Friday, November 17, 2017

NOT FOR A LONG TIME YET

When the time comes. And it will come sooner or later. Say this in my memory.

DO NOT STAND AT MY GRAVE

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there I do not sleep,
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sunlight on the ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the morning hush,
I am the soft uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there,
I did not die.

Mary Elizabeth Fry 1932


And don't be too surprised if you catch me out of the corner of your eye. I'll be the one smiling like the Cheshire Cat. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

STILL MAKES ME_______ FILL IN THE BLANK

I posted this several years ago when I was going through my "you've got to be kidding, wait until you really face persecution" phase. I'm a few years older. The fundies still have a persecution complex.

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From Benjamin Corey’s blog about so called persecution of Christians in this country. 

"Ken Ham referenced an Atlanta Fire Chief who wrote a book condemning homosexuality etc. Up front he has the right to write the book. He has the right to use it in his Bible study class. He didn’t have the right to bring copies of his self published tome to the fire house and try to distribute them to his subordinates. He didn’t lose his job because he was a Christian. He lost it, in part, because he was using his position to in effect intimidate those under him. This is the comment that set off my post.

That firefighter has a duty to preach the Gospel of Christ. What he did was not wrong in any sense, him being fired is just another example of what a godless, pagan culture we live in .

Christians have been persecuted since Christ ascended to heaven. We will not stop being laughed at and mocked at until Christ returns."
My old post below. 

Guess what. If you insist that the earth is only 6,000 years old. That the earth is the center of the universe and that the Bible is a science text book don’t be surprised if the most polite reactions are snickers behind the hands followed by quick exits and hysterical laughter from the other side of the door. That’s not persecution. It’s pity. Especially for any kids you may be “home schooling.”

Now on to the subject at hand. He did not have duty to preach the gospel on the taxpayers dime in a public building supported with the taxes of every citizen of the city to his subordinates. He can preach all he wants, hire a hall, stand on a street corner, build his own church. Nobody is going to stop him. Probably won't even throw ripe tomatoes at him.

To those who cry persecution when what is really happening is that you are finally being treated like everybody else.

I assume your pastor is still walking free. Hasn’t been arrested. Hasn’t suddenly disappeared. Hasn’t been gunned down in a local cane field. Update. Happened to a Jesuit priest named Rutilio Grande back in the late seventies in El Salvador. Big mistake. Also murdered were an old man and a boy who had the bad luck to be with father Grande when his car was riddled with gunfire.

Helped turn a nice, quiet, devout, hardly ever said a hard word, newly minted
 archbishop named Oscar Romero into a passionate voice for the poor and truly persecuted. Three years later in the spring of 1980 the death squads added the bishop to a death toll that doesn't have an official total. Could be as high as 80,000 in a country that had about five million people. And I don't believe that anyone has ever totaled the number peasants who were forced to flee the country and ended up in refugee camps in Honduras. 

Back to the original post

Anybody try to stop you from going to church. Any troops or cops blocking the entrance to the parking lot on Sunday morning. If you hold a Bible study at home are there any unmarked cars parked across the street watching who is coming and going? Any soldiers show up and turn your church into a barracks. Can a Catholic lay church worker make a delivery of consecrated Hosts to a small rural church without fear of being searched and murdered by the local death squads? Guatalamala.

 Ever see any graffiti on the walls that reads along the lines of “be a patriot, kill a priest? El Salvador. 

Has any congregation in this country ever been told at the end of funeral as mourners in Latin America attending a mass for murdered student activists were told, “stay inside the cathedral because the troops are outside and there's nowhere to run?”

Forgive me, I don't remember off hand where this happened. I THINK it was Argentina but I’m not going to bet the farm on it. The priests and other celebrants proceeded to go outside and begin walking towards the soldiers. Miraculously (I guess miracles do happen sometimes) the soldiers fell back and kept falling back until enough space in front of the cathedral had been cleared so that those inside had a fighting chance of getting down an alley or a side street. All of these things happened in Central and South America during the Reagan and Bush I years. And worse.

