Monday, December 25, 2017

WHERE IS THE PRINCE OF PEACE?

I've been digging through a lot of save material. I originally posted this back in 2013. Fifty years and I can still hear those damn drums. I wonder what the world would be like if Jack Kennedy had decided "the hell with Texas." But he didn't and it went down hill from there. 1963 was followed by 1968 and his brother rests beside him. The youngest brother went through some hard times. I suspect that Ted Kennedy never thought he'd see fifty. 

1963 was followed by 1968 and for a few days in April the inner cities burned like funeral pyres. We gave Martin King a monument, a holiday and pretended he never said anything after the I had a dream speech in '63. Anyway here is the original post. 

This weekend is the fiftieth anniversary of death of a president. If you were in grade school or older on November 22 you’ll know who I’m talking about. If you weren’t you’re probably wondering what all the hub bub is about. I’ve never really thought of myself as part of a declining generation before, but that death in Dallas marked the beginning of a series of events that almost defined a generation.

Montgomery, Dallas, Birmingham, Selma, Memphis, Kent State, Watts, Los Angeles, Vietnam. History landed in our living rooms every time we turned on the evening news. The Summer of Love turned into decades of destruction that haunt us like hungry ghosts. Good laws had unintended consequences. The voting rights act allows minorities to vote. Gerrymandering state houses work to make sure they get to vote for as few candidates as possible.

Integrating the suburbs meant that those with money and mobility could leave the cities with their crowded streets and poverty behind. The city became the place where you worked, played, bought drugs and headed home to the house, minivan and 2.5 kids. Safe in gated communities we could ignore the blasted neighborhoods with too few jobs, crumbling schools and damn few local role models. Public spaces are turned into “free speech” zones or strip malls where there’s no “public” space at all.

Vietnam taught the military and the elected hired help two important lessons. Pay somebody else to do the dirty work and keep the media as far away from the action as possible. The mid seventies to the early nineties were years of death, torture and displacement for hundreds of thousands of people living in Central and South America as the US channeled aid, equipment and millions of tax dollars into the pockets of brutal dictators who claimed they were fighting “subversives” and our war on drugs. Turns out the war on drugs was a great way to channel off the books military aid into those countries.

The Great Communicator challenged Gorbachev to “tear down this wall” in Berlin while our proxies were blowing up fields, shanties, tenements and refugees in El Salvador and Guatamala; it almost never made the evening news. It sure as hell didn’t make it into the local papers.

When we finally chose to do our own dirty work in the Middle East the military made damn sure that the correspondents weren’t allowed to go nosing around on their own. And some of the ones who did try ended up being murdered by the extremists on the other side. Now technology makes it possible for a technician in a control room in the continental US to push a button and kill without ever seeing the ones who die. No more Ed Murrows hitching rides on British bombers and filing reports on the missions.

Voters put a Black man in the White House in 2008 and we pretended that this proved we were living in a post racial society while every new day proves that the divides are deeper and deadlier than ever.


Who knows. Maybe this generation has to pass before we can finally heal the divisions and finally make at least part of the dream Jack Kennedy described for us when he took office half a century ago.  

Friday, December 22, 2017

FOR THOSE WHO GO INTO

the places the rest of us are trying to avoid. Be they fire fighters, sailors, good cops or in this case the Coast Guard.

They usually do. Come back I mean. Years ago there was a book written either by or about the Coast Guard working off the Pacific Coast around the Newport/Depoe Bay area titled Heave To, You'll Drown Yourselves. It's about. the author is Stan Allyn and the Coast Guard yelled that to him more than once.

AD HOMINEM FALLACY

Type of Fallacy:
Ad hominem

Definition:
An ad hominem argument attacks the messenger not the message. Also known as “don’t kill the messenger.” The argument may be true. It may be false. The quality of the argument doesn’t depend who is carrying the message.

Example:
“The secular geologist can’t see or hear the message about Creationism because of their academic indoctrination in anti-biblical uniformitarian assumptions. The reason that most Christian geologists can’t see it is the same, plus the fact they have believed the scientific establishment more than the Bible that they claim to believe is the inspired, inerrant Word of God.”


This doesn’t say anything about the argument of Creationism, but rather the scientists. And the assumption that because you happen to be a geologist and a believer you are also going to share the fundies belief that the theological library in a book is inspired, without error and to be taken literally There are believers in the sciences, they just don’t share the beliefs of the Ken Hamms and the guy who owns Hobby Lobby.  

Note on Ken Hamm. He finally convinced Kentucky to allow tax breaks for an Ark Park. A full scale model of Noah's Ark. Complete with baby dinosaurs. You see Noah only took babies because the parents were too big. And I assume, only vegisaureses. Can you imagine what a couple of velociraptors would have done to the ark population and don't forget T Rex. 

Anyway the promised jobs and revenues haven't materialized. I mean how times are you going to pay to see a one trick pony? 

A venue in Oregon City met the same fate. Too bad they opened a couple of years before the Bush Recession.They featured the story of the Oregon Trail. Very interesting. We went to it. Once. There was a nice gift shop. Some good books. But, once you had been there, there was no reason to go back to see the same presentation again. The folks running the show didn't seem to realize that you had to come up with something different once in awhile and I wasn't going to drive a hundred miles just to go through their gift shop again 

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

THE WRATH OF GRAPES

OK. So it's a silly title. But I was responding to a silly review. 

I posted this main entry awhile back. Between the current occupant and the Republican congress my little rant could have been written yesterday. 

Checking out the reviews of Grapes of Wrath on Amazon. The one star ones. Most of them were for the quality of the discs, but there was one about Hollywood’s socialist agenda and individual responsibility. I did not post the following reply. Mostly because it would have been classified as a personal attack. 

