August 2008 Archives

Compass Cows

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But why do they point north? Is it so the sun can warm their udders? Or so the bull mounting won't get his willy chilly?

Cows automatically point to the north

cows.jpgCows automatically point to the north because they have their own in-built compasses aligning them with the Earth's magnetic field, scientists have discovered.

Researchers discovered that cattle have a good sense of direction and tend to point in a northerly direction.

It has long been observed that cows appear to have a talent for weather forecasting and are able to predict when rain is on the way, but until now their navigational abilities have been largely ignored.

Their innate ability to find north is believed to be a relic from the days when their wild ancestors needed an accurate sense of direction to migrate across the plains of Africa, Asia and Europe.

Gustav and Hanna

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Gustave upgraded to Catagory 4 - Hanna to Tropical Storm

Here in central Florida we're already in the thunderstorms of the outer bands.

huricane2and3a.jpg

Imagine if they merged over Florida...

gustav.sat2.jpg

Purdy...ain't it?

What did Obama's nomination mean?

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My favorite picture of the convention says it all:

obama_wins_nomination.jpg

Obama Acceptance Speech

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"Enough!"


part 1


part 2

Priceless

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Nobody wants to see New Orleans have to deal with another large scale storm, especially since its not even rebuilt from Katrina...but, if such a tragedy should befall the city...

On Tap for the Republican Convention: Karmic Payback?

And now, a brief word about the Republican National Convention:

There is apparently a real chance that Hurricane Gustav could hit New Orleans next Monday -- which happens to be the day that President Bush, Laura Bush, and Vice President Cheney are scheduled to speak.

Politico, the political Web site, is warning that the storm could disrupt Mr. Bush's presentation -- and bring back memories of Hurricane Katrina's lethal impact on New Orleans. Talk about going off message.

President Bush has never been accountable for his unconscionable missteps during Hurricane Katrina.

There has never been an adequate investigation of what went wrong. Too little has been done to assure that a similar tragedy will not happen again. New Orleans has not been rebuilt. And the government has not done enough to help the survivors.

We hope Gustav fades harmlessly away. And if it does hit land, we hope the people in its path are properly taken care of.

We must say, though, that we like the idea that as the Bush administration comes to an end, nature is forcing the President and the Republican National Committee to think back to the horrifically bungled response to Katrina -- one of the worst part-natural, part-man-made disasters in American History.

Line of the Night

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At the Democrat convention, Bill Clinton:

"People around the world have always been more impressed by the power of our example than by the example of our power."


from a conversation I started elsewhere.

Who decides what is productive or not? Is the stoned out artist sitting at the table pen in hand day-dreaming less productive if they get up and walk away not having put pen to paper?

Does productive always mean tangible product?

And further, what if there is no market for the product (if there is one); is the artist wasting his time or life?

Is it to our best advantage to let market forces be the sole measure of productivity and determine what activities will or will not be seen or supported by society?

You read those books where luxury
Comes as a guest to take a slave
Books where artists in noble poverty
Go like virgins to the grave
Don't you get sensitive on me
'Cause I know you're just too proud
You couldn't step outside the Boho dance now
Even if good fortune allowed

- joni mitchell (The Boho Dance)


Poverty and such is a small sacrifice to pay to be remembered forever

True, if that sort of desire for immortality is what motivates someone. On the other hand, I have known cultural contributors whose contributions were completely ephemeral and who had or have no wide spread audience to reproduce fame or reward beyond their immediate contacts. And I think we should draw a distinction between living in enforced poverty and consciously living sparingly, under a Spartan or minimalist aesthetic.

Given the wealth of western cultures, it is completely affordable to provide every person with a minimal citizens income that would allow for a much wider set of individual pursuits than are presently allowed because of the constraints of having everyone's personal sense of productivity being tied to a bottom line mentality and that bottom line in turn being defined by a consensus about what is or is not utile at the moment.

And I think most of the resistance to this sort thing has nothing to do with the expense per se to provide such a citizen's income, but rather is based on an erroneous, yet common place Calvanistic, Christian work ethic which has little patience with work that is less than apparently muscular or concretely evident. Anything else is regarded as suspiciouly slothful and therefore antithetical to the idea of being productive.

You have reached the end of the internet

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ISP's confirm '2012: The Year The Internet Ends'

Dylan Pattyn , who is currently writing an article for Time Magazine on the issue, has official confirmation from sources within Bell Canada and is interviewing a marketing representative from TELUS who confirms the story and states that TELUS has already started blocking all websites that aren't in the subscription package for mobile Internet access. They could not confirm whether it would happen in 2012 because both stated it may actually happen sooner (as early as 2010). Interviews with these sources, more confirmation from other sources and more in-depth information on the issue is set to be published in Time Magazine soon.


What can we do?


The reason why we're releasing this information is because we believe we can stop it. More awareness means more mainstream media shedding light on it, more political interest and more pressure on the ISP's to keep the Internet an open free space. We started this social network as a platform for Internet activism where we can join forces, share ideas and organize any form of protest that may have an impact. If we want to make a difference in this, we have to join together and stand united as one powerful voice against it.


Join the movement.

Sermonette #44

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God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!

Reply:

Relax, homosexuals are as natural as the weather.
If you sneak up on one asleep and carefully spread the hair on their heads you will see a "Made by God" stamp on their scalp. No really, its true...try it sometime.

Indulge me this small sermonette:


Q: Who made you?
A: God made me.

Q: What else did God make?
A: God made me and all things -- except Steve.

Q: Why did God make all things except Steve?
A: God made all things except Steve for His own glory.

"Steve" has emerged as a central figure in American theology. He even played a significant role in the recent national elections. Yet despite his enormous influence, we know little about Steve aside from a single reference to him in our holy texts. This reference is, like the catechism, extra-canonical but considered authoritative:

"God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve."

This oft-quoted text presents a mystery. If God did not make Steve, then where did this uncreature come from? How did Steve come to be?

God did not make Steve, therefore we must also assume that Steve was never born. If Steve had been born, after all, then he would be "begotten, not made." Surely we are not meant to conclude that Steve is a little-known fourth member of the Trinity.

Thus again we come to mystery. Steve was neither made nor begotten; yet Steve is.

What can we do in the face of such mystery? It is beyond our ken. We cannot hope to understand, we can only drop to our knees to sing a bewildered hymn of praise to the Creator of all things except Steve.