Oh, and BTW can your church have a cross outside or on the roof without the government (China) telling you to take it down? Or worse bulldoze the whole building. Or arrest you for belonging to a congregation that isn’t sanctioned by the state? Give me a freakin' break.

Here’s some icing for that cake. Has the Christian population of this country fallen by seventy five percent since say, 2003? This is happening in Iraq right now. In part, thanks to our “Crusade” and experiment in regime change. There were nearly a million Christians in Iraq when the war started. The number is closer to a quarter million and some of them are still there just because they haven’t had a chance to leave yet. There have been Christians in that part of the world since the beginning. Some of them still speak Aramaic. 

Since then the total has fallen even lower. 

So much for the trip down memory lane. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

THE CHICKEN OR THE EGG?

I've said this before. I may be back. And someday I'll go into the gory details of the past few months. But not right now.

It's public record that disgraced judge and senator wanna be Roy Moore belongs to an evangelical Baptist Church. Checking out his Wickipedia site I learned that he was born in Alabama but the family moved around a lot.

What it doesn't say is whether he was raised in a certain branch of conservative evangelicalism or not. If he was, then his church helped shape his apparent belief that teenage girls are appropriate sexual partners. Or, as I suspect, he found a church "home" that fitted beliefs he already had. Either way he's way out of step with most of us. And so is his church in my opinion. Most of us don't see underage teenage girls as sexual partners. And you can go to prison if you act on that belief.

And, in a strange way,  he's way out of step with even the church. He didn't get permission from the families of the women who were teens at the time and are accusing him years later, and it was outside marriage. Watching so called pastors twisting in the wind trying to deal with questions about this sicko without coming down on either side of the fence would be funny if it wasn't so damn sad.

Read the commentary above since we're getting the usual "why didn't they say something at the time" crap. Talk about victim shaming.

And I suspect that at least some of these churches preach the even creepier practice of so called Purity Balls where fathers take their daughters out for the evening. Yuck IMHO.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

IN POOR TASTE

My cousin reacted to this picture. I really don't want to give this website any more publicity than it's already getting. I do believe they're a bit cheeky using a quote from JFK in their header. After all, Kennedy not only had far more political experience than the current occupant but served in the navy during WWII. A man who challenged us to do our best not figure out how to do our worst.



Time to dig out my copy of Good Night and Good Luck. I'm not always a big fan of Michael Moore. I recognize everyone except the gal next to George Clooney. Some one who has spent a lot more of his own money trying to do some good than You Know Who ever will.

I was going to say to whoever wasted their time creating this, who the hell cares. Then I remembered that they just might think that Ted Nugent was the best thing since sliced white bread and that Glenn Beck was right up there with Saint Who Ever.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

WHY?

My posting record this year has been spotty. At best. A lot of reasons. Some good. Some what the hell. I'll go into that later.

A couple of days ago a blithering idiot of a teenage did something incredibly, frankly unforgivably stupid. The and his friends were hiking in the Eagle Creek Gorge area along the Columbia River. A very wet, cool spring has been followed by a hot, dry summer. Another hiker was watching when this kid tossed what looked like a smoke bomb into the gorge. She went a little further, looked back an saw smoke coming through the trees. She shouted at everyone she could see ans headed back warning everyone she saw to turn back. 

The fire grew to about thirty five hundred acres. Over Monday night the fire exploded to forty eight hundred and authorities closed the freeway, I84, between Troutdale and Hood River. By today the Eagle Creek fire and joined the Indian Creek fire and we're looking at twenty thousand acres and growing.  

The gorge has several waterfalls, one of the most beautiful is Multnomah Falls.


Not the greatest picture. And there is a lodge, built in the twenties and quite beautiful. But this was the scene last night.


They did save the lodge. It might be a good idea to replace the roof with tiles. Not quite the twenties style of construction, but fire resistant. 

What is going on here? One witness reported that the kids were giggling. That they apparently didn't realize or care what the results were. Is it video games? If the game isn't going right you can just hit just start over. Life doesn't come with a do over. Is it that too many of us live in cities and aren't exposed to anything that isn't covered in asphalt? That there aren't consequences? CEO's run a corporation into the ground and still get a bonus? A candidate can be file for bankruptcy four times. Start businesses not pay attention and have them fail? Sexually abuse and boast about it. Tell the world that you could shoot someone and your followers won't care. And so on? 