But I can post it here. "I should have known it would be promoting socialism and the greater good collective at the expense off the individual and individual freedom and responsibility. It shows Hollywood's Communist bent has been around for a long time."

"Listen you blithering idiot, batshit crazy twit. It’s damned hard to exercise personal responsibility when your drought stunted crop has just been buried by the last dust storm? When the dust is filtering in around the windows and doors? When you’ve either been foreclosed by the bank or the landlord has decided that sharing the non existent crop just isn’t worth it anymore and your house has just been bulldozed? Oh and if you really want to get your knickers in a twist? Find the book and read that. The movie is the sanitized version of the story. 

There aren’t enough farmers, sailors, loggers and miners around anymore. They know that control is an illusion. You can work yourself into an early grave taking all the responsibility in the universe and you can’t control the weather or much of anything else. 

And I can remember when business was the major you signed up for if you couldn't do anything else. Somehow we managed to fight the second world war. Help rebuild Europe and our own country with scarcely a business major in sight. We knew how to plan for the future. Or at least a couple of years down the road. 

I suspect this author must be an MBA or some other business school graduate. Too many of them not only still have the illusion that we control anything but have fixed it so that by the time the shit hits the fan they've gotten theirs and the customer is left holding the bag with a hole in it. 

THE DREAM IS STILL A LONG WAY OFF


Perhaps the Christmas season isn't quite the time to anticipate Easter but it doesn't hurt to remember what happens to those who turn over the tables and believe that there should a place at the table for everyone. 

This is from a small collection of poems written after the death of Martin Luther King Jr. titled Drum Major for a Dream. What happens to inconvenient prophets and Messiahs. 

DRUM MAJOR FOR A DREAM
Ira G Zepp, Jr.

Your dream was clear,
We understood it perfectly.
Liberty and justice for all –
But that was too costly
For us, too expensive
Too dear, as they used to say;
Have-nots having
Disinherited, inheriting.
Is that what you meant by
Lowering mountains and
Exalting valleys?

But you beat your drum
Slowly, persistently, non-violently.

Your dream was clear,
We understood it perfectly.
Heaven on earth.
But heaven can wait.
It is often unwise and untimely for color of skin
To give way to content of character: for black, white
Brown, red yellow
To live together in Shalom.
Is that what you mean by
Making rough places plain
And crooked paths straight?

But you beat your drum
Lovingly, redemptively, faithfully.

Your dream was clear.
We understood it perfectly.
Love your enemies,
But that is impractical, not
Calculating enough.
Loving those who despise you
Who speak calumny against you
Enables us to be brothers and sister
In the Beloved Community.
Is that what you meant by
Seeing the Promised Land?

We understood all of this
So perfectly, saw it so clearly
That we beat the drummer

Senselessly, violently, fatally. 


Monday, December 18, 2017

FALLACY: ARGUMENT FROM ADVERSE CONSEQUENCES


Type of Fallacy:
Argument from adverse consequences

Definition:
Saying that because of the implications of a statement being true would create negative results, it must not be true.

Example:
“If we allow people to believe the evolutionist doctrine that they are nothing but animals, human civilization will be destroyed in a tidal wave of immorality.”


When I originally posted this I included the following: I really hope this is rationalwiki overstatement. If it’s not, the idea that I will be ‘allowed” to believe anything, especially to do with science, in this country is way beyond the pale. Unfortunately I have run across too many comments on too many posts that pretty much make that statement. 

 And frankly most "animals" are better behaved than some human beings I've met. The average wolf doesn't usually go tearing through the pack killing all the other pack members. If it does it probably has rabies or a similar disease. 

There is evidence that when a new dominant male lion takes over a pride with small cubs the cubs are killed. This forces the females into estrus and the next generation are his descendants. It seems to be a programmed response. Too bad we hear about humans doing the same thing. Gal is a single parent. Takes up with a new guy and the next thing you hear is the death or abuse of the children by another father. The lions appear to be programmed to act this way. What is the human's excuse? Believing in evolution probably isn't the problem. After all we're supposed to be "rational" human beings. 

 A similar argument is the “if gays can marry traditional marriage is doomed.” Which of course it isn’t.  If you have a problem with your marriage work it out with your spouse and the rest of your family. It doesn't matter if your neighbors have been married for one year or fifty. 




Saturday, December 16, 2017

PERSECUTION OR THE ENTRY THAT WROTE ITSELF

This happens a lot. I start out in one direction.. Then the blog takes over and I end up somewhere else.

An article from Christianity Today. Read it to the end if you can manage it. But, at least as far as I managed to read, not a word about the constitution. You know that short document full of compromises that is the foundation of our legal system. The document that doesn't say one thing about religion until we get to the amendments.

Anybody out there heard of Oscar Romero? He was archbishop of San Salvador for three years 1977 to 1980. Until he was murdered in the middle of mass as he raised the chalice during communion. There is a documentary Monsenor: the last journey of Oscar Romero. I suggest some of the fundies find a copy or stream it to find out what real persecution is.

For starters.
Has your pastor or priest been murdered or disappeared?
Can you have a bible study in your home without the authorities taking notes about who is there?
And who you are?
Is someone taping the sermon or homily. Harder to spot in the era of cell phones?
Seen any graffiti along the lines of "be a patriot" kill a priest?
Had your church seized and turned into a barracks?

Romero probably would have been murdered eventually. But the ending to his last homily is probably what triggered the murder.

"Brothers you came from our own people. You are killing your own brothers. Any order to kill must be subordinate to the law of God which says 'thou shalt not kill.' No soldier is obliged to obey an order contrary to to the law of God. No one has to obey an immoral law. It is high time you obeyed your consciences rather than sinful orders. The church cannot remain silent before such an abomination...In the name of God, in the name of this suffering people whose cry rises to heaven more loudly each day, I implore you, I beg you, I order you: stop the repression!'

