"I have a simple male brain, and I can just sit and watch football and enjoy it."
FIFTY YEARS AGO, when I was a boy of fifteen and helping to inhabit a Missourian village on the banks of the Mississippi, I had a friend whose society was very dear to me because I was forbidden by my mother to partake of it. He was a gay and impudent and satirical and delightful young black man -a slave -who daily preached sermons from the top of his master's woodpile, with me for sole audience. He imitated the pulpit style of the several clergymen of the village, and did it well, and with fine passion and energy. To me he was a wonder. I believed he was the greatest orator in the United States and would some day be heard from....
One of his texts was this:
"You tell me whar a man gits his corn pone, en I'll tell you what his 'pinions is."....
I think Jerry was right, in the main, but I think he did not go far enough.
1. It was his idea that a man conforms to the majority view of his locality by calculation and intention. This happens, but I think it is not the rule.
2. It was his idea that there is such a thing as a first-hand opinion; an original opinion; an opinion which is coldly reasoned out in a man's head, by a searching analysis of the facts involved, with the heart unconsulted, and the jury room closed against outside influences. It may be that such an opinion has been born somewhere, at some time or other, but I suppose it got away before they could catch it and stuff it and put it in the museum.
I am persuaded that a coldly-thought-out and independent verdict upon a fashion in clothes, or manners, or literature, or politics, or religion, or any other matter that is projected into the field of our notice and interest, is a most rare thing -- if it has indeed ever existed....
The outside influences are always pouring in upon us, and we are always obeying their orders and accepting their verdicts. The Smiths like the new play; the Joneses go to see it, and they copy the Smith verdict. Morals, religions, politics, get their following from surrounding influences and atmospheres, almost entirely; not from study, not from thinking. A man must and will have his own approval first of all, in each and every moment and circumstance of his life -- even if he must repent of a self-approved act the moment after its commission, in order to get his self-approval again: but, speaking in general terms, a man's self-approval in the large concerns of life has its source in the approval of the peoples about him, and not in a searching personal examination of the matter.
"A political emergency brings out the corn-pone opinion in fine force in its two chief varieties -- the pocketbook variety, which has its origin in self-interest, and the bigger variety, the sentimental variety -- the one which can't bear to be outside the pale...."
Mohammedans are Mohammedans because they are born and reared among that sect, not because they have thought it out and can furnish sound reasons for being Mohammedans; we know why Catholics are Catholics; why Presbyterians are Presbyterians; why Baptists are Baptists; why Mormons are Mormons; why thieves are thieves; why monarchists are monarchists; why Republicans are Republicans and Democrats, Democrats. We know it is a matter of association and sympathy, not reasoning and examination; that hardly a man in the world has an opinion upon morals, politics, or religion which he got otherwise than through his associations and sympathies.
Broadly speaking, there are none but corn-pone opinions. And broadly speaking, corn-pone stands for self-approval. Self-approval is acquired mainly from the approval of other people. The result is conformity. Sometimes conformity has a sordid business interest -- the bread-and-butter interest -- but not in most cases, I think. I think that in the majority of cases it is unconscious and not calculated; that it is born of the human being's natural yearning to stand well with his fellows and have their inspiring approval and praise -- a yearning which is commonly so strong and so insistent that it cannot be effectually resisted, and must have its way.
A political emergency brings out the corn-pone opinion in fine force in its two chief varieties -- the pocketbook variety, which has its origin in self-interest, and the bigger variety, the sentimental variety -- the one which can't bear to be outside the pale; can't bear to be in disfavor; can't endure the averted face and the cold shoulder; wants to stand well with his friends, wants to be smiled upon, wants to be welcome, wants to hear the precious words, "He's on the right track!" Uttered, perhaps by an ass, but still an ass of high degree, an ass whose approval is gold and diamonds to a smaller ass, and confers glory and honor and happiness, and membership in the herd. For these gauds many a man will dump his life-long principles into the street, and his conscience along with them. We have seen it happen. In some millions of instances.
Men think they think upon great political questions, and they do; but they think with their party, not independently; they read its literature, but not that of the other side; they arrive at convictions, but they are drawn from a partial view of the matter in hand and are of no particular value. They swarm with their party, they feel with their party, they are happy in their party's approval; and where the party leads they will follow, whether for right and honor, or through blood and dirt and a mush of mutilated morals.
In our late canvass half of the nation passionately believed that in silver lay salvation, the other half as passionately believed that that way lay destruction. Do you believe that a tenth part of the people, on either side, had any rational excuse for having an opinion about the matter at all? I studied that mighty question to the bottom -- came out empty. Half of our people passionately believe in high tariff, the other half believe otherwise. Does this mean study and examination, or only feeling? The latter, I think. I have deeply studied that question, too -- and didn't arrive. We all do no end of feeling, and we mistake it for thinking. And out of it we get an aggregation which we consider a boon. Its name is Public Opinion. It is held in reverence. It settles everything. Some think it the Voice of God.
“The trouble with socialism is that sooner or later you run out of other people’s money.” -- Margaret Thatcher
When Nada later dons the glasses for the first time as he walks down a sidewalk on Rodeo Drive, he discovers that the world appears in shades of grey, with significant differences. He notices that a billboard now simply displays the word "Obey"; without them it advertises that Control Data Corporation which is "creating a transparent computing environment." Another billboard (normally displaying "Come to the Caribbean" written above a lovely woman lying on a beach) now displays the text "Marry and Reproduce." He also sees that paper money bears the words "This is your God." All printed matter around him contains subliminal advertising from "Obey", "Consume", "Sleep", "No Independent Thought", and "Do Not Question Authority". While he stares disbelievingly at a magazine containing the subliminal messages, a man walks up. When Frank looks at him he sees a strange humanoid with bulging eyes and mottled skin. When Nada removes the glasses, the man looks like a white, male human.