Fire is a part of the natural world. Some trees and landscapes need fire to grow. And you grieve but you know it will regrow. But, to have a fool cause the destruction of something won't grow back for centuries? That brings you close to despair. 




Thursday, August 24, 2017

NEVER FORGET

1968. I grew up in a little logging town in the foot hills of the Oregon Cascades. We had a pretty decent high school. It was 1968 and something happened that probably couldn't be repeated in a lot schools today. I'd like to believe it could but, we were a lot closer to the time when these horrors happened and there were a lot more veterans still alive who saw these events with their own eyes.
We had a new social studies teacher and bless me if I can remember his name. He had done his stint in the army and had access to certain film archives. Movies that were taken in the liberated concentration camps of the Reich. I don't remember the film may have included footage taken by the Germans. I have to hand it to them. They kept really good records.
I watched a documentary a few years ago that included footage of a book used to record the deaths of prisoners who actually ended up in the camps and weren't sent to the gas chambers right off the train.It was crazy. Such and such a date. Such and such a time. 12 PM to1 PM everybody died of pneumonia. Next hour everybody died of typhus. It was crazy. The men taking the films and filling out the records probably never realized where those films would end up. After all the Third Reich was supposed to last a thousand years. It lasted for twelve.
US history was a junior year class. Seniors who happened to have study halls during the same periods were allowed to watch too. I don't even remember if we had to have permission slips.
I went. I watched. I will NEVER FORGET.
To those participants in the demonstrations in Virginia last week. You know, the "men" with the torches, the shouts, the guns who are now trying to claim that they aren't really Nazis. They aren't really white supremacists. They aren't really, I don't know. Fill in the blanks with whatever you believe to be appropriate. They were there out of curiosity or some damn thing. You were there. We heard the shouts. We saw the twisted faces. We saw the torches that echoed the parades of the Brownshirts over eighty years ago.
Either have the guts to own up to it or stay under your rocks next time.


Saturday, July 1, 2017

THE BALONEY DETECTION KIT


The late,, great Carl Sagan came up with this list of tools to use to try to separate truth from idiocy. Too bad there isn't another term to use. Real baloney (the lunch meat) has it's uses. 

The Baloney Detection Kit

Apart from pointing out these common fallacies, Sagan makes a few suggestions about the "tools" a skeptic should keep ready in their Baloney Detection Kit. These are not merely measures to identify bad arguments, but constructive ideas about how to come up with better alternatives:
  • Seek independent confirmation of alleged facts.
  • Encourage an open debate about the issue and the available evidence.
  • "In science, there are no authorities. At most, there are experts."
  • Come up with a variety of competing hypotheses explaining a given outcome. Considering many different explanations will lower the risk of confirmation bias.
  • Don't get too attached to your own ideas, lest you get reluctant to reject them even in the face of evidence to the contrary.
  • Quantify whenever possible, allowing for easier comparisons between hypotheses' relative explanatory power.
  • Every step in an argument must be logically sound; a single weak link can doom the entire chain.
  • When the evidence is inconclusive, use Occam's Razor to discriminate between hypotheses.
  • Pay attention to falsifiability. Science does not concern itself with unfalsifiable propositions.


Sunday, June 25, 2017

HER NAME WAS EDITH

This post was prompted by this article  and I will tell what I know of her story as often as I can.

This is about a great aunt I never knew. We were doing the Memorial Day flower round when I noticed a very small grave marker near other family graves. I guess it caught my eye because her name was the same as my grandma Parks. Edith. Checking out the dates on the marker was obvious that she died way too soon. It didn't take long for mom to tell me what she knew of her story.

Edith Freeman was her married name. Mom didn't remember her family name. If she ever knew it. And isn't that a kick. Try tracing the maternal sides of your family tree and like as not you'll keep running into brick walls.

She and my not so great uncle lived in a tiny little town in the foot hills of the Oregon Cascades. The nearest town with a hospital was over an hour away over a gravel road. As mom remembers it there was one family in town with a car.

