28 August 2005

fun & games...

Crooks and Liars posted a website this morning for a little fun. It's an instant personality test. Click on the link at the bottom and see who you are. This is what it said about me.

You are dignified, spiritual, and wise.
Always unsatisfied, you constantly try to better yourself.
You are also a seeker of knowledge and often buried in books.

You tend to be philosophical, looking for the big picture in life.
You dream of inner peace for yourself, your friends, and the world.
A good friend, you always give of yourself first.


historiographia scientifica...

An Op-Ed in today's New York Times, Show Me the Science, by Daniel C. Dennett, asks the most important question about the evolution vs intelligent design controversy. If Bush, Frist, McCain [a BIG surprise] along with the myriad of fundamentalists that want ID taught in science class as an alternative theory "Where IS the science?" to back it up. If it is science in the theory, the scientific process has to be behind it.

The question/problem is there.

The hypothesis is there.

The research/experimentation is not there.

The conclusion is serendipitous.

Is "intelligent design" a legitimate school of scientific thought? Is there something to it, or have these people been taken in by one of the most ingenious hoaxes in the history of science? Wouldn't such a hoax be impossible? No.

The "No" comes from the use of the scientific process itself. It muddles process with product. You can't get from a to z without steps b through y. The product doesn't answer how the "designer" came up with the product or what steps the "designer" took. My car had a designer but had to employ scientific processes that involved the technique of smelting iron to mold steel, chemical formulas to create the compounds in the tires, physics to determine the coefficient of drag, etc., etc., etc. I didn't just hand over $40,000 for someone's idea, otherwise I'd be driving a Bentley Continental. [I like this "idea" better than the car [idea] I have. I just don't have $175,000!]

Intelligent design advocates, however, exploit the ambiguity between process and product that is built into the word "design." For them, the presence of a finished product (a fully evolved eye, for instance) is evidence of an intelligent design process. But this tempting conclusion is just what evolutionary biology has shown to be mistaken.

Proponents of ID do have a process, but it is not in how the design is developed. It is how they "sell" their "ideas." They are experts at intentionial, excuse me, intelligent design in promotion and propaganda!

The focus on intelligent design has, paradoxically, obscured something else: genuine scientific controversies about evolution that abound. In just about every field there are challenges to one established theory or another. The legitimate way to stir up such a storm is to come up with an alternative theory that makes a prediction that is crisply denied by the reigning theory - but that turns out to be true, or that explains something that has been baffling defenders of the status quo, or that unifies two distant theories at the cost of some element of the currently accepted view.

To date, the proponents of intelligent design have not produced anything like that. No experiments with results that challenge any mainstream biological understanding. No observations from the fossil record or genomics or biogeography or comparative anatomy that undermine standard evolutionary thinking.

Instead, the proponents of intelligent design use a ploy that works something like this. First you misuse or misdescribe some scientist's work. Then you get an angry rebuttal. Then, instead of dealing forthrightly with the charges leveled, you cite the rebuttal as evidence that there is a "controversy" to teach.

Does Jerry Falwell's Liberty University or Pat Robertson's Regent University offer Intelligent Design 101 in their science curricula?

...just asking?

26 August 2005

the end....

This is the end, Beautiful friend
This is the end, My only friend, the end
Of our elaborate plans, the end
Of everything that stands, the end
No safety or surprise, the end
I'll never look into your eyes...again
Can you picture what will be, So limitless and free
Desperately in need...of some...stranger's hand
In a...desperate land
Lost in a Roman...wilderness of pain
And all the children are insane

James W. Morrison, 1943-1971

Morrison Grave 3

25 August 2005

to understand is to perceive patterns.... (Isaiah Berlin)

It may seem that I support same-sex marriage from the things I have written in previous posts. I do not.

I uphold the perogative for others who wish a moral or legal entitlement to have or obtain something or to act in a certain way in which other groups have the ability to join in a committed contract. Marriage to me is the union of two people who decide to live together with commitment or vow - a fairly traditional view of marriage that comes from my upbringing and background. If people wish to be able to have the entitlement of marriage, it is their responsibility. I would not stand in their way. I feel the same way whether they are straight or gay. It is their decision. In fact, many close friends/family are married and I support them whole-heartedly. It is their choice to make the commitment to each other.