Within two weeks he was dead. The death squad that carried out the murder was probably trained at the School of the Americas located at Fort Benning. I don't believe in divine retribution. It's probably just a coincidence that the man accused of ordering the murder died a few years later of cancer.

Romero? His people call him a saint. One of the these days the church might make it official.

Friday, December 15, 2017

WHAT IF THE DEVIL WON'T HAVE THEM?


From the musical 1776. OK we have independence. I can't figure out how to replace Philadelphia with Washington DC. It doesn't have quite the "ring" to it. But the sentiment is the the same.

Adams:
I do believe you've laid a curse on North America
A curse that we now here rehearse in Philadelphia
A second flood, a simple famine
Plagues of locusts everywhere
Or a cataclysmic earthquake
I'd accept with some despair
But, no, you sent us Congress.
Good God, sir, was that fair?

I say it with humility in Philadelphia
We're your responsibility in Philadephia
If you don't want to see us hanging
From some far-off British hill
If you don't want the voice of independency
Forever still
Then God, sir, get thee to it
For Congress never will

You see, we piddle, twiddle, and resolve
Not one damn thing do we solve
Piddle, twiddle, and resolve
Nothing's ever solved in
Foul, fetid, fuming, foggy, filthy
Philadephia!

They may sit here for years and years in Philadelphia.
These indecisive grenadiers of Philadelphia.
They can't agree on what is right and wrong
Or what is good or bad; I'm convinced
The only purpose this Congress ever had
Was to gather here specifically
To drive John Adams mad!

You see, we piddle, twiddle, and resolve
Not one damn thing do we solve
Piddle, twiddle, and resolve
Nothing's ever solved in
Foul, fetid, fuming, foggy, filthy
Philadephia!

Congress:
Someone oughta open up a window!

Adams:

Oh good God!

Especially when this is the best the party controlling congress can some up with. 


Usually I'd tell them to go to hell. However Lucifer is  fallen angel. And even fallen angels may have standards. I mean with this bunch he may be thinking "there goes the neighborhood' and not even let them in. 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

JUST ONE HEAD ON THE HYDRA

Roy Moore wasn't the only one who lost on Tuesday. He's just one head on the hydra. 

Thomas Merton described this group to a tee in his collection of essays, Faith and Violence. And the collection came out in 1968! More and more I appreciate this man who "left the world" and became more and more a citizen of the world. And more and more a descendant of those old testament prophets. Google Thomas Merton heretic and discover that he really touched some nerves.

"The true believers in this state of insecurity and frustration, have only manifested more clearly and more pitifully the contradiction of their inner state. They have come out vociferously for the most bizarre, the most fanatical, the most aberrant causes in politics and culture. You can now find the most ardent Christians lined up in the most ridiculous, regressive, irrational parades. If they were concerned only with flying saucers and conversations with the departed it would not seem so bad: but they are also deeply involved in racism, quasi-fascist nationalism in every shade of fanatical hate cult and in every semi lunatic pressure group that is all the more self congratulatory in that it is supported by the affluent as well as by the clergy." Thomas Merton in Faith and Violence page 196.

Does this sound familiar? There's that pesky commandment about idols and this version of "god" look more and more to me not man created in the image of god; but god created in the image of man. And not "man" at our very best but the very worst.

There are stories about the early citizens of the middle east sacrificed their children to a god known as Moloch or some version of that name. I have to wonder which "god" Moore's supporters are worshiping. It certainly sounds as if they are willing to sacrifice their children for some kind of power whether it is religious or political.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

FALLACY: ARGUMENT FROM AUTHORITY

In other words you assume will accept YOUR source of authority as MY source of authority. 

Type of Fallacy:
Argument from authority

Definition:
This type of argument relies on the identity of an authority rather than the components of the argument itself.

Example;
“Lastly, young earth Creationists believe that the Book of Genesis is historical in nature and that Bible exegesis warrants a six day creation with each day being 24 hours long.”

The argument cites and relies on implied authority. God (Zeus, Thor, the FSM) said so and it says so right here. So it must be true. Right? Ranks right down there with the credulous supplements customers on the infomercials. “They said it worked on TV, so it must be true.” Yeah, and the Man in the Moon winked at me last night.


And in the case of the young earth Creationists the implication is that everyone interprets the story the same way. John Crossan, a former priest, interprets the story not as the creation of the earth. Since the much of what is created is created out of order, but as the story behind the creation of the Sabbath. On that day God rested. And saw that sabbath as so important it's one of the commandments. Number four I believe. One of the several commandments that gets ignored regularly in our 24/7 world.  

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

LEARN FROM THE WWII UNDERGROUND RESISTANCE

Our fellow citizens opposed to the policies of the current occupant and his supporters style themselves as the resistance, and that's good. But it wouldn't hurt to take a few pages from the underground and resistance fighters from WWII.

Immigration is fond of roving road blocks. I don't have a lot of information but I'm assuming they set them up near towns or on the main roads. Send someone with no documentation problems ahead. Use those cell phones. We've got the technology. Use it. South African activist Steven Biko was caught out of his banning area at a road block the police were getting ready to move. And the police might not have even asked to see their internal passports if they'd been able to check the trunk of the car for smuggled weapons. A few days later he was dead at the hands of the police.

We have the right to demonstrate and that's good. Don't stop. But if you have documentation problems stay away from the cameras for heaven's sake. Don't give immigration an easy arrest. They're supposed to be going after undocumented individuals with criminal records. Don't reward them for being lazy and scooping up the easy finds.

Not much you can do about schools and court houses. Try going back to house churches and move around.

Face it. We're living in an occupied country and we're being "occupied" by our own fellow "citizens." And I use the term loosely. For all I know some of the tactics are already being used and if they are spread the word. Stretch the law as far as you can and stretch it again.

