman heartily agrees. So what responses are available?
For example, we could have W.P.A.-type programs putting the unemployed to work doing useful things like repairing roads — which would also, by raising incomes, make it easier for households to pay down debt. We could have a serious program of mortgage modification, reducing the debts of troubled homeowners. We could try to get inflation back up to the 4 percent rate that prevailed during Ronald Reagan’s second term, which would help to reduce the real burden of debt.
All good things that won't be tried. Krugman knows it, and we know it.

Which leads to the crux of the article, its title, and my disagreement (again) with the Professor. He now thinks the reason nothing will be done is not a failure of ideas, but "learned helplessness" on the part of policy-making elites:
As I see it, policy makers are sinking into a condition of learned helplessness on the jobs issue: the more they fail to do anything about the problem, the more they convince themselves that there’s nothing they could do. And those of us who know better should be doing all we can to break that vicious circle.
I have a different thought: Let's apply Occam's Switchblade. The people who are doing nothing, are doing it because they want to. The rest is just words, words, words and a barely credible cover story.

Please, Professor; sometimes you just have to let people show what they want and agree that they really do want it.


Monday, May 30, 2011

Misc Family Shots

@ the Piedmont with Ron & Judi

My Uncle George

Gary @ Uncle Gorge's Resting Place

Gary & Aunt Kathy

Via truthout: Rumi's Field

"Out beyond ideas of rightdoing and wrongdoing there is a field. I'll meet you there." -Rumi

Keeping the biggest possible picture in mind, paradoxically, may give us the best lens through which to focus clearly upon the messy details of our lives at every level - internationally, nationally, locally, even personally.

How big a picture? Try: the whole earth and everything and everyone on it, through hundreds of millions of years of time.

What can this abstract immensity have to do with our own lives? More than we think, because we really are a product of the changes the earth has undergone over eons and we are totally subject to the rules that dictated those changes. By rules we mean big processes, ones we are still trying to fully understand. Processes like evolution itself.

Winslow Myers, the author of "Living Beyond War: A Citizen's Guide," serves on the board of Beyond War ( [5]), a nonprofit educational foundation whose mission is to explore, model and promote the means for humanity to live without war.


Via Science Friday on NPR: Are Math Skills Built In To The Human Brain?

Are Math Skills Built In To The Human Brain?

Psychologist Véronique Izard discusses a study that suggests Amazonian villagers with no math schooling are just as equipped to solve basic geometry problems as math-trained adults, and cognitive neuropsychologist Brian Butterworth talks about the arithmetic cousin of dyslexia, dyscalculia.


Brian Butterworth
Former Chair, Center for Educational Neuroscience
Emeritus Professor, Cognitive Neuropsychology
University College London
London, England
Veronique Izard
Research Scientist
French National Center for Scientific Research
Paris Descartes University
Paris, France

Five from truthout:

Monday 30 May 2011
Remembering the Quiet, Unsung Heroes of America
William J. Astore, Truthout: "This Memorial Day, let's remember and learn from our heroes who are gone from us… America's heroes are women and men like my Mom and Dad: the factory workers, the homemakers, the blue-collar doers and givers. And as I think about my Mom and Dad, I recall both their loving natures and their toughness. They had few illusions, and they knew how to get a tough job done, without complaint."
Read the Article

In a War-Loving Society, Peace Activism Takes a Lot of Guts and Bravery
Clancy Sigal, Alternet: "If you're in the United States while reading this, try a little test: ask someone, anyone, what Memorial Day memorializes? I've queried several friends and none could tell me that Memorial Day, once called 'Decoration Day,' began in the aftermath of the civil war to [honor] the more than 600,000 dead Confederate and Union soldiers - the deadliest war in US history."
Read the Article

Obama Appoints Army Leader as Chairman of Joint Chiefs
Helene Cooper and Thom Shanker, The New York Times News Service: "President Obama on Monday nominated Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the Army chief, to help steer the American armed forces through the three present conflicts in Muslim countries, as the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff."
Read the Article

Five Eye-Opening Facts About Our Bloated Post-9/11 "Defense" Spending
Joshua Holland, Alternet: "This week, the National Priorities Project (NPP) released a snapshot of US 'defense' spending since September 11, 2001. The eye-popping figures lend credence to the theory that al Qaeda's attacks were a form of economic warfare - that they hoped for a massive overreaction that would entangle us in costly foreign wars that would ultimately drain away our national wealth."
Read the Article

FBI's Counterterrorism Operations Scrutinizing Political Activists
Colin Moynihan and Scott Shane, The New York Times News Service: "[Scott] Crow, 44, a self-described anarchist and veteran organizer of anticorporate demonstrations, is among dozens of political activists across the country known to have come under scrutiny from the FBI's increased counterterrorism operations since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001."
Read the Article

"Bring the Boys Home" by Freda Payne with lyrics

Bruno Mars - The Lazy Song [Official Alternate Version]

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Two from Truthout:

Sunday 29 May 2011

Thomas Pogge on the Past, Present and Future of Global Poverty
Keane Bhatt, Truthout: "We live in a world where economic positions - income and wealth - are very unevenly distributed, and this leads to the widespread persistence of poverty. The bottom half of humanity is living in severe poverty;.. they are extremely vulnerable to even small upsets in their income or in the prices they face of basic necessities... Given the total income and wealth available in the world today, we could easily overcome poverty, which would require raising the share of the bottom half from three to roughly five percent. Unfortunately, the trend is going in the opposite direction."
Read the Article

GOP Push to Tighten Voting Rules May Disenfranchise Young, Poor
Lizette Alvarez, The New York Times News Service: "Less than 18 months before the next presidential election, Republican-controlled statehouses around the country are rewriting voting laws to require photo identification at the polls, reduce the number of days of early voting or tighten registration rules. Republican legislators say the new rules, which have advanced in 13 states in the past two months, offer a practical way to weed out fraudulent votes and preserve the integrity of the ballot box. Democrats say the changes have little to do with fraud prevention and more to do with placing obstacles in the way of possible Democratic voters, including young people and minorities."
Read the Article

The Grand Rapids LipDub (NEW WORLD RECORD)

Copyright 2011 by Daniel C. Orey All rights reserved. No part of this website may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the author.