My 9 year old daughter [Grace] wanted to see what all the hype was about shopping on Black Friday. She begged my wife to take her, so my wife decided to take her a little later than most. They left the house about 6:30-ish this morning to meet up with some family that had been out shopping all night. My daughter just called me and I asked what she thought about all the Black Friday shopping and this was her response:
“This is a bunch of old women that need to go home and take a nap because they’re just cranky and rude.”
Thanks Nate. That daughter of yours is filled with wisdom.
But if you are a 70 year-old former bookkeeper or waitress on Medicare, well — you have swung your last golfclub or danced your last waltz, because the “ethics panel” that assesses your unithood will have no problem inventing a equation that goes something like, “Potential-Tax-revenues-minus-potential-cost-divided-by-social-and-political-value-equals…a negligible unit.
And you’ll be shuffled off to the room with the big screen full of daffodils and excellent speakers blasting Vivaldi, and made “comfortable.”
Assessing human beings as “units” is Evil. Period, full stop. It is a diabolical disorientation. The only people who do not understand that are people who also have difficulty with that inconvenient old “conscience thing“.
The caller to Levin’s show said he was a neurosurgeon, and of German descent. He mentioned his ancestry at the same time he discussed “units” and admitted he was distressed. The source of his distress was very likely his recognition of a the sort of ruthless efficiency someone in his family once knew first hand, either from one side of the ledger, or the other.
Happy Thanksgiving! Are you happy? I hope so. If you've got plenty to eat that can be a happy time, even when too much indulgence causes indigestion. If you are surrounded by the warmth of friends and family that can be a happy time, even when Uncle Clem starts a political rant and sprays a little spittle on the cranberry sauce. If you are happy, I am happy for you. Still, you are probably aware that there are people around us who are not happy this Thanksgiving. Of course, there are the lonely without family or friends who will take them in. There are also those who despite our best efforts to supply a festive meal this time of year, are still in want. But today I am thinking of those who have all they need to eat and have a lot of family and friends, yet still find themselves unhappy.
Some have lost possessions or the means to procure possessions during this season. Things on which they depended; a job or a house or a car are gone, and the future is uncertain. The stuff they leaned on has crumbled around them. Perhaps it has even fallen on their heads. It is hard to be happy when things you need are crushed.
Others have lost loved ones and even though there are other faces at the feast, the fact that one face is missing keeps coming to mind. The laughter and love of others, instead of lifting the spirits, reminds them of their loss and sours what would otherwise be a happy time. It is hard to be happy in the midst of pain.
Look, I'm not trying to bring you down. If you are happy today, go on back to the turkey and football (you might want to skip the cranberry sauce if Uncle Clem is around!) But to those who are not happy today, for whatever reason, read on.
You should know that happiness is over-rated. Because it is determined by circumstances; the things that “happen” to us, happiness is always a temporary state. But if happiness is temporary that means unhappiness is temporary, too.
Realizing that happiness and unhappiness are temporary states can help lead us into a much more permanent state of joy. Joy is not dependent on circumstances. Joy looks back on what was with gratitude for the good. Joy also looks ahead with hope for the good things that will be. So, even if you are unhappy about the way things are now, you can still be joyful. Really, you can!
Thanksgiving is the way to joy. If you've recently lost something important, remember what made it good and thank God that you had it for a while. Thanksgiving doesn't make you happy, it gives you joy. So, may the Joy of Thanksgiving be yours today!
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is will of God in Christ Jesus for you. I Thessalonians 5:16-18
That was my somewhat irreverent response to a friend who had apologized for being an ass over the last number of months. This from someone who in that same time-frame, had lost a husband to a violent crime, an act that some might argue gives her license to be an ass to others.