Monday, December 11, 2017

MIRACLES CAN HAPPEN


Nazi Germany occupied Denmark early in 1940. And to start with the country was relatively well treated. Of course no country likes being occupied and the screws turned tighter and tighter. In October of 1943 the order came down to finally round up the seven thousand or so Jews living in Denmark. 

At least one of the warnings came from Georg Duckwitz a German attache working in Denmark. He tipped off at least one former member of the Danish government. He tipped off others. And the word spread. The Swedes agreed to take the refugees. Money was raised to pay passages. Fishing boats were used mainly because they were the one class of ships that could put out without raising suspicion.

The Nazis chose Rosh Hashanah for the beginning of the round up. Over and over they found empty houses and apartments. Some with the candles still burning and food on the table. 

 DENMARK 1943

And it's Eichmann and Himmler are turning the screws
The Fuhrer they say grows impatient
"How can it be Denmark's Jews still walk free
After three years of kind occupation?
We will take them like sheep in their beds as they sleep
On the second night of their new year
Devoutly at home they'll be helpless alone
When they cry out no one will hear"

But Duckwitz the German tells Hedtoft the Dane
"My friend I have dangerous news
In three hours the transport ships will set at anchor
You must warn them warn all the Jews"
Soon good Rabbi Melchior stands in the synagogue
"There'll be no service today
The raids come tomorrow, dwell not on your sorrow
By nightfall we must be away"

Refrain:
And it's fire up the diesel and look out for swells
We're leaving Espergaerde behind us
Who strike at our friends strike us as well
We'll pray the patrol boats don't find us
When the sirens are wailing and shouts fill the night
Never will you stand alone
So it's over the Oresund
Till the day we can welcome you home

Sompolinski the tailor on the eve of Rosh Hashana
Gathers his family near
"The Lord is my light and salvation
Whom on this earth shall I fear?"
When a young Danish gentile steps into the glow
Of the candle with tears flowing down
"Good neighbors flee - I pray you believe me"
And as quickly the young man is gone

Christian policemen, shopkeepers, and teachers
Tell their friends of the quickening storm
While students on bicycles race through the streets
Searching for Jews to be warned
And Katlev the foreman blurts out to the trainman
"My family has no place to hide"
"Well bring 'em to my house," the stranger replies
"And we'll spit in the damn Nazi's eyes"

Refrain

And it's fire up the diesel and look out for swells
We're leaving Espergaerde behind us
Who strike at our friends strike us as well
We'll pray the patrol boats don't find us
When the sirens are wailing and shouts fill the night
Never will you stand alone
So it's over the Oresund
Till the day we can welcome you home

Ellen Nielsen the fishwife in the port of Drag√°¸r
Has no use for political views
She'll call out the catch, "Fresh salmon, fresh cod"
Comes a whisper "Please help, we are Jews"
"But if you are Jews you're not safe on the street
I know a man with a sail"
Till moonrise they sleep in the shade of her eaves
And escape on the fisherman's keel

Rabbi Melchior hires a young trawlerman
To ferry his family across
After twelve hours afloat in a scurfy old boat
Morning light shows the same Danish coast
Says the skipper "I'm afraid of the German blockade
So we've motored in circles around"
The rabbi gives a shout, with one blow knocks him out
And steers a straight line 'cross the sound

Refrain

And it's fire up the diesel and look out for swells
We're leaving Espergaerde behind us
Who strike at our friends strike us as well
We'll pray the patrol boats don't find us
When the sirens are wailing and shouts fill the night
Never will you stand alone
So it's over the Oresund
Till the day we can welcome you home

Frozen with fright in the October night
Families huddle in basements and barns
Mistaking each breath for the angel of death
The Gestapo, the shot, the alarm
Then down into the hold with the stench and the cold
And drug all the babies with schnapps
Someone shouts, "Valk√°mmen till Sverige
You are in Swedish waters at last"

Seven thousands of Jews smuggled over to Sweden
By fishermen, nurses, and priests
Hitler sends Eichmann to hunt them down
But his quarry have vanished like mist
When the war's over the Jews return
Cheers and flowers adorn their way home
"We're not heroes or martyrs," so say the Danes
"We were just looking after our own"

Refrain

And it's fire up the diesel and look out for swells
We're leaving Espergaerde behind us
Who strike at our friends strike us as well
We'll pray the patrol boats don't find us
When the sirens are wailing and shouts fill the night
Never will you stand alone
So it's over the Oresund
Till the day we can welcome you home

And today we will welcome you home
And today we welcome you home

[ These are
Denmark 1943 Lyrics on http://www.lyricsmania.com/ ]
In the end only four hundred or so Jews were arrested and most of them survived the war. Disney put out a made for TV movie titled Miracle at Midnight. If you are curious you can find it on YouTube. To be honest it has some plot holes big enough to drive a truck through but it gives you some idea of what was happening. Something to remember in the age of Trump. 

Sunday, December 10, 2017

THE CRAZINESS CONTINUES

Damn. Accidentally highlighted an entire post deleted the damn thing. Let's try this again.

There is a FB page that loves to highlight some of the crazier entries they come across. This is one of the recent ones and it manages to cover just about everything.

As you can see this set covers just about every nut job conspiracy theory out there. And I wonder how many of the Mark of Beast believers carry credit cards now that I think about it.

For the record there is an Agenda 21. It's a nonbinding US resolution promoting sustainability. Not that the UN has any power to enforce it if it was binding. And no government has the power to enforce it either. Anyway it has become the punching bag for every nut job, conspiracy pushers from Alex Jones to Glenn Beck. What is it with their followers. Conspiracy theories seem to be more addicting than heroin and just as dangerous.

