Saturday, December 15, 2018

Gloria, In Excelsis Deo................


Mannheim Steamroller..........Angels We Have Heard On High

On the importance of Rupert Murdock....


......................................to your basic average pro football fan.

Have you hugged a fracker lately........?


If you want to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, maybe a good place to start would be to produce more natural gas.

























    via

Seems unlikely..........................


The recovery of truth requires the restoration of trusted authority.  At the moment, that is nowhere in sight.   The question before us is whether the current elite class can ever resume that function.  The crisis of authority, currently at the stage of paralysis, will otherwise continue to warp and fracture the top-down model of liberal democracy long managed by this class.

Martin Gurri,   The Revolt Of The Public

Stuff we never think about...............


     Rush wanted to accomplish just one more thing before leaving Congress.  For some time, he had been lobbying General Washington on the need to inoculate American soldiers against smallpox.   On February 13. 1777, in a formal letter to the general on behalf of the medical committee, he requested that Washington order all his troops to be inoculated.  He suggested that until this was done, the southern troops that were heading up from Virginia to join him in New Jersey and Pennsylvania should not travel through Philadelphia "where the infection now prevails."  Washington agreed.
     By making sure the troops were inoculated, this three-paragraph letter may well have saved more lives than anything else done by Rush or any other physician involved with the Revolutionary War.

-Stephen Fried,  Rush:  Revolution, Madness & The Visionary Doctor Who Became A Founding Father

Fifty years ago.......................


Aretha Franklin.................................The House That Jack Built

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Hopes and fears............................


Nat King Cole...................................O Little Town of Bethlehem

Likely this weekend...............



Opening paragraphs...................


     In 49 BCE, with the dramatic proclamation "the die is cast," Julius Caesar made the fateful decision to cross the Rubicon River at the head of his 13th Legion.  The crossing of the Rubicon was momentous because the river demarcated the boundary between Italy and the province of Gaul to the north, where Caesar was serving as governor.  Suspicious of his growing power, the Senate had ordered him to disband his army and return to Rome.  But Caesar, defying the Senate, decided to return not in submission but in rebellion, marching on Rome with his legion.  By crossing into Italian territory with an army, Caesar had irrevocably made himself a traitor.
     For all its notoriety, Caesar's river crossing was a relatively modest affair in which the future ruler and his legionnaires merely waded across a shin-deep stream.  Nonetheless, this act put him in irreconcilable opposition to Rome's Senate, making the expression "crossing the Rubicon" forever synonymous with passing a point of no return.

-General Stanley McChrystal,  Leaders:  Myth and Reality

Gen'l Washington...................


Civilian control over the military has always been an important part of the American experiment:

     John Adams spoke soon afterward, sharing an idea publicly that many in Congress had only whispered about privately;  the fear that overblown patriotism was turning the commander in chief into some kind of superhero - or worse, a newfangled democratic king.  "I have been distressed," Adams said, "to see some members of this house disposed to idolize an image which their own hands have molten.  I speak here of the superstitious veneration sometimes paid to Gen'l Washington.  Altho' I honour him for his good qualities . . . in this house I feel myself his superior.  In private life I shall always acknowledge that he is mine."


For context, the year in which Adams was speaking was 1777.

Fifty years ago.......................


The Chambers Brothers.......................Time Has Come Today



This eleven minute classic was released in 1967.  It was still high on the music charts in 1968.  Lyrics here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Maybe it's just me................


..........but I think you'd have to search far and wide to find someone who can string words together better than Camille Paglia:

"We’re back to the hypocrisy sweepstakes, where gestures of virtue are as formalized as kabuki. Humor has been assassinated. An off word at work or school will get you booted to the gallows. This is the graveyard of liberalism, whose once noble ideals have turned spectral and vampiric."

and while you are at it, do visit Tail Feathers

Shards.................................






















“If I wholly unleash my imagination and forcefully stretch it out beyond its own edges, even at such a point I can only imagine a thin shard of this most immense God.  And even though it is but a thin shard, it will nonetheless be mesmerizingly colossal.” 