On the other hand, by my personal and ethical study, experience and observation, I cannot support anyone if they choose not to keep their commitments or vows - unless they state up front that they do not intend to be monogamous in their commitment or vows or decide on other conditions of the union. This does not make them bad people. It is my view and I accept it as that. I will not put that on anyone else.

I am trying very hard not to use the word "right." I don't believe that marriage is a right for either straights or gays or anyone else. I believe that it is a choice and a privilege. It is a choice because there are many people through the ages who have chosen not to marry and up until the 20th century marriage was normally an economical or class duty that in most cases was arranged. If love or commitment came into play it was usually by accident or people grew it into the marriage. Marriage for love on a mass scale was a 20th century phenomenon. It is a privilege because it is given by law, whether civil or religious.

My favorite aunt's marriage was arranged by my grandparents when she was just two years old and they were still living in Italy. When she finally married my uncle, here in the US, they had to lie about her age. They said she was 13 but she was only 12! He was 22. I have no doubt that they did love each other. They were married for over 50 years and even though my uncle was 10 years older than she, he outlived her, continually mourning her until his death. My father's parents had been married for over 50 years and my parents almost made their 50th anniversay with my father dying just months before.

At the same time, my mother and her other sister chose their own husbands as was done in the mid-twentieth century. I remember my grandmother telling the story that she and my grandfather were ultimately responsible for my aunt's "arranged" marriage, but since my mother and other aunt chose their own husbands, it was their responsibility for any problems. [Of course, my grandmother never held to this. She was supportive and helpful in any way she could be.]

The argument that most fundamentalists make is that marriage and family, as it is, has been the norm for centuries. This is historically far from the truth. Even the bible has polygamist situations. The Scriptures are clear that polygamy was, and still is today, a valid form of marriage. God, nowhere condemns such godly men as Abraham (Gen. 16:3), Jacob (Gen. 29-30), Moses (Ex. 2:16-21, Num. 12:1), Caleb (1 Chron. 2:46, 48), Gideon (Judges 8:30), or David (1 Sam. 18:27, 2 Sam. 3:2-3) for having more than one wife. Polygamy is just not acceptable anymore.

If you really think about marriage today, divorce is a form of polygamy. It is having multiple spouses, the same as polygamy, but not at the same time. It's like "serial" polygamy. [Some call it "serial" monogamy.]

When you step out of the Judeo-Christian history and idea of marriage and look into ancient Rome, there really was no sense of family until the Stoics foisted their beliefs not only on the Roman populace but the early Christian church. Ancient Romans, and Greeks for that matter, interpreted family as a political, an economical or a class practice.

Ancient Roman pater familias could adopt anyone that they wanted, even if they were older than them, as heirs. To divorce their wives, they only had to say, "I divorce you," in front of seven witnesses and the woman and her dowery would have to leave. [It may have been the first instance of "no fault" divorce.] Women could also initiate divorce if they were independent or had the support of their father who would be the only one who could institute legal reclaim of her dowery because it legally still belonged to him.

From this small background of thought you may begin to see how my view on same-sex marriage may seem contorted. I uphold people marrying but I don't think that there is any real basis for marriage to be a "right." It's a construct devised for different purposes and ends.

As far as the religious-right's argument that marriage is for procreation, there are too many instances of people who chose not to procreate or were unable to procreate - the elderly as an example. Are they upholding the concept of marriage as the religious right would have it? Probably, but not with a procreative chance. So the argument against same-sex marriage not having procreative status could be held in the same vein.

Likewise, the argument that same-sex marriage will be the cause of the destruction of the traditional family is a stretch also. First, what is a "traditional family?" That depends on the mores of the society of the moment. As I mentioned above, in Ancient Rome it was purely for economic and status reasons. In Victorian times, the major goal of the parents was to make certain that a son did not marry below his station and for a daughter to "marry-up" so she wouldn't have to live at home and be a monetary burden to the family.

What has proven to be main cause for the downfall of the traditional family is divorce. There are permutations of the family from divorce that sociologists have probably catalogued of which people are unaware. Step brothers/sisters, half brothers/sisters, step step brothers/sisters... because people repeatedly marry. There are many children's books in the library about "alternative" families with step-parents and extended family due to divorce to help children cope with all the confusion.