Its all geek to me

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freemanic_paracusia.png


hat tip to Vinay

Shades of Tesla

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One of Tesla's major concepts was the idea of wireless transmission of power. Now the theoretical proposition has nearly come to fruition:

Wireless recharging one step closer to reality

Imagine juicing up your laptop computer or cell phone without plugging it into an electrical socket.

wardenclyffe_.jpgThat's a luxury that could be provided by wireless power transmission, a concept that has been bandied about for decades but is creeping closer to becoming viable.

Building off work unveiled last year by Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers, Intel Corp. demonstrated Thursday how to make a 60-watt light bulb glow from an energy source 3 feet away.

The Intel team did it with relatively high efficiency, losing only a quarter of the energy the researchers started with.

"That, to me, is the most striking part about it: transmitting 60 watts at 75 percent efficiency over several feet," said Intel's chief technology officer, Justin Rattner.

"The power pack for your laptop isn't that efficient. ... It's one of those things that's almost too good to be true."

Wireless transmission of electricity makes use of some basic physics. Electric coils that resonate at the same frequency can transmit energy to each other at a distance.

Obama Chooses Biden

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ok... next.

vp_biden.jpg

I like Biden.

That is all.

Bunch of inept goofs

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Here's the root cause of the mess that is the Homeland Security fiasco. We have a bunch of hammer headed people trying to manage a computer system that is a complete mess.
7 years !!! -- and they can't figure out that a 5 year old kid with a common name is not a terrorist and shouldn't be on a no-fly list. Pull the frigging plug on this crap and fire everyone.

Anti-terror agency defends computer system

he National Counterterrorism Center is disputing charges that the computer system that compiles information on terrorists and suspected terrorists from government agencies is ineffective and hindering its ability to track terrorists.

"There has been no degradation in the capability to access, manage and share terrorist information," the center said in a statement on Friday.

Rep. Brad Miller, D-North Carolina, is asking for an investigation into the center's computer systems. Miller says that half a billion dollars has been spent on a computer upgrade that is riddled with flaws.

"It's been seven years since 9/11, and we appear to be no better prepared, no better able to connect the dots than we were seven years ago," Miller said.

The computer system is used to create government watch lists and provides information to federal, state and local officials.

According to a congressional staff report prepared by Miller's House Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight, the system put in place after the September 11 attacks has limitations that make it difficult to search or locate key data.

For instance, the report says, information about "pocket litter" -- the scraps of paper in a suspect's pocket that can yield important clues like phone numbers, credit cards and addresses -- is contained in 23 tables rather than just one.

The report says the system upgrade, called Railhead, does not have the ability to search e-mails and discussion threads, images or attachments.

In tests, it couldn't match different spellings of suspected terrorists' names, a common problem associated with translating Arabic names into English. And it will not connect to intelligence community Web sites like the CIA, the FBI and the National Security Agency.

"It's like having a dictionary without it being in alphabetical order," Miller said. "The information may be there; you just can't find it."

In its statement, the center said regular reviews have identified program shortcomings that have been quickly addressed. It noted that the House and Senate intelligence committees have been briefed multiple times and that the program has received congressional support.

"Representative Miller's Subcommittee has had no interaction with the NCTC or the Intelligence Community on the Railhead Program," the statement said.

This is effing bullshit

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The Homeland Security bureaucracy needs to be eliminated. If this is the way that it is being run, it is a complete disaster and has no place in the American social landscape.

Are these people who are officiating this monstrous sham on innocent people even worthy of contempt? I think not and they should all be fired. This is simply retarded.

Name on government watch list threatens pilot's career

(CNN) -- For Erich Scherfen, being on a government terror watch list isn't just a matter of inconvenience. It could end his career.

Scherfen served in the U.S. military for 13 years, as an Army infantryman in the first Gulf War and then as a helicopter pilot in the National Guard. After receiving an honorable discharge, he was hired as a pilot by Colgan Air Inc., a regional airline operating in the Northeast and Texas.

In April, Colgan informed Scherfen that he was on a government list and would be suspended from his job. He was told he faced termination on September 1 unless he was able to clear his name.

But Scherfen, of Schuylkill Haven, Pennsylvania, has been unable to do so and said fears it could mean he has no future as a pilot.

"My entire career depends on me getting off this list," he told CNN. "I probably won't be able to get a job anywhere else in the world having this mark that I'm on this list."

Witold Walczak, an American Civil Liberties Union attorney representing Scherfen and his wife in a lawsuit, calls the government actions "unfair" and "unjust."

"It is quite clear when the government does something that takes away not just your job, but your occupation, your career, they have to provide you with some means to clear your name," Walczak said.

World in a Nutshell

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This is remarkable:

If you would shrink the world's population (ca. 6.3 billion), to the size of a village with 100 people then:


  • 57 would be Asian, 21 would be European, 14 would be American and 8 would be African
  • 52 would be female, 48 would be male
  • 30 would be white and 70 would be people of colour
  • 30 would be christian 70 wouldn't be
  • 89 would be heterosexual 11 would be homosexual
  • 59% of the world's wealth would be owned by 6 people who would all come from the USA
  • 80 people would have sub-standard-housing
  • 50 would suffer from starvation
  • Just one person would own a computer
  • Just one person would have had an academic education

Shine

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Shine

Oh let your little light shine
Let your little light shine
Shine on Wall Street and Vegas
Place your bets
Shine on the fishermen
With nothing in their nets
Shine on rising oceans and evaporating seas
Shine on our Frankenstein technologies
Shine on science
With its tunnel vision
Shine on fertile farmland
Buried under subdivisions

Let your little light shine
Let your little light shine
Shine on the dazzling darkness
That restores us in deep sleep
Shine on what we throw away
And what we keep

Shine on Reverend Pearson
Who threw away
The vain old God
kept Dickens and Rembrandt and Beethoven
And fresh plowed sod
Shine on good earth, good air, good water
And a safe place
For kids to play
Shine on bombs exploding
Half a mile away

Let your little light shine
Let your little light shine
Shine on world-wide traffic jams
Honking day and night
Shine on another asshole
Passing on the right!
Shine on the red light runners
Busy talking on their cell phones
Shine on the Catholic Church
And the prisons that it owns
Shine on all the Churches
They all love less and less
Shine on a hopeful girl
In a dreamy dress

Let your little light shine
Let your little light shine
Shine on good humor
Shine on good will
Shine on lousy leadership
Licensed to kill
Shine on dying soldiers
In patriotic pain
Shine on mass destruction
In some God's name!
Shine on the pioneers
Those seekers of mental health
Craving simplicity
They traveled inward
Past themselves...
May all their little lights shine

- joni mitchell

We come and go

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The Wheel


Limits of Power

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A Bill Moyers interview with the author is well worth your time.


limitsofpower.jpg"America's in a pickle. Our friends, the Russians, with whom we were about to conduct joint military exercises, decided instead to attack some of our other friends, the Georgians, who not only aspire to democracy but control access to lots of oil and pipelines in which American energy companies have huge investments. But when President Bush demands Russia go home and leave Georgia alone, his pal Vladimir Putin - the modern Russian czar - gets that sardonic smile on his face.