Nada soon discovers that many people are actually aliens. Most of the aliens are wearing expensive clothing resembling wealthy-looking businessmen and women. When Nada enters a local grocery store and insults one of the aliens, the elderly lady speaks through her wristwatch, muttering about his location and the face that he "can see." Nada runs out of the store and into an alley where two alien policemen suddenly arrive. The two alien policemen ask where Nada got the sunglasses and he refuses to answer them. Aware that they intend to kill him, Nada escapes, killing both alien policemen. He steals a police shotgun. While evading the police, he accidentally stumbles into a local bank filled with aliens. Realizing that the jig is up, he proclaims, "I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass... and I'm all out of bubblegum." A shooting spree ensues as Nada opens fire, killing all the aliens that he sees. After killing many of them, one of the aliens sees him and disappears after twisting a dial on his wristwatch....
Developed by the weapons experts at the Violence Policy Center, Moms Demand Action, and Everytown for Gun Safety. Beware the banana hammer. | Ivy Mike Cafe
Towards the end he sailed into an extraordinary mildness,
And anchored in his home and reached his wife
And rode within the harbour of her hand,
And went across each morning to an office
As though his occupation were another island.
Goodness existed: that was the new knowledge
His terror had to blow itself quite out
To let him see; but it was the gale had blown him
Past the Cape Horn of sensible success
Which cries: 'This rock is Eden. Shipwreck here.'
But deafened him with thunder and confused with lightning:
--The maniac hero hunting like a jewel
The rare ambiguous monster that had maimed his sex,
The unexplained survivor breaking off the nightmare--
All that was intricate and false; the truth was simple.
Evil is unspectacular and always human,
And shares our bed and eats at our own table,
And we are introduced to Goodness every day.
Even in drawing-rooms among a crowd of faults;
he has a name like Billy and is almost perfect
But wears a stammer like a decoration:
And every time they meet the same thing has to happen;
It is the Evil that is helpless like a lover
And has to pick a quarrel and succeeds,
And both are openly destroyed before our eyes.
For now he was awake and knew
No one is ever spared except in dreams;
But there was something else the nightmare had distorted--
Even the punishment was human and a form of love:
The howling storm had been his father's presence
And all the time he had been carried on his father's breast.
Who now had set him gently down and left him.
He stood upon the narrow balcony and listened:
And all the stars above him sang as in his childhood
'All, all is vanity,' but it was not the same;
For now the words descended like the calm of mountains--
--Nathaniel had been shy because his love was selfish--
But now he cried in exultation and surrender
'The Godhead is broken like bread. We are the pieces.'
And sat down at his desk and wrote a story.
After barreling past the guard immediately inside the door, Gonzalez, who was carrying a knife, dashed past the stairway leading a half-flight up to the first family’s living quarters. He then ran into the 80-foot-long East Room, an ornate space often used for receptions or presidential addresses.
In other news.... Is Barack Obama's life safe in the Secret Service's hands?
A knife-wielding intruder allowed to run rampant through the first floor of the White House. Bullets that struck the window of Barack Obama's private residence but went unnoticed for days. A presidential bodyguard so drunk he passed out in hallway of a hotel. These are just some of the recent incidents that have shaken confidence in the Secret Service, the elite agency assigned to protect Mr Obama, his family and the White House.
"Junya Watanabe was in conceptual mode for spring:
i.e., seeing women not as fashion consumers, but as walking canvases for a jolly geometry exercise. His series of collages of flat, circular pleather cutouts placed on gauze, shown on models with plastic cloche-like headdresses, triggered vague reminiscences of 1920s experimental art—Sonia Delaunay, maybe." Junya Watanabe Spring 2015 RTW — Vogue
Nothing like being "in conceptual mode" to remove all hints at needing to humiliate those who have what he will never possess.
How many Ebola cases are really simmering in Africa? That depends on who is underreporting them.
To aid in planning for additional disease-control efforts, CDC constructed a modeling tool called EbolaResponse to provide estimates of the potential number of future cases. If trends continue without scale-up of effective interventions, by September 30, 2014, Sierra Leone and Liberia will have a total of approximately 8,000 Ebola cases. A potential underreporting correction factor of 2.5 also was calculated. Using this correction factor, the model estimates that approximately 21,000 total cases will have occurred in Liberia and Sierra Leone by September 30, 2014. Reported cases in Liberia are doubling every 15–20 days, and those in Sierra Leone are doubling every 30–40 days.There. Now don't you feel better now that you are better informed?
Not to worry. We've got thousands of soldiers wandering around in those pestholes and they'll be home soon with the truth. I, for one, certainly hope Barack Obama greets and shakes the hands of each and every one of them.
Vista, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, October 20, 2007
Fast fires consume California. They take men's homes and the habitat of "protected" and unprotected species without fear or favor; without asking permission of the coastal commission or the EPA. Whether sparked by nature or arson, the decades of overbuilding, misbegotten "environmentally correct" management policies, the logjam of litigation that prevents stewardship, all combine -- like the fires and the winds themselves combine -- into "the perfect firestorm."
Many, afraid to blame utopian politics and fanatic environmentalism as two of the culprits, blame "nature;" the only admitted vengeful god of our age. But nature, as wise men know, always sides with the hidden flaw, and the flaws hidden here are those of men, foolish men who believe they can control and terraform the planet they inhabit. The walls of flame and hills of smoldering ash are the answer to their green hubris.
A similar instance of eco-utopianism currently seethes in the Great Smokey Mountains. The fire there burns much more slowly and selectively, but it burns all the same. In the end, a spark or a maniac will touch it with flame and then it too will rage up and destroy that which the fire's enablers most wish to save. And when the ashes cool and everything is bare and dead, their answer will be -- as it always is -- "we need more laws to protect that which our present laws have destroyed."
The slow fire in the Smoky Mountains is a pest, the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, that attacks and kills the hemlocks in the park. The adelgid has been having its way with hemlocks throughout the eastern seaboard since it first snuck into the area from Asia in the 1920s. The park service reports that:
"Over 800 acres of old-growth hemlock trees grow in the Smokies -- more than in any other national park. Younger hemlock forests cover an additional 90,000 acres of land in the park. Originally discovered here in 2002, adelgid infestations have now spread throughout the park's hemlock forests. In some areas infested trees have already begun to die."