 It was during the depression. They were dirt poor. She already had three small children and I'd be surprised to find out that the oldest was already in primary school. I don't know what she used but she tried to end her pregnancy herself. The owner of that only car tried to get her to that hospital. She never made it. She bled to death.. I'll repeat that.SHE BLED TO DEATH. She died in a car on a gravel road with only the driver for company.

That's her story. What I know of it. I'm guessing that there are a lot of stories just like hers. Her name was Edith and I will keep telling her story whenever and wherever I can.

INTENDED CONSEQUENSES

Or how to use fear and prejudice to make a profit;

Ran across the term BLOCKBUSTER today under the subject of housing segregation in the Los Angeles area in the forties thru the sixties.

Realtors would target a block or part of a neighborhood buy a piece of property and then resell or rent to a minority family. Often African American. Then wait for prejudice to take its course; make offers to buy at the lowest price possible. Then turn around and resell the property minority families looking for a piece of the American Dream. At a much higher price of course.

Of course this couldn't work in neighborhoods that had restrictive covenants in the purchase contracts. But it did work often enough to make the practice very, very profitable.

Ah, good old American Free Enterprise. Gotta love it. NOT.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

THE LAW OF UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES PART ONE

Sorry for the weird spacing. This started as post of FB that got too long.

Now that I have more than three brain cells firing at the same time it might be time to revive this tired,old blog. The title would be "The the Law of Unintended Consequences.

With no overseas competition corporate America exploded after WWII. Between the bottled up consumerism in the US and the need to rebuild a shattered Europe those were the Golden Years for American business. It will never come again.

Business expanded. Corporations asked their execs to move to California or Seattle or Houston or Atlanta leaving their extended families behind. The older generation said to hell with the frozen winters of Wisconsin and New York and moved to Florida. Fortunes were made in real estate and construction. The old neighborhoods withered. Those who couldn't afford to move or compete for the new jobs got left behind.

Farmers sold their fields. The first out went because they wanted to. Many of the others sold up because it became too expensive to grow potatoes as land values and taxes skyrocketed Those fields sported a new crop. Houses instead of potatoes. Just houses. No stores. None of the other businesses that crowded the streets of the Bronx or Queens. And many of those went out of business when the customers who could afford to got the heck out of Dodge.

We passed laws making it possible for minority groups to live anywhere they could afford to live. Those new subdivisions for example. Those that could got the hell out of their segregated neighborhoods. Taking the doctors, the lawyers, the business leaders; the human infrastructure needed to keep cities and neighborhoods alive.

Who was left behind? The people who couldn't afford to move because they were too old, too poor, unskilled.


Friday, January 13, 2017

SOMEBODY THROW ME A ROPE

We all could use a lifeline before we drown in a sea of personal and political idiocy. 

Comment I left over on Coming to Terms.  More later. Some of  this has been kicking around in the old brain box for a week or so. 

When Harry Truman was fighting for his second term he got on a train and went whistle stopping. I've heard that there were times they had to do a whip round the train to keep it going since he was getting almost no support from the party. If he wanted to win he had to get out and TALK to people. Big people, little people, the people in what we call the "fly over" part of the country. 

And the era of social media only makes it worse. The keyboard fanatics seem to forget that there are a lot of people who don't own computers or use them the way some of the rest of us do. These people and their opinions are invisible to too many of us. 

There's a story knocking around about the first nation wide political poll using telephones. I BELIEVE it was when FDR was running for his second term. According to the poll the Republicans were going to win. Trouble is, many of the folks who were likely to vote for Roosevelt didn't have telephones!

And too many of us on both sides are willing to believe the worst without doing some investigating of our own. How many liberals laughed at the birthers, truthers, the Obama is a secret Muslim, the folks who claimed that Hillery was running a trafficking ring out of a pizza parlor. And how many liberals have jumped on the allegations about Trump and Russian "golden showers." It may be true, but good Lord the man has enough baggage that we know to be true without drooling over what amounts to political porn?

We are better than this time to prove it. Thanks for letting me bend your ear. So to speak.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW

Comment on the thread started by another Face Booker recommending flying the flag at half staff on inauguration day. Well, one commenter was correct usually we fly the flag for death. For distress you fly the flag upside down. But hey, I wasn't going to argue with her.

