Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Human Condition

The owl sings his dark song of nightmare and despair
The mockingbird mocks the existence of our kind
The planet of the apes is become here forever
Progress temporary, prejudice permanent
We are a stench in the nostrils of God 
That we may suffer one more day,
Hope is a trap to keep us alive

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Isn't Justice Supposed to be Blind?

--  A federal prosecution of Zimmerman after a thorough, fair and well-contested state trial would violate the spirit if not the letter of the...( Constitution). --  from an editorial in the LA Times

True, but the racially biased enforcement of the stand your ground laws in Florida is anything but fair.  Compare and contrast the Zimmerman verdict in which a White Hispanic man went out with his gun, looking for black youths who didn't belong in his neighborhood (yes, his history proves that that's exactly what he was doing), found one who was completely innocent and killed him; with the case of a woman who, in fear of her abusive husband, fired a gun into a wall to scare him away, causing no injuries to anyone. Zimmerman, killer of a young man, was acquitted. After a 12 minute consideration the jury sentenced the woman, who had harmed no one, to 20 years in prison.  Oh, did I forget to mention she was Black? Clearly, the Florida "justice" system didn't. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Even a Broken Clock is Right Twice a Day

Paul Krugman, Nobel prize-winning economist, recently stated, "If you came into this for years ago with a Keynesian point of view, you said things that were regarded as outrageous in this town. You said government borrowing won't send interest rates skyrocketing. The Fed printing money won't cause inflation. And by the way, austerity policies will tank the economies that adopt them.  And all of that has come true.  So, you know, you have a theory that works ."

Hayekian predictions include the belief that Clinton's raising of taxes on the rich would destroy the economy. Note:  That's the economy which bloomed. The European Union, under the leadership of Germany, has adopted Hayekian principles and they're doing very poorly compared to us. We adopted a mild Keynesian stimulus and we have gained a mild recovery.

Even the Wall Street Journal reported that United Kingdom's austerity policy produced a second recession.  Krugman points out that when Cameron came into power, Conservatives in America were delighted. They knew that he would adopt the correct procedures to end to all economic problems in Britain. Well, he did take all those correct procedures, at least correct according to the Conservatives.  They were excited because they were certain his austerity programs would show how effectively austerity programs work. Instead, Britain has experienced a second recession.   We should take notice that that the Keynesian economists in America said that Cameron's policies would cause a second recession, as it did.

Krugman also pointed out that Sweden, arguably the greatest welfare state in the world, has done quite well during this time. This is the exact opposite of the Conservative Hayekian predictions of the fate of socialist economies.

Finally, Krugman points out that Iceland, where much of this economic crisis originated, was expected to completely self-destruct, especially because they adopted very Keynesian policies with a lot of government controls as a temporary measure to fix the problem. Actual result:  Right now they're doing better than we are.

This leads only one possible conclusion.  The reason American and European Conservatives  continue to believe in the economic theories of Hayek is that they are convinced that since no man can be perfect and since Hayek has a record of being perfectly wrong, he's overdue to be right. At least they hope so.

Much Ado About Nothing Much

It's amazing! The royal family has delivered a baby!  A perfectly ordinary human baby! You know, with all the excitement, I was rather expecting a full grown Harry Potter clone, or at least some sort of amazingly gifted ComicCon mutant.  Merlin or King Arthur  would have also  been acceptable

Even my family's getting in on the excitement.  Don't get me wrong. I wish the baby well. I wish any and all babies well. I just don't see the value of this particular baby as being any higher than that of any other baby in the world -- except for those who are my grandkids, of course.

I mean, truth be told, I think the American revolution was a good idea, but then, I've always been something of an outsider.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Morality or Health, A Forced Choice, Actual Reality

From a Smithsonian article about the regulation and taxation of prostitutes during the Civil war in a successful attempt to reduce the spread of disease among soldiers:

-- ...by early 1864 some 352 women were on record as being licensed, and another hundred had been successfully treated for syphilis and other conditions hazardous to their industry. In the summer of 1864, one doctor at the hospital remarked on a “marked improvement” in the licensed prostitutes’ physical and mental health, noting that at the beginning of the initiative the women had been characterized by use of crude language and little care for personal hygiene, but were soon virtual models of “cleanliness and propriety.”

