Tuesday, July 17, 2018

WE DON'T WANT TO GO THERE

Yeah, it would be a different world all right. I sure as hell wouldn't want to live there as much as I dislike fundies of any stripe. The atheists can be just as militant and just as insulting. 

I have experienced immanence. Something or someone is out there. But, that is personal to me. I can't explain it and I'm not going to condemn anyone because they don't share it. But, don't condemn me or insult me because I have this personal experience or belief.


OK follow this to the logical conclusion. This is the banner picture for Hitchen's personal blog Reason over Religion. How do you prevent parents from teaching their children. How do keep parents from taking their children to religious services. And that covers everyone from Amish to pagans. Trying to actually do this would make 1984 look like Sunday afternoon tea with the vicar.

Monday, July 16, 2018

HAIL BRITANNIA

This was too good to pass up.



It looks like we could take some lessons in protesting and sign creation.

THINKING CRITICALLY

 A few days ago this survey link showed up on my FB page. I shared it so it actually showed up on the page that friends can access. I got this comment from a friend,

'When I was in junior high and high school (back when dinosaurs roamed the earth), we had a class called "critical thinking skills" that was part of the curriculum, year after year. At the time, I questioned why we were being taught critical thinking skills. Now that I see the results of not teaching that concept, I understand."

And then I put a reply to the original comment. 


We didn't have a separate class but we did have a short assigned piece to read and answer questions. And then there was the ever popular research paper with footnotes and bibliography. I managed to avoid getting mine back without to many ??????? What were you thinking notes in the margins.


But, that got me thinking. Is it critical thinking skills or is it 'my mind is made up don't confuse me with the facts?" I got into a little comment "war" over the electoral college. I tried to explain that the electoral college was a compromise. One to strike a balance between a popular vote for president and having congress elect the president. And partly it was a bone thrown to the small states (along with the senate having two to a state) who were afraid they would be swamped by the larger states.

 Another compromise was allowing the slave states to count each slave as 3/5 of person in the census.This allowed states like South Carolina with a small white population more representatives than they would have has otherwise. 

The kindest comment I got back was being called a "dumbass.' I have finally learned that it doesn't do any good to answer back. The constitution. A monument to compromise and horsetrading. 

When we got a TV it was off more often than it was on. Now we have so called news going all day and all night i wonder how many hours of Fox News kids are exposed to be the time they start school. And it makes me wonder. Can a class in critical thinking skills get past hours and hours of propaganda? Teach it yes. But in every class along with an official class in thinking critically. 

I mean, don't you have to think critically about science, history, almost every class you take? 

Sunday, July 15, 2018

THE RIGHTS OF EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING

"If this nation has a long way to go before all our people are truly created equally without regard to race, religion, or national origin, it has even farther to go before achieving anything that remotely resembles equal treatment for other creatures who called this land home before humans ever set foot upon it...while the species themselves... fish, fowl, game, and the habitat they live in-have given us unparalleled wealth, they live crippled in their ability to persist  and live in conditions of captive squalor...this enslavement and impoverishment of nature is no more tolerable or sensible than enslavement and impoverishment of other human beings...perhaps it is because we are the messengers that not only our sovereignty as Native governments but our right to identify with a deity and a history, or right to hold too a set of natural lass as practiced for thousands of years is under assault. Now more than ever, tribal people must hold onto their timeless and priceless customs and practices. Ted Strong in the introduction to All Our Relations by Winona LaDuke.

Mr. Strong is an activist for the Columbia River Tribes speaking for the rights of our non human neighbors, especially the salmon people.

Monday, July 9, 2018

scam warning

For all you amazon customers out there. If you get a call from someone claiming to be with Amazon and telling you that your someone has tried to access your account from a city far, far away from where you are hang up immediately. Especially if they have extremely heavy accents. Check your account to see if there has been any activity, call Amazon and request to change your password. I got scammed and am trying to sort it out.

And if you are dumb enough to start trying to sort it out with them if it doesn't make sense do not listen if they try to tell you 'this is how we do it"

Tried to sell me another fortunately I had my card blocked. 