"Begun?" It would be more accurate to say that in pretty much all areas that can be observed, the hemlocks have not just "already begun to die," but are -- in fact -- stone cold dead and gone.
Here is a photograph I took from a viewpoint in the Smoky Mountain park two weeks ago:
Pretty, isn't it? Actually, to stand in the place that this was taken and to look out over the mountains is more than just "pretty." It is overwhelming to the senses as ridge upon ridge and valley leading onto valley fill and brims with the reds, the scarlets, the oranges and the yellows of full autumn.
If you do not look too close. If you do not look too deep.
Here's a detail from the photograph above:
The grey spindly splotches are the dead hemlocks and they are legion in every direction. They are visible from every overlook. They are dead and they are dry. Pitch-soaked pine torches waiting for the match. And, we assume, that deeper into the park where only intrepid hikers and members of the Forest Service patrol, the carnage goes on and on.
What's the Forest Service plan to halt or control this parasite that destroys its host and leaves stands of tinder in its wake? Soap and beetles. That's it, soap and beetles.
While there is a pesticide, Imidacloprid, that works against this plague, it can contaminate the soil and the watershed for 30 days in water and 27 days in soil or, in aerobic soil, up to around 3 years. If you have hemlocks on your property and are either careful or stealthy you can save your own personal hemlocks. But since it is, after all, a pesticide, this is politically impossible to use in a National Forest. The Sierra Club does not, after all, approve.
(The Park Service does note that this insecticide is being used on hemlocks "near campsites" and on "tall trees." I guess the hope is that if you can see healthy hemlocks you won't think the service is losing the war so badly. Call it the "Park Service lied and hemlocks died" program.)
Instead, the current plan is to use an "insecticidal" (sounds nicer than "insecticide" doesn't it?) soap solution that must be applied to each and every tree that is infested. And no, you can't spray the soap suds from the air. Yes, each and every hemlock surviving in the "800 old growth areas" and "90,000" other acres has to be individually tended to and scrubbed.
Call me crazy, but I just don't see the Forest Service -- even if its budget were to be increased 10-fold -- as having the ability or the technology to wash down all these trees. Much less get to them. In terms of stopping the infestation, washing down the trees seems to me to be a chunk of ecologically-correct make work.
Do not despair over the bogus "soap solution." There is also a back-up plan. That plan involves releasing a beetle. A teeny-tiny beetle that will, someday, increase in numbers enough to destroy the parasite on the hemlocks. "The park has released tiny black lady-beetles that feed only on adelgids. They have been thoroughly studied in the field and do not congregate in large numbers and do not leave the forest during their summer dormant period."
These beetles were brought in in 2002 and it is, of course, far too soon for their populations to have had a noticeable effect on reversing the slow fire in the park. Meanwhile, the parasite continues to kill the hemlocks and leave the towering trunks of tinder behind.
But to keep hope alive and to give the impression of actually doing something effective, the Forest Service has a back-up to the back-up and a back-up to that as well. (Fret not, none of these involves actually using something that is known to kill the pest on contact.)
According to a brochure stapled to a notice-board at the park's visitors' center, the service is essentially getting ready to lose what it has probably already lost. This brochure attempts to answer the now very frequently asked question, "Why are so many trees dead, Ranger Rick?" After the standard blather about soapy water and beetles, the brochure admits that the Forest Service has sequestered many seedlings elsewhere in a protected and undisclosed environment. Not only that but it has also frozen many seeds in seed-banks so they can be replanted after the current plague has run its course and the parasite died off for lack of a host.
I suspect that under this plan, the hemlocks in the Great Smoky Mountains can be back on track in, say, two or three centuries. This assumes, of course, that the seedlings, the seed-banks, and the United States Forest Service along with the United States lasts that long. Still, as a friend of mine is fond of saying, "Isn't it pretty to think so?"
A week of partial rains has dampened the land and the forest in this region of Blue Ridge and Great Smoky mountains. For now the threat of real fire has receded here. But the rains have only moistened the surviving hemlocks and given a drink to the pest that burns them slowly. In the hemlock forests of the east coast the slow fires rage on, out of control, and we refuse to use the one tool that could -- maybe, just maybe -- put them out. Why? Because the eco-fanatics in the Forest Service and elsewhere just don't like them. For them, forests with vast stands of dead trees are fine. For them these places are paradise....
Cue The Eagles:
"They call it paradise
I don't know why
You call someplace paradise,
kiss it goodbye"
God of our fathers, known of old,
Lord of our far-flung battle-line,
Beneath whose awful Hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pineâ
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forgetâlest we forget!
The tumult and the shouting dies;
The Captains and the Kings depart:
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forgetâlest we forget!
Far-called, our navies melt away;
On dune and headland sinks the fire:
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forgetâlest we forget!
If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe,
Such boastings as the Gentiles use,
Or lesser breeds without the Lawâ
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forgetâlest we forget!
For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shard,
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And guarding, calls not Thee to guard,
For frantic boast and foolish wordâ
Thy mercy on Thy People, Lord!
BY RUDYARD KIPLING 1897
I've been at this since 1987. Here's my list so far. What do you know?