Anyway this commenter who shall remain nameless genderless was quite free with his/hers opinions. Didn't much want to hear ours and was totally puzzled when I commented that I had visited the FB page trying to get a feel of where they were coming from. 

"Why did she visit my page? I don't know her!" Well you apparently believe that YOU can go on the site of a someone I assume is a total stranger to you and offer your unsolicited opinion. Unless you've taken your page private that's a risk you take while apparently not realizing how clueless that comment sounds. Specks in eyes vs two by fours and all that. 

In what I assume was a blast intended to silence the rest of us the following statement was posted. "I'm a Christian conservative and that's all you need to know." 

Too dense to realize that the statement tells us everything and nothing. Christianity is a hodge podge of often conflicting beliefs ranging from the Amish to the Unitarian Universalists with Lutherans, Presbyterians, several flavors of Methodists, Quakers and seemingly endless tribes of Baptists. As for the conservative claim. That's almost meaningless too.  Conservatives have a spectrum ranging from  old style Eisenhower Republicans (almost extinct) to the followers of Ayn Rand. 

That you voted for Trump and want to America Great Again without explaining what isn't great now and what you support to make us "great" again tells me more than you probably want me to know.

And I almost forgot the little statement that you had put everything in the hands of a higher power and Trump won, So it must be God's will. Ran across the same claims about Bush II. Which leaves us with President Obama. Either it was God's will that HE also be elected president or you are full of it.

God or Goddess must get awfully tired being left holding the bag all the time.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

TERRIFYING

You can have your zombies currently watching a rerun of an episode of the original Star Trek titled A Taste of Armageddon. The Enterprise is escorting diplomats to a world that refuses to open diplomatic relations because the planet is at war with a former colony. A war that has been going on for five hundred years. 

While they are in preliminary negotiations at "attack" begins. An attack that the sensors do not detect any weapons being used or any damage. Spock realizes that the war is being waged by computer. The buildings and infrastructure survive. Casualties are recorded and expected to report to a suicide station within twenty four hours. And the citizens comply. The head of the ruling council explains that they've accepted that they are barbarians and murderers. The people die at the rate of one to three million a year but the planet and the "civilization" survives. 

When the Enterprise is declare a casualty Kirk does what he usually does when the prime directive is involved. Changes the rules. He and Spock throw several monkey wrenches into the works and destroy the war computers. Kirk admits that yes we're killers with generations of blood behind us but we don't have to kill anyone today. That's how it starts. We don't have to kill anyone today. And we'll worry about tomorrow when tomorrow comes. 

Faced with fighting a real war with real weapons the two worlds are open to the idea of negotiating an end to the war. Kirk points out to the others that a real war wouldn't cause any more casualties than they've already suffered. 

This is one of the scariest TV episodes or movies I have every seen. As I said keep your zombies. 

Monday, December 19, 2016

A LONG TIME COMING

So, Trump is officially the next president. This has been coming for decades.

Think about it. The constant efforts to undercut the judicial branch of the government. Any judge that showed a glimmer of a backbone was labeled an activist judge and it was suggested that he or she didn't know what the hell they were doing.

The constant efforts to undermine public education. It'll probably fall back on the states. Some states will still have decent systems. The others? Poor kids will be damn lucky to get any kind of education. some ultra conservatives seem to believe that everything from schools to libraries should be turned over to the private sector. Keep the peons ignorant and docile. Good luck with that.

The constant drumbeat that scientists can't be trusted. It would never have occurred to me as a college freshman to get up in class and challenge my biology professor about evolution or much of anything else until I had a class or three under my belt. Now we're told that those of us who do research, question, wonder are "elitist" and not to be trusted.

And oh for the days of three networks and PBS. Like it or not everybody got pretty much the same information. Now it's a buyer's market and if the buyer chooses to remain ignorant? There isn't much the rest of us can do about it. At least not right now. Anyone who has dealt with an internet troll knows how hard it is to get unwanted information through the cult barriers. Did I say difficult? Try downright impossible,