Thursday, June 28, 2018

ONE TIN SOLDIER

Listen people to a story
That was written long ago,
'bout a kingdom on a mountain
And the valley folks below.
On the mountain was a treasure
Hidden deep beneath a stone,
And the valley people swore
They would have it for their very own.

Go ahead and hate your neighbor,
Go ahead and cheat a friend.
Do it in the name of heaven,
You can justify it in the end.
There won't be any trumpets blowing,
Come the judgement day,
On that bloody morning after,
One tin soldier rides away.

So the people of the valley
Sent a message up the hill,
Asking for the buried treasure
Tons of gold for which they'd kill.
Came the answer from the kingdom,
With our brothers we will share,
All the riches of the mountain,
All the treasure buried there.

Now the valley cried with anger,
Mount your horses draw your swords
And they killed the mountain people,
So they won their just rewards.
Now they stood before the treasure
On the mountain dark and red
Turned the stone and looked beneath it
Peace on earth was all it said. 

Go ahead and hate your neighbor,
Go ahead and cheat a friend.
Do it in the name of heaven,
You can justify it in the end.
There won't be any trumpets blowing,
Come the judgement day,
On that bloody morning after,
One tin soldier rides away.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

MEMORIES

It was spring of 1968. Fifty years ago. I was a senior in a small logging town in Oregon. We had a new teacher for junior year US history. He was young. He was an army veteran and somehow, some way, he had access to archive films from the end of WW II.
I suspect his students had to get permission slips. I don't know. maybe not. Seniors who had study hall were invited, I don't remember that we needed them. After all it was 1968 and there were still plenty veterans who were still around.
The films were taken in liberated concentration camps. Bodies so starved you could not tell if they were men or women being bulldozed into mass graves. Soldiers wearing masks in hope of cutting the stench.
Survivors, if you could call them survivors, huddled together. Some in scraps of prison uniforms. I could not keep looking. I could not look away. I don't remember if there was a soundtrack. What could be said anyway? Such and such a camp? So many dead? So many so far gone they wouldn't survive? So many who would wish they hadn't survived? A few would build new lives?
I haven't remembered this in years. A plague on those who voted for Trump, on those who stayed home, those who were too pure to vote for the candidate who had chance. I'd say the hell with it but I still have a sliver of hope.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

WHO ARE YOU?

An adaptation of something I wrote several years ago.

I was the song, I was the singer.
I was the earth, I was the willow.
I was the hill, I was the badger.
I was the stone, I was the moss.

I was the meadow, I was the deer.
I was the flower, I was the bee.
I was the marsh, I was the heron.
I was the river, I was the salmon.

I was the sea, I was the dolphin.
I was the sea, I was the wave.
I was the wind, I was the gull.
I was the sun, I was the mist.

I was the dream, I was the dreamer.

The line about the gulls was influenced by something we saw on on the coast several years ago. We were watching gulls flying up the beach against the wind. A few minutes later a white blur could be seen flashing in the other direction. It was the gulls. Fighting  against the wind so they could ride the wind back down the beach.

It was fun watching them.


Friday, June 8, 2018

HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF: OVER AND OVER AND OVER

Read this quote first, do not skip to the bottom. The little blank hides the identity of the subject of the passage. Source is after the quote. But does this sound dreadfully familiar?

 "In a state of constant self-suppression, for the one thing their master could not bear was for anyone to disagree with him, to have an opinion apart from his own. What he seemed to seek in his surrounding was a chorus of approval from persons who had sunk their own personalities, submerged them for the the time, while they themselves played the role of listeners. At first I rather despised this complacent courtier-like attitude, yet insensibly  I too fell into it, found myself searching for points of agreement with ......., rather than risk displeasing him by any form of polite argument. "

From George, Nicholas and Wilhelm: Three Royal Cousins. The subject was the German ruler Wilhelm II. He does sound a lot like "he who shall not be named." Wilhelm had the attention span off a gnat, hated to read anything of substance, insisted on constant approval, had trouble finishing what he started and so on. The quote was from Anne Topham, an English governess to the German royal family. English governesses were very popular in more than one of the European royal courts.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

IT IS NOT THAT HARD

Received a notice for jury duty in Lane County last month. But I don't live in Lane County anymore. I live in Eastern Oregon now.