1. THE NET IS THE ENTIRE KNOWN CYBERSPACE UNIVERSE, AND LIKE THE REAL UNIVERSE IS CONSTANTLY EXPANDING.
2. THE SIZE OF THE NET IS UNKNOWN.
3. THE NET IS JUST LIKE THE SOCIETY IT CONNECTS, ONLY LESS SO.
4. NOBODY OWNS THE NET.
5. THE NET HAS NO CENTER.
6. IF YOU INSIST THAT THE NET *MUST* HAVE A CENTER, LOOK IN CALIFORNIA.
7. INFORMATION ON ANY SUBJECT YOU CAN THINK OF, AND MILLIONS MORE YOU NEVER THOUGHT TO THINK OF, IS ON THE NET
8. ON THE NET ALL LAWS ARE LOCAL.
9. THE NET IS NOT FAIR.
10. THERE ARE NO FINAL LIMITS TO THE NET, ONLY REST STOPS.
11. THE NET IS A POSTOCRACY NOT A DEMOCRACY.
12. THE PRIMARY NEED THAT DRIVES THE NET IS THE NEED FOR AFFILIATION.
13. THE SECONDARY NEED THAT DRIVES THE NET IS THE NEED FOR ATTENTION.
14. "THE NET SEES CENSORSHIP AS SYSTEM DAMAGE AND ROUTES AROUND IT." -- JOHN GILMORE
15. YOU CAN'T KNOW THE WHOLE NET OVERNIGHT, OR EVEN OVER A DECADE.
16. THE SOCIETY OF THE NET IS TRIBAL.
17. "THE NET HAS NO MIND. IT BORROWS YOURS." -- THE UNKNOWN POSTER
18. ON THE NET YOU MEET PEOPLE FROM THE INSIDE OUT.
19. VIRTUAL APPEARANCES ARE ALWAYS DECEIVING.
20. THE ONLY BEHAVIOR YOU CAN CONTROL ONLINE IS YOUR OWN.
21. NO FEAR.
22. IF YOU DON'T HAVE SOME SOCIAL SKILLS, GET SOME.
23. READ BEFORE YOU RESPOND.
24. DON'T TICK OFF SYSTEM ADMINISTRATORS; THEY WILL GET THEIR REVENGE.
25. YOU CAN'T BREAK THE NET.Click Here to Continue
In the account books of friendship, a balance can never be struck. Favors are always owing. True, there's some sort of record and you can, if you really push it, get overdrawn, but the Bank of the Friend is very forgiving of minor transgressions and small inconveniences. You can be lounging about on a weekend morning with no intention of dressing and driving out into the cold, but the call comes in and you saddle up.
"I need help with my equipment I used in the sermon."
"I thought that was just going to be one telephone."
"It got more elaborate."
("Elaborate" is a word he uses when he let his imagination get the better of his judgement. In general, he believes in simple things: zen gardens, books of quotations or jokes, a single perfect leaf next to a perfect rock, wood floors instead of shag rugs. Over the years his friends have learned to fear "elaborate.")
"More 'elaborate' huh?"
"Well, I wanted it to be a memorable sermon."
(This was in response to an invitation to give a speech at a certain Seattle church's 50th Anniversary.)
"It started when I decided to give the sermon in the chicken suit."
(He owns three full-body yellow-feathered chicken suits -- with heads. There are full-body bunny suits as well and there was once, briefly, a full-body pink gorilla suit, but that's two other stories.)
"But they've already seen the chicken suit."
"That's exactly what I thought so I decided to dress it up."
"So I went down to The Love Connection by Lake Union."
(The Love Connection is a local "Adult" Toy Shop with a special line of lingerie, leather wear, and expensive, very large dildos for the truly ambitious.)
"I told the woman at the store that I needed a large size set of red sequined bra and panties. She nodded and looked me over." (He's a large bearded man.) "It was clear she got requests like mine every day."
"I imagine that she does, this being Seattle, the headwaters of the Gay Bear community of the Greater North West. Not that there's anything wrong with that."
"Yes, but I had to explain to her that size was an issue. It had to go over my full-body chicken suit."
"What did she say to that?"
"She said, 'Oooo, kinky!' and then she got me some really spectacular foundation garments."
"I've always said that it would take a man like you to make a woman like you."
"Hey, I wanted to make my sermon memorable."
"I see that you were well on the way, but where do I come in?"
"It started with the telephone. I had to get a prop telephone. So I went to Archie McPhee."
(Archie McPhee in Seattle is the ground zero for bizarre gifts, weird props, practical jokes and rubber chickens. It is where you go when you need something nobody has.)
"We've all told you time and again to stay out of that store. It's like smoking crack for you."
"I know, I know. But I needed a prop telephone quick. One with a body, a headset and a dial."
"Did you score?"
"Yes, of course. But when I was in the store I noticed that they had a cake for rent."
"A rental cake? Doesn't that get a bit stale?"
"Not that kind of cake, Jake. But a great cake. You know, the kind that strippers can jump out of."
"More elaborate, right?"
"Exactly. In one blinding instant I put me, in a chicken suit, wearing a sequined bra and panties, jumping out of a cake with a telephone in my wing. Memorable."
"Not easily forgotten, true."
"So I rented the cake."
"Well, it is a huge cake. Six feet around at the base, four layers, five feet tall. With casters. Weighs about 125 pounds. So I had to rent a trunk. Which is where you come in."
"I'm not shoving you around a church in your chicken suit inside a five foot pink cake. Let's get that straight."
"No, no. I got that handled. Did it all. Got the cake to the church, got inside, had myself pushed out on the stage, and jumped out of the cake in the chicken suit with the foundation garments on and gave that sermon last night."
"Yes, but I don't think they're going to ask me back any time soon."
"A church has to have some standards."
"Maybe, but these are Unitarians."
"Oh. In that case, they'll probably come around."
"Anyway, I got the cake back to Archie McPhee's fine, but now I've had to return the truck way out here in Ballard and I've got no ride back. Can you come pick me up?"
"Are you still wearing the chicken suit with the bra and panties?"
"No. Of course not. Do you think I'm crazy?"
"Okay, I'm on my way, but if I see so much as a feather within a block of you I'm driving right on by."
There is only one man in this election who has ever really fought for you ... in places where winning means survival and defeat means death ... - Sarah Palin's Address to the RNC
Is Obama's courage limited to talking? I've been reading a number of quotes from Senator Obama over the past 24 hours that have to do with fighting. He's not taking things lying down. He's not going to be "bullied." That the sort of tough talk that's pretty much par for the course in political metaphors these days.
Last night, for instance, while getting paid a hundred grand and change for having dinner, the Obama scene went like this:
Bon Jovi [once a well-known rock star] and his wife, Dorothea, hosted more than 100 people for dinner on their mansion lawn by the Navesink River in Middletown, N.J. The price was $30,800 a person, to be divided between the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee.Sounds tough, doesn't he? And in the pure political sense of Chicago machine politics, he probably is.
"When I look at Barack, I see an old man," Bon Jovi said in introducing his guest. Obama is 47, Bon Jovi is 46.