He knows that American troops are spread so thin in Iraq and Afghanistan that Uncle Sam more resembles Gulliver, tied down by too many commitments, too much hubris, and too many mistakes, than he does to Superman. It's a pickle and a predicament, and it's serious."

Fay

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Here she come. I live at the purple dot.

fay.jpg

probably going to lose power since the latest updates are indicating the path has changed to right over where I live.

I'll be back apres le deluge.

The 100% Solution for the Desert Dogmas

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It can't get clearer than this:

Be sure to watch them all.

From Russia Today with Love

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Here's a plausible explanation for the recent turmoil with Russia as explained by a former Reagan Assistance Secretary of the US Treasury Paul Craig Roberts on Russia Today

Washington sanctioned assault on South Ossetia


THIS is how you manage it

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Gay OK by Fla Republican Judge

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Here's a bit of unexpected good news.

Courts Support Rights of Gay Students

By Deb Price

A high-school senior in Florida turned to a teacher's aide for help last September after younger students taunted her for being gay, saying "dykes" are "nasty," "gross" and "sick."

In doing the right thing, "Jane Doe" set off a shocking but ultimately inspiring chain of events in Panama City.

The resulting federal court ruling and a similar one also won by the American Civil Liberties Union are timely reminders that gay and gay-friendly kids have the right to express themselves and form clubs.

In Jane's case, the principal of Ponce de Leon High School called her in, told her it wasn't "right" to be gay and asked whether her parents knew her sexual orientation. Jane said no. The principal informed them, leading her father to threaten to kick her out.

Jane's school friends stuck up for her by doing such things as writing "Gay Pride" on themselves and wearing gay-friendly T-shirts.

Principal David Davis continued to behave outrageously -- hauling in 30 students, grilling them about their orientation, prohibiting them from displaying gay-friendly messages, and even "lift(ing) the shirts of female students to verify that no such writings were present on their bodies," according to court documents.

The principal suspended 11 students for belonging to an "illegal organization," apparently a reference to supporting Jane.

Looks Real to me

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This would be great if its real.

Georgians say they have proof of Bigfoot

A policeman and a former corrections officer say that on Friday, they will unveil evidence of what they claim is their biggest capture ever: the body of Bigfoot.

bigfoot.jpgMatthew Whitton and Rick Dyer, a pair of Bigfoot-hunting hobbyists from north Georgia, say they found the creature's body in a wooded area and spotted several similar creatures that were still alive.

The carcass of the furry half-man, half-ape is 7 feet, 7 inches tall and weighs more than 500 pounds, they say. However, the two are not disclosing the exact location of their discovery in order to protect the remaining creatures.

Tom Nelson, chairman of the biology department at North Georgia College and State University in Dahlonega, said he's "pretty skeptical" the world will feast its eyes on a new species Friday.

"That would certainly rock mammalogy," joked Nelson, who specializes in the study of mammals. "I see a research grant in my future."

Words That Unite Us All

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Random missive 001

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See, the thing is "tidy bowl" learning loses much
>of the "street smarts" of emergent creative (
>active) thinking which to my mind is our greatest
>asset and that which the structure of these forums
>as people clumsily meander here and there through
>threads provides in both a highly articulate and
>yet casual atmosphere of camaradarie about the
>overall purpose of elevating ourselves, not just
>intellectually, but socially as well, using
>emotional intelligence and humor to the same
>degree as intellection.
>
>I'll bet you anything that the guy who started
>that Debate discussion has a totally pristine
>apartment or house and has a habit of constant
>searching for crumbs on the counter

Bad Writing Winners

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SAN JOSE, California (AP) -- A grotesque comparison of a steamy love affair to a New York City street has won a Washington man this year's grand prize in an annual contest of bad writing.


Garrison Spik, a 41-year-old communications director and writer, took top honors in San Jose State University's 26th annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest with this opening sentence to a nonexistent novel:

"Theirs was a New York love, a checkered taxi ride burning rubber, and like the city their passion was open 24/7, steam rising from their bodies like slick streets exhaling warm, moist, white breath through manhole covers stamped 'Forged by DeLaney Bros., Piscataway, N.J."'

The contest is named after Victorian novelist Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton, whose 1830 novel "Paul Clifford" famously begins "It was a dark and stormy night."

Entrants are asked to submit bad opening sentences to imaginary novels. Awards are given for many categories, including awards for "purple prose" and "vile puns." The top winner receives a $250 prize.

Other noteworthy submissions:

"'Toads of glory, slugs of joy,' sang Groin the dwarf as he trotted jovially down the path before a great dragon ate him because the author knew that this story was a train wreck after he typed the first few words."

-- Alex Hall, Greeley, Colorado

"Like a mechanic who forgets to wipe his hands on a shop rag and then goes home, hugs his wife, and gets a grease stain on her favorite sweater -- love touches you, and marks you forever."

Some more things I said today

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Various comments and statements:

I don't despise people on the basis of their beliefs, I despise how they use those beliefs as rationales or justifications for ugly behaviors, like war and genocide and honor killings.

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In western culture at least, a sissy that da boyz go on about when they're trying to justify their reputations with each, is the wimpy mama boi who prefers refinement over brutishness, who doesn't enjoy rough housing, breaking the rules, and any other bad-mannered activity males use to demonstrate their desire for alpha dog status.

Of course, as as soon as we consider the warrior/poet ideal of the Samurai, where male aggression is channeled and ensconced into a model of highly refined and controlled lethality, even endorsing male to male love as a noble pursuit, then we see a whole different order of manners and civilized behavior appear and the idea of sissy relegated more to the idea of cowardice.