 ...the  expenses of the program from September 1863 to June totaled just over $6,000, with income from the taxes on “lewd women” reached $5,900.  ...the Pacific Medical Journal argued that legalized prostitution not only helped rid Rosecrans’ army of venereal disease, it also had a positive impact on other armies...

Today, the handful of U.S. counties that allow prostitution, such as Nevada’s Lyon County, rely on a regulatory system remarkably similar to the one implemented in 1863 Nashville. --

So, a great success in cleanliness, health, disease prevention, and public safety; all obtained at virtually no net cost to the government.  Since common sense is virtually nonexistent, don't expect our current governments to stop encouraging filth, illness, the spread of disease, and public danger; all at great financial cost.  That's because these things are all moral.

Whiny Guy, Superhero!

A view into Facebook.

This is part of an exchange with an old friend of mine. I had mentioned that my house was tilting the right no matter which direction in which I looked.  She asked me to explain.  So I did.

Nothing to worry about, Joyce. Just my body being itself again. Every now and then, my brain insists that the world has been tilted. The most common effect is tilling to the left or to the right. Every sense of my body says that the world is in fact tilted, so much so that it is difficult not to grab hold of the bed, couch, or chair upon which I'm sitting to avoid falling off and smacking against the opposite wall, which is now down so low that gravity should be pulling me there. Of course, I'm not going to fall and gravity has not altered, but my senses insist that it has. They very convincingly insist that it has.  Only the fact that I do not actually fall proves that my senses are wrong.

This one actually isn't too bad. At its very worst I literally cannot walk unless I watch my feet. If I take my eyes off them I am so unaware of up versus down that I simply fall over. That, thankfully, is very rare. It's usually much less extreme.  Sorry I worried you! I just thought everybody knew about my...peculiarity.

P. S.

Actually, when it's at its worst I don't have to watch my feet; I have to watch my hands, because then I have to crawl, standing up isn't possible. But again, that's very rare occurrence and hasn't happened in a number of years, though once it was rather common. Let's hope it never happens again!  At times like this, I'm fond of declaring to anyone in the vicinity that they must be human flies since they don't notice the tilt and show no fear of falling.

Life is strange, indeed!  I try to keep smiling and laugh at myself.  It really helps to do so.

Having made this post and thought about it, it occurs to me that I have been underestimating myself

I don't need to be the wannabe, almost, but somehow failing to quite make it, superhero,  "Couch Potato Man" -- lying  around dreaming and hoping for the day when I can find a willing sidekick to be Wifey. I already am a superhero. I am Whiny Guy and I don't need no stinking sidekick! I'm  a real good whiner all by myself. 

Watch out world!  Here I don't come to save the day!


The Big Bang Theory and Me

Quite some time ago, my friend Bobby started a discussion among those in his circle about whether they did or did not like the Big Bang Theory.  It was late when I noticed the long post, so I didn't read it at that moment, instead I went to bed thinking, "Great! Now I can discuss why I prefer ekpirosis. Also, why  think that the Big Bang Theory does not really require that the universe began as an infinitesimally small, infinitely dense, infinitely hot geometric point. And, finally, why that is not possible, anyway."

The next day I discovered that the post referred to my favorite television program.  That's okay. Also an interesting discussion.

Even more interesting, most of the responses from Bobby's notoriously geeky friends stated that they did not like the program.  It took me until now to finally get this post written, so I'm sorry it's so late, but if you know me, then it doesn't surprise you that it took me so long.

Why I Like Big Bang Theory

Short answer, 'cause it's funny.  Longer answer...I mean, much longer answer follows:

I understand the program can be interpreted as simply laughing at intelligence and what might be referred to as geekiness.  But when looked upon as a whole, I think a rather different picture emerges.  First, while the primary characters of the show are variations upon the absent-minded professor meme, supposedly normal Penny comes in for her share of humor at her expense. Second, the program goes out of its way to present a number of more normal, yet equally highly educated individuals as well.  They are only visitors to the show, it is true. However, it is clear that scientists can be motorcycle riding, girl attracting, socially confident members of society.  Third, it is important to remember that the history of building an atmosphere of acceptance demonstrates that the first stage is often one of self-deprecating humor.