Obama spoke for about eight minutes before greeting guests individually. He vowed to fight Republican attacks on his character and background more fiercely than John Kerry did in his losing campaign four years ago.
"We're not going to be bullied, we're not going to be smeared, we're not going to be lied about," Obama said. "I don't believe in coming in second." - Obama At Bon Jovi Event: 'We Won't Be Bullied'
Obama's also known for shooting hoops. As one of my commenting readers put it:
Obama, after Governor Palin's speech: "I've been called worse on the basketball court." My fantasy reply from Governor Palin: "I'm a runner and a basketball player. I don't think he can beat me on the court. I don't think he's got the stamina."That's amusing because, as most people can sense, it has more than a grain of truth in it. Stamina is more than simply making campaigning for President your day job, stamina comes from doing a tough job in crisis mode, day after day. Sort of like, say, being an infantry soldier doing a tour of Iraq. Or flying jet fighters into places where they have a lot of anti-aircraft guns and missiles.
All of this leads me to a question for which I do not have a ready answer: "How much personal courage does Senator Obama possess and when has he demonstrated it? Not talked the talk, but walked the walk.
Surely we must have some examples of this somewhere but I don't recall any.
Why is this important? Because, as is obvious, there are times when courage, real courage in the personal, the physical, the spiritual, the moral or the political sense, is called for from a President.
We have numerous examples of these sorts of courage in the life and political career of John McCain.
What has Obama done that demonstrates real, classical courage? I would really like to know.
To my mind, courage is a far more necessary element for a leader of the United States to possess than any other. It even trumps experience. I've heard a lot from Obama and his supporters about it taking "courage to vote for Obama." But really all it takes to do that is to get to a polling place in November, go into a voting booth, and pull a lever, push a button, or mark a paper. It takes no courage at all.
Leading the country to safety and security after it has been attacked and 3,000 citizens killed in a morning -- that takes courage and we've only seen that in one man. The next President had better possess that sort of courage as well.
So again, I ask, when have we ever seen Obama demonstrate real courage?
[2014: Yes, I know..... "But John McCain, blah blah blah did blah blah.....and is.... blah blah blah!" Fine. OK. Spare me. Thanks.]
Self portrait with showgirl Rosemary Williams 1948
Before he became famous for directing films like A Clockwork Orange, Lolita, and Dr. Strangelove, Stanley Kubrick was a poor kid from the Bronx who worked as a photojournalist for Look magazine. (He was their youngest staff photographer on record.) Kubrick’s striking black and white images of 1940s New York City — which were often shot on the sly, his camera concealed in a paper bag with a hole in it — hint at the dark beauty and psychological drama of his later creative output. Stanley Kubrick’s Dramatic Photos of 1940s New York City – Flavorwire
More at TwistedSifter
Consider this: Chief Heather Fong (left) is the first SFPD female lesbian Chief of Police. Theresa Sparks (center), a former male, is president of the San Francisco Police Commission, and CEO of a multimillion-dollar sex toy retailer and a transgender woman. Sgt. Stephan Thorne (right), a former female, is the first transgender male SFPD police officer. Their Representative in Congress is the alien lizard Nancy Pelosi.
Through a circle that ever returneth in
To the self-same spot,
And much of Madness, and more of Sin,
And Horror the soul of the plot.
-- Poe, The Conqueror Worm
At the Seattle houseboat where I write, it's either spider mating season or a spider building boom. Unlike the rest of the builders in this burg, there's no slump in the spider building boom. Here no bubble has burst. All about this floating world on the lake, spiders big and small are weaving elaborate webs in all the angles a host of houseboats offer.
In fact, so many spiders are getting so busy that it behooves you to begin the day waving a straw broom across your doorways and walkways lest you end up wearing a web. Getting your face slapped and your mouth filled with web is no way to start the day. I know. So sweeping the air with a broom like some latter day sorcerer's apprentice is required. That's my current ritual and it works, most of the time. But webs, I've found, come in all sorts of shapes and diameters and not all are easily seen and swept. Miss one and you get a face full of web and the spider gets, I imagine, very ticked off seeing his long night's labor wiped out in a split second. If you both get very unlucky, you get a mouth full of web with a crunchy spider filling. Not my idea of a crisp morning's memorable moment. Certainly not the spider's.
At the same time, you don't want to be too enthusiastic about web wipeouts. I know how beneficial it is to have spiders at work in a wet environment like a houseboat community. Where spiders weave mosquito populations are severely reduced, flies too. If you want insect life kept down to a dull buzz, you don't want to destroy any webs that aren't directly in your way. Besides, after a fog or a light rain at dawn, or in the slanting late afternoon light, you are can see dozens of gleaming diadem-dappled webs moving ever so gently in the light breeze off Lake Union. Regardless of how you feel about spiders, their work and their webs are both beneficial and beautiful.
Webs, as we know, are not so wonderful for flies. For flies, a spider's web is, in the full meaning of the phrase, a dead end. Touch even one silken strand and you can't shake it off.
The nature of the spider's web is that once touched by a single strand, your struggles to shake it off enmesh you ever more securely in others until escape is hopeless. In the end you are held not just by the single strand you started with, but by all the others that lie just to this side or the other. The spider will be along soon enough to wrap things up. The only safe way to escape the spider's web is not to touch it in the first place.
At least that's what I told the small fly that landed under the web next to my foot this morning as I stood outside on the railing with my coffee. I'd noted the web between the two uprights when I'd first stepped out earlier brandishing my broom like Shiva the Destroyer, but since the web wasn't going to interfere with me, I wasn't going to interfere with it. Live and let be, I thought. I could have brushed it into oblivion with the broom to my right, but it was both beautiful and functional, so why destroy it? Why interfere? Live and let be. What a good Buddha I am. Or is it "Oh what a good Jainist am I?" I forget.
Then I noticed the fly. For a fly it was kind of cute. It wasn't a big buzzer that can batter on a window. It was a small fly, insignificant even by fly standards, a pipsqueak. It sat, bobbing slightly up and down as flies at rest often do, on the decking just below the web above. From my giant's vantage point, it seemed to be scanning the green water and moored boats for whatever it is flies scan for with their ommatidium eyes. Being a fly it had no real knowledge that just overhead death lurked with its many invisible strands. Touch just one, fly up into just one, and that would be the end of my little fly's all too short history.