And it got me to thinking. I've certainly been an ass to people at times. I'm a passionate guy who's especially passionate about doing the right thing and who usually defines doing the right thing as doing things my way. When I bump up against people who'd rather not do things my way and who cop an attitude about it, the ass in me tends to boil to the surface. It's not a character trait I'm proud of and certainly one that is problematic for anyone who attempts to take his or her faith seriously. So when the ass in me overwhelms the assless guy in me, and as someone who desires to take my faith seriously, two things result.
First and foremost, I'm usually quick to apologize and attempt to make things right but more importantly, I'm also usually very quick to forgive those who've been an ass to me. Because in the end, I'd like the reciprocation should the circumstance arise (a selfish perspective to be sure) but also, because a core doctrine of my faith includes the need for me to forgive... or perhaps not be forgiven. That's an eye-ball opening thing when you really stop to think about it and that takes us right back to my comment to my friend.
The actual quote, taken directly from the Lord's prayer, is forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Some translations replace the word trespass with debts but the point isn't lost or certainly shouldn't be.
We're forgiven as we forgive others. It clearly suggests a dependency, a linkage, a need to do something yourself before you expect the Lord to extend that doing to you. I simply thought that stating it the way I said it, gets the point across in a fashion that is a tad more... well... brutally honest.
The bottom line for me is that I don't want to be the last ass standing.
Early this morning, history repeated itself. FOIA.org has produced an enormous zip file of 5,000 additional emails similar to those released two years ago in November 2009 and coined Climategate. There are almost 1/4 million additional emails locked behind a password, which the organization does not plan on releasing at this time.
The original link was dropped off in the Hurricane Kenneth thread at about 4 AM Eastern. It is still there.
<3373> Bradley: I’m sure you agree–the Mann/Jones GRL paper was truly pathetic and should never have been published. I don’t want to be associated with that 2000 year “reconstruction”.
<3115> Mann: By the way, when is Tom C going to formally publish his roughly 1500 year reconstruction??? It would help the cause to be able to refer to that reconstruction as confirming Mann and Jones, etc.
<3940> Mann: They will (see below) allow us to provide some discussion of the synthetic example, referring to the J. Cimate paper (which should be finally accepted upon submission of the revised final draft), so that should help the cause a bit.
<0810> Mann: I gave up on Judith Curry a while ago. I don’t know what she think’s she’s doing, but its not helping the cause
<2440> Jones: I’ve been told that IPCC is above national FOI Acts. One way to cover yourself and all those working in AR5 would be to delete all emails at the end of the process
<2094> Briffa: UEA does not hold the very vast majority of mine [potentially FOIable emails] anyway which I copied onto private storage after the completion of the IPCC task.
What is remarkable to me is how otherwise observant, thoughtful individuals have excused the endless stream of criminal acts perpetrated at and by OWS crowds. The line, as it goes, is: All causes or political movements are going to have fringe elements, and they are going to behave badly or stupidly. But you can't judge the whole based on the actions of those few. Their overall message is sound, and you can't discredit the people or their message, or allow yourself to be distracted from that message because of these acts.
There are two problems with this position. First of all, their message, their position, their entire ideology is far from sound. Don't let hypnotic, deadpan, monotone NPR radio announcers lull you into a sense of apathy or, worse, comfort over these people. The OWS people will tell you there is this system and it is designed to work against you, but there really is no "system." There are numerous, individual agreements between adults to exchange value: effort as any combination of talent, physical labor or intellectual skill for currency. And it's not exploitative; it is mutually beneficial. Suppose you make a lot of money; you can then hire me, as an employee, or as a vendor to help you make more, and if your business does well and I'm an investor, I make money when your stock goes up; when you make more money, you can open more stores so I have better selection, lower prices, and a closer, more convenient trip to make. In America and countries like it, quality, hard work and acceptance of personal responsibility results in success--if not now, certainly for your future. However, since this does leave out everyone who does not do those things, Occupy Wall Street finds its opening with such persons.