Do you remember the movie La Cage aux Folles, or the play by the same name, or the inferior American movie version, The Bird Cage? It is true that all three presented homosexuals in very stereotyped imagery, but it is also true that they presented homosexuals as real, sympathetic human beings, a theme frequently utilized in those early attempts at attaining acceptance.

Perhaps even more germane is the case of Stepin Fetchit, aka, Lincoln Theodore Monroe Andrew Perry.  Stepin Fetchit was his screen name. Lincoln Perry was his real world name.  His film persona was the absolute image of American prejudice against Blacks. He was lazy, he was stupid, he shuffled here and there, etc. etc. etc., ad nauseum.  It's hard to imagine anyone alive today, even someone in my age group, not wincing at the mere thought of his performances.  It is hardly surprising to discover that those who are aware of his career still find much to criticize.

But he also has been praised very highly. Why? Strange as it sounds, his performance made him acceptable to White America at a level which was previously unknown.  For all the flaws of his performances, he was the first Black actor to become a millionaire. He was also the first Black actor to actually receive screen credit. The latter may not sound like much to those of us who are not involved in acting, but I am told that it is of the utmost importance to those who are.

At a certain level, self-deprecating humor may be the only way to make yourself acceptable the world around you.  Most importantly, it is a tool to humanize you to those who wish to deny you membership in the human race.  Even amidst their laughter, the realization steadily and slowly seeps in, these people are people. Down at the most basic level, they really are just like the rest of us. They share the the same fears, the same doubts, the same failures...well, I guess they're just another one of us.

One of the main reasons that geeks and intellectuals face such sharp and cruel bullying at school is because the people doing the bullying are so utterly terrified of them, and feel so inferior to them. After all, you may be stronger than they are but they're smarter than you are.  If they put forth the effort, they could build up their muscles. However, it is generally assumed that a very high level of intelligence is something you're born with, not something you can acquire.  It doesn't take a genius to realize that a better brain can beat brute strength.  No, this isn't the usual, "All of you are only saying that because..." self defense.  This is actually the primary basis of much antisocial activity.  If you talk to the people who hate "those  brainiacs", it doesn't take long to realize the sense of inferiority and even fear that leads people to strike back the only way they can, through violence, both verbal and physical.

If we find a way to laugh at all of our foibles, both those of the brainiacs and those of the normals, we begin to see ourselves as different elements of the same family. That's progress!

So, while I identify with the brainiacs of the program, I feel a lot of empathy for Penny and the other normals.  How much do I identify with the gang?  Answer below:

OK, so Sheldon is extremely obsessive-compulsive. I wouldn't describe myself as extremely obsessive-compulsive, on the other hand, when I'm watching TV, it's not unusual for me to count the number of panes in the window or the number of spokes on the starburst effect from a bright light source, especially if it's the sun. I've even been known to rewind the DVR and hit pause so I can get an accurate count. It's not that I have to. I just like to.

Then there are the factors that point to Sheldon never quite getting the social milieu in which he is immersed. I wouldn't say that I never know what's going on around me. However, I would say that I often have a limited awareness of what's going on around me. I have had a most engaging and interesting talk with a pretty girl on more than one occasion only to have the person with me later say, "Wow, she was sure flirting with you, wasn't she?"

Which I would then brilliantly reply, "She was?  Wish I'd noticed!"

The reaction of the person accompanying me varies. If they know me well, they smile and shake their heads.  If they don't know me, they usually don't believe I had missed the obvious.

Does Sheldon drop into lecture mode at odd times? For example, at Christmas does he suddenly begin to lecturing everyone on the source of our customs?  I recall watching a program with my not yet prodigal daughter and son-in-law.  A character made a reference to Valentine's Day, causing the other character to mention the story of the martyr, St. Valentine, who died in about A.D. 300.  His response was the joke, so I assume he must have been a character rather like Sheldon, but of course, I added, "Yes.  His name was actually Valentinus…" And then I went on to tell the story of how he was arrested, fell in love with the jailers' blind daughter and… well, you get the idea.  We all laughed about it, but that's because we all knew me pretty well.