So I would say, no, manners are not just for sissies, but are for those who desire to literally (and not so literally) "lose their heads" or over a poor deference to protocol. Too, manners are the lubricant that in even western culture allows great numbers of people all trying to occupy the same elevator to interact without constantly irritating one another. Manners are a declaration of being considerate...that one is conscious and aware of the needs and circumstances of others with whom they are interacting. Key words: socially responsibile

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Its interestingly ironic that we can change the letter arrangement of words to produce sword.

Words in themselves, sitting static, are not harmful, but the intent they convey can be. It is when words are mobilized, aimed at another (even if that "other" is the abstract "I" we use to talk to ourselves internally) that intent arises. The point of mobilizing words and generating intent is to establish a communication through which the intent can be conveyed.

Communication requires a kind of initmate contract between the sender and the receiver. The more intense the intimacy of the contract, the more the intent will convey meaning. That is why is it easier to hurt a lover who has a deep history of previous meanings stored up behind the words used to convey the intent, than by a stranger's words whose intimacy contract is more superficial and whose meaning of intentions is less certain.

However, people who sensitize themselves to intimacy contracts by practicing and internalizing word use as say poets do, making an art of it, so that they personally identify with nuances that each word can possibly convey, are at risk of being harmed to a greater degree by lovers or strangers.

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Another aspect of possible harm caused by words is the switching of contractual allegiances to pre-defined meanings at either end of the communications link. An example would be when a "pet" term of endearment used between intimates is suddenly made negative by the manner in which it is said or received; "My little puff ball" turning from an intent to convey comforting "softness" to conveying "superficial air head" or "insignificant fatso". The responsibility or the shift in meaning can occur at either end of the link and precipitate a chain reaction of mis-communication that results in permanent damage to the contract.

Once that shift occurs, the intimacy contract is forever altered and the original intent becomes unrecoverable because of the new definitions applied to the formally established meanings . The rule that is borne out this sort of thing is that words cannot be taken back. They can be apologized for and apologies can be accepted, but there will always be a tacit recognition that the original term of endearment should not ever again be used, even if the slight is unintended. The "trust" has been broken, the words become meaningless and the only thing conveyed in either direction on the communication link is negative emotion.

This demonstrates the importance of being conscious to the highest degree we can about our use of words. I have often been guilty of causing unintended harm with my word use, especially when using humor. I tend to assume for a greater contractual intimacy with strangers than is probably warranted sometimes because of my natural tendency to be open in engaging others rather than paranoid and defensive. My first posture is one of positive trust and that can lead to misconceptions of my intent quite rapidly. This has already occurred in some degree with comments I've made on the iPower posts. Humor can easily be misconstrued as sarcasm, sarcasm in turn misconstrued as bitterness. Bitterness can be internally personalized by the listener or reader as invective when the original intent was not meant personally at all. So it goes.

Yet it is just such problems with communication that require us to create standards of civility with our word choices in a public arena that may constrain our verbal execution, causing us discomfort at having to self-censor and bite our lips. Overall then, is it essential to our own personal growth that we recognize the power of words to cause harm and forsake our desire to be verbally unfettered for the sake of the community?

Overreactions or what?

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The reaction of groups concerned with the cognitively disabled over the film "Tropic Thunder", which parodies every and any social group from fatsos to religions to races, not unlike the humorous politically incorrect assaults by "South Park", has been to my mind , well, retarded.

Forest Gump was a retard and he did good. So its not like retarded people or, if you insist, the "cognitively disabled" (god, what an awful and condescending phrase!) are not recognized as having intrinsic worth. Just the fact that they are targeted to get the satire treatment is proof they are members of our society and capable of "taking it". I doubt that its the cognitively disabled themselves who are doing the protesting but rather their self-assumed protectors.

Anyway, here a couple of the arguments:

Commentary: Why 'Tropic Thunder' shouldn't be seen


Commentary: Critics of 'Tropic Thunder' are missing the point

2008 drummers acting as one

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A Starfleet of Individuals meets the Borg Collective and the individuals are finally impressed. Individual David Brooks has a great article about it below.

I don't know if you saw the opening ceremonies in Beijing, but man I've got tell you, it was astounding. They managed to out-Hollywood Hollywood. The Hive is alive and well and coming to a future near you...or at least that's the buzz.


Harmony and the Dream

by David Brooks

The world can be divided in many ways -- rich and poor, democratic and authoritarian -- but one of the most striking is the divide between the societies with an individualist mentality and the ones with a collectivist mentality.

This is a divide that goes deeper than economics into the way people perceive the world. If you show an American an image of a fish tank, the American will usually describe the biggest fish in the tank and what it is doing. If you ask a Chinese person to describe a fish tank, the Chinese will usually describe the context in which the fish swim.

These sorts of experiments have been done over and over again, and the results reveal the same underlying pattern. Americans usually see individuals; Chinese and other Asians see contexts.

When the psychologist Richard Nisbett showed Americans individual pictures of a chicken, a cow and hay and asked the subjects to pick out the two that go together, the Americans would usually pick out the chicken and the cow. They're both animals. Most Asian people, on the other hand, would pick out the cow and the hay, since cows depend on hay. Americans are more likely to see categories. Asians are more likely to see relationships.

and words are all i have

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Michael threw a bunch of questions at me which I found interesting and so I'll pass them along here and see what happens.

1) What are your thoughts on the relationship between the development of language and the everyday social interactions?

As I mentioned in the last post I believe that language shapes our mental and physical environments in very concrete ways. So that as we become more dexterous with our language instrument we are able to more accurately represent ourselves in a way that is in a higher correspondence to reality (internal and external). If we consider that higher correspondence to limn "truth: then as we evidence that truth in our communications and behavior we become more accessible and useful in our social interactions.

2) Does increased literacy lead to different behavior?

It must. An increase in facility in any activity will alter our behavior; no differently than learning to ride a bike or shoot pool or adjust your ability to caress so that it increases pleasure for your partner. Literacy is a skill set like any other and its acquisition will change the potential of behaviors we can choose to example. It broadens the horizons by giving us more choice, I guess you could say.

3) Is it correct to change your behavior based on what you attain from literature, in the sense that you give people higher expectations and are uninterested in the more simple give and take interactions.

That depends I suppose on whether you are an intentional social climber or not. Just because a person is well-read or at least has a fairly good aptitude with language, doesn't mean they have to cut themselves off from interest and pleasure of the vernacular context they occupy day to day. There's as much poetry and wisdom in the words of the simplest (uncomplicated) of folk as is in any erudite rhetorician.