That's when I got the idea that I could help this small fly avoid destruction with the slightest of gestures. I could see it was courting an unpleasant and lingering death but it could not. The fly sensed no danger at all. Why would it? It didn't have that powerful frame of reference we humans believe we have in the 21st century. It lacked our overweening certitude and preening "knowledge" that we finally know, to a certainty, all the important facts about the Universe -- its size, its age, our place in it, and all the other hubristic crap we tell ourselves because, in the final analysis, we are still afraid of the great dark that we've done our best to make larger and darker.
No, the fly was just moving in the world according to its instincts and programming. It was not at all like us. It was, I suppose, doing whatever felt either necessary or good to it at the time. Not at all like us. Or perhaps it was doing what it was doing because it had to do it. How can we ever understand what happens in the mind of a fly, when - for all our pride - we do not know the what happens in our secret hearts; when we do not even know how we move our hands to make our gestures. If the fly got caught in the web above, it wouldn't matter. It would be just one of the billions of small natural tragedies that happen every minute of every day in our brave new world where -- so many of us seem to have decided -- "purposeless matter hovers in the dark." What right had I to interfere in the unfolding of nature?
Every right. I was not outside of nature but part of it too. And I was there at that time and that place. I could see the danger. The fly, for all the facets of its eyes, could not. A butterfly beats its wings in a garden in Peking, a fly settles to rest under a web on a houseboat in Seattle. God's plan, Fate, Chaos Theory, or a minuscule meaningless moment? Probably a bit of all of the above. Plus the chance for a minuscule godlike moment for me.
I know, through repeated experience, that you cannot save people from themselves, but, I thought, I could at least save one small fly from her own foolishness. A small gesture, affirming life, but mine own. A tiny prayer sent up from a simple act here on this morning in my floating world.
I gestured towards the fly with my shoe. It took alarm and flew off a foot or two. And then it hovered and came back to land at the self-same spot. I gestured again, closer and with more vigor. Same reaction -- a small box-shaped moment of flight and then right back to the self-same spot. Again with the shoe and yet again the stubborn pattern of escape and return on the part of the fly to the self-same spot.
Curious, I bent down and looked closer. It was then I saw a faint, thin strand of web above had already attached itself to the fly. Loose and long, the strand, a single strand barely whiter than the air around it, had already adhered to the fly's shoulders. I guess it had been there all along but from far off and high above I hadn't been able to see it.
Determined now to complete my mission of saving this fly from its fate, I waved my finger over the fly severing the strand. Alarmed, the fly flew away.
But it only flew a little way. Then it came back and settled roughly in the self-same spot.
In the same way it didn't know it was trapped, the fly didn't realize that it was free; that some omnipotent being beyond its ken had granted it grace. Instead, in response to some deeper programming, the fly returned again to its pre-ordained place in this infinitesimal corner of the universe. There it courted the same fate I'd tried to save it from, lifting up to fly about in the strange right-angled way that flies do as if seeking the strand I'd severed. And always returning to the self-same spot.
I finished my coffee and walked back into the room, leaving the fly to whatever fate may, in time, have befallen it. Like so many human beings I've known, the fly was, I guess, fated to be there. All it would take would be one small move, one firm decision, the flight of a moment out over the calm water, and it would live. It couldn't do it. It was tied to its place in the loom of life by strands too fine for me to see and far too strong for me to sever.
From where I sit now, another fly crawls along the inside of my window. Through the glass I can see the spider, who owns the web under which my fly sits. Something, some faint tremor from a single strand, has alerted it and it is starting to scuttle, ever so carefully, from that shadow it waits in towards the center of its web.
I refill my cup and settle into my morning reading. Today it's Pope's "Essay on Man" where, after a few minutes, I read:
Oh blindness to the future! kindly giv'n,
That each may fill the circle mark'd by heav'n:
Who sees with equal eye, as God of all,
A hero perish, or a sparrow fall,
Atoms or systems into ruin hurl'd,
And now a bubble burst, and now a world.
Sunset in a wheat field of the Solgonskoye farming company in the village of Solgon, southwest from Krasnoyarsk, Russia, on September 6, 2014. Fall Is in the Air - In Focus - The Atlantic
VI. THE WHEAT FIELD
From each one in the hard soil a myriad are spun.
Sheaves of gold on bronze in files beneath the sun.
Is it towards the whiteness of the wafer
The field bends on autumn winds;
Towards the body which is breath not flesh
That the body which is only flesh
Scuffs its limbs upon the soil,
And fears at night tomorrow's toil,
And sees in dreams the shade of musk
The trumpets rising in the dusk?
Or is the seed of wheat enough,
Its own bronze parable of blood,
Enorbing in its nucleus
The architecture of the Ark,
The constant covenant of bread?
On the Thirtieth Meridian, at the pivot of the Earth,
A fan spreads out in silted twists
Pinned by five gold inches to the river's wrist,
And clasped by five white fingers of that marble hand.
Between the rise and fall of speech
The pulse is felt throughout the land,
Its rhythms mimicked by the priests,
Its regulations drawn on dirt
In circles, trisects, lines and cubes
Of numbers and of wheat,
Of incantations scratched on stone
That from their power we may eat
The bread, for we have tasted of the fruit,
And found it, if not sweet, of use
In surveying tombs and gardens that will suit.
The wilderness yields only flesh
Of fruit, or fowl, or hunted beast.
It cannot give us wheat and bread,
And it is bread that we would eat.
Though our bodies be of infirm flesh,
Our thoughts enslaved to blood and heat;
Though we scan the skies with eyes of beasts,
Still we would walk in fields of wheat,
And from such sheaves deduce the laws
Of war and wealth and God, and pause
To build our towns and temples, paved streets,
And gird the very globe with grids,
And make our maps and take our measures,
And populate the final stars with myriad
Grown from one, in the harsh soil, our single treasure.