Extended family used to be a large family with a patriarch and/or matriarch where each member of the family had the responsibility of making certain that all members were safe and taken care of and kept together as a unit, even if not living in the same house.

When my uncle retired and moved to California, no one in my family would speak with him except his daughter and me. In an extended Italian-American family it was unheard of for any member of the family to move away from the "ancestral homestead." Unmarried children were not expected to leave their parent's house until the day of marriage - even if they were 30, 40 or 50 years old! This still happens not only in Italy but in parts of the US. Strange? No, custom.

One can cite other areas and arguments for/against same-sex marriage, but it has been done innumerable times by all sides. Going back to my beginning statement - "It may seem that I support same-sex marriage from the things I have written. I do not" - all of the things I have mentioned lead me to believe not only that same-sex marriage is not a viable option for gays but, maybe, it's no longer a viable option for anyone. That's a completely different dialogue, however.

My main reason for not supporting same-sex marriage, personally, has to do with the LGBT community. It is a community that thrives and stands for true diversity. It runs the gamut from professional sports figures to professors to businessmen/women to transvestites to blacks to latinos/latinas to committed partners to.... I could go on and on.

Rather than being the downfall of the traditional family, marriage may be the possible demise of the diversity that is so strongly held in the LGBT community. In no other segment of society has diversity been so freely embraced. True, just as in other segments of the population, this diversity is frowned upon and put down by some members of the LGBT community, but I have not found the numbers as in other segments of the population who do not support diversity.

The LGBT community has struggled for years for its own identity. Stonewall was the visible beginning of the struggle. Pride events do not, in my mind, celebrate LGBT as much as the diversity for which it stands. I fear that in the pursuit of acceptance by the mainstream population [ie straights] the LGBT community may swing too far away from its encompassing diversity. Marriage in the "traditional" sense for gays could be viewed as a wish to be the same as everyone else. This is a false argument not only for the LGBT community but for all of mankind.

We are the same in our differences.

Again, I support the perogative for others who wish a moral or legal entitlement to have or obtain something or to act in a certain way in which other groups have the ability to join in a committed contract - be it a civil or religious committed marriage or union.

There was a time I wanted to be in a committed relationship with someone but it didn't work out for many reasons. However, I never really imagined myself in a "legal" or "quasi-legal" marriage or union. First, at that time it wasn't even a glimmer of hope and no one contemplated the movement that is happening today. Second, I never thought that as a species it is in humans to be in the type of "traditional" marriage that evolved in the 20th century or as fundamentalists insist upon.

As I tried to show above, at different times in history "marriage" had different reasons behind it but only one purpose: the continuation of the species. Yet, there were groups and individuals who did not and do not wish to procreate, for example the Essenes, Vestal Virgins, Roman Catholic priests, many modern couples today, etc. Societies have always acknowledged and accepted them as non-procreators by choice. It is not a giant leap to accept same-sex individuals into this group, nor should it be difficult to see individuals and couples of any orientation wanting to ensure the species' continuation by adoption or IVF if they themselves cannot procreate for whatever reason.

At this point in my life I don't see myself in a marriage or civil union, especially at my age. However, as Katherine Hepburn playing Eleanor of Aquitaine in The Lion in Winter said...

"In a world where carpenters get resurrected, anything is possible..."

24 August 2005

now, god hates sweden...

After Pat Robertson called for the assasination of Venezuela's President Chavez, Fred Phelps is starting an international brouhaha by starting a new website called "God Hates Sweden." Between the two of them, the rest of the world may start asking who are the real religious-fascists.

Anti-gay preacher Fred Phelps has caused an international royal gay flap over accusations that Sweden's King Carl Gustaf is gay.... Phelps' site calls Sweden "a land of sodomy, bestiality, and incest", and goes on to say: "The King looks like an anal-copulator, & his grinning kids look slutty & gay."Fred Phelps' 'Swedish King Is Gay' Tirade at 365gay.com.

Now, I have first-hand, well maybe second-hand, knowledge about this. An old friend, who is Swedish, schooled with Carl Gustaf, competed with him in the Olympics, and was friends with him. Quite a number of years ago, this friend told us a number of stories about His Royal Highness and, trust me, his behaviors, if the stories are true [and I have no doubts], are truly, positively NOT gay.