I didn't take Physics in high school. I suspect I MIGHT have learned how many tons of a material you would have to pump out at the altitude where contrails form in order to reach the ground. I do know that poison gases are applied at ground level in order to be effective. I suspect you'd be in more danger living down wind of large scale pig farms, feed lots or large scale agribusiness operations growing pesticide/herbicide resistant crops. Which breed resistant pests and weeds. Remember the old better living through chemistry motto in the sixties? What a joke.  No wonder evolution by natural selection is such a target.

And may there be a special "mansion" in the hereafter for the goons that invented those little lovelies. What is it about us humans anyway? Many of the ideas for pesticides and herbicides started out as poison gasses to be used in war.

I don't really remember when we got hit with logic and probability in high school. I suspect it was either in algebra 2 or the senior math class. Both electives and both had small classes. Far too late in my opinion. Basic logic should start in the first grade. With yearly repeats. It won't catch everyone and the Christian homeschool movement probably won't go near it. Another reason to tank so called school choice.

Oh, and here's a link  to the Wickipedia entry on the chemtrail conspiracy.

And don't get me started on anti vaccines. I was the proud sufferer of hard measles, chicken pox and mumps. I would have gladly skipped any or all three. Got both of the polio vaccines. Salk and Sabin. And we damn near lost one of my nephews to meningitis before that vaccine was developed. He was only eight months old when he got. Scared the living daylights out of the whole family.

Not nearly as good as the one I accidentally deleted. Oh well.


Saturday, December 9, 2017

OH AND,

After reading I don't know how many articles on how difficult it is to change the hearts and minds of certain individuals now matter how strong the evidence you have I will not cuss them. I will not call them names. I will not insult their ancestors back to the infinite generations.

 I will TRY to be polite. Although I'm not sure how you can make "you are a damn fool who shouldn't be allowed out without a keeper" sound any better than it is.

I've been watching old TV shows. You know the ones that had real scripts, used words with two or more syllables and didn't bleep out every other word.

FALLACY: BEGGING THE QUESTION ASSUMING THE ANSWER

From the late, great Carl Sagan. He was right. In order to assume that a machine had been designed the person trying to identify it would have to know the concept of "machine." It has been said, I don't remember by who, that if the technology strange enough and powerful enough the "primitive" observers just might believe that the ones in possession are gods. Or demons. Probably depends on how those primitives view the universe. 

Looking around me right now I'm tempted to come down on the demon definition. Or demon possession. Or insanity. Or dementia. Or damn fool, never before seen in this country or few others of freaking STUPIDITY. Forgive me for shouting. 

Type of Fallacy:
Begging the question/assuming the answer

Definition:
This occurs when a statement has an unproven premise. It is also call circular reasoning or circular logic.

Example:
“A man from a primitive culture who sees an automobile might guess that is was powered by the wind or by an antelope hidden under the car, but when he opens up the hood and sees the engine he immediately realized that it was designed” Michael Behe Most of Behe’s arguments say, if it looks designed, it must be so. This assumes the answer to the question.


Riiiiiiiiiight. The primitive tribesman who has never seen an engine is going to assume that the engine he’s looking at is “designed.” More likely it would be “what the hell is this? Never seen or heard of anything like this before.”


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

THE SCIENTIST WITH THE POINTED PEN

Watching a YouTube video of Neil deGrasse Tyson doing a lecture on being a skeptic. The whole lecture is a hoot but this subject came up at about the 1:14 minute mark. More or less. 
This happened back in 2006 in New Jersey. Middle school student recorded his social studies teacher. What really caught Tyson's attention was the bit about dinosaurs on Noah's ark. Which prompted the following, very pointed, very short letter to the editor. 
To the Editor:
People cited violation of the First Amendment when a New Jersey schoolteacher asserted that evolution and the Big Bang are not scientific and that Noah's ark carried dinosaurs.
This case is not about the need to separate church and state; it's about the need to separate ignorant, scientifically illiterate people from the ranks of teachers.

Neil deGrasse Tyson
New York, Dec. 19, 200
6

Hey if you want to teach Sunday school in my public school let me teach science in your Sunday school. How well do you think that would go over. 

THE MOTE IN A SUNBEAM

Or damn it Carl. It wasn't your idea but you left us far too soon. 



Let's take a minute and think about who we want to have the power over those of us on that pale blue dot that looks like a speck of dust on the computer screen.

Not just the humans. The cats. The dogs. The lions. The shrimp. The whales. All the rest of those breathing, swimming, existing on this tiny speck in a sun beam. From the late, great Cassini space craft. It's part of Saturn now.

WE'RE DOOMED

Unless unless enough voters in Alabama still have enough self respect, conscience and brain cells to rub together. This latest unspeakable excuse for Roy Moore's campaign.  And from a woman. A WOMAN! Lady these are your sisters, daughters, the daughters of your neighbors and friends. What were you THINKING! Were you thinking at all or are we talking Stepford Wives??????

I can hear defense attorneys all over the country. Think of all the people my client didn't kill. Think of all the banks my client didn't rob. Think of all______ hell fill in the blanks for yourself.

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a, shall we say, off the wall sense of humor. Picture the family room up on the other side of the Pearly Gates. Or whatever belief system you follow.

"Dad you sent the prophets. Too many didn't get the message. You sent me. How can people who claim to believe the message I brought COME UP WITH THIS KIND OF CRAP?????" And before I'm accused of blasphemy remember what happened to the money changers. And that little speech about whited sepulchers.

Note: I get my voice back. Make a couple of plans for entries and all heaven breaks loose. There will be a slight delay in the action while I do some reposting. I know I'm really speaking to the choir be maybe I'll get lucky.

I HAVEN'T HEARD THE OWL. YET.


I don't know that any anglo can feel for the land the way a member of the first nations can. I do know that there are two places in Oregon where I feel "rooted." Coming up Highway 58 just before you hit Oakridge. You make a curve and the mountains are there. Right in front of me. And I'm home. 