4)a Is this behavior "stuck-up"/elitist? 4b)Or should we suspend the realm of literature and the hypothetical when we interact?

a) Well, if someone engages in fancy words use as a social weapon to intimidate those with whom they interact, rather than as a elevating clarification and precision tool to avoid being misunderstood, then yeah, they're a a prig and a stuck-up elitist undeserving of anyone's (except perhaps other prigs) attention.
b) No. Its the translation thing again - accessibility. A concert pianist can easily adapt to playing polkas at a wedding and really enjoying it. And then, once the wedding participants are comfortable and happy with his or her presence and interactions and recognize communication with the player, shifting over to a intricate and sophisticated classical piece they might otherwise be intimated by will be easily accepted and heard. Its all context and intent, I think.

What say ye, y'all?

Its just words

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What I woke up to while sojourning in Quebec during my salad days and I had acquired enough French to think in it without translating, was that uttering "rouge" is not the same as uttering "red", "chez moi" is not the same as "at my place" and "ennui" is not the same as "world weary". Language modifies our experiences and collectively shapes the culture and world views we live in. Like music, language is a construct that evokes moods and colors our emotional responses. A uni-lingual person has no sense of this because to them their language is like water to a fish. That is part of the reason that Americans with their continental uni-lingual mindset are so blind to other world views and the nuances of cultural precepts outside of their own. It is also why so many translations of books from their original language to another end up lacking a certain je ne sais quoi, if you know what I mean.

Words even without translation from one language to another are still subject to that loss of meaning effect because each person carries their own subjective contexts and colors which are imposed on the fly as they hear or speak.

Once a person acquires a second language or indeed even moves through various social vernaculars (pent house linguistics to black street talk, eg), they acquire a sort of meta-language which allows for a more comprehensive appreciation of the meaning in any given conversation. They know what to listen for...they become active rather than passive listens or readers.

2cents for the moment

Shouldn't even be legal

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I don't understand why political campaign ads are not subject to the same rules "false advertising' that any other "product ad" is. Picking the president of the US should not be a game or taken lightly. I despise the way McCain's campaign has slimed the election.

An Antichrist Obama in McCain Ad?

It's not easy to make the infamous Willie Horton ad from the 1988 presidential campaign seem benign. But suggesting that Barack Obama is the Antichrist might just do it.
the_one_ad.jpg

That's just what some outraged Christian supporters of the Democratic nominee are claiming John McCain's campaign did in an ad called "The One" that was recently released online. The Republican nominee's advisers brush off the charges, arguing that the spot was meant to be a "creative" and "humorous" way of poking fun at Obama's popularity by painting him as a self-appointed messiah. But even this innocuous interpretation of the ad -- which includes images of Charlton Heston as Moses and culled clips that make Obama sound truly egomaniacal -- taps into a conversation that has been gaining urgency on Christian radio and political blogs and in widely circulated e-mail messages that accuse Obama of being the Antichrist.

Overturn the Oliphant

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Oliphant vs Suquamish is a case that took away Native American tribe rights to prosecute non-Native offenders who commit crimes on Native Indian lands. Its really nothing more than a Jim Crow law for Natives and it should be overturned.

Broken Justice in Indian Country

in three American Indian women will be raped in their lifetimes, statistics gathered by the United States Department of Justice show. But the odds of the crimes against them ever being prosecuted are low, largely because of the complex jurisdictional rules that operate on Indian lands. Approximately 275 Indian tribes have their own court systems, but federal law forbids them to prosecute non-Indians. Cases involving non-Indian offenders must be referred to federal or state prosecutors, who often lack the time and resources to pursue them.

The situation is unfair to Indian victims of all crimes -- burglary, arson, assault, etc. But the problem is greatest in the realm of sexual violence because rapes and other sexual assaults on American Indian women are overwhelmingly interracial. More than 80 percent of Indian victims identify their attacker as non-Indian. (Sexual violence against white and African-American women, in contrast, is primarily intraracial.) And American Indian women who live on tribal lands are more than twice as likely to be raped or sexually assaulted as other women in the United States, Justice Department statistics show.

Its lonely at the top

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I don't go to church on Sunday, I make up my own sermons.

I've often posited when asked "Why would God bother creating the universe?" that one hint could lay in that the word "alone" is a contraction of "all one". So that God's motive or creative movement was prompted by a desire to create an "other", so as not to be alone. This was accomplished by God separating a piece itself and "pretending" it was not self. The effect of this was to create individual selves that do not know they are God as long as possible. The effect wears off eventually as the individual being's separateness weakens with experience that shows them everything is related and connected in the same continuum and they slowly evolve back into the God that made them separate. Humans would call this "finding God", whereas God probably calls it "a need to go back to the drawing board" and find a better way to hide itself from its creations so as to make the effect permanent and creation of an "other" absolute.
Then God, God willing, will have an "other" to relate to and be capable of finding some meaning.

Its lonely at the top.

Your Sunday Best

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A Friend Needs a Miracle...

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Here is his request:

Posted by P.B. on August 7, 2008 at 3:52am

Forgive the desperate blog post but I have no where else to turn. Literally. My mind is more or less shattered as some of you know already, I mean in the clinically crazy sense. I had one very tiny chance for happiness and today I've been watching that chance whither. I know that I am out of time and praying has not helped at all. So now I've decided it's time for me to start actively looking for a miracle with the time I have left.

If you believe you can help me then please leave me a comment. If you know someone who you think actually does magic or performs real miracles then please comment. I do not claim to deserve a miracle but I don't think anyone could ever deserve a miracle. This is just my very last hope. Thanks for reading.

Please pass this on, especially if you know anyone with the power to generate miracles.

Air Car

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Kewl...I like it but it should be electric.

106 MPG


aircar.jpgYou've heard of hybrids, electric cars and vehicles that can run on vegetable oil. But of all the contenders in the quest to produce the ultimate fuel-efficient car, this could be the first one to let you say, "fill it up with air."

That's the idea behind the compressed air car, which backers say could achieve a fuel economy of 106 miles per gallon.

Plenty of skepticism exists, but with many Americans trying to escape sticker shock at the gas pump, the concept is generating buzz.

The technology has been the focus of MDI, a European company founded in 1991 by a French inventor and former race car engineer.

New York-based Zero Pollution Motors is the first firm to obtain a license from MDI to produce the cars in the United States, pledging to deliver the first models in 2010 at a price tag of less than $18,000.

The concept is similar to how a locomotive works, except compressed air -- not steam -- moves the engine's pistons, said Shiva Vencat, vice president of MDI and CEO of Zero Pollution Motors.