Called the jury line. Well send us a letter. Because of privacy issues we don't have a way of separating out the Lane County addresses.

Duh. You put the zip codes in a separate field. Sort by zip code. Is that address in Lane County? Send out a notice. Is the address not in Lane County? Don't send out a notice. I mean hard can it be?

The summons originate in the registered voter database. How hard should it be to do a sort and send that list to the office that creates the potential juror list. You can do it in Excel or any database program. I did it for years. It is just a matter of how you design the original database. Makes me wonder what kind of information is covered in computer classes these days.

And it isn't that hard to set up the address list. It's just where you place the individual fields.

First name, last name
Address
City, county, state, zip code.

I mean, how hard can be?

Sunday, June 3, 2018

BUT WE STILL HAD BOBBIE, THEN BOBBIE WAS GONE

Martin Luther King was murdered in April 1968. Against the advice of his staff Bob Kennedy kept a campaign stop in a black neighborhood in Indianapolis. From the back of a flat bed truck he made the announcement that King has been murdered. Over the next six minutes he made a speech that few ever knew existed. But, in a a night of rage, grief and fire their were no riots in Indianapolis.
Some folks comforted themselves that Martin was gone but we still had Bobbie. Then it was June 8 and the California Primary. 
"It made my mother scream.
That’s what I remember. I had been lying dozy in bed, but at the sound of her, I scrambled into the living room. She was standing before the television watching an image of chaos in a hotel ballroom.
Although I grew up in the 1960s, very few of the signal events of that tumultuous decade managed to penetrate my childish, oblivious world. I have little firsthand memory of the Watts uprising, the 1968 Democratic convention, or the moon landing. But I remember the night, 50 years ago this week, when Sen. Robert F. Kennedy was shot.
I remember that scene in the ballroom. I remember a crude graphic on TV news showing where a bullet had entered his skull. I remember hearing that he had 11 children and feeling sorry for them that this had happened to their daddy.
But then, you tend to remember the things that make your mother cry.
In many ways, Bobby Kennedy was an unlikely figure for mom’s great grief, a slightly built rich man with an upper crust accent, sad eyes, a rabbity smile and that shaggy forelock he was forever sweeping off his forehead. Because he was the runt of a rough-and-tumble clan, he was always obsessed with proving his toughness. So as a Senate lawyer, as a campaign manager for his brother Jack and as attorney general, Bobby was the unwavering scourge of communists, gangsters and anyone — he famously approved the wiretap of Martin Luther King, after all — he felt threatened his brother’s political fortunes.
Then Jack was killed.
In the five years between that tragedy and his own assassination in Los Angeles while running for president, a different Robert Kennedy emerged. He’s the one my mother mourned, the one whose example haunts this fractured political moment.
He’s the one who went to Bed-Stuy, Appalachia and other broken places politicians often do not go. He’s the one who went to California to join Cesar Chavez as he ended a 25-day hunger strike. He’s the one who went to the Mississippi Delta, knelt on a dirt floor and tried to coax a listless baby whose stomach was swollen by hunger.
He let those kinds of things get to him, let them trouble, shatter and remake him. He reached out to people living on the margins, and they reached back with such fervor that his aides had to physically anchor him to keep him from being pulled out of the car when he campaigned in certain places.
It turned out the tough guy had an instinct for the underdog and a deep, moral indignation over the unfair treatment that trapped them in their hoods and hollers, barely subsisting in the shadows of plenty. He saw their humanity. This, I think, even more than his opposition to the war in Vietnam, was what drew people like my mother.
There was in that last ragged campaign of his, this sense of the possible, of the new, of fundamental, systemic change. There was this sense of a more compassionate America waiting just below the horizon. There was, in a word, hope. Or as Rep. John Lewis, then a campaign aide, consoled himself in the grim weeks after Martin Luther King was murdered in Memphis: “At least we still have Bobby.”
Then Bobby was gone.
Fifty years later, as immigrant children are taken from their parents at the U.S. border, as the rich get richer while the poor work full-time jobs for part-time pay, as hatred flows from the top of our government, hope feels like a bygone relic of an outmoded age, like blood from a wound that never healed.
That night, Mom cried for a loss greater than she could have known. She mourned a good and decent man.
We mourn a nation that might have been."
Column by Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts.
For me, personally, it was the next morning. I listened the primary results on my radio, then turned it off. Probably about ten minutes before history changed forever. I don't really believe in might have beens, What if King and Kennedy had survived? What would the world look like today? 