So, if you want an interesting lecture on the origins of Valentine's Day, including how the Victorians contributed; or would like to know the origins of Christmas customs; or are curious about how Halloween practices originated… I think you get the point. In such case, either I'm your man or Sheldon's your man. You get to choose.

Actually, all the characters on Big Bang theory are rather weird, each in their own way. Consider Penny, who is the epitome of normality within the program's structure.  But she obsesses about shoes and was stunned to discover that she had been a bully when in high school...etc.

Not convinced yet?  You must consider that there was a time when my fiancĂ© was sleeping at about 12:45, since she had to get up get up for work the next morning.  I, being already medically retired, was up reading a popularization of physics,  when I woke her up and exclaimed in delight, "I finally understand Hawking radiation!". She was by that time sufficiently accustomed to me to simply sit up, look at me through droopy eyes and say, "That's really nice, Dear," and go back to sleep.  The next day, she wasn't even angry.  Although I did have to explain Hawking radiation.

So, although I'm no Sheldon, there is a certain resemblance in some areas.  In other words, when I laugh at Sheldon, Leonard, or any of the other cast characters, I'm laughing at myself.  

In summation:  If you call me, just call me Sheldon.

PS,  I just learned, through watching the Daily Show, that Kate Middleton is NOT an American celebrity.  Who'd have guessed it?  Not me.  And don't ask me to name any sports stars currently playing, cause I can't...and that's pretty funny!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Philosophers, Mathematicians, and Necromancers -- also, maybe some Hobbits

I can't let this one slip by. I'm watching Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman. He's introducing a philosopher who has an interesting theory and I just can't let it stand as described. The man's name is Jan Westerhoff.

He contends that when you wake up, you may well be simply waking up into yet another dream. He offers as a mathematical proof, well, indicator of possibility, the following:

This is a significant chance that we are dreaming right now. Most people spend eight hours asleep and 16 hours awake in a 24-hour period. 20% of this sleep time is REM sleep, or rapid eye movement sleep. This means that any given individual is dreaming for about 20% of those eight hours. Therefore, we are in a dream state approximately 1.6 hours out of every day.  He concludes that this means we have a 1 in 10 chance of being asleep and dreaming at any given moment of any given day, including right now.

Ignoring the fundamental problem which somehow seems not to occur to him, that if we are asleep, none of the data he assumes to be factual can be trusted; I couldn't help but consider another set of numbers.

The age of the universe, as far as we know, is 13.7 billion years. Let us assume the human lifespan at 100 years, not an unreasonable assumption for the upcoming generation.  Ignoring the future, which cannot be accurately estimated since it could end with the heat death of the universe or could extend into infinity if there is a multiverse, this means that a human lifespan is only 1/137,000,000 of the age of the universe. Using Dr. Westerhoff's logic, we can therefore  conclude that the possibility that any single person is alive at this moment in time is nonexistent for all practical purposes.

I conclude that we should ignore the rest of what he had to say, since he is clearly dead. It is not wise to listen to the dead. Biblically, this is considered to be a terrible sin.  If you don't believe me, consider the case of the Witch of Endor. I also don't think it's practical from a scientific viewpoint. But it doesn't matter anyway, since according to his logic, all the rest of us are also almost certainly dead.

Thus, I finally conclude that it is unwise for philosophers to delve into areas best left to mathematicians.

If you're not familiar with the Bible, I assume that the term Witch of Endor strikes you as rather Hobbit like.  Nevertheless, it is biblical. Look it up.

Yes, I know. He could also be not born yet. But I'm not a Mormon, so I'm not even gonna go there.

I'm a lot more philosopher than mathematician and a lot more poet than philosopher, therefore you're welcome to check my math.  Please send me any necessary corrections. To any mathematicians out there, I sincerely apologize for trespassing into your territory.  In my own defense, I point out that I didn't start it, that other guy did!

Well, back to Dr. Westerhoff...

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The South Shall Rise Again

Yesterday, as everyone was speculating about what the verdict might be in that Martin-Zimmermann case,  I came to two conclusions. 