The six-seater planned for the U.S. market would be able to reach speeds of more than 90 mph and have a range of more than 800 miles thanks to a dual energy engine, Vencat said.

My New Novel

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from Susannity Press

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White Zipper Down

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The least he could've done was have gone over to the Republican party first...perv.

Actually its a brilliant selfless act to to take the media heat off Obama and himself off the VP list so that his supporters will have less of a tendency not to vote for Obama. How sweet. I'm sure it doesn't add any pressure to his wife's medical situation.

This is really a major crash and burn event and revelation.

Edwards admits to extramarital affair

edwardssinks.jpgFormer U.S. senator and Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards admitted to an extramarital affair in an interview with ABC News, the network reported Friday. He denied being the father of the woman's child, as had been alleged in tabloid reports.
Sen. John Edwards told ABC News that he had an affair with Rielle Hunter, seen above.

Speaking to the network for a story to be aired Friday night, Edwards acknowledged the affair with 42-year-old Rielle Hunter, which began after she was hired to make documentary videos for his campaign, ABC said.

He said that he has not taken a paternity test but that the timing of the affair rules out the possibility that he could be her baby girl's father.

A former campaign aide has publicly said he fathered the child.

Stopping the virus

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This is a pretty big breakthrough on working with the HIV virus. Apparently by stymieing three genes in cells infected with HIV, researchers stop the virus from spreading to other cells in mice.


Researchers Silence HIV in Mice

hiv.jpgScientists report that they have quashed the spread of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in so-called "humanized mice" infected with the virus. They did so using a technique called RNA interference, or RNAi, to clamp down on three genes found in infected cells, blocking the wily virus from moving to other cells.

RNAi works by flooding a cell with short segments of RNA--the intermediate blueprint for building proteins from a gene's DNA.

These segments disrupt the production of specific proteins, rendering a gene "silenced". In this case, that meant that three of HIV's dangerous proteins were not being made.

A Harvard Medical School team reports in the journal Cell that the RNAi method not only reduced the amount of virus in an infected mouse but also successfully prevented infection in healthy animals.

"This is a very potent antiviral mechanism," says study co-author Premlata Shankar, formerly a Harvard assistant professor now working as an immunologist at Texas Tech University's Health Sciences Center in El Paso. "If it can be harnessed for therapy, I am sure it could become a very good treatment for HIV."

Normally, mice cannot be infected with HIV, which only infects humans. The mice Shankar used, however, were engineered to be more like humans and could be infected with the virus. That means that the results have a better shot at translating to humans.

The researchers used RNAi to block three genes: two found in the virus itself and one found in mouse T cells--the primary immune system cells infected by the virus. The T cell gene codes for a protein that HIV uses to get into and infect a cell. The team hitched the RNA segments to an antibody--a protein that specifically seeks out and attaches to T cells--to deliver their cargo.

In mice already infected with HIV, the amount of virus in the blood dropped significantly two and a half weeks after treatment. "We saw that the viral load was low in these animals [after treatment]," says Shankar. "It means maybe you're blocking transmission into other cells."

In animals that researchers treated with RNAi, the virus never seemed to take hold.

iPatriot Act?

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It makes perfect sense that the powers that be would have a contingency plan for ursurping authority over the internet as part of homeland security to deal with some real or fabricated internet assault. The internet is after all one of their biggest threats.


transcript:


here's going to be an i-9/11 event. Which doesn't mean an Al Qaeda event. What it means is an event where the instability or the insecurity of the internet becomes manifest -- some major malicious event which then inspires the government into a response. If you remember, after 9/11 the government dropped the Patriot Act within about 20 days and it was passed. I mean, the Patriot Act is huge. I remember someone asking a Justice Department official, how did they write such a large statute so quickly, and of course the answer was that it's been sitting in the drawers of the Justice Department for the last 20 years waiting for the event that would allow them to drop it.

Of course, the Patriot Act is filled with all sorts of insanity about changing the way civil rights are not protected anymore in the United States. So I was having dinner once and Richard Clarke was sitting at the table and I said to him, "Is an equivalent, is there a Patriot Act -- an i-Patriot Act -- just sitting waiting for some substantial event for them to come and have an excuse to radically change the way the internet works?"

And he said, "Of course there is." And I swear this is what he said, and quote, "Vint Cerf is not going to like it very much."

So this is the big terror. They're just sitting there waiting for the inevitable to happen, and then 'Slam!'

You bastards

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How can you live with your self?


stolen from Lore

Self-Defense?

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I think so.

Teen Accused of Stabbing Father

A Volusia County teenager is accused of stabbing his father with a miniature sword because he was upset his father wanted to give him a haircut.

According to a sheriff's office report, the 15-year-old Deltona boy told deputies he gave his father more than one warning to stay away Monday afternoon. The teen was charged with aggravated battery causing bodily harm. He was taken to a juvenile detention center.

Meanwhile, the father was taken to a hospital, where he was treated for the wound on his hand.


Because there's a war on for your mind

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Seriously, what do you really know about the Net Neutrality issue?

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The art of creating creatures

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Truly amazing art generating a form of life


The Beach Walkers

Dutch artist Theo Jansen demonstrates the amazingly lifelike kinetic sculptures he     builds from plastic tubes and lemonade bottles. His creatures are designed to move -- and even survive -- on their own.



Paris Hilton Finally Does Good

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Here's her reply to McCain's "Obama's just a celebrity" ad

Jehova: "So sue me already!"

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I hope this is a class action suit, cos I want a big chunk of the reward if we win.

Lawsuit Against God Carries Real Lesson

OMAHA, Neb. -- A Nebraska Senator who filed a lawsuit against God appeared in court Tuesday and ordered the defendant to "cease certain harmful activities and the making of terroristic threats."

Despite Sen. Ernie Chambers' lack of success in petitioning the defendant, he hopes the lawsuit brings to light his stance on frivolous lawsuits.

Chambers said state senators periodically have offered bills prohibiting the filing of certain types of suits. He said his main objective is that the constitution requires that the doors to the courthouse be open to all.

"Thus anybody can file a lawsuit against anybody -- even God," Chambers said in 2007.

The lawsuit accuses God "of making and continuing to make terroristic threats of grave harm to innumerable persons, including constituents of Plaintiff who Plaintiff has the duty to represent." It says God has caused "fearsome floods, egregious earthquakes, horrendous hurricanes, terrifying tornadoes, pestilential plagues, ferocious famines, devastating droughts, genocidal wars, birth defects and the like."