The Swedish government has lodged a complaint with the American ambassador in Sweden, but it probably will go nowhere. The king and his family have spoken with their lawyers, but there probably is nothing they can do because of First Amendment rights in the US that Phelps knows inside-out. The site and its content have infuriated Swedes who have a close bond with their royal family.

Although Phelps could be prosecuted in Sweden it is doubtful he could be extradited. Phelps intends to picket the King on September 5th in Stockholm. If he goes, there may be no need for extradition. Sweden has "promotion of hate" laws. They might be able to take care of the problem for us.

...and I refuse to link to Phelp's webpage!

power and tragedy...

I posted this entry on my other weblog, existential chaos, but thought it would also be appropriate here with all of the dialogues, debates and pronouncements being made today not only in the U.S. but across the world. A lot seems to be hinging and hanging on spirituality and religion that is happening in the world but, as in the previous post, it is a redundancy as people entrench themselves in their redoubts.

"The Church is precisely that against which Jesus preached and against what he taught his disciples to fight".

Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power, 1901, 168

"Christianity is still possible at any time. It is not tied to any of the impudent dogmas that have adorned themselves with its name: it requires neither the doctrine of a personal God, nor that of sin, nor that of immortality, nor that of redemption, nor that of faith; it has absolutely no need of metaphysics, and even less of asceticism, even less of a Christian "natural science". Christianity is a way of life, not a system of beliefs. It tells us how to act, not what we ought to believe."

Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power, 1901, 212

"For this is how religions tend to die: the mythic premises of a religion are systematized, beneath the stern and intelligent eyes of an orthodox dogmatism, into a fixed sum of historical events; one begins nervously defending the veracity of myths, at the same time resisting their continuing life and growth. The feeling for myths dies and is replaced by religious claims to foundations in history."

Friedrich Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy, 1872, 10

"Tales of My death have been greatly exaggerated" as God might say... Yet the essential nature of Nietzsche's critique here remains sound. We do indeed see myths taken too seriously, we see 'religion' perverted into a form of 'control-freakery' with no freedom of belief, of thought, of possible progress, a denial even of knowledge and science itself. This strangulation of religious thought, this total rejection of evolution or change in any form, destroys free-will, that supposed 'special' gift of God to humans. It thus rejects God in itself, whilst pretending otherwise. Thus it wasn't Nietzsche who killed God, but the fundamentalists, who rejected (and still do) the beauty of His creation - the world-in-itself. It is if we have presented to us a 'mystery play', which is repeated, endlessly, without the slightest variation or emotion by the most wooden of actors - who could possibly love that ? If God has no real followers, then He must, inevitably, wither away...

CALResCo Complexity Writings, "The Will to Power" by Chris Lucas

...1872, ...1901, ...or 2005?

22 August 2005

nothing ≠ something...


Everything seems to be as usual. Reading the news, reading blogs, observing things going on around us all seems to be a replay of things that have all happened before. Different names. Different places. Different happenings. Same old, same old.

If there had been a comcast.net back in the first millenium, what would the headlines have been? On today's comcast.net home page the number one story is "Bush Compares Iraq to World Wars."

In A.D. 476 it would have been "Western Roman empire ends as Odoacer, German chieftain, overthrows last Roman emperor, Romulus Augustulus, and becomes king of Italy"


Another headline today is "Robertson called for the assassination of Venezuela's president."

In A.D. 54, the headline would have been "Claudius poisoned, succeeded by Nero."


One more headline today is "Last Jewish Settlers Leave Gaza Strip"

In A.D. 637, the headline would have been "Arabs conquer Jerusalem"


Can someone tell me how we are more civilized than the first millenium?

just asking...

15 August 2005

liberty and justice for all...

I've been wont to make reference to the Founding Father's thoughts to the writing of the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, & the Bill of Rights through other sources, including the Federalist Papers, Thomas Jefferson's private letters, etc. Though to me, it is clear that all of them desired a form of government that ensured that citizen's had their personal rights protected from the circumstances of the times in which they lived, they went beyond this with the foresight to understand that for the government to continue and the people to be safe it had to be a living, growing and evolving entity.

They did not want to limit the power of the people but realized that power directly in the hands of the people was impossible in such a varied and large community as the Thirteen Colonies/states. [What would they think of 50!] Franklin, Madison, et. al. decided that the best solution would be a representative government with a system of checks and balances built into the government so that no one person or group could become sole proprietor of the governing process, hence the executive, legislative and judiciary branches were devised.