-Craig D. Lounsbrough

enlargeable image, and guess at what it is, here

The wisdom of ..........................


..............................................Tom Wilsons:








Let your heart be light.............................


Frank Sinatra................Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Fifty years ago.......................


Cream....................................................Sunshine Of Your Love

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

On leading................




          via

In my Amazon shopping cart.......


The technocratic illusion is that poverty results from a shortage of expertise, whereas poverty is really about a shortage of rights. The emphasis on the problem of expertise makes the problem of rights worse. The technical problems of the poor (and the absence of technical solutions for those problems) are a symptom of poverty, not a cause of poverty. This book argues that the cause of poverty is the absence of political and economic rights, the absence of a free political and economic system that would find the technical solutions to the poor’s problems. The dictator whom the experts expect will accomplish the technical fixes to technical problems is not the solution; he is the problem.” 

-William EasterlyThe Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor

Kurt, who knows his music..................


.............points to this Michael Stanley Band tune.   If Stage Pass isn't one of the all time great albums, well, it is.   This is one of my favorite cuts:

On linchpins.....................


Seth Godin responds to a critic here.  I vote with Seth.

"The future is defined by those that change the past. We need you to make a ruckus."

Well, it is............................


Dean Martin et. al. ..................................Baby, It's Cold Outside

let yourself go........................


"The more you seek God, the less you will find God.  If you do not seek God, you will find God.   God does not ask anything else of you except that you let yourself go and let God be God in you."

-Meister Eckhart

Fifty years ago.....................


Creedence Clearwater Revival.......................................Suzie Q

Fairly important......................


“We all make mistakes, but all that matters is learning from them.”

-attributed to Yanely Espinal here

Monday, December 10, 2018

Surprise, surprise....................


     Rush found work on the committee frustrating.  When the group tried to enact price controls to fight skyrocketing costs for provisions and imported goods, he explained why such market manipulation wouldn't work.  He was flabbergasted that they wouldn't listen to him.  He tried reading aloud to them from the acclaimed history of England by his acquaintance David Hume, which explained how price controls there failed and made the economy worse.  But "the precedents of Mr. Hume had no effect" on his legislative colleagues.  He was almost unanimously outvoted.
     This episode made him realize that "men do not become wise by the experience of other people."  He was starting to think that "even our own experience does not always produce wise conduct, though the lessons for that purpose are sometimes repeated two or three times."

-Stephen Fried,  Rush:  Revolution Madness & The Visionary Doctor Who Became A Founding Father

Reconciled....................


Celtic Women...........................Hark, The Herald Angels Sing

I don't always agree..................



..............with Andrew Sullivan, but, I do like to read his essays.  He writes so well and he causes much pondering.  Michael Wade points to this essay in particular:

I want to believe in America again, its decency and freedom, its hostility, bred in its bones, toward tyranny of any kind, its kindness and generosity. I need what someone once called the audacity of hope. I’ve witnessed this America ever since I arrived — especially its embrace of immigrants — which is why it is hard to see Trump tearing migrant children from their parents. That America is still out there, I tell myself, as the midterms demonstrated. It can build. But who, one wonders, is our Churchill? And when will he or she emerge?

As experiments go................


...............................this one will be very interesting to watch.

Fifty years ago...................


The Fifth Dimension.......................................Stoned Soul Picnic

On overreactions...............


     How then do terrorists manage to dominate the headlines and change the political situation throughout the world?  By provoking their enemies to overreact.  In essence, terrorism is a show.  Terrorists stage a terrifying spectacle of violence that captures our imagination and makes us feel as if we are sliding back into medieval chaos.  Consequently states often feel obliged to react to the theatre of terrorism with a show of security, orchestrating immense displays of force, such as the persecution of entire populations or the invasion of foreign countries.  In most cases, this overreaction to terrorism poses a far greater threat to our security than the terrorists themselves.

-Yuval Noah Harari,  Homo Deus:  A Brief History of Tomorrow

Uh-oh.........................