Typically Us

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Legendary scientist David Deutsch puts theoretical physics on the back burner to discuss a more urgent matter: the survival of our species. The first step toward solving global warming, he says, is to admit that we have a problem.

hat tip to Jasiek


Say it ain't so

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What were they thinking?

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Explosion of the Anthrax Story

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This is going to be huge.

Part of the justification process for going into the Iraq war was the anthrax scare which is now being blamed on the government worker who committed suicide lately. Now all sorts of information is being chased which indicates that the scare may have been a deliberate ruse by some elements in the government not unlike the "yellowcake uranium" one. ABC News apparently has information indicating the sources of such a ruse but are refusing to give them up based on journalistic protection of source concepts. The article below does a good job of unraveling the complex web of connections involved.


Journalists, their lying sources, and the anthrax investigation

by Glen Greenwald

The death of government scientist Bruce Ivins has generated far more questions about the anthrax attacks than it has answered. I want to return to the role the establishment media played in obfuscating the anthrax investigation for so long and, at times, aiding in what was clearly the deliberate deceit on the part of Government sources. This is yet another case where the establishment media possesses -- yet steadfastly conceals -- some of the most critical facts about what the Government has done, and insists on protecting the wrongdoers. Obtaining these answers from these media outlets is as important as obtaining them from the Government. Writing about ABC's dissemination of the false Iraq/anthrax story, The New Republic's Dayo Olopade wrote yesterday: "Pressure on ABC to out their sources should be swift and sustained."

The Washington Monthly's Kevin Drum argued yesterday that despite the need for journalists to use confidential sources, "the profession -- and the rest of us -- [are] better off if sources know that they run the risk of being unmasked if their mendacity is egregious enough to become newsworthy in its own right." Drum added: "I'd say that part of [Ross'] re-reporting ought to include a full explanation of exactly who was peddling the bentonite lie in the first place, and why they were doing it." Nonetheless, Drum said: "In practice, most journalists refuse to identify their sources under any circumstances at all, even when it's clear that those sources deliberately lied to them."

Drum is right that it is unusual for journalists to out their "sources" even when they are exploiting the confidentiality pledge to disseminate lies to the public, but such outing is by no means unprecedented. Last year, when I first wrote about ABC's broadcasting of this false Saddam/anthrax story, I spoke with numerous experts in "journalistic ethics," such as they are, and all of them -- journalists, Journalism Professors, and media critics alike -- agreed that while the obligation of source confidentiality is close to absolute, it does not extend to a source who deliberately exploits confidentiality to disseminate lies to the public. Under those circumstances, it's axiomatic in journalistic ethics that a reporter is not only permitted, but required, to disclose the identity of the source who purposely used the reporter to spread lies.


the rest

Biggest laugh today

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Net Neutrality in a Nut Shell

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Sing it again, Mr Lennon...

A working class hero is something to be
Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV
And you think you're so clever and classless and free
But you're still fucking peasants as far as I can see
A working class hero is something to be


The Problem:
Employers Silence Workers Who Attempt to Form Unions

Under the current labor law system, employers often use a combination of legal and illegal methods to silence employees who attempt to form unions and bargain for better wages and working conditions. When faced with organizing drives, 25 percent of employers fire at least one pro-union worker; 51 percent threaten to close a worksite if the union prevails; and, 91 percent force employees to attend one-on-one anti-union meetings with their supervisors.

In addition, the system designed to protect workers is severely broken. Laws and enforcement fail to sufficiently protect workers, offering penalties that are too weak to deter violations . For example, an employer found guilty of illegally firing an employee for union activity must only give backpay to that employee--minus whatever he or she earned in the interim. Many employers find the punishment for breaking the law a bargain if firing a pro-union employee scares others from supporting the union. Further, if workers successfully form a union despite such tactics, the employer is allowed to repeatedly appeal the results, which can take years. Such delays weaken union support by inviting more opportunities for employee turnover, harassment, and firings by management.

The Impact: Economic Opportunity Stolen from America's Working Families

Protecting the right to form unions is about maintaining the American middle class. It's no coincidence that as union membership numbers fall there are growing numbers of jobs with low pay, poor benefits, and little to no security. More than half of U.S. workers--60 million--say they would join a union right now if they could. Why? They know that coming together to bargain with employers over wages, benefits, and working conditions is the best path to getting ahead. Workers who belong to unions earn 30 percent more than non-union workers, and are 63 percent more likely to have employer-provided health care. Without labor law reform, economic opportunity for America's working families will continue to erode.

The Solution:



More Socialism for the Wealthy

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Wal-Mart is telling their employees to go get welfare and food stamps to supplement their paltry paychecks. Wal-mart employees are also being force to attend anti-union classes during which they are being told that a vote for Obama could force Wal-Mart to cut jobs.

Wal-Mart's Desperate War Against Unionization

by ZP Heller


The nation's biggest private employer is also its most notorious union-hater.  The Wall Street Journal reported that Wal-Mart has been swaying workers from voting Democrat this November, fearing that the Democrats' proposed Employee Free Choice Act would make unionizing possible in Wal-Mart stores.

In an act that reeks of desperation, the mega retailer has been holding "mandatory" meetings for thousands of store managers and department heads, scaring their employees by stressing the "downsides" of unionization.  

From the WSJ:

"According to about a dozen Wal-Mart employees who attended such meetings in seven states, Wal-Mart executives claim that employees at unionized stores would have to pay hefty union dues while getting nothing in return, and may have to go on strike without compensation. Also, unionization could mean fewer jobs as labor costs rise."

The Employee Free Choice Act that Wal-Mart so adamantly opposes would enable labor groups to organize with a "card check" system instead of the current single secret-ballot election that is prone to anti-union protests from Wal-Mart corporate.  Barack Obama co-sponsored EFCA, and not surprisingly, John McCain opposed it. 

While it's illegal for Wal-Mart to tell workers who to vote for, the WSJ claimed that employees said Wal-Mart's human recources managers told them that "voting for Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama would be tantamount to inviting unions in." 

Here's the hysterical argument from the business interests:

They're right about one thing, its all about power...mainly the threat they will lose theirs and the workers will gain some.