The Founding Fathers hoped that with an organization like this the liberties of the people could be preserved, expanded and evolved with an assurance that the tyranny of the one or few could not take hold.

Their work is presupposed on one word: liberty. The Oxford American Dictionary definition is "the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one's way of life, behavior, or political views...." As a straight forward definition it is fairly succinct. The government the Founding Father's conceived, however, is not a one-way street. It also declares that the citizens have responsibilities.

The major duty of the people to the success of the government and, consequently, the society of the country is to protect the rights of others in order to safeguard their own liberty.

Thomas Jefferson defined it in the "Declaration of The Rights of Man and The Citizen" as: "Liberty consists in the freedom to do everything which injures no one else; hence the exercise of the natural rights of each man has no limits except those which assure to the other members of the society the enjoyment of the same rights. These limits can only be determined by law."
How did the founding fathers define liberty and freedom?

14 August 2005

he can't come back if...

You've got to see this. I'm not usually amazed at the crazies, but this one caught me off guard. In short, Bush backed off the mid-East program because the right-wingnuts believe that Jesus can't come back if the Palestinians are in control of any part of the holy land. They have been assured that the Gaza strip shows no "biblical" significance that would put the "second-coming" in jeopardy. I guess the story has been around for a little while, but I just found it reading a discussion about the right's desire for a theocratic United States. It seems the ride has started.

"The e-mailed meeting summary reveals NSC Near East and North African Affairs director Elliott Abrams sitting down with the Apostolic Congress and massaging their theological concerns. Claiming to be "the Christian Voice in the Nation's Capital," the members vociferously oppose the idea of a Palestinian state. They fear an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza might enable just that, and they object on the grounds that all of Old Testament Israel belongs to the Jews. Until Israel is intact and Solomon's temple rebuilt, they believe, Christ won't come back to earth.

Abrams attempted to assuage their concerns by stating that "the Gaza Strip had no significant Biblical influence such as Joseph's tomb or Rachel's tomb and therefore is a piece of land that can be sacrificed for the cause of peace."

The Jesus Landing Pad: Bush White House checked with rapture Christians before latest Israel move from the Village Voice

are we there yet...?"

something better to do...

There have been a number of posts on this site entitled "nothing better to do..." in reference to people who invent ways to inhibit progress, who try to force others into complying with their beliefs only, who debilitate freedoms, or who foster ignorance. This post, in a way, cites the antithesis to these types of arguments.

This past week, Dan Savage from the "Stranger" was guest blogging on andrewsullivan.com. He discussed quite a number of things, but he also wrote one of the most important things in belief and support of American democracy and especially the Constitution. He says it in response to Sen. Rick Santorum's recent interviews and book.

Personal freedom is like free speech: Some people are going to exercise their personal freedom and/or freedom of speech in ways that make you uncomfortable. So long as they’re not imposing themselves on you, they should be left alone. And, I’m sorry, Rick, but the haunting fear—or certain knowledge—that someone, somewhere, is enjoying himself in ways that you think are sinful does not qualify as an imposition.

I remember that for the longest time this thought has been tantamount in my mind. It came from my parents. I remember two things that were said by them as I was growing up that have stuck in my mind clearly.

From my father, "Try anything once. If you don't like it, don't do it again."

From my mother, who was devoutly Catholic, upon hearing a newscast sensationally reporting about people's response to two lesbians: "It's nobody's business who sleeps with who. They should mind their own business!"

Sadly, there is always someone who wants to tell you what to do, what to think, and what to believe. The American Revolution was fought by our Founding Father's to eliminate this ever happening again in our land. It is even sadder that the loudest, though not the largest, voice in this country is espousing just that. At the end of the 18th century they had to deal with The Madness of King George. At the beginning of the 21st century we're having to again deal with the madness of king George and his minions. There is still...

something better to do...

12 August 2005

a metaphor...

Below is a picture of Oscar Wilde's tomb at Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris that I took a few years ago on one of my annual visits. It is, as one would expect, a flamboyant and bigger than life memorial to not only his genius but also his wit.