The other is on the Oregon coast. Anywhere the basalt meets the sea. Poseidon Earthshaker would be right at home.

"The Indian knows his village and feels for his village as no white man for his country, his town, or even for his own bit of land. His village is not the strip of land four miles long and three miles wide that is his as long as the sun rises and the moon sets. The myths are the village and the winds and the rains. The river is the village and the black and white killer whats that herd the fish to end of the inlet the better to gobble them. The village is the salmon who comes up the river to spawn, the seal who follows the salmon and bites off his head, the blue jay whose name is like the sound he makes 'Kwiss-kwiss.' The village is the talking bird, the owl, who calls the name of the man who is about to die, and the silver tipped grizzly who ambles into the village and the white speck that is the mountain goat on Whoop Szo."  The "noisy mountain" on the other side of the river. Named Noisy because it usually has snow and that snow comes thundering down the mountain during the spring thaws. 
....

And the Bishop had been silent for a moment before he added slowly. "This is the village. If you go there, from the time you tie up at the float in the inlet, the village is you. Bout there is one thing you must understand. They will not thank you. Even if you should leave a broken man they will not thank you. There is no word for thank you in Kwakwala." (the local dialect)

And the title of the book is literally that. Somehow the owl calls the name of a person about to die. I probably first read this book back in the seventies. And each time it's like the first. 

Sunday, December 3, 2017

AS MUCH AS I'D LOVE

to roast Michael Flynn and rest of Current Occupant's crew, or at least see Flynn lose his pension and do brig time  it probably won't happen.

See this entry from the FB page of Jim Wright of Stonekettle Station. You'll need to scroll down a bit to find the entry he made on December 1. It's worth the trouble.

Mr. Wright is a retired Navy Warrant Officer. The face book entry explains in DETAIL why he waited until he was retired before starting his admittedly very political blog. You don't have to agree with him. Just be polite and have the facts to back up why you don't agree with him. Although he has been known to string along a troll just for the fun of it before pitching him or her out the air lock. And his FB page has a we'd like to be your friend waiting list about ten miles long. Darn it.

The series JAG did a whole episode on "contemptuous words." Season six or seven if memory serves. My take is that for the military to intervene the action(s) would have to be illegal under Uniform Code of Military Justice while Flynn was on active duty or in the active reserves. As much as some of us would love to see that happen I suspect it won't because he really was a civilian at the time.


Saturday, December 2, 2017

THE OWL OR THIS MIGHT TAKE AWHILE

I will get back to me. Honest. And it's not that it's that painful some of it is. But that's not all there is to my life and I refuse to let it BE my life to the exclusion of everything else.

Anyway, picked up a battered replacement for a wonderful little novel that came out in the seventies. Author's name was Margaret Craven. The title? I Heard the Owl Call My Name. It's set in British Columbia. The point of view is that of a young vicar sent out as a sort of circuit rider. Only instead of a horse he has a boat. His church is in a first nations village, but his parish takes in a much larger area of sea, inlets and rivers (if you haven't heard of first nations it's the Canadian term for the folks that were  living in this part of the world when they were "discovered'').

Over the months he learns to make his way in a culture that is as alien to the average white as say China was to Marco Polo. There is a Kingcome river. There is a village that is called Kingcome. It's native name is a tongue twister and there's more than one version of the tribal name. The version easiest on the tongue and throat is Kwakiutl.

Find the novel if you can or at least read the plot line in Wickipedia.

I love reading one star reviews on Amazon. The "this is boring." The "I just couldn't get into it.""I had to read it for lit class and I hated it." I especially love the "I bailed after the first ten pages." Geez, the vicar hasn't even qualified to run the boat himself, much less discovered his wreck of a parsonage. It's been awhile since there has been a minister in the area.

I'm not first nations. I don't live near the ocean. I don't have to depend on the tide to come and go. But I did grow up in a small valley in the Cascade foothills. We did depend on what we could grow, preserve, freeze, and make ourselves to get by. And no matter what folks think about the dams there were a few times when we couldn't get out of town because a flood had taken out the bridge at Deception Creek just northwest of Oakridge.

We watched the seasons. We depended on the seasons to live. All the years my dad was  a logger he never worked a full year. It was too hot and dry. Or too wet and muddy. Or too much snow. And mom met him in the laundry room more than once with clean clothes. Sometimes she had to hang his clothes on the line and hose them down before she could wash them. At least that old wringer washer drained from the bottom so she could get the mud out of the machine. And the list of injuries would take a blog entry all by itself.

It was our life. It just was. And I will get back to this a lot faster than the other thing. Promise. Funny thing about writing. I start out and find out I''m going along for the ride. As usual this will resemble a batch of bread dough. It takes time. Has to be worked on and probably will end up coming out of the bowl and taking over the story. LOL


Thursday, November 30, 2017

THE SUBJECT OF BOOZE

does come up in one of the episodes. As in "if I took a drink every time I thought I needed it I'd be drunk by noon." Or words to that effect.

And one thing you will notice if you do start watching these episodes. The smoking. Lots and lots of smoking. Robert Lansing was a four pack a day smoker. He's the guy in the dark with the brandy bottle. 

So was Ike so the stories go. Smoking. I don't know what his booze preference was or how much he drank.

"NINETY SIX MEN WHO WERE ALIVE THIS MORNING

what do I do about that?" Commander of a group of B17's to his wing commander. Who is also a friend Average crew size ten men including the pilots. Average age? Late teens to early to mid twenties. We asked a lot of those young men. Most of them came through. Another episode later. 

As usual my blog entries tend to jump around. I've been watching old Twelve O'Clock High reruns on YouTube. I remember watching this show as a kid. Didn't realize it at the time but Twelve O'Clock High is probably unique.

Started out as a novel written by two writers who actually saw air combat during WWII. And the novel is out of print at this time. And used copies are going fast. 