But first a summary: in Florida an adult male with a loaded gun stalked an unarmed 17-year-old boy going about his lawful business. The armed man claimed he had a right to defend himself against the unarmed young man he was following . But of course the youth did not have a right to defend himself. Only the stalker has that right.

Conclusion one was an emotional response. How could they possibly let this man free after he went out with his gun looking for trouble, found the trouble, and killed an innocent unarmed human being?

Conclusion two was a more rational analysis. This is Florida. An all White jury is about to hear a case in which a White Hispanic man armed with a gun killed an unarmed Black youth going about his lawful business. Conviction is impossible.

I will apply to this case same rule I apply to all cases in which one group is seeking special protection over another. What if the circumstances were reversed? Ask yourself, honestly now, what if an adult Black man had been angry about White youths coming into his neighborhood? What if he had repeatedly called the police to report suspicious characters and 100% of the cases he reported were in regard to White youths? What if this Black man took his gun and went out one night, saw what he thought was a suspicious White boy, and followed him.  You know the rest. Would you think that the Black man had murdered the White boy? I'm certain no all-White Southern jury would have had any doubts.

For the record, those of you who think I am damning the Hispanic male because the dead youth is Black have got it wrong.  First, I am Hispanic myself.  Second, I feel today exactly the same way I felt when O.J. Simpson was found not guilty. Justice has been perverted a most foul and disgusting way.

Once Republican State legislatures, with the collaboration of United States Supreme Court, brought Jim Crow back could lynching be far behind? The question has been answered. The jury is in.  The answer is no.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Social Conservatives' Role in Politics -- A Factual View

From an interview on CSPAN July 8, 2013. "Social Conservatives' Role in Politics" Russell Moore, Southern Baptist Convention, Ethics and Religion Liberty Commission President

Mr. Moore made a statement which I consider not only remarkable, I consider it almost unbelievable.  He said of the recent Supreme Court decision in regard to the validity of gay marriages,  "Well, I think it says something to social conservatives. I think that, for a long time, social conservatives in America had a kind of Silent Majority view of ourselves and conservative Evangelicals and conservative Roman Catholics had a Moral Majority view of ourselves, as though we somehow represented the mainstream of American culture; that most people really agree with us except for some elites somewhere.  That isn't the case. I think we need to start seeing the fact that we're really very similar to what the Christian church was in the very beginning of it's existence, a minority of people that were speaking to the larger culture in ways that are going to sometimes seem freakish to that larger culture. I don't think that that's anything that should panic us or cause us to become outraged or despondent.  I think it's a realistic view of who we are."

Considering that these groups; the Tea Party, the Religious Right, and the Republican Party in general, have for the last few decades constructed an entire belief system and developed an entire political strategy out of their conviction that the are constantly subject to victimization by a tiny minority while they see themselves as clearly in the great majority; this is a very remarkable statement!

Many of us have never believed the Silent Majority existed as anything more than a very noisy minority. Neither did we believe that the Moral Majority was either very moral or anything but another minority. When Ronald Reagan was still president, I regularly referred to the latter as the Immoral Minority. This reflects my conviction that they failed to live up to their own moral strictures and were nothing more than an even noisier, and a very much self-pitying, minority.  

But they did not, and most of them still deny the essential liberality of the  United States. Even liberal commentators frequently, and inaccurately, state that our country is center right.  The Noisy Minority and the Immoral Minority insist that the nation is radical right. One can only understand the Republican Party's conviction that election after election has been stolen from them in the light of this view. If we accept the assumption that these individuals actually do comprise the vast majority of Americans, and then the fact that this vast majority is always beaten at the ballot box, the only explanation left is that the elections must have been stolen through some form of fraud.  Until now, this was the only possible conclusion which these individuals could reach.

However, if they now begin to face the facts, they will draw very different conclusions.  There may yet be hope for them. They can provide an interesting perspective to the national political dialogue if they realize their actual position.   I have never surrendered hope for America, although there was a time when I feared that we might be forced to defend our nation from its becoming a theocratic state; an Iran lite, if you will. 