It is now a metaphor for what is going on in the US when it comes to bigotry and the plans of the ultra-right that is not just trying but actually, for all practical purposes, is in control of the political mentality of the country due to circumstance and the stewardship of a few well-organized fanatics whose main reason for living is power - at anyone's cost. They rely on people being sheep, being afraid and being pliable. It is an old, old trick used by the medieval church. If you keep the people in the dark, don't let them have knowledge, and keep them in a constant fear, they will believe anything you say. It's called blissful ignorance. It also is great cause for alarm for the people in control should the "ignorant" suddenly become aware.

Lady Bracknell: “I do not approve of anything that tampers with natural ignorance. Ignorance is like a delicate exotic fruit; touch it and the bloom is gone. The whole theory of modern education is radically unsound. Fortunately in England, at any rate, education produces no effect whatsoever. If it did, it would prove a serious danger to the upper classes, and probably lead to acts of violence in Grosvenor Square.”
The Importance of Being Earnest, Act I, Oscar Wilde

The tomb is an Art Deco sculpture of a male figure, possibly in flight, with a stylized hint of ancient Babylonian or Sumerian gods. If you look closely at the picture below, you will notice that there is something missing from the sculpture - the penis and testicles.

A number of years ago, someone decided they needed a souvenir and literally "whacked" it off. It's never been replaced. Nor, in my opinion, should it be replaced. I think Oscar Wilde would be amused. When he was alive they tried to emasculate him, and to an extent did, but he fought them with all of his wit and genius.

Tombeau de Oscar Wilde

The metaphor I'm struck by is how the right-wing is doing their best to "castrate" the nation into becoming solely what they want it to be according to their beliefs at the expense of anyone with any contrary to theirs. They want no diversity and no exchange of ideas between people. No secularism. No athiesm. No freedom of religion. No freedom of expression. No freedom of privacy.

I could cite a great number of things in the news today pointing to their stance, but the one on which the right seems most fixated is the LGBT community.

This is the reason for the metaphor. Though they believe that the community is already emasculated from its very nature, they work very hard to prove it. They continuously attack and attack, chipping away at the surface of the sculpture. Fortunately, the sculpture is strong and solid. So is the United States and the LGBT community. People are starting to take notice.

But the bravest man amongst us is afraid of himself. The mutilation of the savage has its tragic survival in the self-denial that mars our lives. We are punished for our refusals. Every impulse that we strive to strangle broods in the mind and poisons us. The body sins once, and has done with its sin, for action is a mode of purification. Nothing remains then but the recollection of a pleasure, or the luxury of a regret. The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself, with desire for what its monstrous laws have made monstrous and unlawful. It has been said that the great events of the world take place in the brain. It is in the brain, and the brain only, that the great sins of the world take place also.
-Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891

In previous posts I indicated my fear and the need for fear of things that were happening in the US. I feel less fearful. There are signs that the tide is starting to turn and the rules of logic, fairness and democracy are reasserting themselves, slowly, but the omens and auguries are there.

An old Hopi Indian adages says, "When hope is gone, life is over."

...be afraid, but be hopeful.

11 August 2005

jesus, we have a problem...

The newest attempt to bring fact and creationism into alignment is that Noah brought dinosaurs onto his ark. The ark, by most figuring, is thought to have been about 450 feet in length depending on which measurement of "cubit" one uses. The height was about 45 feet with a 75 foot width. These measurement are giving the benefit of the doubt by using what is known as the "long cubit = 20.4 inches." Dinosaurs on Noah's Ark

If Noah brought dinosaurs on his ark, then just the brachiosaurids are a problem because the remains found of this species have been as long as 100 feet with the average being around 85 feet in length, a height of 40-50 feet, a width of 10-20 feet and weighing between 33-88 tons. Brachiosaurus "Arm Lizard"

That would mean that one male and one female brachiosaurus would be almost ⅓ the length of his ark and as wide if they were standing side by side with their heads sticking out in to the rain! What about the other dinosaurs, if they were all on the ark? How would they all fit with all of the non-dinosaurs?

...just asking.

10 August 2005

true globalization...