 Spawned a hit movie starring Gregory Peck. A war movie that didn't show much war until the last twenty minutes or so. When the group commander had a break down. Too much sky. Too much flack. Too many gauntlets hosted by the Luftwaffe. Too many crews that didn't come back. Too many friends that didn't come back. Too many letters home to their families.

The film spawned the series. A show about war that spent more time covering the costs than it did showing explosions. Ran two and half seasons. Viet Nam was heating up. The WWII generation was aging out. And since the show was trying to follow the actual time line of the war and D Day had happened I"m not sure how long it would have gone on anyway. Send them to the Pacific. Different planes. Different war. Probably need a whole new cast. 

Anyway. Here is a link to one of the best episodes.  Hope this works. The best parts start around the middle. Heavy on the truth telling and the responsibilities of command. Yeah that part went right over my head the first time. 

Now? When I look around? Heaven help us because we seem to have forgotten how to help ourselves.

(I checked. The link works but it takes you to the middle. Take the time to watch from the beginning. The general is sitting in the dark with a bottle of brandy for a good reason. At least from his point of view. If he isn't writing the letters home he still has to sign them. And remember.)

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

LIVES IN THE BALANCE


NO I haven't forgotten my story but this song is as true now as it was in  the  mid eighties when Jackson Browne wrote this. Perhaps even truer. 



"Lives In The Balance"

I've been waiting for something to happen
For a week or a month or a year
With the blood in the ink of the headlines
And the sound of the crowd in my ear
You might ask what it takes to remember
When you know that you've seen it before
Where a government lies to a people
And a country is drifting to war
And there's a shadow on the faces
Of the men who send the guns
To the wars that are fought in places
Where their business interest runs

On the radio talk shows and the T.V.
You hear one thing again and again
How the U.S.A. stands for freedom
And we come to the aid of a friend
But who are the ones that we call our friends
These governments killing their own?
Or the people who finally can't take any more
And they pick up a gun or a brick or a stone
There are lives in the balance
There are people under fire
There are children at the cannons
And there is blood on the wire

There's a shadow on the faces
Of the men who fan the flames
Of the wars that are fought in places
Where we can't even say the names

They sell us the President the same way
They sell us our clothes and our cars
They sell us every thing from youth to religion
The same time they sell us our wars
I want to know who the men in the shadows are
I want to hear somebody asking them why
They can be counted on to tell us who our enemies are
But they're never the ones to fight or to die
And there are lives in the balance
There are people under fire
There are children at the cannons
And there is blood on the wire

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

AN OLDIE BUT SO TRUE

To be honest, if any of our cats could fight that hard? They were well enough.

HOW TO GIVE PILLS TO CATS AND DOGS
 
  • Pick cat up and cradle it in the crook of your left arm as if holding a baby.  Position right forefinger and thumb on either side of cat's mouth and gently apply pressure to cheeks while holding pill in right hand. As cat opens mouth pop pill into mouth.  Allow cat to close mouth and swallow.
  • Remove pill from floor and cat from behind sofa. Cradle cat in left arm and repeat process.
  • Retrieve cat from bedroom and throw soggy pill away.
  • Take new pill from foil wrap, cradle cat in left arm holding rear paws tightly with left hand.  Force jaws open and push pill to back of mouth with right forefinger. Hold mouth shut for a count of ten.
  • Remove pill from goldfish bowl and cat from top of wardrobe. Call spouse from garden.
  • Kneel on floor with cat wedged firmly between knees, hold front and rear paws.  Ignore low growls entitled by cat. Get spouse to hold head firmly with one hand while forcing wooden ruler into mouth. Drop pill down ruler and rub cat's throat vigorously.
  • Retrieve cat from curtain rail, get another pill from foil wrap.  Make note to buy new ruler and repair curtains.  Carefully sweep shattered figurines and vases from hearth and set to one side for gluing later.
  • 8. Wrap cat in large towel and get spouse to lie on cat with head just visible from below armpit. Put pill in end of drinking straw, force mouth open with pencil and blow down drinking straw.
  • Check label to make sure pill is not harmful to humans, drink 1 beer to take taste away. Apply Band-Aid to spouse's forearm and remove blood from carpet with cold water and soap.
  • Retrieve cat from neighbor's shed. Get another pill. Open another beer. Place cat in cupboard and close door onto neck to leave head showing. Force mouth open with dessert spoon. Flick pill down throat with elastic band.
  • Fetch screwdriver from garage and put cupboard door back on hinges. Drink beer. Fetch bottle of scotch. Pour shot, drink.  Apply cold compress to cheek and check records for data of last tetanus jab.  Apply whiskey compress to cheek to disinfect. Toss back another shot. Throw away T-shirt and fetch new one from bedroom.
  • Ring fire brigade to retrieve the friggin' cat from tree across the road. Apologize to the neighbor who crashed into fence while swerving to avoid cat. Take last pill from foil wrap. 
  • Tie the little bastard's front paws to rear paws with garden twine and bind tightly to leg of dining room table, find heavy duty pruning gloves from shed. Push pill into mouth followed by large piece of fillet steak. Be rough about it. Hold head vertically and pour 2 pints of water down throat to wash pill down.
  • Consume remainder of Scotch. Get spouse to drive you to the emergency room, sit quietly while doctor stitches fingers and forearm and removes pill remnants from right eye. Call furniture shop on way home to order new table.
  • Arrange for SPCA to collect mutant cat from hell and ring local pet shop to see if they have any hamsters.
 
 
DOGS
  • Wrap it in bacon.


Saturday, November 25, 2017

HOW DO WE GET THE BIG GUNS OFF THE STREETS?