Monday, May 28, 2018

THAT MEDAL DIDN'T MEAN MUCH AFTER THE WAR

Wars give us heroes. Although sometimes we prefer dead ones to live ones. Especially if the ones who survived the hell of combat just can't quite fit in when so called peace comes. And too often, if they aren't white.

Ira Hayes was a Pima Indian. He fought on Iwo Jima. He was on Suribachi when the flag was raised He was awarded the Medal of Honor. And he died drunk, in a ditch with about two inches of water in it. Enough water to die in but not enough to raise a crop for food.

Peter LaFarge wrote it. Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan sang it.

Ira Hayes
Ira Hayes
Call him drunken Ira Hayes
He won't answer any more
Not the whiskey drinking Indian
Or the Marine who went to war.

Gather round me people
There's a story I would tell
'Bout a brave young Indian
You should remember well
From the land of the Pima Indian
A proud and noble band
Who farmed the Phoenix Valley
In Arizona land
Down the ditches a thousand years
The waters grew Ira's peoples crops
'Til the white man stole the water rights
And the sparkling waters stopped
Now Ira's folks were hungry
And their land grew crops of weeds
When war came Ira volunteered
And forgot the White Man's greed

Call him drunken Ira Hayes
He won't answer any more
Not the whiskey drinking Indian
Or the marine who went to war

There they battled up Iwo Jima hill
Two hundred and fifty men
But only twenty seven lived
To walk back down again.
And when the fight was over
And Old Glory Raised
Among the men who raised it high
Was the Indian Ira Hayes

Call him drunken Ira Hayes
He won't answer any more
That the whiskey drinking Indian
Or the marine who went to war.

Ira Hayes returned a hero
Celebrated through the land
He was wined and speeched and honored
Everybody shook his hand
But he was just a Pima Indian
No water, no home, no chance
At home nobody cared what he had done
And did the Indian dance

Call him drunken Ira Hayes
He won't answer any more
Not the whiskey drinking Indian
Or the Marine who went to war

Then Ira started drinking hard
Jail was often his home
The let him raise the flag and lower it
Like you'd throw a dog a bone
He died drunk one early morning
Alone in the land he fought to save
Two inches of water in a lonely ditch
Was a grave for Ira Hayes

Call him drunken Ira Hayes
He won't answer any more
Not the whiskey drinking Indian
Or the marine who went to war

Yeah, call him drunken Ira Hayes
But his land is just as dry
And his ghost is lying thirsty
In the ditch where Ira died.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

FASCISTS R US

What it is like to live under a state of undeclared martial law.  Don't think that all this started with Trump. This has been a long time coming. Remember our forces went through WWII with a shopping list. They brought back Von Braun and used nazi obtained data on decompression experiments from concentration camp victims to jump start the space program.

Only consolation? The Soviets probably did the same damn thing.

Freedom doesn't disappear overnight. It goes drip, by drip, by drip. Until we wake up one morning and wonder what the fuck happened? The next elections isn't the end it is the beginning.

It's scary for the people in these two Texas counties. Drivers are being stopped multiple times a day by the same people. It is harassment pure and simple. The director of the refuge found workers on refuge property cutting down trees and clearing brush for "the wall." This was on cleared land planted with butterfly friendly habitat.

This is two counties in Texas with drones, secretly installed cameras, barrage balloons with cameras. What happens when the rest of the country gets the same treatment?

Sunday, May 20, 2018

THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS

Looks like we are going for a triple. I couldn't make out the name of the artist on this too relevant piece.


Courtesy of Benjamin Corey's FB page. His blog can be found here.