I no longer believe that the extremists of the GOP have any chance of accomplishing more than fighting a delaying action to prolong the inevitable defeat of their Lost Cause.  Even if I am correct, unlike these self appointed Chosen Ones, we must be tolerant and protect their rights, even as they desperately try to strip us of ours.  Its the moral thing to do.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Sir? Or is it Madam?

Facebook stuff

Asked by my grandson: Is there anyone out there who doesn't like being called Sir or ma'am? Why?  

Answer:  I'm too much of a grandpa for formality.  Either you're young enough to see gramps or you're in my age bracket. Either way I regard sir as a barrier.

High Tech Mystery

Kotobukiya? That's what dragon speak wrote down when I dictated, "couch potato man". I understand that no system is perfect. I realize that Dragon has created an amazing technology. I don't expect it to be error-free and to always get every word correct. But "couch potato man" became Kotobukiya? 

How did THAT happen?  

Also, is that Japanese? Does somebody speak Japanese? What does that even mean?

So I googled it. It's the name of a plastic model kit manufacturing company.  (Yes, it's a Japanese company.)  But I still don't know what the name means.

Another day and other problems.  I said, "she asked for an explanation" and Dragon typed Jaspering.  I've had it with these weird words. I am not going to Google Jaspering to try to find out what it means. No, seriously! I have willpower.  I can resist.

Nevertheless, I still have to wonder, why are Dragon's errors so often extremely strange words of which I have never even been previously aware?  Does anybody know?

I suppose it could be ambient noise. Or perhaps I have developed a speech impediment? I used to pride myself on the clarity of my speech. I was a varsity debater and speaker in high school. I guess the final answer is, it's just one of life's many mysteries.

Unless Dragon has gone sapient and just doesn't like me...

Sunday, July 7, 2013


"Historians debate whether history is made by individuals or by structural forces."- -- Carl Bogus; historian, author.

This is another one of those all too many issues in which the human brain simply refuses to deal with a question in a  sensible manner. Instead, we insist on creating a strained and rigid polarity which does not exist in reality. It seems impossible to me that anyone could seriously deny that a single "great man" can have a massive influence on history. On the other hand, it is also clear that there are forces existing in any given society which push that society in a particular direction.

Consider the United States of America prior to the Civil War. Since the founding of the nation, it was clear that there would always be a terrible stress between slaveholders and abolitionists.  If the slaveholders could not have their way, who could doubt that they would not willingly submit to the will of the majority? Similarly, abolitionists insisted that slavery was a vile and intolerable evil which must be expunged from the face of the earth.  There was no stable compromise possible for these two belief systems.   Abolitionists were at least flexible, being willing to make the moral surrender of rewarding slaveholders by purchasing the freedom of their "property".  Slaveholders were far more rigid.  They came from a violent society and obviously would violently resist any diminution of their lifestyle. Slaveholding to them was a way of life. Being called "master" was essential to their very sense of manhood.

The extant social forces inevitably brought things to a point of bloody conflict. The Civil War could conceivably have been prevented:  Jackson managed to avoid it several decades earlier and Buchanan was practically eager to to let the South go, while men like McClellan were almost desperate to appease the South and thus "save" the Union.  If Lincoln had not been elected, the South would not have panicked; if he had not done as good a job of running the country as he did, the Condeferates might well have successfully seceded.  Clearly, our actual history was a combination of the great man and the impetus of the sociological forces acting together at that time.

What causes history, great men or social forces? The question makes as much sense as asking what makes a plant thrive, sunlight or water?

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Egypt -- A Thought Experiment

Just a few thoughts on continuing revolution in Egypt. It's been noted and debated that while Morsi was democratically elected, he has acted in a very authoritarian manner. The question then becomes, is it appropriate to remove him by main force or wait and return to the ballot box in three years? I find it very interesting that people who have similar positions regarding democracy and freedom have taken opposite stances on this particular issue.  Some insist that if Egypt is to be be a successful democracy, the world must be patient and wait for the next election to address these issues.  Others, normally in close agreement with this first group, say that Morsi has forced the issue and left the Egyptian people with little choice except to rebel.