It was gathered that the late Osamame and his friend decided to test the efficacy of the charm with live bullets after incising it on their body. The deceased was said to have first shot at his friend but the bullet did not penetrate, but when the friend shot at Osamame on the chest, the charm failed and bullets pierced through his body, resulting to his death.
They always claim the dissenters are looking for perfection and that’s the dissenters are being childish. That’s obnoxiously stupid, which reinforces the sense amongst the dissenters that the hod carriers simply don’t respect the opinions of the dissenters. Frankly, it is the only reasonable conclusion. If every time you raise an objection you’re told to shut up and sit down, what other conclusion can you draw?What’s irritating about the “perfection” claims is they are easily disproved by recent elections
. Conservatives of all stripes, even paleos, came out in force for the GOP is 1994, 2000, 2004 and 2010. The latter election was fueled by the populist uprising called the Tea Party. Their aim was to reform the GOP, not embrace it. Ever since, the GOP has made war on these people, driving out of the Tea Party wherever possible. Telling these people that perfection is the enemy of the good enough, when they have been living that life and got nothing but abuse for it, is a kick in the teeth.The Z Blog › Why The GOP Is Toast
a fact that she said has made it difficult for her and her same-sex partner to raise their now 2-year-old daughter in an all-white community. Jennifer Cramblett, of Uniontown, Ohio, alleges in the lawsuit filed Monday in Cook County Circuit Court that Midwest Sperm Bank sent her the vials of an African-American donor's sperm in September 2011 instead of those of a white donor that she and her white partner had ordered.
That's certainly the direction leaders from both political parties have been relentlessly herding us in for over a decade, insisting against all reason -- against all sacred Islamic texts -- that "Islam is peace." Thus, while contending with this cycle of expansionist jihad -- a recurrence that should be familiar from Islamic history were it, too, not subject to whitewash -- we must simultaneously withstand a campaign of lies designed to subvert our understanding of how Islam, in fact, has everything to do with beheadings and other violence both in the Islamic world and now in the West – and, why more than a decade of “nation-building” “counterinsurgencies” in Afghanistan and Iraq were doomed from the start.Diana West > Home - Whitewashing Communism Plus Whitewashing Islam Equals Curtains for the West
Normally, a CAP includes four drones. One is in the air over the target area. Another is en route to replace it when its fuel runs out. The other two machines are in maintenance. But a CAP also needs people—186 people, to be exact. Fifty-nine people launch, land and repair the Predators at airfields near the actual combat zones, in places such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and Djibouti. Forty-five CAP members live and work at an air base in the United States, flying the drones via Ku-band satellite. Another 82 people scattered across the U.S. pore over the video imagery the robots acquire and forward it onward to intelligence officials and front-line commanders.Air Force Drone Crews Got So Demoralized That They Booed Their Commander — War Is Boring — Medium
That’s about the same as the gross domestic product of Brazil, a country of 200 million people. The average net worth of list members is $5.7 billion, $700 million more than last year and a record high. An impressive 303 of the 400 saw the value of their fortunes rise compared to a year ago. Only 36 people from last year’s list had lower net worths this year. Twenty-six people fell off the list; another six people died, including businessman and Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner Malcolm Glazer.Inside The 2014 Forbes 400: Facts And Figures About America's Wealthiest
a tiny locker room thousands of feet below the Earth's surface where the miners congregated to await either rescue or death—is, it seems, still intact, a room now sealed off from the surface but peppered with hand-written notes and objects the men deliberately left behind.There is something weirdly nightmarish about this room —
the very fact that it's still down there. Indeed, it's not hard to imagine the metal doors of those old lockers swinging shut now and again, or suddenly popping open, their hinges rusted, trembling as distant caves implode in the mountain all around them, or even the sound of small rocks bouncing down the Ramp from higher levels, like the awful footsteps of someone lost and alone, as if the miners are all still down there.BLDGBLOG: Collapse
Real science not only tells us how much more we don’t know than we know, a state of affairs that will continue for all of human history, but it tells us how fragile the knowledge that we have gained is, how prone we are to making childish mistakes and allowing our biases to think for us. Science is a rigorous way of making fewer mistakes. It’s not very useful to people who already know everything. Science is for stupid people who know how much they don’t know.Sultan Knish: Science is for Stupid People
but on the other hand no considerable change for the better is to be expected as the result of even the greatest upheaval. History necessarily proceeds by calamities, but each succeeding age will be as bad, or nearly as bad, as the last. One must not protest against purges, deportations, secret police forces and so forth, because these are the price that has to be paid for progress: but on the other hand “human nature” will always see to it that progress is slow or even imperceptible. If you object to dictatorship you are a reactionary, but if you expect dictatorship to produce good results you are a sentimentalist.House of Eratosthenes
— but so does conservatism these days, when evil is facilely projected onto a foreign host of rising political forces united only in their rejection of Western values. Nothing is more simplistic than the now rote use by politicians and pundits of the cartoonish label “bad guys” for jihadists, as if American foreign policy is a slapdash script for a cowboy movie.Camille Paglia: | TIME
We enlarged the eyes and did wonders in these computer programs. Even then, in 1992, there were no add-ons. I worked in concert with the retouch department and designed this character. In this specific case, it was absolute and they followed my detailed instructions to the letter. So that’s where Bat Boy was born, but it wasn’t called Bat Boy originally.| VICE United States
You’d think, “There’s a slightly shittier than average meal for an adult.” But slap the chicken sandwich between the double cheeseburger and suddenly it becomes this depraved amalgam of obesity and Obamacare-causing quasi-foods. It becomes the salient indicator, the shibboleth of America’s largest health problem since fucking polio. Fuck that noise, bro.Culinary Bro-Down
Is it just a coincidence that the same question was raised (hidingstuff.com) about the eventual destination of the trans fats that so many products claimed to have rid themselves of? What about reports (photosquashed.com) that astronauts took pictures from space of quivering mountains of trans fats in the Chihuahuan Desert, and that the pictures were suppressed because of pressure from the Trilateral Commission?Internetfactchecking.com
Divorce, illegitimacy, gays, gay marriage, transgender people, soon to be followed by polygamy, bestiality (transspecies romance?) and loosening of age of consent laws (probably for gays horny female teachers only). This is not progress, only change. This is not new, just located on our shores. We live in the United States of Weimerica.28 Sherman: Weimerica
“The victim said Jacob asked her what time she got off work and she replied by asking him in a joking manner if he was going to kill her,’ the detective wrote. “Jacob told the victim, ‘Yes,’ he was going to cut her head off. The victim asked Jacob what he was going to cut her head off with and he said, ‘A blade,’ then told her after he did it he was going to post it on Facebook.Vigilantism coming right up. Sooner or later. Depend upon it. Sad but true.