If it were true that capital flows where wages are lowest, we would expect Burkina Faso and other impoverished low-wage countries to be awash in foreign investments. The claim has testable implications, so we can check. During the 1990s, 81 percent of U.S. foreign direct investment went to three parts of the world: desperately poor Canada, impoverished Western Europe, and starving Japan. Developing nations (with rising wages) such as Indonesia, Brazil, Thailand, and Mexico accounted for 18 percent. And the rest of the world, including all of Africa, shared the remaining 1 percent.
“Globalization is Grrrreat!” Tom G. Palmer of the Cato Institute

"Money is as money does."

...or does it?

06 August 2005

an anniversary...

Hiroshima - Bruce Silverstein

The picture above is from the Bruce Silverstein website with a retrospective of photos by Werner Adalbert Bischof. There are often photos of the aftermath of the a-bomb on the physical city of Hiroshima. This shows the aftermath on the person - one of the lucky ones.

Having grown up in the era of the possibility of total annihilation - the cold war - where we practiced getting under our desks at school, had fallout shelters in the basements of schools (my school still has the signs up), and the Cuban Missile Crisis, it's no wonder that the boomer generation and its progeny considers self-gratification most important. We were always told that we could die instantly and with no warning.

Live for the moment, buy as many toys as you can, enjoy yourself... there may not be tomorrow.

this is not a happy anniversary...


Saturday, August 06, 2005

CNN Breaking:

No important news left in the world

from Crooks and Liars not five minutes after posting the previous.

see, so what...?

so what...? part 2

The previous post came from not having any contact with the internet and news for seven days. I mentioned that I was in the Canadian Rockies on holiday for a couple of weeks. The internet company screwed up the delivery of the modem, so there was no connection to the internet and we chose not to have any contact via television, at least I did.

The titles in the previous post all come from the internet on July 21, 2005, the day the internet was set up in the house. Though some are dated otherwise, they were all referred to somewhere on the 21st.

It struck me that the headlines, such that they were, all dealt with things not beautiful and I was surrounded by nothing but beauty in the mountains. I had been exceptionally happy for the previous seven days with no contact to the "outside" world, but I was still being affected by it. Or was I?

Can ignorance be a viable option for people in the 21st century? The tribes of the Serengeti know nothing about the 37 children that were killed by terrorists in Iraq. Are they any worse off for that? The townspeople in Nepalese mountain regions don't even know R. Kelly let alone that he allegedly had sex with a fourteen year old. In fact, marriage to a fourteen year old may be culturally acceptable to them. They may wonder what the big deal is.

"no matter what..." is not looking for answers as much as seeking out questions. The entries may not seem linked in any way, but they are. There is a connection between all of them. I'm not going to explain it. I may not even be able to explain it. There are too many levels, sub-levels and contradictions with it. Even this post fits into the connection.

so what...?

01 August 2005

so what...?

London blasts cause chaos on Tube... so what?

Lieberman: Roberts Probably Not Extremist... so what?

Sudan Security Roughs Up Rice Delegation... so what?

37 Iraqi children killed in Baghdad... so what?

Cops: Indiana mom beat kids to death... so what?

Most Americans Would Reject Same-Sex Marriage... so what?

Friend: Girl on [R. Kelly] sex tape was 14... so what?

Report: Iran Gay Teens Executed... so what?

Greenspan sees little impact on rates from China... so what?

Plame's Identity Marked As Secret... so what?

Did Rove lie to the FBI? ...so what?

Grants for Gifted Children Face Major Threat From Budget Ax...so what?

Bush Administrations Fails to Block World Action on Global Warming...so what?

...so what? ...so what? ...so what? ...so what?

Why should I be concerned? Why should I worry? None of this has any direct bearing on me or you! They are just things that have happened. Nothing more. This is reality? As Robin Williams said in one of his standups, "Reality. What a Concept."

So what?

What is the view or story I have made up about each?

That's "so what..."

Canadian Rockies - grander than grand...

Here are some pictures from the trip we just returned from. The Canadian Rockies are some of the most beautiful mountains in the world. No mountain ever looks the same twice. There is nothing like the sound of the mountains. Around each curve in the road is a different vista.

Parc Peter Lougheed, Alberta, Canada
Originally uploaded by jmichaeli.

In the Canadian Rockies found in the Kananaskis Valley is Parc Peter Lougheed. One of the most beautiful spots in the Rockies.

Mont Invincible

Parc Peter Lougheed

Snow at Moraine Lake - Lake Louise

Chutes Tekanakawa

Woodoos outside of Banff

why did I have to come back...?