The issue is very complex.  On the one hand, it is been stated that the real test of the success of the American Revolution was the first transfer of power from one political party to the next through peaceful elections rather than armed rebellion.  On the other hand, in spite of some very difficult times, the conflicting American political parties were united in their dedication to the concept of democracy.  Morsi's party, the Muslim Brotherhood, has demonstrated that it is not.

I don't intend to get into the jumble of complex issues here, I just want to propose a simple thought experiment.  Assume we are in an alternate universe just after the American Revolution and the first elections under the Constitution. We are Patriots. We have fought long and hard for our freedom and have elected Washington to be our first president. But all our hope and joy begin to evaporate.  Now that he is in power, Washington has declared that he has the right to alter the Constitution if he so wishes. He adds that he is virtually above any limitation imposed by the courts, thus negating the concept of the balance of powers.  

Finally, and perhaps most disturbing, he has declared that, as a loyal member of the Masonic Order, he will take action to ensure that America will now and forever after be a Masonic nation.  Masonic Law will be American Law and the Masonic Order will be the official and privileged religion of the nation.  Other religions may, or may not, be tolerated.

As a Patriot, what do you do? Do you wait for the next elections knowing that during those few years Washington will do all he  can to adjust the Constitution to ensure that his party and his faith will rule forever? Or do you take action now by turning back to the Continental Army to continue the revolution? It's an interesting question, isn't it?

While you are thinking about it, remember that under both the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution, former Patriot soldiers did mount rebellions against their new government. I'm referring, of course, to Shays' Rebellion and the Whiskey Rebellion.


Friday, July 5, 2013

Cory's Song

Last song of the series. It's the last one not because there are no other people who should have songs, but because they are either so young that I have not yet found the one song that most represents them, or because they are so physically distant from me that I am not able to determine the correct one.  This one is especially appropriate because it was the song they got me thinking that I should create this series, and it has already been posted as a sort of prequel.

So, this one is for my oldest grandson, Cory. It's appropriate because its a song about a man doing a hard, tough job in a brutal world, yet who manages to retain his own humanity as well as his sensitivity to the humanity of the poor and desperate who share his existence.  That means that the song's evocation of him is enhanced by its being the theme song news for the series, Copper.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Song for Joshua

This song, unsurprisingly, is for my grandson, Joshua. It's not only his song because of the name coincidence, but also because he, too, is a warrior. I've included two versions because the song has been expressed in so many different ways. But these two particularly speak to me.

A beautiful choral version:


And the Dixieland instrumental version:


Reality Meets Sci Fi


In an effort to produce a healthy child with the potential for a reasonably disease-free life, the article above indicates that scientists in Britain will attempt to create the first child who genetically has three parents. The disease affecting this child's parents, and therefore the child (if action is not taken) is spread through the mitochondria. All children receive the pattern for their entire set of mitochondria from their mother.

By taking the nucleus of a donated egg and replacing it's nucleus with the nucleus of the child's mother to be, this problem will be avoided. However, this will mean the child will genetically have two mothers -- technically.

At least some individuals have already objected to this as an immoral procedure. But I just can't see that. The accusation that the scientists involved are playing God could be, and was, applied to such issues as anesthesia; until Queen Victoria chose to use anesthesia for herself during childbirth, thus putting an end to that issue. Before she did so, ministers were actually preaching against anesthesia from the pulpit! Their position was quite simple. If God didn't want us to suffer horrible pains and agony, he wouldn't have given us the ability to suffer horrible pains and agony. That's logic, that is.

The Jetson's never dreamed of children with three parents, but I'll take this over flying cars. Opponents object on the basis of morals. I say morality compels medical action to prevent disease and provide a healthy life. To all the children, not yet conceived, who will be freed from disease and suffering, and to the doctors and scientists who will set them free; I say, this is why God gave us brains, to use them to better human life.

God bless you, one and all! You're doing His work.

The Supremes

The Roberts Court to corporations: Not only are you human beings, you are American citizens of the most superior class. Your rights are greater than those of mere members of the species, Homo Sapiens.

The Roberts Court to gays: You are tentatively accepted as having the potential to become full American citizens. You may now attempt to convince the states to grant you this privilege.

The Roberts Court to Blacks and other minorities: Please return the back of the bus.