Things said I've said

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elsewhere:

Capitalism has done great things historically for advancing the cause of individualism and the rise of the mercantile class. It allowed serfs to gain a measure of independence from their landlords and brought down most of feudalism.
Its major structural flaw however is in its "black hole gravitation" property of capital attacts capital...money makes money and the ultimate direction is monopoly..."there can only be one." Unfettered (idealized) capitalism will eventually gather all available capital to one place, all competitors absorbed into the one that owns it all. Its a Borg thing...same prinicipal.
Its why capitalists came to the conclusion that anti-monopoly laws were necessary to the continued survival of capital driven markets; because the motor of market capitalism is competition. Capitalism's keyword is aggregation.

What's the opposite of competition?

Cooperation.

Socialism. Unfettered socialism has the major flaw of subjugating the individual's independent needs to the needs of the "group". Socialism's keyword is dispersal.

A blend of the two antithetical systems is necessary at this moment of human history where both the individual and the state must both find a way to co-exist.

The individual is at a disadvantage within the capitalist paradigm because capital itself is considered a commodity and must be purchased and cannot therefore be accessed freely. Its basically a pyramid scheme wherein players already in the game have all the control over how the game is to be played. Individuals who would choose not to play the game in the first place are highly restricted within their society from acting independently of the game.

An individual who would strike out on their own and build their own self-contained "homestead" in the wilds is prevented from doing so because all the land on which he or she would wish to personally develop through their own labors is already "owned" by someone else privately or by the state. Denial of access to REAL estate, property, is the key to capitalist control.

Your best bet of living outside the major capital driven markets is to create a collective, which can raise enough capital to buy un-taxed property somewhere and to create your own sub-culture. It can be done, but it is a lot of work and hard to maintain.

Sermonette #23

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Sanity from Argentina

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2/3 of Americans support the idea that drug abuse should be treated as a health issue rather than by the justices system. So why are we still filling our jails at such an alarming rate with drug offenders?

Argentine president calls for decriminalization of drug use


fernandez.jpgPresident Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner repeated her call this week to decriminalize personal drug use and crack down on traffickers and dealers.

"I don't like it when people easily condemn someone who has an addiction as if he were a criminal, as if he were a person who should be persecuted," she told a meeting of the National Investigation into the Consumption of Alcohol, Tobacco, Psychopharmaceuticals and Illegal Drugs.

"Those who should be persecuted are those who sell the substances, those who give it away, those who traffic in it."



Going out on a limb?

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Pretty amazing stuff. My question is whether it will feel like someone else doing it when he gets around to masturbation.

Germans perform world's first double-arm transplant


atarms.jpgDoctors at the Technical University of Munich have conducted the world's first double-arm transplant on a 54-year-old farmer who had lost both his arms in an accident, officials said.

The operation was conducted at the university's "Klinikum rechts der Isar" last week, the clinic said in a statement Friday, following several years of preparatory work.

The man's condition "is very good under the circumstances," the statement said.

"Now it is a matter of avoiding future wound healing disorders, infections, strong side-effects caused by the drugs and in particular any rejective reaction."

A team of 40 people participated in the transplant surgery, conducted July 25 and 26. The donor matched the host in sex, age, skin color, size and blood group, the statement said.

The transplant subject had lost both his arms at the upper arm level six years ago, and two attempts with artificial limbs had been unsuccessful.

A Community for Good

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Power is a lifestyle based on 3 principles:


  1. Being open-minded

  2. Active thinking

  3. Putting your vision into practice




Net Neutrality Wins One

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Cable and phone companies are not normal market competitors in the sense that they most often have monopolies in given regions (cable) and/or act as sole gateways to services such as the internet. The internet has like the telephone before it rapidly become a necessity like electrical or water service. As utilities they are given certain privileges that other service providers do not have because they are considered essential to the workings of society.

Also, US cable companies and the telcos are enormously profitable and yet refuse to upgrade their infrastructure to meet demand both in terms of technological modernity and customer capacity. Europe and Japan are both miles ahead in this regard, offering many more services and much greater internet speeds for lower consumer costs. Instead, their solution to overcrowding on available bandwidth is to find ways to throttle traffic and/or charge usage premiums rather than expanding and upgrading their lines and equipment to meet demand.

If these companies were non-profit or were working with slim profit margins, charging costumers premium rates to acquire enough capital to invest in such an expansion might make sense. But the fact is that these companies are fat and rich and can well afford the upgrades themselves. They are publicly traded and get their growth capital from investors as well as their charges for service. So why should the consumer be expected to fund their technological expansion ahead of time? You don't charge more for today's single cheeseburger in order to buy the materials to make double cheeseburgers next year. You charge for the added material cost of a double cheeseburger at the time of sale.

A recent decision by the FCC about this idea is heartening:


F.C.C. Vote Sets Precedent on Unfettered Web Usage

The Federal Communications Commission formally voted Friday to uphold the complaint against Comcast, the nation's largest cable company, saying that it had illegally inhibited users of its high-speed Internet service from using popular file-sharing software. The decision, which imposes no fine, requires Comcast to end such blocking this year.

blocking this year.

Kevin J. Martin, the commission's chairman, said the order was meant to set a precedent that Internet providers, and indeed all communications companies, could not keep customers from using their networks the way they see fit unless there is a good reason.

"We are preserving the open character of the Internet," Mr. Martin said in an interview after the 3-to-2 vote. "We are saying that network operators can't block people from getting access to any content and any applications."

The case also highlights the broader issue of whether new legislation is needed to force Internet providers to treat all uses of their networks equally, a concept called network neutrality. Some have urged legislation to make sure that big Internet companies do not discriminate against small companies or those that compete with their video or telephone services.

Paranoia Runs Deep

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...into your life it will creep
it starts when you're always afraid
step of line and the man comes to take you away
- Buffalo Springfield

Why do I keep wanting to scream "motherfucking idiots!" so much anymore?

Border Agents Can Search Laptops Without Cause

By Ryan Singel

Federal agents at the border do not need any reason to search through travelers' laptops, cell phones or digital cameras for evidence of crimes, a federal appeals court ruled Monday, extending the government's power to look through belongings like suitcases at the border to electronics.

The unanimous three-judge decision reverses a lower court finding that digital devices were "an extension of our own memory" and thus too personal to allow the government to search them without cause. Instead, the earlier ruling said, Customs agents would need some reasonable and articulable suspicion a crime had occurred in order to search a traveler's laptop.

On appeal, the government argued that was too high a standard, infringing upon its right to keep the country safe and enforce laws. Civil rights groups, joined by business traveler groups, weighed in, defending the lower court ruling.

What the...?

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I have no idea.

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