     What about terrorism, then?  Even if central governments and powerful states have learned restraint, terrorists might have no such qualms about using new and destructive weapons.  That is certainly a worrying possibility.  However, terrorism is a strategy of weakness adopted by those who lack access to real power.  At least in the past, terrorism worked by spreading fear rather than by causing significant material damage.  Terrorists usually don't have the strength to defeat an army, occupy a country or destroy entire cities.  Whereas in 2010 obesity and related illnesses killed about 3 million people, terrorists killed a total of 7,697 people across the globe, most of them in developing countries.  For the average American or European, Coca-Cola poses a far deadlier threat than al-Qaeda.

-Yuval Noah Harari,  Homo Deus:  A Brief History of Tomorrow

The bull in the china shop..................


     Terrorists are like a fly that tries to destroy a china shop.  The fly is so weak that it cannot budge even a single teacup.  So it finds a bull, gets inside its ear and starts buzzing.  The bull goes wild with fear and anger, and destroys the china shop.  This is what happened in the Middle East in the last decade.  Islamic fundamentalists could never have toppled Saddam Hussein by themselves.  Instead they enraged the USA by the 9/11 attacks, and the USA destroyed the Middle Eastern china shop for them.  Now they flourish in the wreckage.  By themselves, terrorists are too weak to drag us back to the Middle Ages and re-establish Jungle Law.  They may provoke us, but in the end, it all depends on our reactions.  If the Jungle Lay comes back into force, it will not be the fault of the terrorists.

-Yuval Noah Harari,  Homo Deus:  A Brief History of Tomorrow

Sunday, December 9, 2018


Andrea Bocelli and friends........................What Child Is This

I knew I liked Snoop Dogg...................


........................Here he offers some counsel to Kevin Hart

Makes perfect sense to me.....


     Although I am an atheist, I have argued for over twenty-five years that true multiculturalism would make scholarly study of comparative religions the core curriculum of university humanities programs everywhere.  No society or civilization can be understood without reference to its religious roots.  Every student should graduate with a basic familiarity with the history, sacred texts, codes, rituals, and shrines of the major world religions - Hinduism, Buddhism, Judeo-Christianity, and Islam.  Indeed, what could be more urgent, in this time of terrorism, that to know exactly what the Quran says about jihad and how those verses have been interpreted in multiple ways in Muslim tradition?

-Camille Paglia, from Provocations

Mind.....................


“Most people believe the mind to be a mirror, more or less accurately reflecting the world outside them, not realizing on the contrary that the mind is itself the principal element of creation.” 

“We read the world wrong and say that it deceives us.” 

-Rabindranath Tagore


Three forces....................



We don't.....................................?


"The relationship between information and human behavior is exceedingly complex:  but we seldom change our core beliefs because of a story we read online."

-Martin Gurri,  The Revolt Of The Public

On self-scrutiny...............


"The election of Donald Trump can be said to have demolished the intellectual foundation of the news business.  The pretense of objectivity had been abandoned for a higher cause.   The claim to furnish 'all the news that's fit to print' was now refuted by the failure to grasp the shape and outcome of the contest.  No one who followed the news understood the forces at play.  None guessed what was coming.  Continued consumption of the news seemed to lack any justification, other than amusement or habit.

"Dazed and demoralized, people in the media sought haphazardly to explain the disaster.  They were not good at the game:  a profession that is literally in broadcast mode shouldn't be expected to excel at self-scrutiny."

-Martin Gurri,  The Revolt Of The Public

That assumes they once were..................


"But the news as an institution in a very real sense has ceased to exist.  The media elites, like elites everywhere, are driven by a fever dream of undoing the outcome of the 2016 election.  They desperately want the status quo before Trump back, and are willing to bash away, Trump-like, at their own standards and even the democratic process in pursuit of that aim.  I don't see how it's possible, from a posture of radical reaction, to reclaim the ideal of the news media as an honest broker of information."

-Martin Gurri,  The Revolt Of The Public

Fifty years ago........................


The Beatles.........................................................Lady Madonna