And the answer is, because Goldman Sachs and the United States government are, for all intents and purposes, the SAME. FISCAL. ENTITY. And if anybody has any explanation other than that, I would love to hear it. And again, I would just encourage you to look at the people who are populating the United States government, the bureaucracy, the federal reserve banks. And look at their CVs. Where did these people come from? They came from Goldman. ‘Kay? Again, I don’t like the whole conspiracy theory worldview, but sometimes it’s real. And when it is real, you have to be brave enough to face it. That’s it.-- | Barnhardt
It is an excellent fit, if you think about it: Our national commitment to permanent, asinine, incontinent juvenility, which results in, among other things, a million or so abortions a year, is not entirely unrelated to the cultural debasement that is the only possible explanation for the career of Lena Dunham.Five Reasons Why You’re Too Dumb to Vote | National Review Online
Muzzle invisible muzzle for just a good relationship of pets and people, it is the muzzle that can be used freely. To prevent biting, excessive barking, eating and picking up training for. Motif of the beak: By be in the form that is charming, such as the beak, you can use it freely.
the digital cryptocurrency first popularized by Silk Road, but also accept transfers via Webmoney, MoneyGram, and Western Union, among others. Since such payment methods aren’t reversible like credit card transactions, the storefronts rely heavily on their reputations. They can also use third-party services that add an additional level of security, an act that’s become necessary with the recent surge in sites selling fake credit card numbers across the stolen personal data industry.Kernel Mag
(Koppen later said that Ford wanted a plane that would fit in his office.) By the summer of 1926, Koppen had come up with an aircraft that fit the bill. The Ford Flivver was a small single-seat plane that was just over 15 feet long and had a wingspan of just a hair under 23 feet. It ran on a 3-cylinder, 35-horsepower engine made by the Ford company Anzani, and it weighed just 350 pounds when empty.| Mental Floss
ED HENRY, FOX NEWS: In terms of decisive action by the president, how can you cite as a success Yemen when the country is falling apart?
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE: Because, Ed, what we have seen is the effective deployment of counter-terrorism strategy that involves building up the capacity of local forces, on occasion backed by American military forces, to counter extremist threats that are emanating from that country.
HENRY: If it has been so successful why are we pulling our embassy personnel out of there?
EARNEST: Ed, what we have been focused on is mitigating the threat from extremists and denying them the kind of safe-haven that would allow them to plot –
HENRY: The embassy said we are pulling out. We have to get our people out of there.
EARNEST: Ed, what we have seen in Yemen is the effective deployment of a counter-terrorism strategy to put continual pressure on extremist groups that seek to do harm to the United States.
HENRY: If there is so much pressure why are we leaving?Belmont Club » Strike Two
To protect your self-esteem, you go on believing that no matter what Prince Ngobo does, he is credible and sincere.
That is where Western elites find themselves now. They invested heavily in the illusion of a compatible Islamic civilization. Those investments, whether in Islamic immigration, Islamic democracy or peace with Islam have turned toxic, but dropping those investments is as out of the question as writing off Prince Ngobo as a con artist and walking away feeling like a fool.Sultan Knish:
And some more history for those not paying attention to the Iraq War from 2003-2010: Al Qaeda in Iraq got its ass kicked by the US military. It was baby steps at first, and then it was in earnest from “The Surge” onwards. Who championed this “Surge”? He’s now a painter in Texas. What the surge accomplished- against virtually every voiced opinion put out by the wizened sages in Foggy Bottom, Democrat activists at CIA and all the panjandrums that were part of the Iraq Study Group- was very much like the objectives announced a little over a week ago by our peace prize Nobel Laureate President.DANSEN: Take A Bow, Neocons... | Truth Revolt
Well, your social media presence: maintaining it, keeping the brand in play, striving to be liked, to be liked, to be liked. And this creates its own kind of ceaseless anxiety. This is why if anyone has a snarky opinion of Generation Wuss then that person is labeled by them as a “douche”—case closed. No negativity—we just want to be admired.- - Bret Easton Ellis | Vanity Fair
a deadly poison the Islamic immigrants are only too happy to pour down their quivering English throats. They deserve what they get. No one forced this on Britain. The English had a long conversation with themselves, and decided to commit mass suicide and welcome the Muslim hordes intent on replacing them. If anything, Britain should serve as a haunting lesson of what happens when a people intellectualizes themselves into a position so far to the left it condones their own self-destruction.| The Right Stuff
Sometimes, some of us will have to give our heads in order for Muslims to have the civil right to fully practice their religion. There are more important things to be concerned with in the United States, such as the right of Muslims to practice Sharia law, and whether blacks are being gunned down in huge numbers by racist whites. Today, the world mourns the double civil rights violations (bigoted racism and religious persecution) that occurred in Oklahoma. The incident in question involved Alton Nolen, a black man and a practicing Muslim.- - People's Cube
No lantern-jawed viragos are going to save you from the barbarian hordes. No mincing nancy boys with Harvard diplomas will stand up for the common decencies: They’re a social construct, dontcha know. The conservative movement won’t save you: They’re chicken-hearted careerists petrified of offending a victim group.- Taki's Magazine
for one of his officers shooting a over-sized violent criminal punching him in the face after the criminal was done robbing a store. The mob was stirred to greater fury, and the mainstream news media merely clucked its collective tongue that the apology was not more prompt, more unctuous, more submissive, and he should have resigned.Teddy Roosevelt’s Lion and Bear. Obama’s Bike Helmet. | John C. Wright's Journal