Comment from post on guns. 
We get the damn weapons of war off the streets. Have a rifle. Have two! But NO PRIVATE CITIZEN needs an AR-15, or magazines that can shoot 30 or 60 rounds before the need to reload. The reason legislators fear the NRA is not the money they may or may not accept from it. It is that the NRA has developed a very effective way to attack and remove from office (through the vote) any legislator not on board with its agenda.
November 25, 2017 at 8:23 AM
Lisa I agree with you but how do we do it? That always seems to be the sticking point. Buy backs? Social pressure? Loudly reminding our congress representatives that the NRA is peopled by a tiny fraction of our population?  Could the mainline churches help? Somehow? Heck one old geezer brought his pistol to church, talked about it, showed it to his friends after taking the proper precautions, put it away. Apparently he forgot to do SOMETHING. Someone else wanted to see the gun and nobody was too sure what happened next. Maybe he forgot to put the safety on. Maybe he put the magazine back in and chambered a bullet by mistake. Who knows. 

Anyway the gun went off, Wounded him. Passed through him and hit his wheel chair bound wife. They both ended up in the hospital. Can you imagine what would have happened if there had been two or three "good citizens" with guns in the church. They could have had a free fire zone in that church. Now that I think about it. That may be the only way to get the ball rolling. Imagine the headlines. Gun goes off and several law abiding bystanders turn a church, mall, shopping center into the Killing Fields. If they have the guts to run the story 

I do know what else might get the ball rolling. Get rid of Faux Noise. Kick out Limbaugh, Beck,Savage, Jones and the rest of the right wing wing nuts. Of course there goes the first amendment. Can we save ourselves without turning the constitution into a noose or shredding it? 


PART 2 OF ?

December of 2016 and I was into I believe the fifth or sixth bout with cellulitis. With something else going on. An area of discoloration near the cellulitis blisters that would drain. Primary saw it. Wound Center got involved with the last bout. I was going to the doctor at each attack. Taking my meds. My test numbers for the warfarin never really settled down but they were in the accepted range.

After the last attack the doctor at the wound center decided to debride the the affected areas. Still don't really know the why of the discolored areas just that by the time it got to the surface the damage was done. OK debridement was done. Primary checked the results. I went into the wound center to have it checked. That day was a bummer. Breathing was hard. Got home. Discovered some petacchia on  my abdomen. Checked an hour later and there were more. Decided the hell with this and called 911. Went to MKW first. They were full. Sent me to Riverbend.

I was admitted and things get a little fuzzy. I think it was the second morning. Therapy tried to get me up. Right ankle was too sore to stand and I felt like crap anyway. After that? I remember some really weird dreams. Then I woke up. Flat on my back. In a different room with a tube  down my throat. It took a little doing but I finally got someone's attention. Finally got rid of the tube and the staff started bringing me up to date. I didn't find out until later that I had had four surgeries, I'd been out for ten days.

And really, truly I don't know how many installments this will take because heck, I still have a life and I can only take so much of this at one time. So be patient. Please.

Friday, November 24, 2017

I WON'T BE TALKING POLITICS

with my brother in law any time soon. I don't know him well enough to know  where he gets his news.  But, I was informed that the Vegas shooter  killed several security guards before opening fire. He didn't. The one guard who was wounded survived. He did alert the cops, helped evacuate the floor and gave them as much information as he could before being treated for the leg wound he received when the gunman fired through the door. Hitting him in the leg.

And that the shooter was targeting Christians or conservatives or Republicans or any or all of the above. Presumably because only Christians, conservatives, Republicans or supporters of the current occupant go to country music festivals. In Las Vegas. I mean it's not like we have our political or religious affiliations tattooed on our foreheads.

We can't ask the shooter. He's dead. Could it be that he was another nutcase with access to a lot of fire power and a handy crowd? That he didn't much care WHO he shot? I did find out that my nephew's sister in law was there. The person in front of her was shot down and she damn near got trampled in the stampede for cover. She did make it out on the first available flight.

I do know that the NRA pretends to speak for a membership that numbers in a small fraction of the population of this country. I do know that most of their funding comes from the corporations that make the guns not the people who own the guns. And while a majority of our supposed representatives would rather walk over hot coals than opposed the NRA it wouldn't help if we had legislatures composed of saints.

There are so many guns in this country that we would have to shred the constitution to get MOST of them off the streets. And think about it. African Americans aren't responsible for most of the mass shootings. Hispanic Americans? For the most part no. Asian Americans? Nope. And so on down the road. A few by followers of radical Islam. And almost no women from any ethnic group.

So. What do we do about the white males from almost any age group from early twenties to almost senior citizens? The tiny, tiny minority of white males?  Bless me if I know the answer. I wish I did.


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

DON'T FEEL SORRY FOR ME

OK. Here goes nothing. This may take more than one post.Probably will or this will look like war and peace. And it's going to stir up some demons.

Last year was a bitch. I ended up in the hospital and rehab. Twice. First time for breathing and other problems and they discovered some clots in my lungs and I was put on warfarin. That MAY have been the beginning of the rest of the story. Home for a few weeks. Mild problem with fleas because frankly once your cats know what's coming....developed a weird set of I'm not sure what they were frankly. Some sort of blisters on the feet and ankles. Back in good ol' MKW and then rehab for dressing changes. And some really good meds.

Finally home again. And I won't go into those details in public. Developed a fast moving case of cellulitis and back in I went again for IV antibiotics. Home again. Home again. But I wasn't dancing a jig. And if you want my opinion of the wound care outfit working at MKW message me privately on FB.

Got hooked up with a good primary care guy. And I'm guessing that nobody saw what was coming because they'd never seen it before. Leave it to me to be "original." And the cycle began. I'd get over one bout of cellulitis and start all over in a few weeks. My breathing never really came back. I went to the doctor. Took my meds. Clotting levels never really settled down.

At that point mom was ninety and starting to really slow down. We kept doing our thing. Somehow. Roberta came over when she could. Got through Christmas and New Years.