OWS asserts that, currently, the power is in the hands of the wealthy but that it should be the hands of academics and other people smarter than you and, therefore, know better than you what's best for you and everyone else. So their stated mission is replace the system with a new one that is leaderless. However, this is not an honest statement because it is incongruous with their perception of society. Social justice implies someone is being wronged (perhaps exploited or outright stolen from), and that there is a judicial punishment. Therefore, people that stratify society by classes of victims according to gender, race or even sexual orientation are doomed to seek supremacy, not just opportunity equality, for these victim classes. When you see someone demanding social justice, they are looking to shift the class for whom they see as the owner of social power; a shift that moves power from the so-called "haves" to the so-called "have-nots." It sounds like a good idea, but it isn't, and history proves it.
Look at the legacy of Che Guevara, Hugo Chavez and Venezuela or Fidel Castro's Cuba, the revolution that brought the Ayatollah to power in Iran or Kim Jong-Il and Mao's famine-stained brand of Communism in North Korea and China. The reality is, the only place where Communism ever "works" is when it is brought about through intimidation, fear, actual torture and death. While propaganda from the American Left perpetuates conspiracy concepts around the so-called military-industrial complex accusing the CIA and the Pentagon of all sorts of "black helicopter" or "men-in-black" tactics to silence political dissidents, you have actual oppression throughout Islamic Arab countries, Socialist Central and South American banana republics, and communist regimes in parts of Africa and Asia. Actual kidnappings, rapes, murders of people and their families, including children for preserving power.
In that world, there is no constitution that limits the government. There is no legislative representation. There is no due process. There is just the way of the state and what the intellectuals have decided for you, as an adult, what is best and right for you. Socialism is the creed of shared misery. Communism is the philosophy of outcome equality through universal failure. And they sell it on the concept that if nobody is rich, then there can be no one in a class above you. But that is the biggest lie of all, because the advocates of that system want to be in the class above you that tells you what you can or cannot drive, eat or buy, or how much money you are allowed to earn. The road to hell was paved with good intentions and the message of the Occupy Wall Street movement is no exception.
Then, there is the "every political movement has a fringe element" excuse. This does not fly because in another well-known political movement called the Tea Party protests, you did not have numerous felonies. Tea Parties have not hosted shootings, murders, dead bodies, sexual assaults including rape, public masturbation, public fornication, vandalism--including defecation on police vehicles, open use of illegal narcotics, trespassing, battery of journalists and peace officers, theft of private property, public health code violations and untold economic damage to the local businesses whose customers do not want to risk blood and urine being thrown at them while standing at a hot-dog cart. You can Google every single last incident I've named to find they've happened at least once in every single city where OWS has darkened the pavement.
There are too many of these incidents to call them one-offs in the same way that out of the 1.2 Million tea party protesters that showed up in Washington, D.C., you might have had a few dozen people hoisting racially incentive picket signs directed toward the President. However, not only were there very few outsiders willing to explain them away as minor, fringe elements that do not represent the core values of the Tea Party, there is former President Jimmy Carter claiming that the heart of their opposition to the President is based in racism. At Tea Party protests, parks have been left in nicer condition than before they arrived. Will we be able to say the same when the OWS crowd is eventually evicted from the parks and lawns of public buildings in our cities? If it was anything like the union losers that tried to occupy the state capitol in Wisconsin when Scott Walker tried to institute fiscal sanity in that state, the answer will be: of course not.
So, certainly, crony capitalism between Democrats in Congress and in the White House financial institutions--either through collusion or severe legal pressure--that nearly destroyed the American economy in 2008 is bad. However, the only thing worse than a problem is a bad solution. There are good solutions to that problem, and, it would be one thing if the OWSers were just too stupid to avoid bad solutions. But this is exploitation. The Occupy Wall Street people are gunning for the most important American value that there is, Individual Liberty, and they are exploiting the misery caused by Left-wing, big government policy to advance a cause that will end Individual Liberty.
Support that at your own risk.
That from Dairenn Lombard who unfortunately doesn't have an RSS feed or on the blogroll he'd go.